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Little Frog



The musings of Author/Journalist Windy Hamilton



Updated: 2016-09-29T03:49:04.998-04:00

 



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2015-08-29T06:00:05.363-04:00

The babies were hungry!
They practically climbed into the car when I drove up wanting to be fed! How funny!
They've gotten really big, but their wings are not fully developed yet and they can't fly.... They are 11 weeks old now and instead of them following mama, she follows them around!

Soon they will be flying and no longer needing my help... does empty nest syndrome apply to duckies?




Mild Mannered Mexi-Bake

2015-08-22T06:00:01.644-04:00

‘Mild Mannered Mexi-Bake’ Recipe by Windy HamiltonIngredients1 cup whole milk6 cups of shredded Mexican style cheese blend2 cans of beanless chili (or hot dog chili) 15 oz each1 package of fajita mix1 ½ pounds of elbow macaroni4 tablespoons butter or margarineBoil macaroni fully (you want it to be large and soft but not falling apart).  Drain, add margarine and stir until fully melted/coated.  In a separate pan bring the milk to simmer, add 2 ¾ to 3 cups of the shredded cheese and remove from heat, stirring until cheese is fully melted, add fajita mix (stir well).  Add mixture to the noodles and stir until fully incorporated (careful not to shred the noodles).  In large baking dish spread a layer of noodle mixture, spread 1 can of chili (it helps to warm it up a bit before), spread thick layer of cheese, spread a second layer of noodle mix, spread remaining can of chili, spread last of cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 mins.  Let cool before cutting it will be very bubbly when you remove from the oven.Alternative: if so desired you can add diced vegetables to the noodle mix such as diced onions or peppers, but it really changes the flavor and makes is not so mild anymore…If you do wish to add something stick with savory vegetables such as carrots (extremely thinly sliced) or potatoes.  Potatoes soak up a lot of liquid so you may need to add more milk to the mixture when melting the milk and cheese together.[...]



Alternative ways to say "Hello"

2015-08-15T06:00:02.668-04:00

(Image by Magnus Manske)When running in this disheveled rat race we often overlook the fun things that can brighten up a person's day with a single comment.  We need these... lots of these.  The hope of sanity lays in the balance... ok... that was a bit over the top, but seriously.  We need more humor in our lives.  Here are some alternative ways to text or say 'Hi' to those around you:   Yop - This comes from the Dr Suess books and if you want to be specific... Urban Dictionary explains it best: "The supreme syllable of primal self-affirmation and/or -acceptance, suitable for shouting from mountaintops, astride a wrassled bear, on the verge of battle against immeasurable odds, in math class, or over the roofs of the world. I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I sound my barbaric yop over the roofs of the world"Tag, you're it! - This is a reference to a childhood game of either Blind Man's Bluff or Tag... Although some could say it is a reference to labeling and call it racist...but that would be silly.You say goodbye...I say hello - This is in reference to a Beatles's song and really only goes over well with people who are into music...good music...really good music.'ello - This is a reference to the tiny English caterpillar in the movie Labyrinth... Which means it really works best when spoken, but if you are speaking to a movie aficionado...it works well in any form.Who's on first? - This is a reference to the most famous joke set of all time between Bud Abbot and Lou Costello.  They literally banter back and forth (purposefully misunderstanding the other) for about 10 minutes.  Of course the joke is from 1937, but honestly, I don't mind.Jambo Bwana - It's Swahili for (loosely translated) Greetings Master.  (Accurately translated) It means Hello Sir.  I prefer the first one because it elicits a memory of I dream of Jeanie, but then I digress.I love the smell of napalm in the morning - From the movie Apocalypse Now.  This goes over well with military types and movie aficionados.  However I can let you in on a secret...I have no idea what napalm smells like.Foos yer doos - Translation (it's Scottish):  ‘How's your pigeons?’  Loosely means, ‘How's it going?’Why not Zoidberg? - This is a sassy plea for attention from everyone's favorite doctor on Futurama.It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes – If you know where this is from you, my friend, are a very hoopy frood… If you have no idea, then don’t panic.  I suggest you start reading, because you are very far behind every other hitchhiker in the galaxy.[...]



Duckies!

2015-08-08T06:00:06.080-04:00

There are duckies on the farm... I've been negligent in updating the farm information so here's the duck update in a nutshell.  Last year we inherited 3 Muscovy ducks, one male and two females.  We had a lot of trouble at first with animals around the farm stealing their eggs and then eventually killing one of the females.  From her last clutch however we rescued two eggs.  Both hatched but only one survived into adulthood.  My guy was reading on the internet that Muscovy meat tastes like steak so he jokingly named her 'Sirloin'!  She's not even a year old but just had her first clutch.  Of the 15 eggs 7 hatched and 5 have survived... She's a great mom.

Here she is when she was little:

She was just learning to float in the sink.















Here she is pulling on my pants let letting me know she wants some food...and me feeding her...





Here she is all grown up and waddling around the farm with her brood.





Under the Rainbow

2015-08-01T06:00:05.923-04:00

The farm continues to be more and more beautiful everyday.  We've had some amazing rain this past week with the result of some pretty views.  This one was taken from the gazebo over looking the fish pond.




Meat of the Matter or Icing on the Cake

2015-07-29T14:16:48.627-04:00

(image) Let me ask you a question.  If you were to go into a Jewish deli and request food that wasn't Kosher, would you be surprised or upset at not getting it...most likely not.  If you were to go into a Muslim owned shop and request bacon and not get it, would you be surprised or upset...you know you wouldn't. Because you KNOW that those stores do not provide those services due to religious beliefs.

Let's get real folks.  In this country we are allowed to offer up any type of service or food stock we wish.  It is up to the consumer to support them by buying those products or to not support them by refusing to purchase their products.  This is the law of supply and demand. It is the basis that this country is founded on. 

The owners of the businesses are allowed to offer the products of their choice and often that choice may be dictated by how they live their life and their beliefs. 

That being said... No one has the right to tell a business that they 'have' to offer the product a customer wants. 

Once you cross that line you are then responsible for ALL businesses to provide the identical material and products and we lose the individuality of the artist.  The ingenuity of the creative chef or artisan or carpenter... is gone.

That is not where I want to be folks.  I would hope you felt the same.  IF a company or store doesn't provide what you want, go somewhere else.  You do not have the right to 'run them out of business' or 'force them to view the world as you do'.  We live in a free country and that means that EACH person's rights are to be protected up to the point where they do not trod on the rights of another. 

We created this country for that right, and we are systematically destroying it by not protecting the rights of the artisans and store owners.  To those people who are 'targeting' Christian bakeries and such... you need to remember that what you start will backfire. For example bakeries that do not offer have to offer services to Christians (such as a gay bakery) will HAVE to offer goods to Christians as well.  It goes both ways.  Your actions are destroying the rights of everyone...including those you are trying to protect.  By continuing this behavior you're being bullies and you are acting like a child throwing a tantrum.

What happens with that child?  People 'placate' the child to get them to shut up and then when the child is no longer paying attention they fix what the child broke.  Real change doesn't happen because you throw a tantrum. 




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2012-10-22T14:24:26.613-04:00

Wild life on the farm is plentiful.  There are lots of little critters running around.  Will and his dad have noticed a hawk circling around the farm, sometimes he is not alone, but most of the time he flies solo.  They've affectionately nicknamed him 'Henry'.  He hunts the farm and watches over the pond (I suspect as his territory).  Since they've been stocking the pond they don't really want him 'fishing' there, but sometimes you can't fight nature.  He has seen Henry with a snake and Will's dad says he can have all the snakes he wants; as you guessed, Will's dad isn't fond of snakes.
Will and his dad have been working on an old storage barn that used to be a house.  It must have been built in the late 1800's.  I will say that the building is an extraordinary work of craftsmanship.  There is a house on the farm that is falling apart that is only maybe 50 or 60 years old.  But the building put together in the 1800's (with some obvious rough spots) has held together and is still water tight!  The plan down the road is to have it be a small spare house (probably a pool house).  They gutted the building and replaced the large rolling door with a normal size door.  A few replaced boards here and there (recycled from other old buildings on the farm so it will match) and the building is close to being finished.  They are working on wiring and drywall this week.  They have the outside tar papered and half way sided now… Will’s dad is hoping he can get his nephew to help him with that this week too.
It was a rough week health wise last week and there have been some doctor visits that cut into productive hours but all in all we've had a good week.  One of the things that got accomplished was the first planting of some fruit trees...and one hopeful blueberry bush!  We planted two types of peach trees, two types of apple trees, and one pear tree (there is already a pear on the farm).  It will be a few years before they produce any fruit, but with luck, about the time the farm starts to get going they'll be helping by producing.  I'm including a rather odd picture of me that Will took in a moment of 'gotcha'.  I am in an oversized shirt, posing silly over a patch of daisies as I water the new tree!  Enjoy!




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2012-10-15T19:50:29.647-04:00

Well, last week was a bust when it came to canning.  The persimmons were a disaster!  I seeded, and cooked, strained, restrained, seasoned (cloves and nutmeg) but nothing helped.  They were too astringent and I couldn't get them down to a tolerable level no matter what I did.  I finally gave up on them after Will tasted it and confirmed it was a flop.  I have decided that they are evil and should not be on the farm (grin).  Will laughed and agreed.  What a nightmare!
On the lighter side, I have decided I need a dehydrator for herbs and such and have been looking around at the costs of buying one.  They can range between $25 to $500!  There are some interesting articles on the internet about building one from scratch, including solar powered ones.  I think to start off with I'll just get a reasonably priced one and practice with it and then Will and I can try to design one we like for later usage.  They didn't look too difficult to build.
I honestly feel like most of my contributions right now center around practicing!  Canning, cooking, garden planning etc.  It's a weird but fascinating thing...
It's Pumpkin time around here and they are popping up everywhere.  I definitely want to get some planted on the farm for next year.  Will isn't fond of Pumpkin stuff, but I am and some of his family like them too.  I’m good at pumpkin pie, bread, cream roll, buttered and sautéed... really big fan.  At least he likes carving jack-o-lanterns!
His birthday is this week and I'm taking him out for dinner and some kind of entertainment (movie or tool shopping or something). So my focus is on him this week. 
Did make some homemade chicken stew this week, here is the recipe: (I purposefully left off the amount per spice because everyone's tastes are different... so season to taste!)
Ingredients:
1 whole chicken
cumin
chicken seasoning (I use McCormick's)
sea salt
garlic (powdered or fresh)
carrots (diced)
sweet corn (canned/drained)
onions (large pieces - they will cook down)
macaroni (or diced yukon potatoes if you prefer) 2 cups of water to 1/2 cup of dehydrated macaroni
Red/green/yellow peppers (diced) (optional - I don't usually put them in)

Directions:
Boil the chicken in a pot of water for two hours.  Remove from heat and let sit for about 10 mins to cool slightly.  Skim any 'foam' from the top of the water and toss the skim away.  Strain the chicken from the water and place on a plate to cool.  Place water back on the stove and bring to a low boil, add carrots and seasonings, reduce to a simmering boil and add onions, corn, potatoes and peppers.  While this is cooking (stir occasionally), remove the meat from the chicken bones and put back into the pot.  Be careful to keep all skin, bones, and cartilage out of the pot.  Cook, stirring often, until carrots (and potatoes) are soft then add the macaroni.  Cook for another 15 minutes and then remove and serve.  I prefer corn bread or hot rolls with this stew.
An alternative serving style is to make it without potatoes and serve over mashed potatoes.



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2012-10-03T14:56:33.933-04:00

Well last week I concentrated on getting the pears processed and canned.  I had to peel, slice and remove the seeds on a half bucket of pears.  I won't lie and say it was easy.  I've started looking for tools to help these soft hands like a mandolin, a corer/peeler, and a corer/slicer.  That being said, the cooking and sanitizing of the jars/lids was easy.  Asian Pears being hand sliced  Cooking and smashing   Jars of Pear Butter!The actual filling and boiling of the jars was easy.  The whole process was really cool!  I know I'm new at this and it will probably get old pretty quick, but I'm enjoying it right now.  I especially enjoyed the popping sound as the jars cooled because it meant I did everything right!So this time around I decided to boil the pears down and puree them into pear butter.  It turned out really good!We've already picked a bunch of the ripe persimmons (they're small because they haven't been 'fruited' in a long while - that's where you pull off some of the fruit when they are first growing so the rest can get big).  I think the darn things are hardly anything but seeds!  I'm gonna try to make some jelly with them and concentrate on a better harvest next year.  We have been talking about what fruit trees we want to plant and realized that the ones we have are in the way and are way too tall and overgrown to be 'harnessed' so we're probably gonna knock em down and create a fruit tree grove.  For sure we want to have apples, peaches and pears but beyond that we're still not sure what to plant.  I have read that fall is the best time in our neck of the woods to plant fruit trees so I suspect you'll get to see us planting fruit trees before too long. We've gotten a lot of rain and the pond is filling nicely.  We did notice that a little pond scum has started to form and we are working on getting some white amur (aka triploid grass carp).  They're supposed to keep vegetation down but have to be sterile because the state says so.  I suspect it is to protect natural species from the grass carp taking over.  This week will be a probable wash because Will hurt his back working on the new bathroom.  He's laid up in bed frustrated because it doesn't hurt when he lies down but the second he tries to move he gets a lot of pain.  I don't really feel too sorry for him because he gets to lay there watching TV shows he's missed and playing video games until his back heels while I'm at work.  I'll let you know how the persimmon jelly turns out![...]



Tiny Frogs!

2012-09-25T15:39:57.948-04:00

I mentioned last time that the pond has these tiny frogs in it... so here are some pictures.  Most of the tiny ones we've seen are about the size of a girl's thumbnail, however there are some that are as tiny as a pinky nail!  It was great fun watching Will's neice and nephew chasing them around the pond.  While it was being drained they collected tadpoles by the score (of course putting them back when they were through observing).  (The images are of a man's hand holding two different species of tiny frogs.)

The fish truck came and delivered fishes.  The picture shows them before they were put in the pond...biiiig bags.  Apparently they also got little bitty bass too.  We were fortunate enought to get some albino catfish earlier this summer right after the pond started filling up.  We haven't seen hide nor hair of them since (none floating), so we are hoping they are happy at the bottom of the pond.


I finally got the pears peeled and diced.  Not cooked yet.  I have them stored in the fridge and will make some kind of jam/jelly/butter out of them tonight.  Things are hopping now!



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2012-09-18T22:56:38.264-04:00

Well, thanks to a rather horrendous Friday where my body decided that I needed a reminder who was really in charge, I spent most of Saturday recooperating.  No canning, but while waiting on the cable man I did manage to tidy the house a bit, so not really wasted. 
Today we're getting a lot of rain which is good.  The farm had a small pond which the boys have had widened and deepened.  It looks nice now and is filling up slowly.  We think there is a small natural spring that is filling it and with the rain it is looking nice.  The fish tank truck is due thursday to deliver some little fishes.  If I remember right they're bringing minnows, catfish, blue gill and red ear.  I've never heard of red ear but they're supposed to eat the little snails that come out of bass.  We don't have bass yet but that's the next fishy load I think.  They wanted this batch to grow a bit before adding more. 
(image) You might think it odd that the first two things they focused on the farm was rebuilding a shed and widening the pond, but it is logical.  You need a place to put your tools and fish take time to grow.  Will's dad loves to fish and the pond is his baby.  You should see his face light up when he talks about it.
The pond has a lot of wild life and is healthy so that's a blessing.  There are several different breeds of frogs that have taken up residence in the pond, so much so that they're thinking of calling the farm "Frog Haven Farm"!  Some of them are so tiny!  I'll try to post a few pictures of them...soon.



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2012-09-10T19:25:31.103-04:00

Well, so far last week was a bust.  Nothing to report because the pears didn't ripen!  They were still as hard as a rock...sigh.  I knew I was doing something wrong but wasn't sure what so I started reading.  Apparently you have to 'encourage' them to start to ripen with methane... you can do this by adding already ripening fruit such as a brown banana.  (I was also told that you could refridgerate them and that would start the process too- but since I had a whole bucket full I opted not to go that route.)  I added a ripening fruit covered them up and sure enough a day or so later they had started to ripen a little!  I checked them this morning and they are slightly springy.  I'm told I need to wait until they are squishy to be ready. 
I can't tell you how something so simple made my day!  I hope they are ripe enough by this weekend to give the process of canning a go.  If not, I may go to the store and buy some already ripened fruit just so I can practice the canning (I'm getting antsy). 
The persimmons are beginning to change color on the tree.  I'm hoping that the dry summer doesn't make them ripen too early. 
We had planted a small test garden to see what would grow well in the soil on the farm.  Since we started late in the summer we didn't get a whole lot, but we did manage to harvest some sunflowers, tomatos, squash, cucumbers, zucchini and green bell peppers.  Not many of each but the project was fun (the garden was only about 5 feet by 8 feet.)  Looks like the soil is good for most things to grow well.  We did have a sort of strange experience with something 'sampling' the various vegi's (grin).  Come to find out we had peter rabbit stopping by!  A few loud shots to scare him off seems to have done the trick.  We also discovered that you can rip up plastic bags into strips and use them like scare crows!  We tied them to all the tomato plant stakes in the garden and it worked really well.  It was kinda pretty as they waved in the breeze until the sun bleached out the various colors of the bags and they all sorta turned whitish gray.  We've already decided that we will use that technique again next year. 
I've laid out a garden plan for next year using the homesteading book I mentioned last week.  A garden for corn, and a garden for various vegi's and a few raised gardens for herbs and special heritage plants.  It'll be a lot of work, but I'm already looking forward to it! 



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2012-09-04T13:43:49.764-04:00

Me as a little girl riding my Uncle's toy tractor!Ever since I can remember I have liked the idea of growing my own food.  I can't remember when the idea first took root, maybe it was when I realized that the food I was eating at Grandma Alline's house was grown in their garden. I do recall thinking that fried okra was just the most delicious food in the whole wide world.  I have memories of my Grandpa tending to that garden, and everyone saying that he had a green thumb.  Yes...I was little, and I did look to see if his thumb was 'green'! At home we ate more processed foods like mac and cheese and hotdogs, but Grandma's cooking always stuck in my head.I read the Laura Ingles Wilder books as a young girl and was fascinated at how they found food.  I think I knew then that you could go out into the yard and find food if you knew what to look for...but I was well aware that I had no idea what was edible and what was poisonous.  So I never did try to forage...but I intend to try to learn what is good to eat and harvest it on the farm.  I am proud to say that his neice immediately showed an interest in the same thing!In order to learn what is expected to run a farm I started looking through books and finally picked four: Homesteading (edited by Abigail R Gehring), Canning & Preserving All-In-One for Dummies (6 books in one!), Mini Farming (Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 acre) by Brett L Markham, and Foraging (The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food) by John Lewis-Stempel.  Imagine my surprise when the books that arrived were almost like mini encyclopedias.  Never fear, I plowed through them, scanning and absorbing like a sponge.  I found  gems in each of the books, but I think I have fallen in love with the Homesteading book.  It has so much information!  It tells you what something is, what has been tested and is workable, and then gives you instructions on how to build it if you need to!  Everything someone like myself who knows very little about what is needed, desperately wanted.  So this week I am concentrating on reading through these gems and learning the basics of canning.  I have even purchased the fundamentals needed, to can.  Mason jars, a canning pot with rack, pectin, and minor implements.  We were surprised on the farm to find that there were unkempt fruit trees that were ripening!  One day the boys found what was left of a pear tree's fruit (the birds seemed to enjoy the fruit too).  They picked what they could and Mama Howard went to work making a dessert.  A few weeks later we found another pear tree (different type) that was starting to ripen.  We picked a bunch but not all- since we didn't have the tools and it was a very tall tree.  They are continueing to ripen off the tree in a large bucket in my living room.  I plan to use them in the first round of canning in a jelly or jam.  I'll let you know how that goes!  There is also a persimmon tree on the farm and from what I've read those stay on the tree until the first frost and then they should be picked and ripen the rest of the way off the tree.  We're not even a functioning farm yet and already we have a crop!  Wish me luck and good fortune in the canning endeavor.  And if you have any tips be sure and let me know![...]



A New Direction

2012-09-03T18:03:17.105-04:00


(image) It begins with an idea.  I was out of work….for a year and a half…and had no idea how to gain an edge to get a job.  So I made a decision and went back to school.  Being the environmental worrier that I am I chose ‘Energy and Environmental Management’.  I excelled at the courses and had a great deal of fun until the Algebra monster rose up and nipped me in the hinny.  Algebra is my kryptonite.  I fought through it as well as I could and then one day (after going to school for 2 years) in a burned out state, I stopped and asked myself why I was doing this to myself. 
By this point I was successfully employed in a job for a year, in a wonderful relationship with an amazing future ahead, and that future was not in sync with what I was studying.   So…change of plans.  I’m shifting my education to sustainable homesteading.  Not a lot out there for classes.  So this will be a self study project.  My goal is to help my my guy and his family to restore an old farm to new life.  This blog will be about my experiences both good and bad over the next few years.  Hang on folks, here we go!



What is Christmas?

2010-12-16T20:16:49.376-05:00

For too many years we have listened to the Christmas commercial hype telling us we must have this, or must do that to have the perfect Christmas. But Christmas isn't about material things. Putting aside for just a moment the reason behind Christmas, Jesus birth, the holiday is about spending time with loved ones; family and friends who care about you. It's about the imperfections that make us laugh and cling to each other when all we want to do is give up, or cry. Christmas is a celebration of our support groups in life. The acknowledgment of the love we give and get everyday. So what are you doing for Christmas this year? Are you rushing around trying to make everyone else's Christmas special, or are you taking time to be with them and create Christmas memories?

Remember the times when you made Christmas cookies, played with wrapping paper, sang to your children at bedtime, gave and received hugs with relatives and opened your heart to the possibilities in life. Don't give up on the joy behind Christmas just because the wallet has more room than usual. Teach the young to make things, to visit neighbors and family; encourage traditional love. The best thing about Christmas is the feeling of being loved by someone else.

So is Christmas in the wrapping paper, the bows, the gifts? Or is Christmas in the arms that hold those gifts? My favorite memories were the ones when we as a family tried over and over again to get the Christmas picture right; often with lots of wonderful mistakes! I hold on to those memories like gold. To me that is what makes Christmas.



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2010-08-03T23:58:44.876-04:00

Ok, story time for all good girls and boys...
(and all frog lovers everywhere!)


The Little Blue Frog

Once upon a time in a country far away there once was a company that created a little animated short to display their amazing creativity and ability to help companies advertise. It's inventor, Erik Wernquist, also known as the amazing frog tamer decided to use a little blue frog. The essence of the short digital story was the ability of the bored little blue frog to use his imagination and create a 2 cylinder motorcycle on which to play. He is so successful that the imaginary motorcycle takes off with him on it!

What a wonderful little frog. So cute but so...naked. The little short (made in 1997) was called 'The Annoying Thing'. This short was seen by lots of people who so enjoyed it that they told their friends, who told their friends, who mentioned it to a few million people. The result? This little blue frog became known as 'Crazy Frog'. A company contacted Erik and suggested he market the little ugly thing, to which he promptly replied..."Really? Seriously? hmm, well, ok, but I don't know who would buy it."

In the meantime, realizing that so many people were beginning to ask for more of the little blue guy, he created a music video based on the song from Beverly Hills Cop. And so was born the 'Crazy Frog' epidemic. From little videos to dolls that ding ding, to posters, cd's and a hundred other marketing ideas (which include ring tones) an empire was born. About which a much richer Erik Wernquist smiles, while scratching his head still trying to figure out what it was that made people really like his cute little animation.

Here it is... the original. I might want to remind you that he is wearing a vest and nothing else... something I didn't notice at first viewing...which was more than 10 years ago. However, the debate when the marketing reached America raged on, and many of his American appearances have the small appendage simply air-brushed out. Please don't be offended, remember that the culture in other countries is a lot more liberal where advertising is concerned and for the Netherlands-it is considered extremely tame and children are allowed to view it unsupervised.

http://hem.bredband.net/turbo2/the_annoying_thing_320x256.mpg

And here is the first music video Erik created:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k85mRPqvMbE

Long live Crazy Frog! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee



Gazing into the Square

2010-07-23T00:13:57.007-04:00


Why are we so fascinated by animal shows? We will watch hour after hour as crazy people go delving into woods, crevices, holes and waters looking to show us things we never want to come face to face with! We hover eagerly waiting to see creatures chase and catch prey as large or larger than we are... and wanna see more!

I admit I'm one of those fascinated by their habits. I love to see these crazy people put themselves in harms way. Humans are the most insane, most dangerous, most moronic, most intense creature out there. And we love to watch people get into the strangest situations. We laugh, gasp, cry and get frustrated right along with them as they struggle and survive the worst we can throw their way.
We invent fanciful methods of trouble and put them in it and when logic won't save them, we invent new ways of dealing with the trouble we created. And we love it!

"Oh look! Its a deadly flesh eating bacteria infected spider! Lets see if I can get this little fellow to crawl over my hand. If we're lucky, he may even bite me!" Moments later we're eagerly waiting to see if the hospital has the anti-venom. Have we as a species reached an insane madness, or are we just testing ourselves to find our own limits? I'm not sure. I find myself drawn to several conclusions however, one of them being I'm missing my show by writing this (turning to watch as crocodiles try to drag down a gazelle).

It's little wonder that we're willing to surrender to those things we consider safe. Home, TV, food, family, traditions and spending time by sharing stories. Maybe we're just wishing we could be as brave as they are...but aren't we really? I think it takes more bravery to stay the course and believe in yourself, trust in love and care about others around you. But... I'm missing my show...(turns to see a crocodile lung at a man holding a baby)...oh, It's ok, I've seen this episode.



There's Nothing Like it!

2010-07-17T01:30:07.112-04:00


I am never surprised by the demands of the world on the human body. I mean lets face it, there's nothing like really having to pee when you can't get off the phone! The fact that we race higgledee piggledee to work everyday, and then calmly walk in the door like we weren't just huffing and puffing in the parking lot to make it through the door on time is something we expect. We sacrifice the well being of our bodies and minds in tiny bits for the things around us that we feel are worth it.

Nothing wrong with that I guess, but lately I've been wondering how much of a toll those little things have on the human body. Are they the reason I'm deteriorating? Can I blame my little aches and pains on my little abuses here and there? It can't possibly be that I'm getting older....no, it must be something else!

When I was young I often looked at my hands contemplating the smooth skin. To me they lacked character. Now I look at them and think, 'ok, that's enough character, now stop getting older'. Little lines and wrinkles, achy joints and dry cuticles make them look and feel far older than I'd like. But I can't really blame them on daily activities. Its just old age creeping up on me. I'm turning ## this year (and yes I'm not telling!) Having reached and passed the 40 mark, I look at my life and am pleased at how I have lived it...for the most part.  I'm ok with the marks of time that give my body a sense of character. I just wish I could get rid of this nagging feeling that something else is gonna droop or stopping work right in the near future!

It is almost like Mother Nature is hanging around the bend waiting to sprinkle a few more wrinkles and age mementos the moment I get around the corner. I just wish I had an arsenal to fight her off. I'd hold up my bazooka like cannon and state in a loud, authoritative voice, "Ok, don't come any closer. I'm good. I have all the character I need! Back off and let me enjoy where I am right now' ...Bang! Wouldn't that be fantastic. I think I'll just sit here and daydream about that for awhile...



What do you believe?

2010-07-12T23:47:31.020-04:00


I have begun to think the world is always waiting for someone to apologize for things it did or might have done. Always waiting for compensation for the destruction that the evil of this world has ravaged. The problem with a world view like that is people forget it is often an individual or small group who owes the apology and not the larger masses. What I'm trying to say is that it all begins with one person stepping up and saying something. Then that person gets someone to listen to them who then may or may not agree. It escalates from there until it either is resolved or snuffed out. Evil things have been done by individuals with the help of those who they were able to convince. Hitler, Mao and Stalin to name a few (who combined were responsible for more than 94 million deaths).


This pattern works for good individuals too, but often we don't hear their names as much as we hear the bad ones. People like Sister Theresa, Abraham Lincoln, Jim Henson, Helen Keller, Mahatma Ghandi, Albert Einstein, and Louis Pasteur made their mark on the world while trying not to harm it or those who live on it. There is a lot to be said about those who choose to create over those who choose to destroy or bring chaos. They are the foundation of what human kind considers the most valuable. Good vs Evil.

I thank God that there are more good people then there are bad ones. I stand up right now and yell it to the mountains and all who can hear me...
I believe in Love, Peace, Hope, Compassion and Mercy! I believe in myself and my heart's ability to keep me in line! I believe in you, and your ability to become more than you are! I believe that there is nothing more valuable than the ability to trust and love one another!
I believe in holding babies close and breathing deep. I believe in sitting on the porch on a summer day drinking iced tea with your family and laughing at life's little ironies. I believe in telling those you care about that you love them. I believe in driving down the road and singing along with a happy tune. I believe in taking time to listen to your fellow man (or woman) and interacting with them on a personal level. I believe in giving a damn. I believe this so strongly that I will never waiver from this, nor will I ask another human being to do so. I believe. Do you?



When does the makeup come off?

2010-07-07T21:59:28.752-04:00

I had a conversation with my guy the other day. I asked him if he minded me not wearing a lot of makeup. I used to never leave the house without layers of it on. Sometime in college I stopped wearing it either for 'making my life easier' or because I got lazy. My hair was always perfect and I kept hair spray in my purse. Now I use it maybe once a month if ever and as for makeup, maybe a little lipstick and mascara but that is it... He says he doesn't mind, but I wonder.

There's something about the freedom of 'wash n'go' that our society loves. We've learned to cut corners in order to economize out time. I wonder where all the time we saved actually went. I think its out there hiding with all the lost socks, lost keys, and lost minds.
 



Slanguage

2010-06-29T10:19:51.557-04:00


The English language is loosening up. I found out not long ago that there are some slang words that are now listed as real words in the dictionary. My fascination with this began when I found out that 'Ginormous' became an official word last year. Apparently they were able to trace it's usage back to WWII. Ergo now it is part of the English language. So I started thinking about all the slang words I've heard recently that one day might become 'real boys'. There are different types of slang. Like the abbreviations you find in instant messaging or e-mails. There is also the dialect slang which is localized and is really an attempt to rewrite the language. Then there is common slang. That's the one where words you use seem appropriate but they're not considered dictionary worthy yet. I've made up a list of three types of common slang. Words that actually made it into the dictionary as permanent, words that are listed in the slang dictionary and not the official dictionary base, and words that aren't even listed in the slang dictionary yet. I've listed the year they were traced back to when available...I hope they make you smile like they did me!

Words that haven't made it yet:

Chillax (chill + relax)
Ba dink a dink (small human rear)
Ba donk a donk (ample human rear)
Etact (tactfulness in using electronic communications such as instant messaging)
Gestimation (guess + Estimation)
Jingo Jango (ridiculous)
Sitch (situation)

Words that have made it to the slang dictionary:

Wussy (wimp + pussy)
Homie (local pal)
Janky (old and broken)
Krunk (wild and exhilarating)
Bazillion (billion + gazillion)

Words that have officially made it to English language:

Phat (terrific, great) trace back to 1960
Dude and Dudette (buddy, surfer slang) trace back to 1991
Slanguage (slang vocabulary) trace back to 1900
Spim (instant messaging ads) trace back to 1999
Grody (disgusting) trace back to 1960
Groovy (really cool) trace back to 1815
Zilch (zero) trace back to 1966
Ginormous (giant + enormous) trace back to 1948
Babe (small child) trace back to 1150
Babe (girl) trace back to 1915
Psycho (abbreviated Psychopathic) trace back to 1935
Cop (police officer) trace back to 1695
Funky (odd and smelly) trace back to 1784
Edgy (highly irritating) trace back to 1837
Scram (to run away quickly) trace back to 1925
Spud (potato) trace back to 1400
Cash (paper money) trace back to 1590
Freebie (free item) trace back to 1940
Grungy (filthy) trace back to 1965
Bonkers (insane) trace back to 1945
Spork (spoon + fork) trace back to 1909
Boo Boo (injury or mistake) trace back to 1954
Caboodle (lot or group of things, as in kit and caboodle) trace back to 1840



Even Trustworthy People Get Tempted

2010-06-23T15:46:44.569-04:00

Once in a while something comes along that makes you stop and pay attention.  It can be something simple and seemingly unimportant or very big and obviously tempting.  Where is the line that says it is 'ok to want this, it isn't really that big'?  Somewhere in our childhood we found that line (if we are lucky).  A moment of clarity about the temptation and its being wrong to give in.

For me it was stealing a piece of gum from a small grocery store at the age of ten.  Luckily guilt kicked in and I returned later and apologized to the store owner.  It is easy to be judgemental about others doing things we wouldn't do because that line is highly personal.  Everyone learned where the line is, in an approximate not exact term and all the lines are based on personal bias.  It is just as easy for an Amish child to be tempted as a big city kid, or a preachers kid.  True character must come from how we deal with the realization.

Now that we've wrapped out minds around that thought, try this one.  Why do we give ourselves permission to cross that line?  We adjust it based on personal bias.  I think it is a fundamental tool we use to 'hone' our ethics.  Unfortunately it often can be used the wrong way and we 'allow' ourselves to 'fudge' over the line because we think it won't do any perceived harm.

Is this the reason we have murderers and theives?  Have they crossed the line so many times they can't find it anymore?  I would imagine that relearning it is harder than maintaining it... and once you habitually cross that line you're then always fighting to find it again.

In the end we pay consequences for our actions.  I think we weigh those against the temptation to see if we are willing to pay the price.  Hence that extra piece of cake or extra hour of TV when we should be doing something else.  It might also explain why we as Americans tend to eat so much.



Umbrella Anyone?

2010-06-18T09:43:34.245-04:00


Do you carry an umbrella? Being prepared is always a good thing even if most of the time it is inconvenient. I used to carry those folded plastic rain bonnets because my grandmother used to carry them too. Come to think of it I used to carry cough drops for the same reason.
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that things I used to do "just in case" I stopped doing a long time ago. Why? I honestly think I've determined that the law of averages showed me it was better to be prepared on days when I knew rain was coming. Otherwise I'd be carrying tons of stuff everyday, hunched over and grumbling. Or better yet, become a hermit and never leave the stuff! Yeah, I'd probably be the hermit (grin). I like being prepared. Years ago when I still volunteered every summer to work at camp, I was the dorm mom who had extras of everything. One year I realized people had stopped bringing as much stuff because they knew I would have it if needed. I think that's when I began to reduce the level of stuff I'd allow myself to bring.

It felt nice to be needed but honestly the work involved didn't balance well with the little appreciation it received. I'd stopped doing it for me...

Now I weigh the balance to see if it's worth the effort to be prepared or just 'wing it'. Did that come with age or experience? I'm not sure, but I do know that I don't stoop over with the weight of expectation anymore. What happens, happens and I'm happy to just be alive, in love, and healthy....and find that stick of gum I've been digging for in my purse!



One Kind Word Can Change The World

2010-06-16T18:24:31.546-04:00

Everyone has had a bad day.  One where one thing after another goes wrong.  Where the weather, children, coworkers and pets seem to be plotting to make sure your day continues on a downward spiral.  Sometimes all it takes to turn your world around is one kind word.  Someone takes a moment to smile at you, or compliment you and suddenly everything is back to being alright.

You could argue that it is all about perception, and you would be right.  What it really boils down to is a feeling of approval that counteracts a sense of being out of control.  Frustration melts away into a sense of balance and acceptance.  It lightens the perception of a heavy load.

Can this be achieved by an individual without the help of another?  Tentatively I say yes because I see evidence of this in naturally happy upbeat people.  Don't get me wrong, they have their bad days too, but they bring themselves out.  Sometimes by using humor or showing love to another, exhibiting kindness or positive attention you can break down incredibly high and resistive walls in yourself and in others.

Imagine a world where everyone opted to do one nice thing a day to or for someone who obviously was having an 'off' day.  The world wouldn't be perfect, but it sure would seem like a better place to live!



Do You Remember?

2010-06-08T18:14:06.232-04:00

Oh those TV shows from when we were younger! Depending on your age many of you can say you saw TV in black and white. I heard a comment made from a young friend of mine who wanted to know if black and white TV was a new feature! I think he thought it had something to do with digital 3D (grin). I was just glad I wasn't drinking a beverage at the time! Do you realize that those graduating from high school this year were born around 1992/93! I was dropping out of college around that time.


Shows I watched as a youngster were mainly in color and were fun and not very creative. Some of my favorites were Gilligan's Island, Alf, Silver Spoons, Doogie Howser MD, Mr. Belvedere, Night Court, Growing Pains and Family Ties. Reruns of 80's shows kept me going through the 90's but now I'm having to find new stuff to watch. I'm really not too impressed. Most of what is out there are cop shows and criminal investigation shows. Nothing to make you laugh, when really in this economic state we could use a lot of laughter to lighten the load. I remember an old movie (not sure what the name was) where a film maker who was adamant about making dramas gets somehow messed up and ends up in jail. There he learns that life's stresses are eased by laughter and that the public craves this release because it bolsters hope in a better future. He leaves jail and starts making comedies. I loved the premise of that movie.

There is a place to everything under the sun, from drama to comedies. The real key is to find a balance in what you watch, read, listen to or create that helps you keep your balance. Something those graduating this year should keep in mind. Congratulations to you, and keep your head in the clouds!