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Welcome to the 2nd issue of "The Phoenix"! Let me start off by saying "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!" Also, I'd like to say "¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!", "Froliche Wienachten und Herzliche Grusse!!", "Happy Hanukah!" and any other season's greetings that I may have missed! I hope that you have had a good year, and I hope that you will have many good ones in the years to come! .

As you can see, there is a NEW THEME for this newsletter! AND, you saw it here first! The theme is called "Winter Nights". "Winter Nights" will be available on AIH on Christmas Day! This is my Christmas present, to all of you at AIH! Take a close look at our bird.. is that snow from a snowball splashed on his beak?! And what about on the shoulder of his wing!? Well, well, he looks like he's ready to go kick butt in a snowball fight! And the SNOW! It's piling up everywhere - why, it's even starting to cover the Ask-it-here text! Man oh man! And, is one of those stars the north star? Well, maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but it looks DOWNRIGHT COLD OUT THERE! At least our intrepid bird has his flames around him to keep him warm.. speaking of which, why aren't they melting the snow??? Hmmm...

Enough pomp and ceremony, and on with the show, the rest of the newsletter, is here, snow or no! Oh, one just one quick note: most of the pictures, are clickable... for example, if you click the picture of me reading to Ian (my best friend's son)(you have to be online) on the right side here, you'll see a larger picture of us! Clicking the theme at the top, will take you to AIH. Other pictures may or may not be clickable, but the way to tell for sure, is if your mouse pointer changes to a pointing finger (NO! NOT THAT FINGER!) then it's linked to something on the web! If you don't see pictures, but instead see the little box with a red X in it, then that means you are not online, and can't see the pictures... I did this to save time for you, when downloading the newsletter. Instead of having to download all the pictures in your e-mail server, just make sure you are online. The pictures are stored on the web, and will automatically load as long as you are online!

I hope that you will enjoy the rest of this newsletter, and as always, I welcome your comments and suggestions! Without further ado, take care, and God Bless!


A picture of me - Marc (also known as Wolf or Wvulf) - Reading Dr. Seuss to Ian, my best friend's little two year old terror - Aug 2002

Started by Kileana - added to by Wolf
Unscramble the following words - first one to submit the entire unscrambled list to me at wvulf@bellsouth.net or a-mail me at Ask-it-here, wins $500 A-bucks! Runners up will get $250 and $100 A-bucks!



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A Christmas Poem - By Wolf

Yes, I wrote the following poem. I was inspired while going around the world, wishing the world a Merry Christmas! Some obvious bits were, um, borrowed, particularly the beginning and end, but the rest of it, is my own thought! So in the spirit of Christmas - here it is:

On Dasher, on Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet, On Cupid, On Donner and Blitzen!
On Rudolph - let your nose shine bright!
Guide my sleigh, through this foggy night!
Hurry my steeds, hurry quick I say!
I have presents to give, before the break of day!
All the girls and all the boys,
Are eager and yearning, for all of these toys!
This one wants a truck,
And this one a doll!
This one wants nothing,
But love for all!
So many children,
With dreams in their heads!
They all better be,
Tucked away in their beds!
So lets hurry on now,
On through the night!
Don't slow down!
Or we'll be caught by dawn's light!
A happy Christmas to all!

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How to make Home Made Candy Cane Ice Cream:

by: Wooster

Home Made Candy Cane Ice Cream

In order to make this, you will need to have one of those Ice Cream Machines that you can buy from most Wal-mart stores. If you have never made home made Ice Cream and would like to learn, it's not that hard. However, I suggest that you learn how to make basic vanilla first. Later, when you have figured out how to do everything, and can make a decent batch of ice cream, then try some of the more difficult varieties.

Here is how to make Candy Cane Ice Cream:

1 quart light cream
1 & 1/2 cups sugar
2 TBS vanilla extract
1 pint heavy cream
1 box of candy canes, crushed
1/2 TSP pure peppermint extract - optional - use according to taste

Heat light cream and sugar over moderate heat stirring, until sugar dissolves. Cool. Add in vanilla extract. Chill 1-2 hours. Add mixture to ice cream freezer and make according to manufacture directions. About 5 minutes from the time the ice cream is done, add in the crushed candy canes. For more peppermint flavor, add in 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract also during the last 5 minutes from freezing. You can tell your Ice Cream is almost ready when the motor starts to strain. Once the motor stops turning the barrel, then it's too late!

Note: If you want to make a quick batch of candy cane ice cream, you can do it without all the mess of making homemade peppermint ice cream, but it's nowhere NEAR AS TASTY as the homemade! Here's how to make it using plain old vanilla ice cream you buy from the store:

Quick Candy Cane Ice Cream

1 quart vanilla ice cream
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
14 candy canes

Put candy canes in a resealable bag and crush them into quarter inch pieces or smaller with the smooth side of a meat tenderizer. Soften vanilla ice cream in the microwave for 10 to 12 seconds in a medium sized bowl. Add candy cane pieces and peppermint extract and mix until combined. Transfer into a plastic container, cover, and freeze until firm.

How to make Christmas Candy Canes:

by: Wolf

Christmas Candy Cane Recipe

3 c Sugar
1 ts Peppermint flavoring
1/2 c Water
3/4 c Lt. corn syrup
3/4 ts Red (or blue, green or other color as you wish) vegetable coloring
1/4 ts Cream of tartar

Combine and heat the sugar, water, syrup, and cream of tartar until the sugar is dissolved into a very fine mix. Divide the mix into two saucepans and boil, but don't stir, until each lot is 280F (Use a candy thermometer!). Add 1/2 ts peppermint to each lot. Add the coloring to one of the saucepans but not to the other! Allow the mix to cool just enough so that it is semi-solid, and then place it on an enamel or marble table to cool - oil the table first. Next, like taffy you stretch and pull and form into ropes of red (or other colors) and white, and then twist them around again and again. Next, form them into your candy cane. Allow the candy canes to harden and cool on an oiled surface (so they don't stick to it)! If you would like to vary the colors, you can make variations of this by splitting the mix into more saucepans, and then adding a different color to each saucepan. How about a red, white, and green (or blue for the patriotic!) candy cane? If you'd like cinnamon flavoring, just add cinnamon flavoring instead of peppermint. Or add peppermint to one saucepan and cinnamon to the other! YUMMY!

How to make Snow Cream:

by: Wooster & Wolf

"Snow Cream" Recipe

This is a favorite from Wooster's childhood--back when it only snowed every couple of years in Atlanta. Her mom would treat her to "Snow Cream." Now, some people think this is unsanitary but if you're adventuresome, give it a try! It's a winter treat that doesn't happen often and tastes better than ice cream!

1-3 Cups of Snow (make sure it's clean!)
1/2 Cup Whipping Cream or other cream of choice
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla flavoring

In a separate bowl, mix cream, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add snow to desired consistency. Eat (slowly--it's cold) and enjoy! All ingredients can be adjusted to suit your particular preferences. You might want to try some other flavorings: cinnamon, butterscotch, almond, or eggnog mix. For the more daring, add rum.

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The Story of the Candy Cane:

by: Unknown

Did you know, that the Candy Cane originally started out as a symbol of religion? It's true! Here's the story behind what we now frequently enjoy every Christmas:

A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he created the Christmas candy cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White, which symbolizes the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus. The hardness of the candy symbolizes the solid rock - the foundation of the church and firmness of God's promises. The candy maker made the candy in the form of the letter "J" to represent the name of Jesus. It also represents the staff with which the Good Shepherd reaches down to the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray. Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. The candy maker used three small stripes to represent the scourging Jesus received by which we were healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross. Sometimes green was used, to symbolize the gift of Jesus. Since that time, however, the candy has become known as the candy cane. The story of its creation has been lost to tradition and mass production, and it is now available in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Many things that we do, are steeped deep in our past, and based more often than not, on religion. Christmas and the holidays are just one of those traditions.

I hope that you have learned something... I certainly have! W

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By: Sruane - Sruane's Web Page

I only went skiing once. I never had any lessons and the people I went with told me it was just like surfing. (I used to surf when I lived in Hawaii).

Anyway, it's not like surfing. To turn a surfboard, put your weight in the inside of the turn. The results were disappointing when I tried that on skis. To slow a surfboard down, lean back. Leaning back on skis will slow you down - a lot. About the only thing that is the same is lean forward to go faster.

They took me to the top of one of the steepest hills in Canada. Because no one ever showed me how to get off a ski lift, the people behind me on the lift had to wait a while I gathered up my skis and poles after falling off the top. There are no lifts in surfing.

From the top of the hill, I could just make out the clubhouse at the bottom as I pointed the tips of the skis downhill. Right away I was going too fast, so I tried the only thing I knew to slow down - leaning back. That slowed me down, all right!

After I got back up, I tried again. Again, I started going too fast, so I tried a turn, surfboard style... This maneuver almost braided my legs.

Because I had only gone about 50 feet since the top of the hill, it was still nearly a mile to the clubhouse as I pointed my skis downhill for the third attempt. I tried the only thing that worked: leaning forward. I couldn't turn or slow down, but I could go straight down the hill. This was more like surfing! My hair was plastered back and tears were streaming out of my eyes as my body plowed through the air during my reentry toward the clubhouse.

Just like on a surfboard, I kept my knees bent at I skimmed over the tops of the little bumps I encountered on the way down. Someone told me later that these little bumps were called "moguls", or something like that. I kept going faster and faster and as my skin warmed from the friction of the air rushing over it. I also noticed that the clubhouse was getting bigger, FAST! At first, I could just make out the picture window in the bar on the uphill side on the clubhouse. Within seconds, the window had gotten much bigger, and I could see people through the window.

Seconds later, when I could see that the people were looking at me, and some of them were scrambling to get out of the way, I realized that I would have to do something, or I would be in the paper. In surfing, when you see that you are about to be pureed by a wave, the only way out is to dive sideways into the wave and pop out the back after the wave passes over you. I figured it was worth a try, so I dove to the right!

I don't know if the mountain passed over me or not, but when the world finally stopped and I sat up, I was sitting by the bike rack on the uphill side of the clubhouse (no, I don't know why they had a bike rack), with my skis still on.

I think I'll stick to surfing.


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"Write your Own Life"

This appeared in "A 6th Bowl of Chicken Soup for the Soul."

by Bermbits

Suppose someone gave you a pen--a sealed, solid-colored pen.

You couldn't see how much ink it had. It might run dry after the first few tentative words or last just long enough to create a masterpiece (or several) that would last forever and make a difference in the scheme of things. You don't know before you begin.

Under the rules of the game, you really never know. You have to take a chance!

Actually, no rule of the game states you MUST do anything. Instead of picking up and using the pen, you could leave it on a shelf or in a drawer where it will dry up, unused.

But if you do decide to use it, what would you do with it? How would you play the game?

Would you plan and plan before you ever wrote a word? Would your plans be so extensive that you never even got to the writing?

Or would you take the pen in hand, plunge right in and just do it, struggling to keep up with the twists and turns of the torrents of words that take you where they take you?

Would you write cautiously and carefully, as if the pen might run dry the next moment, or would you pretend or believe (or pretend to believe) that the pen will write forever and proceed accordingly?

And of what would you write? Of love? Hate? Fun? Misery? Life? Death? Nothing? Everything?

Would you write to please just yourself? Or others? Or yourself by writing for others?

Would your strokes be tremblingly timid or brilliantly bold? Fancy with a flourish or plain?

Would you even write? Once you have the pen, no rule says you HAVE to write. Would you sketch? Scribble? Doodle or draw?

Would you stay in or on the lines, or see no lines at all, even if they were there? Or are they?

There's a lot to think about here, isn't there?

Now, suppose someone gave you a life . . . .

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Photo of the Month:

Jamaican Sunset - by Lastone

I think, this is all somewhere we'd love to be! I know I'd like to be there!

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How to Subscribe/Unsubscribe/Change your subscription:

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your subscription, to the HTML or Plain Text version of "The Phoenix", send an e-mail to me at: wvulf@bellsouth.net.

Please state whether you want the HTML or the Plain Text version!

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As always, this is a continuing work of improvement. This month, as you noticed, I have been playing with frames. I think the frame idea is a good one, as it lets you jump around in the newsletter based on your interest, and you don't have to click the back button, or click the link to get back to the top of the newsletter, just so you can see other articles. Additionally, I have added some links that will take you to the previous issue(s), as well as to a couple of AIH links, and my own web page.

This months photo of the month choice was difficult. I had two very good submissions, and between the New York Twin Towers Memorial lights and a Jamaican sunset, I had a hard time trying to decide which was better. Both were excellent pictures. I think what finally did it, is I needed somewhere warm for our bird to hang out at in this newsletter! Anyway, here's the runner up pic: New York City/Twin Towers Lights

If you would like to submit articles, artwork, photos, graphics, recipes, or other original work for consideration and publication, or if you have comments, suggestions, gripes, or complaints, please send them to me at wvulf@bellsouth.net.

"The Phoenix" is a work in progress... Like AIH, it's going to take some time for it to grow! Please be patient, if it doesn't meet your expectations!

Thank you, and God Bless!


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