100 Years Ago

I’m cleaning out my email, and found another gem from my Dad….

This will boggle your mind, I know it did mine!
The year is 1907. One hundred years ago.
What a difference a century makes!
Here are some  statistics for the Year 1907:
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  • The average life expectancy was 47 years.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
  • The average wage in 1907 was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average  worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as “substandard.”
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound.
  • Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
  • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada! passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
  • Five leading causes of death  were:
    1. Pneumonia and influenza
    2. Tuberculosis
    3. Diarrhea
    4. Heart disease
    5. Stroke
  • The American flag had 45 stars.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!!!!
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea hadn’t been invented yet.
  • There was no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
  • Two out of every 10 adults couldn’t read or write.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, “Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect  guardian of health.”
  • Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE ! U.S.A. !

Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years. (Personally, I just hope we’re still here by then.)

Time, revisited

My Dad recently sent me a link to a very interesting site – Thanks, Dad!! 🙂

World Clock

The whole site is great. I really like this guy’s ideas, especially some of them in his article Letting Go of Doing and the suggestion of thinking of our lives in days rather than years, because a day is a lot easier to get a handle on. And I used the Life Expectancy Calculator and it said I’ll live to be 90, if I’m lucky! I guess it’ll be a while before I become a number on the clock.

Finally, a day off

I’ve been working so much the last week I haven’t had time for much else. Today I got to take some time and go do stuff I’ve been wanting to do – I had a very full and fulfilling day! I spent some of my birthday money on a 7 comic book series called The Gunslinger Born… Stephen King has continued the Dark Tower series with the story of how Roland became a gunslinger. I already looked at the first one – the pictures are beautiful and the extra stories are awesome.

I also did a bunch of running around… one stop was at the vet to get cat food. They have so many cats there, it’s just wonderful. There’s a couple I would bring home if we needed more kitties. We buy special food at the vet because our cats are so fat, and it’s working! Stripe has already lost a little more than a pound since we switched. And they seem to like it so it’s all good.

The rest of my stops were Auto Zone for oil for the car, Bed Bath & Beyond just to browse (I looked at silpat silicone baking mats but they were too expensive at the moment) and also checked out Bells Home Outlet and didn’t buy anything at either store! That’s gotta be a record. After that I went to get litter at Pet Food Warehouse and then decided to check out the hardware store at the other end of the shopping plaza. That was the best stop of the day!!! As I went in, I read a sign that said “No other dogs” and I was like, “Hmm, I wonder what that’s about.” And the moment I stepped in I understood. Laying in the middle of the aisle were three St. Bernards!! They didn’t even react when I came in, just kinda looked up at me. And of course, I had to go see them. What sweet dogs, they were really nice, and so soft. One of them was really old, and he had the biggest paws I’ve ever seen on a dog. They were just HUGE!! The guy said that dog was living on love, so I hope I gave him an extra day on this earth with the love he got from me today. 🙂

After that I stopped at the library to give them some magazines to sell – they have a table where you can buy magazines for a quarter. I love being able to recycle AND help the library! Plus I’m trying to dejunk our house some, it’s starting to get cluttered and I want to take care of it before things get out of control. If I’m not using something, it’s getting donated, recycled or pitched! I have to be very careful not to be too much of a packrat, I just love to collect things I think may be useful someday.

Then I came home, helped cook dinner, watched the second to last episode of Hell’s Kitchen, did the dishes, went out and weeded a little bit for the papaya and mango plants I have to go in the ground and then watched a little more of “The Astronaut Farmer” with Trav. Now I’m posting here and still hope to play a little WordTopia, if anybody’s around (sometimes later at night there’s nobody to play with).

So that’s my busy, busy day. Tomorrow it’s back to work. Thanks for reading!

Does Time Exist?

Birthdays tend to bring about thoughts of time (I’m turning 40… my life may be half over… etc.) so I thought it was very appropriate that I found this article today:

Time May Not Exist

I love thinking about questions like where did the universe come from? Where is it expanding to…? It boggles the mind. Fun to think about, though. If you believe this article, then questions about the universe don’t really apply, because if there is no time, there’s no beginning and no end, right? It has always been and always will be.

This site also led me to another, very fascinating site which sucked up a lot of my “time” today. I should have been working, but hey, it was my birthday! So I only feel a little guilty…

LiveScience.com

I found the various Top 10 lists very interesting. Oh and now I’ve discovered they have quizzes so I’m off to see how smart I am. 🙂 Enjoy!

Navigating by the Stars

I’ve always had it in my head that the world might go to total crap one day (nuclear bomb or some other major destructive disaster) and I want to be prepared. So, I’ve been collecting different things I think will help in that situation. For instance, this year for my birthday, I asked for and received a slingshot. I figure if we were desperate for food, we could get a rabbit or squirrel or something. We go out and shoot small rocks at a paper target, and a lot of times I have to say… “We’re gonna starve!!!” But we’re getting better with practice. Now if the targets would just stay still like the excellent paper rabbits and turkeys Trav draws, we’re all set!

Today I acquired another tool – how to navigate by the stars. This site has a really great tutorial on identifying important constellations and how to tell which way is north.

http://www.quietbay.net/Science/astronomy/nightsky/

It only takes a few minutes to complete and it’s really fun. And potentially useful for when you want to make those midnight trips to Georgia. On foot. Because you heard there’s critters up there you can get with your slingshot. 🙂

Simple Meals

I love to cook, but sometimes it does get to be a chore… all the prep work, the actual cooking, and then the cleanup. So I was delighted to find this list the other day…

101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

Some of the ideas are great and I can’t wait to try them. I’m thinking these will be good for lunches, too. Often I just take a quick break in the middle of the day to have a bite to eat. One of my favorite quick lunches is “Cheesy Rice Stuff”. I heat some coconut oil in a pan and throw in a bit of garlic and onion. When that’s soft, I add some brown rice and a handful of mozzarella cheese and stir it until the cheese melts. Drop in some chopped parsley, roasted red pepper and salt, and it’s lunch! Mmmmm.

The Bathroom Diaries

I love to travel, and found this site which could be very useful on the road… The Bathroom Diaries. They have a great database of bathrooms around the world – rated for cleanliness, safety, and handicap access. This would be great on a cell phone (if I had one hehe) but also nice if you’re able to plan ahead. They even list the bathrooms in Antarctica!

Let’s Have Another Tea Party

Happy Independence Day! Today is the day we celebrate our independence from Britain and her king. I propose we get rid of another King George. But we shouldn’t wait until December… we should do it now. I could go on and on about the illegal and just plain strange things our king has done but I won’t in this post. It’s a day to appreciate our great country – it’s the best in the world! I’m lucky to live here and I show my appreciation by paying my taxes and especially by voting. Voting is a very important civic duty every citizen should fulfill. I think things would be different, and better, if citizens paid more attention to what our leaders are doing. Anyways, Happy 4th of July!! Hope you had a wonderful day. 🙂

Pucker Up, Baby!

Mamoncillo fruitTo keep life interesting, I like to try all kinds of food. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t! 🙂 This week’s adventure is a package of Mamoncillo fruit from the produce department. As I was checking out, the cashier asked me, “What is that? I never heard of that before.” I shrugged and said I didn’t know, but I was dying to find out. So right there at the checkout, I poked a hole in the saran wrap, took one out and tore open the skin to reveal what looked like a lychee fruit (it turns out they are related). I popped it in my mouth to have a taste, which I would describe as very mild and kind of like an orange. There’s not much pulp in there – it’s mostly seed.

I did some research to see what I could do with them, and found that most people eat the pulp and then toast the seeds, like sunflower or pumpkin seeds. So I’ve been diligently sucking the pulp off, scraping off every last bit with my teeth and fingernails, and saving them so I can toast a batch to see what that part tastes like. I tasted a raw seed and it was mealy and kind of woody. Here’s my seed collection so far (I’m about halfway through):

Mamoncillo seed collection

Also in the picture is my rock collection and a picture taken of Trav and I a few months after we got together. Anyways, I’ll report on the toasted seeds when I make them.

Oh and the subject of this post is due to the legend that girls in the Caribbean learn to kiss by eating this fruit! hehehe

Latest project completed

Aunt Susie's Jewelry BoxRecently I finished another embroidery project… a jewelry box for Aunt Susie. I made it as a “welcome home” gift and it was supposed to be done by the time she got out of the hospital but as usual, it took more time than I thought so I just gave it to her last weekend. Just in time, too, because she left for Michigan this past Wednesday. This project was a bit of a challenge, getting the different items placed just right inside their assigned squares (apparently my math skills aren’t what they used to be!), but that’s the great thing about making your own designs… even if you mess up you can adjust things so it turns out good anyway. In this case, I was left with a bit too much space under the top row, so I filled it in with the ivy stuff. And wouldn’t you just know it, that was the part Aunt Susie liked best! Each item in the design was chosen for a specific reason… the duck is for all of the birds and other critters she has loved. The gingerbread man is for all of the delicious goodies she likes to bake, and the candy cane is for her favorite holiday (she goes nuts for Christmas!). The flowers are for the beautiful gardens she creates (her flower gardens here were the talk of the neighborhood – people would route their walks past her house just to see the pretty flowers), and the bear is for all of the crafts she likes to do (she’s always knitting, sewing or making something).

Inside Aunt Susie's Jewelry BoxHere’s the inside – the cloth was folded over to hide the back (I’m not good at making the backside nice yet) and included a little message with the date and everything. For this project, I experimented a bit with natural dyes… the purple heart was made from white floss dyed with blueberry skins, and the light brown part of the bear was made with onion skin dye. I really liked that part, though I did discover that yellow floss and blueberry skins do not make green floss. 🙂

South of the Border

At the beginning of June, we traveled to Virginia for Bleys’ graduation. It was a fun trip and we’re very proud of Bleys for doing so well in school.

South of the BorderOn the way back, we stopped in South Carolina at a place called South of the Border. They have all kinds of crazy billboards for quite a ways out, so by the time you get there, you just have to stop and see… on I-95 just south of the North Carolina border. It’s a huge complex of stores, with a hotel, several restaurants, goony golf and I’m sure lots of other things we didn’t see. I got the impression you could buy pretty much anything you wanted there! Plus there’s a giant sombrero which serves as a lookout tower (next time I stop there I want to go up in it).

We got out to stretch our legs and look around a bit, and found the store “Hats of the World”. What a fun place! They had these great tye-dye hats but my darn head was just a little too big to get one on (that actually happens more often than I would like hehe). But anyways, we had a good time trying on various hats. I think Trav would be a very good actor – he was able to take on each hat’s persona the moment he put it on. Below you’ll see Senor Trav preparing for his siesta!

Senor TravWe also ate lunch at a dumpy little fast food place. The food was OK (I had a corn dog, yum!) but the ambiance definitely left something to be desired. After that we shopped a little more, bought some candy, and hit the road again. Oh and I got a rolled penny, my favorite souvenir!

The rest of the ride home was mostly uneventful, except for a crazy lady at a gas station where we stopped. She got out of her car asking for help because she was lost, and then she started screaming and crying and carrying on about people dying and all kinds of babble. A guy there was trying to help her, but I think he was only just a little bit more sane than she was. Scary.

Scary, but also interesting. I’ve been reading a book called Social Intelligence, and one of the main points of the book is that emotions are contagious. Being within range of that raving lady’s emotions definitely had an affect on me… not a lot, but enough to notice. The book also says it’s instinctual to want to help someone in need, so I asked Trav if he was compelled to help her, and he said yes, up until the moment she started screaming. Then he just wanted to get away from her (like we all did!). Smart to want to get away from something that could be catchy, like a cold.

The book also goes into great detail about the brain’s chemical and structural changes during and after interactions between people. Apparently our brains are pretty flexible in the connections built by neurons, and they are constantly being reshaped by our experiences. And the more positive interactions we have with other people, the better our brains and bodies age. There’s lots of other good stuff in there, I’ll write more as I read and digest.

Natural Hazards

Here we go with maps again! Here’s a really neat site which shows pictures of recent natural events around the world, like fires, drought, volcano eruptions, stuff like that. When those big fires in Georgia were happening, we got smoke from them for a few days, with one of them having smoke so thick it was like walking around in fog all day.

Currently I’m reading a book named “The Secret Life of Dust” and it’s extremely interesting. Dust holds many answers to the past, such as what the climate was like at a particular time. The author attempts to estimate just how much dust is in our atmosphere, and the suggested answer is just amazing… 20 to 30 billion tons of dust swirling around the planet at any given time. And it doesn’t stay just in one area – dust from the Sahara can be found on every continent. The west coast gets polluted dust from China and the east coast gets it from Europe. It’s just one more example of how we’re all connected and that all of us need to pitch in to take care of the planet.

Kitchen Gadgets

I love to cook, and I love to buy things to make cooking more fun, easier, and better. I was talking with my mom about our quest for the perfect spice rack, and she told me about a really neat site – fantes.com. This site sells just about anything you could want in the kitchen! They also have great information about what all those gadgets do, which is a good thing, because sometimes I look at stuff on there and go “What the f#@% is that for?” And they very helpfully explain that a Cazuelas is a glazed terracotta cooking dish that gets better the more you use it. Who knew?

We’re looking for a new spice rack because our spices are getting totally out of control. The spice cupboard is full, and so is the area next to the stove. I counted 31 different spices between the two areas, so we need a 32-jar system. Whew! Someday we’ll get it all fixed up. For now, I’m just happy we’ve expanded our repertoire of recipes. We’ve been working on our recipe site a little bit, too. The other day, Trav created a supper dish that has become one of my top three meal choices! It’s Taco Mac and Cheese and it has all of the yummy taste of tacos but without the mess. Mmmmmm!

Turtles Galore!

Today we did a little survey of the back yard, before mowing for the first time this year, and found we have 7 active gopher tortoise holes… 2 really big ones, 4 medium size ones, and 1 small one. I had seen the small hole the other day but because it had grown over a bit, I didn’t think it was being used. But when Sadie brought us a little female turtle, we took her to the small hole and in she went! We think we have a total of three turtles living in our yard. Really neat! Here’s a picture of one of the holes we had a few years back.

Gopher Tortoise hole The tracks going out of it are from the turtle dragging its stubby little legs along. They can actually move pretty quickly when they want to… but mostly they just plod around the yard, munching grass.

The sand pile in front of the hole is called the apron, and female turtles lay their eggs in there, just a few inches under the sand. The little turtle we found today is female – males have a dent in their plastron (the shell underneath) – hers was smooth.

Sunlight Map

I just love maps. Maps for driving, maps for finding fun places to go, maps of the world. Old maps, new maps, all are interesting. Recently Trav’s brother gave us a hurricane tracking map (thanks, Mike!) but I hope that’s one gift we don’t get much use out of. Anyway, I found this really neat web page – World Sunlight Map. It shows the parts of the earth currently in shadow, in near-real time. Neat!

Go, Bunny!!

Trav found a really neat video today! It’s so true how bunnies are sproingy. And it goes to show how you can never be sure of the outcome of a fight… just like Matt Serra taking the belt from Georges St. Pierre… and Randy Couture taking the belt from Tim Sylvia. I’m definitely hooked on the UFC… can you tell? 🙂

Surprise Visitors!!

Last night Trav’s brother called and said he would be down for the weekend because he had work in Tampa on Monday morning. Yay!! They’re staying with us. Today we went to Howard Beach in Tarpon Springs. I’m pretty sure I got sunburned, I feel kinda crispy. Here’s the entrance to the beach:

Howard Park Beach

This is a good beach for kids… not too many waves and nice, soft sand. There’s grass just a ways out into the water, which I don’t like to put my feet in… it feels all mucky and nasty between my toes in that mud. Plus who knows what’s lurking in there. I got to use my snorkel mask to explore a bit today – it was nice because the water wasn’t crowded. I saw some snook and other little fish, plus a few crabs and this really strange ropy snakelike slimy thing. I hope I can figure out what that was – I just got some books about seashore life so maybe it’s in there.

While I was exploring, everybody else was busy building a sand castle which got stomped down before we left!

Storming the Castle

After the beach we had a wonderful dinner at Carrabba’s – thanks Mike and Tiff! I had one of the daily special dishes – a giant bowl of pasta with Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, sauce and caprino cheese. It was tasty which is a good thing because I brought quite a bit of it home. Trav had some of his Chicken Bryan left, too. Doh!! I just realized I didn’t collect the bread. I don’t like anything to go to waste if I can help it. Recycling at its finest!

So that was a nice day. Tomorrow everybody is coming over here for rotisserie chicken dinner with tiramisu for dessert. Mmmmmm!

Grappling can be fun!

Lately, Trav and I have gotten into watching Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts, and it made us want to take Jiu Jitsu classes. I found what looks to be a great place nearby called Gracie Tampa. Hopefully the classes won’t be too expensive. If we get to take them, I’ll be sure to report back!!