Friday, January 31, 2014

Virginia Beach

With all this Arctic weather
I wanted to be reminded about warmer times
so here's some shots of Virginia Beach this past August
Yes, that's a sweatshirt Lizard's wearing.
Funny, I want to look at photos from vacation because it's so cold here
and the day these were taken it was unseasonably cold at the beach.
I guess because it was overcast and chilly,
the beach wasn't as crowded as usual.
The skies were busy though.
The Brat Child thought it was awesome that we were in the direct flight path
of the Naval base.
He said it was just like being in a battle.
The chilly temps didn't stop the Brat Child 
from learning how to boogie board.

He was fearless.
It was a good day.
It didn't take long to get there
at all.
Next time I'd like a little more time for shopping.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Baby

Meet Jake.
He's our new baby.
And as it seems to be with most babies,
he wasn't planned.
Waiting for the Brat Child
One evening as Big E and I left my house,
we saw what we first thought was a cat
dart across the road in front of a car.
As we continued by, 
we both realized it was a puppy.
Yelling for him to stop the car, 
I jumped out.
The puppy came right to me
and I scooped him up and took him into the car.
Riding shotgun
We called local shelters and SPCA's
but an ad in the local paper
posted things on Facebook
and checked Craigslist in 3 different cities.
No one was looking for this dog.
The road I live on is a rural dirt road without a lot of houses
and this puppy wouldn't be the first one to be be left on the road to fend for himself.
Because he was so young and no one at all was looking for him,
it was my opinion and that of the shelters and SPCA
that this was indeed a dump.
Seriously, people, if you have an animal you don't want
or can't keep
take it to a shelter or give it away via classifieds or Craigslist.
Don't just leave them in the cold on the side of the road.
This puppy nearly got run over
because someone didn't want to drive 15 minutes away
and take him to the shelter.
And so,
after 2 weeks of seeing if an owner would appear
Jake is home.
In our home.
He's actually really good.
Has the concept of house training down
and has only had a handful of accidents- mostly due to human error.
And he already learned "sit"
He tries to fit all the toys in his mouth.
So far he has managed the tire rope toy and the tennis ball
at the same time.
And his ears crack me up.
He really gets "into" his food
He's named after the Pirates of the Mississippi song "Feed Jake"
(You know, "If I die before I wake feed Jake...)
Seriously, feed him because he acts like he's starving 90% of the time.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Smack*

I read an article on 20 Unusual Uses of Vodka.
The insteresting part was this:
"Jelly Fish Bite Soother
Much like vodka helps to treat poison ivy on the skin, 
the liquid also helps to alleviate the pain and itch that come post nasty jelly fish bite. 
Bring along a 1:1 mixture of vodka and water in a spray bottle 
to the beach just in case of an attack."
There's a few things I'd like to point out.
1. I've never seen a jelly fish with teeth and never received a "bite" from one.
If I ever saw one with teeth I would probably crap my pants and pass out
because I imagine one would look like a massive Kraken with stinging tenticles
and a beak like mouth.
2. I've never witnessed a jellyfish "attack". I've never known them to actually be capable
of going after a specific person or thing. Plus, what would you call a movie
about a jellyfish attack? Jellyfish doesn't really strike fear.
Neither does Stinging Nettle.
Jaws is taken.
3. Watering down vodka to spray on your skin after being viciously attacked and 
chewed upon by a jellyfish seems a waste of perfectly good vodka.  
I'd suggest drinking it.

For a way to soothe Jellyfish stings without wasting perfectly good liquor 
or peeing on your leg (I'm not making this up), 
go read about meat tenderizer.
Or check out this preventative option.

*A group of jellyfish is called a smack.  I guess we have the name of our movie

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Jamestown: The Starving Time

The Starving Time at Jamestown during the winter of 1609-10
beginning after the departure of Captain John Smith.
During that time, 
the people of Jamestown was forced to eat rats and snakes
because they could not venture outside of the fort's walls
for fear of being attacked by Powhatan's tribes.
There were written accounts 
that indicated the settlers had resorted to cannibalism
but no concrete evidence had ever been found.
Until Jane.
Jane was a 14 year old girl
who died during the Starving Time.
Above is a rendering of her likeness based on her skull.
Also based on her skull
(a copy seen above)
were the indications of tool marks
(in red)
which proved that 
those at Jamestown
had no choice but to cannibalize 
the dead to survive.
During a trip to the Smithsonian,
I showed the Brat Child the exhibit
and explained it all.
Later that summer while vacationing, 
I asked the Brat Child if he would like to go to Jamestown.
His reply:
"Do they still EAT people??!"

Monday, January 6, 2014

Jamestown: Indian Attack

In 1607, 
it was reported that someone was killed
during an attack by Powhatan's tribe.
His grave was found during the archaeological dig.
The arrow point was resting next to his leg
and would have been lodged into the surrounding tissue
during burial.
He had a broken collarbone
and his grave was hastily dug
and most likely one of the first
if not the first death.
Because the skeleton also provided evidence
of a broken abcessed tooth,
it's unknown if the arrow or infection or
a combination of the two 
were the cause of death.
This is a likeness.
He was estimated to be 14-15 years old.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Jamestown: The Bones

Meet Captain Bartholomew Gosnold.
Or, more specifically, 
his skeleton
or what the Smithsonian strongly believes
is his skeleton.
Here is a likeness of the Captain.
His remains were found during the 
archeological dig at Jamestown.
Captain Gosnold was said to be one of the biggest influences
in England's colonization of America.
He explored New England and is said to have named
Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard
(I read somewhere he had a daughter named Martha 
and named Martha's Vineyard for her).

Sadly, Gosnold died only 3 months after landing at Jamestown
after succumbing to a 3 week illness.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jamestown: A Brief Overview

Couple of savages sitting under the Pocahontas statue
 Jamestown, VA was the first permanent English settlements in the Americas.
In December of 1606, 104 settlers sailed from London
to find a water route to the Orient, settle Virginia and find gold.
From the moment they stepped off the shipped,
the settlers came under attack by the Algonquin Indians in the area.
The Algonquins were a constant on-again-off-again enemy.
Pocahontas daughter of Chief Powhatan
Captain John Smith was able to set up trade with the Algonquins
but with Smith's departure back to England,
the period known as "The Starving Time" came about.
Many people died from starvation and disease 
and there was a period of warfare between the colonists and the natives.

Eventually more colonists arrived at Jamestown
under a second charter by the king (James I)
that allowed for stronger leadership.
Settlers attempted several different types of industries
before John Rolfe introduced tobacco farming
which proved to be profitable.
John Rolfe ended up marrying Pocahontas, the chief's daughter. 
I've made many trips to Jamestown,
and I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area.
(photos with the exception of the one at the top of the page were taken with 
and IR filter- yes, I was looking for ghosts.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


  1. v. settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter).
  2. v.  decide firmly on a course of action.
  3. n. firm determination to do something.
 It's that time of year when people write out lists of things they want to change in the coming new year.  
I'd wager that most people start out with good intentions and 
plan on following through with all of their resolutions.  
Sadly, most give up and fail to accomplish anything on their list.  
Despite the fact that I fall into the never-accomplish-anything-on-my-resolution-list category, 
I figured I'd give it another go.  
So, thinking that sharing my list might make me more inclined to stick to it 
(the whole accountability thing), 
I'm posting it here.

Being Healthier:
  1. Walk at least 2 miles 4 days a week (I'm hoping to make it 7 days a week, but I think 4 is more realistic).
  2. Go back to a Low Carb/Good Carb diet (like South Beach).  I did this once and lost a lot of weight and just felt better over all.  But I'm a stress eater, I'm stressed and planning meals and grocery shopping is a pain.  No excuses though, time to get back to something healthier.
  3. Lose 30 pounds. I'm pretty sure that if I manage #1 and #2 this one will be no problem.  
  4. Drink more water. 
  5. Cut back on the amount of soda I drink.  I like iced tea and green tea so I should work on drinking that.  Plus, making iced tea is cheaper than buying soda.  And it really bothers me that I drink something that is used to clean the corrosion on car batteries.  
  6. Find time to meditate at least 3 times a week.  Ideally it should be every day, but I'm being realistic as meditation is not so easy with a 7 year old about. 
  1. Save some money using the 52 week challenge.
  2. Put at least $25 per week in my savings account (hopefully more than that per week, but a minimum of $25).
  3. Cook my own breakfast each morning- don't eat out (this is also a healthy thing).
  4. Pack my lunch at least 4 out of 5 days.  I'd say all 5 days, but again, I'm trying to be realistic.  This could potentially save me about $200 a month.  That's a lot.  In fact it's a car payment. 
  5. Eat dinner out only 2-3 times a month.  This is going to be a tough one.  When you've gotten into the habit of eating out on a regular basis, it's hard to break that habit.  Who wants to deal with planning meals or doing the dishes (the cooking I'm okay with).
  6. Pay off the Credit Cards.  Tough, but I've already locked them away in the safe, and I have a plan. 
  1. Go through my 7 year old's toys to see what can be donated.  He wasn't too receptive to the idea, but he has more than enough to play with (and doesn't even play with it all).  I'm thinking of making this something that is done yearly  before Christmas- you know, making room for the new stuff.
  2. Clean out my clothes.  I know there are things that are in my closet that haven't seen the light of day in 2 years or more.  I obviously have no need for them, but someone else might.
  3. Plan out meals a month at a time.  I know I can do this because I have done it.  It makes live easier when you do- you save money on groceries, save time on shopping and on cooking (especially if you use a slow cooker on a regular basis).
  4. Organize recipes.  I have a few, some written down, some saved on Pinterest, but I'd like them all in one place like a recipe box.  
  5. Declutter in general. Find a better way to organize mail, school papers, product manuals, warranties, etc.
  6. Cleaning the basement and the items you have in storage there.  This includes my whole family and a trip to the dump.  I'm hoping to get my items better stored and organized at a minimum and help my parents and siblings get rid of the junk as a bigger goal.
  1. Get to the point where I am blogging 4-5 days a week.  That's tough since I have several blogs, but something I have been continuously working towards.  
  2. Learn to use my DSLR camera in something other than automatic mode.
  3. Take some time to go take photos with the DSLR camera not in automatic mode at least every other week. Ideally I'd like to take a trip somewhere closeby to take photos at least once a month.
  4. Start writing a book.  Doesn't matter what the genre is or the content or that there's an expectation to finish, just start.
  5. Build 2 polytunnels for growing greens in the cold winter months.  
  6. Plant a more efficient vegetable garden. 
  7. Plan out time for canning to be faster and more productive.
  8. Plan weekly family night. Either planning on playing a game or watching a movie or some type of outing like bowling or mini-golf- and sticking to it.
  9. Plan weekly or bi-weekly date night. Because alone time with the one you love is important and sometimes life is so busy you forget.  So weekly is the main goal, but building to that is okay.  And date night doesn't mean that you have to spend money.  Could be dinner at home and a movie or going for a walk or a hike.
That for the most part is my list.  
My goals and resolutions for 2014.  
Throughout the year I'll check back regarding my list to see 
how I'm doing or 
if I'm doing.  

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Be at War with your Vices, 
at Peace with your Neighbours, 
and let every New-Year find you a better Man.  
~Quoted in Benjamin Franklin's 1755 Poor Richard's Almanac, December