Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a sad example of the changing times . . .

The final roll of Kodachrome film was developed in Kansas today. Kodak announced it was discontinuing the iconic film in 2009, after competition from digital cameras caused a large sales decline.  Kodachrome is not easy to process and requires expert handlers.  Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas is the sole remaining commercial developer.  The last film to be developed was shot by the owner, Dwayne Steinle.  Dwayne's Photo has been inundated with requests for developing, many from photographers who had been hoarding the coveted film for years.

Kodachrome film is renowned for its exceptional rendering of color, vivid images and archival longevity. For many years, it was the preferred brand for print media.Created in 1935, it was the first commercial film to successfully shoot in color. Kodachrome was also used for motion pictures. 

Happy Birthday, Dad !

Today would have been my Dad's 73rd birthday.   
Hope someone made angel food cake with caramel frosting for you !  

Monday, December 27, 2010

a display that would make Clark Griswold proud . . .

People living in our neck of the woods are familiar with the Menashe family's yearly Christmas lights display.  This is their 19th year creating the illuminated winter wonderland.  We drove by late Christmas night to take a few photos.  This year's preparations and display were featured on the TLC's show "Invasion of the Christmas Lights".    

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

cocoa and dog cookies . . .

I made cocoa mix this year to give away for holiday gifts.  (thank you, Lisa and  It's a combination of cocoa powder, instant coffee creamer, powdered sugar and instant milk.  Speaking of which, has anyone purchased a box of powdered milk lately ??  I haven't and had no idea it would be $8.00   And the only choice was lowfat.  Blech.  But enough on that sidetrack.....  I had all intentions of making my own marshmallows as well, but time got away from me.  I wanted to dip them in chocolate and some candy cane sprinkles.  I used big store-bought marshmallows instead.  They worked just fine. 

I make ("dip" may actually be a better term) these dog cookies every year.  My guys expect them now. So do their friends.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

thank god the days will start getting longer

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.
On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

How special that this year's winter solstice coincided with a lunar eclipse. 


Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, James !

Our nephew turns 5 today.  He's a little rock star.  (that's a chicken satay in his hand)  
Happy Birthday, James !!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

it's that time of year again . . .

... when I feel like I'm going to implode because I don't have all the Christmas stuff done yet.  It happens every year and I have yet to actually implode.  It's just hard to believe that we are one week away.  Where does the time go ?

My friend came over today and we got a couple different cookies made - gingerbread and cut-outs.  We had fun and it's always nice to double up the efforts.  There's one project to cross off the list ...

Friday, December 10, 2010

December 10th is Human Rights Day

Today marks the 60th annual Human Rights Day, celebrating the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was drafted between January 1947 and December 1948. It aimed to form a basis for human rights all over the world and represented a significant change of direction from events during World War II and the continuing colonialism that was rife in the world at the time. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is considered as the most translated document in modern history. It is available in more than 360 languages and new translations are still being added.

The UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France, on the December 10, 1948. All states and interested organizations were invited to mark December 10 as Human Rights Day at a UN meeting on December 4, 1950. It was first observed on December 10 that year and has been observed each year on the same date.

From, here are just a few of the most encouraging human rights stories of 2010:

Treaty Outlawing Forced Disappearance: After years of work by human rights activists, a landmark treaty aimed at abolishing forced disappearances will take effect. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, will enter into force on December 23 following its ratification by Iraq. Citing the convention, Amnesty International has called on all countries to end disappearances.

Repeal of Argentina's Dirty War Law: Argentina took a major step toward bringing to justice those responsible for its infamous "Dirty War" of the 1970s, repealing laws that protected military officials from prosecution for crimes committed during this period. Hundreds of perpetrators including ex-General Videla and ex-General Menendez are now imprisoned.

Arrest Warrant for Sudan President: In July, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced a second arrest warrant for Sudan's president Omar Al-Bashir, charging him with three counts of genocide. Bashir has presided over the genocide in Darfur, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have been murdered, raped and driven from their homes.

British Settlement With Guantanamo Detainees: In November, the British government announced that it had reached a settlement to pay compensation to 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees for the abuses they suffered in U.S. custody. This landmark agreement sent a strong signal that, at least in Great Britain, there will be accountability for the extra-legal measures that flourished at the notorious prison camp.

Cambodian War Crimes Conviction: More than three decades after the fall of the Khmer Rouge, the first conviction was handed down for atrocities committed in one of the 20th Century's worst genocides. Comrade Duch, who ran a prison where thousands were tortured and killed, was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Removal of Nuremberg Clause: The American Psychological Association (APA) finally removed the so-called "Nuremberg Defense" from its code of conduct. This clause, which was added in 2002 at the height of the Bush administration's influence, allowed mental health professionals to dispense with professional ethics when they conflicted with "law, regulations, and other governing legal authority."

US Supreme Court Landmark Ruling Against Human Rights Abuses: For the first time, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Samantar v. Yousuf that foreign government officials, who commit atrocities and then avail themselves of the benefits of living in the U.S., are not immune for torture, rape and other war crimes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Baby Girl has a new home

Baby Girl lived on our porch for the past several months - on a padded chair, under an umbrella.  She had a pretty good cat life there, staying dry and warm while getting fed several times a day.  Along with two other neighborhood cats who show up daily to the Dlubac Soup Kitchen.  When Arctic Blast 2010 hit the Monday before Thanksgiving, I knew she wouldn't survive outside with temps in the upper teens.  So we brought her inside and put her in the laundry room.  To our surprise, she settled in very quickly and used her litter box immediately.  After staying in the room for the week, we felt bad kicking her back out.  She is a sweet kitty and seemed very happy to be inside.  We took her to the vet - tests, shots and a check-up later - she checked out in good health.  And was already fixed.  Even better.  

My cousin and her partner lost their cat of 16 years a few weeks ago and had been thinking about getting another to be a companion for their other cat.  What perfect timing for Baby Girl.  I took her over to their place on Monday and all seems to be going well.  We await a new name as she settles in.  

This is our cat, Brenda.  Her latest obsession is our TV.  She mostly watches the news, particularly the weather and traffic reports.  But this commercial this morning seemed to really peek her interest. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

29 years ago today . . .

. . . I turned 13.  Ahhhhhhhhh - the salad days.  And what a great time it was to be a teenager; 1983.  

Who else shares my birthday ?

Wink Martindale, game show host
Chris Hillman, musician from The Byrds
Marissa Tomei, actress
Jay-Z, rapper
Crazy Horse, Lakota Indian Chief
Lillian Russel, singer and actress
Wassily Kandinsky, Russian abstract painter
Fung Yu-lan, Chinese Philosopher

and one of my favorite actors, Jeff Bridges

All December babies born at the hospital where I was delivered came home in one of these:

Friday, December 3, 2010

it's a sad day for Cubs fans . . .

William DeShazer, Chicago Tribune / December 3, 2010 

Ron Santo, a star third baseman of the Chicago Cubs and their longtime broadcaster who became a revered figure for his exploits on the field and his battle against juvenile diabetes, died Thursday in a hospital in Arizona.  He was 70.

Playing for the Cubs from 1960 to 1973, then for a final season with the Chicago White Sox, Santo hit 342 career home runs. He won five Gold Glove awards for fielding every season from 1964 to 1968 and was named an All-Star nine times. Although repeatedly passed over for the Baseball Hall of Fame, he was the leading vote-getter in balloting by a veterans committee in 2008.

The Cubs retired his No. 10 at Wrigley Field in September 2003, and he stood and waved from the radio booth as the crowd cheered.  When the Cubs had first announced they would fly Santo’s number from the left-field foul pole, he told The Associated Press: “There’s nothing more important to me in my life than this happening to me. I’m a Cubbie. I’ll always be a Cubbie.”      (NY Times)

Here's a tidbit of info about Ron that I didn't know: before he became one of the greatest Cubs of all time playing alongside Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Ferguson Jenkins, Santo was a star at Seattle's own Franklin High School.  He was born born Ronald Edward Santo in Seattle on Feb. 25, 1940.  He left Seattle in 1960 to join the Cubs and rarely returned.
Ron Santo in 1958 when he traveled to New York 
for a high school baseball all-star game. ( file)

Chicago Tribune photo by Phil Velasquez / September 28, 2003

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1st is World AIDS Day

On December 1st, the global community observes World AIDS Day, to raise awareness of the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.  According to a new report by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, almost 63 million people have been infected with the HIV since 1981.  And at the end of 2009, some 33.3 million people were living with HIV, including 2.5 million children.

Today, cities around the world will light their most distinctive landmarks (RED). From the Sydney Opera House, to Paris' City Hall & Fountains, from the London Eye, to Cape Town’s Table Mountain, from Niagara Falls, to the Seattle Space Needle - the world will turn red to highlight the day.  A list of those landmarks, including our own Space Needle, participating can be found here.