October 31, 2011

Chapter 39876...

In the book, The NeverEnding Story - Israel Edition.

We are nearing the end though...it's the last day of the trip. We are headed to Mediterranean and then to the airport. Sigh.

On a happier note. I LOVED Caesarea Maritima. It was amazing. It was a city and harbor built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BC. Like everything else in that place, it had been taken over, razed and rebuilt many times.

A serious archaeological excavation began in the 1950s and 1960s and they uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications
Crusader hall. The Crusades were horrific...but they were quite the architects. Beautiful.
Crusader carving
and a theatre. There is a temple dedicated to Caesar, a hippodrome and a double aqueduct that brought water from Mount Carmel. You should read more, if you are interested. Fascinating site.

And the best part??? They aren't as strict about touching. You can walk all over the ancient village
The ancient village
and touch the old mosaic floors and walls and pick up shards of pottery sticking out of the floor. 
I loved it. Did I already say that? Too bad. I'll say it again. Love. 
Being able to get a really close look at stuff was great...and I loved walking the streets and into the rooms where people lived 2000 years ago.
Oh and Herod really did earn his name "The Great", which was given to him because of his building, NOT because he was great. He was a douche. But man could he built stuff. 

There were no natural harbors along this coast...so he built one. He (his slaves) sunk huge boxes filled with a type of concrete in the water and literally built a harbor on them.The dark spots in the water are the remains of the artificial harbor.
 This is the hippodrome:
It is in the shape of a long  "U", with 10,000 seats in 12 rows. They held horse races, special events, and games. I'm guessing a lot of blood was shed here.

These are the remains of Herod's pool which he built on a promontory. The pool in the center was nearly Olympic in size, and was filled with fresh water.  A statue once stood in the center. You can see the remains of beautiful mosaic floors and baths. The man lived in absolute luxury.
They restored Herod's theater and use it for concerts and performances. It sat 3500 and is super steep. And I can't imagine sitting on those stones for hours...
But what a view... 
They had some very cool artifacts scattered about. A coffin...
 and statuary...
 We headed down the coast just a bit to the aqueducts and got to get in the ocean!
Well, I did anyway. I don't think anyone else did. I just can't help it. I see an ocean, I get in. Especially the Mediterranean. Who knows the next time I will be in it? 

I don't generally like people taking my picture but Dixie snuck this one and it's proof that I stepped in the Mediterranean, so I'm keeping it :-)

The aquaducts were pretty cool too. Once again, something that has managed to last for 2000 years. There was no fresh water nearby so they built a 10 mile long aqueduct to bring water from springs at the base of Mt. Carmel.  To get the water to flow by the pull of gravity, the aqueduct was built on arches and the gradient was carefully measured. Amazing engineering. 

This is broken off end.
 Looking at the ocean side.
 This woman...is a complete stranger. She is Israeli and lives nearby. She and her two kids were playing at the beach and suddenly a bunch of crazy American tourists showed up and asked to take pics of her...
The kids were so gorgeous though! She was super sweet about it, as you can see by her smile. 

Lovely place, lovely people, lovely time. I miss it.

October 25, 2011

Bully??

I have been doing a lot of research lately trying to find the best dog chew treat/toy. Utah is an aggressive chewer.
He is  good boy, he doesn't chew my stuff...but his toys...don't last long. Have you heard of the Kong toy? Thick, strong, supposedly indestructible rubber toy. He punched his tooth through one and got it stuck. He's super smart.

Everyone was telling me to try bully sticks. Their dogs loved them. They are all natural, no plastic or chemicals. The dog can chew chunks off that won't get stuck in his throat like bones do...cuz he gulps like a shark.

So you're probably thinking, "Kate, what is a bully stick?"

Well, I'll tell you. A bully stick...is a bull penis. NBD.
I'd never heard of them. Had no clue what they were. On the ingredients label it reads "Bull Pizzle". I had no idea what the heck a pizzle was either. So I looked it up:

Pizzle is an old English word for penis, derived from Low German pesel or Flemish Dutch pezel, diminutive of pees 'sinew'. Pizzles are almost exclusively used/produced today as chewing treats for dogs. They are a fibrous muscle, and are prepared by cleaning, stretching, twisting and then drying. Bully Sticks, as they are commonly called, can be smoked in a traditional smoker. They can also be sun dried or oven baked. The result is a very hard, 80–100 centimeters (30–40 in) long brown stick, which is then sawed into pieces appropriate for the size of the dog.

So here is your mental image to set the stage for the story: Me standing in PetCo, in front of a hanging display of extra large bully sticks...as the light slowly dawned on what I was looking at.

I was torn. This is a healthy treat for my dog. It's also disgusting. Could I really pick a couple up and carry them to the register and hand them to the cashier...and then take them home and let my dog eat them?

As I was standing there contemplating the meaning of life...a PetCo employee came up and asked if HE could help me. Of couse it was a man. 

I blushed bright red. Turns out I'm a blusher. Who knew. 

He chuckled softly as he glanced back and forth between me and the bully sticks. 

I muttered, "I don't think I can do this", and started to turn away. He laughed and said that he could show me where some smaller ones were. I possibly made a crack about size and it actually mattering...

We walked to another display with much smaller bully sticks, some were even braided and curled. I said something about the smaller ones being much easier to handle...I wasn't thinking!!!!! Turns out that when you are discussing pizzle...everything sounds dirty. We were both blushing at this point and I told him that he needed to just walk away. He did. 

I grabbed a couple bully sticks, paid for everything and got the heck out of Dodge. 

Needless to say, Utah loved them, I will have to buy more now.
What's that hanging out of your mouth bud?
NBD. 

If you want to find them for your dog, they are at PetCo and I'm sure at other pet supply stores. 

This is the best brand to buy: Merrick

They are made in the USA, Texas bulls. And their product description is hilarious:

"Although this treat is definitely a conversation piece, we do not suggest that you bring it with you on a first date. It has been known to cause severe blushing. This is one of the most popular treats in the pet world and it is no secret that dogs love it. This 30 inch bully stick boasts that bigger is better and is made right here in America. You can have the peace of mind that they were manufactured under our country’s regulations and standards."

The end.  

October 22, 2011

Book Winners!!!!

Sorry, I guess it's not really morning anymore...

But here are the winners! (Selected by Random.org)

9 - Kat
4 - Sue
11 - Janaan
3 - Mac

I definitely need more participation next time. When I put in 12 entries at Random.org...the computer laughed at me ;-)

But THANK YOU!! to all of you who commented! This was really fun for me. I will be doing more giveaways soon!

I will get your books in the mail ASAP.

Aunt Sue, I know your mailing address.

Kat, Janaan and Mac, I will email you to get yours.

Thanks and Congrats!!

October 18, 2011

Baby Fix

I have not mentioned a uterus since May 2010 so I figured that you all would be ready for some more!

Yesterday mine imploded. NBD.

Here's why:
My SIL had a beautiful baby boy whom we will call WR. I got to go see him after work and that's when things started imploding... 
Have you ever picked up a newborn and sniffed its head and its milk breath and rubbed its tiny toes and fingers...and then your uterus imploded? I would think that i'm being sexist to say that it only happens to women...but men don't have uteri so... 

He's already got grandma wrapped around his finger :-)

I call this
Evolution of a Yawn
 He came out with the longest fingernails!

I'm sorry if this post has caused a wake of imploded uteri. 


Here this will snap you out of it:
Yup. Done. 


But not really! Don't forget my book giveaway here! All you creepy blog stalkers have to do is say hey  to be entered ;-)

Kidding on the creepy part...sort of. 

October 17, 2011

Sorry LH ;-)

Not the only kid anymore! 
He seems okay with it :-)

More pics to come! So excited! Congrats Zachary and Amanda!

October 13, 2011

Book Giveaway! - Where is Dewey when I need him...

No, not the duck...the Dewey with the Decimal System.

I have a lot of books. Not enough of course...I could use many many more...but a lot.

And I lose track of which ones I've purchased. The root of this problem may lay with Amazon. I love them but their cart lets me add duplicates and then I'll buy a book but later I'll find it in my cart and it will look really good...so I'll buy it again. Most of the time I can return them but I have a few where time ran out or they were used, so I was stuck.

Bummer.

But not for you!

I will be giving away three today (well actually four but I'm going to give two of them together as they are sort of a series) which works out well since I think I only have three readers...maybe four. You each get a book! ;-)

I was going to do the giveaway over on my "book" page...but I don't think anyone knows it exists so...here we go:

The Woodcutter by Kate Danley

I actually won this book on Goodreads First Reads. And now i'm paying it forward. If you like it and want to be nice to the author, go here after you've read it, and leave a review. It's her first novel and she needs all the good press!
Cinderella is dead and one of Odin's hellhounds has gone rogue. The Woodcutter, protector of peace between the Twelve Kingdoms of Man and the Realm of Faerie, is charged with finding the beast and returning him to the Wild Hunt. Unfortunately, it seems the forces of evil have other plans. It is a race against time as the Woodcutter travels east of the sun and west of the moon, up beanstalks and down to the bowels of the earth to unravel a mystery that can only be described as Grimm.

I really liked this book. I get nervous about retellings of fairytales but this is a different take on things and very entertaining. It's a little dark so probably better for high school age and up but very clean.


The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

This is one that I double-bought. I've been loving Robin McKinley lately and this is the first book in her Damar series. Well actually it's the second book...but it's a prequel...so I would read it first. Amen.
Aerin is the only child of the king of Damar, and should be his rightful heir. But she is also the daughter of a witchwoman of the North, who died when she was born, and the Damarians cannot trust her.

But Aerin's destiny is greater than her father's people know, for it leads her to battle with Maur, the Black Dragon, and into the wilder Damarian Hills, where she meets the wizard Luthe. It is he who at last tells her the truth about her mother, and he also gives over to her hand the Blue Sword, Gonturan. But such gifts as these bear a great price, a price Aerin only begins to realize when she faces the evil mage, Agsded, who has seized the Hero's Crown, greatest treasure and secret strength of Damar.

If you like fantasy, you will enjoy this book. Very exciting. Strong hero and heroine. Listed as a Young Adult novel but very clean. I would say high school and up again.


The Truth-Teller's Tale and The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn

There are actually three in this "series" but you can read these two just fine without the first...which is good because I don't have the first one to give!
 Innkeeper’s daughters Adele and Eleda are “mirror twins, ”—identical twins whose looks are reflections of each other’s —and their special talents are like mirrors, too. Adele is a Safe-Keeper, entrusted with hearing and never revealing others’ secrets; Eleda is a Truth-Teller, who cannot tell a lie when asked a direct question. The town of Merendon relies on the twins, no one more than their best friend, Roelynn Karro, whose strict, wealthy father is determined to marry her off to the prince. When the girls are seventeen, a handsome dancing-master and his apprentice come to stay at the inn, and thus begins a chain of romance, mistaken identity, and some very surprising truths and falsehoods.

Kellen's mother has always insisted that her only child was born male, not female—so Kellen has been raised as a boy. At school, she meets Gryffin, whose mind is as strong as his legs are damaged, and the two become friends and allies. A few years later, the two get jobs working at an inn nearby. When it is discovered that Gryffin is the kingdom's new Dream-Maker—someone whose mere presence can help dreams come true—he is whisked away to the castle, leaving Kellen behind. By now, their friendship is shading into something more. Will it endure?

I am loving Sharon Shinn right now too. Her books are very entertaining. These would probably appeal more to girls...they are a bit romantic...but still have adventure and intrigue. They are "Young Adult" and the School Library Journal rates them for grade 8 and up.

Okay - THE RULES

Just leave me a comment with your favorite book from your high school years. If you can't think of one, just say hey. I will leave the contest open for one week when I will draw three winners randomly and announce them Friday morning (21st).

Thanks for visiting!

October 12, 2011

Big rock candy mountain

I love the first snowfall of the year (have I said that already?)

It looks like the mountains have been dusted with powdered sugar like a funnel cake. 

A giant, powdered sugar covered, mountain confection.


Then I start thinking about how big a creature would have to be to enjoy a powdered sugar mountain...

And totally creep myself out.

Then I have to change the subject before I give myself nightmares.

Anyone else craving funnel cake??

October 10, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe...

...to read my blog and not see anything about Israel.
It was Yom Kippur Friday, which reminded me that:

A)  I loved Israel and the people and the cultures...everything...and I wish that I had been in Jerusalem for this holiday.
2) Turns out I'm not Jewish. It's odd that I know all of their holidays. I worked with a Jewish girl and I had to teach her about her religion and heritage... (my great grandpa was Jewish, that's got to count for something eh?)
Thirdly)  I never finished posting my Israel pics
IV) My loyal readers are out there crying themselves to sleep because I haven't finished posting my Israel pics
5th) I don't like crying

So I'm going to try and post the rest in the upcoming days. I  may get bored again... but I shall try :-)

I was looking through my album and thinking about what a land of contradictions Israel is. I could get really deep here with politics and culture and religion...but I'm not going to. Just take it for what it's worth. 

 This is view out my hotel window in Jerusalem.  
 When I first looked out I saw the spires of that gorgeous cathedral...Then I looked down and saw a simple home with laundry on the line.

Up North at the Sea of Galilee it was so beautiful.
This is sunrise from my hotel there. Just gorgeous. But those hills the sun is rising over are the Golan Heights. Enough said.

Still up in the north. Beautiful rolling hills, thriving farms and fields, ancient ruins...
...land mines.

We were warned at several places to stay on marked paths and not to wander. There are a lot of land mines still out and about. Occasionally a cow or sheep wander where it shouldn't and find a hidden mine. So kind of them. Who needs a metal detector?? 

October 6, 2011

"We'll soon be there with snow..."


Too late. We're there. With snow.


Yup. It's snowing. Big fat Christmas flakes. The first snow of the season.  It's lovely but I feel bad for the trees. They haven't lost their leaves yet which = broken branches. 
I have a feeling it's going to be another Utah Halloween where the poor munchkins have to wear thermals under their princess/superhero costumes...or puffy giraffe costumes that are rated to 60 below. Look at the stuffing in that tush! You could drop this kid in Siberia and she'd be toasty...

My drive to work. I love the defined snow line. If you look at the  mountain in the background you can see the ski runs covered already.
This was the only filter on my phone that would show the snowflakes. 
BTW - My cruddy old phone's camera is officially interfering with my blogging capabilities. It's time to break down and buy a new phone.

I'm going to go hibernate now. See you in the Spring!