Dec 30, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Arlington National Cemetery

Caution: This Wordless Wednesday post contains sensitive subject material. These are photos my husband and I took from Arlington and my brother's funeral service. No reproduction, printing or sharing is allowed without our express consent.

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Dec 29, 2009

Smithsonian Natural History Museum

While in Washington DC we had time to take in a small section of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We only had about an hour so we only did two sections on the first floor.

Hall of Mammals

Short-Beaked Echidna and Pink Fairy Armadillo

Leaping Tiger!


Leopard with prey, maybe some kind of antelope or gazelle. I didn't write this one down.

Vampire Bat


Cape Porcupine

Dinosaurs/Hall of Paleobiology

*Note - Some of the following photos do not have names above them. We were in a hurry to get through before the museum closed for the evening.




Having fun with Ceratosaurus

Giant Sea Turtle

Gastornis (Eocene Bird)

Orohippus pumilus (the oldest recognized ancestor of the horse)


I hope you enjoyed our photos. We will definitely stop in to go through the rest of this museum when we return.


Dec 28, 2009

Macro Monday - Bay Berries

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) This is not to be confused with Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) which is in the Myrtle family.

This is where bay leaves that are so common in roasts, stews and other meat dishes comes from. Interestingly, the berries also contain essential oils that are commonly used as an herbal medication. There is a warning that it should be used with moderation due to possible narcotic effects. Some of the uses of the oils are topical treatment for flatulence, loss of appetite, colds, flu, tonsillitis, viral infections, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, bactericidal, digestive, diuretic, fungicidal, and as a sedative.

Here is the Greek story of how the Laurel came to be.

Apollo and Daphne
As told by Thomas Bulfinch

Daphne was Apollo's first love. It was not brought about by accident, but by the malice of Cupid. Apollo saw the boy playing with his bow and arrows; and being himself elated with his recent victory over Python, he said to him, "What have you to do with warlike weapons, saucy boy? Leave them for hands worthy of them, Behold the conquest I have won by means of them over the vast serpent who stretched his poisonous body over acres of the plain! Be content with your torch, child, and kindle up your flames, as you call them, where you will, but presume not to meddle with my weapons." Venus's boy heard these words, and rejoined, "Your arrows may strike all things else, Apollo, but mine shall strike you." So saying, he took his stand on a rock of Parnassus, and drew from his quiver two arrows of different workmanship, one to excite love, the other to repel it. The former was of gold and ship pointed, the latter blunt and tipped with lead. With the leaden shaft he struck the nymph Daphne, the daughter of the river god Peneus, and with the golden one Apollo, through the heart. Forthwith the god was seized with love for the maiden, and she abhorred the thought of loving. Her delight was in woodland sports and in the spoils of the chase. lovers sought her, but she spurned them all, ranging the woods, and taking no thought of Cupid nor of Hymen. Her father often said to her, "Daughter, you owe me a son-in-law; you owe me grandchildren." She, hating the thought of marriage as a crime, with her beautiful face tinged all over with blushes, threw her arms around her father's neck, and said, "Dearest father, grant me this favour, that I may always remain unmarried, like Diana." He consented, but at the same time said, "Your own face will forbid it."

Apollo loved her, and longed to obtain her; and he who gives oracles to all the world was not wise enough to look into his own fortunes. He saw her hair flung loose over her shoulders, and said, "If so charming, in disorder, what would it be if arranged?" He saw her eyes bright as stars; he saw her lips, and was not satisfied with only seeing them. He admired her hands and arms, naked to the shoulder, and whatever was hidden from view he imagined more beautiful still. He followed her; she fled, swifter than the wind, and delayed not a moment at his entreaties. "Stay," said he, "daughter of Peneus; I am not a foe. Do not fly me as a lamb flies the wolf, or a dove the hawk. It is for love I pursue you. You make me miserable, for fear you should fall and hurt yourself on these stones, and I should be the cause. Pray run slower, and I will follow slower. I am no clown, no rude peasant. Jupiter is my father, and I am lord of Delphos and Tenedos, and know all things, present and future. I am the god of song and the lyre. My arrows fly true to the mark; but, alas! an arrow more fatal than mine has pierced my heart! I am the god of medicine, and know the virtues of all healing plants. Alas! I suffer a malady that no balm can cure!"

The nymph continued her flight, and left his plea half uttered. And even as she fled she charmed him. The wind blew her garments, and her unbound hair streamed loose behind her. The god grew impatient to find his wooings thrown away, and, sped by Cupid, gained upon her in the race. It was like a hound pursuing a hare, with open jaws ready to seize, while the feebler animal darts forward, slipping from the very grasp. So flew the god and the virgin- he on the wings of love, and she on those of fear. The pursuer is the more rapid, however, and gains upon her, and his panting breath blows upon her hair. Her strength begins to fail, and, ready to sink, she calls upon her father, the river god: "Help me, Peneus! open the earth to enclose me, or change my form, which has brought me into this danger!" Scarcely had she spoken, when a stiffness seized all her limbs; her bosom began to be enclosed in a tender bark; her hair became leaves; her arms became branches; her foot stuck fast in the ground, as a root; her face became a tree-top, retaining nothing of its former self but its beauty, Apollo stood amazed. He touched the stem, and felt the flesh tremble under the new bark. He embraced the branches, and lavished kisses on the wood. The branches shrank from his lips. "Since you cannot be my wife," said he, "you shall assuredly be my tree. I will wear you for my crown; I will decorate with you my harp and my quiver; and when the great Roman conquerors lead up the triumphal pomp to the Capitol, you shall be woven into wreaths for their brows. And, as eternal youth is mine, you also shall be always green, and your leaf know no decay." The nymph, now changed into a Laurel tree, bowed its head in grateful acknowledgment.

This is my entry for Macro Monday hosted by Lisa's Chaos. For more macro photos go to Macro Monday:


Dec 27, 2009

Christmas Recap

I am taking a break from our Arlington/Washington photos to share our Christmas morning photos.

Look what Santa brought to our home:

The Tree

Our holiday tree is an Italian Stone Pine. It can go outdoors in the summer but will have to come back indoors in the winter. You can find more information HERE.

We decided against getting a big tree and using our normal ornaments. The garland and animals were actually made in Kenya. I can not remember the organization that runs the program, but it gives wages to the women who handcraft them. The garland is made up of paper beads.

Our Rhino tree topper.


Gazelle or Antelope maybe



The Gifts

The boys open their present from Mom and Dad.What could it be?

An acoustic guitar! They also got a stand, picks, and two learn how to play books.

Kitty presents getting opened.

Inky has his feather ball.

Inky exploring kitty adventure land.

Mouser and her toy mouse. It makes realistic mouse sounds.

A few of my favorite gifts included The Bumble slippers from my hubby...

a Christmas Miracle (inside joke) from our housemate, DS...

and PartyLite penguins from our housemates MF, JF, & DS. Technically this was a Yule gift that I opened Wednesday but it is still one of my favorite holiday gifts so I am including it here. :)

I hope you all had a blessed Yule and a Merry Christmas. May the new year bring you peace and prosperity.


Dec 26, 2009

Camera Critters - Golden Eagles

While in Washington, I added a bird to my life list. I have seen Golden Eagles in the zoo before but never in their natural glory. We came across a pair of them by the Vietnam Wall Memorial. They were attempting and horribly failing to hunt squirrels. It was pretty funny watching them. They would launch from the trees and then hit the snow just missing the acrobatic squirrels. Then the squirrels turned on them and went into attack mode. They would chitter and chatter at the eagles. I was surprised how brazen the squirrels were. I managed to get a photo of one of the eagles looking very nervous about the squirrel just before it flew off. Hopefully you can see the squirrel in the tree next to the eagle in the middle two photos.

Golden Eagle in Tree

Golden Eagle getting an earful.

"Maybe I need to get out of here."

"Bye Bye!"

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