Aspiring Attenborough

My dear readers if you knew me in my undergraduate days, you would have found an aspiring David Attenborough, or at least an aspiring naturalist. As a part of my bachelors in biology I was required to conduct a research project; I elected to study crow roosting behavior. This entailed spending several evenings in the winter of my junior and senior years with my friend “J” chasing crows around Alta, Iowa. We would track the crows’ movement via video to each new grouping of trees. We also monitored the light level and wind speed.

I thought I would share with you one of my adventures while shooting (videotaping) crows. Don’t worry its not the whole evening, only 2 minutes worth. Enjoy this amateur, never- before-seen footage!

Watch David a real naturalist in action!

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Civil Obedience

Ticket of Exoneration

Ticket of Exoneration

About a month ago I got a letter in the mail from the circuit court of Cook county, Illinois. I had been summoned for jury duty sadly/luckily it was during my spring break. My husband and I were planning to go home that week and spend time with family, so it had the potential to shorten our trip to a four day affair instead of a week. I was a bit upset but nothing was final that I would have to serve.

Jury duty is unique to our system of government, unlike other judicial systems across the globe civil and criminal court cases may elect to have a trial by jury. Jurors are chosen based upon drivers’ licenses and voting records for a particular county in a state, so essentially residency in a particular area. If you are chosen you are the luck of the draw and must fulfill your civil responsibility or be penalized.

As you might have guessed or known I was called to serve…

We left for Chicagoland the day before my engagement and woke up early the next day to make it to the Maybrook courthouse by 8:30 AM. When I arrived there were a handful of people inside holding a similar document that I had also received. I was a bit early so I waited until the clock struck 8:30. At that time we were allowed to pass through the threshold of the building but not without going through security. Once we had our purses/bags checked, walked through the metal detector and wanded we were instructed to walk into the jury assembly room downstairs. Upon our arrival into the room we turned in our jury summons and received a panel number. Once the majority of people arrived we were told how the day would carry out and a video was played to answer any questions we had about serving as a juror. Then the waiting began…

The jury room proctors did leave the TV on so we were able to watch a few early morning talk shows, Oprah and the View if we wanted. I had brought a book along to read but had a hard time focusing. The only thought in my head was: will I be called? At 10:30 AM the phone rang in the jury assembly room they were calling for jurors. I sat there patiently hoping I would not push my luck now three times in being called. I knew if I was called I could have the potential to serve multiple days (keeping in mind I am down to the final month of my spring semester) this could send my final weeks into turmoil.

Finally the proctor addressed the assembly room and the following numbers were called 23, 27, 28, and 29.  I had not been called. A little over half the room left to be interviewed and then potentially chosen to serve as a juror. We waited another hour and after another telephone call we were released and given our $17.20 compensation. What a relief it was over!

To learn more about one of the largest circuit county court systems click here!

Taking an Early Spring Break

Hello my dear readers! I just wanted to give you a heads up that I will be taking a break from blogging for the next 2 weeks and  will not have any new posts  until the 30th of March. This is the week before Spring break and I have many projects due this week.  So feel free to catch up on the entries you missed, peruse the links page,  enjoy the Spring weather and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Bunnies like Horses Eat Hay

Mariel, our bunny eating hay

Mariel, our bunny, eating hay

Horses eating hay

Horses eating hay

I know it is definitely coincidental that my first pet as a married woman would be as velvety as a horse’s nose and would also have hay apart of its diet. However, I think some of my love of the horse transcended to the love of our pet velveteen-lop rabbit.

I never had a bunny growing up, but our family did have quite the menagerie of pets. I grew up around many types of animals ranging from baby chicks to a sugar glider to a blue-fronted Amazon parrot. I have always been an animal lover. I am use to exotics, but seem to always compare their behavior to the more domestic dog or cat. If I would have to categorize our bunny she would be more like a cat. She won’t come when she is called unless you are giving her food. She is more independent and will not approach you unless she wants a nice scratch on her head.  She is littered trained like a cat, and likes to look out and rest in the window like a cat. One of the ways she is not like a cat is her affinity to chew on curtains, molding, and electrical cords which makes me categorize this behavior more dog like. But alas, my furry friend is not a carnivorous beast as Monty Python would have you think, she is more in with the times and loving green like my dear horse.

From the kitchen of Mrs. H

Chinese cabbage salad

Chinese chicken salad

Spring is in the air! You now have a few extra hours of daylight in the evening, and you’re noticing a few more songbirds serenading you when you crack that front, side, or back door. You know what else? It’s time to trade in your soup bowl for a salad bowl, although there are probably a few more days left of cold weather so don’t throw out that left-over soup quite yet. But, begin to ready your palate for a nice springy

salad instead of a warm steamy cup of soup, and I have just the salad to start your spring out right! It’s a savory salad with a mix of textures and flavors. If you look at the ingredient list you’ll notice a variety of fruit, noodles and, of course, veggies that combine sweet, salty, and even a bit more crunch then you’re use to in your everyday green salad. So try this one out and add it to your recipe box, binder, or file.

finalchickensalad

Print recipe from PDF

Weekend Update

Hey fellow readers! Just wanted to let you know if you  haven’t noticed already I have added a new experience to my travel page.  Lastly, for my other pages  “about” and “links” I try to update them when I find a good movie or in the case of the links page if I find more  intriguing websites. Keep reading and enjoy!

Inappropriate Uses of Technology

This semester I am taking a stereography and virtual reality class. Yesterday we touched upon touch screens and how they work.  You see them everywhere! This technology has invaded your grocery store, i- phone, GPS unit and other countless portable devices.

Technology is built upon innovation and is often implemented to make everyday life more convenient. It  also has its entertainment and demonstrative purposes along with an inherent funness. Who doesn’t like poking buttons?

Here is a brief parody by SNL over the touch screen technology used during this past election.  (Click the image, it will take you where you can watch the video).

snltouchscreen

How do touchscreens work?

Read this article and be sure to watch the video at the bottom it deals with multi-touch technology.

The White Glove Treatment

My cleaning task force

My cleaning task force

Do you have a problem with pesky particles on your HDTV stand and bedroom dresser?  Is a plague of allergens descending upon your nick-knacks? Then I have a new addition for your cleaning closet. I don’t mean to sound like an infomercial but I just wanted to share with you the newest member to my task cleaning force… The Swiffer Duster!

If you are a person who really hates dusting this little friend might make your job a bit  easier. The dust just loves it and no longer your statuette of Spock. However, this product if you’re a bit more eco-friendly than I, is not a product for you. Like its brother, the Swiffer Sweeper,  you throw away the cleaning pad after you’ve finished.

Despite this small idiosyncrasy for the Eco population, this product seems to meet what its package claims:

Swiffer Dusters trap and lock dust, dirt, and common household allergens from cats, dogs, and dust mites. Swiffer Dusters’ textured dusting strips remove dust from virtually all your surfaces while the handle helps you get to those hard-to-reach areas.

Say goodbye to those dust mites and happy cleaning to you all!

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

I am not necessarily a fiction reader but I think this one is a must read. Don’t get me wrong, there are wonderful fictional works out there, I just too often find myself engaging in many non-fictional resources that when I find time it is hard to sit still for a good read. However many fine works of words have engaged my attention.

My Name is Asher Lev is just one of those said works. The nature of the book is one that I could especially relate to with my undergraduate study in fine art (painting and art history). The book shows the development of Asher Lev, the Hasidic Jew, artist and painter.

If you are already a practitioner of the Hasidic Jewish faith or the elite world of art you may realize the antagonistic relationship that already exists between the belief and practice of young Asher. If not let me make you aware.

In the Hasidic Jewish community existence is about conforming and following the ways of God; it’s about obedience and through obedience, salvation and truth. In the realm of art, there are no conformists; whoever conforms is considered a whore. Art is about self and self-expression and through total expression there is truth. In art there is seemingly nothing sacred, in Hasidic Judaism so much is sacred.

This antagonistic relationship follows the entirety of the book, until at last Asher comes to rest with what he wants to be.

Potok’s griping tale demonstrates a strong story of his own faith. He writes of Jewish practice and art as someone who is well-learned in both. His in-depth understanding transcends to a deeper meaning not just to the artist or the Jew. It is the essential question of self introspection, “Who do I want to be, what do I want to become?”

Adding Some Flare

 peacock pendant necklace

peacock pendant necklace

So perhaps this post is more directed toward the gals out there. I just wanted to make you aware of one of my discoveries (as of this past January). I had been looking for a relatively inexpensive, yet artsy necklace and I happened to stumble upon the materials to make one at a local craft store in my home town.

Jewelry making seems to becoming one of the latest fads of crafters right after scrap-booking and card-making. A new section at Michaels Craft store has emerged that is perfect for taking on such a jewelry making project whether simple (pick out a pendant and chain) or a more elaborate project of beading, and or

metal work. In the case of pendants I found a wide selection; some were merely stones or gems, others were simple designs made in plastic, and some others were more decorative with a single image set into a gold or silver colored backing. They also have a variety of chains in different styles, sizes and materials. In any case, you can find the essentials to make a nice accent piece to jazz up any outfit.