Sunday, March 31, 2013

Favorite Easter Memory

One of my favorite memories of Easter was my 5th birthday.  Since my birthday was/is around Easter my mum planned this party for me where she planned to invite I think everyone in my preschool class  (about 10 kids) to our house and make individual pizzas and she managed to persuade my dad to dress up like the Easter Bunny. So she went out to get the Easter Bunny costume for my dad but when she got to the store she couldn't find an Easter Bunny costume to save herself. What she did find was a costume for a "San Francisco Chicken." (Basically a chicken costume.) I don't know how she managed it but she  somehow persuaded my dad to wear said costume. The plan was that he'd hide a bunch of Easter eggs with candy in them,  in difficult to find places so that while the pizza cooked us kids would be occupied by looking for the eggs. 

Little kids are smart so we found the eggs in about 2 minutes. The next game (that we made up ourselves) was "chase the big chicken guy and figure out who he is!" (I don't think it occurred to me that it might have been my dad.) So my poor dad had to resign himself to being chased around the house by a bunch of 5 year olds. Finally, (after what probably seemed like an age to my dad,) the pizzas were ready and my dad took off his costume much to my and my friends' amazement. After that the party went off without a hitch and I think everyone had a good time although my mum never asked my dad to dress up like a chicken (nor anything else) after that.
Now that I'm older I still remember that event and I think what I like most about it is that it shows how my parents went to great lengths (even facing some discomfort) to make sure my siblings and I had very happy birthdays. Their efforts never failed.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Interesting Facts about Easter

I got curious about the Easter egg tradition and how eggs got involved at all since rabbits aren't known for their egg production. Here's what I found:  (This information came from Wikipedia)

  • The tradition of the Easter Bunny was reported to have started in 1682 when a German doctor named  Georg Franck von Frankenau wrote an article about it which was literally titled "About Easter Eggs."
  • It's thought that coloring eggs for Easter is done as a symbol of bringing spring into a home. However, on a slightly darker note, some members of the Eastern Orthodox church sometimes dye eggs red to commemorate the blood of Christ. Since eggs are also a fertility symbol maybe dying the eggs red is a symbol of the belief that Jesus Christ's blood brings new life.
  • Eating eggs was forbidden in the Catholic church during Lent from as early as the 5th Century-which is why eggs were eaten more after Lent was over. 
  • The Easter Bunny idea came from German immigrants who lived in the Pennsylvania Dutch area of the US and told their children the story of the Osterhase (Easter Hare) where only good children got eggs and gifts in their caps and bonnets on Easter. (This also explains the Easter bonnet tradition -I think.) 
  • Finally, the word "Easter" seems to have a rather interesting start-apparently among other things it's related to the name "Eostre" - a European Goddess of the Dawn. The alternative is that the word "Eostre" means "opening." 
Now that you know a little bit more about Easter I hope that tomorrow "opens" a new season of happiness in your life! Happy Easter everyone! 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Swear words can be funny!

For whatever reason people are always surprised when I come out with some swear word or other. It got me thinking how funny some of the swear words we use really can be when you think about their meaning in a literal sense. Examples: 
  • Who would have thought people would start yelling about human poo when they're angry? When I'm angry (yes I do get angry sometimes) poo is the last thing on my mind (although I admit I've used that particular dirty word quite frequently). Maybe from now on I'll start yelling the plain old word "poo" when I'm angry so I'll laugh so hard I'll forget what I'm angry about!  
  • Speaking of swear words that make me laugh-I find myself saying "phooey" quite a bit too and it also helps to laugh.
  • Now we come to the f-word. Think about it-yelling that word-it's almost like you're commanding people to sleep with each other. I guess if you're in a country that has more old people than young  people and you feel the need to remind people that more babies are needed, maybe yelling the f-word isn't such a bad idea if people take it literally!
  • Why are women called female dogs when people want to insult them? I object!  I think that's sexist! After all, when you call a man "dawg" it's usually seen as a cool thing. It's not fair I tell you! I'm surprised the animal rights people haven't gotten up in arms about it too. Why bring a poor dog's name into an insult? I think I should start picketing about it just cuz I happen to like dogs. Anyone with me? No? Oh's the thought that counts I guess.
I realize there are loads of swear words and most can't be thought of as funny by any stretch of the imagination, but  heck, if you think about some swear words literally they could start making you laugh more rather than yell more. That way you save your voice and hopefully laugh your way out of anger!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Home is where my heart is...

There's  something about home that makes me feel at peace. I get that sense of peace not only when I go back to Michigan but also in other places too. Maybe it's just that all the places I think of as "home" are places where I love to be and I love the people associated with those places. I think that's what "home" should be. Maybe it doesn't always involve an actual house or the family one grows up with, as long as someone feels an attachment to a place or a group of people who they love and can be loved in return, then that's a "home" to me. In that sense I feel like I have many "homes." In addition to my family and my family's house, there's my church and my friends as well. I'd like this blog to be a "home" for people. I hope that it can be read sometimes and that it can help people feel good and show them that someone cares (and always will care). 

I write all this now because I'm going back home to Michigan in a couple weeks and am really looking forward to it! I get to see my parents and siblings, play with our border collie and eat awesome pancakes made by my dad. (They're so good to the point where I can't eat any other pancakes without comparing them to his!)  Most of all I'm looking forward to going home because it'll be on my birthday and I can think of no better way to celebrate than with my family. My heart is now and always will be there with them.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Walk for Epilepsy May 18th

One of the causes I support  is the Epilepsy Foundation of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. This charity is having a walk to raise money to support its programs. These include support groups for adults and children with epilepsy, a summer camp for children with epilepsy as well as a branch for epilepsy advocacy at the policy level. If you live in Massachusetts the walk will be on May 18th at DCR's Pope John Paul II Park Hallet Street Entrance Dorchester, MA 02124. Even if you can't participate you can still donate money. If you wish to do so please click the link at the bottom of the page. It would mean a great deal to me if you could participate/donate which is why I'm writing about it in advance of the event. Thank you so much in advance for your support!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Quick! Weather forecast! (get it here first!!)

According to the American Journal Review (click here for the story) although people might state that they are very interested in reading about important news stories about US and world news, they are still more likely to read about the weather first. In a shameless plug to get more people reading this blog on a regular basis the weather forecast for Boston for tomorrow (3/26) (according to the National Weather Service) is:

 Mostly sunny during the day. Highs in the upper 40s. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph in the morning. Evening: Clear. Lows in the lower 30s. West winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.

If you're in Williamston Michigan (my home town) the weather will be: Mostly cloudy. Occasional flurries. Highs around 40. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph.

Although I do love living in Boston. I also miss Michigan now and then so it's good to know the weather's almost the same sometimes. From now on I'll keep posting the weather as part of future blog posts just for the heck of it. I only plan to post the weather  for Boston and Williamston so far-any further requests for other area forecasts will be considered!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

How to open a very hard to open jar!

I had this jar of lingonberry preserves from Ikea that I really wanted to open. ( Note; lingonberry preserves are very good with Ikea meatballs-even if the meatballs are made of horsemeat-I don't care!) So this blog post is the story of my (very intense) struggle to open a  jar of lingonberry preserves, just so that that the miraculous event of opening this jar is documented for future generations! 

First Attempt:

 I first tried the "normal" way of opening the jar... which didn't quite work and was rather frustrating!

Second Attempt:
I thought I remembered from one of my science classes in grade school that if I stuck the jar under hot water, the hot water would make the lid expand and make opening the jar easier. 

Third Attempt:

Jar still won't open-decided to try drying it off.... must.....try......harder!!!

Fourth Attempt:

SUCCESS!!! This is one small step for Maggie one giant leap for the jar opening-ly challenged people of the world-one less jar to open! There's hope for us yet!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My way of getting rid of a cold a bit faster

As there's still snow in Boston and people seem to be getting colds right and left around me, in the interest of helping people get better I hereby sing the praises of the humidifier! When I was younger my parents' remedy for all things cold related was to use a humidifier. In case you don't know what this magic machine is-a humidifier is basically a device that you fill with water and plug in to a wall and it puts more moister into the air. Since it makes the air less dry  this machine did (and still does) help me recover from colds a bit faster as it helps me breathe better. (Especially combined with Vick's chest rub). As you'll see from the picture humidifiers aren't that large and they aren't all that expensive either. The one in the picture below cost me about $30 at the pharmacy. As long as they're kept clean and rinsed out, humidifiers last for quite a while-I always thought it was a pretty good investment.

Get well soon everyone!


Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm going places with the help of postcards

Often when my friends were going on holiday I'd often ask them if I could stuff myself in their suitcases and go with them! (Not that I've never traveled anywhere - I've done a fair bit of traveling but there's always more to see!) Even though I haven't been everywhere, postcards have also helped me go places. As the picture below shows I like collecting these cards. Some of them I've bought myself just to remember where I'd been and how fun the trip was. The fact that I can also send cards and share that fun with others is a lovely feeling as well. One of the many reasons I enjoy keeping this blog so much is that it can allow me to send a postcard of sorts to the world so that wherever I go now, if someone wants to come along with me, now they can!

Happy travels everyone!!!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

A comforting thought

If you feel like you're in trouble and/or things aren't going your way- remember that tomorrow is another day with no mistakes on it! Plus today is FRIDAY!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My favorite books

Reading is something I've always loved. Even though I might read some books in an unconventional manner (beginning, end and then the middle) I thought I'd share some of my favorite books.
  • Maisie Dobbs detective series by Jacqueline Winspear- It's a series of mysteries that are solved by a private investigator named Maisie Dobbs who works in London, UK just after WWI. These are mainly murder mysteries but I've always enjoyed  a "who done it" and these books have a twist in  the end so the I hadn't read all that much about World War I so this series was interesting to me. I also like the fact that the detective is a woman and I think it gives an interesting angle to the stories.
  • A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute- It's about the adventures of a British woman named Jean Paget working  in Malaysia during World War II. Jean is taken prisoner with a group of other British women who are forced to march across Malaysia and part of the book focuses on that journey and how she helps her friends survive it. The story also focuses on how Jean travels to Australia after the war in search of a man who was also taken prisoner who she met and fell in love with during her trek around Malaysia. I love this book because it really showed me how people can endure tremendous hardship and come out stronger and love more because of their experiences.
  • Frankenstein  By Mary Shelley-Mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein brings a dead person back to life but decides he doesn't like it so he abandons the poor thing. I think it's interesting that on Halloween decorations "Frankenstein" is depicted as a monster,  rather than the creator of a monster. Maybe that's symbolic. Anyway, I like the story because it shows that even monsters can ultimately have souls and the capacity to love (despite their tendency to cause a lot of damage  as well.)
  • Jane Eyre  By Charlotte Bronte-Jane grows up in a rather brutal boarding school and goes on to become a governess and falls in love with her employer who has a secret dum dum dum, that could ruin everything! I like it because life throws a lot at her and despite the hardships she faces she never really gives up.
  • In My Hands; Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gutt Opdyke- The book tells the story of Irene Gutt  who became a housekeeper in World War II for a Nazi officer saves a group of Jewish men and women by hiding them  in the Nazi Officer's basement. Irene and all the people she hid in the house survived the war and lived to old age.
  • Dear American Airlines By Jonathan Miles-  Funny book about a man whose flight is delayed on the eve of his daughter's wedding decides to write a letter to the airline about how ticked off he is at the airline and then ends up using the letter to reflect on his life. After reading this I resolved to write a letter to airlines that tick me off, apparently writing such letters is a very therapeutic process!
  • Birds, Beasts, and Relatives By Gerald Durrell- it's the 2nd book in a trilogy of books about Durrel's childhood growing up in Corfu, (Greek Island). Durrell was a naturalist and a great writer. His books are basically a bunch of short stories about his family that are really funny and they also involve a lot of descriptions of the plants and wildlife of Corfu. To give you an idea of how funny the book is, I was reading it to my mum in the car and my mum was laughing so hard she had to tell me to stop because she was afraid we'd get into a car accident!
  • The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins- Futuristic tale about a girl living in a country divided into districts run by a government that forces 2 children-one of whom happens to be this book's main character, (selected randomly) from each district to fight each other to the death in a televised "Hunger Games". The last person to come out alive wins. Gives new meaning to the "survival of the fittest" idea.
  • The B.F.G (Big Friendly Giant) By Roald Dahl- I realize it's a kids book but I like the story. A giant "steals" a girl named Sophie from her orphanage after she sees him sending dreams into other kids bedrooms. (It's his job to send good dreams to sleeping kids.)  the BFG takes Sophie back to a land where only giants live.  All the other giants eat children and so Sophie helps the  BFG capture them to save the lives of the world's children.
  •   Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling-I love listening to it on CD. I also fully intend to learn to ride a broomstick and train an owl to deliver my mail-no more buying Forever stamps for me!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Take part in a raffle and you could win 2 passes to Gymit, help with editing a paper and other prizes....

Join for Justice is an organization that advocates for community organizing and generally creating a more just world, is holding a raffle to support its cause. The organization was created by my good friend Allegra Stout and her colleague Erica Concors. Both Allegra and Erica are part of the  Jewish Organizing Fellowship which involves community organizers in establishing further connections with community organizations. For example, Allegra works for  the Boston Center for Independent Living which is an organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in the Boston. (Which is a cause I'm also passionate about.)  Allegra and Erica are holding a raffle to help maintain the Fellowship program. The prizes look really interesting to me. Examples of some of the prizes you could win if you participate:

  • 1 time passes to Gymit
  • For those in school-free editing of up to paper.
  • 4 hours worth of babysitting
  • A handwoven Ethiopian basket
  • Guitar lessons
  • Spanish tutoring
And much more!

If you would like to take part in the raffle please follow this link: .

Answers to the riddles

Here are the answers to the riddles I posted:

Riddle1: The police didn’t tell the man where the crime scene was when they called to tell him his wife was murdered.

Riddle 2: The stars. 

Riddle 3:  This was a riddle that was created by Lewis Carroll in his book Alice and Wonderland. In the book, one of the characters-The Mad Hatter, asks Alice this riddle and when she says she doesn’t know, the Mad Hatter maddeningly says that he doesn’t know either. People who read the Alice and Wonderland got ticked off that there wasn't technically an answer to this riddle and so they started making their own responses such as “Because Edgar Allen Poe wrote on both" or "Because the both come with inky quills."
Riddle 4: Your shadow
Riddle 5: 'Startling' is the word. Begin by removing 'l', which makes it 'starting', then take away the 't', making it 'staring', and so on - string; sting; sing; sin; in; and, I.

Monday, March 18, 2013

More Riddles for those who like their brains to be teased!

Riddles are fun and although I posted some riddles in a previous post. I thought these might also be entertaining, answers will be posted at some point..... (Disclaimer: I didn't create any of the riddles myself.)

Riddle 1: One night, a man receives a call from the Police. The Police tell the man that his wife was murdered, and that he should reach the crime scene as soon as possible. The man drops the phone, shocked, and drives 20 minutes to the crime scene. As soon as he reaches the crime scene, the police arrest him, and he is convicted of murder. How did the police know that he committed the crime? 

Riddle 2: At night they come without being fetched. By day they are lost without being stolen. What are they?

Riddle 3: Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Riddle 4: What is as big as you are and yet does not weigh anything?
Riddle 5:
Which is the word in English that has nine letters, and remains a word at each step even when you remove one letter from it, right up to a single letter remaining. List each letter as you remove them, along with the resulting word at each step.