Cool videos

January 26, 2008 at 4:16 pm | Posted in getting involved, humor, Personal | 3 Comments

I saw a link to this video over at Shakespear’s Sister
and I was totally cracking up! As a few of you know, one of my majors in college was American Sign Language, and this was one of those classic jokes that we learned way back then. It is so cool to see it in such a mainstream kind of way.

Seeing it, I was reminded of several videos I have recently found involving ASL and I thought I would share them. Anyone else have a favorite?
One for some fun “mimey” sign,

Another for a serious message,

World AIDS Day

November 30, 2007 at 7:40 pm | Posted in getting involved, Health, Personal | 3 Comments

I can remember when AIDS was “discovered.” I had several friends who were gay and we hung out on a social basis. They would have these gay newspapers they subscribed to laying around the house. The magazines became full of stories of death. I remember seeing on the news that people were running kids out of school/town/playgrounds because they discovered the child had AIDS. It was a horrible time. Then, my friends started dying. It seemed that no sooner was someone diagnosed, than they became thin, and sickly, shortly after that, they died. I wouldn’t see someone for just a few months (all my gay friends lived in the next county) and would run into a mutual friend and ask where he was, and would find that in that short time, he was diagnosed, and died. It was horrible! The last bedside I attended was a young man that had been abandoned by his family. He lay in his hospital bed in a coma, all alone.

Now with all the new drugs and treatments, along with better understanding by the general population on how AIDS is spread, those diagnosed are living longer, healthier lives, often with family and friends all around them. I am so glad about that, but I am not glad that the rate of infection is said to be on the rise in young folks. Seems that they no longer see the “death sentence” we used to see, so they are not as scared of contracting the disease. This is such a shame. The disease is still real, and terrible. I can hope that having a World Aids Day will help folks remember that, and that they will do something to help ease the suffering of folks who have it, and even better, for those young folks to see the true numbers of those who have died, and start to see the number of people that each death affects.

I will be taking my kids to the Clinton Presidential Library ( http://www.clintonfoundation.org/cf-pgm-hs-ai-home.htm ) to see the AIDS quilt ( http://www.aidsquilt.org/ ). Their father has cared for many small children and babies with AIDS and even carries a photo of a little one who didn’t make it in his wallet. I hope that my kids never have to lose a friend to AIDS, but if they ever meet someone with it, they will know to not be afraid and be ok with hugging them and can be a good friend. So, here is a thought out to all those affected by HIV/AIDS and a moment of reflection on those who have passed.

New Link~Black and Missing

November 26, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics | Leave a comment

I am adding a new link over here, after a little reminder from Angry Black Bitch that I should check it often, I am adding it there so you all can too. As humans, it is important that we look out for each other and try to keep each other safe and happy, this is one way to do it.

http://blackandmissing.blogspot.com/

Day of thanks and day of mourning

November 22, 2007 at 4:41 pm | Posted in getting involved, Homeschooling, Personal, politics | 1 Comment

The custom of Native Americans was to help those in need, to give freely. It was through the generosity of the Native Americans that the pilgrims were able to survive When the man commonly known as Squanto found a bedraggled group of pilgrims that had been decimated by hunger and disease, he reached out to help him, even though he himself had been captured by slavers and sent to the Caribbean as a slave to the Spanish. It was through his later return to the Americans through England that he had learned English with a great profiency. This enabled him to teach the pilgrims what kind of crops to grow, and what plants not to eat. They began to improve and soon were flourishing.

As was the custom of the pilgrims back in England, they decided to have a feast of thanksgiving in November. They invited Squanto and his family. The pilgrims still did not know enough of the culture of the native Americans to know that their families are quite large. So, when he showed up with all his family, the pilgrims did not have enough food to feed them all, Squanto sent his men back to get more food. So, it turns out that the native Americans provided most of the food for the first Thanksgiving! Both peoples enjoyed a time of peaceful co-existence, but this did not last long. Soon, more pilgrims came from England and they did not have the same grateful attitude to the natives as those first settlers did and culture clashes and land disputes ensued. The rest, they say, is sad history as it culminated in the death of 10-30 million native people.

The myth that Thanksgiving was continued year after year, is false. It wasn’t till 1863 with President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation that the holiday was revived.

http://www.nativeamericans.com/Thanksgiving.htm#lincolns

So, on this Thanksgiving (we actually did it the day before to make an extra point) , my family ate eating the foods of the native people of America, and celebrating their ability to survive the atrocities they encountered.

We enjoyed a meal of butternut squash, fresh berries, potatoes, wild onions, and game (yes a turkey as it was donated by Karma Hubby’s work). We were lucky enough to have just had a class on Caddo (Arkansas’ Native Americans) cooking, so we were able to incorporate several of the recipes. It was great for the kids to be able to practice what they have been learning. We then checked out some books from the library and read stories of the Native American peoples of the Americas. May all of you celebrating this day, remember to celebrate those people who helped save the original Europeans from themselves. Have a blessed day!

I pledge to Buy Hand Made, or make it myself

November 20, 2007 at 11:54 pm | Posted in Craft, frugal, getting involved, Personal, recycling, simplicity | 3 Comments

Let’s face it, there is only so many bottles of lotions and perfumes a person can use in a life time.As many of you know, we did the simplicity route few years ago, so we have very few folks we gift to throughout the year. However, when we do, I try to make it as personal as possible, and homemade is preferred. So, I have been busy as of late with several projects for folks birthdays, and for holidays. Here are some photos of the “skunk” hats I made recently for a birthday present. These were for our park interpreter who teaches our Native American classes and told us that the tail was often left on the garment as a symbol of status, so that is what I tried to do. The first hat is the prototype that was made, and undone so many times that it is now a “dress-up” hat. It has no tail.

smalskunk-hats.jpg

These are a set of Harry Potter scarves for a set of friends of ours. The kids are wearing the trial versions, and the larger and longer set are the final product.

smallscarves.jpg

We also have kippahs kippot on the way (no photo here so that the receiver can be surprised). This is so much fun! Happy hand made ya’ll!

http://www.buyhandmade.org/

More plarn than you can shake a stick at!

November 13, 2007 at 4:24 am | Posted in Craft, frugal, getting involved, Personal, recycling, simplicity | 1 Comment

Well, shake a crochet hook at least!  

small-sizebag.jpg

I made another bag using the pattern from http://www.myrecycledbags.com/

Which is more than slightly modified by myself because apparently I can’t read a pattern to save myself! Again, I used the bags that newspapers come in as they are a “softer” material which I like for a bag being carried over my shoulder and under my pudgy arms. I can easily hold a gallon of milk and some other groceries in this one bag! I love it that when it gets wet, all I have to do is to hang it up to dry! Also, our local stores now offer a discount for each of your own bags you bring in. Remember to ask for it as those pennies add up in the budget!

Plarn rocks, especially if you are collecting it from neighbors, not getting it yourself. This also allows me to remind them that I am doing this because all these bags are bad for the environment and ask them if they have started using canvas yet. Subversive? Yes. Effective? Not sure yet.

I also found that if you go to a store like Target, where they take a lot of returns, they just throw their bags at the end of the day, so if you ask a store manager, they will likely let you take them for your next plarn project. So, get out there and reduce the amount of plastic being sent to the landfill in your neighborhood ~ Crochet a bag!

Heifer International

October 30, 2007 at 2:51 pm | Posted in getting involved, Homeschooling, Personal, simplicity | 3 Comments

One of out recent home school co-op fieldtrips was to take a tour of the Heifer International Ranch.http://www.heiferfoundation.org/seminars/ranchinfo.cfmThe kids got to see some of the “sanitation stations” that Heifer is using to teach proper hygiene in other countries, meet the animals that are used to help others, and to see a global village that represents some of the living situations of the world. There were tin shanty towns,

smallsizedheiferranch.jpg

 African round huts, and a Thai home. This place was great for learning about how one animal can affect a family’s existence and bring their standard of living up. I really enjoyed getting to see how they do it all.

 smallsizedheifferranch.jpg

We were able to see the different animals that Heifer sends around the world and learn how many ways each one can effect a family. I am still sold on a Llama for myself. Wool, milk, hauling, and protection (excellent guard animals).

It served to bolster my reasoning to becoming more self sufficient also because I can see how it is the little things that can make such a big difference. How just one animal can provide so much as to help one stay independent.

Some of the poverty issues were above the my kid’s heads, but overall, I think some of it sunk in. For, me, I left reminded of how good I have it, even when things are rough.

Blog Action Day

October 15, 2007 at 2:01 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics, recycling, simplicity | 4 Comments

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Blog Action Day!(On October 15th – Blog Action Day, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind.In its inaugural year, Blog Action Day will be coordinating bloggers to tackle the issue of the environment.)Yup, even though I try hard to keep my world as environmentally friendly as possible, this is a great way to really raise up the issue and see what can happen. It is all those little changes one can make in life that add up.Last night I baked dinner in the oven. Since the oven was on (Energystar appliance), I went ahead and used the heat to finish several items that needed heating. My kids do not eat the “heels” of the bread and I am not to fond of them either on the store bought whole wheat, so I save them, cut them into crouton sizes, and when I have a substantial amount, I bake them. smallbread.jpgInstant croutons and bread crumbs! smallcrumbs.jpgAfter that, I used the remaining heat to re-season my cast iron cookware. I love using pots and pans that will be around long enough to pass on to my grandkids, but they do have to be taken care of! smallcastiron.jpgSo, with each use of the oven, the heat was being turned down, and since it was cold outside, it was keeping the kitchen and living room (where we were) warm without turning the heat on. It was all very productive, and I not only saved energy, but I cut down on waste and encouraged good nutrition! It is hard not to feel good about that!So, happy Blog Action Day! What have you done to help the environment today?

ABB goes NPR

October 11, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Posted in getting involved, Personal, politics | 2 Comments

I get so proud when the blogs I read have good things happen to them! Today, I found out that Angry Black Bitch was on NPR talking about her use of the word “bitch” and it’s place in linguistics and culture. She is amazingly articulate and it was a pleasure to listen to her, you can too at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15180194 And you can visit her site at http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/2007/10/that-npr-thang.html Keep on keeping on Shark-Fu!

Remember to pay attention to those around you!

September 27, 2007 at 3:29 am | Posted in getting involved, politics | 1 Comment

You never know when you might see someone who needs your help! I saw this link over at Angry Black Bitch today and wanted to send it along to all of you. It is a shame that media still doesn’t place the same importance on a missing woman or child of color (any color) than they do on a little blond haired, blue eyed white girl. Please visit this sight and keep your eyes peeled. It takes a community to lift up our women and children!

http://blackandmissing.blogspot.com/

And http://bringnailahfranklinhome.com/content/

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