10 Strange Mysteries From Around The World That Are Still Unsolved

All things that cannot be explained remain an intriguing conversation topic for many people around the globe. Some mysteries, however, are more interesting than the rest simply because of how weird they are.

10. China’s Dwarf Village


Villages in general are not strange. Villages in China are also not strange. There are many remote ones in this country, but one stands out from the others. Scientists and experts are extremely interested in the inhabitants of Yangsi, situated in the Sichuan Province. The reason? Not only are there only 80 residents in the village, but almost half of them are dwarfs.

Rumor has it, according to those who live in Yangsi, that a mysterious disease befell the little village more than 60 years ago. Young children between the ages of five and seven were most affected, and the disease caused them to simply stop growing. Experts now know that stunted growth is only likely to appear in 1 in 20,000 people, so what happened in Yangsi is something very much out of the ordinary. Especially considering that historic sightings of the dwarfs claim that several hundred of them were residing in the Sichuan region at one point.

As if the mystery affliction wasn’t bad enough, some of the children struck by it started suffering from a variety of disabilities. As adults, some of the afflicted gave birth to children who also only grew to around 1 meter (3 ft) in height.

The Chinese government has never allowed visitors to the village, inevitably opening up the story to a host of urban legends. It has been said that the citizens felt dark forces had invaded their homes and started believing that they were cursed due to their ancestors’ anger over improper burials. Others apparently believe a turtle to be the source of the problem. Some of the villages cooked and ate a black turtle and, soon after, the strange disease hit Yangsi.

After all this time, however, it seems that the residents are growing out of the disease. The younger generation has seemingly been spared.

9. Dorothy Eady And Omm Sety


Dorothy Eady was a toddler just like any other. She ran, played, and laughed all day, and was a treasure to her doting parents. Then, the unthinkable happened. One morning, Dorothy was running down the stairs at her home near London when she slipped and fell. So severe was the fall that the three-year-old was pronounced dead on the scene.

But then something very unexpected happened: Dorothy woke up. For another four years, her parents had their beautiful daughter back. In 1908, however, everything changed.

On a regular outing to the British Museum, Dorothy’s parents first became aware that the girl was behaving strangely. As soon as they reached the Egyptian section of the museum, Dorothy was transfixed. She couldn’t get enough of the artifacts and sat with a glass-enclosed mummy for a long time, refusing to go home with her parents. Her parents even caught a glimpse of her running around the statues and kissing their feet.

After this incident, things took a turn for the worse. Dorothy became almost depressed and would stare at photos of ancient Egypt insisting that the country was her home and she needed to return to it. A picture of the “Temple of Seti the First at Abydos” got her especially excited one day. She rushed to her father and shouted that this place was her former home.

Before she found the picture of the temple, Dorothy had dreams in which she saw the buildings and greenery of ancient Egypt. Her interest and love for Egypt skyrocketed, and she joined study groups to learn more about reincarnation and spirituality.

She finally moved to Cairo after marrying an Egyptian man and gave birth to a baby that she named Seti. She herself would now be known as Omm Sety. Omm’s marriage didn’t last. Her habit of going into a trance and scribbling random hieroglyphics at night about her spirit guide completely freaked her husband out.

Her writings eventually amounted to around 70 pages and detailed Omm’s life in ancient Egypt. It stated that she was a priestess at the Kom El Sultan temple and had a child by Pharoah Seti at the young age of 14. However, she had broken a priestess vow by losing her virginity and took her own life to prevent the Pharaoh from being punished for this crime.

The hieroglyphics also contained accounts of spiritual encounters with Seti and plans to reunite with him in the Egyptian underworld.

This fantastical story has been discarded by many as the ramblings of a crazy person, up until the day that Omm Sety helped archaeologists find theexact location of the Temple Garden. She also led them to an undiscovered tunnel at the north side of the Temple. Omm Sety died in 1981, after having lived the rest of her days at the Temple of Abydos. No rational explanation for her memories, dreams, and knowledge of Egypt has been offered, and many skeptics find themselves wondering if Dorothy Eady was in fact the reincarnation of the ancient Egypt priestess, Omm Sety.

8. Francis Leavy’s Handprint


Francis Leavy was a dedicated firefighter during the 1920s. He loved his job, and his peers loved him. He was a pleasant man, always ready with a smile and a helping hand. On April 18, 1924, Francis’s colleagues became aware of a change in his demeanor. Suddenly, he was an unsmiling, grunting guy washing a large window at the Chicago Fire Department, not looking at anyone or talking.

After a few minutes, Leavy suddenly announced that he had a strange feeling—a feeling that he might die that very day. At that very moment, the phone rang and broke the heavy atmosphere brought on by the fireman’s words. A fire was raging at a building quite a long way from the fire department, and no time was to be wasted.

In just a few minutes, Francis Leavy and his fellow firefighters were on the scene, assessing the situation and helping those trapped on the top floors. Everything seemed to be on track to rescue everyone from the building. Then, suddenly, the flames engulfed the lower part of the building, and the roof caved in. As soon as this happened, the walls came crashing down, pinning many people under the rubble—including Leavy. Leavy’s grim premonition came true. He lost his life that day trying to save others.

The very next day, trying to come to terms with the loss of Leavy, his colleagues sat at the firehouse thinking about the events of the previous day. Suddenly, they noticed something strange on one of the windows. It looked like a handprint smudged onto the glass. Eerily, it was the very same window that Francis Leavy was busy washing the day before.

The firemen cleaned the window again, but the print stubbornly refused to disappear. For many years, the handprint remained on the window in spite of chemicals used to try and remove it. The strange mystery remained unsolved, but came to an abrupt end when a newspaper boy threw a paper against the window in 1944, causing it to shatter into pieces.

7.Jeannette DePalma


In 1972, a dog brought something very strange to the back door of his owner’s home. He had sniffed out an almost completely decomposed human forearm on a cliff top in Springfield, New Jersey and dragged it back to its master who realized with a great shock what it was. The man informed the police and, after a short search, they found the remains of the body to which the arm belonged. The remains were that of Jeannette DePalma, a teenager who had been missing for six weeks.

Not only did they find her decomposed body, but there were strange objects on the ground where it lay. Rumors began to fly that the girl had been sacrificed by a local coven of witches. Others believed that Satanists murdered her for occult ritual purposes.

The strangest thing about the murder, however, was the fact that no one wanted to speak about it when an article about the incident was in its planning stages. Even after 30 years, people who lived in the area refused to comment or give their opinions on what they believe happened. Not one person who was interviewed wanted their real name used, and this even included the local police department.

Leads in the case did not come in the traditional manner. People sent in anonymous letters omitting their addresses and names. One of the letters stated that logs had been placed around Jeannette’s body and that the writer of it couldn’t reveal his name for many reasons which he couldn’t reveal either.

Another anonymous writer wrote that he or she knew about a coven of witches in the area who were planning to murder a kid over Halloween. The writer was a child at the time and remembered being terrified of going out trick-or-treating for the holiday. Yet another letter stated that the writer’s mom knew DePalma and that they were about the same age in 1972. This letter also mentioned animals being murdered and strung up in the trees after the murder took place.

In all of the letters, witches or Satanism was mentioned. One of them reiterated that DePalma was a very religious girl who wouldn’t get mixed up with satanic practices. However, the writer also mentions that Jeannette DePalma started becoming a little “wild” as she got older.

The murder of Jeannette DePalma was big news for around two weeks after her body was found, and then the absolute silence around it started and remained. Her murderer has never been found.

6. Kalachi Village


Something strange is happening to residents of the Kalachi village in Kazakhstan. They just can’t seem to keep their eyes open. Every day, several villagers just fall asleep in broad daylight and remain asleep for at least a couple of hours. Some of them have reported only waking up after a couple of days. There is no apparent reason for these “sleep incidents,” and more than 100 residents have inexplicably fallen asleep when they weren’t tired over the course of a few years.

In September 2014, several children who were attending school on the first day of the new academic year also fell asleep for no reason. Medical experts were unable to come up with a verified explanation, much less a “cure” or form of prevention. Naturally, some of those who suffer from this “condition” are terrified that they might die in their sleep.

Some of the “sleepers” have reported strange feelings of memory loss, vertigo, and extreme nausea after waking from their sleep. Other symptoms even include hallucinations. In addition to all this, doctors have found that some of the people suffering from this ailment have suffered other health scares such as brain dysfunction and even strokes.

The sleeping villagers are not good for the economy; not only are there hours of work lost, but fear is causing many people to leave the area. Radiation levels have been tested in the area but nothing abnormal has been found. Ongoing investigations have yet to turn up any clues as to why this strange affliction has befallen the little village. In 2015, scientists found high concentrations of carbon monoxide in the town. While the findings aren’t conclusive, they may provide one more clue in this mystery.

5. Jo Girardelli


In the early 1800s, Jo Girardelli was the hot new fire act on the block. Taking on a whole new angle on fire acts, Girardelli was able to swallow red-hot objects without it causing her any pain or harm. Those who saw her perform were amazed at what was happening before their eyes.

Girardelli was able to “rinse” her mouth with nitric acid without it burning holes in her gums and cheeks. To prove that she really had the acid in her mouth and not some harmless fluid, she would spit it onto iron where it would immediately start eating through the metal. Girardelli also played around with boiling oil, filling her mouth with it and then spitting it out, causing a minor fire when it landed on wood.

Jo Girardelli didn’t stop there. All of her acts had to be bigger and better, so she started using hot wax and molten lead. She heated metal objects, such as shovels, over open fires and then pressed them against her skin. She even pressed her tongue against some of them. In all of these acts, her flesh remained just as it was before—completely unburned.

She remained a hot topic all over England, and no one was ever able to figure out just how she did what she did. Not even the skeptics were able to prove any trickery on her part. There is no record of Jo’s life after she moved from England, and her amazing acts remain as mysterious as ever.

4. Le Loyon


Something creepy is taking place in the woods in western Switzerland. A man dressed in a military uniform with a gas mask over his face seems to be “haunting” the place.

For more than 10 years now, locals who live near these woods have reported seeing the man walk the same path every day. They have given him the name Le Loyon, and they are terrified of him. He doesn’t speak and, when he encounters someone, he simply stares at them, and then walks away in silence. A photographer who tried to take a picture of the mysterious man reported him to be almost 2 meters (6’6″) in height.

Children are too scared to play in these woods anymore, even though the man doesn’t seem to be threatening in any way. At one point, people saw him carrying what looked like flowers while slowly walking down a pathway in the woods. According to the authorities in charge of the area, there is nothing that can be done to get the man to leave the woods since he is not trespassing and has done nothing wrong.

At one point, his clothes were found abandoned in the woods with a note saying he was leaving because “The risk of a hunt for the Beast” was too great.

It is unknown where the man lives, why he wears a gas mask, and why he doesn’t speak. Several theories speculate that he might be mentally disturbed or have a skin disease which would cause him to not want to be seen by others. But, until someone gets him to take off the mask, or at least speak out, the mystery man will remain a mystery.

3. Hoia Baciu


Believed by many to be the most haunted forest in the world, Hoia Baciu in Transylvania is the setting for many unexplained, spooky tales. It also doesn’t help that the trees are bent and twisted in seemingly unnatural ways, giving the woods a horror movie feel.

Several visitors to the Hoia Baciu have returned from their trip terrified, claiming that burns and rashes have appeared on their bodies for no apparent reason. Some even claim to have skipped a few hours during their exploration among the creepy trees. They have no explanation for why they cannot remember what happened during the ”missing” hours.

Many people are truly convinced that ghostly apparitions hang around in the forest, and the locals absolutely refuse to set foot in it. Especially since rumors of floating heads and voices emanating from the darkness started making the rounds.

It all seems to have started back in 1968 when Alexandru Sift took a photograph inside the forest of what many continue to believe was a UFO. Another persistent story tells of a shepherd venturing into the woods with 200 sheep, never to be seen or heard from again.

Ongoing ghost hunts have turned up no clue as to what might be behind all the weird events taking place here, but paranormal experts are not giving up the ghost just yet when it comes to studying Hoia Baciu and revealing its creepy secrets to the world.

2. Cosmic Radio Bursts


Since their discovery in 2007, cosmic radio bursts or “blitzars” have been a source of fascination to scientists around the world. The nine blitzars that have been studied in the years since their discovery have all been plucked from historical data.

Then, in January 2015, scientists announced that they identified a blitzar in real time. This means that whatever event caused the radio burst to happen was happening at the time that the scientists caught it.

It is unknown what causes these radio bursts, and experts have guessed that it might occur due to collapsing neutron stars or flares. The bursts have a length of one millisecond and, during this miniscule amount of time, they create the same amount of energy that the Sun would create over the course of one million years.

Emily Petroff, a researcher in Australia, stated that these blitzars occur at a distance of more than five billion light-years away from Earth, and the real time blitzar was noticed near the Aquarius constellation. She went on to say that she and her team will continue looking out for blitzars so as to try and gather some information and, hopefully, one day get behind the mystery of their origin.

1. Bukit Timah


During World War II, Japanese soldiers stationed in Singapore glimpsed a strange version of Bigfoot there. Many reported seeing a primate-like creature covered in gray hair and standing up to 2 meters (6’6″) tall in the Bukit Timah rain forest.

Sightings peaked during the war, but there are also a few present-day sightings reported every now and then. The Bukit Timah area is now a biodiverse nature reserve that housed several creatures, including tigers, not too long ago.

Although it is still a mystery as to what the soldiers and others were actually seeing in this area, some people believe they might have confused macaques for primates. However, according to most experts, this would be unlikely as the macaques in Singapore resemble the ones in Japan and the soldiers at least would know what they were looking at. The last sightings took place in 2007 when visitors told stories of seeing an ape-creature being run over by a taxi and another scratching around in trash cans.

Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?

In December of 2011, Neil deGrasse Tyson,  champion of science, celebrator of the cosmic perspective, master of the soundbite, participated in Reddit’s Ask Me Anything series of public questions and answers.

One reader posed the following question: “Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on the planet?” Adding to history’s notable reading lists including those by Leo Tolstoy, Alan Turing, Brian Eno, David Bowie, Stewart Brand, and Carl Sagan.

 Tyson offers the following eight essentials, each followed by a short, and sometimes wry, statement about “how the book’s content influenced the behavior of people who shaped the western world”:
  1. The Bible (public library; free ebook), to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself
  2. The System of the World (public library; free ebook) by Isaac Newton, to learn that the universe is a knowable place
  3. On the Origin of Species (public library; free ebook) by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth
  4. Gulliver’s Travels (public library; free ebook) by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos
  5. The Age of Reason (public library; free ebook) by Thomas Paine, to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world
  6. The Wealth of Nations (public library; free ebook) by Adam Smith, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself
  7. The Art of War (public library; free ebook) by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art
  8. The Prince (public library; free ebook) by Machiavelli, to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it
Tyson adds:
"If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world."

(What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’sThe Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressed elsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhaps Susan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list.)

Complement with Nabokov on the six short stories every writer should read, then revisit Tyson on genius and the most humbling fact about the universe.

Christopher Hitchens : Letter to a Young Contrarian

Today would have marked the sixty-third birthday of acclaimed author and professional contrarian Christopher Hitchens, who succumbed to esophageal cancer last December.“One should try to write as if posthumously,” he famously prophetically even, were such a contention not to be blasphemous to him declared three days before he became gravely ill in 2010. Perhaps he had this dictum in mind when he penned, on a challenge from his New School students, Letters to a Young Contrarian, condensing years’ worth of his advice “to the young and the restless” into a series of letters written as if to just one of them, a form borrowed from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.

This particular excerpt distills a great deal of Hitch’s lens on life in just one short paragraph:
"Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."

These words of wisdom join other astute advice to young guns from such cultural figures as John Steinbeck, C. S. Lewis, Albert Einstein, and Jackson Pollock’s dad.

Best Atheist Quotes

Stephen Roberts: When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

Jimmy Carr: When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend and I used to think that he went everywhere with me, and that I could talk to him and that he could hear me, and that he could grant me wishes and stuff. And then I grew up, and I stopped going to church.

Buddha: Believe nothing, No matter where you read it, Or who has said it, Not even if I have said it, Unless it agrees with your own reason And your own common sense.

Michel de Montaigne: To understand via the heart is not to understand.

Jules Renard: I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t.

Anonymous: Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

Ancient Roman tombstone: Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler. But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way. There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon, No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus. All we who are dead below Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else. I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler, Lest even while dead I seem talkative to you.

John McCarthy: An atheist doesn’t have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can’t be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.

Blaise Pascal: Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions.

Anonymous: Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.

MINIMALIST HOME


I can’t claim that my home is completely minimalist, but it surely isn’t cluttered, and most people I know would call it a pretty minimalist home.

One recent visitor saw my kitchen and remarked, “I’ve never seen a kitchen that looked so clean, so clear of stuff!” Well, I do my best to keep it clean, but the key is to remove the unnecessary stuff.

For example, on the floor of my kitchen/dining room area are just a few essentials: dining table (clear of any clutter), chairs, some counter stools, a high chair, a step stool for the kids. On the counters are only the toaster, coffee maker and microwave.

Is this kind of minimalist home devoid of character and fun and life? Some might think so, but I get a strange satisfaction, a fulfillment, at looking around and seeing a home free of clutter. It’s calming, and liberating, and just nice.

Less stressful: Clutter is a form of visual distraction, and everything in our vision pulls at our attention at least a little. The less clutter, the less visual stress we have. A minimalist home is calming.

More appealing: Think about photos of homes that are cluttered, and photos of minimalist homes. The ones with almost nothing in them except some beautiful furniture, some nice artwork, and a very few pretty decorations, are the ones that appeal to most of us. You can make your home more appealing by making it more minimalist.

Easier to clean: It’s hard to clean a whole bunch of objects, or to sweep or vacuum around a bunch of furniture. The more stuff you have, the more you have to keep clean, and the more complicated it is to clean around the stuff. Think about how easy it is to clean an empty room compared to one with 50 objects in it. That’s an extreme example, of course, as I wouldn’t recommend you have an empty room, but it’s just to illustrate the difference.

Minimal furniture: A minimalist room would only contain a few essential pieces of furniture. A living room, for example, might only have a couch, another chair or love seat, a coffee table, a minimalist entertainment stand (not a huge one with a bunch of shelves), a television, and a couple of lamps. It could even contain less (couch, chairs, and coffee table, for example). A bedroom might have a simple bed (or even just a mattress), a dresser, and perhaps a night stand or book shelf.

Clear surfaces: In a minimalist home, flat surfaces are clear, except for one or two decorations (see next item). There are not a whole bunch of knick knacks, and definitely not stacks of books or papers or other items.

Accent decorations: A home completely clear of things would be a bit boring, actually. So instead of having a coffee table completely free of any objects, you could have a simple vase with a few flowers, for example. Or a clear desk might just have a family photo. An otherwise empty wall might have a tasteful piece of art (I use my dad’s artwork, as he’s a great artist).

Quality over quantity: Instead of having a lot of stuff in your home, a minimalist would choose just a few really good things he loves and uses often. A really nice table, for example, is better than 5 pieces of press-board furniture.

Examples: The photo at the top of this post is a nice example of a minimalist home (it’s not my home, but I wish it were). See more photosof that lovely home. Traditional-style Japanese homes are another great example of minimalism, as is this nice spread.

HOW TO CREATE A MINIMALIST HOME

There are actually no set steps to making your home minimalist, except to change your philosophy and shoot for the ideals in the previous section above. But here are some tips that I would offer to anyone trying to shoot for minimalism:
One room at a time. Unless you’re just moving into a place, it’s hard to simplify an entire house at once. Focus on one room, and let that be your center of calm. Use it to inspire you to simplify the next room, and the next. Then do the same outside!
Start with furniture. The biggest things in any room are the furniture, so you should always begin simplifying a room by looking at the furniture. The fewer pieces of furniture, the better (within reason, of course). Think of which furniture can be eliminated without sacrificing comfort and livability. Go for a few pieces of plain, simple furniture (example of a minimalist coffee table) with solid, subdued colors.

Only the essentials. Whether looking at your furniture or anything else in the room, ask yourself if the item is truly essential. If you can live without it, get it out. Try to strip the room down to its essentials — you can always add a few choice items beyond the essentials later.

Clear floors. Except for the furniture, your floors should be completely clear. Nothing should clutter the floor, nothing should be stacked, nothing should be stored on the floor. Once you’ve gotten your furniture down to the bare essentials, clear everything else on the floor — either donate it, trash it, or find a place for it out of sight.

Clear surfaces. Same thing with all flat surfaces. Don’t have anything on them, except one or two simple decorations (See Tip 9 below). Donate, trash or find an out-of-sight storage spot for everything else. It will make everything much, much more minimal-looking.

Clear walls. Some people hang all kinds of stuff on their walls. No can do in a minimalist home. Clear your walls except for one or two simple pieces of nice artwork (see Tip 8 below).

Store stuff out of sight. This has been mentioned in the above tips, but you should store everything you need out of sight, in drawers and cabinets. Bookshelves can be used to store books or DVDs or CDs, but shouldn’t have much else except a few simple decorations (not whole collections of things).

Declutter. If you are clearing flat surfaces and the floor, and storing stuff in cabinets and drawers, you’ll probably want to declutter your storage areas too. You can do this in a later stage if you want. See How to Declutter for more.

Simple artwork. To keep a room from being boring, you can put a simple painting, drawing or photo, framed with a subdued, solid color, on each wall if you want. Leave some walls bare if possible.

Simple decorations. As mentioned in the above tips, one or two simple decorations can serve as accents for a minimalist room. A vase of flowers or a small potted plant are two classic examples. If the rest of your room has subdued colors, your accents could use a bright color (such as red, or yellow) to draw the eye and give a plain room a splash of energy.
Plain window treatments. Bare windows, or simple, solid colored curtains, or simple, wooden blinds are good. Too much ornate stuff around the windows is clutter.
Plain patterns. Solid colors are best for floor coverings (if you have any), furniture, etc. Complex patterns, such as flowers or checkers, are visual clutter.

Subdued colors. As mentioned in Tip 9 above, you can have a splash of bright color in the room, but most of the room should be more subtle colors – white is classic minimalist, but really any solid colors that don’t stress the eyes is good (earth colors come to mind, such as blues, browns, tans, greens).

Edit and eliminate. When you’ve simplified a room, you can probably do more. Give it a couple of days, then look at everything with a fresh eye. What can be eliminated? Stored out of sight? What’s not essential? You can come back to each room every few months, and sometimes you’ll discover things you can simplify even more.

Place for everything. I’ve discussed this in other posts, but in a minimalist house, it’s important that you find a place for everything, and remember where those places are. Where does you blender go? Give it a spot, and stick with it. Aim for logical spots that are close to where the thing is used, to make things more efficient, but the key is to designate a spot.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy. Once you’ve simplified a room, take a moment to look around and enjoy it. It’s so peaceful and satisfying. This is the reward for your hard work.

AN AWKWARD THING TO BE THANKED FOR


It’s an awkward thing to be thanked for your military service. It always catches me off guard, and I contemplate the right response before coming up blank and resorting to the default: “my pleasure.” It feels like an empty exchange and sometimes it bothers me, but I shrug it off after a few moments. Sometimes, though, I get sucked into deep contemplation, wondering if that response even makes sense. Some parts were my pleasure. Other parts were not so pleasurable.

JUST BEFORE I ENLISTED

I met the chief of the munitions storage area (collectively referred to as the “bomb dump”). He was a man who can best be described as grizzled. He was spitting long streams of brown tobacco and I remember being fascinated by a scar on his right cheek that sunk part of his face. He guided me through a room full of missiles and offhandedly asked, “so, being around explosives don’t bother you?” I looked around. It didn’t really feel real so I said no. It was Madison, Wisconsin and robins were chirping outside. My parents, who were with me because I was only seventeen, exchanged looks of concern.

Bunker busters, laser guided, satellite guided, air to ground, air to air, you name it and I ended up fusing it, inspecting it, and driving it around on a trailer behind me. Slowly bobbing and weaving among fighter jets with thousands of pounds of explosives pointed at the back of my head. You could hit these things with a hammer and they wouldn’t blow up, but that didn’t always make it easier. Heat was the number one hazard and it was 120 degrees in the desert. They call it “cooking off” when one thing explodes and the others follow. Stress was compounded by the fact that I was usually the only girl around, as far as the eye could see. And you can see for miles on a flight line.

“Thank you for your service.”

“My pleasure.”

Being around explosives didn’t bother me until the jets started coming back empty after they had been loaded up full of bombs. The guys on the flight line would cheer and high-five each other. Everyone seemed thrilled but I sat in my truck and wondered what happened out there in the desert, who died and who lived and who got to decide, pondering what it must feel like to have your entire being obliterated from the planet in a single fiery moment.

I AM FIERCELY PROUD OF THE WORK I DID OVER THERE.

I know that my job often saved lives, the good guys. My friends out there. But my job killed people. A lot of people. And in an indirect way, a way that made me feel an intense loss of control. I had no say in anything, I just fused the bomb. After that, it was on its merry way. We often gathered around strike footage when it came in, huddled around dusty computers in plywood lean-tos, where little green glowing men moved about the screen like Frogger. A small box tracked them, voices crackled. Then the screen glowed brightly, and the little green men stopped moving about. Sometimes one got away, and then a stream of bright dots trailed him, like on Oregon Trail when the father goes out to shoot the buffaloes to feed the children. Then the little green man usually stopped moving for good. This was the culmination of my service. Pac Man. Little green glowing men moving about on a computer screen before they disintegrated.

“Thank you for your service.”

“My pleasure.”

Once I Googled “what happens to you in the moments before an explosion” because I wanted to better understand the implications of my actions. I found one website that said in the moments before an explosion, your breath is sucked out of you. A moment of intense pressure follows, where all your innards squish together. An implosion. Then you explode. I don’t even know if that’s true or not, they never taught us that part in training. But since I had no control over who imploded or exploded, I began volunteering my days off in the combat trauma hospital on base.

It was the largest trauma center in Iraq, where virtually everyone who got blown up came to be stabilized before being flown to Germany and then home. Volunteering in the hospital was an effort to get away from the little green glowing men and put a human face on the cost of war. If I was going to help explode people, maybe I should take some small action toward helping put people back together again. This made sense at the time. It certainly worked. I no longer think of the little green men, and instead the images from the hospital are forever seared in my mind.

“Thank you for your service.”

But not all of it was “my pleasure.”

Upon returning home, being thanked for my service became something I found awkward. My experience was not that traumatic. It was not that dangerous. It didn’t truly feel like a sacrifice. Other people certainly deserved a thank you, but not me. Not when I remembered leaning over a guy who had just lost his leg, scrubbing blood from his hands, attempting a conversation to soothe him when he was incoherent, doped up on morphine. Digging through his bag to find his Purple Heart because he became panicked when he couldn’t remember where they put it. I dug through the normal shit he packed in his bag earlier that day, back when he had two legs, like bubble gum.

“Thank you for your service.”

I didn’t deserve much thanks for anything.

Even when other service members or veterans acknowledged my service it felt contrived, something that was said in lieu of a more meaningful conversation. Even worse was when you were out with a group of friends and acquaintances, enjoying dinner or drinks, and someone announces you were in the military and spent time in Iraq. Somebody soon murmured thank you for your service. More often than not it was something they said just before they decided they didn’t have much in common with you and wandered away.

But then something happened that made me appreciate the effort that others had mustered up when they said “thank you for your service.”

I was living in Washington, DC and like everyone else, I was in a rush. I stepped on the metro. It took a moment to register but first I saw a detached, vacant expression on his face, staring ahead. Then I saw his wheelchair. Then I saw his stumps. Fresh bandaged stumps.

And then I saw his mother, sitting just behind him, watching me looking at him. She saw it all register as I put it together in that one…brief…moment. Damn it. She saw me realize he didn’t have legs. My expression didn’t change, I know it didn’t change, but I know she saw me realize it. Our eyes met. I felt like I could see her thoughts in that moment. She had seen a young woman looking at her young son, and she was wondering if a girl would ever see her son for who he was and not his stumps. She was wondering if she’d ever be a grandmother. She was wondering if her son would ever be loved by another woman other than herself.

There’s no way she could have known I was a veteran. That just a short time ago, I had been diving to the ground avoiding incoming mortars. There’s no way she could have known that memories of wiping blood from that amputee’s hands haunted me, because his face was so perfect. And that could have just as easily been her son because his face was perfect, too.

His mother and I, we both smiled that polite, tight lipped non-smile in mutual recognition. I slid into the seat behind her. I wanted to say something, I wanted to say anything. I wanted to give her encouragement. I wanted to say “I understand,” even though truthfully, I couldn’t begin to comprehend. I wanted to say “I feel your pain,” because in that moment I felt entirely full of pain. But I knew I couldn’t say something without sounding vapid and empty, swiping at some semblance of shared experience and missing entirely. Her experience was not my experience, no matter how much I wanted to empathize.

The train jerked forward, and a torrent of frustration and pity and empathy and anger rushed through me.

After Iraq, I’ve continued my work with veterans. I’ve been to Walter Reed a dozen times. I’ve met hundreds of veterans: resilient, strong, some who are struggling with both visible and invisible wounds. Their stories have deeply affected me, and it hasn’t been an easy road. I’ve found myself suffering too. And while working with veterans has always been a challenge, it has never overwhelmed me. But on that day, in the metro, I crumpled in my seat, weeping silently, filled with the frustration of wanting to say something meaningful but fumbling for the words, and ultimately choosing to remain silent.

And so I understand now, all too fully, the discomfort in attempting to awkwardly recognize another person’s great sacrifice in service to this country. When you understand their experience is not your experience. And your experience feels meaningless and insignificant in the face of their sacrifice. And you fail quite miserably in the attempt to verbalize gratitude or compassion.

But now, when I encounter someone who thanks me for my service, someone who couldn’t possibly relate, I understand that maybe they had to work up the guts to come over and say thank you. That they risked an awkward moment. That maybe they didn’t know what else to say, but they wanted me to know they felt something, and chose to say it. And I feel grateful for their words.

How to cook roasted butternut squash

In this post you are going to learn how to make roasted butternut squash. Roasted butternut squash is such a tasty side dish. If you are used to cooking potatoes consider mixing up little bit with a bright and colorful Butternut squash.


Ingredients to make roasted butter squash:
1lb of butternut squash, peeled and cut-You can purchase already pre peeled and cubed butternut squash, because it is easy and save little bit of time. If you already have one, all you need to do it just peeled it with vegetable peeler and cut it half at lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and then chop it on up.

  • Pinch ground black pepper.
  • Half tsp kosher salt to taste.
  • 3 to 4 tsp of olive oil.
  • Lemon juice.

So, lets start cooking roasted butternut squash:
You can start with two ingredients,to avoid the butternut squash becomes dry. Make sure you have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and your owen must preheated at 475F (246C).Combine your cubed butternut squash in the bowl (medium sized is better) and drizzle in olive oil. Because the butternut is always a little bit of wet,you will feel that when you are peeling and it always look glistening and you may want to use olive oil to getting nice and olive oily good. Finally putting your salt, lemon juice and pepper and mix them up. If you feel your vegetable is little dry you can drizzle them with little bit olive oil to bring life back to the vegetable, you don’t have to stuck with dry vegetables.

Now pop the mixture on your parchment line sheet and spread it evenly, because if you piled it, the butternet in the middle will gonna have harder time. You must spread it out evenly to get easy roasting. Move your rack in the owen to the center to ensure even roasting. Now you are gonna have to pop it down in the cook it 10-15 minutes, flip and continue roasting until it become tender and little bit crispy.

After you finished your roasting, you will see how gorgeous it is, it will be nice and soft on the inside and crunchy golden brown on the outside. This is the part remember that the lemon juice is optional so if you want to add it in which you will think that nice just drizzle the lemon juice. Add little bit more salt and olive to taste, so if you really like salt you might want to do it more, if you don’t just leave that out. Just remember you can add in but you cant really take any out, So do it carefully . Now give it a one last toss.

If you want the roasted butternet squash jazz it up you can toss it with flavored butter, you could eat it as side dish and put it in your pasta and so many things you can do it with your roasted buttner squash.

Now you know how to cook nutritious and and absolutely delicious roasted butternut squash.