Thursday, November 30, 2017

Dryer Balls

Ball, Tennis, Colorful, Macro, Felt  Earlier in the year, my sister sent me two dryer balls she swears by.  They are white felted wool with a face drawn on each one.  The idea is you throw them in the dryer with a load and voila you get soft clothing.  They are supposed to replace dryer sheets.

Some of the big reasons, I've seen for using dryer balls is that they are more economical to use, cut down on the amount of chemicals you and your family are being exposed to, and are ecologically sound if you buy the wool ones.

Apparently, dryer balls move through your laundry, separating pieces so they dry faster and more evening due to being exposed to the hot air.  In addition, they fluff your laundry, reduce the number of wrinkles, and bash it to make it softer. However, they should only be used in small and medium loads because they need space to move in.  A large load does not have as much space available so the dryer balls do not work as well. 

Dryer balls are made out of several types of materials but the wool ones are supposed to be the best because they are made out of 100% wool and are completely natural.  The nice thing about wool dryer balls is that you can add a few drops of essential oils them so they release the scent when drying.  Be sure to let the balls set for 10 to 20 minutes after putting the essential oils on so they are absorbed into the ball.

One claim is that dryer balls also cut down on the amount of static cling after being dried.  I honestly don't know if that claim is true because I haven't owned mine long enough to check that out.  I have to wait till spring before my static cling season arrives.

If you are into making things yourself, all you need to do is get a skein of 100% wool yarn.  Just make sure its not super wash or machine washable because those will not felt.  Make a ball out of the yarn by creating a core and going around and around and around, much like you do when you take a skein and turn it into a wrapped ball for knitting.

When the ball gets to the size you want be it tennis ball, baseball, or softball, tuck the end of the yarn in the ball with a crochet hook.  Place the ball in a nylon stocking (Use those ones with runs), tie it securely inside with a couple pieces of yarn and throw into the laundry with a load on hot wash and cold rinse.  When done, place the whole thing in the dryer on the highest heat setting. At the end, you should have a dryer ball ready to use.

I'd love to hear your experiences with dryer balls.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Travel Around Christmas.

Airport, Transport, Woman, Girl, Tourist  Living in Alaska can present some interesting issues when trying to travel out of state at Thanksgiving or Christmas time. This year has been horrendous weather wise for travel from the village due to fog, snow, wind, and a few other things.

So this year, I ended up putting a three day layover in Anchorage before I leave the state because if I don't leave the village on time, I could miss my connecting flight out of the local hub.  There are only three flights a day to Anchorage.  If I miss that, I could miss my connecting flight out of state and that is the biggie because it can be difficult to rebook on the next flight. 

Most people do not have those issues.  If they have connectivity issues, its usually because a big storm has shut down the whole eastern seaport or the middle states around Chicago.  Other than those issues, have you wondered what days are the best or worst for traveling around Christmas?  I began wondering just the other day.

The definition for best and worst days in air travel have to do with cost and number of people who are predicted to fly on those days.  The worst days usually cost more and have more people scheduled while best means the cost is less with fewer people traveling.

The worst days to travel at Christmas time this year are Friday December 22, Saturday December 23, and Sunday December 24th.  I'm scheduled to travel the 23rd because I had a couple upgrades and that was the day where I found some first class available without going through Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan.   It also gives me a few days incase I cannot get out of the village due to weather.

For New Years, try to avoid December 29th and January 2nd since Christmas and New Year's are both on a Monday.  By taking a few vacation days, people end up with a full 10 day holiday. 

Its often hard to determine which dates have the best fares and which the worst because the prices are set according to a complex formula which takes into account competition, demand, seasonality, etc so the prices often change from day to day.  Often though the flights on Christmas and New Years are cheaper.  I've traveled on New Years day and it was wonderful as far as not being as crazy as usual.

Its recommended you get your tickets several months out because that is when you are most likely to get the best fares as the fares tend to rise the closer you get to the major holiday.  The best time to buy tickets for a Christmas trip is the beginning of October when most prices are at their lowest.  It is also suggested that if you find a good deal, buy it as soon as you see it because it may be gone the next time you look.

If you have some flexibility in your travel plans, check a few days before you want to leave, and a few days after you want to return to see if there are any lower fares.  I've noticed even during the summer, one or two days either side of my preferred dates can save me between $50 and $100 each way. 

Although it is November, it is still possible to get a good deal by watching fairs and checking different airlines.  If you are going to Hawaii or Florida, check out package deals that include hotel and airfare as they can provide a great deal.

Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

When Did Turkey Become A Part of Christmas?

Celebration, Christmas, Cuisine  We just finished Thanksgiving, complete with turkey and all its trimmings.  I know why I have turkey at Thanksgiving since it has to do with pilgrims and what was available but what about Christmas.  When did it become popular to eat turkey for Christmas dinner.

It actually become popular at Christmas time, much earlier than I would have guessed. I've come across two different stories on how the turkey came to Europe.

One story says a trader, William Strickland, brought several turkeys with him to England when he returned  from the New World in 1526 while another states the Spanish brought turkey's from the New World.  The use of turkeys or "Indian Chicken" spread across Europe.  There is a cookbook from Frankfort in 1581 with 20 recipes that use this bird.

Prior to this time, people would eat geese, peacocks, or boars heads for the Christmas meals but turkeys were great for the Christmas meals because farmers did not have to kill their cows or chickens as they provided milk and eggs which could be sold off.  In addition, turkeys were something different, providing a change. 

Although King Henry the Eighth introduced the idea of having turkey on Christmas day, it was not until the 20th century when King Edward VII make it popular that it over took the traditional goose in England.  In America, its a different story.

Turkey's born in the spring could eat enough bugs and other things to grow to a size large enough to feed a family and as stated earlier they could be slaughtered without loosing money.  In addition, they were cheaper than geese or chickens and thus were more economical. 

It is thought the traditional Christmas dinner of turkey with gravy and stuffing, and plum pudding became more popular when Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in 1843. When Scrooge gave the turkey to the Cratchit family, it cemented having turkey at Christmas for the middle and upper classes.  This story was quite popular in both the United Kingdom and in America.

By the beginning of the 20th century, the wealthy always planned to have either game or beef because turkey became associated with the poor since they often received turkey's from various charities.

When I was growing up my parents would buy the biggest turkey they could afford for Thanksgiving and then a second one for Christmas.  We lived off of the left overs for probably 6 weeks because my mother would use it all including the bones, skin, etc to make soup.  Turkey noodle soup was the last thing on the list.

We had turkey for the big meal, then left overs in the form of hot turkey sandwiches followed by a turkey shepherds pie (great use for the left over mashed potatoes),  mashed candied yams with mashed potatoes for part of a meal, and finally soup made with the neck, bones, skin, giblets, and anything else she could use. 

I suspect everyone has their own traditions like this.  Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Making Their Own Entertainment.

Sledding, Winter, Father, Son, Snow  All the snow we got last month melted slowly over a two week period.  The lake thawed and the river stayed open enough for people to go out boating and fishing.  In fact, there was enough moisture that came down to turn the ground into a muddy, sloggy, mess.

About a week ago, the temperatures dropped and the mud froze enough to walk on without getting stuck.  Then it hit.  It rained and the temperature dropped so the water became a layer of glare ice on the roads, the boardwalks, even the ground. 

Going anywhere in the village was taking your life in your hands.  People who took out their four wheelers (ATV) complained that they slid off the roads due to the smoothness of the ice.  It was just too dangerous to venture out.  I only went from home to work and back again.

Tuesday was just a bit better in that a small layer of snow fell over the ice so it was just a bit safer but still treacherous.  Several of us managed to borrow one of the school vehicles to go to the post office.  I wish I'd brought my camera for the trip but I didn't even have my cell phone so all I can do is describe my view.

All the roads in town are gravel covered dirt that may or may not survive all the four wheelers using it when wet.  However, on the Tuesday in question, the road was a sheet of flare ice which slowed down traffic and opened up play possibilities for children. 

As we parked by the Post Office, we saw two children, each on a small sled, coming down the iced over board walk from the Catholic Church, past the head start building, down to the bottom of the hill before using a hand to cause the sleds to make a sharp right turn on the road so they continued along the road before friction slowed them down by the old head start building.  Last seen, the two children were heading back up the hill to make another run.

On the road back to school, after a brief stop at the store for some last minute Thanksgiving supplies, we had to slow down because three young ladies used the breeze to push them along the iced road.  The smooth ice allowed them to slide along with little resistance.  Occasionally they fell but not at the same time.  Our driver had so watch them carefully as she maneuvered her way through the group.

After passing the girls, we had a wonderful view of several students out on the partially frozen ice.  They had fun opening their coats to capture the wind and used it to move them across the lake.  A few managed to go quite a distance before falling over.

The one thing I noticed for all the children out on the ice, is that they were persistent.  Every time they fell, they got up and continued on their merry way.  It was wonderful.  I wish I had the fearlessness to do something like that but I've reached an age where I know what could happen if I fell wrong so I refuse to take a chance.  On the other hand, I can laugh with them and enjoy their trips.

Let me know what you think.  Oh and we now have enough snow on the ground to cover the ice but its the powder snow so I'm still wearing my ice cleats when I go out.  Have a great day.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Image result for Canstruction
The other day while reading up on Thanksgiving math activities, I came across a group called Canstruction.  This group using art competitions across the nation to gather cans of food for food banks in a unique and entertaining way.
Canstruction was inspired in 1992 by a group of New York architects and engineers.  It began small but has grown to encompass the country with four different competitions from Citywide, junior, university, to custom.

Citywide is where a city chapter organizes a competition for adults to create a piece of art.  The team is encouraged to find a member from the building industry to help with the structure.  They are also responsible for purchasing all the cans of food used in the structure. At the end, there is judging and the winners get to participate in an international competition.

The junior division is for students aged 10 to 18 but the people who run it may choose whether it is competitive or noncompetitive.  Students get a chance to learn so much while creating the final structure. They are expected to fund raise enough money to purchase all the cans needed and they are encouraged to find an advisor to help them. One who knows about physics, math, architecture, or construction.

The youth event for university students can also choose if its competitive or noncompetitive.  Again they must raise money to purchase cans and look for an advisor but if they cannot, there is a basic kit with a template and instructions on making a structure.  Both the junior division and youth division require a deposit.  At the end, all canned food must be donated to a local hunger relief organization. The last is custom structures designed to promote a local business. 
Since its inception, the group has raised over 50 million pounds of food for donation. If you do a search, you can find all sorts of creations from Bugs Bunny to a can of Spam, to a mostly eaten apple, to one of the Despicable.  

I was impressed with the engineering and creativity involved in each sculpture.  Check them out and enjoy their creations.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Odd Thanksgiving Foods

Berries, Close-Up, Cranberries, Food  In the past, ad agencies and companies created Thanksgiving related ads which now adays we'd either say gross or we'd laugh hysterically at them.  I'm not going to spend much time on ads showing beautifully cooked turkeys with packs of cigarettes shown in front. 

However, others are quite interesting.  There is an add for vegetable loaf with mashed potatoes, apple rings, and turkeys cut out of slices of cranberry jelly.  I am a vegetarian but the whole thing is not that appealing to me. 

Then there is a wonderful add suggesting people serve hot Dr. Pepper cocktails with the meal.  The idea is to heat the soda up and serve it with lemon to add a bit of flavor.  I'm not much on soda to begin with but this is something an aunt of mine might have served children so they'd feel like adults.

Back in World War II, Hormel suggested people use Spam to create their Thanksgiving meal because it eliminated the waste of skin and bones, making your points go further.  They said just take slices of Spam, wrap around a bit of stuffing secured by a toothpick, then bake till done.

One of my favorites is the mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, and jello candles which actually burn but I'm not sure how long.  The idea is you make a mix of the mayonnaise, cranberry sauce, and jello and divide the mixture among 6 juice cans.  Let them set until solid, slide out, put birthday candles inside.  Put the "candle" onto a plate surrounded by holly leaves, light, and enjoy both through the light and eating it.

I found a recipe for a frozen jelled turkey vegetable salad which is peas and carrots in a gelatin - condensed celery soup - salad dressing mixture with chunks of turkey stirred in.  Its mixed, frozen, and then placed in the fridge at the end to thaw for dinner.  It does not appeal to me.

What about Tempting Turkey with turkey, swiss flavored cheez whiz mixed together and heated gently, then served over broccoli on top of toast.  I've never been fond of Cheez Whiz.  Ohhh my, there is the turkey cake with layers of turkey between a "mashed potato icing", topped with yam frosting and golden marshmallows.

Want to make your pizza so its more in the Thanksgiving spirit?  Top it with gravy and voila, you are ready.  On the other hand, you can use powerade to baste your turkey and turn it into a beautifully colored creation.

You can find recipes for all of these unique Thanksgiving dinner  dishes on the internet.  None of these appeal to me but a few would interest my grandmother or aunt because both of them were into this type of crazy food.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Around the World

Turkey, Cook, Pie, Hat, Cook Hat Officially, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November while Canada designated the second Monday of October  as theirs.

It is said that Canadians petitioned to get their own Thanksgiving to celebrate not being American.  Canada does have a long history of Thanksgiving beginning in the 1850's when it was used to give thanks to God but it was scheduled in the middle of the week.

By 1908, it was moved to a Monday in October after the railroads lobbied the government so people could travel to visit home over a three day weekend.

In 1957, the government proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the second Monday of October from then on so they didn't have to keep re-proclaiming it yearly.  Its been that date since.

There are other countries who celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving.

1. Germany celebrates Erntedankfest, a harvest festival, the first Sunday of October where they give thanks for a good year and good fortune.  Celebrations could include a parade, or food including fattened roosters, chickens, geese, and hens, although turkeys are starting to become more popular.

2. On Novemeber 23, Japan has Kinrō Kansha no Hi which celebrates hard work and community involvement.  Its been an official holiday since 1948 when it was set up to celebrate the rights of workers, hence the name Labor Thanksgiving Day.  There are all sorts of organized festivities including having children make gifts and crafts for the local police department.

3. Grenada celebrates Thanksgiving on October 25th to remember the United States help in restoring order after their leader died in 1983.  At the time, soldiers told the locals about their upcoming Thanksgiving so they put together a celebration in secret complete with turkey and the trimmings to surprise them.   Every year, they have a celebration to remember the time.

4. Liberia began as a country set up by freed slaves who returned to Africa from America and they have their own version of Thanksgiving by filling churches with cornucopias filled with local fruits such as bananas, mangoes, etc.  These are auctioned off and then people return home to celebrate the holiday.  In addition, there are concerts and dancing which have become part of the holiday.

5. In Netherlands, specifically Leiden, they celebrate the people who left to settle in America.  They have a church service to remember them before ending with cookies and coffee.

6. Norfolk Island, a small island sitting between Australia and New Zealand, celebrates Thanksgiving due to the whalers who used to stop by.  Back in the 1890's a whaler suggested they decorate the local church with palm leaves and lemons to attract other sailors to celebrate the holiday. Since then, people decorated the church with cornstalks and fresh flowers, and have brought fruits and vegetables in celebration.

Just a peak into the world around us.  Have a great day and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Weird Thanksgiving Traditions

Turkeys, Birds, Poultry, Feather, Bird  Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  Most of us will cook a turkey, make mashed potatoes, have candied yams, cranberries, bread, and all the trimmings.  I'll probably be celebrating Thanksgiving with a coworker who has opened up her house to those who do not have a family near by.

Some communities have added a little bit extra to improve the festivities of the day.  Activities beyond the traditional enjoyment of parades and football games.

I'll begin with the tradition most people partake in, breaking the wishbone to be granted your hearts desire if you get the larger half.  This tradition has been around a very long time, originating in ancient Rome when Romans broke a chicken's wishbone.

Then there is the presidential turkey pardon.  The president pardons one turkey out of millions to survive another year rather than eating it.  Of course, he is the only one who does it and I don't think its actually one of his powers so its more of a symbolic act.

Many cities schedule a 3 mile run after the meal so people can dress up as turkeys, work off the meal and its associated calories.  I used to live in a place where the local YMCA offered a nice long workout first thing Thanksgiving morning so people could work off calories in advance and charged a can of food to be given to the local food bank later.

Of course, we can't forget the turkey toss where people see how far they can throw a frozen turkey.  In Indianapolis, Indiana, people go a step further by lighting them on fire before throwing them.  I remember a WKRP episode from reruns where Les the newsman arranged to drop the turkeys out of a helicopter.  I think they were alive when he did that and they created a huge mess.

In 1988, someone began the tradition of turkey bowling where they use a frozen turkey instead of a bowling ball and half empty bottles of soda pop for the pins.  It's usually held in the frozen foods section of the grocery store but could really happen anywhere.

Of course there are food traditions such as jello dishes with pineapple, walnuts, etc.  My grandmother always contributed a vegetable jello dish made out of celery jello, a can of mixed vegetables and she'd put in a fancy ring so it looked pretty.  Another aunt provided her candied yams with brown sugar, marshmallows, and walnuts.  It was such a treat for us.

Look for how other countries give thanks through their celebrations.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, November 17, 2017

HIstory of Women's Magazines

Girl, Read, Reading, Newspaper, Magazine  You know there are always magazines splashed around the checkout stands at the supermarket but I've never been one to buy and read them.  I tend to prefer do it yourself magazines or farming on 1/4th acre.

Have you ever wondered how long woman's magazines have been around?  I thought they were a recent as in the past 100 years or so but the first women's magazine showed up in London in 1693.

The Ladies Mercury, a weekly publication, stated it was all about answering questions about love, marriage, behavior, and other feminine concerns.  Unfortunately it only lasted a month before going out of business.  The next attempt in 1770 was the Ladies Magazine, a monthly British fashion magazine filled with embroidery patterns, sheet music, literary pieces, and fashion notes. This was one of the magazines which published its readerships contributions.  By the end of the 18th century, about a third of its content came from unpaid contributors.  It lasted till 1847 before it ceased publication.

Up until 1852, magazines were an elite item read by and contributed to by women who had lots of time on their hands but the Englishwoman's Domestic magazine changed that when they focused on middle class  women who did most of the cleaning and washing themselves.  This publication columns on pets and cooking with a special focus on crafts and began looking at fashion.  By 1860, the magazine featured a colored plate of the latest Paris Fashion. The magazine contained the pattern and instructions for making the clothing by any woman.

In 1830's America's  Godey's Ladies Magazine premiered in Philadelphia filled with poems, essays, and art work. It was the most widely circulated magazine prior to the Civil War with just over 150,000 subscribers. About half a century later, in 1883 The Ladies Home Journal made its appearance as a supplement to Tribune and Farmer but became independent in 1884  and in the process revolutionized the genre.  It offered recipes, cleaning tips, and stories.  Within a decade, it had a subscription base of 1 million, more than any other magazine of its time.  However it went out of print in 2014 after 131 years of existence.

At about the same time, a group of magazines began publication but they were specifically designed to provide the latest fashion information to women.  The first, Harper's Bazaar commenced publication in 1867, just after the end of the civil war.  It provided information on current fashion and culture each week. It appealed to upper and middle class women.  This was also the time of specialized magazine promoting patterns such as Butterick and McCalls. 

Through the mid 1800's magazine came and gone and most have disappeared into the mists of time. Only a few survived into the 21st century but with the internet who knows how long the print copies will remain.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from my readers.  Have a nice day.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Air Service To Australia?

Outback Australia, Flinders Ranges

Over the weekend, I watched the finale of the third season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  I enjoyed it tremendously as I love watching period shows.  If you haven't seen it, Miss Fisher helps the police solve mysteries in Australia back in the late 1920's.  Her wardrobe is absolutely delicious.

In the final episode, her father has missed the ship to Southampton and if he does not get off the boat, his wife will ask for a permanent separation.  So after determining her father really loves her mother, she tells him, they'll fly back to the UK.

At that statement, my mind immediately questioned the ability of them to fly to the United Kingdom in 1929.  At the end, they were shown getting into those old two seater planes as if they'd fly all the way across Asia and the Middle East.  I don't think those planes could go that far without a bunch of gas stations along the way.

The first air flight took place in 1910 with none other than Harry Houdini the famous magician as its pilot. He flew a biplane near Sydney.  Two years later the Australian Flying Corps made its appearance and the military now had its flying service. The squadrons flew various missions during World War I in both local areas and in Europe.  By 1921, Australia had its own Royal Australian Air Force but it was like a step child because neither the Army or Navy felt there should be an independent Air Force.

In the mean time, the Government offered a prize to the first aviators who successfully made it from Australia to England in under 30 days.  Two pilots succeeded in 1919 but one died shortly there after in an air crash, never getting a chance to enjoy the money.  Just 9 years later a pilot made it from England to Australia in 15 days and was given 2000 pounds for his effort.

At this same time, Qantas (Queensland and Northern Territory air service) began local service in 1920.  Over the next few years, routes expanded both in and out of Australia until they established service all the way to the UK via Singapore.  For this particular route, they used Short Class C flying boats and changed out crews in Singapore.

As time progressed, air service soon covered all of Australia.  Based on the bit I read about small planes flying to the UK in the late teens and early twenties, it was possible for Miss Fisher and her father to fly the distance but it would have taken about 15 days to do it and it was definitely faster than a ship.

I hope you enjoyed the short history lesson. I love researching things so I can find out if certain plot points in television shows is true or just a figment of some scriptwriters imagination.  Let me know what you think.  I hope you have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tis The Season of Jetlag

Aircraft, Jumbo Jet, Airliner, Sky  We are heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas.  A time when families travel across the country to be home with family.  For some, its only an hour or two away but for others it may require several hours of jet travel from one coast to the other.

It is easier to travel west due to longer days than to head east.  Since I live in Alaska, I often leave on a flight just after midnight or arrive at midnight.

There are ways to minimize jet lag including prepare some ahead of time. 

1.  Take a few days off prior to the trip to relax.  The more relaxed you are, the less jet lag. If you work up to the day before you leave, you are going to be a bit more stressed.

2. Try to get a good nights sleep the night before leaving so you are able to cope with jet lag better.  I"m one of those people who seldom sleep well the night before because my mind insists on going over lists to make sure I have everything packed.

3. Try to arrive during the daylight hours because its easier to stay awake.  Even when I arrive during day light hours, I end up taking a short nap to readjust.  I have never been able to arrive and stay awake for several more hours.

4. The plane can make a difference too.  Look for A350 and A380's because they have hi tech humidification systems designed to keep moisture in the air and have great LED lighting.

5.  If at all possible, break the trip up with at least one stop over to help your body have an easier time of adjusting.  The last time I went to Europe, I stopped off in Iceland for three days before continuing to Finland.  The break would have helped except my scheduled flight was cancelled and I ended up on one which got me there around 4AM.

6. Try to avoid alcohol due to its dehydrating effects and it increases tiredness.

7.  Do not use sleeping pills with the idea you will sleep through the flight so you arrive in better shape.  All they do is make you wake up fuzzy and do not help with jet lag.

8. It is much better to drink water rather than coffee, soda, or energy drinks because they usually have high levels of caffeine which affects your ability to sleep and increases your jet lag.

9.  When you board the flight, change your watch to the new time zone so you have a chance to psychologically adjust.

10. Exercise during the flight to boost endorphins and stretch out.  A quick search will yield exercises you can do in your seat.

If all else fails, take a nap when you get there and do not plan to do any site seeing during the first 24 hours so you have time to catch up on sleep and adjust. Let me know what you think.  Have a great day. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

History of Advertising.

Sale, Price, Bargain, Discount, OfferAfter discovering the diamond industry used a concentrated twenty to thirty year advertising campaign to  , I wondered how long advertising has been around.  Its something we see in print, on the television, or hear via the radio.  Its what is used to finance these businesses but how or when did it all start?

Someone said there has been advertisements as long as people have had something to sell but its rather difficult to find information on it from a long time ago.  What I do know is that the first advertisement published in a newspaper in the United States occurred back in 1704, when a real estate ad appeared in the Boston Letter-News.

The Boston Letter-News started publishing on April 24, 1704 as a one page weekly paper filled with British News. The local postmaster published the paper.

In 1742, The General Magazine published by Benjemin Franklin carried the first magazine ads here.  Over the next few years, more print avenues began publishing and newspapers soon went daily instead of weekly.  By 1843, the first advertising agency opened in Philadelphia and by 1873 enough advertising agencies had opened to hold their first convention in New York City.

Advertising had made enough strides for a department store to hire its first copywriter in 1880. Two years later, Ivory soap began the largest advertising budget ever.  A whole $11,000.  Print advertising continued growing over the following years but when radio began, a new media for advertising opened up.  In 1922 a New York City radio station offered 10 minutes of radio time for $100 and a real estate company took them up on the offer thus becoming the first advertisers via this medium.

Two years later companies began sponsoring radio programs as a way to increase their advertising reach. Unfortunately, the depression forced many companies to decrease their budgets. By the end of the 1930's, television is making its appearance in the landscape on the east coast.  In 1941, the first television ad hit the air during the opening and closing times of a New York station.  The ad?  a 60 second spot showing a ticking watch to all 7,500 viewers. 

Fast forward to 1954 when CBS became known for being the largest advertising medium.  Two years later, advertisements went from live to prerecorded so all advertisements could be created in advance and shown.  At the same time, companies began creating "images" associated with products as a way of making people feel a connection.  One of the more famous ones is the Marlboro Man, a cowboy who showed that real men smoked and it wasn't just a women's thing.

Since its introduction in 1994, the internet has changed the face of advertising with banners, ad sense, etc.  Companies began using the World Wide Web for advertising in 1997.  The internet has changed the way companies advertise because there are social media sites, blogs, companies, etc. 

Advertising has come a long way since the first ad appeared in the United States back in 1704.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Are Diamonds a Girls Best Friend?

Precious, Diamond, Jewelry, Expensive  My father talks about his actress from when he was younger.  A lady who was known for performing the song about diamonds being a girls best friend.  So I wondered if that song is true.  Are diamonds a girls best friend?

Its only been in the last 50 years or so that diamonds have become a regular part of societal acceptance.  Up until about 1870, only a few pounds of diamonds were produced each year but then, someone made a huge discovery of raw diamonds.

This discovery caused diamonds to become more plentiful and to avoid protect prices and production, mine financiers formed a single corporation known as De Beers.  This new entity protected both diamond production and pricing due to having a monopoly.  Now they had control, the next step was to convince people they wanted, no needed to have diamonds.

So in the 1930's, De Beers met with a New York city advertising company to create a campaign designed to create that desire for people to have to own diamonds.  The main suggestion?  To use the rapidly growing film industry by backing films willing to create a story line which included a diamond ring, add a song or two to a musical,  or have the female character flash her diamond ring and necklace.

In addition, they paid to have fashion designers appear on radio shows to discuss the sparkling of the gem.  The company pushed both newspapers and magazines to increase the number of pictures with popular actresses sporting diamonds.  During the 1940's they hosted a series of lectures held in high schools, community halls, etc to talk about the diamond engagement ring.  They hoped this would help build desire for the consumption of diamonds.

By the 1950's the idea of a diamond engagement ring had become part of the culture.  It was considered the perfect item to show the world a boy and girl were now engaged. but De Beers didn't stop there.  In the 1960's they turned their sights towards Japan where only five percent of women wore diamond engagement rings.  By the mid 1970's, almost 50 percent of the female population wanted diamond rings.

So now the diamond has a connection to love.  If a man really loves a woman, he will make sure she has the biggest diamond he can get to "show" his love.   If he doesn't present her with a diamond, its obvious he doesn't really love her, or at least according to the advertising.  If you watch commercials around Valentines day, you'll see an increased number flooding the airwaves as a way of showing your love.

I do not own any diamonds, mostly because they've never appealed to me.  I prefer rubies, emeralds, amethyst or other colored gem because they seem so much warmer.  Diamonds feel too cold.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The History of Tanning.

Teenager, Beach, The Bath, Bikini  It's only been in recent history that the tanned look has become both acceptable and popular.  In the past, high class women worked hard to keep a pale skin because having tanned skin meant you were of a much lower class.

Up until the early 1900's the wealthier women protected their skin with parasols, hats, and and gloves.  In 1903, a physician recommended people be exposed to sunlight to treat rickets and tuberculosis. He won a Nobel prize for this therapy and it opened peoples minds to enjoying the sun for health purposes.

However, the idea of getting a tan did not really have much popularity until women's clothing became less restrictive and shorter.  Apparently, french beach resorts began staying open during summers in 1923 which allowed the wealthy to sunbath and glow.  It is said that when Coco Chanel sunburned that same year, she began a movement where more people went sunbathing. 

By 1929, this movement created the rise in the production of bathing suits with new styles, cosmetics and clothing all designed so showoff one's beautiful tan. The first tanning oil was released in 1928, followed by a UV filtering tanning oil in 1935.  The Coppertone sunblock was invented and released in the 1940's but did not become popular until a campaign in the 1950's.  

In addition, the creation of the bikini opened up more skin to be tanned and the dark hued tan became acceptable due to Ursula Andress's appearance in the James Bond Movies in 1962.  Even the Barbie doll joined the sun kissed skin look with the release of the Malibu Barbie in 1971. She had bleached blonde hair and a dark tanned skin.  By 1978, the first tanning bed made its appearance in the United States.

Did you know, sunless tanning lotions have been around since 1929 but the original ones were nothing more than a body make up.  In the 1950's a medical researcher discovered a compound which stained patients skin but not their clothing.  This compound because an ingredient in all those quick tanning lotions that gave a tan without sitting in the sun.

Unfortunately, even now, most people want a tan to appear healthy and happy but in exposing themselves to the sun, they are exposing themselves to potential issues including skin that looks aged and appears like a road map.  I think I was about 20 when I realized the term "tanning" also meant treating an animals skin and that is what we try to do to our skin when we go out in the sun without protection.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

History of the Bikini.

Surf, Woman, Mar, Surfer, Wave  I've been reading up on the retro look and in the process, my curiosity about regarding the bikini exploded.  Its been around for as long as I've been buying swim wear but I've never actually worn one, even though I own two. 

There is a bit of history behind the creation of the bikini I never realized.  For the most part bathing suits covered a woman's body in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  Although the first form fitting one piece bathing for women emerged in 1907, it would be several years before a woman could wear one without being arrested. 

The two piece started making its appearance in the 1930's but it consisted of a top and bottom with little skin being shown.   Due to the rationing of materials during World War II, fashion houses started pushing two piece bathing suits because they used less fabric and showed more skin than before.  These creations sparked the imagination of two Frenchman.

 One was a fashion designer who released his around July 1, 1946, calling it the atom but the other an engineer, released his version on July 5, 1946, four days after the bomb exploded on Bikini Atoll. His creation used only 30 inches of fabric and was the smallest  suit of the time.  It consisted of a bra and two inverted triangles held together with a string.

He named his creation the bikini after the United States nuclear tests on the Bikini atoll.  He hoped his new fashion would explode like the bomb.  Unfortunately, he could not get regular models to wear it but he hired a nude model who premiered it on July 11, 1946.  In some of the initial pictures she held a matchbox.  One of it's selling points is that the whole suit could fit in a matchbox.

The bikini was banned at beauty pageants after it was worn at the first Miss World contest in London back in 1951.  Pretty soon several other countries was banned.  In fact, the Vatican declared bikinis to be sinful.  Bridget Bardot did much for popularizing bikinis beginning in 1953.   In 1962, the bikini got another shot of publicity when Ursula Andress stepped out of the ocean in her homemade suit in a James Bond Movie. 

The bikini slowly came to America in the 1960's with the release of a series of beach blanket movies whose women lived in bikini's.  These main stream movies along with actresses who wore bikini's to become acceptable in public.

 In addition, Sports Illustrated published its first every swimsuit issue in 1964 with a bikini clad model.  The story is that the publisher of the magazine needed something to fill space during the winter months, so he asked a fashion reporter for help and the rest is history.

It has been fascinating learning about the history of the bikini.  I hope you enjoyed reading this. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Retro Look

Pin Up, Black And White, Retro  I've started seeing more and more women adopting a retro look reminiscent of the 40's and 50's.  Over the summer, I ran into a young woman at the farmers market who looked as if she'd stepped out of a picture with her retro shorts outfit, bandana wrapped hair with bright red curled bangs peeking out.

At a Barnes and Nobel, I saw one of the store employees in a suit with long straight black hair, her bangs rolled and bright red lipstick.  Even one of the young ladies in my family has adopted the look, complete with glasses that look great not ugly.

I even discovered a magazine for those who like the retro look complete with clothing, style tips and other great topics for anyone who wants to achieve the look. 

I suspect its a way to bring back the glamour that has disappeared from society.  Most of the females I've seen, even in most women's magazines do not have the same level of elegance as those with the retro look.  If you watch the old movies with Audrey Hepburn, Kathryn, Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and other women from the films, they always had that wonderful look filled with a "I know what I want" look.

I sometimes with, I could manage to look so elegant as they do but unfortunately that takes a lot of practice which I do not have time for.  Beside, my hair is rather long and has a mind of its own.  This past summer, I checked out You tube and found several videos designed to show women with longer hair a way to create hairstyles from the teens, 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.  Unfortunately, my hair is much longer than the women who created the videos.  Its down to the bottom of my rear.

The only style I managed over the summer was a head full of ringlets created using finger curls for a performance I had this summer.  My hair does ringlets quite well since its naturally curly but for more modern styles, its extremely hard to tame it into shape.  I tried a modified 30's look and a modified 50's look but I have so much hair, its weight kept causing the rolls to slip.

In addition, I don't wear heels enough to survive them more than a couple of hours at most.  I love the look of heels but I haven't figure out how to balance I weight on them.  Instead, I clump on them sounding like an elephant rather than a woman. I also haven't figure out how to apply makeup without looking a child playing with her mother's stuff.

Oh well.  Even when I dress up for a fancy evening out, I never look put together, no matter how hard I try.  I can practice.  I can buy book after book on the topic.  I can go step by step through a video and just not look right.  I even had someone ask me to describe my style.  My answer?  "Comfortable"  I didn't say it was because I couldn't figure out how to create my own style. 

I hope I didn't bore you with a bit about myself.  I know there are others out there who just don't seem to "get the look together".  Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Winter on Diomede Part 2

Polar Bear, Iceberg, Ice Floe  Little Diomede is located in the middle of the ocean between Alaska and Russia, about a half mile from the International Date Line and a couple miles from Big Diomede.  It is surrounded by water.

In the fall and spring, before the ocean freezes solid between the two islands, we see chunks of ice float down from the north where they broke off of the larger sheets of ice.  Occasionally, you see Polar Bears on the ice as it floats by, heading south.

I've seen something similar to the scene in the photo but the polar bear was running along sheets of ice, jumping to another one as he ran out of ice.  I don't think this one made it because the ice was flowing south between the two islands and the ice was slowly melting.  It might have if it jumped off the moving ice to head for King Island, about half way to Nome. By this time, King Island was completely abandoned.  I don't think anyone had lived there in 30 or 40 years.

Although polar bears look so cute and adorable, they are not in person which is why the call went out one long weekend that a polar bear had landed.  The day after Thanksgiving the word spread throughout the village that an adult polar bear was lumbering around the school.  Several men, threw on their coats and boots, grabbed guns, before running out the door.  Everyone knows polar bears can be as nasty as any other type of bear. 

One man just threw his coat over his pajamas because his concern was for the safety of the children.  They tracked the bear to the narrow crevice between the school and the hillside.  They said the bear had come to the island to die because it was old and starving. One man said the claws were the wrong color for a healthy bear.    I am just thankful, I didn't hear about it till it was over.

In the three years I worked on the island, only one polar bear landed on the island and I routinely saw another two to three floating by on sheets of ice.  It is awesome to observe them at a distance but I would never ever want to be close to one unless they were in a zoo on the other side of a fence.  

One of few times I saw a polar bear was on a windy day, where the snow swirled across the landscape.  The only reason, I knew there was a polar bear was the yellowish blob was moving across the landscape, otherwise, it would have blended in with the surroundings.

I hope you never come face to face with a polar bear.  Have a good day and let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Winter on Diomede Island Part 1

Ice, Iceberg, Aerial, Water, Blue, Cold  Years ago, I spend three years living on the Island of Little Diomede, about 1.5 miles from Big Diomede which is owned by the Russians.  Little Diomede isn't very big, only about 2 square miles but it is high enough that on a good day, you can see mainland Russia or mainland Alaska near Wales, north west of Nome.

Originally, everyone lived on Big Diomede and used little Diomede for the grave yard and for trash but somewhere along the way, some of the population moved over to Little Diomede.  Somewhere in the late 40's or early 50's Russia moved all the inhabitants to mainland Russia and replaced the population with a military garrison.

I know this because one day I cleaned out a file cabinet filled with cards with neat handwritten names, birth dates, and dates of entry to the United States.  From what I pieced together, these people were here to visit relatives.   This stopped the day people left for Russia.  There are a few houses still left from the original village because one man got lost in a snow storm and spent the night there.  He came back telling everyone about his luck.

The only way to visit Little Diomede is via the once a week helicopter trips to convey mail and bypass to the island.  Mail is ferried to Wales by plane and stored in a connex in between helicopter trips.  The helicopter flies out of Nome with a load of mail and goes straight to Diomede.  After unloading the mail, the pilot flies over to Wales to load up with more mail and passengers.  He continues back and forth most of the day, fueling up in Wales as needed.  When it gets late enough, he'll head back to Nome, to wait till the next week.

If you check things out, this mail run is the most expensive in the state and possibly for the country.  When winter arrives, it means the ocean water starts to freeze.  Once the ice is about three feet thick, planes are able to land safely, discharge and collect passengers, and drop off and pick up mail.  Unfortunately, this ice runway does not last more than 6 weeks or so.   The great thing about this time of the year is that flights arrive at least once a day weather permitting, making it so much easier to get in and out.

The whole time I was on Little Diomede, I lucked out.  I never had to fly to Wales to wait to connect to a regular flight from Nome on a small plane.  I always ended up on the direct flight too and from Nome.  Anyone who flew via Wales, had to wait outside by a connex.  You had to hope the weather wasn't super cold otherwise it was horrid.  If you were lucky, you wouldn't have to wait long or if you knew someone you could visit while you waited for your flight.

The biggest problem with the ice runway is basically that you never knew when the flights would start or end.  It was more like one day, the planes would start flying in. It was so neat watching them fly in and land.  We always knew if it was someone's first time out there because they'd give us the flight number, time it was due in, and ask us to meet them at the gate.  The reality is that the plane landed about a quarter mile out, you disembarked and walked in to the village while the agent threw the luggage on a sled before hauling it into town and you claimed it there.

Then in the spring, the planes flew one day but not the next.  I remember one time when a doctor was out visiting.  He checked one of the expectant girls and said she'd be fine to head in the next day.  Women who are expecting are sent into the large towns about a month before their due date just in case.  The doctor got on the flight that evening and the next day, the ice was too thin so no more planes.  The girl went into labor and delivered over night.  She had to go in on the helicopter when it made its first run of the season.

Enough for today.  Tomorrow, I want to explain about seeing a polar bear floating by the island, just like in the picture from Sunday.  Have a good day and let me know what you think.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Juicing or the Fruit? Which is Better?

Smoothies, Juice, Fruits, Fruit, Ripe  I love fruit juice, especially the kind I make myself.  I especially love carrot and apple with a touch of ginger just to spice it up.  I even have several juicer cookbooks for ideas.

The other day I remembered a comment made by a doctor to another one about how its better to eat the fruit rather than the juice.  I don't remember where I saw this.  I don't know if I read it or saw it on the television.  The idea stuck with me.

So it does bring up an interesting question.  Is juicing better than the fruit?  In general juicing removes the juice so you get all the vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals found in fruit or vegetables but most juicers separate the plant fiber out so you are only left with the juice. 

It is said that drinking pure fruit juice allows your body to better extract the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and it gives your body a break from absorbing the associated fiber.  In addition, juices can help your body stay healthier by protecting you from certain diseases and boosting your immune system.  Juices also help remove toxins from your body, help digestion, and help you loose weight. At the moment, there is no scientific evidence to support this position. 

There are a few studies out there indicating that eating the fruit and vegetables straight can lower your chance of developing type 2 diabetes while drinking the juice can increase your chances of getting it.  It is also noted that juice often has more calories than the equivalent fruit.  For instance, n eight ounce glass of orange juice has the same number of calories as two oranges and does not fill you up because its missing the fiber.

There is another aspect of this.  The fiber binds to the sugar in the fruit, making it slower for the body to absorb it but the sugar in the juice without the fiber is absorbed faster, making blood sugar levels spike.  The body automatically releases enough insulin to convert the sugar to fat and glycogen. Furthermore, the fiber from fruit also supports digestion, helps lower cholesterol, and helps control blood sugar levels.

If you are not a fruit or vegetable eater, it is acceptable to include them as juice occasionally but not to completely replace them in your diet.  If you want to go this way, it is suggested one blend the whole fruit or vegetable because the fiber is included this way. It is recommended a person should make up only enough to consume on the spot.

Just to let you know, when I make my own juice, I save the pulp and skins to use in my baking because they are where much of the fiber is located.  I hate wasting anything. 

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from people.  Have a great day.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Facade Cladding, Shingle, Wood Shingles  This particular post is about a disease that supposedly only strikes those over the age of 60 but it turns out, that is not quite true.  I say not quite true is because I got shingles a few years ago and so did my niece when she was 23.  Both of us are under that magic number.

When I got it, the first thing I felt was a pain in the side of my lower back.  It felt as if I pulled a muscle but it didn't go away.  Pretty soon, I developed a rash, so I used everything I could to get rid of it.  The only thing that worked was baby diaper rash cream. 

I wasn't able to get to the doctor for a couple of weeks.  By then, it started to heal and felt much better.  I only mentioned it to my doctor because I was in for my annual physical. He looked at the healing rash and said "shingles".  That surprised me because I thought only old people got it.  I actually had to read up on it since i didn't know anything about it.

Apparently, shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.  If you've had chickenpox, the virus is left in your body, specifically in your nerve endings where it remains until something causes it to become active.  It manifests itself as a rash in the are of the nerve endings.  Basically if you have had chickenpox, you could have shingles and age does not matter.

In addition, if you've never had chickenpox, it is possible to get it from someone who has a current outbreak of shingles if they come in contact with the fluid in shingle blisters.  The early symptoms include headaches, sensitivity to light, and symptoms similar to getting the flu but without the flu.  Later on, the rash breaks out, usually on one side of the body, after itching, tingling, or pain.

The rash usually spreads from the back around to the front in a band, following the pathway of the nerve.  It can also break out on the face or around the eye which can be extremely dangerous.  In addition more than one band can break out at once.  The blistery part of the rash can last 5 days but it can take from two to four weeks for the rash to completely heal.  It is possible the rash could leave scars.

What increases a person's risk for having an outbreak of shingles includes having had chickenpox, being older than 50, having a weakened immune system from some other disease such as diabetes, or HIV, being under stress or suffering some sort of trauma, or taking certain medications.  The only real risk I had at the time was being under a ton of stress and I was in both good shape and good health.  Even now, when I suffer from stress, I notice a bit of a pain in the same area my shingles started originally.

It is especially important to visit a doctor if shingles breaks out on your face especially near the eye because the rash could cause issues with your vision.  Although there is a vaccination to prevent shingles, it is not guaranteed to prevent a person from getting shingles.  It is said to reduce the symptoms a person gets and its effectiveness is uncertain after five years.

From what I can tell, I had a very mild case since the band of rash was quite narrow and I only had a few blisters.  It didn't cause me any real pain, nor did I require any time off but my niece indicated she had a more severe case.

Why am I sharing this with you?  To let you know that shingles can hit anyone regardless of age or health. The only thing is required is to have had chickenpox and be under stress or any of the other risks.

Let me know what you think.  I'd love to hear from others, especially if you had an outbreak of shingles.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Weekend Volleyball

Volleyball, Sport, Ball, Volley  I left a poster over the weekend about Volleyball games at the school.  Out here it is a big event because another school from about 20 miles away flew in to play a couple of matches.

Friday night, the gym was about 3/4 filled with parents, relatives, and visitors.  There weren't as many visitors as usual due to the rivers not being frozen solid so people were unable to snow machine over and the river is just iced enough, you can't boat over.

The competition was fantastic.  The night started with a middle school vs the staff game.  The staff won all the games but the middle school put up a great defense.  When the actual games started,  the local school won the first two games, the visitors the next two so it came down to the fifth game due to winning best three out of five.  The final game is only 15 points and it came down to the end when the local school won 15 to 13.

All through the games, the sophomores were in and out trying to set up a haunted house in the high school wing as a fund raiser.  I think they were getting it ready for Sunday but they had already decorated the cafeteria for a dance on Saturday night.  No, I didn't chaperone it because I cannot stand loud music and they tend to play it so loud, the whole building shakes.

The evening ended around 9:00 and everyone went home till ten the next morning.  I showed up around 9:45 because I fill out the score sheets for all competition volleyball games. Few people showed up for this game since 10 am is a bit earlier than they like.  The game started off well and about 25 minutes into the game, we received notification the plane was about 2 hours early.

Out here, most flights for traveling teams are charters but the charters come when they do.  Unfortunately, they do not call ahead to notify you if they are early or late.  They just announce they are a few minutes out.  So the girls finished the game, the visitors scurried to change into their winter gear, pack, and hop in the back of a truck to get out to the runway.  They didn't have time to check the room for anything they left.

Next weekend, the school is hosting a huge wrestling tournament with teams from all over the area.  I expect something like 8 teams with both male and female members, requiring 12 to 16 rooms.  They will probably arrive Thursday and Friday morning so the event is able to start as soon as school ends.  There will be matches running on two different mats from about 4 pm on till late. 

The next morning, wresting will begin again bright and early and continue till late afternoon or early evening.  Some group will plan a dance for both the students and visitors so they can have a wonderful time to cap off a long day.  The next day, planes will arrive and leave with great regularity as teams head home.

It doesn't matter how well the tournament is planned because the weather might just refuse to cooperate by snowing or sending in a blizzard.  Its happened before.  An event has been scheduled, the weather has changed to something horrid and no one could fly in.  It happens. It also happens that everyone gets here and the weather changes so nothing flies for several days.

We've had teams that traveled and were gone for a week due to weather conditions.  At first, they couldn't return because we had a blizzard followed by high winds and when it cleared up here, they got hit by a storm.  Everyone had to wait for both ends to be clear.

I am looking forward to the tournament because I am one of the people who fills out the score sheets, so I'm there a long time and I usually get to do the score sheets for the final matches.  I have fun doing it. 

I hope you enjoyed this view into life in the 50th state.  Let me know what you think.  Have a good day.