07 July 2010

Catch A Falling Star

My last post got me thinking of star gazing and how much I love looking at the night sky.That's one of my biggest memories of  being younger - laying on the grass and looking at all the stars.  Migosh you have a lot more time when you're a kid!

I remember Alice Knight's big brother asked me out for a night of meteor shower watching in their back yard on inner tubes and after accepting I chickened out at the last minute.  He probably thought I didn't like him, but he was very nice, just older and I was afraid he would put moves on me I wouldn't know how to handle.

That has nothing to do with this post.... I just still feel bad about it.  I was always ditching dates because I was a big scaredy cat of boys.  I guess I should say afraid of non-mormon boys.  Not that mormon boys were guaranteed to behave, but they at least knew better and you could give them a disapproving look and threaten to tell their mother. I have no idea why I keep talking about this...

So.... I was wondering if there was any jewellry out there that caught how I felt about stars and space and living in the space age, and after probing the final frontiers of the internet,  here's what I found.  (There was a cute Sputnik charm bracelet, too, but they sold it. It's ok, though, just knowing there were Sputnik charm bracelets is as good as owning one)

 1.   Crystal Cuff by Space Mermaid
 2.   Space Necklace by Blackberry Winter, earth friendly jewellry
 3.   Moon and Star Pendant by Markdefrates
 4.   Nantan Star Meteorite Pendant by Meteorites For Sale 
 5.   Glass Necklace by Erica Rosefeld via Haute Nature
 6.   Simply Steamy lapel pin by Nouveaumotely via Etsy
 7.   Dream Necklace by Space Mermaid
 8    Crown Tifari Starburst Pin and Earrings by The Two Sisters, via Rubylane
 9.   Asymmetrical Star Disk Earrings by chaosandlament on Etsy
10.  Blue Moon Pendant by Jacob Albee Goldsmith
11.  Rocket Cufflinks by Space Age Jewelry via Alphaville
12.  Miss Wax Space Necklace via The Giant Peach13.  Green Stars Resistor Earrings by digiBling via Etsy

I Had No Idea

image via this article

I'm not sure why or what it is I'm feeling, but when I look at this recent image of a new star cluster from NASA, my heart beats faster in my chest and my eyes begin to sting from tears. Hubble has got to be one of my favourite inventions ever.

Image via this article
The next picture, of the far side of the moon,  catches my breath, too. I don't know why, there's just such an undeniability about it.  You look at it and you realise, wow, we really are surrounded by cold. vast. space.  The bright star at the top is Venus.

Thanks to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), NASA is now getting more clear, detailed images of the moon than ever before. According to this article in Space.com they can now see individual boulders; rilles (sinuous channels that look like river beds or lava tubes.  Umm...Tremors anyone?);
they've discovered the lost Russian robotic rover Lunokhod 1, missing since 1970 (! Can you believe it?! The whole idea just captures the imagination! I hope it's been collecting data all this time!); and they can even see where the astronauts walked (sorry conspiracy theorists.... oh wait, maybe they faked these photos.... but they would've known we would think that, so therefore we cannot....wait a min....they only think we guessed wrong, that's what's so funny!.....never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!)

What's even more cool, is now that they've amassed all this fresh information, they could use the public's help in analyzing the photos and counting boulders, etc.  How fun is that?!  I'm so going to do that.

05 July 2010


I've been sick for four or five days now, with an off-again, on-again sore throat.  This ad by Tylenol pretty much sums up my lifelong remedy of choice for sore throats - but I don't need any medicine doped in my Popsicle, thank you.  Popsicles are medicine. They work far better than any cough drop, they feel like a treat so they pull you out of sickie depressions, they come in sugarless varieties so you don't have to worry about sugar killing all your white blood cells, they come in  fun shapes, they're cheerful, they're colourful, they last a fairly long time so they're a guaranteed five to ten minutes of pain-free distraction, and they're cheap!

My Aunt Eleanor made the best grape popsicles.   All the grownups in my world made their posicles out of kool-aid, but for some reason her's tasted extra vibrant. It took me years to develop a recipe that approximated hers.  I think her secret was that she must have doubled the kool-aid packages without doubling the sugar, and maybe one of her packages was grape and the other was lemonade?  Not quite hers but very close.  And sometimes when I want an extra kick I do two grapes to one lemonade. That last slurp is a doozy.

I've been looking online for fun ice pop molds, (not that there's anything wrong with the traditional paper cup ones!)  These Hog Wild Zoo Pops are pretty cool in a Jumanji sort of way.  I bet they don't look this intricate and etched when regular people make them though...  (What!? No truth in advertising you say?)

These Swirly Popsicle molds by Orka are all that and a bag of chips.  They're lickable unfilled!

These Yellow Groovy Ice Molds by Tovolo are understated, but I think they'd look really good made into:

Easy, Creamy, Lemon Dream Popsicles (via Whipped)
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 pinch salt
1 2/3 cup buttermilk

Whisk sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in 4-cup measuring cup until sugar dissolves. Whisk in buttermilk.
Divide mixture among ice pop molds. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.

If you find these Sailsicles by Cuisipro anywhere let me know!  They were all the rage two years ago but now I can't find them anywhere :(

Red, White, and Blue

Female images were not allowed 
in print under Taliban Rule

One of my callings is to design our church's bulletin every week, and, it being Independence Day, this Sunday's cover was all about the Declaration of Independence.  Part of the quote I used, from Ezra Taft Benson's talk "Our Priceless Heritage", has been pinging around in my head all week: 

At issue was the fundamental question of whether men’s rights were God-given or whether these rights were to be dispensed by governments to their subjects. This document proclaimed that all men have certain inalienable rights. In other words, these rights came from God. Therefore, the colonists were not rebels against political authority, but a free people only exercising their rights before an offending, usurping power
I've got to admit that a little part of me was thinking this was convenient on the colonist's part.  They make a deal to move to the America's on the Queen's dime, and then when it turns out to be a land filled with opportunities, they give themselves a moral, ethical reason for being able to part ways and basically steal it all. Revisionist history written by the victor.

Then this week I saw James Reeve's Banned.  A photo essay of things happening now in Afghanistan that were banned under Taliban rule.  And all of a sudden I really appreciate the distinction of inalienable rights, and am grateful to those who made it.

(The first James Reeve link leads to the text explanation of the photographs, the second leads to the photo essay itself, and the link on inalienable rights leads to an article from The Hickory Daily Record that talks about how radical the concept of inalienable rights was in 1776.)

01 July 2010

But That Was My Tantrum

There's language in the subtitles of this, which I apologize for, I don't know how to change that.  I can't help but show it though, because I SO AGREE!

A Wooden Leg Named Smith

Artificial Legs left behind at hotels

Guys have an entirely different attitude about prosthetics than girls do. M for Amazing was with our son, Mvich, doing something manly man with a chainsaw, and they were both having a great time when Mazing teased, "Yeah, but are you still going to like being with me when I'm bald, eating mushed bananas, and have a wooden leg?" Mvich's eyes lit up and he blurted out, "Heck yes, more!"

And then they talked like pirates for the rest of the day.

A guy has to get pretty snarled up before he considers it a detriment. Scars, body parts that bend wrong or are missing, jagged gaping pus wounds - all pretty much enthusiastically embraced by boys.  Yet I can remember being tiny and hearing about women in the old ages who were scarred by small pox, and even at that small age I felt that would be horrific.  I immediately began planning my strategy in case anything like that ever happened to me.  I decided I would wear pretty scarves and veils and didn't worry about it anymore because I thought my eyes were the prettiest part of me anyway.  I was young and innocent and didn't realise that eyes can go missing, too.

This all came back to me when a man with a prosthesis passed me on the sidewalk a few days ago.  I stared. Blatantly.  But not out of rudeness - out of sheer envy.  It was awesome.  Sleek metal, beautifully functioning, totally exposed, with the minimalist elegance of an Eames Hair Pin coffee table leg. This was an accessory.  I was enthralled.  Why can't girl's prosthetics be that cool?  Maybe they are, maybe I just haven't paid attention?  So I looked them up.

No, they're not, not really.  They function, but they're not what you would call adornments. Which is quite a missed opportunity if you think about how much girls like to accessorize, decorate, and embellish. I've begun planning for the future again.  (I do that a lot, I can't ever drive anywhere without looking out the window and thinking, "That would be a good place to live if I ever become homeless...") I've picked out veils, vintage Vera Neumann scarves from Etsy, and Venetian Masks. (After researching those I'm dying to go The Carnival of Venice - I always thought that was just a child's song!) If things are really drastic, I now know about Robert Barron, an ex-CIA Master of Disguise who devotes his time to making super-realistic silicone masks and false limbs for people whose disfigurement severely impacts their ability to socialize and be part of the world flow. Be forewarned about following his link, though, while his talents and what he does with them is uplifting, some of the victim's stories are graphic and will make you weep at mankind's capacity for cruelty.

Robert Barron's handcrafted prosthetics
I'm not trying to make light of the suffering that goes on in people's lives, physically and emotionally.  I actually want that to be diminished, if not outright obliterated.  Bodies are just physical representations of ourselves, a way to get from one place to another, a way to do, a way to interact.  The world view of what denotes a "perfect body" is pretty messed up.  (I like that Christ was considered perfect not because he was good looking, but because his body worked and wasn't broken)

Sarah Leen Nat Geo
Skinprosthetics: silicone mask
Our physical looks are a lot like spelling.  Supposedly the whole point of writing is to communicate a thought from your brain into another. Spelling is an aid to avoid confusion. A tool. That's all. But it's become more.  Spell incorrectly and people make judgments about you. Even though they perfectly understand what you said; even though you've succeeded in your goal. They will see you as inferior, uneducated, not intelligent.  In a perfect world this wouldn't happen.

It's never going to be a perfect world.

geisha image via steampunk image via
So why should poor spellers and amputees have to spend their lives walking against the massive world tide? Exhausting. Unfair. A waste of time.  Spellers have spell check, people with physical concerns should have options that feel like an extension of themselves, another way to personalize, an aid to interaction. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could playfully switch out our looks in real life, the way we do on our computer avatars?  One day we could be a delicate, porcelain geisha and the next day rock  steampunk steel?  Or maybe just don large sunglasses and a vintage silk scarf ala Grace Kelly? Or wear our super hero mask? Put on an arm as intricately engraved as a piece of ivory? Or one with coloured anodized aluminum flowers and peace signs?

I think artificial aids should be so cool we'd all want one.