Thursday, May 31, 2018

Windows Computer Scam

Student Typing Keyboard Text Woman Startup  Over the past couple of days, I've received a couple of calls from a guy who claimed to be from Windows help desk.  He said my computer had been sending in reports indicating it had been hacked. 

I kept asking how they could have hacked the computer when it has been powered down and disconnected from the internet.  He asked if I was by my computer.  I said no, I'd have to go get it.  I again asked him, how it could have happened.

He again asked me if I was by my computer.  I asked him for a phone number to call him back at.  He began with area code 312 but I interrupted and asked for a toll free number.  I had a couple more red flags raise at this because he said he was in New York City but area code 312 is actually the Chicago area.

I got my computer and called the number back.  Someone answered and when I asked for the guy who called me, they yelled across the room which again gave me more red flags because they didn't just transfer me.  When he got on the phone, I told him, it had to be a different computer so I'd check that. 

The next day, he called back and gave me the same questions.  I told him that all virus and malware detection programs had been run with nothing coming up.  He asked me if I was in front of the computer and I said no.  As soon as I asked how he got my phone number he hung up.

I promptly called Microsoft and they informed me, this is a scam.  They want to get control of your computer so they can insert a virus and then charge you a ton of money to clean your computer of it.  In the process, they may destroy your computer.  I also put the 1-800-550-1843 number in a search engine and this particular phone number has been associated with this scam for at least 4 years or possibly longer.

So if anyone calls you representing themselves as Windows help desk people, they are scamming you.  Do not let them near your computer.  Do not let them even look.  The Microsoft people stated emphatically they do not call you out of the blue.  They do not receive reports stating someone has hacked into your computer. 

If they get the chance to open a door into your computer, they could infect it with a virus, or steal personal information such as bank numbers, social security numbers, etc.  Do not let this happen.
Thank you for reading this.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Repurposing Clothing.

Fashion Clothing Shop Clothes Dress Style  I seem to accumulate more clothing than I'll ever wear.  I've got tons of tee shirts because I've gotten them free by attending various conferences.  People have given them to me and I inherited a few.  I've also got a bunch of sweaters, etc. 

I should donate them but so many times I wear them to the point they are ready to fall apart, are terribly stained, or are just cruddy.  The second hand stores do not want cruddy used clothing and I hate throwing them out so I ordered a bunch of books on taking bits and pieces of clothing to create new outfits.

Up to now, the most repurposing I've done is take jeans whose knees are worn through and hacked the bottoms off to make them into shorts.  Then you take the legs you've cut off and make additional pockets for the new shorts or you add the pockets to other jeans for cargo jeans.  Once I even reinforced the butt part of the jeans so they would last longer.

I love to sew and I hate wasting anything that can still be used so the solution is to figure out how to use things I cannot donate.  The books all arrived and I scoured them from front to back, noting which ones appealed to me and which didn't.  No matter what, these are ideas I can use. 

I found two books on transforming tee shirts into skirts, off the should shirts, grunge type tee shirts and a bunch more I'd never thought about.  I saw a few I really liked and a few that are a aimed at people in the 18 to 25 range who hang in the rock crowd.  I loved some of those but I don't know if I'll actually make them up. 

I also found a couple of books on remaking sweaters into other things such as pillow covers, blankets, pot holders, clutch purses, tablet covers, short dresses, leg warmers, arm warmers, mittens, hoodies, etc.  One I enjoyed is sewing sweater arms to a pair of jeans cut off just below the knee so you can easily wear high top boots with the jeans and it looks like you have boot height socks. 

The last book or two is simply taking and combing other pieces of clothing to create brand new looks so you have a lovely tee shirt dress, a sweater mini dress, a high waisted skirt, or combine two different dresses to create a more interesting dress.

As stated earlier, there are many projects I don't care for but I think its mostly I didn't care for the choices of the original clothing used but if I make adjustments I think I can take the instructions given and create those things that appeal to me.

The next step is to begin cleaning out closets, sorting things into two main stacks.  One stack to be donated to the used clothing stores and one stack to repurpose into things I could sell at the local farmers market next summer.  Yeah, I plan one year ahead.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Summer is Here! It's Dangerous.

Ice Cream Cone Melting Hot Ice Cream Scoop  Summer is here or coming for many people.  Its the time when we want to be outside more, gardening, running, biking, cooking, swimming, boating, and so many more activities.  Unfortunately, its also the time when we plunge into activities without preparing.

I love to walk.  I took a nice long walk with a companion.  I think the distance from the park to the gas station and back is around 3.5 to 4 miles.  She did well but the next day she was extremely sore.  She wasn't used to doing the longer walks that I specialize in.

I know at the beginning of every summer, I have to dig out my hats, sun glasses, sun screen, water bottles and other gear.  Hats are a great way to protect your skin while sun glasses are recommended to protect your eyes against the possibility of cataracts forming earlier in life than normal.  I know, I know, when you hear the word cataracts, you automatically think you have to be really old, like over 70 to get them.  That is not true.

According to something I looked up, over 22 million Americans aged 40 and over suffer from cataracts.  I know someone who was under 60 at the time cataracts struck her eyes.  She needed surgery to replace the lenses so she could see clearly.  She was told to always wear good sunglasses when outside. 

Of course, we need sunscreen because most of us forget about the sun being more intense in the summer bringing with it an increased chance of sunburn. It is so easy to loose track of time and be over exposed to the sun or you are out on a lake or ocean while enjoying the breeze but at the end of the day, you've got a bad sunburn. Sun screen, sun screen, more sun screen. Reapply it religiously and avoid damage to your skin.  I've gotten sunburned because I forget about the difference in strength in the sun between northern Alaska and Hawaii.  I'm heading there in a few days and I have my heavy duty sunscreen to pack for protection.

Then there is the problem of not drinking enough fluids daily to replace the fluids sweated out when outside gardening or playing sports.  It is so easy to become dehydrated.  One quick tip to know if you are needing more liquid is simply thirst.  If you are thirsty, you need water.  If you ignore that and you notice your urine is becoming a brighter yellow, inhale liquids.  You do not want to become so depleted you end up in the hospital.

As mentioned earlier, don't forget to take it easy when you begin doing more during the summer. Sore muscles are a common problem because you go from not doing as much to going all out.  Many of us, due to where we live, are inside a lot more during the winter but once all the snow and ice melts, we are out and about with no thought to the fact we have muscles that need warming up.

If you make sure you protect yourself from the sun,  have plenty of liquids, do not over exercise or do outdoor activities, you should be fine. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

Six Types of Ice for Drinks.

Ice Eiskristalle Snow Iced Crystals Winter  The other night I attended a concert where they played a specially commissioned piece on ice written by a composer in London.  The conductor announced there would be a crack part way through to represent the breaking of the ice.  I was extremely disappointed because the crack they had in no way represented the actual sound. 

 I think they used a clapper to produce a rather wimpy sound.  In reality a sheet of ice that cracks or a slab of ice that slides off the ice burg sound more like a shot than a little clapper.  I guess the composer either never heard ice crack or used poetic license when creating the sound.

Of course, there is more than one type of ice out there and I'm not talking glare ice or black ice which are predominant during the winter in colder climates.  In this case I'm talking about the type of ice you throw in your tea or in drinks to keep them chilled during the summer.

1.  Nuggets or sonic ice is a nugget type soft chewy ice that absorbs the flavor of the drink its keeping cold.  They do not stick together and take a while to melt so they are great for use in food service.  It is often found in carbonated drinks you buy at a convenience store.

2. Ice Flakes are found in snow cones but are also used to keep foods cool in salad bars etc.  The ice itself is soft and flaky and is great when used to transport perishable foods.  It is also used in blended drinks because it blends in wonderfully.

3. Of course the most popular form of ice is the cube shape which is what you see in most drinks and often fill your container with at the motel.  This is the size you find most often including the ones in your freezer.

4. Next is the half cube which is half the size of a regular ice cube and resembles a butter pat.  This type of ice is used in a iced coffee or in certain types of drinks.  Its more often found at restaurants.

5. Another rather popular one is the crescent or half moon shaped ice cube.  It has an advantage over the regular cube in that the cubes do not pack together and liquid flows over them. This means less splash when they are added and they move through the liquid better.

6. Finally, are gourmet ice cubes which resemble small shot glasses.  This type of ice cube is often found a banquets hosted at hotels, and upscale restaurants.  Since it is much slower to melt as compared to the other types, drinks undergo less dilution and the flavor remains much longer.

This is a quick look at the six major types of ice cubes found in drinks from the local 7-11 to upscale restaurants.  I'm saving other types of ice like glare ice for another day.  Have a great day and Let me know what you think.  I would love to hear.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Interesting Facts About The Book: "Little Women"

Women, Girlfriends, Nature, Walk  "Little Women" one of the most famous books written by Louisa May Alcott about 150 years ago but did you know she did not want to write it originally?

At the time, Louisa May Alcott wrote both literature and pulp fiction when one of the editors asked her to write a book for girls. She tried but wasn't able to do it.

This didn't stop the publishing company.  They approached her father who was also a writer to produce a book of his own if she'd write the book, so she caved to the pressure.

She began writing the book in May 1868 and was so into it, she completed the book in 10 weeks.  Remember at this time, all books including this one were written by hand so completing this 402 page book in such a short time was amazing.  She sent the book to the publisher in July and by September it was published.  The book immediately became a best seller making Louisa May Alcott a rich woman.

Due to the length, the book was actually published in two parts.  The first ended with John Brooke proposing to Meg and one year later, the second part was published and also took only a few months to write.  The girls were all based on either the author or her sisters and their lives. 

In addition, the Alcotts grew up in the same poverty the March's did.  Louisa's father found it difficult to find  employment due to his beliefs so at points in her life, they only had bread and butter to eat.  When she was old enough she worked as a paid companion, a governess, and wrote sensational stories the same as Jo in the book.  The publication of "Little Women"  allowed Louisa to help her family rise from poverty.

The character of Laurie appears to have been modeled after a Polish musician she met in Europe in 1865.  They flirted and even spent two weeks in Paris together with no chaperones.  All information in her diary about the affair was crossed out in her diary with a note "Couldn't be" written next to it.

People can visit Orchid House in Concord, Massachusetts where Louisa wrote the book.  Over the years, there have been several movie and television adaptations along with several Broadway plays, a musical, a ballet, an opera, a Japanese Anime version, and most recently a big screen movie.

Yes, I read it as a child but maybe one of these day's I'll reread it but right now, I've other things to reread. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The History of Margarine.

Butter Tub Margarine Article Power SupplyI remember when I was younger, my grandmother would tell us how much things had changed since she was young. She mentioned when they bought margarine, they had to knead in color tablets so it became a yellow, similar to butter. 

I think the only thing I use margarine for anymore is for baking cookies, otherwise its butter all the way.  I prefer the flavor of butter but I don't use much of it because I prefer my vegetables prepared in either Indian or Asian style.

In addition, the cost of butter and margarine are about the same out in the village so I figure I might as well pay for butter.  I wanted to know more about margarine and discovered it has been around much longer than I  would have guessed. A French chemist, Hippolyte Mege-Mouries, created the first Oleomargerine in 1869.  He made a longer lasting and cheaper product out of beef fat churned with milk but it didn't take off until the Dutch got involved.  The Dutch took the basic product and made improvements to it including dying it a lovely yellow, just like butter.  

By World War I, margarine was made out of vegetable oils but its popularity took off during the depression took off because it was much cheaper than butter and more available especially during World War II.  In fact, its popularity grew during the second part of the 20th century when people began shunning butter and lard in favor of vegetable oils.

The marketing of margarine created a rift between the dairy industry and margarine manufactures to the point that dairy farmers wanted margarine outlawed completely.  Several states outlawed its sale completely while others outlawed the sale of yellow margarine and mandating only uncolored margarine. The margarine sold in those states was sold with a yellow dye so people could color it themselves.  A few states required the product to be colored pink so people would know it was artificial.

About 20 years after the creation of margarine, the United States government passed laws covering everything from its production, packaging, and sale.  In addition, the government required manufacturers to pay annual licensing fees and imposed a tax of two cents per pound.  The tax part of the regulations were repealed in 1950.

The United States was not the only country to impose regulations on the manufacturing of margarine.  The Canadian government banned all margarine from 1886 until 1946 except for World War I but Quebec prohibited it until 2008.  Furthermore, the United States passed a law in 1923 prohibiting any additions to butter, even those that would make it more spreadable which made margarine more appealing since it was spreadable.

 Nowadays, all sorts of margarine's are stocked on the shelves in the dairy section with butter only taking a small percentage of space.  Who knew that a story by my grandmother would lead to my looking it up. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Landing Back in Civilization.

Nantes, Department Stores, France  I just flew back into town for the summer.  I admit, it takes a few days to readjust to live in the city.  It is so different and its more than its just larger. 

Where I live, there are two stores, both of which are about the same size as convenience stores but they sell everything from food, to bullets, to furniture and clothing.  Both stores have expanded a bit but they are still small at no more than 3000 square feet if that.

There are gravel roads mostly populated by ATV's and snow machines but there are perhaps three or maybe four trucks in the whole village as opposed to paved roads filled with motor vehicles of all kinds. 

I look forward to eating at regular restaurants rather than ordering in from one of two folks who provide either sushi or hamburgers if they are open.  The hamburger place is open only part of the year, usually when there are major tournaments.  The sushi place is open when they feel like it so really trying to eat out here means you go visit someone who invites you to stay for dinner.

Ohhh and the book stores and libraries in town.  We have a library but its the school library where people from the community come in to take advantage of ............ the computers.  Usually, the only ones who check books out are the students.  I've checked the cookbook section and it doesn't have many.  The library in town is much bigger with tons of books available for loan. 

Of course, I'll have to stop through the local bookstore with all its free wifi, coffee shop, and fun.  I miss that out here.  I am also looking forward to internet that is cheaper and works better than what I have out here. Even though everything is melting, my phone calls are still dropping or heavy with static.

I also look forward to leaving at an airport with a terminal, and flights that actually run almost on time.  Most of the flights out of here never run on the published time and is often "delayed" due to weather but I think its more like they do not have enough planes for all the passengers.  Also if one plane can't get out for whatever reason, the rest of the times for that plan are pushed back. 

Its also nice for packages and mail to arrive within a reasonable time.  Out here, it seems to take mail so much longer to arrive, be sorted, and put into boxes.  We do not have street delivery either here or in town so I'm used to going to the post office.

I'm off to enjoy my day.  Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, May 21, 2018

New Photography Rules In Germany.

Night Camera Photographer Canon Shooting G  I am heading off to Germany next month to attend my neices's wedding to a German national.  She works as a translator for a business where she translates German into American English.

It appears Europe will implement some new privacy regulations known as the GDPR or general data protection regulation.  It is new set of laws protecting digital items.

She sent out a quick e-mail warning us about parts of the new regulations that we must be aware of.  If we take a photo of anything with people in it, we either have to get their permission to show their faces if we want to post the pictures or we have to blur out their faces.  If the people are unidentifiable or are showing their backs, it is not a problem.

In addition, if you are a professional photographer who publishes the photos on their website, may do so if it is artistic but if you are not publishing the photos anywhere including your blog, or even facebook, it is not a problem.  I can see you thinking, oh I don't live there so I don't need to worry.  Apparently, this update moved jurisdiction to everywhere, not just within Europe.

The GDPR actually changes how data and personal information is being used. The big change is for  users to understand and know how their personal information is being collected and used.  No longer can a company provide pages of fine print, nor ask you to click a simple yes.  Companies must explain what personal data is being collected and precisely how it is being used.  It must all be spelled out.

Furthermore, consumers are now granted the right to check to see what data has been collected on them and to correct any and all mistakes and limit the way companies use the data.  These rules effect consumers in 28 countries even when the data is processed outside of Europe.  This means if someone requests any social media company to delete a photo and posted of a person as a minor, the company has to remove it and notify search engines that it has been deleted.

Although the rules are for Europe, many multinational countries are changing their rules because its easier to just change the rules for everyone than set up multiple sets of rules based on where people live. 

So keep this in mind, if you are heading off to one of those 28 European countries who use these new regulations when you take photographs.  It won't particularly effect me because I general take pictures of plants and such.  Even if I have people in my photographs, I tend to cut off heads or blur faces accidentally.

Friday, May 18, 2018

School's out !!!!!

Felt Tip Pens, Children Drawing, Drawing The schools in Alaska tend to run from mid August to mid May and for us, yesterday was the last student day. When I moved up here, I was told the reason for letting out so early in the year is to let families take advantage of fishing season because they relied on fish for winter food.

People are already out hunting, fishing, and gathering both eggs and greens.  In addition, its both commercial fishing and fire fighting season so those who are 18 and over apply to work at canaries and to fight fires.  These two professions provide money to families for the year. 

This year, there is only summer school for second graders who will be going into third grade but the school usually provides lunches for a couple weeks after school ends so the children in the village receive at least one healthy meal.   The local Coastal Regions office also provides a summer program for students to learn cultural items, work in the village, and other things. 

Other than that, many families pack up and head off to fish or berry camp for the summer.  Every family has an area by the river that belongs to them so they can camp, catch fish, cut and dry them for winter.  The preparation depends upon the type of fish because some are dried whole while others are cut into strips before being dried.

As soon as school ends, families are gone.  Long time ago, before the churches and schools arrived, families moved from area to area based on the time of year.  All the natives in this area tended to be more nomadic but as western civilization intruded, they became less nomadic and started living in towns with schools.

In many ways summer is good because its hard to go to bed when it does not get dark until after midnight and the sun is up early, early like 4 AM.  During the summer, people switch over to a sleep when they need it rather than based on time.  I know from personal experience that its easy to start something at 6 PM but not be aware of the time until midnight.  It goes so fast.

When school starts in August, the parents will be ready to hand the students over to the teachers so they get a bit of time to themselves and the teachers will be ready to be back at work.  I'm hoping to provide a bit more information on the older way of life.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The History of Cleaning Your Teeth!

Toothbrush, Cleaning, Dental Care, Brush  Although the modern toothbrush has only been around for no more than 200 years, people have been using toothbrushes since 3000 BC in Egypt when they used a small twig with one frayed end.  These toothsticks were found in Egyptian tombs so when the person went to the after life, they would have good teeth.

The Chinese are said to have created the first natural bristle toothbrush using the hair from the neck of a pig attached to a handle made of wood or bone sometime during the 15th century.

When the idea hit Europe, they often used softer horsehairs or feathers but  the first modern toothbrush appeared in 1780 with a carved bone handle with bristles made of swine hairs.  In 1844, the first three 3 row toothbrush hit the market.  Until the invention of nylon in 1938, all toothbrushes used natural bristles.   It was at this point that all toothbrushes were made with nylon bristles. About the same time, the first electric toothbrush arrived but did not make its way to America until the 1960's.

As far as toothpaste, it is thought to have first appeared in Egypt around 5000 BC before toothbrushes came into regular use.  Although these early toothpastes were designed to keep teeth clean and bright, they often had unusual ingredients such as powdered ox hooves ashes, burnt egg shells, pumice,  crushed bones or crushed oyster shells, powdered charcoal or bark.

The first modern toothpaste began appearing in the early 1800's with soap in them but by the 1850's recipes included chalk.  Prior to 1850, toothpaste was only found in powdered form but beginning around 1850, the toothpaste we know began to show up in jars as Creme Dentilfrice.  By 1873, toothpaste was mass marketed in jars however it wasn't long before it was being sold in tubes.  However, the toothpastes of the time were rather abrasive so in addition to cleaning crud off the teeth, it removed enamel too.

Fluoride toothpastes were introduced in 1914 and soon after, toothpastes were created to target certain things like sensitive teeth or bad gums.  The thing about toothpaste and many of the better toothbrushes is they were only available to the wealthier classes due to cost. 

So in reality the modern toothpaste is actually a bit younger than the modern toothbrush but they are probably one of the best inventions out there because most of us have better teeth than our ancestors did.  My mother has some photos of her relatives from the second half of the 19th century and they never smile in them.  My dad said it was because they were missing teeth.  Is that true?  I don't know.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nosegays! What are they?

Rose, Flower, Petal, Love, Floral, MacroMost girls are familiar with nosegays, those small bouquet of flowers you might receive from your first boyfriend or you have at your wedding.  They have also been referred to as Tussie-Mussies. Furthermore, a nosegay is a smaller arrangement than a bouquet.

Nosegays have a long and interesting history.  It made its first real appearance in the 15th century.  The term nosegay means a small ornament that smells really nice thus appealing to the nose. 

It was during this time people believed that washing would allow evil spirits to enter the body or you could become extremely ill so wealthier women would carry fancy silver or ivory holders filled with flowers.  They would either pin it to their bodice or carry them by their nose to avoid evil spirits but in reality, the floral scents helped mask the unwashed body smells.

Later in the 16th and 17th centuries, nosegays gained a reputation of protecting people from getting the plague because it was believed at the time that bad smells were responsible for the spread of the disease.  In addition, nosegays were also believed to act as charms if certain flowers and herbs were used.

Further more, at least one poet wrote a nice long poem about the symbolism and significance of various flowers in 1584.  By Victorian times, the creation of nosegays became associated with the language of flowers due to the publication of a book which alleged certain flowers had a secret code in harems.

Over time, as bathing became more acceptable and popular, nosegays were used less and less relegated to weddings and other social events.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Two Hemispheres

Southern Cross Stars Star Formation Nights
Southern Cross
  By the time I graduated from high school I'd lived in two different hemispheres, crossed the international dateline and the equator.  Each hemisphere has some distinct characteristics that are both similar and unique.

If you check things, both hemispheres have a star formation which is easily identified.  In the northern hemisphere it is either the Big Dipper or Orion's Belt depending while in the aouthern hemisphere, it's the Southern Cross. 

The Southern Cross got its name from the four bright stars that form an almost perfect cross. There is a 5th star but it is dim.  The vertical bar of the cross points almost directly south towards the pole. 

According to one historian from the late 1800's, the Southern Cross was seen in by people in Jerusalem at the time of the birth of Christ.  Over time, things have changed so it is no longer visible that far north.

The Southern Cross can be seen in Hawaii at certain times of the year.  I'd regularly see it when I lived in Australia.  Sailors who traveled south of the equator used the Southern Cross much the same way they used the North Star. 

Another commonality is the auroral display around both poles.  In the northern hemisphere, you can see the aurora borealis is you live far enough north.  Living in Alaska, we get some great displays during the winter from October to February or March.  In the southern hemisphere, the aurora is referred to as the aurora australis. There is a belief the northern and southern auroras are thought to be mirror images of each other but that is not true.  

The last fun thing is the direction that water circles as it is drains out of the bathtub or toilets.  There is a general belief that water drains in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere while it is counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere.  This is not quite true because the water is not being controlled by the Coriolis effect.  It is more controlled by how the water jets are set in the toilet.

It is true if you have bowls of water where the bowls are absolutely perfect, the water absolutely still, you can observe the Coriolis effect but in general, it will not have any noticeable effect because the way the plumbing is set up.  Its one of those myths that seems to persist.  Honestly, when I lived in Australia, I never noticed which way the water drained out of the toilet.

There is a story of someone down in Kenya who would "prove" water swirled different ways in the northern and southern hemisphere.  They'd prove it for a fee by showing how it went in the northern hemisphere and then walk across the equator to show it swirled the other way. They'd pour the water in with a slight swirl so when it left the sink, it "remembered" the direction of the swirl.

I hope you enjoyed reading these.  I'm hoping to go back to Australia, visit Tasmania and maybe get the chance to see the aurora down there.  Its on my bucket list.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Graduation Bush Style

Parental seating in front of the stage.
 Graduation is a huge deal out where I live for a couple of reasons.  First, not everyone who starts high school graduates.  Second, of those who graduate, many never leave the village for further education.  Third, graduating classes are small so each student is the center of attention.

It is a tradition for the seniors to take all the decorations from the prom and use it to decorate the gym.  All  the big pieces, lights, and anything else that can be reused is kept.

The graduates enter from the corner across the gym

The pattern for the decoration is usually the same.  Students crowd in the entry way to the boys locker room which is covered by tinsel of some sort.

The walkway leads from there, through an arch around by the back stands before turning again to take the entering seniors to their seating in front of the parents.

Seniors always spend the day of graduation decorating the gym.  They arrange everything from creating the walkways, to setting up the chairs. 
Community seating
 Community and other family members sit in the bleachers for part of the time but as soon as the graduates start moving, people rush down as close as they can to take pictures.

The gym is usually filled to the brim with everyone from new born to over 90.  I think everyone is related to everyone so they are all there to celebrate, snap pictures, and clap for the students.

When students enter, they do so one at a time, marching slowly almost like a bride entering the church for her wedding.

Graduate beginning his walk.
They leave 4 to 5 feet between each student.  When they walk through the arch, they stop so family and friends can snap pictures of them.  You will notice their gowns are pink this year.  it is in memory of a young man who passed at the very beginning of his senior year. 

They could not graduate without remembering him.  He loved wearing pink in his memory.  I taught him and even after several months, I cannot wear the pink shirt he gave me just before school ended.

Each student enters carrying roses they give to their parents before they receive their diplomas but after the valedictorian and salutatorian have delivered their speeches.  The roses are a thank you for all the support they provided the students over the years.

The graduating class of 2018
When the big moment arrives, each graduate's name is called.  The students walks up to the podium where he or she receives the diploma. 

On the way down the stairs, they stop, hold open their diplomas so everyone can snap more pictures.  When everyone has finished taking pictures, the student returns to his or her seat and the next name is called out.

At the end, all the students are brought back up where they pose for a final picture after being declared as fully graduated.
At the end, everyone heads out to the cafeteria where the graduates are congratulated, hugged, and everyone is fed cake and punch. 

As I stated earlier, the class couldn't graduate without paying tribute to the young man who passed away so they had a chair wrapped in pink for him.  Several students carried pictures of him as they entered and placed the pictures on his chair.  They even included a rose for him.

It is not just this class who have included a memorial for the student who have passed. It is traditional to do this because most students are close so when one passes, it is strongly felt and students miss those who pass.  They choose to recognize them.

So you've had a glimpse of how our graduations differ from most states.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, May 11, 2018

14 Ways to Remove Stains From Clothing.

Cloth Rag Jute Paper Old Vintage Stained J I've gotten to the point where I quit wearing white clothing because I always seem to spill something on it that stains.  I am the queen of stained clothing so I've taken to wearing dark colors.  Dark colors are great at hiding stains.  Unfortunately, my mother loves sending me light colored clothing such as pink, white, or light gray, colors I'd never choose for myself.

So lets looks at some ways to remove stains using simple everyday ingredients.  Things you most likely have in your kitchen because you cook with them.

1.  To get rid of tomato stains, soak the garment in distilled white vinegar before washing as normal.  Check to see the stain is gone before throwing it in the dryer.  If its still there, repeat the process.

2.  To get rid of coffee or tea stains, soak the area in a mix 1/3 cup white vinegar with 2/3 cup water before hanging out in the sun.  When dry, wash normally.

3. Mustard stains can be a bit harder to get out.  First soak in undiluted vinegar for a while.  If the stain remains, treat the spot with laundry detergent before washing.  When the wash is done, check the area.  If the stain is still there repeat the process otherwise dry as usual.

4. To clean sweat stains out of a garment, soak the discolored area in vinegar before rubbing salt in.  Let it dry outdoors in the sun before washing.

5. What about those wonderful grass stains children get in the knee area of their pants. Begin by soaking the area in straight white vinegar before washing as normal.  If the stains are still there, try rubbing the area with a paste made of white vinegar and baking soda. Then wash again.

6. Ever want to get rid of those horrid ink stains?  The ones you get when the pen suddenly breaks and the ink seeps out?  Try spraying with hair spray like White Rain, then dab with vinegar to remove the hairspray and ink. this one works because I've used it to take permanent maker out of coats.

7. You can remove blood stains by soaking the area with vinegar for 15 minutes before rinsing it out with cool water.  Repeat if necessary if needed before washing the garment.

8. What about those set in stains, the ones who have been there a while?  Begin by saturating the stain with white vinegar, then rub with a paste made of equal parts of baking soda and vinegar then wash.  If the stains remain, soak in a bucket of water with two tablespoons each of vinegar and laundry soap.

9.  A combination of lemon juice and cream of tarter mixed together can remove Tomato soup or red wine.

10. Another way to remove grass stains  is with white toothpaste (paste, not gel form). Squeeze a bit of toothpaste on the stain. Dip a toothbrush in cool water before using it to scrub away the stain before laundering.

11. A second way of eliminating blood stains is by pouring a three percent solution of hydrogen peroxide to soak the blood stain.  Use a knife or fingernail to scrape the blood off before washing the garment.

12.  You can also wet the bloody stain with water, sprinkle with salt, then rub the area to loosen the blood before washing.

13. For grease stains, try sprinkling the area with cornstarch.  Leave a few minutes to soak up the grease before brushing it off.

14. It is possible to remove oily stains from your pillow cases by using regular shampoo.  Pour a bit of  the shampoo on the stain, rub it in, rinse, and wash.

I have started keeping a list of these stain removers by the washer and by the kitchen sink so its in both places.  I hope you find this helpful.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Canned Food? When and Where?

Pickles Billet Cucumbers Canned Tomatoes G  When I decided to tackle this topic, a vague idea spurred it.  I think I heard somewhere that Napoleon was responsible for the first canned food because he offered a reward to the person who could help him with this.  He wanted canned food to feed his marking army.  Is it true?  We'll find out.

 The French Ministry of the Interior began offering the prize in 1795 because they needed a reliable source of food for its troops who were flung from Europe to the Caribbean.

Early in his career Nicholas Appert created a method of placing food in champagne bottles sealed with a mixture of cheese and lime. By 1803, he moved to wide necked glass jars to can his vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy, and fish. Around the same time, he sent food out with the Navy to see how they did.  In 1804, his factory began producing tin cans soldiered shut for meat.  They left the cans for months and those that did not swell were considered safe for sale.

In 1810 Nicholas Appert won a the 12,000 Franc reward from the French Ministry of the Interior.  This was about the same time Napoleon as emperor was sending his military out to other countries and  France still needed a way to feed the military and this met their needs.  Unfortunately, Appert's company never made a profit and he died a pauper, only to be buried on a paupers grave in 1841.

This new method spread to England where another Frenchman used it to create canned goods but he sold the patent for a tin food container that was sealed and heated to British businessman Bryan Donkin who spent two years making it so it could be used in mass production of food.  With another man named Gamble, he formed a company to sell canned beef.

In 1813, the Royal Navy purchased and fed 156 pounds of tinned foods to sick sailors because they believed scurvy was caused by eating too much salted meat.  In addition, the navy considered the tinned food to help all sick sailors regardless of their illness.

Canned foods now played a huge part in the Crimean War, the Civil War, the Franco-Prussian War, and by 1873 American companies such as Campbell, Borden, and Heinz were exporting canned foods to the rest of the world.  In 1904, Max Ams Machine Company in New York patented the double seam used in today's cans.

If you can get your hands on some of the old Sears catalogues(pre 1900), you'll find a section filled with canned foods people could have ordered shipped to them.  Part of the modern world.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Before Hair Spray What???????

Woman, Girl, Curler, HairstyleIf hair spray did not make an appearance prior to the 1950's what was used to hold locks in place?  Well, depending on when, will determine what was used.

In Victorian times, women used something called bandoline, a clear liquid made of quince seed, rose water, cologne, and alcohol if made a home.  If purchased, it might contain gum tragacanth.  Either way, the gummy solution was considered the best to hold hair.

The solution could be applied to the hair via fingers or a sponge, depending on the style.  Fashion magazines and others advised women to wash the gummy mixture from their hair once a week to avoid buildup.  Although bandoline fell out of favor in the late 1870's, women continued using something including waxy mixtures to attain the ideal look.

Before that, people used Pomades beginning in the 18th century.  Originally, pomades were made from mashed apples mixed with animal fat and herbs and used by the upper classes.  Also known as pomatum, it was mixed into the hair to help style it. A recipe from the time called for  pigs lard, mutton fat, essence of lemon and clove oil mixed together. Over time, the ingredients changed and it became more of a male dominated hair application.

If you go all the way back to the Egyptians, it appears they used a certain type of fat based hair gel to hold their hair in place both in life and death.  In addition, there are traces of beeswax found on the remains of Egyptian wigs to hold the styles in place. There are indications the Irish used a pine tree resin gel in their hair back in 400 to 200 BC range.  Archeologists used analysis to check what was used on the hair of mummies and on a body found in a bog in Ireland to obtain this information.

Someone found a recipe for hair gel from the 1300's which required lizard tallow mixed with swallow (bird) droppings.  In the early 1600's people used lard to set their hair but they had to sleep with a cage or night cap to protect it from the rats.

Throughout history, most women used pieces, pads, etc to help create the height of the style, or fullness.  Most women did not wash their hair regularly because shampoos didn't exist or if they did, they were not good for the hair, so women created a system of dry shampoos to keep their hair in shape.  If hair reached a point where it was dull, greasy, and horrid, they might wash it but they tried to avoid it.

It was hard to find information on what they used to hold their hair instead of hair spray.  The above information is what I could find.  Tomorrow, will be a quick look at canned foods because those have been around a couple centuries longer than shampoos.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A History of Hairspray

Rainbow, Mohawk, Hairspray, Colors  Every year when the prom comes around, mothers, aunties, even friends help girls fix their hair so they will look spectacular for the event.  This means the hair is curled and hair sprayed within an inch of its life.  These girls could be on a snow machine and their hair wouldn't move an inch out of place.

This got me to wondering when hair spray became a part of woman's array of hair tools.  I remember I had a few aunts who loved having their hair stay put so they used enough hair spray to keep it in place no matter what.  A couple had those huge styles left over from the 1960's.  They were the same ones who always curled it to get that look.

It was World War II which provided the impetus for the creation of hairspray.  During the war, the United States Department of Agriculture created the first aerosol cans used to provide better distribution of insecticide so soldiers were protected against Malaria.

Once the war ended, other businesses discovered the potential of aerosol cans including the beauty industry.  In 1948, Chase products marketed the first sticky resin based spray that created a hard coating hence the term "Helmet Head" but it wasn't until 1950 that Helene Curtis coined the term "Hair spray" when the company released the extremely popular Spray Net.  Other companies quickly followed with their own versions of hair spray which appealed to the American populous thus becoming the number one selling beauty product.

Of course, hair styles evolved such as the beehive and bouffant which needed hair spray to exist. In 1960, L'Oreal created the first brush out hair spray In fact, it is said that by 1964, hair spray was outselling lipstick.  Unfortunately, the demand for hairspray decreased in the late 1960's and early 1970's due to simpler hairstyles that required no holding and the discovery that aerosols contained Chlorofluoro Carbons.  Chlorofluoro Carbons harmed the environment.

In addition, hair sprays prior to the 1970's contained "Vinyl Chloride" a propellant which was found to be carcinogenic, potentially causing liver cancer and was removed from sprays.   This was well known at lease a decade before its elimination from the market.  As early as 1964, it was noted that workings in beauty parlors were possibly exposed to more vinyl chloride than lab rats.

When hair spray made a resurgence in the 1980's all hair sprays were vinyl chloride free.  Since then hair spray has become available in sprays, holds, and scents.  So now, you can buy it in so many ways.  Yes I occasionally use hair spray but I end up washing it out immediately because I hate the feel.

So keep your eyes peeled because tomorrow I'm looking at what they used prior to the creation of aerosol hairspray.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Prom Time

Waiting for the Prom to begin.
 As the end of the school year approaches, one of the biggest events in this small village occurs.  It is time for the prom, when everyone gets their big opportunity to dress up and be a king or queen for one night.

There are no hotels out here, although the city is hoping to convert one of the buildings into a hotel but at the moment, the prom is held at the school in the cafeteria. 

The prom locally is very different from those held in most cities in that anyone in grade 6 or above is invited, including community members.
Photos taken here.
 Saturday night's theme was "A Night in Paris".  Few if any will ever leave the state but still they have dreams and they want their prom to allow them to escape, even if for just a night.

They set up their photo area in the entry to the school, against the wall nearest the gym.  The small pieces of paper are signs like wonderful, respect each other, etc.

The juniors are in charge of setting up the prom, so they started assembling it on Friday and finished on Saturday, just before the prom was due to start.

Eiffel Tower
 The Eiffel Tower was one of the more popular photography spots because it had lights so if you didn't have flash, you could still get a picture.  One of the young ladies brought a date who was under one year old.  She brought her baby brother as her date.  No he wasn't there all evening, just long enough to get his picture taken in "Paris" before she took him home.

The turn out community wise was not a good as normal.  Around the beginning of the dance, we were told a coworkers mother died from pneumonia.  She'd been fighting cancer, picked up a bug that went into pneumonia, and passed on from it.

That means later this week or possibly early next week there will be a funeral and school gets out early for it.  This did not stop the young ones from coming. 

Door to the Gym
 They even covered the door to the gym so students couldn't accidentally wander in there.  The door is between the photography area and the Eiffel Tower.

They had some benches scattered through this area where I spent much of the time available to snap photos of the kids with their camera's or tie boy's ties because they don't know how to do it.

The benches were located over near the bathrooms so I got to watch the girls and boys run back and forth between the cafeteria and the bathrooms.  Many of the girls wore heels so they clomped back and forth, often times sounding like a heard of elephants.  Often the shoes were bit too big while other times, the girls carried the shoes because they were too "high".
Entrance to the Prom itself in the cafeteria.
 At the entrance to the cafeteria, there stood two lights.  The prom is held in the cafeteria so the juniors can heat up finger foods such a pizza, make punch (no alcohol its a dry village), or put out more jello or fry bread.  Off to the sides were tables covered in pink paper and placed in the alcove leading to the gym stood the DJ and his equipment.

Usually they get someone in the village to do it but this time the husband of the second grade teacher provided services.  He had some really nice music with no swear words and it was great to dance to.

 I snapped a shot of the prices.  As usual the cost of going in formal wear is much cheaper than going in casual.  I don't think the prices have changed at all in the whole time I've been here.

The only thing different is the time.  Usually it runs 7 PM to Midnight due to the police wanting everyone under the age of 18 home by midnight. 

They always notify the police of any events so they know the kids might be out a bit late.  Also the police tend to stop by and hand out for a bit to check things out.  As I said, its a whole community event.

Just anted to share a taste of a prom held in a village in Bush Alaska.  Hope you enjoyed the visit.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Aqutaq and Fry Bread.

This is a beautiful picture of Aqutaq which does not refridgeration but is referred to as "Eskimo Ice Cream."  I have no idea where the English equivalent came from, nor do I know where the description of ice cream came from unless it got its name from the fact the base mixture is white.   This is made by mixing some sort of fat, usually Crisco or Lard with sugar.  It is beaten until it is light and fluffy.  Sometimes they add a bit of water to it to make it even lighter and fluffier. 
The difference between this village and others is they beat in mashed potatoes.  Sometimes they use real potatoes while most times they rely on reconstituted instant potatoes.  The mashed potatoes cut the greasy taste of the fat used in the mixture.  After making sure the base is light and ready, the final step is to stir in the fruits or vegetables.  Today's version had blueberries but I've had it with all sorts of berries, raisins, cooked and chopped up greens, tubles also known as mouse food, and flaked fish.  This dish is often served as part of the meal and every potluck has several versions depending on who made it.
Fry bread is always served with the Aqutak.  The recipe varies according to which family but most of the women start with a base of pancake mix.  They mix eggs with liquid and pancake mix to create a dough which is rolled or patted out.  Once its flat, they stretch it, poke holes in it before dropping it in hot oil to cook. After the one side is brown, they flip it to cook it on the other side.  When its ready, they pull it out and drop it on cardboard to drain before transferring it to a box.  
One family will make it with raisins and cinnamon while another will add a bunch of eggs and others do not use any eggs.  It all depends on who you learned it from.  One women uses a yeast bread recipe for her fry bread so its usually a lot fluffier than those who begin with pancake mix.  She feels its cheating to use the mix.  In general, I like the yeast based one but the cinnamon and raisin one is also quite good.

When its served, they always serve the Aqutaq in a bowl with the fry bread.  If you do not have a spoon, you use the bread to scoop and carrying the mouth watering mixture to your mouth.  When you run out of bread, you scoop it with your fingers and then use your fingers to clean the bowl.

it is always so good.  People will go back for seconds and thirds until it is gone.  I've seen potlucks run out of Aqutaq before any other dishes run out.

I did not include actual measurements because no one measures anything out here.  You start by dumping the pancake mix into the bowl, add liquids, eggs, etc until the mix is just right.  Knead it and begin pinching off balls to roll out and fry.

I hope you enjoyed this visit to local cuisine.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  have a great weekend.  I'm off to have fun.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Little People and Hairy Man!

Leprechaun Laughing Face Famous-People IriToday, the man in charge of Cultural Heritage week took time to share some stories with students, stories that have a commonality with other cultures.  He spoke of little people, the hairy man and the whirlwind.  

There is a belief that little people exist locally.  They are often seen in the distance with a bag over their shoulder. Their physical description does not match that of either leprechauns (Irish little people) or the Menehune (Hawaiian little people)

 The man today spoke of being with friends when he was younger. They were out having a good time, when one of them looked up and saw someone peering down at them.  He pointed upwards and everyone stared.  He said there was something unearthly about the man and suddenly they realized it was one of the little people, so they all ran in the other directions, scared but wanting to look cool.

There are other stories of people in the area who have seen a little person.  They always see them and go the other direction.  No one speaks of having gone up to them and met them in person.  I gather it is not a good thing to meet these ones.

He went on to share a story about a friend who had gone out to the dump one evening.  Apparently, he took a path that took by a rise that had suddenly appeared out of nothing.  He dumped his trash, turned around before realizing the rise was no longer there and a bit further out, he saw something huge and hairy lumbering away from the dump.   The hairy man is the local version of big foot.

Even the local newspaper occasionally publishes stories of reported sightings of both little people and the hairy man complete with drawings.  According to the organizer of this week, there has been an increase in sightings of both little people and the hairy man.  I have never seen either but I do not go looking for them.  I'm usually listening to the wind and enjoying the sunlight.

The final story dealt with walking over a face in the ground.  The face is that of a whirlwind and if you walk across the face,a whirlwind will spring out of the ground taking the innocent victim with it up into the air before throwing the body away from it.  I've never heard this story before but it came from his elders who have long since passed on.

On the last day, there will be fresh fry bread and agutak or Eskimo ice cream made of Crisco, water, sugar, mashed potatoes, and fruit.  I can see some of you cringing but it is quite good and yummy.  The mashed potatoes cut the greasy flavor of the Crisco so its much nicer. Yum.  I'll try to take pictures and share it tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.  Enjoy your selves and please let me know what you think, I'd love to know.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cultural Heritage Week.

Yesterday was the beginning of Cultural Heritage week, a week to remember and learn more about the local culture. 

In the mornings, students begin the day by listening to guest speakers give a small preview of what is to come. After an hour, students break into different groups to listen to speakers on a particular topic. 

My group listened to the two ladies from the environmental department.  They had an awesome presentation.  The showed an unofficial time line showing the type of trash started appearing in the village.

At first it was things they could easily recycle like 55 gallon fuel oil cans back in the 1930's.  People cleaned them out and used them for water containers, stoves, and other things.  They used flour sacks for clothing, towels, and anything else they could think of.  This was when the village was located in another place.

Over time, more and more goods came into the village which were harder to dispose of such as paper goods, batteries, gas powered washing machines or CB's depending on the time period.  What I found so interesting was in the last 18 years, the amount of trash has exponentially increased.  Today's trash is more electronic devices, lithium batteries, and other items which are not as easily recycled.

The other speech was made by a young lady who works for the city government.  She took time to discuss all the jobs one might find in town and those that need filling right now.  Apparently, there is training available this summer for people to train as carpenters so they can work on the airport and other projects beginning in the fall.

The other topics are family, employment through the fishing group, connecting the old ways with the new ways, and male and female jobs within the family and culture.  All of these are so important.  It takes three days for the students to circulate through all six topics.

In the afternoon, after lunch and a chance to reflect, students break out to a hands on session.  There is skin sewing where students are learning to use fur to make mittens. This year, they are piecing fur scraps to make gloves.  The fur is on the outside as frequently as it is on the inside.  When its on the inside, you make an outer covering out of cloth and if the fur is on the outside, you make a lining out of cloth.   This class is for students to learn the technique needed to sew fur as it is not the same used for making regular clothing.

There other sessions for making quspaq's similar to in the picture, crocheting also known as yarning, beading where they make bracelets, making fish hooks, creating fish traps for black fish, and making traditional masks out of wood.

I hope to post pictures later in the week of various things happening.  Have a great day and let me know what you are thinking.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Time of the Year.

Flower, Plant, Garden, Nature, Orange  We still have ice and snow covering the ground. Although, its supposed to be warmer outside, we've had several snow storms in the last week resulting in more snow on the ground.

By this time of the year, I am ready for summer to get here.  I am ready for the flowers to spring up but I won't see them out here.  When the snow melts, the ground turns into a slippery nasty mud.

I get tired of the white patches interrupted by patches of brown.  I want the color associated with spring flowers.  I know it will be a few weeks before that happens, so I provide my own spring scenery.  You might wonder how I can get flowers out here? 

I collect DVD's.  I have several gardening DVD's, a couple showing me more of Hawaii, Tahiti, and a few public gardens.  I know, I know, its ust night the same thing as being there but I can watch several hours of beautiful plants, warm sunny beaches, and pretend the trade winds are teasing my hair.

Saturday, I watched part of a DVD discussing edible perennial plants from Massachusetts, Mexico, and Florida.  Edible perennial plants are those you plant once and last for many, many, years such as Elephant Garlic, Seakale, Bananas, etc.  Many of the plants featured in this DVD are ones I either didn't realize were edible or I'd never seen before.

The narrator included information on raising spreading perennials such as edible bamboo.  If you haven't heard, bamboo can really spread and take over large plots of land. There is a yard in the town my parents live in where someone planted bamboo and it through a half a block of houses.  I have seen a small, low to the ground type of bamboo but I don't know if its edible.
Zen Garden Meditation Monk Stones Bamboo R

Another DVD I have is on setting up herb gardens where the woman shows how to plant various types of herbal gardens including preparation and patterns.  I love fresh herbs and in the past when I lived where I could grow herbs in the ground, I planted tons of mint in areas surrounded by cement pathways. 

I had sage, tarragon, horehound, and so many other herbs.  Where I live in Alaska, I cannot plant any of these herbs outside because the cold tends to kill them.  Right now, I usually grow herbs in pots but they don't do well during the winter when sunlight gets down to nothing.

The third is one on growing roses from start to finish.  I do have roses spread out around my property but they are wild ones, not cultivated.  Often the wild roses produce rosehips used by natives to provide vitamin C over the winter.

Others as I said are tour type videos of paradise type places like Hawaii and Tahiti.  They take me away and allow me to enjoy summer before it hits here and I do not go stir crazy.  I need to see it or the long winters get to me.

These DVD's keep me from going totally crazy.  Let me know what you think, I"d love to hear.