Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's thought:
When the power of love is stronger than the love of power the world will know peace - Jimi Hendrix
What a wonderful thought on the eve of a new year. Yet despite how much of an optimist I tend to be, I have a hard time believing that humans as a group will ever overcome their love of power. Just look to ex-president (king George) Bush. Or the average dictator. Or on a much smaller scale, look to the day manager of your local fast-food joint, or your elementary school crossing guard. Each of these people, and many others, have such a desire for power that they often loose sight of what they are doing with it, and what they have been charged with, let alone sworn to do. Loving your neighbor is a great idea and the hippies may have stumbled on something great with the free love movement, but it was destined to fail before it started. In every group of humans, regardless of the size, someone will decide to control the group. And the larger the group, the more someone will be willing to do to be the one in control.

Take care and have a great 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Beads

Try figuring out how to put tiny holed pearls on cotton cord! I decided to go with super strong black thread, and sewed them on. What do you think? Personally, there are a couple of things that bother me, but nothing that I think anyone would be able to point out while it's on. I LOVE the pendant, which Sara bought in Alaska from the artist herself. Very cool!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Truth Is Out There

What the hell is Kwanzaa, anyway?

This question has plagued me every year since I first heard of it in the nineties. Jay inspired me to go ahead and google it. Why not? I have to confess, as with all religious customs (Is it even religious? We'll find out in a moment.) I roll my eyes, and assume its some made up, based in craziness, excuse to party. I have never known anyone that celebrated the holiday, hence the lack of knowledge. I usually get a whole earful about some religion or other whether I like it or not. This leads me to roll my eyes again, and think, crazy humans....
So, Kwanzaa....
As defined at the above website, Kwanzaa is a celebration of family, community, and culture created by
Dr. Maulana Karenga.
I admit that after reading through the pdf on this site I needed to get a fresh site that was a little more straight forward.
This site is easier to navigate, so I start reading. The simplest definition is:

"Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba—the seven principles of blackness), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy," consisting of what Karenga called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world." These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems, and to solve them together.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
  • Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle."
During the celebrations, the above are recited, as well as the African Pledge:

We will remember the humanity, glory and sufferings of our ancestors,

And honor the struggle of our elders;
We will strive to bring new values, and new life to our people;
We will have peace and harmony among us.

We will be loving, sharing, and creative.
We will work, study and listen, so we may learn;
learn so we may teach.
We will cultivate self-reliance.

We will struggle to resurrect and unify our homeland;
We will raise many children for our nation;
We will have discipline, patience, devotion and courage;
We will live as models to provide new direction for our people.

We will be free and self-determining;
We are African people...We will win!

I feel bad now...I just wanted to know what it meant, now I feel discriminated against! Assuming that the above is correct (it is from Wikipedia) it seems like this celebration is in place to keep the culture completely separate from all others in America. This seems to be counterproductive. Aren't we all supposed to be a cohesive unit? One country? United we stand? I love the idea of knowing your culture, and loving each other, but I feel like this is more a manifesto I might read in a KKK meeting. I have always hated how white people have treated African Americans in the past, and I grew up thinking that there needed to be unity, not more separatism. "Separate but equal" seemed nasty and unfair, but are there some African Americans that would have like things to stay that way? I wonder if there is anyone brave enough to let my readers in on the secret. If you have answers, please enlighten me! Perhaps there is a better website? Maybe I'm reading too much into the whole thing.

Boredom inspires creativity!

Well, so does procrastinating. Who wants to clean while all these beads are calling your name? It all started out innocently enough. I did have to clean off my bead table. It was all down hill from there.
The clasp on the river rock necklace isn't what I would have liked to use, but I'm fresh out of sterling silver, and I can't stand to let a project sit unfinished. I bought the river rock at a bead convention in Memphis, the large carved wooden bead is from a cute little bead store in Pennsylvania, the Kazuri beads are from Maine, and the Sterling silver swirls are from Kentucky. I tend to buy beads on trips, and let them sit until they speak to me. These guys were meant to be! Very simple design to show off the cool beads. I think it works. I think I may go back and work on something more complicated after dinner. Jay's on Staff Duty again, so I have nothing better to do.
The girls are in Florida with Manny and Poppy, so they will both post about their adventures later. I hear that Miah finally learned to ride a two wheeler! Until next time!

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Twelfth Day of Truth - The Reason For the Season

A little baby in a manger, surrounded by loved ones in the deep of December? That could not be farther from the truth. I will not even begin to dissect the inconsistencies with the common nativity mythology. Let's instead look at why it's happening on December 25th at all. First we have to look well before the earliest days of chritianity. The Persians as well as the Greeks and Romans celebrated what was known as Sol Ivicitus. It was called such so that many different sun gods could be celebrated as one. The winter solstice was chosen as the ideal day to celebrate the birth of the sun, as it was the shortest day of the year, and the sun would soon be gaining strength again. Several early Christian writers connected the rebirth of the sun to the birth of Jesus. One named Cyprian wrote: "O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born...Christ should be born" But in fact early christians would have been very unlikely to have celebrated Jesus' birthday at all. According to Jewish law, the celebration of anyone's birth was a pagan custom. It was not for several hundred years that his birth was celebrated in December. What was celebrated between those times most prevalently was Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. During this period, Roman courts were closed, and Roman law dictated that no one could be punished for damaging property or injuring people during the week long celebration. The festival began when Roman authorities chose “an enemy of the Roman people” to represent the “Lord of Misrule.” Each Roman community selected a victim whom they forced to indulge in food and other physical pleasures throughout the week. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering this innocent man or woman. The christians often hid their celebrations in the existing roman celebrations, to avoid persecution. It was far easier to just go along in most cases. Around the 4th century the christians actually adopted the festival date in order to try to win over the masses by Pope Julius I. As christianity spread to northern Europe the christians adopted more and more pagan traditions, such as the tree, the wreath, and the yule log. All of this assimilation was an attempt to win over the "ignorant pagans". Pagan in that day did not define a religion, simply meaning rural workers. Following the protestant reformation, groups such as the puritans strongly condemned the celebration of Christmas, considering it a Catholic invention and the "trappings of property." The catholics responded by promoting the festival in a more religiously oriented form. King Charles I of England directed his noblemen and gentry to return to their landed estates in midwinter to keep up their old style Christmas generosity. As the puritans became outnumbered in America, the holiday ceased to be outlawed, and became popular again, becoming what we know it to be today.

Just for reference, below is a popular day to celebrate around the world. The following is a list of holidays celebrated on or around the solstice abridged from the list found on wikipedia. So what are you really celebrating on this day? Is it one of the ancient sun gods, the willingness of the church to add to the religion to garner more followers, or are you just happily paying lip service to one of the holidays below? Because when you look at history, there is NO reason for this season.

And know you know.

o Bodhi Day: 8 December - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
o Winter Solstice: 21 December-22 December - midwinter
o Modranect: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
o Yule: the Germanic winter solstice festival
o Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his defeat in 165 BCE.
o Eid ul-Adha: Starting on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a four day holiday commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael.
o Yule: (Winter Solstice) - Germanic and Egyptian Pagan festival of the rebirth of the Sun
o Inti Raymi: Festival of the Sun in Quechua, winter solstice festival in areas of the former Inca empire, still celebrated every June in Cuzco.
o Yalda: The turning point, Winter Solstice (December 21). End of the longest night of the year (Darkness), and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil.
o Shabe Yaldā (Persian: یلدا) or Shabe Chelle (Persian: شب چله) is an Iranian festival originally celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice.
o Karachun - the ancient Slavs polytheistic winter solstice festival

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought:

Some things we do, even if we detest them ourselves; define us. -1618 16DEC03

It's been a few years since I wrote this in my book. I do not remember what in specific I was writing about, but I feel that I need to change the thought a bit. Everything we do, especially the things we detest, define us. To do what you are morally or ethically opposed to, that changes you irrevocably. Once you violate your beliefs, you can not go back. Not a lot else to say this week, just please think about that before you allow yourself to compromise your integrity.

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Eleventh Day of Truth - Christmas Eve

Ever wonder why we celebrate the "eve" of Christmas. This is actually easily explained. Prior to the adoption of the Julian Calender (around 45 AD), the day was known to end at sunset. Thus the new day also began at sunset. A calender day was an evening or "eve" followed by a day. Thus all holiday celebrations began at sunset and worked into the next day. This tradition has most notably continues with Christmas and Halloween, which was new years day on the Celtic Calender.

And now you know.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Tenth Day of Truth - Santa Claus

A jolly old man, slipping magically into homes and leaving presents for the good boys and girls of the world. Aside from the disturbing questions that immediately arise, we should ask ourselves how this figure became such a large part of our culture. Santa owes his legend to many sources, and he has undergone many transformations over the years. There are a number of parallels to the Norse god Odin, who would ride an eight legged horse through the sky distributing gifts with his white beard trailing behind him. While these similarities may explain some of the legend, Santa's namesake was much more mortal. Bishop Nicholas of Myra (later sainted) died about 350 AD. His legend was such that by the middle ages, he was mentioned in prayer nearly as much as Mary. Among Nicholas' miracles were saving three girls from poverty by tossing gold down their chimney and resurrecting three murdered boys. The Feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6 has been observed with great enthusiasm throughout Medieval Europe over the centuries. This enthusiasm was due to the many legends that had grown up around Nicholas: that he had distributed gifts to the poor at night through their windows, had fasted while a baby, saved a city from famine, had aided a ship in distress, etc. Because of the gift-giving legends associated with Nicholas, it was held (especially in Belgium and Holland) that on the Eve the Feast of Nicholas, the bishop himself would come from heaven and visit children in their homes, giving gifts to those who had been good. Nicholas, decked out in full ecclesiastical garb (bishop's vestments, with miter and cozier), would arrive on a flying gray horse (or white donkey, depending on the custom). In some variations of the legend, he was accompanied by Black Peter, an elf whose job was to punish children who had been bad. And here Santa evolved. The dutch began to call this visitor Sinterclass. Although the reformation during the 16th century abolished the feast of Saint Nicholas (and with it the visits from Sinterclass) due to the detraction from christ, the church created a veneration of the Christkindl (Christ-child) instead, who, it was said, brought gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
When the Dutch came to America in the 17th century and founded New Amsterdam, it was with an amalgamation of these two gift givers. Author Washington Irving (1789-1853), most famous for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," is important for the information he gives us on the Dutch version of Sinter Klaas in the early nineteenth century. Washington's 1809 work "The History of New York (also called the "Knickerbocker History") was a satire on the transplanted customs of the Dutch of New York city. The "History" contained several references to the legend of St. Nicholas as observed by the Dutch. The St. Nicholas described by Irving was an old man in dark robes who arrived on a flying horse on the Eve of St. Nicholas to give gifts to children. Dr. Clement Clark Moore revised this image further when he wrote "A Visit from St. Nicholas", more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas." Finally Santa got a new image in 1935 for perhaps one of the most fitting reasons. The Coca-Cola Cooperation began running a series of advertisements that depicted Santa, not as a tiny elf, but as an average sized jolly fat man. One who, of course, loved their product.

When you leave those milk and cookies out this christmas eve, as the dutch children left treats in their shoes by the fire, please keep a good picture of whom you are leaving them for. Will you leave them for the Saint on the flying white horse, the sprite-like Christkindl, the tiny elf that Dr. Moore wrote about, or the advertising gimmick thought up to sell soda?

And now you know.

Monday, December 21, 2009

12 Days of Truth - The Real Meaning of Christmas

The Ninth Day of Truth - Christmas Tree

The single most common symbol of christmas. It seems like everyone in the world would recognize an evergreen tree with a star (or and angel) on top and lights, bulbs, and other shiny things adorning it as a christmas tree. But what in the world does a tree have to do with the celebration it is known for? As we've discussed, almost every pre-christian culture celebrated the solstice in one form or another. This celebration was one of joy for the waning of winter and celebration of the coming spring. Nothing represented this perseverance over the cold winter months more than an evergreen tree. The pagan cultures would not kill the whole tree and bring it inside, but just cut boughs to decorate. Most often fruit and candles would be used to decorate the boughs, one a symbol of the bounty to come, the other to symbolize the warmth and power the strengthening sun would bring. The earliest history of using a tree to celebrate christmas tells of it's use in northern Germany around the mid 16th century. By the early 18th century, the custom had become common in towns of the upper Rhineland, but it had not yet spread to rural areas. In the early 19th century, the custom became popular among the nobility and spread to royal courts as far as Russia. The custom had spread to England by Queen Victoria's childhood. There are also traditional dates to put up and take down the tree. It is said that to put it up before the eve of christmas or to fail to take it down by the sixth of January (the 12th day of christmas) was bad luck. But of course the commercialization of the holiday has extended that tradition in some cases to before Thanksgiving.
Each year more than 33 million trees are cut and sold for christmas. They are decorated quite before the tradition dictates and placed in a position of honor that nearly borders on worship. On the day of christmas, children run to it to receive their presents. This year, I suggest taking a good look at what you are really celebrating.

And now you know.

Future world?

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Eighth Day of Truth - The Yule Log

A cozy fire on the eve of christmas, such a nice warm tradition. But it's origins are much older than even the holiday that it is being used to celebrate. The Celtic pagans have celebrated the winter solstice for ages before the christian faith started. This holiday was known as Yule. The yule log would be a very large log that had to be cut by the burner, never purchased. The log would sometimes be decorated with holly and burned all night. This would indeed have to have been a rather large log to burn through the longest night of the year. There would also traditionally be a piece of the log left over at dawn, which would be kept in the house until the next yule for good luck. That piece would be used as kindling for the next year's log. By the fourth century the christians had adopted burning a large log overnight on christmas. The original meaning has long since been lost and modern people often have no idea why they traditionally burn a log overnight.

When you light your log on fire this year, remember that it's a little more than warmth that you are bringing into your home, but also one of the very first traditions that the christians adopted.

And now you know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Seventh Day of Truth - Candy Canes

A sweet cane shaped mint. Sometimes hung on trees or garland, sometimes in the stocking, sometimes just because they taste good, but where do they come from. About two hundred-thirty years ago in Germany, the children that went to church were really loud and noisy. They often moved around and would not pay attention to the choirmaster. This was especially difficult for the choirmaster when they were supposed to be sitting still for the long living Nativity ceremony. So to keep the children quiet, he gave them a long, white, sugar candy stick. He couldn’t give them chocolate or anything like that because the people at that church would think it was sacrilegious. So he gave them the stick and he bent it on the end to look like a cane. It was meant to look like a shepherd’s cane, and so it reminded the children of the shepherds at Jesus’ birth. In 1847, a German-Swedish immigrant in Wooster, Ohio put candy canes on his Christmas tree and soon others were doing the same. Sometime around 1900 candy canes came to look more like what we know them as today with the red stripes and peppermint flavoring. Some claim that the shape also looks like the letter “J” for Jesus, not just a shepherd’s cane. It is possible that these things were added for religious symbols, but there is no evidence that is true.

And now you know.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Sixth Day of Truth - Caroling

A group of singers, huddled together in the cold, walking from house to house spreading christmas cheer with only their voices. Where did this start? Caroling is a direct descendant of wassailing. Wassail loosely translates to "good health". The tradition is said to have started in the third or fourth century. At celebrations of the solstice people would toast each other and call out the term wassail. By the fourteenth century, wassailing had become a common feature at christmas parties. The peasants would come to the houses of the rich on christmas, to be wassailed as well as given gifts. As time progressed, the large bowl that held the wassail (also the name of the drink used in the toast by this point) began to be carried from house to house to toast the whole town. Often christmas carols would be sung between houses. Eventually the toast fell away, but the caroling continued.

So next time you go out caroling, do not forget the origins of the custom and be sure to toast to the health of those houses you visit. Just please don't knock on my door.

Friday, December 18, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Fifth Day of Truth - Mistletoe

Ever snuck a kiss under the mistletoe? This is a favorite christmas tradition for teenagers world-wide. Long before the the events in the new testament, the druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant and use it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief. It was noted as part of the saturnalia celebrations as well as early wedding traditions. The early church banned the use of mistletoe in christmas celebrations because of its pagan origins. Instead, church fathers suggested the use of holly as an appropriate substitute for christmas greenery. By the 18th century mistletoe had become vogue again. So much so, in fact, that large balls would be held known as kissing balls. No girl under the mistletoe could refuse to be kissed, the kiss either signifying true love, or just a lasting friendship. Any girl not kissed by the end of the night would not be married the next year. Some traditions required that the mistletoe be burned on the twelfth day to ensure the happiness of these bonds.

This tradition is mostly harmless, especially in the eyes of a boy who would have been able to kiss any girl he wanted.

And now you know.

Passion is your greatest weapon

Thursday, December 17, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Fourth Day of Truth - The Wreath

A circle of pine branches and assorted greenery; it sounds ripe with symbolism. As it should. The ancient Greeks and Romans used laurel wreaths as a symbol of victory. The origins of this are unclear, but circles and rings have been revered in almost every culture throughout history. The christmas wreath, however, is known as an advent wreath. It's origins are better known. The advent (from the Latin for waiting) wreath has it's origins in the Celtic peoples traditions of making wreaths out of the boughs of the trees that survived the winter still green and adding candles to symbolize that the winter would end and warmer days were to come. No small leap, then, that as the christians spread into the Germanic lands they found the symbolism to be very similar to the four weeks before christmas in which they celebrated awaiting their savior.

This holiday symbol was directly and blatantly re-purposed for use by the christians. I personally am not a fan of waiting, so I can't give this symbol too much support.

And now you know.

Thursday's Thoughts

Today's Thought,

You can only see what is in front of your face.

I tend to think that I can fix systems that are outside of my scope of responsibility. I will look at something that someone else is doing and thin that I know how to better do that thing. I am constantly reminding myself that you can not possibly know the difficulty level of a job until you do it, and that you can not possibly know why a person made a decision until you are faced with their exact circumstances. The old adage about walking a mile in someone's shoes is as correct as it ever was. That said, I still don't know how to stop myself, or to keep myself from getting mad when others do it. Maybe with age I will learn to take a breath just keep my mouth shut, as I would like others to do.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

The Third Day of Truth - Stockings

Hung by the chimney with care, stuffed with little trinkets for the tykes. Where does this tradition come from? The most common myth is about a nobleman who spent himself poor after loosing his wife. Unfortunately he had three daughters and could now not afford their dowry. The myth claims that Saint Nicolais tossed a bag of gold for each daughter down their chimney which was caught by the stockings that they had placed there to dry overnight. Another myth claims that the dutch children would leave presents for Sinterclass in their clogs. The clogs evolved to stockings around the time that Sinterclass evolved into Santa. And the idea for coal? That originated in Italy. Tradition states that the stockings should contain something to eat, a thing that makes a sound, one that gives a pleasant view to the eyes, and a gift which has a lovely fragrance as these are supposed to be the gifts left by Santa. The presents under the tree were to be from family.

A simple tradition, and one of the few that still hearkens to the spirit of christmas as I understand it. The small, simple gifts are in direct contrast to the commercial gluttony that the holiday has become.

And now you know.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Traveling Beads

One of the many things my friend Sara and I have in common is a love of beads and jewelry making. Another thing we have in common is the dubious honor of being Army Wives. Since we met on Fort Campbell five or six (wow) years ago, our families have both moved on. To new Posts that is. She's all the way up in Alaska, and we are all the way down in Georgia. In an effort to keep our connection going, and giving ourselves something to look forward to, we started trading mystery bead mixes. This month, Sara sent a strange mix of bone, amethyst, silver, and glass. I have to say, I paused for a minute over the bones( but anyone would tell you that they are right up my alley!!!) and how they would blend into a design, but a flash of green and copper crossed my mind, and I went hunting in my crazy drawers and containers to add a few items I thought would pull the idea together. I wanted to use copper, but only had one end of a copper toggle, so I grabbed a copper coin and got to work with my files and hole punch. The ammonite has been saved for a long time, waiting for the right project, and I thought that the purple shimmer would be perfect with the mix. I think I was right...
I hope, Sara, that this meets your challenge! I LOVED this mix.
I can't wait for the next box..yours is already on it's way!

12 Days Of Truth - The Real Meaning Of Christmas

Second Day of Truth - Lights

Such pretty little things. They bring cheer and warmth and spread the spirit of the holidays, but what spirit is that? Early pagans lit fires to signify the birthday of the sun, on the longest night of the year. Jewish people have been lighting candles on Hanukkah since the second century. It's no wonder that these and many other winter holidays involve fire and lights, with the long cold nights. History tells that lights were first placed on trees around the sixteenth century, held on by wax or pins. By 1900, department stores started selling strings of lights. Albert Sadacca is credited for producing the first safe brightly colored strands of lights in 1917. Although the lights started out as an expensive novelty, they have since become a cheep mass produced commodity, often used to show that one person's holiday spirit is much better than his neighbor's.

I say that while a few lights may be tasteful and ancient in their traditions, the desperate need to light up the whole block with twinkling and blinking bulbs in every shade of the rainbow is a blatant waste of electricity. So think a little greener this season, and cut down a little.

And now you know.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 Days Of Truth - The real Meaning Of Christmas

First Day of Truth - Gingerbread Men

One of the most harmless parts of the Christmas tradition? Not even close. The gingerbread man has origins in some of the oldest pagan traditions. The Greek poet Lucian, when describing Saturnalia, made note of consuming human shaped biscuits. These biscuits were, like the animal shaped ones before them, seen as an alternative to ritual sacrifice. As the christians adopted some of the traits of Saturnalia around the 4th century in order to try to bring in the pagan masses, they brought the cookies with them. Later, as the crusaders pillaged the Middle East, they found spices such as ginger and sugar. Early on gingerbread was made by monks, but by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries bakers began to specialize in the treat. In France and England these bakers formed guilds, and were given the exclusive right to make gingerbread, except at Christmas and Easter. This lead to it becoming a holiday tradition.

So next time you bite into your representation of human sacrifice, flavored by spices taken during a war based solely on religious differences, and made into a holiday treat in order to ensure the church maintained a profit; I suggest showing a little mercy and eating it head first.

And now you know.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Five-Word Friday

Compromise society before your integrity.

Esther Ridenour in rememberance

Cockrill, Esther M. Ridenhour
December 11, 2005
Esther M. Ridenour Cockrill 84, Indianapolis, died December 10, 2005. She was born in Indianapolis on September 15, 1921. She was a teletype operator for Western Union retiring in 1976 after 20 years of service. She is survived by her daughters Sharon Plumlee (Ron) and Debbie Engelking (Don); 11 grandchildren and numerous great and great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husbands Harry Ridenour and Larry Cockrill, and her son Jim Ridenour. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, December 12, at Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Center – Washington Park East. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at the funeral center. Burial will take place in Acton Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in Esther's name to the Alzheimer's Association.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Orange Marmalade Thumprint Cookies/Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened (two sticks)

1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used a little less, due to lack of correct amount, and they came out better than usual!)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
( For thumbprint cookies, push center of dough balls in and place SMALL amount of jelly, jam or marmalade in middle. Bake a little longer than usual, keeping a constant eye on them. I used orange marmalade, and they were quickly gobbled up by the very child who proclaimed that they "look yucky".)

Surprise Kitty