Thursday, January 26, 2006

What Exit Are You From?

As evidence that good things (or at least interesting things) come from the sea, including the Great State of New Jersey, the fossil of a large crocodile found in the Garden State is now on display at Drexel University. The 15 foot creature was native to New Jersey 65 million years ago, when the climate was much warmer and the land mass was under water as far west as the New Jersey Turnpike.

And no, I don't know WHICH EXIT leads to the croc's home, but it's somewhere in Gloucester County. That's right, It Came From Gloucester County.

The fossil is from the late Cretaceous period. Apparently, there was once an even larger species, one reaching up to 45 feet in length. It ate dinosaurs for a living.

I read about this over at The take-away bit of trivia in the article comes from the creature's name: Thoracosaurus neocesariensis. Quoting the article:

"The species name, neocesariensis, means New Jersey. ("Jersey" is derived from "Caesar.")

Dinosaurs and Roman emperors. Just two more things to love about New Jersey.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Here are a few tidbits from the Bride's NuHome Book. This book of recipes, household tips, advertising and coupons (every last one of which was removed from the book) was sent to my Great Grandmother in 1923, at the time of her third marriage. Just a note: don't try these at home!

"Upon going into the dining room the host should offer his arm to the oldest guest or greatest stranger UNLESS there is a Bride present, in which case she naturally takes precedence. The lady whom he escorts should be seated at his right."

"Wipe the range with brown paper after cooking; in that way it will be kept bright with little trouble."

"Small rugs will not curl at the corners if a corset steel is basted under each end."

"Do not leave anything uncovered on tables or shelves. If left in the warm kitchen it quickly spoils or sours. If you cannot have an ice-box in the summer, perhaps you can keep food cold in the well if you live in the country. Place it in a clean, tightly covered pail and lower it into the well with a stout rope. In cool weather a box fastened outside one of the kitchen windows makes a good place to keep food in. Paint it outside and in, with the opening towards the window and a curtain of oilcloth. Holes bored in the bottom let the cold air in."

"If set-tubs are in the kitchen they need to be higher for a tall woman than for a short one, and if you own your own home you should try to have them so."

"Pure chloroform will remove paint, grease and other stains from colored fabrics without injuring the color. Place clean blotting paper under the spot and pour on a few drops of cloroform. Be sure to do the work in the open air."

"Soot--Use kerosene oil."

"Grease and oils--Use French chalk."

"Pitch, tar and Wheel-grease--Rub with fat, then use soap and water, or benzine and gasoline."

"Iron--Use lemon juice and salt, salts of lemon, or oxalic acid, hydrochloric acid. After using the last two acids, rinse in water and ammonia or borax."


"BATHING--The body must always be kept absolutely clean. A sponge bath, may be taken daily. Bathing, however, is frequently overdone, especially with people of leisure. Persons should adapt themselves to their own constitutions in this matter and govern themselves accordingly."

"There is no special virtue in cold baths; often they are positively injurious. A tepid bath is better."

"A good hair brush, frequently and vigorously applied, is the greatest promoter of a beautiful head of hair. All tonics, oils, and lotions are worthless in comparison. Any one can tell at a glance whether the hair lustre is from brushing or hair oil. Necessity for the latter very seldom occurs; it holds dust, is sticky and nasty."

"WELL KEPT TEETH so much improve any face it is strange they are so often neglected...For dentifrice use nothing except what is strictly hygienic and scientifically blended and prepared."

"ART CANNOT IMPROVE THE EYE--That organ must be endured as nature gave it...The constant friction of lids and sockets in the lubricant nature provides, always contaminated with constantly increasing irritants from house and outdoor dust, makes it imperative to give the eyes frequent baths (not washing the lid edges), but not cold water plunges. The face must be immersed to the eyes in cold water, the eyes must be opened and shut many time while immersed, lids drawn by the lashes away from the balls and all accreations and foreign matter thoroly drenched out."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Heart's Ease

I found a pair of pansy blossoms peeking out of a planter box on my deck this morning, coaxed from their winter's rest by the unseasonably warm weather we've had lately. It's quite chilly today, so they may regret having shown their colors so soon; they look a bit worse for the wear.

I wish I had seen them yesterday, when surely they would have been fresh-faced in the balmy (for January) 60 degree temperatures. I was too busy cleaning to take notice of them.

Heart's Ease. Surely a sign that things are looking up!