Friday, December 30, 2005
2. Mohammed is now one of the 20 most popular names for boys born in England and Wales.
3. While it's an offence to drop litter on the pavement, it's not an offence to throw it over someone's garden wall.
7. Baboons can tell the difference between English and French. Zoo keepers at Port Lympne wild animal park in Kent are having to learn French to communicate with the baboons which had been transferred from Paris zoo.
8. Devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to jaywalk as other people, according to an Israeli survey reported in the New Scientist. The researchers say it's possibly because religious people have less fear of death.
12. Until the 1940s rhubarb was considered a vegetable. It became a fruit when US customs officials, baffled by the foreign food, decided it should be classified according to the way it was eaten.
14. It's possible for a human to blow up balloons via the ear. A 55-year-old factory worker from China reportedly discovered 20 years ago that air leaked from his ears, and he can now inflate balloons and blow out candles.
18. If all the Smarties eaten in one year were laid end to end it would equal almost 63,380 miles, more than two-and-a-half times around the Earth's equator.
19. The = sign was invented by 16th Century Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde, who was fed up with writing "is equal to" in his equations. He chose the two lines because "noe 2 thynges can be moare equalle".
20. The Queen has never been on a computer, she told Bill Gates as she awarded him an honorary knighthood.
24. The 71m packets of biscuits sold annually by United Biscuits, owner of McVitie's, generate 127.8 tonnes of crumbs.
28. The British buy the most compact discs in the world - an average of 3.2 per year, compared to 2.8 in the US and 2.1 in France.
29. When faced with danger, the octopus can wrap six of its legs around its head to disguise itself as a fallen coconut shell and escape by walking backwards on the other two legs, scientists discovered.
32. "Restaurant" is the most mis-spelled word in search engines.
35. The name Lego came from two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well". It also means "I put together" in Latin.
36. The average employee spends 14 working days a year on personal e-mails, phone calls and web browsing, outside official breaks, according to employment analysts Captor.
37. Cyclist Lance Armstrong's heart is almost a third larger than the average man's.
38. Nasa boss Michael Griffin has seven university degrees: a bachelor's degree, a PhD, and five masters degrees.
39. Australians host barbecues at polling stations on general election days.
42. Britain's smallest church , near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, opens just once a year. It measures 4m by 3.6m and has one pew.
43. The spiciness of sauces is measured in Scoville Units.
44. Rubber gloves could save you from lightning.
51. Parking wardens walk about 15 miles a day.
52. You're 10 times more likely to be bitten by a human than a rat.
53. It takes 75kg of raw materials to make a mobile phone.
56. The Pyruvate Scale measures pungency in onions and garlic. It's named after the acid in onions which makes cooks cry when cutting them.
58. The average guest at a Buckingham Palace garden party scoffs 14 cakes, sandwiches, scones and ice-cream, according to royal accounts.
59. Oliver Twist is very popular in China, where its title is translated as Foggy City Orphan.
60. Newborn dolphins and killer whales don't sleep for a month, according to research carried out by University of California.
63. It takes less energy to import a tomato from Spain than to grow them in this country because of the artificial heat needed, according to Defra.
66. The hotter it is, the more difficult it is for aeroplanes to take off. Air passengers in Nevada, where temperatures have reached 120F, have been told they can't fly.
68. The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold one copy every minute since its 1969 publication.
73. One in six children think that broccoli is a baby tree.
74. It takes a gallon of oil to make three fake fur coats.
75. Each successive monarch faces in a different direction on British coins.
76. The day when most suicides occurred in the UK between 1993 and 2002 was 1 January, 2000.
83. Britain produces 700 regional cheeses, more even than France.
85. Japanese knotweed can grow from a piece of root the size of pea. And it can flourish anew if disturbed after lying dormant for more than 20 years.
87. Pulling your foot out of quicksand takes a force equivalent to that needed to lift a medium-sized car.
89. Spanish Flu, the epidemic that killed 50 million people in 1918/9, was known as French Flu in Spain.
90. Ordinary - not avian - flu kills about 12,000 people in the UK every winter.
92. You are 176 times more likely to be murdered than to win the National Lottery.
93. Koalas have fingerprints exactly like humans (although obviously smaller).
94. Bill Gates does not have an iPod.
95. The first traffic cones were used in building Preston bypass in the late 1950s, replacing red lantern paraffin burners.
96. Britons buy about one million pumpkins for Halloween, 99% of which are used for lanterns rather than for eating.
100. Musical instrument shops must pay an annual royalty to cover shoppers who perform a recognisable riff before they buy, thereby making a "public performance".
© BBC MMV
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
"You better get out of here, Seth! I’m gonna take my shirt off!" -Becca, trying to get Seth out of the bathroom.
"Your gift hurts my Adam’s apple." –John, with a gift from our grandparents. It was a Galileo thermometer, a liquid filled glass tube with little globes inside that go up and down as the temperature changes. John had the tube inside his shirt hoping to warm it up enough to get the globes to move.
"I need music!" -Anna, twirling around the house in a new skirt.
"You look like you’re singing to a firing squad." –Ok, that was me telling John what I thought of his unfestive expression during the church choir concert.
"Laura, get out of the manger!" -Becca, during the impromptu dress rehearsal for the family Christmas play.
"You look like an Israeli clown." –Anna, commenting on Seth’s first try at his costume during the above-mentioned dress rehearsal.
Stay tuned for more words of wisdom and family love to be published at some undetermined future date, such as after I get out of the doghouse.
Monday, December 26, 2005
From Act 2, here is the pompous Herod and his trusty servant/bodyguard: The sweet (and slightly silly) Mary (It took a bit of doing for her to look reflective for the part about Mary "pondering all these things in her heart."):
Shepherds don't come much cuter than this:
The angelic screenwriter/director/stage manager/producer/boss/chief...
GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!!!
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
KSBJ is also playing Christmas music (their "Christmas Open House"), but they've been doing it all month, and I think I'm tired of all their Christmas songs. They've been playing a lot of secular music too, which I think stinks. I mean really, does anyone like "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"??! And can you listen to "Jingle Bell Rock" more than once without going crazy? And for another thing, what's the point of "Let It Snow" and "White Christmas" in Houston?! Besides, WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE CELEBRATING THE BIRTH OF CHRIST HERE!!!!!!!
So, take my word for it, listen to KHCB for the next five days, and you're sure to get in a good Christmasy mood.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Friday, December 16, 2005
"Two of our employees, Jaylene and Trish, decided to stay a bit late at the ministry. As they drove home through a rather high-crime area, they took a few moments to slow down and hand some Million Dollar Bill tracts through their car window to some youths on the side of the road.
Suddenly, a police car pulled up behind them and flashed its headlights. The women pulled over and waited. They realized that they had approached youths at night in a gang-infested area (which isn't the wisest thing for two females to do). But they also realized that it doesn't exactly look good when money is passed out of a car in a drug-ridden area.
"When the officer came to the window, Trish said, "It might not be what you think it looks like! You're probably going to think that we're crazy." Jaylene added, "Those guys need to hear about Jesus. We were giving them gospel tracts!"
"When they gave the officer a Million Dollar Bill tract and showed him the pink and blue Curved Illusion tracts, he smiled and said, "You're showing the wrong person. I'm already saved." He was a brother in Christ, and he didn't stop them because of what they were doing, but because their license plate light wasn't working. The women then gave him a stack of tracts, encouraging him to witness."
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Monday, December 12, 2005
If your Christmas tree is: Then you:
A metal pole.........................................need to watch less television
A menorah............................................are confused
From your neighbor’s yard................should refit it to the stump in January
A 20-foot Fraser fir.............................have too much money
A four-inch fungus...............................have too little money
Singing...................................................should call the cops
One in a million.....................................are in a forest
Already tossed......................................are impatient
On fire....................................................should run
Upside-down.........................................do too much yoga
Pre-decorated.......................................need more spirit
The fourth you’ve bought....................need less spirit
A couch, upended, with a star on top....will need extra seating
Brown......................................................should water it
Made of gold...........................................win
Surrounded by fake presents..............work at Crate & Barrel
Friday, December 09, 2005
Well, now it's time to say goodbye to The Lord of the Rings, Dilbert, Castles, Lighthouses, and Bouquets with Bible Verses. Here's what I've gotten so far for next year:
For my desk at home: For my desk at work:
??? I'm not sure where I'll put this one. It's a mini one.
For my frame-on-the-wall at work (Hey, back view!):
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I’m wondering when I became such a wimp. The endless Texas summers have done something to my body, and now it thinks it’s going to freeze solid at 40 degrees. What happened to the girl who went sledding with no coat, and delivered newspapers on foot at 5:30 AM in minus 20 degree weather? I’d like to know.
I have a theory that cold weather here is much more ferocious than cold weather up north because the air is so damp. The damp chill goes right to the bones, or at least it seems to in my case.
I think it’s funny to see how differently people respond to the weather here. I saw a man riding his motorcycle with no jacket at all, and then I saw two teenage boys walking down the street with hats, gloves, coats, scarves…and umbrellas!
Saturday, December 03, 2005
On the other hand, I must admit that I actually bought Christmas cards this year that don't say "Merry Christmas." They look like this: and on the inside, they say, "Hathy Holidayth." They were just too cute and funny to pass up. I was laughing out loud in the bookstore when I saw them! I guess I'll just have to write "Merry Christmas" inside.
Hey, how about that! I just posted a Christmas card on my blog for everyone to see. I could save a lot of stamps this way! OK, so maybe that's a little tacky.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I have a hard time keeping plants alive in my office. I might have to give up and get a fake one. I've had two, and they've both caught some sort of terminal disease. It's a little depressing.
Monday, November 28, 2005
We had dance classes during the day for Israeli dances and Scandinavian couple dances. I really liked both types of dances and was glad to be able to learn them. I'd seen some Scandinavian dances, but had never been able to learn them. They're so much fun, and if you get with a good partner, you feel like you're flying.
There was a dance party each evening that went into the wee hours of the morning. We did lots of different kinds of dances, and had live music for some of it. My feet were really sore after so much dancing, but it was definitely worth it. I had a great time.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Saturday, November 19, 2005
That's something that's been bothering me a little bit. Why is there so much Christmas stuff everywhere already? I went out to lunch and heard Christmas music, I turned on the radio and heard Christmas music, I went to the mail store and they had their Christmas decorations up, and I've even seen homes with their icicle lights up already! I love Christmas and everything, but early November is too soon, I say. I've decided that Houston has only two seasons: Summer and Christmas.
In other news, the new salesman at my office (who's really nice and has a great sense of humor, by the way) seems to think it's part of his job description to tease us two girls all the time. On Friday, he started calling us "Thing One and Thing Two" because of all the goofy stuff we do. I can't honestly say this is undeserved. I'm trying to decide if we should call him the Cat in the Hat, but I think not because that would mean he could keep us in a big red wooden box.
I'm not sure if I'm Thing One or Thing Two, but I think I'm Thing Two (Hey! A tongue twister!) because I spent the day losing pens and finding them in strange places after the other girl accidentally burned her hair in my candle. Whatever the case may be, our new motto is: "We know how to have lots of good fun that is funny!"
In yet other news, we're having Thanksgiving dinner today because my Grandparents are here and John and I will be out of town next Thursday through Sunday. So, I have pumpkin pie in the oven that I probably ought to be checking on. I don't want to burn it up like I did the walnuts the other day. Have you ever noticed that when toasting walnuts, there's only a thirty second difference between perfect and inedible?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
John, Anna, and I were recently asked to play special music in the church service. One thing led to another, and we soon found ourselves doing special music twice in the service and leading part of the congregational singing! I found myself wondering how I get myself into these things.
We were a little concerned about how our music was going to be received because we generally play rip-roaring bluegrass but our church is the pipe organ variety! Never in the entire history of the church, had there been music like there was last Sunday. The music leaders certainly liked it, though. We had played for them ahead of time, and that’s how we ended up doing so many songs for the service.
John played his banjo, I played the guitar, and Anna played the fiddle. We played gospel songs and tried to keep things toned down so as to hopefully not get kicked out of the church. It was so different from the music we usually have at our church that I figured people would either love it or hate it. It was interesting the way the church treated us like a visiting musical group or something. They even had a paragraph in the bulletin that said something about “welcoming the Pedersen family as they share their unique worship style with us”! I think that actually helped by making it seem like sort of one-time thing so people wouldn’t freak out and think this was the new yee-haw church!
Well, it turned out that the congregation absolutely loved it. Lots of people complimented us and said things like:
-When are you playing again?
-I didn’t know you could sing or play instruments!
-You brought back memories of my childhood.
-It was a breath of fresh air.
-Y’all were awesome!!
-Do you have any albums?
So now we have a whole other set of problems. We’re pretty much famous now. It felt very much like we’d given a concert, because we got so much attention. I’m glad people enjoyed the music, but that’s really not what a worship service is supposed to be about. We’re supposed to be focusing on the Lord, and I found it a little unsettling to have people seeming to be focusing on us so much. I almost felt like I owed God an apology. On the other hand, the other side of this argument that I’m having with myself is that we had the opportunity to use our God-given talents for God’s glory and to play and sing songs about him.
Also, from a more selfish perspective, we really enjoyed the opportunity to prepare the songs and play and sing together. We hadn’t really done a bluegrass-style performance together before, (for more than family and close friends) and it was great fun.
Monday, November 14, 2005
The other reason this is funny is because my family has a tradition of drawing faces on appropriately-shaped produce. Butternut squash works particularly well. It gets especially funny when someone draws a face on the week's squash and signs his or her name!
I think the motivation for this probably came from Veggietales. Speaking of which, what's your favorite Veggietales song? Mine is "His Cheeseburger." These things are important, you know.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
- A package of ham and shrimp jambalaya in a packet in a cardboard box.
- A high-tech heating bag that gets blistering hot as soon as you add a little water. Amazing!
- One slice of bread
- One piece of spiced pound cake
- A squeeze tube of jalapeno cheese spread
- A packet of "lemon-lime drink mix" (tasted like gatorade to me)
- A single-serving packet of Taster's Choice instant coffee
- Powdered creamer
- Two pieces of white chewing gum
- A cute little glass bottle of Tabasco sauce
- A book of matches
- A moist towlette
- Several napkins
- A spoon, and a good sturdy one at that
- A package of M&Ms (YES!)
I can say from personal experience that the meal wasn't half bad. Besides, it's the closest I ever came to feeling like a soldier. :-)
Oh, and here's the Wikipedia article about MREs. It even has a list of the menus all the way back to 1981!
Monday, November 07, 2005
My family went on a camping trip last weekend, and had GREAT weather. We were at a really pretty state park with a bunch of friends. It was nice to get away from the city for a while and spend some time outdoors.
Before we went, I charged up my camera batteries and packed my camera. I then left it in my backpack all weekend and didn’t take a single picture! So, please use your imagination as you read my list of the fun things we did:
-We played volleyball using a net made out of rope. Two long lines of rope were tied between two trees, then the rope was zigzagged between the two lines. Every time the ball hit it, the rope wound up looking like a pile of spaghetti. Hey, it worked!
-We went on several hikes, including an orienteering hike which means you follow a leader with a compass and a map of curvy lines as you stumble through the bushes trying to avoid being attacked by God’s creation while searching for a white numbered stake next to an elusive rock face.
-We played Frisbee for, I think, hours and hours. We even played at night since someone had brought light-up Frisbees. That was incredible, or at least it was until the boys caused the game to somehow turn into tackle Frisbee!
-We played Spoons with about twenty people at one long picnic table, but divided into three groups. I know you thought we had people diving down the length of the table, but please don’t let your imagination run away with you.
-We played music together for quite a long time on both Friday and Saturday. I think we played pretty much every song we knew. We figured we were running out of songs when we played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Ten Little Indians.” Have you ever heard the bluegrass version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”?
We also had some encounters with wildlife:
-We found a giant millipede, and one of my brothers used it to make Anna scream so loud the stone picnic shelter almost shook. Then my other brother pulled out his knife and cut off the back half inch of the thing, but not quite all the way. It just kept right on walking, pulling its new caboose behind it. Sick.
-We had a crow who felt that it was his personal duty to stand right above our tent and caw at 6:00 in the morning, both mornings! We almost had fresh poultry for breakfast, I think.
-I had the memorable experience of a Daddy Longlegs in my pants. I am not sure the details of this episode are suitable for publishing.
Speaking of my personal trauma, I also scratched my arm on a tree, cut my hand on a Frisbee, walked into the lantern (nearly knocking myself out), strained a muscle playing the guitar too long, and got covered in pine needles by my dear brother who said he was making a pyre! Maybe I should stay at the office where it’s safe.
All in all, it was a great camping trip. The tent was dry, the sun was shining, the friends were fun, the breeze was cool, the oatmeal was hot, the strangers were quiet, and we all made it back safe and sound, dirty but happy.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
It's amazing how this song sticks in your head. I've been trying to refrain from singing it at work today.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Cooking up a storm:
The littlest African:
The whole tribe:
It was so much fun!
On a side note, we had a hilarious incident when John, in full costume, had to go outside to get something out of his truck. Just as he went out, two teenage girls were walking by! Oops.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
(You'll notice that I paid almost no attention to the baseball game last night. Watching a new movie sounded a little more fun than witnessing the Astros getting creamed.)
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
"Chicago, You Have a Problem."
There's also the skyscraper downtown that has certain offices lit up at night so it makes a huge star on the side of the building! And let's not forget the lady I read about yesterday who was hanging big paper bees from her trees (for the "killer B's," the nickname for all the Astros players with names that start with a B.)
Topping the list is the phenomenon of massive crowds of people flocking to Academy to buy NLCS champions T-shirts! The lines were winding back and forth all over the store! Just in case you're wondering, I only know this because I accompanied my friend who's more of a fan than I am and wanted one of those T-shirts.
I think it's funny to see how many people are so excited even though they didn't even like baseball a month or two ago!
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
My favorite quote from the news is this one, talking about Pujols' astounding home run: "It also immediately silenced a sellout crowd that had been on its feet and cheering. 'I've never heard 43,000 people shut up like that before.'"
Sniff, sniff :-(
Friday, October 14, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Saturday, October 08, 2005
The tonette virtuoso:
Do not be confused; this is John's mandolin solo. He asked me to play along because he said it would make the song sound better. Then, he gave me specific instructions to play quietly so as not to drown him out. John: "Maybe you should stand over there while you play." Me: "I beg your pardon!"
Anna and Seth played a beautiful tune on the recorder and bowed psaltery. They did a great job and everybody liked it. Those instruments sound great together.
That's it for this year! This is becoming an annual tradition on Mama's birthday. She's going to sit around and watch all the videos when she's eighty.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
10:00 am Traditional Slavic Mass honoring Sts. Cyril and Methodius
12:00 pm Procession of Slavic Countries Welcome Greetings by 2005 Festival Chairman Marian Kruzel
12:15 pm National Anthems and greeting from each country; American, Croatian, Czech, Polish and Ukrainian
12:30 pm Presentation of Queen and Princesses
12:40 pm Dance, music and singing: Polish Folk Ensemble "Dunajec"
1:30 pm Czech KJZT Youth Group from Damon
2:00 pm Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish School featuring ethnic Polish singing and dances
2:30 pm "Polonia Austin" University of Texas Polish Folk Dancers
2:45 pm "Houston International Folk Dancers" performing Croatian dances (that's us!)
3:30 pm SOKOL Czech Gymnastics Group
4:00 pm Juravli Ukrainian Dancers of Houston
4:45 pm P.O.L.K. of America
5:45 pm Dance, music and singing: Polish Folk Ensemble "Dunajec"
7:00 pm Festival Closes
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Don't get me wrong though. The hurricane was pretty much a joke here in Houston, but other areas definitely had a lot of damage.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
It is still fairly windy today (kind of like it was every day when we lived in Wyoming!), but the worst is past and we came through completely unscathed.
Here's a picture I took on Friday when we took a short drive just to see what things were like in the neighborhood. You don't see Walmart this deserted very often! The western sky was beautiful last night. This was right at sunset, and meanwhile, rain clouds were rolling in from the northeast.
Here you can see the extent of our hurricane damage: a few twigs blown down in the backyard! Seth was a bit disappointed that there wasn't more drama, but I think he'll get over it.
We are certainly rejoicing today, but there are many, many people in our area who are without power, we please continue to keep them in your prayers. Thank you to all of you who sent us emails of encouragement and prayed so faithfully. We praise God for friends and family like you.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Seth is certainly ready for a storm! I think he's more concerned about rain than wind.
We weren't able to buy any plywood because it was gone from the stores, but we got these pieces from our neighbors. They will at least help to protect the windows from falling branches. We did have one large piece of plywood that Papa and John put over the large kitchen window.
We've been filling jugs, pitchers, and bottles with drinking water all week and have a good supply now.
We also have big buckets of water in the garage. We'll be able to use this water for washing or for flushing the toilets.
We are very glad to be in our snug house instead of stranded out on the highway like so many. This may be my last post before the storm, but I'll be sure to post a report when it's all over. Thanks again for your prayers.