Thursday, December 27, 2007

Here's A Morbid Article...And Yet Refreshing ??

Eco-friendly burial gaining popularity
Sarah Skidmore
The Associated Press

Portland, Ore. — Cynthia Beal wants to be an Oregon cherry tree after she dies. She has everything to make it happen — a body, a burial site and a biodegradable coffin.
"It is composting at its best," said Beal, owner of The Natural Burial Company, which will sell a variety of eco-friendly burial products when it opens in January, including the Ecopod, a kayak-shaped coffin made out of recycled newspapers.

Biodegradable coffins are part of a larger trend toward "natural" burials, which require no formaldehyde embalming, cement vaults, chemical lawn treatments or laminated caskets. Advocates say such burials are less damaging to the environment.

Cremation was long considered more environmentally friendly than burials in graveyards, but its use of fossil fuels has raised concerns.

Eco-friendly burials have been popular in Britain for years, but industry experts say it's starting to catch on in the U.S., where "green" cemeteries hosting natural burials have sprouted up in California, Florida, New York, South Carolina and Texas.

The majority of eco-friendly burial products come from overseas — including the Ecopod, which is made in the United Kingdom — although there are a few domestic makers. Options range from natural-fiber shrouds to fair-trade bamboo caskets lined with unbleached cotton. There are also more traditional-looking handcrafted coffins made of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The market is potentially huge. U.S. funeral homes generate an estimated $11 billion in revenue annually and that figure is sure to grow as baby boomers age.

There are already specialty funerals, featuring caskets with custom paint jobs and urns with the insignia of a favorite team. Industry experts say eco-friendly funerals are just an extension of such personalized end-of-life planning.

Biodegradable containers cost from around $100 for a basic cardboard box up to more than $3,000 for a handcrafted, hand-painted model.

"It's hard to tell if it's a fad or if it's here to stay," said Bob Fells, of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association. "We are certainly positioning ourselves that if this is what the community wants, we are ready to serve them."

The Green Burial Council is working on certification programs to verify the commitment and quality of providers who say they are going natural.

"What we are trying to do is to make sure this concept doesn't get 'green-washed' down the drain," said Joe Sehee, the council's founder and executive director.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Grandma's Sugar Cookies

My grandma makes the best sugar cookies IN THE WORLD. That's not an opinion, it's simply a fact that has to be stated. Every Christmas season she makes hundreds of these cookies over an approximate 2 week period and we make ourselves sick stuffing them into our faces as fast as we can. She won't share the exact recipe with us yet, but as she has gotten older she is more willing to let everyone help her get the cookies iced and decorated. We let the great-grandkids start out icing some, but they tire of it pretty quickly. So, we take over and the fun begins. We have a standing rule that if you mess up the icing and the cookie gets smeared, you have to eat it immediately. Which of course means several cookies an hour "accidentally" get smeared.

Grandma makes cookies in the shape of stars, christmas trees, stockings, snowmen and gingerbread men but she also has a great sense of humor and likes to mix things up by throwing in random cookie shapes. In the past we have had rabbits, fall leaves, and easter eggs. This year's batch of cookies included cookies in the shape of ice cream cones. Here's a few pictures of some decorated cookies. Too bad you guys can't taste them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Daily Coyote

I wanted to bring to your attention my newest blog obsession. It's called The Daily Coyote and details one woman's journey raising an orphaned coyote pup. The coyote's name is Charlie and his best friend is Eli, the cat. The pictures on this website are so beautiful, they might just inspire you to move to Wyoming.

Speaking of my favorite blogs, I should mention that I discovered The Daily Coyote while reading Dooce. Dooce is already listed on the sidebar in my "Favorite Blogs" section and now I have added The Daily Coyote to that section as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Saw Santa Today

He was sitting in the hospital cafeteria when I went upstairs to get some lunch. He was, of course, surrounded by people but I got close enough to notice that he was wearing an official employee id badge that actually said "Santa Claus" and had his picture on it. I know St. John's is a great place to work, but I never dreamed that even Santa was on the payroll.

Speaking of Christmas, it is fast approaching. I only have 1 week left to play this song at full volume. This is David Foster's version of Carol of the Bells. If it sounds familiar, it is the same version they use at Silver Dollar City on the 5 story Christmas tree.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm Hoping To Have Snow Ice Cream

I love to see it snow. I know it's inconvenient and makes the roads dangerous, etc., etc. Lots of people would rather it NOT snow. I get it. It's just that it can be so beautiful to see. Especially if the flakes are the big, soft, fluffy ones that fall slowly to the ground. I'm really hoping that's the kind of snow we get tonight and tomorrow. We're obviously going to get something, and I think the pretty, gentle kind of snow would be much better than the slushy, ugly mix of snow and ice.
Plus, if we get the pretty fluffy kind of snow then I can have snow ice cream.

Just in case you've never had the pleasure of eating snow ice cream, here's the recipe:
1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups milk
Gather clean snow in a bowl, stir in sugar and vanilla to taste, then stir in just enough milk for the desired consistency. Serve at once.

Also, I'm hoping to get some good pictures of a winter wonderland. I got some ice storm pictures last winter, but not really any pretty snow pictures. So, here's hoping it snows! (don't hate me for that)

On another note, the beginning of this week started out rough for a lot of folks who had to deal with some major ice. One of my favorite blogs has some great photos of how it affected his hometown of Hutcheson, Kansas. Here's the link for The Lope. After you look at that post, you should actually check out the rest of his blog and even consider bookmarking the page. He's an interesting guy who tell interesting stories and is an amazing photographer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Either I'm A Beauty Salon Moron, Or

My hair is defective. There simply can be no other explanation. Once again, I have gone in for a trim and came out practically bald. How does this happen? Multiple times?

I can't decide whether my use of the word "trim" is completely wrong, or if maybe my hair has 3x the shrinkability factor of normal hair so that when it's wet they are cutting a normal amount, but then when it dries that amount is multiplied by 3.

It's gotta be one or the other, because not only has this happened multiple times - it has happened at completely different salons with completely different stylists. See, I'm not one of those people who has a regular hairdresser that I keep appointments with and go to exclusively. Instead, I wake up one random day and decide that if my hair doesn't get cut RIGHT NOW then I simply cannot go on living. So, I find the first place that can get me in and go there. But, don't blame this on quick, easy "convenience storeish" salons. I have also been scalped before by someone at a traditional salon who had cut my hair before.

Aaarrgggghhhh! It's so short on the crown of my head that it WONT' EVEN LAY DOWN. Once again, I look like a boy. Somebody tell me what I am doing wrong, or at least how I can prevent this from happening again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Return To Action

After being sick for over a week, I was really missing being on the go. I'm normally a pretty active person and I hadn't felt like doing anything for quite a while. So Saturday morning I decided I was feeling better whether my body agreed with me or not. I hopped out of bed and drove down to take Charlie and Jessica to the Seligman Christmas parade.

The kids eagerly anticipated the candy that was going to be thrown:

But my favorite part of any parade is the drums (even if they're out of step):
These guys are from my alma mater- Southwest High School at Washburn

I don't know about other parts of the world, but in the Ozarks we like classic cars:

The kids always like the ponies:

The Lions Club was really cute:

All the candy was starting to make the kids goofy:

But they straightened up just in time for Santa, who was riding a golf cart:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Still Alive & Kicking

Not loving it, but I am doing it. Seems like I am finally on the road to recovery. My ribs are still extremely sore and I still have a lovely sounding cough, but it is becoming more infrequent and less obnoxious. Guess I'm going to pull through after all. I'll be back to smoking and boozing in no time.

Just kidding family. :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Doctor Said It's BS

He really did. Bronchitis & Sinusitis. That's what I'm suffering from. Plus, my tonsils are swollen and apparently my inner ear is retaining liquid and is almost swollen shut in both ears. Do I know how to get sick or what?

For a week now I've been launching into horrendous coughing spells at work. Since we are a phone-based helpdesk, my customers and co-workers really appreciate all the loud coughing and gagging. I keep having to run to the bathroom so that I can gag until I puke without disturbing anyone.

As an added bonus, today during a violent attack that led me into the bathroom to puke, I apparently pulled a muscle in my rib cage. Or maybe I actually broke a rib. I'm not sure exactly, but I do know that nothing has ever hurt this bad. Now the simple act of breathing is enough to bring tears to my eyes - and you don't want to be anywhere near me when I have to cough. It seems that extreme pain makes me scream obscenities and then whimper like a baby.