It doesn't take long....

Just a few days after Christmas, there are 1834 listings on trademe (NZ version of ebay) under the category of 'unwanted gifts'. I hope none of the gift-givers decided to check on their gifts.


Merry Christmas!

Pohutukawa --NZ Christmas tree


One Minute on New Year's Day

What a fabulous way to start the new year--praying for someone else, in circumstances beyond our comprehension!!

I stole  got this from Recovering Church Lady today and wanted to help out. She got it from  Ignite the Fire at Building His House.

One Prayer, Many Nations 
The purpose of the New Years Day Concert of Prayer is to focus our hearts, minds and spirits together in praying for the abolishment of the international sex trade. Unifying our hearts, with intent, causes the Father to hear and respond.
Join us anytime on New Years Day. A simple prayer will be provided for you to pray or to use as a guide in prayer. It is not how much we say, but the heart behind our prayers that is heard.
Speak the prayer in your heart or out loud. Join with others, give it to your friends and set a time of the day or even create a Skype call with those you know around the globe. Be creative as you desire. We want you to have freedom to express in your own way, yet focused on a common thought.
One day human trafficking will be a thing of the past, today it is a insult to our societies, our intelligence and our faith. Prayer has power, God listens when we speak. One Prayer - Many Nations! is a piece in the puzzle fighting for the abolishment of human trafficking.
Please join us New Years Day and pour your prayers with others from around the globe.
Thank you,Byron


Please spread the word!


Speaking English

When I started this blog, I put a lot of thought into the 'description' (the words under the title at the top). I thought NZ culture would be something that I 'got over' and used to, but NZ English still messed with my head, even after 6 years.

Like these:

Sausages look like a fat American hot dog, but boy, they don't taste the same. There's nothing American that I can compare it with, but thanks to a persistent husband, I have found that  'frankfurters' are, indeed, what an American hot dog tastes like. And something called 'kranskies' are the same taste and texture as polish sausage. Yum.

Bacon is a strange thing to get used to. NZ bacon looks like a hunk cut off a ham and sliced up, usually about 6-inches across. You can get several types of bacon, but they still look like ham to me. American  bacon is called 'streaky bacon' here.

Jelly is jello and, of course, jam is what I want to call jelly.

Pudding is a general word for dessert and 'custard' is what I think of when I hear 'pudding'.

I have conceded that I won't get Italian sausage on my pizza from any of the pizza places here, even Domino's. I can find it in the supermarket occasionally and make my own, and that's more fun, anyway.

I have also realized that any sort of American type of cake will only come from my oven. The big thing here is called lamingtons which care basically sponge cake dipped or spread with stuff like chocolate or jam and coconut. They also like pavlova, which is a cross between a meringue and sponge cake. There's nothing wrong with these sweets but it's just not very filling like American stuff.

I have convinced my family that good ol' pound cake is the way to go for cake. Of course, any cake that calls for shortening is out of the question here since it costs about $7 for 8 ounces. Yep, you read that right. Don't get me started on the prices of other things here.....

The longer I'm here the more I am resigned to the prices and lack of availability of things here. Maybe some day they won't be a shock and maybe some day I won't have to translate from American to Kiwi before I understand what we're talking about, but that hasn't happened yet.

*edit*  I just learned that letterbox is English and mailbox is American, the former being simply a slot in the door through which mail is deposited. The mailbox, of course, being a container for mail. Who knew?!


Kitty crack

For the second time, we got a free package of these treats in the mail last week. I don't know what they put in them, but I've never seen a cat actually beg for anything like ours does for these things.

It's truly like Grace is on crack and looking for another 'hit' any way she can get it. Hubby rationed them 3 at a time for her, but that didn't stop her following him around and meowing like there was no tomorrow. I had never seen her so aggressive, and she sure was his best buddy. Until she figured out that she wasn't getting any more. 
I've never seen anything like it.

The guy across the street had trouble feeding his cat anything else after he 'treated' his kitty to some of these things--she wouldn't eat for days, waiting for her fix.

I wonder how the makers of this kitty crack could use their power for good...? They certainly get a cat's attention.


5 years of being married

It's hard to believe that today marks 5 years of a marriage begun in a boat in the Tasman Sea...

...with a reception on the beach of fish and chips and a John Deere cake

A lot of living and loving and changing and coming and going has happened since that day and I wouldn't change a minute of it. There's still a lot to do here, on this South Pacific island and I plan to enjoy it all with my sweet Hubby, whether it's mooing out the car window at cows or just enjoying a walk in the park.

Or have a few more giggles like when  the little girl in this picture told us that she wanted to sit on this bench with her brother and there was one 'over there' we could sit on. I asked her if she could say, 'Please' and when she did, we got up to move.

We heard someone from their table say, 'Did she just throw those two off the bench?'.
Hubby just smiled and nodded and said, 'Yes, she did!' as we walked away. Hay, you can't have what you want if you don't speak up!

Here's to another year of strange things to giggle about. Happy anniversary, Kev!


it's all in the editing

For those that have asked about some of my 'larger than life' photos, rest assured that it's not because my camera is super-expensive or has special powers :) It's all in the post-editing.

I took these 11 photos of a huge tree beside a building (yes, I repeated one to fill in the small squares of the mosaic) and used autostitch to combine them into one beautiful scene. Click here for the autostitch download.and/or more information. *EDIT* The mosaic was done in photoscape, too.

Of course, the finished scene is not perfect, so I cropped the shot to include what I want to have in the final photo.

Then I used the clone brush in photoscape to fill in the edges. Click here for the photoscape download and more information.


Of course, sometimes, I just can't leave well enough alone, so I used the 'threshold' button on photoscape to create this:

Please feel free to ask any questions about any of these processes in a comment or email me at tenfootheart (at) gmail (dot) com.


The end is near!

The End Is Near!

I was always perplexed about the prophecy in Daniel and how it related to the prophecy in Revelation. I only knew what I was told by pastors and theology students and didn't really know what resources to used to figure out for myself what it really meant.

I learned about this book, The end is Near! from one of my bloggy friends, Belle, over at Good Morning, God as she  posted the book a chapter at a time. 

I was very impressed at how somebody like me--who has trouble thinking 'outside the box'--could instantly see what was going on.

It was written by her sister, Elizabeth, and is published on 'Lulu', a self-publishing site that I didn't know existed. 

I bought the ebook for less than $4.00 and now, I feel like I actually understand those two prophetic books a whole lot more!

Thanks, Belle, for telling us about the book and thanks, Elizabeth, for writing it!



R.I.P. Wheelie

Our street only has 3 houses on each side and connects to a dead-end street at one end. So, we don't have a lot of traffic at all. Just now and then somebody is driving by to the main road.

Yesterday, I was watching Wheelie, our second cat, as she skulked around outside the neighbor's house across the street. They have a cat that is about the same age and coloring as Wheelie and I know they have met before (the neighbor said that Wheelie has mad herself at home inside!) but I've never seen them interact.

They never did see each other and when Wheelie decided to dart back home, I was horrified to see her get run over by the only car I saw in two hours. I'm sure I saw both front wheels hit her tiny body, but she got up and ran under the porch (her safe place) like she was just fine.

I yelled to Hubby and he went to find her. After quite a few minutes, Hubby ended up prying some boards off to drag her out. When he brought her into the house, I knew something terrible was wrong.

My brave Hubby called the vet and took her in, only to find that she had too many internal problems to survive.

We only got her in January (click here for her introduction and here for some pictures) but I think we gave her a good home for that short time.

Rest in peace, Wheelie.


are we the last to have this?

For a few weeks now we have had tv ads from Coke about 'share a coke' campaign. And, of course, there are huge banners and ads at the stores, too.

Have you seen these in your part of the world? If you have, how long have they been around? I'd really love to know, so if you'd tell me in a comment, I'd appreciate it so much!


Everybody talks about the weather....

Even though I live on an island in the South Pacific, it's a bit farther south than the image that comes to mind when you hear the words 'South Pacific'. But that's ok because it's about the same distance from the equator as the state of Kansas, and I found that the weather isn't usually drastic one way or the other except for the fact that that living with a mountain between us and the ocean causes us to have a lot of rain.

But, it was a good surprise to find that most of the weather is very tolerable, even for someone like me, who doesn't like to be cold, cool, or anything but warm at any time. That being said, I still find it a bit chilly at night, every night, even in the summer and I usually turn on my side of the electric blanket for a while each night because I cannot sleep when I'm not warm.

So, you can understand my confusion when, last night, just being well into spring, I was still in shorts with the windows open at 11 o'clock at night and didn't have to turn on any heat at all to sleep until about 5am. I was ecstatic and terribly hopeful. It seems so wonderful and I thought it might be a good sign of the weather turning really, really nice for a change.

Alas, today, we awoke to the normal spring weather, rainy and nippy. But, I'm still hoping that maybe this year's weather will bring me a few more nice, warm surprises.


I can only imagine

If you need a bit of inspiration today, it's here in this video.


New things since I arrived - Repeat

This is a repeat from March 2009.

US vs NZ list

I was thinking the other day about things that I never  would  have done if I hadn't moved to a whole new life on the other side of the globe.  As I wrote them down, Hubby reminded me of more.

I'm sure it will lengthen as time goes by, but for now, here's the list of things I never thought I would do:
  • pull weeds
  • worry about balanced meals
  • buy brown eggs at the store
  • snuggle on the sofa (I didn't own one in KS)
  • be chased by waves
  • watch the Simpsons
  • dust
  • recycle
  • hang clothes out to dry
  • consider myself responsible for wild ducks
  • grow my own tomatoes
  • see dolphins swim alongside a boat
  • take a zillion pictures
  • grow flowers in an old work boot
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a ferry boat
  • do the 'titanic' pose on a charter boat after my wedding vows
  • hike through woods to see a waterfall
  • stand on the beach at midnight
  • wonder if flowers need moving for more sunlight
  • check homework
  • look 200 feet straight down while standing on a window 
  • compost
  • turn a plot of grass into a flower bed
  • watch BBC programs
  • search for John Deere tractors
  • buy furnishings from the internet
  • see sea anemones up close
  • read the back of a seed package
  • text proficiently
  • sit in a tennis-court size hot pool
  • chase trains
  • kick a soccer ball around
  • hear about--much less actually see--glowworms in a cave
  • ride a train for pleasure
  • learn some English history
  • buy Swan plants to attract caterpillars
  • drink instant coffee on a regular basis
  • have a pet cat
  • call the bush beside the pond 'George'
Looking back over this list, it seems I was saved from a life of boredom.


A lifetime commitment

Stratford has several parks in town and one of them has a pond where people feed the ducks on a regular basis. In fact, this pond was one of the first places that Hubby showed me when I got to New Zealand.

In the 6 years that I have been here and visited the pond, there is always just one white goose among the ducks. I've seen a pair of white ducks on occasion, but never more than the one lonely goose.

I know that geese mate for life and I guess Goosy has lost his/her partner along the way. But that hasn't deterred him/her from another mate of sorts because Goosy has found a duck as a constant companion. They always swim together. You can tell they are together because the goose will protect the duck from any and all intruders.

I find much solace in this simple observation at the duck pond.

I suppose this could be a life lesson for all of us who would pay attention. If you are willing to take a chance, a true friend doesn't have to look like you.


Happy tail: How the Internet changed ’floating dog’s’ life

Happy tail: How the Internet changed ’floating dog’s’ life

Knowing he might be only days away from having to euthanize his beloved dog of 19 years, John Unger wanted a friend to take a picture of the two of them together one last time.
Courtesy Julie McGarvie Unger
"I've taken him for walks on trails that we haven't been on in three years."
The resulting photo of Unger floating peacefully in Lake Superior while comforting his ailing shepherd mix, Schoep, went viral after photographer Hannah Stonehouse Hudson posted it on her Facebook page on Aug. 1. The subsequent outpouring of online donations has allowed Unger to afford treatments to help alleviate his dog's condition, and he is cherishing the newfound time that he has with Schoep. As best as I can guess, the treatments have turned back the clock on his life about a year-and-a-half to two years,’’ Unger told TODAY.com. “I’ve taken him for walks on trails that we haven’t been on in three years. He’s not dragging his back legs like he was before. To be able to do that again with him, words can’t even describe the feeling.’’
The arthritic dog has been receiving weekly laser therapy for the past 45 days in addition to a daily glucosamine supplement and pain pill. Schoep also has a special elevated dog bowl that prevents him from having to lean down as far to eat. Lake Superior is too cold for Unger and Schoep to take any more swims until next spring, but Unger is able to take regular walks with a companion that has been with him since he and his then-fiancee adopted him as a rescue dog nearly 20 years ago. 
The viral photo was a game changer.
“Literally overnight, I went to bed and the next day when the photo went viral, it was a whole new ballgame for me and for Schoep,’’ Unger said. “It’s still overwhelming for me in a sense. I knew the amount that was coming in would be way over the limit that Schoep was going to need for the rest of his life. I just thought, ‘I have to give back.’’’
Courtesy Julie McGarvie Unger
Donations from strangers online have allowed John Unger's dog, Schoep, to receive laser treatment for his arthritic condition.
The result of that impulse is the newly-created non-profit Schoep Legacy Foundation, which is dedicated to the improvement of animal and human welfare, Unger said. The foundation has already collected $25,000 in donations. The funds exceeding the cost of the care for Schoep will go toward helping low-income families in the area near Unger’s home in Bayfield, Wis., take care of older pets as well as assist in the spaying and neutering of pets. When the money started pouring in, Unger spoke with Hudson as well as Schoep’s veterinarian, Dr. Erik Haukass, and they suggested creating the foundation.
“Now that we have started this foundation, it’s a pretty incredible feeling that I can help the people in this area and start thinking of other non-profit organizations to donate to or partner with throughout the rest of the United States,’’ Unger said. “I’m just so excited that I’ll be able to give back in some certain way.’’
Courtesy Julie McGarvie Unger
John Unger and Schoep dry off after recently taking their final dip in Lake Superior until next spring.
It is the perfect legacy for a dog has been with Unger through some of the hardest times of his life, including a fateful day on the banks of Lake Michigan years ago.
“I went out on the breakwater and I was thinking about committing suicide,” he told TODAY.com in August. “And I was out there for about an hour just thinking about things and it came to the point of me thinking, ‘OK, this is the time.’ And I looked down at Schoep and I don’t know what it was ... he had a look like no other time he looked at me. I look back at it now and he knew something was wrong.”
Unger did not really have any pictures of the two together, which led him to call Hudson after getting a grim diagnosis from the veterinarian in late July. One photo later and the online community changed everything for a man who said he is new to the Internet and Facebook and does not own a cell phone.
“It’s astonishing the support we’re receiving,’’ he said. “It’s been 6-and-a-half weeks that I have had extra time with Schoep rather than putting him down, and I cherish every day.’’
For more information on the Schoep Legacy Foundation go to www.johnandschoep.com
Courtesy Julie McGarvie Unger
Unger is cherishing every day with Schoep.


Things I never thought I'd do - repeat

Another early post repeat

Things I had never done...part deux

When I was looking at the first list of things I had never done and thinking about things I never thought I would ever do in my life, I realized that the list has updated a bit since that post. Welcome to my world.

  • get excited to see Pepsi on the grocery store shelf
  • take my phone everywhere
  • bake fun treats
  • play Skip-Bo on a regular basis
  • consider (and actually get) our version of TiVo
  • search for brand names that I recognize from the US
  • never shop at Wally World
  • search unsuccessfully for popcorn to pop on the stovetop
  • see deer, alpaca and llama farms along the main roads
  • pay $100 to fill up the gas tank
  • see sea anemones
  • ponder insulation
  • cheer out loud when I heard Doritos are coming to NZ
  • enter local photo contests
  • wonder how old the tv shows are and smile to find out when one is less than two years old
  • drive a big station wagon
  • see lighthouses
  • have a bridge built for me
  • get excited to find something that tastes like hot dogs (frankfurters) and polish sausage (kranskies)
  • ride a gondola up a mountain
  • take an interest in the Maori language to see what town names mean
  • rarely leave the house without my camera
  • see ads on tv that I think are tacky and tasteless
  • buy fresh veggies every payday
  • make bottle rockets with vinegar and baking soda
  • experiment with 'exotic' cheeses while looking for a substitute for Meunster
  • have a clothes dryer hung upside down over the washer
  • call orange road cones 'rabbits'
  • see geysers and boiling mud up close and personal
  • eat Vegemite
  • see black swans, wild pukekos, waxeyes, kiwis, wild goats, fantails, tuis
  • be aware when American tv shows are on--as opposed to BBC or cable stations that are mostly through Australia


Trivia - A repeat post

More NZ trivia

My first post of NZ trivia can be found here. I thought I'd give you a little more to wonder about marvel at from this strange interesting place.

  • NZ has about 600 museums and art galleries.
  • The first white women to arrive were escaped convicts from Australia in 1806.
  • 'Cervena' is the trade name for farm-raised NZ deer.
  • Prostitution was decriminalized in 2003.
  • In 1898, 'old age pension' was introduced in NZ, the first of it's kind in the world. 
  • The 'widow's pension' became law in 1911.
  • There are 30 species of fleas here.
  • NZ's first record-pressing plant opened in Wellington in 1948. The first record produced was 'Buttons and Bows' by Dinah Shore.
  • Leonard Deogood was a Charlie Chaplin impersonator who starred in several NZ comedies in the 1920's.
  • Color TVs came to NZ in 1973.
  • 23,000 NZers worked on the Lord of the Rings movies.
  • The international date line passes about 160 kilometers from Gisborne.
  • Gavin McCormick formed his own political party, called "The Pull Yourself Together Party".
  • New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.
  • Pygmy pines grow in the alpine regions of NZ.
  • Kaimanawa horses are a feral breed that roam in the Kaimanawa mountains of the northern island.


Early post repeat

This is a repeat from 01-09.

Well, it's getting to be summer again.  It was 40C [which is 104F for my yankee friends] today. I do love the warm much more than I despise the cold and hubby has promised that we will move someplace much warmer when the kids are a bit older.    Until then, the summer pjs that I brought with me from Kansas will, most likely, stay in the drawer, since the nights are quite chilly under the mountain and I've only worn them one night since I've been here.

This, my friends, is some of the best surfing in the world--or so I am told.  This is in the southern part of Taranaki.  Personally, I will just take someone else's word for it because I have no intentions of taking up the sport.  Maybe the biggest reason is that I have never really lived close to an ocean, so I feel very insignificant when I stand on the shore and I'm pretty sure that the water wouldn't be upset if it swept me out to my doom.

There is an interesting story behind this rock.  Keeping in mind the aforementioned fact that the surfing is great here, apparently at the end of this road is one of the best places for it.  Locals, however, are reluctant to share the tides and beach with those pesky visitors that want to surf, so they would tear down the street signs to Stent Road. They did it so many times that the local sign-putter-uppers got tired of replacing the signs and just painted the name of the road on the rock.  No more worry about signs--however, the do have to repaint the name occasionally when it gets whitewashed. 

At Waverley [also in southern Taranaki], we were greeted one day with red seaweed littering the sands.  That was so very cool to see.  It seems that it is a bit rare but it has commercial potential.  Find out more by clicking here.
For those who are keeping up with the duckling situation, the total to date is 12 broods with over 70 ducklings! A brood of 7 showed up the day after Christmas and a Mom with a lone baby appeared today.  Yes, I still think they are adorable especially now that most of the others have found somewhere else to call home but we are still going to net the pond.  I'm sure the grass won't grow half as well without duck poo everywhere, but cleaning it up....  


Nancy Wake, the White Mouse


Nancy Wake was born in New Zealand and was the most decorated servicewoman of WWII. A notorious spy, she was born August 30, 1912.

With a roar that makes both her name and nickname seem quaintly ironic this is Nancy at 89: "Somebody once asked me, 'Have you ever been afraid?' ... Hah! I've never been afraid in my life." The Sunday Times (South Africa) describes her as a real-life Charlotte Gray "whose exploits with the French Resistance make Sebastian Faulks's fictional Charlotte Gray - read like an Enid Blyton girls' school frolic."

You can read more here...http://www.nzedge.com/heroes/wake.html

Click here to see her book, 'The White Mouse'.


I guess guilt was his downfall

Here in NZ, 'boy racers' are those young, disrespectful punks that have loud engines and leave tire marks on the road at all hours of the day or night--mostly, night.

And, in just about every neighborhood, there is one house that has one boy racer associated with it. Ours is no different. That house is the one that has cars parked all over the yard garden with little kids' toys strewn about.

Most of the time there is no problems between neighbors, but on weekends, there is an extra car that shows up and, upon its departure, drives around the block with its loud muffler, spinning tires and being annoying in the wee hours of the morning. I just put up with being awakened now and then, thinking there wasn't much to be done.


I had an idea.

I figured anything was worth a shot, so I went with it. I would let them think I was taking pictures of this particular car and then let them assume whatever they liked about what would happen with said pictures.

So, the next weekend, I waited until I heard a noisy car stop at 'that' house and then I stood on the porch front sun room and pointed my camera their way and let the flash go off several times, making sure they saw it as they 'worked' on the engine. Then I waited until the car drove past my house and made sure the flash went off a few more times as they went by.

The pictures were quite blurry and certainly didn't show any distinguishing details, but they apparently did the trick.

I haven't heard that loud car at any wee hours since. I guess guilt on their part worked to my definite advantage.


Tips from a cult

I don't usually watch or even listen to Dr Oz on tv. His followers remind me of a cult and it creeps me out.

But, today I had it on in the background and heard some shopping tips that were interesting.

Most of the information from his guest makes sense and was enlightening. But the one thing that caught my interest is the 'fact' that those who shop in a clock-wise movement spend less money. Hmmm.Who knew? (Besides, of course, the researchers who make a living finding out these things.)

Of course, we don't get the newest of any programs here, so I don't know when this show aired, but I found the 'facts' online at Dr Oz Fans dated April 2.
You can read the rest of the list by clicking this link.



Volcano erupts in NZ

The first eruption in over 100 years at Mt Tongariro may spark months, weeks or even years of volcanic activity - but poses no immediate risk to the community.
Mt Tongariro rumbled into life at 11.50pm last night, sending ash and rock a kilometre into the air and across roads, prompting a potential threat warning for central North Island regions.
The "small scale" eruption was a total surprise, GNS volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said.
It threw rocks and spewed ash from the Te Mari craters, near Ketetahi hot springs, on the northern side of the mountain, GNS Science said.
Five to 15 milimetres of ash blanketed nearby properties.


Read more here




Both Grace (on the left) and Wheelie think my right shoulder is the best place in the universe to sleep. And I have learned how to lean so that the cat doesn't fall off and I can still type with both hands.

 Now that Wheelie is getting bigger and braver, they don't fight and actually try to share my right shoulder. There's not enough room, of course, so the second arrival tries to make the left shoulder home. It never works.

And if the shoulder isn't available, any other part of me is optional. Apparently.

Hubby calls me 'the crazy cat lady.'


Do you remember??

A friend sent me a link for some nostalgia from the 50's. Wait for the clowns. They don't make 'em like this any more.

Click here for the home page of 'You Remember That'.


My name is Betty and I'm a cheapoholic

Yes, indeed, I am pathetic at spending money.  

This week, both of the grocery suppliers for chain stores had incredible deals on money off for gas petrol. If you spend $100, you get 15cents off a liter. If you spend $200, you get 25cents off. If you spend $300, you get 35cents off and if you spend $400, you get a whopping 50cents off a liter.

Not a gallon, a liter. That's almost $2 off per gallon.

We got our 50cents off, but we almost didn't. 

'Why?' you may ask. Well, because I've always been cheap and it's just a part of me to spend as little as possible on any given item.

See, I usually spend just over $400 every two weeks a fortnight on groceries, so it shouldn't have been a problem at all to get the maximum cents-off. But I decided to go to the local store and went shopping at 7pm (they close at 8), neither of which I usually do. To my dismay, they were more than a bit low on meat.

Not a worry. We can do this. So, in addition to the rest of my regular shopping, I have the thought in my head that I should pick up some 'extra' things to be sure I get to my quota of $400. 

I'm looking at everything as I slowly roll down the aisles even though there's not a lot of comparative shopping to be done and I am happily trying different pastas and some frozen meats that I usually don't buy. I'm taking my time and deciding of the family will like some new stuff. 

Then I catch myself. 

I am still looking for the lowest prices.

I start giggling to myself because my brain knows that I need to spend money but my penny-pinching heart won't let me do it without a fight. 

In the end, I just passed the $400 mark.

The cheapness is strong in this one.


They sound plausible

I love trivia. Most word and phrase origins are lost in antiquity, but I really enjoy finding 'facts' that make sense. I don't know if the following 'facts' have any basis in reality, but I don't care. I like the sound of them, so please don't tell me they are wrong. You can't prove they are wrong any more than I can prove they're right!

In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor.   Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge.  They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title 'Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'

Did you know the saying "God willing and the Creek don't rise" was in reference to the Creek Indians and not a body of water?  It was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century.  He was a politician and Indian diplomat.  While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington .  In his response, he was said to write, "God willing and the Creek don't rise."  Because he capitalized the word "Creek" it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.
In George Washington's days, there were, obviously, no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted.  Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms.  Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted.  Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more.  Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.'   (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)

As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs.   Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes.   The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.


Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions.  When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.'  Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'.  In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt;therefore, we get the expression 'losing face.'


Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced' wore a tightly tied lace.

Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.'  To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead.  Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'

Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars.  They were told to 'go sip some Ale and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times.  'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'

 At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming.  She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the phrase 'minding your 'P's and Q's'.


In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls.  It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck?

The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen.  Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.  There was only one problem....how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. 

The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.' Few  landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled. Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey; Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.' (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)


Praying is a dangerous thing!

(Blue-you, Red-God)

Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you?
No, I didn't call you.
I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven.
There -- you did it again!
 Did what?
Called ME.
You said,
"Our Father Who art in Heaven."
Well, here I am...
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it. 
I was, you know, just saying my prayers before I go to bed.
I always say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.
Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be Thy name
Hold it right there.
What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be Thy name"?
It means, it means . . . Good grief, 
I don't know what it means.
How in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense. 
I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy Will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing? Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
control of everything down here like you have up
there. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
but, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church.
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
You've really got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend your money -- all on yourself.
And what about the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
I'm just as good as some of the rest
of those people at church!
Excuse ME!
I thought you were praying
for my will to be done.
If that is to happen,
it will have to start with the ones
who are praying for it.
Like you -- for example .
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
but I really would like to cut out some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.

Now we're getting somewhere.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread.
You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
and all of a sudden you break in
and remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing.
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
It's too late to stop now.
Keep praying.  ( pause .... )
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME. 
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?

See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me.
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
what about your prayer?
I didn't -- mean it.
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all that
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
No, you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are -- 
well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann.
Then, I'll forgive you;
and the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, You know, You're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . . .
I forgive her.
There now!
How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
But, you're not through with your prayer, are you?
Go on.
Oh, all right.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good!  I'll do that.
Just don't put yourself in a place
where you know you'll be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know.
Go ahead. Finish your prayer...
For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Do you know what would bring me glory --
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now.
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly follow you.
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me . . .
How do I make you happy?
YOU  just did.