27. January 2011 · Comments Off on Native Tattoo Meanings and Customs · Categories: Arts And Entertainment · Tags: , ,

Today many parents panic if their child gets a tattoo at some point in their life. Many think of it as a degrading practice that symbolizes rebellion. But it should be remembered that tattooing was and is an art that came naturally to various native peoples for hundreds of years. Tattooing has been a native custom in many tribes or races across the world, although the origin of it varied within each tribe or race. The Tattoo, over the years, has signified caste, citizenship, servility, pride or marital status for many races.

In the Hawaiian Islands tattooing was common prior to 1800 and would indicate what tribe or district you came from. The material used for coloring in native tattooing was vermillion, carbon, gunpowder and indigo. These were embedded in the skin with sharp knives or hand-made needles. Members of the Tucanoe tribe were known for three vertical blue lines tattooed on the body. This was an indication they belonged to that tribe.

In the South China Sea area where Borneo, the Philippines, Sumatra and Java are, tattooing was also common among the natives. In Borneo, members of the Kyan, Pakatan and Kermowit tribes were the only tribes where everyone was tattooed. Oddly, they were considered the least brave tribes in the area. Still their tattoos indicated they were part of a particular group. Another Borneo tribe, the Dyaks, tattooed all of the married women, usually on the hands and feet and possibly the thighs. It was considered a privilege for the married woman and a sign of dignity.

In the Polynesian Islands such as Tahiti, a tribe known as the Otaheites appeared to tattoo themselves for religious significance. Common tattoos among them were squares, circles and crescents, along with men and dog tattoos. In this tribe every person was tattooed without exception as they reached adulthood. In Fiji only women were tattooed in a tradition dating back hundreds of years. It was believed that they were tattooed more for adornment than any other reason. A tattoo was seen as a decoration that beautified the women in preparation to find or keep a husband.

Among native Australian tribes it was common, and is today, to tattoo yourself with the group’s totem, Otherwise known as a Wingong. A totem was a creature, plant or animal that the tribe believed they descended from. It could be a turtle, elk, owl, Cray-fish or snake, for instance. It might be considered the tribe’s logo.

In Burma tattooing has always been a sign of manhood. Early explorers of the islands saw almost no man without a tattoo. The leg was a popular spot to have one. It was witnessed that tattoo artists would go around with books of designs which contained every symbol for warding off any kind of evil or for bringing good luck.

Native American tribes were advocates of tattooing. The married women of the Apaches and Yumas in Arizona traditionally were distinguished by a tattoo consisting of several blue lines from the lower lip to the chin. It was also known that when a young female was wishing to become a mother, she would tattoo the figure of a child on her forehead. As well, Mojave women, after marriage would tattoo vertical blue lines on their chin.

Within native tribes and in specific geographic locations, the art of tattooing has been a long tradition. In the modern world the tattoo is used more for personal decoration of the body, and personal meaning than it is for customary ‘tribal type’ purposes such as designating a group, although violent gangs many times have a common tattoo. For most it is popular to merely acquire a tattoo that has a personal meaning, and for others it is simply a fancy adornment.

22. January 2011 · Comments Off on Keep Your Car in Good Condition Even if You Are Not Using It · Categories: Automotive · Tags: , ,

Rising fuel costs has become a big headache for car or motorcycle owners all over the world. And with rising fuel price, bicycles are back in fashion. There are lots of reports that people are going back to bicycles to move between short distances. In some cases people are sharing cars in their way to office.

There is no proven solution to this rising fuel price. Everyone is finding their own ways to keep up with the monthly budget unless some other better solution comes up. But what would happen to cars that they had been using regularly?

There is high probability that they have left their car unused in the garage and very few of them can manage time to clean them up regularly. Every seasoned user knows very well that if they leave a car unused for a long time, they will soon get rusted. And next time, when you would need to bring the car out for a drive, it would not be able to give regular service apart from consuming more fuel. Every driver knows that rust is the biggest enemy of a car.

So what do you need to do?

The answer is very simple – check your car regularly to keep it in good condition. But in such cases, when you have left your car unused for a long time, it is always recommended to do something more than a regular shampoo wash. It does not mean that you would need to go for regular car servicing. All you need is to look for details.

Most of the car owners do a great mistake in case of looking for details while cleaning their cars. In the surface level, the car may look clean but you need to check the unreachable parts too to keep your car healthy.

Now what do you do when you find some rust in some small parts like screws and bolts? We often tend to ignore them. But if you ask a motor mechanic, they would say that it is more important to clean these bolts rather than the bonnet to keep the car in a healthy condition.

We often tend to ignore these rusts because it is often very tough to remove rusts from such small parts with regular tools like sand papers. So what do you do?

In such cases, you would need to find out liquid car rust remover so that the process may become easy. All you need to do is to take the rusted parts out and dip them into the cleaner for some time depending on cleaner’s strength. In some cases, you may need to scrub all rust out after dipping them into the solution for sometime.

When the rusts are properly cleaned use some good quality grease before fixing them back. Here we would like to point out another small issue – while selecting the rust cleaning product, go for organic liquid rust cleaner. You would easily find a lot of multipurpose organic rust cleaners in the market to take care of all these problems without scrubbing. It is always recommended to store some rusts products to take necessary steps whenever needed.

At the same time we often tend to leave our car in the damp garage just after returning from a muddy drive. If you leave your car in such a condition for a longer period, it is bound to get rusted soon.

All you need is little extra attention to keep your car in good running condition even when you are not using them.

13. January 2011 · Comments Off on A Different Kind of Family Reunion · Categories: Relationships · Tags: , ,

I went home to a family reunion in December. Normally stories of this nature conjure images of either loving parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings, laughing and loving, or the opposite image of squabbling relatives, all wondering why they had traveled such great distances only to spend the holidays in abject misery.

Not so in my case. This was not a typical family reunion, but it was indeed a reunion of a loving family. It is the family of girlfriends! A sisterhood! Although not true sisters in the flesh, my girlfriends and I couldn’t have been any closer had we come out of the same womb.

We spent the night in a beautiful home, festively decorated, with tree lights twinkling, listening to Christmas carols on CDs, consuming wonderful food, imbibing our favorite drinks, exchanging gifts, and talking rapid-fire, relating what has happened to us since last we were all together, and taking group photos to be gazed upon lovingly in the coming years. Here we were, eight women with one voice, one heart, one mind. We are all each other.

Some of us have been friends since kindergarten. Some came along later. But all of us have remained loyal and steadfast, and we share a deep and abiding love and respect for one another.

Every year at Christmas we gather together at one or the other’s house to celebrate our enduring friendship and to give thanks for all that we’ve shared over the years, although most of these gatherings have fallen to just one of us, but she is the Hostess with the Mostess, so we naturally gravitate to her home.

This past Christmas was the 50th such reunion for The Girls as we always refer to ourselves. In our minds, we are still The Girls, no matter how many wrinkles or sagging jawlines, or droopy eyelids appear to try to disabuse us of that notion.

Of course we’re still The Girls. We’re just The Mature Girls now. Mature to all outward appearances, but still The Girls on the inside, in our minds and hearts where it really matters.

Having moved away from home many years ago, I have missed attending a lot of these reunions. But my sisters always made sure that I was a part of the festivities, calling me from the party and passing the phone from one to another so that I may share in the joy and happiness that we have experienced every Christmas for these past 50 Christmases.

The Girls know my secrets and I know theirs. Although all of us married, some to wonderful husbands, others to not so wonderful husbands, we always had each other with which to share our most intimate thoughts and fears.

We’ve experienced Life in all its glory and all its misery. We’ve raised families, suffered through divorces and even death. We’ve watched our children marry and have children of their own, and no matter how joyous the occasion or how profoundly sad, we have always been there for each other, congratulating each other on those most auspicious occasions or buttressing each other up during the sad ones.

Two of us have suffered the ultimate loss; the death of our child. It’s been 10 years since this first profound loss of a child and this Christmas, 2007, will be the 5th anniversary of the death of my beloved youngest son. We know joy, but we also know great heartbreak.

We’ve each felt a personal loss when one of our parents died, for we all knew each others’ parents and loved them as our own. We offered our support and understanding as each one of us became the parent of our parents.

During our growing up years, we were loved and nurtured by our parents. We each had a mother and father living in the same home. No divorces among the group’s parents. How fortunate we were to have that, and how fortunate we were to be cradled and coddled.

Then one day we found ourselves on the other side of the bank, across the river of life. We went from being taken care of, to being the caretakers, caring not only for our children but also for our aging parents. The caretaking years are rapidly coming to an end now, with the passing of a parent it seems with each passing year, and the maturing of our own children who no longer need us as they once did.

Only two of us now have parents who are living and one of the parents, although technically alive, cannot really be called living. This parent is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, robbing him of the joy of his daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He lives in a twilight world now where only he knows what goes on in his once great mind. Of the other two remaining parents, one also suffers from Alzheimer’s but has many moments of lucidity, while his wife is still active and alert and as bright as ever.

Not so for the rest of our parents who have sadly slipped away over the years, my wonderful dad being the most recent one to leave us, September, 2007, two weeks shy of his 88th birthday.

My sisters and I have shared many joys and times of incredible happiness throughout the years. We’ve been there for each other, patting each other on the back for our accomplishments and opening our hearts and our arms wide for a comforting hug during the times of loss.

No matter where we may all live, scattered throughout the country, we are always there for each other. Our door is always open, sometimes decorated with a big Christmas wreath, but always, always open for us to enter and reminisce and share the joy of over 50 Christmases past and close to 55 years of remarkable friendship, with the hope of many, many more years to come.

13. January 2011 · Comments Off on It’s All About Process · Categories: Home And Family · Tags: , ,

The northeast corridor got clobbered by heavy snow and ice this week, leaving many parts of the New York City metropolitan area without power for several days. Our tiny town was no exception; most of Ridgefield was without electricity all day Wednesday. Extended empathy for victims of Katrina and last year’s Asian tsunami immediately bubbled to the forefront of my thoughts. And everyone in our family reflected with some sadness at the extent to which we rely on electricity and running water. No water, no coffee, no phone, no internet.

There went my plans for the day. Enjoying a morning shower (something I take for granted after a tough workout) was like hanging my hat upon a star, as was working on my web site (I’m in the middle of an internet remodeling project), returning phone calls and catching up on laundry. Visions of escaping to the nearest town for both a mall and a movie theater experience was looking better and better, until I re-examined my schedule and realized that there were certain responsibilities that I needed to keep, if in any way possible. Conference call (hmmm…could be done by cell phone I suppose, even though I’d have to at least idle my car in order to charge my phone battery and aren’t gas prices at an all-time high?); violin lessons (no excuse there as the music school did indeed have power); bill-paying (turns out you can do that by candlelight if you have to). And, like it or not, even the reds can get separated from the whites on the laundry room floor in the light of day.

So we grunted it out, the kids and I. While hubby was in sunny Florida for a three-day retreat (fate has had him out of town during most of our power outages), we made do as best we could in the absence of all imaginable resources and well as my knight in shining armor.

We were sailing along swimmingly (it’s quite amazing what a large hot cup of joe can do for downtrodden spirits, even if one has to drive across two town lines to get it) when just before I turned onto the main street leading to the music school, a tire on my van went completely flat. Nada. Down to the metal of the rim. It would only figure. Ernie out-of-town. Perfect time to be a sweated-stinky-bad-haired-cold-hungry-damsel-in-distress. Happens every time.

Having just finished my conference call, I was, mentally at least, still absorbed in its message: it’s all about process. The lesson was being applied to the business of professional writing and speaking, but now, with two tired and thirsty kids in the back seat and me with a completely immovable lop-sided van in a town other than my own, I kept reminding myself: “It’s aIl about process, Carolina. Take a deep breath and move through the process.”

Like becoming a writer or lecturer of stature, becoming a seasoned mother is all about process. As a writer with a single published article does not an expert make, nor does a mother with a single newborn babe. It takes years and years of trial and error, mistakes and victories, rejection and acceptance to finally “make it.”

It’s a process.

I recalled rather quickly one of my first flat-tire experiences. Even though I do not remember it as occurring on a day in which we also lost power (a rather strange mixture of circumstances indeed), it was nonetheless distressing. Waiting for rescue with small-children-strapped-helplessly-to-car-seats in tow, eventual repair was not comfortable even ten years ago. And I was nothing short of a bumbling flat-tire novice (or idiot, depending on whom you talk to.) Didn’t know the first thing about how to deal with the task at hand. Call AAA or call hubby? Get out of the car or stay put? Get someone to put on the spare of get towed to the nearest tire store? Laugh about it or burst into tears?

But having lived through a number of flat tires…and power outages, coffee withdrawals and bad hair days….I endured the process much better this time around (even though the no-power no-food no-coffee combination thing was not especially enjoyable nor entertaining). But I understood (kind of anyway) what to do. Call AAA from my cell phone (which I charged on my car’s battery while driving the thirty miles to violin lessons); let the kids walk the three blocks to their lessons (despite my fear of foul play along the way); phone hubby for sympathy (enduring him telling me that my plan was wrong and that I should opt for Plan B); and take a cat nap while enduring the wait (versus the whole bursting into tears routine.) And after the spare is put on, celebrate by driving to the nearest mall-with-a-Sears-auto-shop-attached for a new tire, dinner and quick shopping experience.

The process took more than five hours to complete. And it’s not that it was funner than it’s been in times past. I was still thirstier than usual, I still had leftover sweat clinging to my un-showered body, and I was still suffering from an excruciatingly bad hair day. It’s just that I’ve come further in the process. I’ve endured more emergencies. Faced bigger challenges. Fought bigger battles.

The process of motherhood is not about immediate results. Quick fixes. Flash-in-the-pan success. Motherhood requires embracing the challenges that come our way on a near-daily basis. Embracing difficulty. And pain. Suffering. And growing in the process. The act of going through the process has its own lessons. And its own rewards.

Growing up is not especially easy. (Look at any pre-pubescent boy if you need further evidence.) It involves introspection. Hard knocks. Falling flat on your face. But the process is inevitable, and you won’t be the kind of mom you want to become unless you go through it.

Embrace the process. However painful, endure the growing pains. While they keep coming years after you think they should well be over, embrace your role through them. No one ever told you it would be easy. No one ever told you it would take this long. But it’s not about easily measurable—or easily attainable— results. It’s mostly all about the process.
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08. January 2011 · Comments Off on Known as the City That Never Sleeps · Categories: Travel · Tags: , ,

Copyright (c) 2008 Deborah Klinger

Known as the city that never sleeps; you will need to have at least seven days in New York City if you want a real taste of what it has to offer the visitor. One of the busiest visitor locations in the city is the Empire State Building and even if you don’t get to the top there is still a great deal to see. For even better views, when the weather is fine, it requires a trip to the top of the 820 feet tall Rockefeller Centre. Visitors to New York will often get the best view of the Statue of Liberty from the many tour boats but New York has seen a dramatic rise in the number of tourists since 9/11 and often it is worth disembarking at Ellis Island instead.

As an alternative why not go to Staten Island via the free ferry and look at the Statue of Liberty from there; this is also a great place to spend some time enjoying the talents of local (almost professional) street entertainers. Whilst you are on a seven day visit to New York New York a trip to the area where the Twin Towers used to stand has become something that every person who visits this great city must do. It’s strangely moving location and the terrorist struck World Trade Centre site covers a huge area but it is a peculiarly unfriendly subject for the photographer. The reason many people travel all the way to New York, even for a weekend, is for the stores and you can pop along to Tiffany’s or look for bargains around Broadway and Lower East Side.

Bloomingdales is another famous store (for the wealthy) to look around but it is Maceys, who will give 11 percent discount on production of a tourist card where most people will head for. Another popular visitor destination, which is currently closed for refurbishment is the ISASM or the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum which will be opening it’s doors again late in 2008; if you’re going to be there next year it will be a worthwhile place to see. There is a great deal there with the focus on the USS Intrepid, a Second World War aircraft carrier but Concorde is also there and many other interesting vessels, including a submarine. The New York City Police Museum is worth an hour if you’re down that way; it’s free to enter but a five dollar donation is recommended to help with its upkeep; because it’s about New York’s finest (and some not so fine), it has some really excellent NYPD souvenirs.

Another museum is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum which focuses on the appalling conditions experienced by the immigrants back in 1864. If Central Park is on your list of places to see then there is another museum aptly named the City of New York Museum which has exhibitions exploring the city’s past, its present and the future. It is all housed in a beautiful building and entrance is free but a nine dollar donation is recommended. Most visitors seem to be on a flying visit so end up missing some of the most beautiful areas and that’s why seven days in New York should really be the minimum stay.

06. January 2011 · Comments Off on Maternity Clothes For Fall · Categories: Home And Family · Tags: , ,

As the weather gets cooler and your lightweight summer maternity clothes are no longer warm enough for chilly mornings and evening, you know it is time to go shopping. If this is your first pregnancy, chances are there is nothing in your closet you can wear as pre-pregnancy clothes stop fitting by the 2nd trimester, if not sooner. Instead of panicking or spending a bundle all at once at your closest maternity store, take your time and just fill in the main necessities as you need them. Here are a few suggestions for stocking up your Fall maternity wardrobe.

As the weather gets colder remember the best way to stay comfortable is to layer. Pregnant women tend to feel warmer due to a slightly higher internal temperature, added pounds, increased blood supply and general feeling of a oven heating up inside. For this reason it’s good to invest in easy to layer clothing items like fitted henleys and tanks that can be worn under sweaters and jackets. Ribbed cotton crew necks and turtle necks for colder weather are perfect for daytime wear. Maternal America makes some great basics for tees, tanks, and turtlenecks in soft stretchy ribbed cotton. 1 in the Oven also has some wonderful waffle weave cotton henleys in ¾ sleeves for both maternity and nursing.

Stretch Pants and Leggings:
As your belly grows you are more and more likely to seek comfort over style when it comes to jeans and pants. Fortunately you don’t have to sacrifice either when you invest in some comfy yoga pants and stylish leggings. There are so many leggings on the market today; you can find ankle length leggings in just about any color from all main maternity brands, cropped maternity leggings, leggings with side ruching and even lace detail on the trim. Leggings of all types and styles make the perfect compliment to a long maternity top, maternity tunic or casual dress or skirt. Yoga pants and stretch pants are also great for loungewear, activewear or even dressed up with a nice top. Dark colors such as black, charcoal and chocolate match easily with tops in your wardrobe through the fall and winter months.

Transition Wear:
The best way to stretch your dollar when shopping for maternity clothes, is to invest in items that can be worn during and after your pregnancy. Test the fabric and look for ribbed cotton or blends with lycra and spandex in the fabric which offer extra stretch and resilience. Nursing camis and tanks that are cut extra long and that are stretchy can also double as maternity tops and are great for layering in colder weather for both before and after your pregnancy. Styles with ruching at the sides and bust are particularly good at expanding where needed without looking frumpy. Also, styles that offer nursing access can be worn after you have the baby. Even maternity bottoms that fit under the belly or that have fold over bands are easy to wear after the baby.

Every woman who is expecting soon finds their bra size is the first to change, sometimes even before they are ready for maternity clothes early in the first trimester. Usually bust size will continue to increase throughout pregnancy and then when starting to nurse as well. Instead to buying maternity bra after bra, go ahead and invest in a nursing bra that can be worn after you have the baby as well. Even if the bra you are buying early in your pregnancy is too small for nursing initially, chances are you will fit into it at some point on the way down to your pre-pregnancy size as you begin to wean your baby. Also many nursing bras are made with extra stretch and adjustments to fit several cup and band sizes which will save you money for both before and after your pregnancy.

Maternity underwear also is made with extra stretch and thicker more durable fabric. Briefs that fit under the belly can be worn after the baby postpartum. Some maternity underwear can be worn over the belly or folded over and worn under the belly such as the Bravado Original Brief. Either way stretchy waistbands are key to maximizing your wear and being able to wear during and after your pregnancy.

Remember when you are shopping for maternity clothes, the size you are today will not be the size you are tomorrow. We usually shop thinking we will stay the same size or even lose a pound or two. The reality is that you will get bigger when you are pregnant, so plan ahead to expanding bust and bellies and look for styles with maximum stretch and versatility.