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Showing posts from March, 2009

Yoga v. Pilates

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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between yoga and pilates? I have done both, and even I couldn't really tell anyone what the difference was...so I did a little bit of googling. Here's what I found from an article written by fitness guru Kathy Smith.

Let's take yoga first. Yoga is based on the Eastern idea of moving energy through your body. The more freely the energy flows, the healthier and more energetic you feel. Physical tension hinders the flow; over time, areas of tension in your body can become tight and rigid, even painful. The goal of yoga is to keep the body supple through movement and stretching. But there's another dimension. Yoga is a holistic spiritual discipline with its roots in Eastern forms of meditation. The physical postures, although they condition the body, are really aimed at the mind. They symbolize the goal of living your life in a state of balance and composure. When I spend an hour in a yoga class, I melt into a kind of meditat…

Out of my craftroom *LTC Spoilers*

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I have been really enjoying creating the some fun LTCs for the upcoming swaps I've signed up for. Here's a sneak peek...

This one is my prototype for the All Things Green swap, entitled "My Kinda Green". I actually just photocopied a ten dollar bill to carve. I felt compelled to change the serial numbers...can you figure out what my replacement gives nod to? *smile*


This is my contribution to the Layers swap - I called it "Which Way is North?". Taken from a really cool image of a Celtic compass; I just used two layers, the black and the green. The compass pointers and the center are highlighted with paper glaze, to give it some extra pizazz.


Paul Frank is an artist out of California; I know you have seen his little monkey featured on wallets, t-shirts and accessories, all with a retro 50's feel. The baby items are especially cute! There are just a ton of other characters, but I liked the monkey Julius the best. This LTC is for the Paul Frank is You…

Spring makes me want to...

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Gosh, isn't it springtime yet?? Will it ever come to the PNW?

I can smell it in the air, the smell of green, of new life bursting forth. Someone once told me that if you could actually hear all the plants growing and budding, it would be deafening...interesting to ponder, huh? I did see a lot of pollen dusting my car a couple of days ago, before we had more snow on Shabbat. *smirk*

Spring makes me want to...

buy a tree to plant in the yard

wash my car in the driveway

pack all my turtlenecks away, (but I never do! lol!)

get a pedicure in anticipation of wearing sandals

enjoy not feeling freezing-cold

paint somewhere in the house - no worries, this one passes quickly!

take a road trip (actually, every season makes me feel this way!)

roll the windows down in the car and turn the music up

buy an iced latte

smell what the air smells like when it's warmed by the sun

find my sunglasses

find a letterbox

plant a letterbox

eat outside

take pictures of flowers

enjoy the sound of the lawn mowers, both…

Get out the soup pot!

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Passover is coming very quickly, and being in charge of the matzah ball soup for 40-ish is quite a responsibility! Today is the day I have scheduled for making the chicken stock for the soup - homemade, of course.

What? You have never tried matzah ball soup? Well, here is the recipe, if you are feeling up to the Jewishness of it all:

Start with the stock preparation; in a stockpot, combine a 4-pound chicken, 4 chopped carrots, two stalks of chopped celery, 1 large onion chunked, 1 bay leaf, a handful of whole peppercorns and 8 to 10 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium and simmer for two hours.

After the simmering is complete, remove chicken pieces and set aside. Strain stock, discarding all solids. Transfer to a covered container and chill completely.

When the stock has cooled, remove the fat that has risen to the top and set aside for use in the matzah balls.

When you are ready to serve, you will heat the chicken stock, adding sliced carrots,…

Dreamin'

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Could it even be possible to take another road trip across the country? We sure would like to and are dreaming of spring 2010, around the same timeframe as our 2008 Biggest Field Trip Ever. The kids and I have been brainstorming the possibilities of where we would like to stop as we meander across the country towards Mississippi. (So what's in Mississippi, you ask? Meemaw, of course!)

We are thinking that driving down through Oregon would be a good way to start, as we LOVE the Oregon coast. Then continuing through the Siskyous in Northern California and seeing some of the coastline of that huge state and maybe the famous Redwoods. Morgan mentioned Hollywood, but I'm unsure of how far into Los Angeles we want to get. Unfortunately, theme parks are crossed off the list...too expensive! Yosemite National Park would be a wonderful place to stop - definitely on the list. My parents went there last year, and really enjoyed it.

Perhaps then crossing over to Nevada and letti…

Photo-of-the-Day

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Just playin' around this morning...yep, it's me :-)

Photo-of-the-Day

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Felt like makin' some bean soup out of a wonderful cookbook I bought back when I was cooking quite a bit, Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread (A Country Inn Cookbook), by Crescent Dragonwagon. Wonderful stories and great recipes, even if they are a little complicated. Above is my personal 'Bean Mix' and below is the herb mix for bean soup...it smells heavenly!

Two-Wheeler

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I seem to have a fascination with bicycles. As I was contemplating a Photo-of-the-Day, some of my favorite photos came to mind. Interestingly enough, I observed a theme...bicycles! There is just something about the look and feel of a bike; the freedom, the wind in your hair, the design, the potential, the memories. I seem to enjoy capturing these wonders of engineering frequently in my travels. Here is one I loved in Cannon Beach, Oregon..


When I was much younger, my parents always provided bikes for my brother and me. I remember a beautiful teal-colored Schwinn with a basket and a banana seat. My brother always got the BMX style of bike, and we would ride for literally hundreds of miles in a summer, I'm sure. As I grew to my full height, they gifted me a pale yellow touring Schwinn ten speed - what a beauty! It was just a lovely ride, and my friend Don and I would ride to the lake every day after I got off work and laze on the shore all afternoon, then ride back home. Sw…

Ever feel empty?

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Ever get to a place where you feel completely void? Moving through your day, conversing, giving, doing, fulfilling your duties, but feel completely numb to the effects...buffeted, as it were, by the daily grind?
"Adventure…excitement…a Jedi craves not these things." I have found myself in a funk as of late, and can't seem to shake it. Sure, I'm excited about our new sabers and looking forward to heading to the coast in a few weeks. Passover is quickly approaching and with it much planning that I need enthusiasm for, but I just can't get it going. Stuck in neutral, I think...and no amount of revving the engine seems to be effective.

Perhaps it's too much talking, or not enough. Maybe I just need some time to myself; somehow I just can't seem to make myself just get to that place, though. The thought has occurred to me that I do not function well within too much structure, and perhaps that is my problem. Week in, week out the same tedium just kills me …

The New Weapon

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My newest toy - "The Ambassador"

They have arrived! The sabers we ordered from SaberForge have arrived and I got my first chance to inspect it yesterday at shul. Man, it was tough waiting through the liturgy and lunch before bustin' into that package to install the batteries! Y'know, we have taken a lot of guff from all sides for being Star Wars costumers, but you would have been surprised who gathered around to watch us take the sabers apart to install the power. Unfortunately, those little set screws are kinda slippery, and we spent quite a bit of time scouring the floor for the escapees *snort* But, when we got those babies powered up and turned on...whoa! It definitely attracted attention! lol!

They are absolutely lovely, I can tell you - the real thing. Nice weight to hold, nice balance with the blade, and the sound card adds that extra oomph that was definitely a must!

Here is Padawan's pick, the Staunch Defender - so sweet! The cutouts show the color…

Rock Stashing?

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Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Hahaha! Now, there's a rock! I guess I've already 'found' that one, since I have a pic of it! lol!

What? You don't know what Rock Stashing is?
Rock stashing is a fun outdoor activity that combines elements of orienteering, letterboxing, earth caching, and old fashioned treasure hunting. It is easy to get started. 'Stashing is inexpensive, family-friendly, healthy, and best of all it is environmentally safe.

It's a lot like letterboxing, except instead of hiding boxes, we hide rocks. Environmentally friendly, beautiful rocks. You can paint them (with non-toxic, environmentally-safe paint), or if you aren't the artistic type, just leave a particularly noteworthy rock for others to find. Perhaps it's uniquely shaped, or a rare type of rock for the area. In urban areas, if you paint the rock, it should only be on the bottom side of the rock so others will not discover it by accident.

The rocks can survive many conditio…

Headin' towards Tillamook!

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the Tillamook Cheese Factory in Tillamook, Oregon
Well, my prayers have been answered (Padawan's, too, I think!) We will be getting to travel to the Oregon Coast in about 6 weeks or so to celebrate the anniversary of my dear parents. I am so looking forward to four glorious nights in Tillamook, checkin' out the cheese factory and the Three Capes Loop. We are hoping to do some letterboxing, sightseeing and spending some time in Cannon Beach and Seaside, too. Maybe Mo's is in order!

Woohoo!

Words you may need to know

A friend posted this on another site - thanks, Becky!

Here are the winners of this year's Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from
the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one
letter, and supply a new definition:

1. Cashtration (n): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

3. Intaxication : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you
realize it was your money to start with

4. Reintarnation : Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright
ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer unfortunately, shows little sign of
breaking down in the near future.

7. Giraffiti : Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm : The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person
who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte : To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteo…

"Powerful form it is...deadliest of all."

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In preparation for receiving our new lightsabers from SaberForge, I have been doing a little research of combat styles, who practiced them and why. In reading about the various lightsaber combat forms, I (of course) lean toward Soresu (Form III), the fighting style of my hero Obi-Wan Kenobi.

While googling different lightsaber combat sites, I just couldn't resist a quiz that determined the best combat style for me and my philosophy. To say I was surprised at the result would be an understatement, I think!

You Scored as Form VII: Juyo/ VaapaadDubbed the "Way of the Vornskr," Form VII was an incomplete form for millennia. It was further developed by Jedi Master Mace Windu, who could complete it with his, "Vaapaad" style. The most challenging and demanding of all forms, Form VII requires extreme, intense focus, high levels of skill, and mastery of other forms. Only two Jedi have ever mastered Form VII fully, Mace Windu and Depa Billaba. One other Jedi, Sora Bulq…

Glimpses of Yellowstone

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Thinking about a visit to Yellowstone this spring or summer? We visited last June, and it was absolutely beautiful. Here are some of the images I snapped, just to get you in the mood...

Old Faithful was definitely worth the wait...


The ice was just breaking up with the spring thaw when we stopped at Yellowstone Lake.


We saw quite a few of these special Yellowstone tour vehicles - can't miss 'em with that bright color!


Walkin' on the boardwalk that spans one of the larger hotsprings...watch your step! Those boards get kinda slippery with all that steam!


Close up of the bubbling hot springs...it was fascinating to walk around and see the super-heated water rising to the top. The different minerals in the water made for some interesting designs on the surrounding landscape and in the water, as well.


One shot of many, many photos I took of waterfalls in Yellowstone. I was going for the Ansel Adams feel...not sure I achieved it, though ::sigh::


Beautiful, huh? And, yes, that'…

Universal Day of the Jedi

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What?? A special day to commemorate Jedi? Whoa...cool!

The Universal Day of the Jedi—May 25—is an "annual Star Wars fan holiday." It was (is) envisioned as a celebration of the entire saga, and fandom itself. The first Universal Day of the Jedi, on May 25, 2007, coincided with Celebration IV.

I just discovered this and am not sure how I missed it. Here is some information I found:
The idea for Universal Day of the Jedi originated in 2006 as news and rumors began surfacing about how Lucasfilm could be planning to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars in 2007. The concept was first proposed by Greg Davies (former webmaster of fan site Shadow of the Sith).

Although Universal Day of the Jedi has been suggested to be a celebratory day on which fans can get together and watch the films, with the holiday being created as a geek holiday, there has been a push to celebrate the day in a similar fashion to days like Day of the Ninja or International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Some …

Photo-of-the-Day

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Our fearless leader...eager to do good deeds!

From our day at Miss Katie's cutting laurel hedges - what a day!

So glad to be back in business!

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I'm back, and faster than ever! Gary is an absolute magic-man, as well as the geekiest computer geek I've ever seen!

Scrubbed of all the insidious nasties and equipped with a new memory board, I'm good to go - woohoo!!!

I had spyware that had attached itself to a very cool cursor that I had to have. Learn from my mistake - do not download very cool cursors from anywhere! Plus, a bug crawled on from an email link that blocked all websites until I purchased their anti-virus software (which I did not do, but did last time this happened to me...ignorance is not such a good thing). Not only that, but somehow it erased all my native anti-virus software's definitions of virus and spyware, so all my scans came up clean...go figure. *smirk* It's all clean now, though.

I also learned of a must-have for Firefox users who love social utilities: Flock. Just google it and do it - both my daughter and I LOVE this web utility that combines all your sites onto one place. It…

Livin' @ the Library

Yeah, I'm livin' at the library...well, kinda. Since my computer is going to the 'doctor' tomorrow, I will be coming to the library on a regular, daily basis. Our library lets you stay on a computer for one hour, so that's good for checking email and messages from the various sites I frequent, as well as updating the blog.

I am very thankful that I have a library very close to my home and that they have lots of computers for public use.

Oh, and I will not be able to change out the sidebar until I get back on my personal computer, so for that, I apologize. I sure miss playin' with pics and quotes every morning!

Somebody needs to be shot!

Unfortunately, my desktop computer has been infected with some sort of horrible something that will not allow me to access any internet sites. I am accessing the internet from my daughter's mini laptop, and well, it's different, to be sure!

Hopefully this situation will be rectified easily and soon.

How much can you cram into 12 hours?

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What a day yesterday! A day out of the house...I didn't realize, until we got home, that we had been out and about for 12 hours going from one thing to another. Thankfully, every errand is better with a good friend.

7:30 am - awake for coffee & yoga *aaaahhhhh*

9:30 am - Padawan shows up to start the mission. Drive to Rose's house to pick her up for her colonoscopy appointment after filling up Speeder with much needed fuel (gosh, I hate those little tedious details!)

10:15 am - load up Rose and transport her to the medical center; engage in an challenging conversation about freedom in the waiting room, resulting in annoying the other patients. Happily depart after seeing Rose into the care of the medical staff (the other patients were happy, as well).

10:45 am - having an hour and a half to kill, head to the nearest Jamba Juice to use the $1 coupons that were floating around in Speeder...yummy! I recommend the oatmeal and a carrot-orange-banana 16-ouncer. As we meandered the…

Photo-of-the-Day

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Can you believe this?? Take a look at the date...I just don't think of March as wintertime, y'know?


Taken last night in disbelief, "We have a festival tomorrow! Ugh!"

I hope we are the only ones who got snow, to be honest. This is gonna be a slushy mess when it starts to melt. Let's hope it melts soon...like before 3pm this afternoon!

Purim!

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To me, Purim is:

getting ready for the carnival

buying prizes & candy for the kids

making nosh to share

reading the Book of Esther

eating hamentashen

booing Haman!

noisemakers & goody bags

costumes and photographs

laughter and more laughter

watching a Purim play

and then some more laughter!

sharing each other's talents

music, singing and dancing

remembering to forget

watching Pesach come ever closer!

recovering from a great party the next day...

They tried to kill us, we won...let's eat!

Simchat Purim!

the never-ending quest for wisdom

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I am always on a search, a quest, for wisdom. I look to teachers and scholars, friends, strangers and situations continually on the hunt for those little nuggets of wisdom to tuck away and shape me more into the person I want to be. Scripture is an excellent source of wisdom, and I consult it regularly (as most of you know).

It may sound strange, but modern literature and art are also a good place to find those gems of wisdom. One of my favorites is the new Star Wars, The Clone Wars TV series, as there is a 'wisdom theme' for each episode. I have looked for a list of these themes on the Internet, to no avail...until now. Here is the list I have compiled; hopefully, you will find them interesting and introspective.

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.

The costs of war can never be truly accounted for.

Great leaders inspire greatness in others.

Trust in your friends and they'll have reason to trust in you.

Most powerful is he who controls his own power.

A plan…

Thinking about Masada

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I have had the distinct pleasure of visiting Masada twice now; it is, without a doubt, one of the most touching places I have ever visited in my life. The first time was really the first time that the story of Masada truly hit home.

This is the view from the top of Masada looking over the Dead Sea...


According to Josephus, a first-century Jewish Roman historian, Herod the Great fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War against the Roman Empire, a group of Jewish extremists called the Sicarii overcame the Roman garrison of Masada. After the destruction of the Temple, the Jewish rebels and their families fled Jerusalem and settled on the mountain top, using it as a base for raiding Roman settlements.


The current access to the top of the mountain is called 'the Snake Path', which is one of three trails leading to the top. My friend Beverly and I decided, on my second visit, to cli…

Some thoughts on Yoga

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Have you wanted to try yoga? If you said yes, you are not alone. Yoga has become somewhat of a fad with yoga studios popping up everywhere, but one that is worthy of investigation. I have been practicing yoga for a couple of months now, daily, and I am amazed at the varied opinions and many questions that people have about it. Yesterday, I purchased a book that I spied as I was going into a local Barnes and Noble bookstore called The Yoga Directory, by Linda Doeser. After reading a good bit of it, I am impressed and pleased with her approach to this often misunderstood practice.

"The holistic nature of yoga makes it a safe option for alleviating some common ailments...it can help with a wide range of problems, such as PMS, arthritis, insomnia, backache, and above all any symptoms arising from poor posture."This is one of the reasons I wanted to give yoga a try. As I get older, I am noticing more and more little aches & pains and am even thinking I have signs of arthritis …