Mar 28, 2016

Messianism Monday

messianism ~ belief in a single messiah or saviour

Happy Easter Monday!

Everyone have a good weekend?

Somewhere I heard that Easter weekend has a higher sales volume than Christmas. I had my doubts about it until the hubby and I stopped into Walmart on Saturday. I could not believe the crowds, and the line-ups! After a quick walk-thru of the store we decided whatever it was we went in there for we didn't need it that badly, and we left.

I'm pretty sure everyone is familiar with the religious aspect of Easter, the crucifixion of Christ and his rising from the grave, but where does the bunny with his basket of eggs come from? Neither rabbits nor hares are known for laying eggs, nor are eggs mentioned in the biblical story of Easter. So how did the two become connected?

From what I can gather, like the tradition of groundhog day, we have the Germans to thank for the Easter egg hunts. There is a 16th century story about the Oschter Haws, or Easter Hare, that visits children while they sleep and rewards them if they've been good (sort of like Santa Claus). Before going to bed, the children made nests for the hare who would lay coloured eggs in them. When German settlers came to America, the hare became a rabbit.

As for the eggs themselves ... one theory is that the eggs are symbolic - the hard shell represents the tomb of Christ and the new life inside the egg represents His rising back to life. Less believable is the theory of an egg merchant who set down his basket of eggs in order to help Christ carry his cross and when he returned the eggs had been mysteriously decorated.

Now, early Orthodox churches typically abstained from eating eggs during Lent. There being no way to keep chickens from laying eggs during Lent, people would typically boil the eggs to preserve them and later use them to break their fast.

It has been suggested the dyeing of eggs dates back to ancient Christians who colored chicken eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ. They've also been known to dye them green to represent spring.

I wonder if the ancient Christians ever dreamed that their tradition would one day become a multi-million dollar industry?

Mar 21, 2016

Multeity Monday

multeity ~ manifoldness; very great numerousness

Happy second day of Spring!

Did you do anything to celebrate? How about Earth Day? Did you remember to participate in it Saturday night?

I admit that Earth Day completely slipped my mind. But then we were in the middle of watching the original version of Little Shop of Horrors at the time, so I guess it's an easy mistake to make. And we're talking the original 1960's version, not the musical one. ;-)

But although I missed Earth Day I celebrated the first day of Spring with a fancy dinner. I didn't intend it to be fancy, mind you. It just kind of happened. But after all the work I went to I decided it was in celebration of Spring. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

And after a week of extremely mild temperatures and enough rain to ensure a run on ark lumber at the building supply stores, the temperature dropped and we're supposed to get snow this week. Cause, you know, it's spring.

The robins were predicting an early spring because they've been around for weeks. And the poor, confused squirrels never did get to hibernate, thanks to the mild winter we had. But the most telling sign of spring was the ducks. That's right, the ducks came back this weekend. The temperature dips down enough at night that there's a skim of ice on the pool in the morning, so they've been coming in the early evening.

One tradition of spring I most definitely do not enjoy is taxes. And it's not so much the paying of the taxes that I dislike, although that's bad enough, it's all the forms you have to fill out for the privilege of paying them.

And yeah, I know there are programs out there so you can file electronically - can you even get the paper forms any more? But the problem with the computer programs is that they're so easy to use that it makes me really nervous. I always expect the Mounties to show up at my door to arrest me for tax fraud afterwards. "Really, officer, it's not my fault. Arrest TurboTax!"

But I have to admit, I'm not sorry to see winter go. Not that it was much of a winter - not a lot of snow and it wasn't even all that cold. Although we did get more than our fair share of grey/overcast days.

Spring is here and soon we'll have the greening. One day you look out the window and the trees are starting to show the first few buds, and the next day you look out and everything's green.

Now that's something to look forward to.

Mar 14, 2016

Metagrobolize Monday

metagrobolize ~ to mystify; to puzzle out

Everybody get their clocks adjusted on the weekend?

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there that hates the time change. And I don't care if the clocks are going forward or back, I hate them both. I don't know who came up with this stupid idea, but they're just ... stupid!

*lightbulb goes off over head*

I should do some research on this!

To start with, here are some facts I came up with to support my dislike of the time change:
- heart attacks increase by 10 per cent after a time change
- it not only disrupts the sleep pattern it reduces the quality of sleep
- suicide rates increase right after a time change
- there is an increase in traffic accidents just after a time change

The concept of Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise has been around since 1486, however Benjamin Franklin made the phrase popular in his "Poor Richard's Almanack" in 1739. And he is also supposedly behind the satirical suggestion in 1784 that Parisians economize on candles by getting up earlier to make better use of the daylight, the root of the daylight saving time idea.

In 1895, George Hudson, a scientist in New Zealand, proposed shifting forward two hours in October followed by two hours back in March. There was no follow-through with this idea, nor with British builder William Willett's idea of turning the clocks forward 20 minutes for each of the four Sundays in April and back again on the four Sundays in September.

I kind of like the sound of that last one, it would be so much easier to spread the time changes over several weekends.

It appears Germany was the first county to embrace daylight saving time, in 1916, to support the war effort by saving fuel. Several other European countries followed suit, but went back to standard time after the war.

Canada and the U.S. had a year-round daylight saving time during WWII, called "War Time". This went from February 9, 1942 until September 30, 1945. After that things kind of fell apart for the U.S. There were no consistent rules for DST and caused chaos with transit and the broadcasting industry. This lasted until 1966 when the Uniform Time Act was established, setting DST to begin the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October.

In an effort to conserve energy during the energy crisis, U.S. Congress extended DST to ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975. In 1986 this was amended to have it begin on the first Sunday in April, ending on the last Sunday in October. And finally, in 2005, U.S. Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, changing the dates again. Daylight Saving Time now begins on the second Sunday in March, and ends the first Sunday in November.

So now you know. Don't you feel better?


Mar 7, 2016

Margaritomancy Monday

margaritomancy ~ divination using pearls

I have a very good reason for being late with this post today. Honest!

I was sitting here last night, crocheting, and as it grew later I did think I should get to work on today's blog post, but at the same time I didn't want to stop what I was doing.

Okay, maybe I should start from the beginning.

First of all, I hate just sitting watching TV. It makes me antsy. But there are a lot of good shows on, mostly just Monday, Tuesday, and Friday nights - the rest of the week is pretty sad and pathetic. But I digress. Sometimes I'll have the lap top open to write a letter or catch up on my emails, but mostly I just play solitaire, Text Twist, or some other mindless games. And before you even say it, there's no point in trying to write when one of my shows is on because it takes too much concentration.

So I have come up with what I call my TV crafts, namely embroidery, knitting, and crochet. Once upon a time I used to do baby quilts - nothing fancy, just embroidering every other block with some sort of baby animal scene, then sew them all together and either machine quilt them along the seams or just tie them. But then people started having babies faster than I could embroider and I switched to knitting.

The problem with knitting is that, unlike embroidery, it requires a bit more attention than I'd like. It's okay during the boring parts of a show or during the commercials, but during the action parts it's all too easy to drop a stitch or lose my place in the pattern. Which is why I haven't gone back to work on the navy blue cardigan I started knitting myself a couple of years ago. It's going to be beautiful ... some day.

Now while some crochet patterns require a lot of attention, at least I don't have to worry about dropping a stitch, like I do with knitting. And with crochet I like to work on big projects, like afghans and throws.

So. When I decided to stop wasting my TV time on mindless games, the first thing that came to mind was crochet. I have a small stash of yarn left over from various projects and I figured I could start a scrap afghan. You know, just granny squares of all these different colours and then join them together. You should know by now that nothing is ever so simple as that for me, right?

I had two big balls of variegated pastel colours - white, pink, blue, mauve, green, and yellow. I think I'd originally bought them for a baby blanket, but I decided to use that as my base colour and match up the other colours to it. This worked with the first colour - mauve. I had enough for seven 10 inch squares and then ran out. And looking through my stash I was chagrinned to realize I had nothing else that went with the variegated. I checked my leftover stash and I checked my big stash - nothing.

Now I could have just put a wide border around six of the squares and sewn them together for a crib blanket (which I didn't even think about until now), but what I did was go to Walmart and found a pale blue that worked. Seven blue squares later (I decided that I'd do seven squares of each colour to match up with the mauve) I had to go out of town to the nearest Michael's where I found pink, yellow, and green.

Fast forward to me finishing all 35 squares and then I started joining them together - five rows of seven squares each, made easier by the fact I was smart enough to weave in the ends of each square as I finished. Now the squares themselves were patterned thusly: two rows of variegated, one of colour, two variegated, one colour, two variegated, and ending with one colour. This made the logical choice for joining them the granny stitch because it carried on the pattern of two rows of variegated between each square.

Joining the squares into rows was easy. But the problem with the granny stitch for joining the rows is to make sure everything lines up right. I'd granny stitch my way down to the corner where four squares meet, go a couple stitches further, check my work, and invariably discover that the four rows did not meet in a nice, clean square. They'd be off kilter. So I'd rip it out and try again. And again, and again, and again. I probably re-did it enough times to make a couple extra afghans before I was done.

And yeah, in the great scheme of things no one but me would notice it's a little off, but if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing right. Right? And besides, it had gone from being a scrap blanket to being a blanket for the grandbaby when she comes for a sleepover. You know, when she's old enough. In a couple of years time. ;-)

Anyway, I finally got the hang of getting the rows to line up properly and I was close enough to being finished last night that I didn't want to stop for fear of having to go through the frustration of trying to figure it out again. So instead of stopping to write this post, I kept on crocheting thinking that during this week's TV time I'll only have to worry about the border. Easy peasy.

Except ... when I spread out the afghan, thinking to take a picture for this post, I couldn't help but notice the first two rows were - you guessed it - off kilter. *sigh*

Did I really think the granny stitch join was easier?

Silly me!