SO COOL - this wispy, white cotton candy like formation is actually ice!

Photos of the hair ice, also known as “ice flowers,” were captured by a park ranger at Musgrove Mill, the site of a Revolutionary War battle in August of 1780.


A wispy, white substance was recently spotted at a historic site in South Carolina, leading some to believe the objects were pieces of trash. But this cotton candy-looking material was actually an unusual frost formation known as “hair ice,” the South Carolina State Parks announced Thursday.

“This frost occurrence happens during humid winter nights when the temperature drops just below the freezing point. The textures and forms are a result of the fungus Exidiopsis effusa,” the South Carolina State Parks explained on Facebook.

The fungus responsible for these odd shapes was only recently determined; a study released in 2015 by the European Geosciences Union announced the fungus Exidiopsis effusa was the “missing ingredient” that gives hair ice its “peculiar shape,” the German and Swiss scientists who made the discovery wrote.

The scientists concluded these silky ice filaments are a result “ice segregation,” and noted “the same amount of ice is produced on wood with or without fungal activity, but without this activity, the ice forms a crust-like structure,” Christian Mätzler, a study co-author, said in a statement at the time.

Mätzler added the fungus helps the ice to “form thin hairs,” which have a diameter of roughly 0.01 mm, or 0.0004 inches, he said. The substance is able to keep its shape “over many hours” with close to freezing temperatures.

Washington DC court employees are so stupid they refused to believe New Mexico was a state.

A New Mexico resident didn’t just have to prove his love before getting married – he had to prove New Mexico is actually a state.

When Gavin Clarkson and his future bride applied for a marriage license in Washington, D.C., earlier this month, he was told he needed to provide an international passport to be approved.

“You know you are from flyover country when you are applying for a marriage license, give them your New Mexico driver’s license, and they come back and say ‘my supervisor says we cannot accept international driver’s licenses. Do you have a New Mexico passport?’” Clarkson said in a Nov. 20 Facebook post.

Clarkson, a former deputy assistant secretary in the Interior Department, told the Las Cruces Sun-News the clerk checked with a supervisor several times before the office was able to confirm New Mexico has, in fact, been a state for 106 years.

A spokesperson for the District of Columbia Courts said a clerk “made a mistake regarding New Mexico’s 106-year history as a state.”

“We very much regret the error and the slight delay it caused a New Mexico resident in applying for a D.C. marriage license,” Leah Gurowitz, director of media and public relations for D.C. Courts, told the Sun-News.

Source:  Link


A Mom leaves her placenta in the woods of a park and... everyone freaks out

Many women go to a hospital to have a child, pass the placenta after, and never care how the hospital disposes of it.  But there are many other women who are in awe of, or respectful of or have a spiritual or cultural bond to what kept their baby alive and nourished him or her for all those months inside them.

Some women choose to keep the placenta from their child's birth.  Depending on their beliefs, or culture, they sometimes eat the placenta, dry it out and later consume it as a powder, wear it in a vial around their neck, or other various forms of ingesting it back to their body.  Some people may think it gross, others think it spiritual.  Many more women choose to save the placenta and plant it in the ground.  Many times they plant a tree or bush on the spot to honor the birth of their child.

However, when you go against mainstream anything, especially in our world today, you end up causing a panic.

This young Canadian mother caused a widespread panic when she decided to leave the placenta that nourished her daughter, in a park and it was found.  What resulted from a simple, spiritual and well meaning gesture was chaos, panic, and a police investigation.

See the video interview with the mother here: https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1552296

Seeing a 'found' placenta on the news, her mother called her the next morning to let her know one was found and it was probably hers.  She had to call the police to let them know there was no 'mother who gave birth in a public park' and no woman or child was missing or in harms way.  As a matter of fact, the infant was now a one year old child as the placenta had been kept in the deep freezer for a year while the young Mom decided what she wanted to do with it after her daughter had been born.

Still not an easy outcome for the young woman.  She had to have police officers visit her home to 'look around', they had to see her daughter, spoke to her Mother, took DNA to test it against the placenta in question (seriously... how many other people were laying claim to this year old placenta?).  And even during the video interview I posted above, she still had not gotten the placenta returned to her as it was being held at the local coroner's office for testing before it could be released.


Ok, so I checked on a whim and yes... there are actually placenta themed or based products available on Amazon.  This was a path I didn't expect to go down... but you can even get a cookbook with Placenta featured recipes.  Alrighty then!


Remember the McDonalds Christmas Ornaments? Cinderella, Oliver & Company, Little Mermaid and Rescuer's Down Under

It's that time of year.

Last weekend we dragged out the Christmas boxes from storage and got busy putting up the tree(s) and other decor.  I never know what I'll 'feel like' using for decorations from year to year so we drag it all out, I go through and pick and choose, and then we drag it back in until the week after Christmas when we put it all away again.

This week as I went through the boxes, I did something I have done for about 20 years now.  I opened one of the bags of old ornaments, looked through them, smiled at a few of the memories attached to them, and put them away again as it's not the style ornament(s) or decor we've used since... well, it seems like forever.

But once upon time....

My husband and I married as teenagers just out of high school.  Difficult enough I suppose, but then we moved 2000 miles away from all our friends and family so he could attend school in Los Angeles.  And we were poor.  As poor as church mice (so the saying goes.)

Our first Christmas, we put up a small artificial tree my Mom had tossed our way before we moved.  It was an old tree her workplace had had in storage for about fifteen years, and they were going to throw it out. 

The only ornaments we had were a couple little felt mice.  These were given out by McDonald's (I don't recall if it was with a Happy Meal or if you get one with any 'sandwich' purchase; which they often did back then.  We didn't buy Happy Meals at the time so I suspect it was a 'with any large sandwich' type promotion) the winter before.  I knew we would be needing decorations after we were married, so I kept them and brought them with us when we married and moved to Los Angeles the following summer.

For the next two years, my mother and my Uncle both sent us books of McDonalds gift certificates because they knew we were too poor to afford to go to McDonalds to eat. My husband was attending school right around the corner from a McDonald's but we couldn't afford for him to eat lunch so he usually tried to bring something from home if we had anything on hand.  But as Christmas time approached we were ever so happy to receive envelopes that were a thicker than just a normal letter, we knew those would hold the oh-so-wonderful little coupon books of $5 worth of McDonald's gift certificates!

(For those of you in your 20's who have no idea of what I'm talking about: before gift cards with magnetic strips, and obviously before the internet 'e-gift cards', you gave 'gift certificates'.  A printed piece of paper that entitled the bearer to whatever amount or item was printed on it.  For McDonald's, it was a $5 book of $1 coupons that looked like little checks.  You ripped it out and used it towards your bill.)

Thanks in part to being able to buy a little bit of McDonald's food as well as my Mom and Uncle knowing we didn't have money for ornaments either, they often threw in a couple of the free toys they had laying around after buying Happy Meals for various family members. 

With our little mice (Gus and Jaq) along with a couple more that my Uncle and Mom sent us, we had our first Christmas tree.  I couldn't afford to buy any ornaments at all to add to it, so for our first Christmas together, I used items I had on hand and cross-stitched a "First Christmas" ornament, made with leftover felt from a craft I did for my early elementary education classes, and stuffed with paper towels from the kitchen.  We still have those ornaments as well.

For the next few years we had what we called a "McDonalds Tree"  as the only ornaments we owned were the free ornaments from McDonalds.  We were not actually TRYING to collect ornaments, because we didn't care about collecting them and certainly didn't have the money to do so.  But with the ornaments my Mom sent and the one or two we picked up when we used our precious McDonalds gift certificates, we had a smattering of ornaments and boy did they come in handy!

I believe we had our "McDonalds" ornament tree for about 4 years before I was finally able to buy some other ornaments and balls on clearance after the holidays to add to our poor little tree.  For about three or four more years we had a mixture of all kinds of ornaments as we had children then so we had little hand made crafty ornaments as well.

However!  There were some ornaments I didn't like and we never actually used.  Or even took out of the boxes they came in.  I really, really did not like Bianca from Rescuer's Down Under.  I think all 3 of her ornaments are still in the plastic they came in.  Same with her counterpart Bernard.

Although I never cared for the movie or characters from Oliver and Company, we did use those ornaments because they were "puppies" and "kitties" which our babies and toddlers loved.

The mice, Jaq and Gus from Cinderella?  Loved.  They graced our trees for many years.  But admittedly, you can have too many Jaq and Gus's on your tree.  So only a couple of them were really used.  A couple more just mostly lived in their boxes.

And for the past oh, 20+ years... they've all lived in their boxes and bags.
But I take them out and visit them every couple years as I dig through the Christmas decor.  I'm not sure they are ever going to grace our Christmas tree ever again though.


I'm not selling mine (because I'm too lazy to package them and have to go to the post office and mail them) but you might also be interested in these items available through Amazon, related to this post:

Disney's "The Little Mermaid" Sebastian Plush Ornament
Disney Little Mermaid Plush Flounder Christmas Ornament from McDonalds 1989
McDonald's Rescuers Down Under Miss Bianca Christmas Ornament
Walt Disney Oliver and Company McDonalds Vintage Dodger Plush Christmas Ornament

Disney 1987 McDonald's Cinderella Holiday Happy Meal Toy - Plush Gus The Mouse Christmas Ornament


That one teacher you remember... not because she was so wonderful, but because you disliked her immensely

This might be a two part post because although it starts in the same 'stem', it branches out to two totally different rambles going on in my brain.  The first (and what the post was supposed to be about) is that fact that religious sisters rarely still wear their habits; and the second sprout off my original topic is a teacher that I didn't like at all when I was a kid and surprisingly, I still don't like her even though I've not seen her in decades.

This morning was sipping my first cup of coffee and checking emails when I read the daily bible verses I am signed up for.  I wanted to continue reading more of the particular verse for today so I went online to continue reading.  This led to another click, and another click and pretty soon I was thinking about an old teacher I had in elementary school.

I only remembered her first name, but because she was a religious sister and I recalled the order she was in, I found her online.  When I read her last name, that too came back to me instantly.  Yep, that was her.

Her photo would not have been enough for me to have recognized her all these decades later, but after I knew it was her, I could remember the cheeks and nose easily.  The biggest change is that her religious order doesn't wear habits any longer and in my memories she is wearing black and white modest clothing (they stopped wearing habits by the mid 70's but still wore black and white clothes) along with their coif (although it didn't cover their hair any longer, it was sat on top their head and held their black veil.

I remember this teacher not because she had such a positive, profound effect on me and that I was thankful for her teaching, wisdom and loving kindness all these years later, but because I didn't like her.

Actually, I suppose I would be hard pressed to find anyone who liked her.  Even my own mother will shake her head and purse her lips to this day when you bring up this particular teacher from my childhood. I'm not sure any of the kids in our elementary school ever called her by her religious name.  We all knew her as "Sea Hag".   (The Sea Hag is a tall, masculine looking witch featured in comics/cartoons as a nemesis to the character Popeye.)  To this day, as middle aged adults, if I were to say "Remember Sea Hag?" to anyone from that 3rd grade classroom, they immediately response "YES!"  even the guy who moved away in 4th grade to another state remembers her.

She really did wield a ruler to rap knuckles but my memories are her using the rubber end of a pencil to jab my forehead when I just couldn't 'get' (comprehend) the math she was teaching me.  She used to ask if the "sun was coming out from behind the clouds, yet?" (Meaning are you understanding it YET?)  I rather liked math just fine up until she was my teacher that year.

Although she didn't seem to like any kids at all, I remember her being particularly hard and out of patience with a boy who I suspect now, had Dyslexia.

This particular teacher/sister just wasn't a kind person.

Well, back to my coffee talk...

So I looked her up.  The first thing I notice is she, like most all from that religious order, no longer wear black and white clothing.  She is wearing a bright blue polo shirt and interestingly to me anyway, is the fact she not only isn't wearing any clothing to show she is a sister, but she isn't even wearing a cross necklace.  Nothing. No outward sign of her being a woman who dedicated her life to God.  But that starts down that 'other' post I mentioned at the start of today's coffee talking.

Other interesting thing I noticed, that she not only looks like any other gray haired woman shopping at my local grocery store or walking down the street in jeans, everyday polo and tennis shoes, but that she's shortened her name.  She no longer goes by "Sister Barbara" but instead is known simply as "Barb".  This isn't just her, but all the sisters of the religious order (well, there are a few older sisters who sister use "Sister Anne" and even still wear black and white, or a coif and veil or a cross necklace... but they are few and far between).  "Barb" goes by barb and next to her bio I recognized the sister who was the principal of our school at the time.  She is just known as Janice now.  Not Sister Janice but just... Janice.

Like any other woman on the street or in the pews.  Just Mary, Sue, Jane, or Barb.

As I looked at the photo and bio of my old teacher...  Sister Barbara, now known just as Barb in a blue shirt, I realized I still don't like her.

As a matter of fact, reading where she went on to teach (she is mostly teaching overseas now) the only thing that went through my mind was that I felt bad for the kids in Bolivia who had to put up with her now.

She was angry, mean and short tempered. I recall her laughing and smiling sometimes but only when she was speaking to other adults or faking the smile for parents.  She didn't seem to enjoy teaching and she sure didn't seem to like kids.  Not just me, but any kid (hence all the children of our elementary school knowing her only as Sea Hag, not Sister Barbara.)  None of the kids liked her, almost none of our parents liked her.  I even wonder if some of her fellow teachers liked her because I absolutely recall one of the teachers (not a religious sister, just a regular teacher) using Sea Hag instead of her name when talking to another teacher.  Seriously, the whole school called her that and knew her as that.  Even our parents, when talking among each other used Sea Hag instead of her name. When you know someone by that name it's hard to switch in mid-sentence to remember to use their real name. 

Looking at her photo all these years later I realized that I didn't like her then... and I still don't particularly care for her now.


(I think I've already chatted over coffee in the past about a Sister I did like.  Loved actually.  Ironically, she was the teacher that left our school and Sea Hag replaced.  Not a good replacement.  The Sister that was sent elsewhere to teach was kind, patient and always had a smile and a hug for the children.  She did reprimand children that needed it but never used pencils to jab their heads nor rulers to rap knuckles.  Besides, children didn't want to misbehave for her; we wall loved her.  I looked her up a couple years ago.  She no longer wears a habit, nor black and white clothing, nor the coif and veil.  I was sad to see that but looking at her photo, it was the same warm, wonderful smile of a warm, wonderful person.)

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California is OK with malathion spraying but don't you dare try to buy and have delivered a pair of boots! Cannot deliver to California due to steep penalties of Prop 65

Like most Americans, I'm in the middle of Christmas shopping.  One of the items my son mentioned needing was a new pair of work boots.  As I'm looking around online at various sites, one thing started to jump out at me as I became aware of it on a number of boot listings I was finding on name-brand sites.

They won't ship to California.

Odd, right?

Why California?

So after I saw it on another boot listing I did a quick internet check and found this;

Many .com sites and boot makers aren't shipping to California because of their Prop 65 law and the steep penalties involved.

The Justin boot brand posted this explanation on their website;

Last Updated: August 30, 2018

You may have seen the following warning label on our products:

⚠ WARNING: Cancer and Reproductive Harm - www.P65Warnings.ca.gov

We appreciate your concerns about the California Proposition 65 warning placed on our footwear. The label does not mean that our products will necessarily cause cancer or reproductive harm. While we believe our products are not harmful when used as designed (that means wear your boots, don't eat or lick them!), we provide the warning as a result of the California law.
They continue....

What is Prop 65?

The state of California has enacted the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 generally referred to as "Proposition 65". Proposition 65 is a far reaching law and applies to any company that operates in California, sells products in California, or manufactures products that may be sold in or brought into California.

Proposition 65 requires warning labels on any product that contains or may contain any of the 700-plus elements that California Air Resources Board considers harmful. Many of the elements listed under Proposition 65 have been routinely used in everyday consumer items for years without documented harm.

The penalties for not complying with Proposition 65 are steep. As a result of the steep penalties and because there is no penalty for providing an unnecessary warning, Justin Brands and many other manufacturers have elected to provide the Proposition 65 notice out of an abundance of caution in order to avoid the potential for liability.

For more information about Proposition 65 visit http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/getNSRLs.html

As I paid attention to this a little more today and continued shopping for some other items I found it listed on items such as body lotion and skincare product sites, perfumes, water filters, air filters, lamps (due to an energy consumption law), some home decor, hiking boots, 3D printer filaments and more... oh so much more.

What I found funny-not-funny about this is that I used to LIVE in Southern California.  They won't allow you to buy a pair of work boots online and have them shipped to you without penalties to the manufacturer, but I used to stand in the doorway of our home, not far from orange groves, and watch the planes and helicopters spraying malathion on the fields.  As the cancer-causing pesticide drifted in the air, I could smell it so I knew I was breathing it.  

California is OK with malathion spraying but don't you dare try to buy and have delivered a pair of boots or certain body lotions from the Body Shop!


If you enjoy visiting Just the Coffee Talking, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. -Coffee at Amazon by Coffee Talking