Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Capt. Lyle L. Gordon

Airmen from the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at an air base in Southwest Asia prepare a C-17 Globemaster III for an airdrop mission Jan. 14 to deliver humanitarian supplies to coalition forces in Afghanistan

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Snow Days!

We have had so much snow the last couple of days that school has been canceled again and today we are enjoying our second snow day! It is still coming down and the roads are in dreadful condition. We are supposed to get snow all week.

Right now we are watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and I'm drinking Twinings English Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea while working on the Weasley Sweaters I'm (still) knitting for my family for Christmas (Pattern from Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter). It is rather fun to miss school because of nature!

What would you do if you had a snow day?

Items of Interest: The Black Death

This is interesting.

Reuters: Black Death did not kill indiscriminately, experts say---

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Black Death that decimated populations in Europe and elsewhere during the middle of the 14th century may not have been a blindly indiscriminate killer, as some experts have believed.

An analysis of 490 skeletons from a London for Black Death victims demonstrated that the infection did not affect everyone equally, two U.S. scientists said on Monday.

While many perfectly healthy people certainly were cut down, those already in poor health prior to the arrival of the plague were more likely to have perished, they found.

"A lot of people have assumed that the Black Death killed indiscriminately, just because it had such massive mortality," anthropologist Sharon DeWitte of the University at Albany in New York, said in a telephone interview.

People already in poor health often are more vulnerable in epidemics. "But there's been a tradition of thinking that the Black Death was this unique case where no one was safe and if you were exposed to the disease that was it. You had three to five days, and then you were dead," DeWitte said.

The plague epidemic of 1347 to 1351 was one of the deadliest recorded in human history, killing about 75 million people, according to some estimates, including more than a third of Europe's population.

DeWitte analyzed skeletons unearthed from the East Smithfield cemetery in London, dug especially for plague victims and excavated in the 1980s, for bone and teeth abnormalities that would show that people had health problems before they died of plague.

She found such abnormalities in many skeletons, suggesting these people had experienced malnutrition, iron deficiencies and infections well before succumbing to the Black Death.
Do read the rest of the article. It has more information.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Let it SNOW!

We are in the midst of a huge winter snowstorm! It has been snowing since yesterday and the roads are absolutely dreadful. Many schools in the area have already closed for tomorrow. We have had at least a foot.

It is beautiful outside, so I went out and took some pictures. Here are a couple. It was still snowing but you can't really tell and nor can you tell how deep it is.

So, to keep warm and cozy we are making Buffalo Chicken Chili, brewing hot tea or making cups of cocoa, cuddling up with blankets, and looking forward to watching Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End with yummy popcorn!

How would you spend a snow day?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Some JG Interviews from Sundance!

Great Josh Groban interview at Entertainment Weekly. He's at the Sundance Film Festival and talks about his fans and their support and how Noel was "a gift for the fans, a chestnut I recorded for them." Lovely! Thank you, Josh!

And another from the Hollywood Reporter (with video!) where he says his next album might have an "acoustic feel." Oooh! And better yet, he said the album might be out late 2008 or early 2009!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

This is very sad news, even though I haven't been a fan of his in a couple of years: Heath Ledger has died. It appears he died of a drug overdose, possibly accidentally, possibly with sleeping pills. He was only 28 years old, which is only two years older than I am. He leaves behind a two year old daughter, Matilda.

I remember when Heath was first in 10 Things I Hate About You. It came out in March of my senior year of high school. And then he was in two of my favorite movies The Patriot and A Knight's Tale. He was really cute then and an excellent actor. I am sad he has died so young, with so much potential, and with such a young child.

My prayers are with his family.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen:

R. Subveníte, Sancti Dei, occúrrite, Angeli Dómini, Suscipiéntes ániman ejus, Offeréntes eam in conspéctu Altíssimi. Suscípiat te Christus, qui vocávit te, et in sinum Abrahae Angeli dedúcant te. Suscipiéntes ánimam ejus, Offeréntes eam in conspéctu Altíssimi.
R. Come to his assistance, all you Saints of God: meet him, all you Angels of God: receiving him soul, offering it in the sight of the Most High. May Christ receive you, who hath called you, and may the Angels conduct you to Abraham's bosom. Receiving his soul and offering it in the sight of the Most High.

V. Réquiem aetérnam dona ei, Dómine, et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Offeréntes eam in conspéctu Altìssimi.
V. Eternal rest give to him, Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him. Offering it in the sight of the Most High.

Kýrie eléison.
Christe eléison.
Kýrie eléison.
[Pater noster (silently)]... Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
[Our Father (silently)].....

V. Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem. V. ...and lead us not into temptation.
R. Sed libera nos a malo. R. But deliver us from evil.
V. Réquiem aetérnam dona ei, Dómine. V. Eternal rest give to him, Lord.
R. Et lux perpétua lúceat ei. R. And let perpetual light shine upon him.
V. A porta ìnferi. V. From the gates of Hell.
R. Erue, Dómine, ánimam ejus. R. Deliver him soul, Lord.
V. Réquiescat in pace. V. May he rest in peace.
R. Amen. R. Amen.
V. Dómine, exáudi oratiónem meam. V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. Et clamor meus ad te véniat. R. And let my cry come to Thee.
V. Dóminus vobiscum. V. The Lord be with you.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo. R. And with thy spirit.
Orémus. Tibi Dómine, commendámus ánimam fámuli tui (fámulae tuae) N.____, ut defúnctus (defúncta) saéculo tibi vivat: et quae per fragilitátem humánae conversatiónis peccáta commìsit, tu vénia misericordìssime pietátis abstérge. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
Let us pray. To Thee, Lord, we commend the soul of your servant Heath Ledger, that being dead to this world he may live to Thee: and whatever sins he has committed in this life through human frailty, do Thou in Thy most merciful goodness forgive. Through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen. R. Amen.

UPDATE-5 February 2008: Looks like it was an accidental overdose of prescription meds.

Monday, January 21, 2008

And the Winner Is . . .!

Congratulations to Denise, the winner of my little Jane Austen Contest to celebrate the kick-off of PBS' The Complete Jane Austen Season. I pulled Denise's name randomly out of my blue English teapot and she wins a copy of the 1995 Sense & Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (not a PBS version!) and some loose leaf English Evening tea, and some other little things.

Congratulations, Denise! Please send your address and e-mail to me at! I will be sending your prize this week. :)

(Sorry, the prize doesn't include my Union Jack Bag! :) lol)

Thank you to Kimba, Lizzie, Karen in Maryland, Luthien84, Susan, and Elizabeth who all visited and entered! I appreciate all your visits and comments! Come back soon for another contest!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jane Austen: Spokane Style!

I was just reading our local paper and came across this in The Slice, a local column by Paul Turner full of little quips, reader anecdotes, questions, and odd tidbits (the link requires registration):

Reader challenge: Make up a book title that sounds like the name of a Jane Austen novel but is actually inspired by life in Spokane.
What an excellent notion! I will have to think about it. Any ideas about where you live?

And don't forget to enter my Jane Austen Contest!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus
28 years old from Wolf Creek, Montana
3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force
July 29, 2006

Marine Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus was the nephew of Montana Senator Max Baucus. He joined the corps in 2002 and was sent to Iraq in March of 2005.

Cpl. Baucus was killed alongside fellow Marines Sgt. Christian Williams, 27 yrs old from Winter Haven, Fla. and Lance Cpl. Anthony E. Butterfield, 19 yrs old from Clovis, Calif. during combat operations in Al Anbar province.

"Phillip was an incredible person, a dedicated Marine, a loving son and husband, and a proud Montanan and American," Sen. Baucus said. "He heroically served the country he loved and he gave it his all."

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

Feeling Stressed?

Women's Day Magazine has 10-Second Stress Busters
---15 in all. Check them out!

The first is my favorite:

Drink Tea
Black tea has been shown to have an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. Researchers in England have found that people who drink black tea de-stress more quickly than those drinking a fake tea substitute. Tea contains catechins, polyphenols, flavonoids and amino acids that affect your brain's neurotransmitters and ultimately reduce blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
I drink tea all the time, especially black tea, and it is always so comforting.

What do you do when feeling stressed?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mona Lisa's Identity Confirmed?

This is interesting.

Reuters: German experts crack Mona Lisa smile---

BERLIN (Reuters) - German academics believe they have solved the centuries-old mystery behind the identity of the "Mona Lisa" in Leonardo da Vinci's famous portrait.

Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant, Francesco del Giocondo, has long been seen as the most likely model for the sixteenth-century painting.

But art historians have often wondered whether the smiling woman may actually have been da Vinci's lover, his mother or the artist himself.

Now experts at the Heidelberg University library say dated notes scribbled in the margins of a book by its owner in October 1503 confirm once and for all that Lisa del Giocondo was indeed the model for one of the most famous portraits in the world.

"All doubts about the identity of the Mona Lisa have been eliminated by a discovery by Dr. Armin Schlechter," a manuscript expert, the library said in a statement on Monday.
Bravo, Dr. Schlechter!

The notes were made by a Florentine city official Agostino Vespucci, an acquaintance of the artist, in a collection of letters by the Roman orator Cicero.

The comments compare Leonardo to the ancient Greek artist Apelles and say he was working on three paintings at the time, one of them a portrait of Lisa del Giocondo.

Happy 25th!

Happy Birthday, Trisha!

Love, Jane

Sunday, January 13, 2008

New Jane Austen Contest!

In honor of the beginning of PBS' The Complete Jane Austen Season, I thought I would have a little JA Contest!

The prize is a copy of the 1995 Sense & Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet (not a PBS version!) and some loose leaf English Evening tea, and possibly some other little things. (I'll post a picture in the next few days).

Here are the rules:
  • Write a comment on this post by 9pm pst Monday, 21 January 2008.
  • Your comment can be about anything related to Jane Austen.
  • I will randomly pick a name out of my blue English teapot Monday night and post the winner.
That's it! Good luck!

Jane Austen Season Begins Tonight!

PBS' The Complete Jane Austen Season begins tonight with a new version of one of my top two JA novels, Persuasion. Use the website above to find what time it airs in your area. You will also find a discussion board, a book & film club, learning resources, a biography, and more.

Over at Jane Austen Today, Ms. Place and Laurel Ann have posted tonight's cast of characters here and here.

Plus, more coverage at AustenBlog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday's Feast #175

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
My middle name is Marie. I used to hate my first name (Jane), but since I discovered Jane Austen and English literature I love it. And it suits me particularly well. If I wanted to change it I think I would want to be "Emma" or "Emily."

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
I love traditional, classic styles like the empire waist, etc. I would probably use elegant colors like black, cream, navy, dark reds, greens, purples, etc. I love damasks, satins, silk, and other regular fabrics. I don't know that much about fabrics or fashion, so that's about all I'm going to write! :)

What is your least favorite chore, and why?
My least favorite chore is cleaning my bedroom! I have stacks of books everywhere (which I love) and my dresser is too small, so I lazily stack my clothes on pulled out drawers. If I manage to shove all my clothes in the dresser I am worn out from cleaning and never get to anything else!

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?

Something that used to really frighten me is fireworks. When I was 6-7 we were across the state at a family friends' house for the 4th of July. We children were out in the street watching the men set fireworks off and we were all fine. They were going to light a big rocket and didn't want us to get hurt so they sent us into the yard. Well, the rocket hit a tree branch, bounced of the ground, and went up the back of my favorite little sundress, burning it to my back! Scary! To top it all off, we were driving home in our VW Camper and got in a car wreck. My mother was holding an ice pack on my back when we went down a big hill and the sun got in my dad's eyes and the camper rolled. My little sister and I were terrified of fireworks for years and years and thought they would fall on us. Happily, I'm quite over that now, but it was one of my biggest fears!

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
I am sitting in the den. I can see:
1. My favorite cream-and-black toile teacup and saucer with Raspberry Earl Grey tea.
2. The Office Computer Game my dad gave my sister and me for Epiphany. Fun!
3. Christmas wrapping paper.

Enjoy other Friday's Feasts here!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wednesday Hero

Sgt. Frank T. Carvill
Sgt. Frank T. Carvill
51 years old from Carlstadt, New Jersey
3rd Battalion, 112th Field Artillery
June 04, 2004

When Frank T. Carvill told his sister he had been called up to go to Iraq, she was stunned. "Gee, Frank, are you going to be part of the AARP battalion?" she teased.

Carvill joined the Guard in the 80's out of a sense of patriotism. He was a devoted big brother to Peggy Liguori, who still remembers how as kids, he took her to see “Blue Hawaii” and “Born Free” at the movies. He was the longtime pal to Rick Rancitelli who admired Carvill’s “million-dollar vocabulary” and his writing and public speaking skills. In 1993. Sgt. Carvill was working in the WTC as a paralegal when it was attacked. He helped a co-worker down 54 floors to safety. In 2001, he was still working at the WTC. He had just left the North Tower moments before the first plane hit.

Sgt. Carvill was killed when his convoy was attacked outside of Baghdad.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I just came across a post at the FOJG forum with a link to a YouTube video of Josh Groban singing "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd. The special thing is that it is from the Seattle concert which I went to and whoever took the video was right in front of Josh. Literally, right in front of him as he sat on the edge of the stage. It is gorgeous! Have a look!

Jamie's Back on the Food Network!

I'm really excited: the first chef I ever saw on the Food Network is back! Have you ever heard of the Naked Chef? (It's the food that's naked!). Jamie Oliver is a fabulous English Chef. The first time I ever watched the Food Network was while I was watching a Mariner's game with a friend years ago. During a commercial we were flipping through the channels and came across this English guy making bread dough on a counter top. He had the flour in a mound and then created a space in the middle where he added the water, salt, sugar, and yeast, and then mixed it up with his hands. We were hooked. After a couple of years and some different series, Jamie focused on some other things in England (including his family). A month or so ago I saw a commercial for a new Jamie Oliver show on FN! Happy day!

Tonight, Jamie will be battling Iron Chef Mario Batali on Food Network's Iron Chef America. The episode airs at 10pm. (If you missed it, click on the link and you'll find a list of when it airs again---6 more times in the next week!)

Then, at 11pm, Food Network is showing a sneak peek of Jamie's new show, Jamie at Home:

Jamie's back doing what he does best — cooking at home with simple, accessible ingredients, including fruits and vegetables that he recently started growing in his garden kitchen. In each episode, Jamie focuses on a specific ingredient and shows viewers several completely different recipes.
I'm looking forward to it!

Pick a Suitor for Jane!*

Over at Jane Austen's World, Ms. Place wants you to vote for a suitor for our dear Jane Austen! Which gentleman would have been ideal for her?

Click here to read the descriptions and vote. You have until 9 January. The two winners will receive copies of the fabulous novel The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James.

And, congratulations to Ms. Place and Laurel Ann of Austenprose. Laurel Ann will be joining Jane Austen Today as Ms. Place's co-blogger! I look forward to their excellent work!

*(No, not for me! But, by the by, if you happen to know Mr. Darcy, you could send him along to me! My thanks in advance! Josh Groban or John Krasinski would be fabulous, as well!)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Twelfth Night!

Tonight is Twelfth Night, the night before Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas. In England, many celebrate (at least in the past) with a lovely party with Twelfth Night Cake, foods, games, and merriment.

You can find history, traditions, recipes, ideas, and games here and here and here and here and here

Happy Twelfth Night!

Lady Lori is in town and we are having a Twelfth Night Party! We had Roast Beef with Potatoes & Carrots for dinner and will be having Banoffee Pie for dessert. We had Christmas Crackers and wore our little hats! Such fun!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wednesday Hero

1st Sgt. Eric Crayton
1st Sgt. Eric Crayton
From Sparta, Georgia

Sgt. Eric Crayton, the first sergeant for the Extension Detachment, Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, serving Christmas dinner to Soldiers at the Pegasus Dining Facility at Camp Liberty, Iraq.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your blog, you can go here.