Z365: Zany continued . . .

Although I have a lot more food related zany, I don't want to forget this funny design also via Happy Mundane. It is called Mr. Wilson and I think hacking this concept is a really perfect DIY project for any household. That is all.

Mr. Wilson by Dominik Langhammer at Loony Design

Z364: Zany Food

More Playing with Your Food . . . to make completely edible googly eyes. As you do.
Also, because it is my birthday week I still want to crack myself up despite world and national news. Here is to the flying spaghetti monster via Windell H. Oskay, www.evilmadscientist.com with a very precise step-by-step for using empty capsules found at health food departments and little candies inside. I love the idea here, but felt that even the spaghetti monster looked great, it was essentially ramen noodles, marshmallow and other uninviting tastes.

For vegans, he points out that a non-gelatin capsule is available for more money. And if you aren't using marshmallow as a glue? A commenter suggested the following adhesive:
Have you tried making a 'glue' backing for the amazing googly eyes out of meringue? If I remember correctly, it's not greasy and dries to a nice, firm consistency. It is possible that one could even construct the eyes on wax paper or the like, and apply them later to whatever surface presented itself...

Vegans will have to search further or simply choose a food like I have illustrated below in lieu of needing to glue.

I found a contest run by Amy Sedaris for googly eye entries at Flickr's Googly EyePool.

A few of my favorites had food I’d not only like to eat, it is food that I would have on hand. by adding eyes, etc. - instant party food. Some are made with the non-edible eyes . . . work with me here.

The zany cheeses seem like the very best for me. A caper or a hunk of black pepper for the pupils of the eye would be tasty. I also like the various ‘hairpieces’ and the tongue hanging out.

So if you are asked to contribute to a New Years Eve party, you don’t have to spend very much if you make each little chunk ‘o cheese a character. Broccoli faces as companions? I don't have a reproducible image, but I am particularly fond of the picture I saw of drunk hard boiled eggs. Besides the black eyes, there was a slash across the middle of the egg with a julienne stip of pepper hanging out. Each egg also had a conical hat made of hard salami. These drunk eggs would look right at home with the cheese chunks.

Via Happy Mundane

363: Za’atar

At the closing of 2008 I hit the end of the alphabet for my food offerings. This post and the next were things I saved as indicative of my personality and tastes. I want to place them within this 2008 record of my life even though my mood isn’t the same as when I culled these images, ingredients and copy from the toobz. (A portion of this one was copied just to pass to my son, from Blue House Diaries blog a couple of years ago - prior to my interest in my own blog.) Today I feel real personal happiness while being wrapped in the wet blanket of shame for my country. Oh and you may have noticed the seething rage I feel for the murderous thugs who control the power in this Gov-xtian-corp run country. Some introduction for a post on spices, right?
Just to clarify, for anyone who hasn't ever had za’atar. It is a spice blend, like baharat (see below), but it's a whole different idea.

Like baharat, there is no fixed recipe. Each household adapts it to suit their own tastes. And, of course, you can buy ready-made packets at the store.

Unlike baharat, za’atar is eaten without being part of the cooking process; i.e., you dip a piece of bread into olive oil before scooping up the za'atar onto it. Za'atar can also be used as a topping for savory pastries (Manakesh bil Za'atar), and in that case is baked (or, fast way, mixed with olive oil, spread on flat bread, and broiled).
  • 4 TB sesame seeds
  • 4 TB thyme
  • 1 TB sumac
  • 2 TB marjoram
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 TB cinnamon
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 2 TB coriander
  • 1 TB ground pistachios
  • 1 TB ground almonds
Again, the recipe can be adapted to suit personal taste.

  • 4 parts black pepper
  • 4 parts paprika
  • 1 part nutmeg
  • 1 part ginger
  • 1 part cardamom
  • 1 part coriander
  • 1 part cassia (cinnamon)
  • 1 part cumin
  • 1 part cloves
So you could use 4tsp of black pepper, to 1tsp of cloves, or, 4 cups of black pepper to 1 cup of cloves.

I have not tried either. This is something I place on record so that I might try it some day. And, I feel a responsibility to share what I can about Lebanon with my son, since his father doesn't do too much of this (especially related to cooking). My mother-in-law made talamee (like this picture) every time she baked. To me, as an 18 year old Iowa girl with European ancestors and a white bread diet, it looked like she was throwing dirt on the bread. And, I remember my father-in-law, an old man when my husband was born, used to tease my ex about his beard. He told him his faced looked dirty and he nicknamed him za'atar talamee. My son likes these stories. He needs to hear the stories of family and the familiar especially because we live in a country that has painted the Arab, anyone from the Middle East as 'other' and 'them' of US v them.

Additional za'atar facts . . .

In Lebanon, there is a belief that this particular spice mixture makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za'atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam. The mixture is also popular in Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Israel and North Africa. It is also popular within the Armenian diaspora where Middle Eastern Armenians live. It is used to spice meats and vegetables, and it is also mixed with olive oil to make a spread (za'atar-ul-zayt or zayt-tu-zaa'tar) which is used as a dip for sesame rings (ka'k). Palestinians consider za'atar as one of their staple foods. In Israel, za'atar is frequently sprinkled on hummus or served with olive oil as a spread. Za'atar can also be spread on a dough base for the Middle-Eastern equivalent of a miniature pizza, also known as the manakish. It can be sprinkled on labneh (yogurt that has been drained until it becomes a tangy, creamy cheese). It can also be preserved in oil, by mixing with salt and rolling into balls, or by drying in the sun.

Please forgive me for simply posting a recipe while Gaza is being wiped out by Israel as the US and the world stands by watching. I just can’t formulate my words, my rage. The US has backed every right wing dictator in the world since World War II, while overthrowing countless democracies. The Myths America I have discovered this last year have broken my heart. I cling to visions of people in the Middle East, in Palestine, free to enjoy their foods, their families and friends without warfare and genocide using US manufactured bombs and weaponry and the Gov-Xtianist-Corp’s tacit blessing.

From Michael Moore’s website:

'Regime Change'
"The goal of the operation is to topple Hamas."
– Haim Ramon, Israeli Vice Prime Minister

Israel Rejects Calls for Truce
"... there is no room for a ceasefire ... The
Israeli army must not stop the operation before
breaking the will of the Palestinians ..."
– Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit

Update: The world is not standing by - it is US Gov-xtian-corp that is.

Z362: Zilch

Well, I tried. I called the owner’s supervisor for my mobile home park. I tried to get the space rent for this last month of the year forgiven. I ran out of money. I thought that I might point out that I have written and distributed 18 newsletters for the park this year. The owner and the staff apparently love them and use them to illustrate how happy their property residents are . . . Ahem.

It is true. I did not do any of these things for income and I enjoyed the work. But, after reading Sharon's post about paid newspaper journalists v bloggers the wheels in my brain started turning.

So, while some of the men are paid to build a fence, repair plumbing or trim a tree, there is no remuneration for this newsletter or for painting, planting, designing art projects, etc. *sigh* Happy Birthday to me. So much has been going so right, I guess I figured this was a sure thing. Silly me.

Just like our culture . . . we only allocate 'health funds' for sickness, not wellness. There is funding for breaking down and not maintaining or enhancing. Big generalizations deserving deeper study, but not just now.

I must quote Virgina Woolf.
Money dignifies what is frivolous if unpaid for.
~ Virginia Woolf

Z361: Zealots Will Not Fade Away

This fall I read a perspective by Steve Weissman at t r u t h o u t that spoke to my own belief that right wing idealogues will tenaciously hang on – even if hidden from view - no matter what changes might appear to be coming in a new administration. Just as they have since the New Deal, these far right forces in commerce and religion merely go into the shadows or get buried under conventional seeming covers. Every single level of government from local townships to the think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and international organizations like the World Bank are, and will remain, saturated.
In 1964, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona ran for president as a rock-ribbed conservative who yearned to roll back both the Soviet Empire and FDR's New Deal. He carried only six states with 52 electoral votes, and Lyndon Johnson remained the commander-in-chief that an entire generation loved to hate. Yet, even after suffering a stunning defeat, the rabidly anti-New Deal Republicans, ultra-right-wing millionaires, evangelical Christian preachers, John Birchers and other extreme anti-communists who backed Barry Goldwater went on to build the modern conservative movement that propelled Ronald Reagan into the White House.

McCain was one of Goldwater’s protégés with the same kind of backers though the agenda was “updated to account for the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of Islamist jihadists, and unbelievable persistence of the neocons, who are now trying to sell us a new war on Iran.” He utterly failed the agenda and lost the election.

But, as in the 1960's, today's anti-New Deal Republicans, ultra-right wing billionaires, right-wing evangelical preachers, and neocon ideologues will not run off with their tails between their legs. They have no shame, not even after the endless embarrassment of the Bush presidency, Wall Street's worst crisis since the Great Depression, and colonial wars we can never win in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan.

The right-wing zealots will, in fact, ratchet up the clichéd mantras that led us into most of the current ca-ca. We all know the routine:
  • Leave the free market free of government oversight and regulation.
  • Privatize Social Security and government services.
  • Pursue free trade with no protection for workers or the environment.
  • Expand American control of the world's oil and natural gas, both to benefit Big Oil and as a political weapon to control the behavior of other nations, friend and foe.
  • Talk of spreading democracy while propping up dictators.
  • Give the Pentagon a budget every year the size of the hopefully one-time Wall Street bailout.
  • Leave the military as the heart and soul of our response to militant Islam.
  • Continually break down our constitutionally-mandated separation between government and militant Christianity.

This last point is the most recent point of real concern for me. It is easy to see how this played out in the campaign with John McCain and Sarah Palin ratcheting up the xtianist hate. But, when Barack Obama selected bigoted Rick Warren for his inaugural invocation, something died within millions of us. The haters would make that selection, not our guy. Obama had handed us carloads of hope during the campaign.

Steve Weismann . . .

How, then, do the rest of us have any chance to make real the hope that Obama has inspired? I wish I had an easy answer, but reality is far too nuanced.

In terms of policy, the old certainties make no sense. The free market never would have created the Internet. Government did that, ironically enough, through the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency. But government never would have turned the Internet into the liberating force it has become. Independent capitalists and free-lance bloggers did that, though many on the business side are now trying to restrict the promise of "the freedom monster" they helped to create.

Government regulation is a similarly mixed bag. Wise regulations could have prevented the crap-shoot capitalism that is now bringing down the world's financial system. Stupid regulations, by contrast, long preserved monopolistic control of global telecommunications. In much the same way, balanced budgets sometimes make sense, and other times - like now - deeper deficits seem a far better way to go.

From passing future appropriations to creating a new regulatory framework, the devil we face will be in the details, which right-wing zealots and the vested interests they serve have learned to manipulate with earmarks and loopholes. Progressive public interest groups have also learned to play the game, but we badly need tighter regulation of lobbyists and the threat of criminal penalties to enforce absolute transparency.

And here is where my own thought for 2009 coincides with this perspective. My theme for the new year is 2009: Let the Sun Shine. Sunshine in the political sense is transparency. Our only hope is to shine very bright lights on these uncivil, greedy, racist or otherwise corrupt schemes and plans. Exposure to bright light makes the cockroaches scurry. Rats hide from the light of day. Sunshine heals infection and disease.

I found the following website. The Sunlight Foundation

Our work is committed to helping citizens, bloggers and journalists be their own best congressional watchdogs, by improving access to existing information and digitizing new information, and by creating new tools and Web sites to enable all of us to collaborate in fostering greater transparency. Since our founding in the spring of 2006, we have assembled and funded an array of web-based databases and tools including OpenCongress.org, Congresspedia.org, FedSpending.org, OpenSecrets.org, EarmarkWatch.org and LOUISdb.org. These sites make millions of bits of information available online about the members of Congress, their staff, legislation, federal spending and lobbyists.

I plan on visiting these each and every week.
This opens an incredible world of information on what our elected officials are up to in Washington. Explore and find the areas most important to you.

I also hope to meet with a local politico soon to find out how I might better utilize the resources available to me to watchdog my own city hall. I asked the question during the last election about how to look up voting records and I got no answers. This will require follow-up on my part.

And I am going to continue to write about what I learn. Besides writing in this blog, I have my little mobile home park newsletter and I want to start a blog or website of some kind for all of the other mobile home parks in my community. Low income populations are the most vulnerable and most patronized. The council members point at us and make democratic noises, but it is empty nonsense most often. In a wealthy, white community we are tokens for funding. I’d like to learn more about being an advocate for this population.

Again, let the sun shine. In this case it is a kind of message to myself to get out of my home and into the sunshine to meet and greet other people in other parks. And, I may again apply for a recently opened seat on the city council’s environmental committee. So, local and national is where I’d like to see transparency, see the sun shine.

Those who practice politics in the footsteps of Lenin, Goebbels or Karl Rove will, no doubt, find all this naive, undisciplined and even wacky. But what can I tell you? The approach I suggest is more in the spirit of what my generation of activists called participatory democracy. Now turbo-charged by the Internet, it is the best way I know to build the kind of free-wheeling progressive movement that will have the punch to keep today's hope alive.

Freedom is contagious. Try it, you'll like it.

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France.

Z360: Zero

It's a zero year. There's zero production. I've never seen anything like this before."
[ . . . ]
Simmons and Arlington naturalists began calling around. A naturalist in Maryland found no acorns on an Audubon nature walk there. Ditto for Fairfax, Falls Church, Charles County, even as far away as Pennsylvania. There are no acorns falling from the majestic oaks in Arlington National Cemetery.

"Once I started paying attention, I couldn't find any acorns anywhere. Not from white oaks, red oaks or black oaks, and this was supposed to be their big year," said Greg Zell, a naturalist at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. "We're talking zero. Not a single acorn. It's really bizarre."

Zell began to do some research. He found Internet discussion groups, including one on Topix called "No acorns this year," reporting the same thing from as far away as the Midwest up through New England and Nova Scotia. "We live in Glenwood Landing, N.Y., and don't have any acorns this year. Really weird," wrote one. "None in Kansas either! Curiouser and curiouser." (from Washington Post)

Like the disappearance of the bees, this is a strange situation. Last year there was an abundance. Sadly, this will spell starvation for some squirrels and others dependent on the acorn for food.

Full story at the Washington Post

Y359: YMCA

A nation of sheep. I remember how hilarious I thought it was that in 1978 an entire nation of Christian folks fell in love and sang along with half a dozen gay men celebrating the YMCA as a meeting place. Children, parents, old people at millions of Christian weddings jumped off their chairs and danced while singing along with the Village People. I know, I was at these functions and what part of it all in middle America. I was one of the sheeple and had a good laugh at myself several years later when I woke up and realized what the fuck the joke was. Would anyone like to guess what these same middle class adults would have said in 1978 if asked what they thought about gay marriage?

These people (my peeps) are suffering more and more in this country. But, I am lately feeling in agreement with Dark Wraith who writes the following about the sheeple of the middle class:
This is a middle class whose members think their civic duty to the body politic is to the extent of maybe voting in this or that election and then washing their hands of further, on-going, vigilant watch and action over the stewards they elect to lead them.

Yes, this American middle class is suffering; and yes, some members of that middle class—especially the young—do not deserve what is happening to them.

Perhaps those who do not deserve it, including the young lambs being led with their parents to the collective slaughter, should take up the matter with the many who do deserve it.

Live like sheep; bleat like sheep.

The silence of the lambs is, nonetheless, deafening.

We live in a land of Free Dumb and we are slowly dying from it.

Y358: Yule Cruel

Sixty-third General Assembly
Third Committee

"By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)"

Vote on Right to Food

In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Against: United States.

Merry Christmas, World! Suck an Egg.

Via Newshog
Hat tip Crooks and Liars

Y357: YouTube Wayback Music

I was 5, but I still remember every single word of the lyrics . . .

I loved the B side more than the Hippopotumus one. Another Gayla Peevey song later on was "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." These were memories of loving times and family.

Thanks to Echidne of the Snakes

Y357: Yuk it up - Playing with Your Food

I made bread bowls for our Winter Solstice Gathering in the mobile home park. We had a simple menu of chili in bread bowls and chili con queso. Ok, I was chilly – no, cold – when I came up with the idea of these comfort foods. The idea was the longest night of the year and us huddled around the fire.

I thought of the crudité and bread for cheese dipping were an opportunity to play. As it turned out, I ran out of money and energy to carve this open hand, but I really think it would have be a funny approach to use to ask for contributions. I would like to think I will one day attempt some of these more elaborate food objects. They just tickle me so.

This made me think of a post I saved for soups, stews using carrorts. I am so bored with carrots as canned carrots were one of the few vegetables growing up that were most frequently served hot in my home. And in fairness - eating cold, raw carrots is about teeth. Chewing a raw carrot with my weakened (partial assisted) bite is a pain.

But all of that is surmountable and should be. Carrots are just too fine and nutritious a food to avoid. This is why the carrot flowers are good to yuk it up.

How To Make Carrot Flowers
You're going to cut a series of long, shallow wedges along the surface of the carrot. With your left (or non-dominate hand) hold the carrot on the chopping board. Place your knife against the carrot at a (more or less) 45 degree angle. Press down to make a shallow cut, being careful not to cut all the way through. Turn the carrot around and make a matching cut to meet the first cut. Carefully wiggle your knife to dislodge the carrot wedge and set aside. Repeat five or six times around the carrot, then slice the carrot into coins.

As always when using a knife, and especially when cutting down on hard, slippery surfaces: Use common sense and be careful! Curl your fingers under on the hand that's holding the carrot in place. Don't force the wedge -- if it doesn't want to come out, then run your knife through the cuts again to make them a little deeper. You can always recut the wedge shapes once you've cut the carrots into coins, so don't force things.

Have fun and experiment. Shallow wedges make a more delicate flower, deeper wedges create a graphic, Marimekko look. Carrot flowers cook-up just like carrot coins, only they're a tiny bit more delicate so use caution when stirring them, especially once they've become cooked and soft.

What to do with the leftover wedges? I usually snack on them while I'm cooking the flowers. Or they could go into stock.

Don’t want to be a buzz kill, but I recently read a phrase and felt instantly depressed. . . . a relish tray of carrots and celery. ZOMG, it was practically the only raw vegetable my childhood menu contained. I lie, there were tomatoes and radishes placed symmetrically atop cut up iceberg lettuce sometimes. Even cucumbers were drowned in vinegar. This wasn’t just my mother’s kitchen (for any touchy family members reading), it was school lunch programs and restaurants too. It's a sorry little image from the 1950's for me. Maybe it is what drives me to search for more beauty, color and drama in food.

More Images of funny food images from all slashfood and other places reminiscent of Saxton Freemann’s book, How are you Peeling?

Hat tip WebEcoist

Y356: Yes Men

Wonderful spoof recently.
Headline: Troops To Return Immediately
By Jude Shinbin
Published: July 4th, 2009

New York City woke up this morning to find that some committed satirists had delivered unto them a remarkably well-rendered facsimile of the New York Times, filled with earnest and hopeful headlines from the future -- specifically July 4, 2009 -- in which the Iraq War is over, Bush is indicted for treason, and columnist Thomas Friedman has confessed: "I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write." According to Editor & Publisher, these fake copies of the NYT were distributed nationwide.

Gawker has followed the trail of intelligence and concluded that the parody is the work of The Yes Men -- high-concept anti-consumerist pranksters whose work in the service of humanity is documented in their 2003 self-titled movie. Their basic stock in trade is to pose as corporate or government spokespersons, gain access to high-profile events, "make shocking denigrating comments about workers and consumers, and then point out what appears to be a lack of shock or anger in the response to their prank." Wikipedia documents many of their successful exploits.

Those of you who were unable to enjoy a print copy of the parody may head to their exacting and lovingly recreated parody of the Times' website, which contains the same content.

The hoax site is worth checking out. The graphics, the columns – all funny. One of my favorites was the Tom Friedman opinion piece,

The End of the Experts?
The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write.

Some of these other images give you the idea of this wonderfully fabricated world.

I saw a documentary on the Yes Men several years ago. If you haven’t seen one, it is time to rent. These guys are brilliant. Maybe under the Obama administration we will see more creative performance art, protest actions and music.

I am sick to death of fear and hate. More joy and laughter please.

Y355: Yesterday's Women

Carol Chomsky died and I followed links. I read a comment by another who captured my immediate stirrings about Roslyn Zinn. Paraphrased . . . I feel an ache in my heart for Carol and Carolyn Goodman and Roslyn Zinn. These deaths are all deep losses for their partners, children, friends and for our country. It is comforting to imagine a coming together of these stimulating lives after they have gone. I like to magine a celebration of dancing and rejoicing that their work is done.

Mostly, these women were invisible to the patriarchal culture. Carol Chomsky and Roslyn Zinn partnered giant intellects who have kept progressive thought alive in the last decades of conservative dumbing down of the national dialog. (Dialong, schmialog . . . more like a right wing monologue of divisive, intolerant, fear mongering and torture justification.) Goodman is a mother of a slain civil rights worker who kept her activism, her dedication alive for the rest of her life, to seek justice.

How little we learn in school or in current news about what women in 20th century brought us. This is a simple tribute to these unsung women who died in 2008. There is no clear selection model I used beyond working chronilogically from the most recent deaths back to the first of this year. I just picked somewhat randomly the lives that made me want to read more, learn more. They all made a difference, made a mark in the world. Each is a life worthy of study and reflection. How wonderful if 21st century little girls would be taught about these women's lives and strengths. If you have little girls around you, keep a list of your own handy.

And though death is a natural part of our lives, something has be lost forever in their passing.

"Women Dancing" Artwork by Alma Schofield, Wales

Wings, unknown

X354: X Design

The X design, winter solstice, the sun, no money, the long night, contemplative time, current local citrus, meditation, warmth and light all come together for me when I look at this cunning little instructables project. And, if I had a child in my life I would be thrilled to do this as a beautiful exercise to illustrate living lightly on the earth.

The slide show lesson is excruciatingly detailed, but a few photos might give you the general idea. Short version, the fruit is halved, fruit removed, x cut in top and center pulp stem is surrounded with oil and lit.

A similar instructables has an edited version like this and I love the final line of the step-by-step:"Just remember, don't leave these unattended! Fire burns stuff."
The fruit used is clementines.
A clementine is the fruit of a variety of mandarin (Citrus reticulata), named in 1902. A clementine is an oblate, medium-sized fruit. The exterior is a deep orange colour with a smooth, glossy appearance. Clementines separate easily into eight to fourteen extremely juicy segments. They are remarkably easy to peel, like a tangerine, but lack the tangerine's sourness and seeds.

I suspect the ease of peeling is the primary reason it is used for this candle, but I have Myer lemons available from a neighbor’s tree and I think I need to give it a try.

I remember years ago doing an orange meditation. I was directed to spend 20 minutes a day looking at the orange and letting all of its ‘orangeness’ unfold. There is a vast amount of life and metaphor within this orange globe. It was a good experience, aside from feeling guilty when I skipped and feeling useless when my mind went berserker on me.

2009 Let the Sun Shine

I think I might pull that meditation out of deep storage and use it this upcoming year. Simple is good.