Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December By The Numbers

Her goes, the monthly "Numbers" Post.

44 - Number of blog postings (yes, an all time high for SJ).

0 - Number of days missed for posting a blog also the number of times I rode the motorcycle.

1 - The number of trips to Florida I took this month.

2 - The number of trips to Humarock I took, also the number of Snow Days.

474 - Number to cell phone minutes used.

608 - Number of blog page loads.

36 - Number of post comments.

Enjoy ~SJ

I Did It!

I survived NaBloPoMo! Sorry to my regular readers for some of the less exciting posts.

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Feet Mosaic

Now you can make a digital mosaic of any picture that you can upload to this website. Very cool way to waste more time on the internet.
Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, December 29, 2008

Seven Part II

A few days I started a post on Seven Thing You Might Not Know About Me. I ran out of time in the day and had only come up with 5 things, but due to the NaBloPoMo thing I had to post the partial post. Here are the remaining two things you might not know about me (I know my regular readers have been sitting on the edge of their seat for these).

6) I knit. I have been a knitter for a few years now, I haven't ever made anything bigger than a hat. I'm not a really well accomplished knitter, but I can get by. I would have to say that it is one of my favorite hobbies when I have free time, right up there with reading.

7) I pick up rocks or shells almost everywhere I go. The Music Man gave me a beautiful new vase for Christmas to display some of my finds in. Pick up rocks, take pictures of feet, that's SJ. When you can do both all in one, then it is a really good day.

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, December 28, 2008

College Level

blog readability test

Movie Reviews




If you click on the image above it will bring you to a fun little website where you can check the reading level of your blog. Not sure how reliable this is, but fun none the less.

Enjoy ~SJ

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Seven

Thanks "Other SJ" for the blog topic idea for today (still running dry on my own material, only a few more days!) The Other SJ posted Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me, and then tagged seven people. Well, she didn't officially tag people, she just said if you have less than 7 letters in your name you were tagged. Well I'm it.

1) I don't really like winter coats. Yea, they have their purpose when it is really cold out and you are going to be outside doing nothing for extended periods of time. Most of the winter I wear down vests. Might not be super fashionable, but it works for me.

2) I really don't like oranges, or orange juice. Never really have, never really will. I will eat clementines and tangerines, I enjoy those. But their big brother, the orange, this SJ just isn't a fan.

3) I have this dream of wearing only socks that I knit myself. I have a thing for socks, I like to wear neat socks. People often comment on my nice socks, and I think it would be fun to say back "Why thank you, I knit them myself".

4) I never thought I would be a math teacher and like it. When I first was hired for the job that I have now I taught science and math. I only took the job because I really needed one and I was getting short on days before school started. A few months into it and I was hooked on teaching math. Now I no longer teach any science.

5) I only speak one language. I tried really hard at Spanish in high school and college, but when it comes to languages my brain is like teflon.

Numbers 6 and 7 to come tomorrow.

Enjoy ~SJ

Friday, December 26, 2008

Five More!


Only five more National Blog A Day posts!

(Sorry a little thin on ideas today)

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

The day has been filled with friends, family and food.

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Official Nice Ranking!

This official word just in!

The Official "Naughty or Nice" Ranking
for Sj: Nice (B+)


Dated this Wednesday, December 24, 2008
At The North Pole

Merry Christmas Sj!

Way to go Sj! Your halo may be a little bit crooked but you're definitely on Santa's "Nice List"! Mrs. Claus and the elves sure do look forward to hearing how you're doing!

Keep up the great work, Sj!Great work Sj!

Merry Christmas!

Signed, Santa Claus

Important Notice: A certified copy of this "Naughty or Nice" ranking has been placed in a special high-security vault in the offices of Santa's accounting firm of "Elf, Elf & Galoshes" and another has been sent directly to Santa's sleigh. Merry Christmas!


If you would like to find out where you stand on the official "Naughty or Nice" ranking simply click here.


Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snowman and Math

Sorry, another teaching post.

I don't know who thought it would be a good idea for us to have school this Monday and Tuesday. Mother Nature had other plans for us on Monday, but had nothing up her sleeve for Tuesday. So this morning I got up like I do every other day for work dreading this potentially crazy day. I knew the students would be too excited for Christmas and vacation to get any work done. Planning for today was going to take some real teaching magic. I some how came up with these crazy directions that required students to cut out three circles with varying diameters. Yup, you guessed it, this math teacher came up with a math lesson having students create a snowman while incorporating a lesson on circles. Amazingly this lesson was a hit and my day went as smooth as anyone could hope for.

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Days


For all of you non-teachers out there you must think that teachers have it pretty good. Yes, we get part of June and all of July and August off. Yes we get time off for all of the major holidays, and week long vacations in February and April. And I'm sure the part that you are the most envious about is the fact that when the weather is too bad we just don't have to go to work. Well, yea, you're right, it isn't too bad of a gig (there is a lot more to it than just a schedule, but I still love it!)

I would like to know, in what other occupation are you supposed to call up your colleagues before 5:00 a.m. and let them know that you don't have to go to work? Yes folks, the phone call for no school came in at 4:11 a.m. That was the hour that I was woken up today, spoke to a colleague, and the if I were not the last person on the list I would call someone else. Usually when you call someone at 4:11 a.m. it is not good news, but not for us teachers. When we hear the phone ring at that hour we know that it is good news.

Enjoy ~SJ

In The Spirit Of Christmas, Kind Of

Today's Close To Home comic reminded me of the last time My Mother, Grandmother and I went shopping on Black Friday.


We all decided that we wanted to go and check out the amazing deals at the Christmas Tree Shop. I dropped of My Mother and Grandmother at the front door and went in search of a parking space. I knew from looking at the parking lot that find a spot was going to take some skill and maybe a blessing from the Parking Space God. After a few laps around the lot I decided to cut to the chase and stock someone coming out of the store. I drove to the front of the store and waited from someone to come up, and then I just followed her to her car. I was in luck, the first lady that I followed had a prime spot right near the front! She walked with her overflowing cart and I crept slowly behind her. She got to her SUV (also overflowing with bags) and proceeded to put in her bags, I waited. Once she got all of the bags into the car I thought I was all set ready to get the car parked and on with my shopping. But no, this SUV driving overflowing bags lady had another thing planned. She began to WRAP (in the beautiful new gift bags she just got in the Christmas Tree Shop) her presents! Yes folks, you read that right, here she is in a parking lot brimming with people looking for spaces, and she takes her time and wraps presents! Well, to say the least I was a little ticked off. I was tempted to roll down the window and ask her if she wanted help addressing her Christmas cards as well, but I decided to not say anything at all. Back to the front door I went to start the whole routine again. The second time I found a man coming out of the store (again, shopping cart overflowing), I followed him to his vehicle and waited. Once he was done loading his car he yelled over to me "I'm going to leave my cart here for you, there are none inside!" He left and I pulled into the spot. The simple act of this man being kind wiped the slate clean of the SUV Woman's rude behavior. Once I finally got into the store My Mother and Grandmother had been wondering what took me so long, and informed me that they couldn't find a cart. I re-told the whole story, and we were all thankful for the nice man who not only let me have his spot, but also the cart.

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"I Like To Think Of Him As Mistletoe With Webbed Feet"

Miss Piggy was on The Today Show last week (My Mother told me about it, no cable for SJ). I decided this evening to check out this clip that she keeps telling me that I needed to see. The title of this blog is my favorite Miss Piggy line form the clip, and notice the awe on these well accomplished news anchors. I have heard that when people work with a Muppet they forget that it is a puppet and feel as though it is a real person, check it out



Enjoy ~SJ

L Is For....

Lobster!

The Music Man and I have been enjoying our share of lobster lately. With prices being at historic lows, and the lobster men begging people to buy them. We have been trying to do our part to support the local lobster men.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Year Of The Pajamas

When My Mother and I are together for Christmas we typically open one present each the night before Christmas. We each pick out the present that the other should open, taking great pride in the selection. A few years back, when I was going to college in Boston and My Mother was the owner of the Shamrock, we sat down around the tree on the night before Christmas and gave each other the one present to open. I could tell before opening mine that it was going to be some sort of clothing item, I opened it excitedly hoping they might be new pajamas. They were red flannel pajama bottoms and little dachshunds on them. I started to chuckle and encouraged Mom to open her present. Well, low and behold we had gotten each other the same pair of pajamas, matching mother-daughter pajamas to sleep in the night before Christmas! You have to understand that My Mother and I would wear our pajamas all the time if it was socially acceptable. My Mother has even been known to host a Christmas or two outfitted in her most fashionable pajamas, and no one even knew. Maybe the most ironic part of this whole story is when we opened the rest of the presents the next morning we discovered that we had also purchased the same set of nesting bowls for each other. Odd, I would have to say yes.

When I saw My Mother last weekend in Florida for our early holiday celebration (the difference in ticket prices between last week and Christmas was crazy!), she gave all of use matching pajamas. Of course we posed for the photo-opt. Note that Gretal the dachshund is right there with us.

Enjoy ~SJ

Friday, December 19, 2008

Skywatch!

This picture was taken in October during a motorcycle ride around Webb Lake with The Music Man.

~SJ

Christmas Edition Of Getting To Know Your Firends and Family

I received this in my email a few weeks ago and have been meaning to post my reply to it via my blog. Feel free to play along in your own blog post.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your family and friends.

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!!

Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you......Tis the Season to be NICE! (Ok, so I posted it on my blog.... minor change)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? For regular shaped gifts I use paper, for the odd shaped ones I use bags. The previous owner of my house (My Mother) left me well stocked for all of my gift wrapping needs.

2. Real tree or Artificial? I have to admit that I don't put a tree up - cats, no one comes over, it is a lot of work. But I do have a very cute Charlie Brown artificial tree.

3. When do you put up the tree? Never before my birthday.

4. When do you take the tree down? When I have the time

5. Do you like eggnog? Love it, and drink it year round when I can find it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My Mother always went over the top finding very special and unique toys for me. I always got a pile of new favorite books.

7. Hardest person to buy for? The Uncles

8. Easiest person to buy for? Mom

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Christmas cards? Did you not see my last post? I never get them out on time and gave up this year and did a Christmas Blog.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Whoever thought cream was a good color on SJ?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I start seeing things that fit for the people on my list. I am all done for this year, but other years I still shop after the holiday.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Isn't that what the gifts you don't like are for?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Meat pies

16. Lights on the tree? Is there an option not to?

17. Favorite Christmas song? I don't think that I have one.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Lately I have been traveling.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer's? Yup! And I didn't even have to Google it!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Miss Piggy dressed as an angle.

21. Presents on Christmas Eve or morning? One on Christmas Eve and the rest Christmas morning

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? That the Christmas stuff starts before Halloween...Thanksgiving is a holiday too!!

23. Favorite Ornament theme or color? What, isn't Christmas enough of a theme?

24. Favorite for Christmas dinner? Steamed chocolate pudding with this sweet sauce on

top. Maybe I will post the recipe later, it is an old family one.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? It is something that Santa can't bring..... I promise that I have been good!

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? Rach

27. Who is least like ly to respond to this? Those mystery people out there in the blogosphere that I don't even know read me.


Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's All About The Stats


In this stats crazed nation it is nice to know that Google Reader can give you stats on your favorite blog. By simply clicking on the "show details" button you too can be filled with more stats than you ever needed. Here are the stats on my blog. I still only have 7 subscribers, but my posts per week average has been climbing from a low this summer of 4, to a high of 8.6 today! This is great news for SJ!

Enjoy ~SJ

Pooch And Wikipedia

I know that there is a lot of controversy about about Wikipedia and how accurate it is, but if you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I quote it all of the time. I will spare you the details of why I think Wikipedia is ok for blog research. The Pooch Cafe blog announced today that the comic strip is now one of the thousands of articles that Wikipedia covers. Now only does the article describe the background information on the comic strip, but it also goes into detail about each of the central characters. I think that my character description is Fish.

Trapped in a world 12 inches wide, Fish is often a moral compass and dispenser of sage advice for Poncho, being surprisingly well-versed in Zen philosophy, theology, and cat lingo.


Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays!


As a child My Mother prided herself on the amazingly witty holiday newsletters that she sent out. Every year I say to myself that I am going to write one as well, it hasn't happened yet. I also think that those nice holiday photo cards people send out are great, also I have never managed to send one out. I heard on the news that I missed the deadline to get holiday cards out in the traditional mail. I decided to try my hand at making a holiday collage of pictures that I have taken this year.

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SJ's Good Deed Of The Day!

On my way into school today Weather Boy was in front of me. Ironically, Rach followed me into school yesterday. Weather Boy parked his truck and went into the building like he does every morning. I parked in my usual spot, and as I started into the building I noticed that Weather Boy had left his lights on. Being the Good Samaritan that I am, I went over to his truck, hoped that the door was unlocked (who in Maine locks them anyway?), and turned them off for him. Not only did I do my good deed for my fellow RVB/colleague, but I also saved him the headache of a drained battery later in the day. I caught up with him in the building to informed him that I was most likely going to blog about the entire event since I was a little short of material for today. Every little bit helps each that 365 blog post, as well as being kind to others.

Enjoy ~SJ

The Fun Of Internet Quizzes

It has been awhile since I have posted an internet quiz. Here is another great one from blogthings, what circus act should you perform?




You Should Walk on Stilts



Your biggest talent is your ability to make people laugh.

And like most comedians, you'll do anything to get a people roaring.



You know how to work a crowd. You are witty, but you are also great at physical comedy.

But you'll leave the daredevil stunts to other people... you don't need them to get your applause.



Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, December 15, 2008

Where's SJ?

Well, I may have missed the first official no school day and all of the snowy clean up (thank you again Music Man!) due to my most recent travels. But I made up for it all by getting my avid blog follower another quick shot of my feet near the pool.

Enjoy ~SJ

Cat Scratch Fever!

My Best Friend is in the hospital tonight, for the second night, due to a deep cat bite. Yes folks, you heard it right, she is in the hospital for a cat bite. Her cat Emma got scared by a dog and in the process of fleeing the situation she bit her owner on the thumb. My Best Friend woke up the next morning with a "sausage thumb", after hours in the hospital and multiple visits she had to undergo surgery on the thumb to clean out the infection. She is hoping to be out of the hospital tomorrow, but the joking will never end. Cat bit, hospital stay, surgery!

I have always had funny nicknames for her, Betty, Jelly Bean, Pickle Face, Quizno, but now I will have a whole new category of nicknames for her. Oh the joys! Once you get over your cat bite you can pick on me for posting this lovely photo of you with a pickle on your face.

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Math Geek Inside Me

SNL did a skit involving a set to twins and all the wanted for Christmas was a calculator. The math geek inside me smiled thus I had to share.




Enjoy ~SJ

Saturday, December 13, 2008

K Is For....

Krispy Kreme

Brad Conant (Debate Coach) & SJ (Speech Coach) at Krispy Kreme in Wichita, KA

No, there are not any Krispy Kreme stores in Maine, but according to the store website there will be one eventually. This is great news for SJ, not such good news for her waist. I have to admit that I enjoy Krispy Kreme doughnuts, who doesn't? While I was in Wichita, Kansas a few summers ago for the National Speech and Debate tournament the other coach and I decided to share the Krispy Kreme experience with the kids. After one night of the fresh off the line doughnuts the kids were hooked, and whenever it fit into our tip we stoped.

Here is the history of the company according the Wikipedia

The founder, Vernon Rudolph, worked for his uncle, Ishmael Armstrong, who purchased a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts and a shop on Broad Street in Paducah, Kentucky, from Joseph LeBeouf of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Rudolph began selling the yeast doughnuts in Paducah and delivered them on his bicycle. The operation was moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and other family members joined to meet the customer demand. Rudolph sold his interest in the Nashville store and in 1937 opened a doughnut shop in Winston-Salem, and began selling to groceries and then directly to individual customers. The first Krispy Kreme store was located in a rented building on South Main Street in Winston-Salem in what is now called historic Old Salem.

By the 1960s, Krispy Kreme was well-known throughout the southeastern United States, and it began to expand into other areas of the country.

In 1976, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Beatrice Foods of Chicago, Illinois. The headquarters for Krispy Kreme remained in Winston-Salem.

A group of franchisees purchased the corporation back from Beatrice Foods in 1982.

In 2003, a pilot project in Mountain View, California, to sell doughnuts through car windows and sunroofs at a busy intersection (with wireless payment) failed.

On June 3, 2005, National Doughnut Day in the US, participating franchises gave away free doughnuts.

On February 19, 2007, Krispy Kreme began selling the Whole Wheat Glazed doughnut in an attempt to appeal to the health conscious. The doughnut has twenty kilocalories (83,736 J) fewer than the original glazed (180 vs. 200 kcal) and contains more fiber (2 grams vs. 0.5 grams). As of January 2008, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are free of trans fats and are labeled as "0 grams of trans fat".

Enjoy ~SJ

Friday, December 12, 2008

Skywatch!


A freshly frozen Worthley Pond! But it meets the Skywatch rules.

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Turkey Pie

The Music Man and I cooked one of our organic farm raised turkeys from the farm down the road. After eating turkey various ways we decided to make a pie out of the remaining leftovers. I have to say that this is one of the most perfect looking pies that I have ever had. Here is the recipe that we made up.

2 carrots
1 small onion
1/2 bag of peas
left over turkey
cooking Sherry
spices to taste (salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning)

Saute the above ingredients until they are well combined and warm. Transfer to pie pan that has a bottom crust in it. Put top crust on and cook for 30-40 minutes at 400.

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Netflix Goes Mac!


I have been a long time Netflix subscriber. It makes the long winters more exciting, and since I don't have cable I can at least keep up to date on some TV shows, The Sopranos, Desperate Housewives, Heros, Lost, and Arrested Development to name a few. One of the interesting features of Netflix is that you can stream movies right from the website and watch them on your computer. This feature does not cost you any aditional money a month. The downside of this has been that this feature was only PC compatible. Well, a few weeks ago I got an email from Netflix informing me that the "Watch Instantly" option is now complatiable with Mac! (Insert jumping up and down excited SJ here) One little download and you are all set to watch endless hours of movies legally on your Mac.

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Frank Glazer

Last Friday night The Music Man took me to a concert at Bates, he wanted to share with me the amazing musical talent of Frank Glazer. Below are two excerpts about Glazer, one from the Bates website, the other from Wikipedia.

"Glazer, of Topsham, has been a resident artist at Bates since 1980. He is a musician of international stature whose long career includes numerous recordings and premieres of contemporary music, his own television program in the 1950s and countless solo recitals and performances with orchestras and chamber ensembles, including the New England Piano Quartette, of which he was a founder.

"Just to be in the room while Frank Glazer shares his tremendous musical wisdom and experience with artists like Macomber and the Parker quartet will be a treat," says Seth Warner, manager of the Olin concert hall.

In the 1930s Glazer studied with both Artur Schnabel, a leading interpreter of the Viennese masters, and with Arnold Schoenberg, whose atonal compositions were the antithesis of Viennese lyricism.

Glazer was 21 when he made his New York debut at Town Hall on Oct. 20, 1936. That event (recreated at Bates on its 70th anniversary in 2006) marked the start of a performing career that finds this artist creatively robust in his 90s."

~ Bates Office of Communications and Media Relations

"Born circa 1915, Glazer grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his teenage years, he played in vaudeville. Alfred Strelsin, a New York signage manufacturer and arts patron, provided the funds for Glazer to travel to Berlin in 1932 to study with Artur Schnabel; he also studied with Arnold Schoenberg. Glazer then taught piano in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Strelsin urged Glazer to make his New York debut, telling him, "If you don't start by time you're 21, forget it". Glazer made his debut at Town Hall in New York City on October 20, 1936, with a program of Bach, Brahms, Schubert, and Chopin. He played this program again in 2006, to celebrate his seventieth anniversary of public performance.

In 1939 Glazer performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Sergei Koussevitzky. Glazer served in the military in World War II.

After the war he embarked upon an effort to reinvent piano technique, beginning with a study of anatomy and analyzing the most efficient way to create sound. Glazer believes this study is why he has remained able to play successfully into his 90s, when hand problems have forced many younger pianists out of the profession. As one fellow pianist commented, "It gets more amazing as Frank gets older, because he has less brute force to put into his playing. Yet he can still play some of the toughest pieces in the repertory, because he has figured out how to get there without wasting any motion".[citation needed]

In the early 1950s, Glazer had his own television show. With his wife, Ruth, he founded in the 1970s the Saco River Festival in Maine, a summer chamber series. From 1965 until 1980 Glazer taught at the Eastman School of Music; among his students was Myriam Avalos. In 1980 Glazer left Eastman and became artist in residence at Bates College in Maine." (Wikipedia)

Glazer gives many concerts at Bates, his next one will be Sunday February 1st in the afternoon. This will be to celebrate his birthday. Hope to see you at this free concert!

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, December 8, 2008

T-Rex B-Day!

Happy Birthday to SJ! I have been saving this Mordant Orange comic for a few weeks now to post today. It just cracked me up!

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Birthday Bee

The night before my 4th or 5th birthday I informed my Mother that I couldn't wait until the Birthday Bee cam to visit me that night. My Mother, like any good mother, did not react in shock to this foreign idea, she simply asked "Who is the Birthday Bee?" The answer to that question is simple, the night before your birthday the Birthday Bee comes and visits you, removes your old number and replaces it with a new shiny number. During the day the Birthday Bee shines up the old numbers and gets ready to deliver them to people the next night. To my little mind this is how you got older, a bee brought you a new number. No idea where this whole idea came from, but I have always thought about turning it into a children's book.

Enjoy ~SJ

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog Roll

I would like to share with you wonderful and dedicated blog readers some of the blogs that I read. I know that you can read them over on the left hand column of my blog, but lets be honest with ourselves does anyone ever really look there? When was the last time I updated that anyway? Who knows? My Google Reader is organized into three categories, well actually four, but I am not going to bore you with the education blogs I read, maybe another day. Drum roll please......

Blogger "Buddies" - These are the people that I really don't know in person but maybe some day I will.

Bookbabie - I started reading this blog after Beth (see RVB) won a book raffle from her and then kindly passed the book onto me.

Digital Polaroids - I just recently found this blog through Sky Watch, she takes amazing pictures is is from Argentina.

Indexed - Rach (see RVB) got me reading this blog. The author blogs through data charts and table - the geek in me just loves it.

It's like I'm...mmmagic - The "Other SJ" had this blogger fill in for her while she was away, started reading her ever since.

Not Your Plain Jane - The "Other SJ", witty, smart, successful, and a great writer.

Reflecting - No clue how I found this one, but she reads some really great books.

River Valley Bloggers - The RVB are people who live, or used to live in the River Valley. These are people that I know in real life, and many of them I work with.

Amity Etc. - The local Spanish teacher always posting great new photos.

Beth's Stories - A very dear friend who has helped me out of a few jams and tells some amazing stories.

Katieland - The wife of Tra1lNot3s, and elementary teacher who tells it how it is and always with a smile!

Tra1l Not3s - One of the high school social studies teachers who's blog might be as random as mine.

Panopticon - The daughter of Beth's Stories who is in the Peace Corps in Macedonia.

Life's Lessons - One of the Life Skills teachers who is tells about her life and work.

The Glass Is Pretty Full - One of the local art teachers who can capture a hilarious shot and put and even funnier caption with it. He also travels a bit to exotic locations and blogs about it.

The Ongoing Adventure of Chris - This is one of the former RV-ites, she is always off on an adventure (like 1000 mile bike trip!) and blogs about it.

There's Always Someone Cooler Than You - The husband of Life's Lessons and one of the local science teachers. Someone Cooler can come up with a humorous angle on of so many topics.

Travel With Charlie -The husband of Beth's Stories as well as a local English teacher. Charlie is an avid hiker and traveler and he tells about his adventures.

These are the random blogs that I don't know where they fit in...

Improv Everywhere - Is a blog about a group that creates improv activities all across the country.

Pooch Cafe - The blog of my favorite comic strip.

The Left-Handed Page - I'm left handed, so why not read a left-handed blog.

Enjoy ~SJ

Slinky & Post-Its

I have fond memories of playing with and experimenting with my slinky when I was a kid. I made it walk down the stairs, do tricks, and fill endless amounts of time. So when I heard on NPR a few weeks back that Betty James, the woman who ran the Slinky company recently died, I decided that I just needed to blog a little about this amazing toy.

Betty James, who came up with the name Slinky for the stair-walking spring that has delighted children for more than 60 years and who ran the toy company after her husband, the inventor, left it and his family in 1960, died Thursday in Philadelphia. She was 90 and lived in Hollidaysburg, Pa., where the company, James Industries, is located. (Miami Herald)
"What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, And makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing, Everyone knows it’s Slinky…
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, for fun it's a wonderful toy
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's fun for a girl and a boy
- Advertising Jingle

In 1943, Richard James was a naval engineer trying to develop a meter designed to monitor horsepower on naval battleships. Richard was working with tension springs when one of the springs fell to the ground. He saw how the spring kept moving after it hit the ground and an idea for a toy was born.

Traespiral

Richard James told his wife Betty, "I think I can make a toy out of this" and then spent the next two years figuring out the best steel gauge and coil to use for the toy. Betty James found a name for the new toy after discovering in the dictionary that the word "Slinky" is a Swedish word meaning traespiral - sleek or sinuous.

Slinky debuted at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 1945 Christmas season and then at the 1946 American Toy Fair. Richard nervous at the first demonstration of his toy convinced a friend to attend and buy the first Slinky. However, this turned out to be unnecessary as 400 were sold during the 90 minute Gimbel demonstration.

James Spring & Wire Company

Richard James and Betty James founded James Spring & Wire Company (renamed James Industries) with $500 dollars and began production. Today, all Slinkys are made in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania using the original equipment designed and engineered by Richard James. Each one is made from 80 feet of wire and over a quarter billion Slinkys have been sold worldwide.

Richard James - Cult Involvement

Around 1960, Richard James suffered from a mid-life crisis and left his wife, six children, and the Slinky Empire to join a Bolivian religious order/cult. Betty James took over as CEO of James Industries and rescued the company from the debts left by her husband's generosity to his religion. She moved the company to its current Hollidaysburg location from Philadelphia and began an active advertising campaign complete with the famous Slinky jingle. Richard James died in 1974.

Betty James Continues

Betty James also replaced the original material of blue-black Swedish steel with silver colored American metal. She added other toys to the line: Slinky Jr., Plastic Slinky, Slinky Dog, Slinky Pets, Crazy Eyes (glasses with Slinky-extended fake eyeballs) and Neon Slinky. The line was sold in 1998 to Poof Toys.


With all of this Slinky talk, I recently stumbled upon this video made my Eepy Bird about Post-It slinkies in the office. It was just too funny not to share with you.

Enjoy ~SJ


American Girl Doll Response

This is the reply that I received back from American Girl Doll about my Obama inspired doll line. Not very exciting, but certainly better than what I got back from Life Is Good!

Dear SJ,


We are complimented by your request to add an Obama children-inspired
American Girl doll to our product line. We appreciate your thoughtful
suggestion; however, our internal design team creates all of our
products, including our dolls, their stories and accessories. Although
we are not able to comply with your request, we will make note of it and
share it with the appropriate persons. Your comments and insights help
us determine if we are meeting the needs and interests of the girls we
serve.

Again, thank you for your support of American Girl!

Sincerely,

American Girl® Customer Service

Friday, December 5, 2008

Skywatch!



I just can't take this dreary weather anymore. I dug through the photo archives to find these two pictures that I took of Worthley Pond this past August.

Enjoy ~SJ

Day Of The Ninja


According to Day Of The Ninja.com today is national Day Of The Ninja. Just thought that I would let you all know so that you can celebrate appropriately today.

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, December 4, 2008

J Is For....

Jade and Jin Asian Restaurant!



On my most recent trip back from Humarock I was with my Grandmother and the Music Man. It was around lunch time and we decided it would be best if we found some food, so we headed up route 1 outside of Boston. I was going over the various restaurants that I could remember that we drove past trying to come up with the perfect place to stop. Nothing was inspiring me to make a suggestion, until I remember that Chinese restaurant up on the hill. My Mother had told me that she had seen them on the Food Network and I had always wanted to try it. I gave the suggestion and everyone in the car agreed that it was worth a shot.

From the outside this is a very impressive building, huge, and Asian inspired. Upon entering it was even more impressive, large carvings, water falls, and banquet rooms. We were shown to our table and proceeded to look over the menu. My Grandmother defaulted to the Music Man and I to rder since we are more familiar with Asian cuisine than she is. We order several of our favorite dishes and anxiously awaited our food. First came the hot and sour soup (this is how the Music Man rates a Chinese restaurant). One sip of the amazing soup and we were all waiting for the rest of the food to arrive. Next came the dumplings (this is how SJ rates a Chinese restaurant). One bit of the amazing dumplings and we were all waiting for more of the food to arrive. The main courses were just as impressive as the soup and dumplings. The Music Man and I agreed that we hadn't had such great Chinese food since we left China several years ago. The Jin Asian restaurant has now become a new favorite place to stop.

Aside from the amazing food, the restaurant also had several very large jade carvings. I wouldn't do them justice with my camera since they are three-dimensional. Again, haven't seen anything that impressive since leaving China.

I recently did a little research on Jade and the Chinese culture, here is what I found at about.com:
"Jade (Yu in Chinese pinyin) was defined as beautiful stones by Xu Zhen (about 58-147) in Shuo Wen Jie Zi, the first Chinese dictionary. Jade is generally classified into soft jade (nephrite) and hard jade (jadeite). Since China only had the soft jade until jadeite was imported from Burma during the Qing dynasty (1271-1368), jade traditionally refers to the soft jade so it is also called traditional jade. Jadeite is called Feicui in Chinese. Feicui is now more popular and valuable than the soft jade in China.

The history of jade is as long as the Chinese civilization. Archaeologists have found jade objects from the early Neolithic period (about 5000 BC), represented by the Hemudu culture in Zhejian Province, and from the middle and late Neolithic period, represented by the Hongshan culture along the Lao River, the Longshan culture along the Yellow River, and the Liangzhu culture in the Tai Lake region. Jade has been ever more popular till today.

The Chinese love jade because of not only its beauty, but also more importantly its culture, meaning and humanity, as Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC) said there are 11 De (virtue) in jade. The following is the translation (don't know the translator):

'The wise have likened jade to virtue. For them, its polish and brilliancy represent the whole of purity; its perfect compactness and extreme hardness represent the sureness of intelligence; its angles, which do not cut, although they seem sharp, represent justice; the pure and prolonged sound, which it gives forth when one strikes it, represents music. Its color represents loyalty; its interior flaws, always showing themselves through the transparency, call to mind sincerity; its iridescent brightness represents heaven; its admirable substance, born of mountain and of water, represents the earth. Used alone without ornamentation it represents chastity. The price that the entire world attaches to it represents the truth. To support these comparisons, the Book of Verse says: "When I think of a wise man, his merits appear to be like jade."'

Thus jade is really special in Chinese culture, also as the Chinese saying goes "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable."


Enjoy ~SJ

American Doll

Dear American Girl Doll Customer Service,

I am now a grown up adult, but I do remember fondly playing with them as a child. I played with my American Dolls, Molly and Kirsten when there were only three dolls, and they were still manufactured in Germany. It is always exciting to see a girl on the streets carrying her American Doll around, or seeing specials about them on T.V.

With all of this said, I have a suggestion of a new doll for you. With the Obama children going to live in the White House, wouldn't it be nice to have an Obama inspired American Girl Doll? How much more American could this be, and imagine all of the exciting accessories she could have - a puppy, Presidential china!

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

HA!

This was the Wizard of Id comic for Columbus Day. I saved it since I found so much humor in it. I guess it is time to post on my blog and get it off my desktop.

Not seeing the humor? I guess maybe the funny part for me is the fact that the characters in the comic come historically before Columbus.

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Shopping....


With a few clicks of the mouse, and a quick trip around a few stores today, my Christmas shopping is almost finished. I just need to go to the Christmas Tree shop to do a look around, bake a few baked goods and I am all set. I am normally not this on top of the game, but then again my Christmas list is a little short. As always, hope I didn't forget anyone....

Enjoy ~SJ

The Snow Woman!

Setting: Junior year of college dorm room
Timeframe: Study week for first semester finals

I lived in Dix hall at Simmons, and one year for a moral booster they decided to host a door decorating contest. My Roommate and I decided that this would be a fun activity, anything is better than studying for anatomy and Spanish finals! We brainstormed various ideas for awhile and somehow came up with the idea of building a 3-D snow woman on our door. This architectural feet took hours and days to create. We found huge white paper, cut up circles, stuffed it with cotton and "sewed" them together. Then we went and got real sticks for the arms, created a carrot nose that stuck out from the door, and fashioned a pipe out of a real acorn. My Roommate and I were very proud of ourselves, but we didn't just stop with the snow woman, yes we went one step farther. Since there was a little balcony above our room we decided to make it "snow" when the judges came by and have holiday music playing. We really out did ourselves when the judges came around, a friend of ours played Mother Nature and made it snow with little scraps of paper from our hole punch, the cd player was set to play, and we had a vacum standing near by to show that we were going to clean up the mess. My Roommate and I were very proud of our multi-day arts and crafts creation. We came in first, winning a poinsetia that My Roommate gave to her mother and some very nice chocolates. I can't tell you how we did on our finals that semester (I'm sure that we did exceptionally well even though we didn't really study), but I can say that My Roommate and I had an amazing time creating this snow woman and it still makes me chuckle to myself.

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, December 1, 2008

Novembers Numbers

The Other SJ did a great post yesterday entitled "November by the Numbers" it inspired me to do my own numbers for November (plus it counts as yet another post)!

548 - Number of blog page loads.

2 - The number of turkeys consumed.

463 - Number of Unique visitors.

1 - The number of times that I shoveled.

26 - The number of blog posts for the month of November.

330 - Number of quizzes and tests that I graded this month.

2 - The number of times I rode my motorcycle, also the number of craft fairs that My Mother, My Grandmother, The Elf (a.k.a. Step-Dad) and I worked at.

6 - The number of books that I read.

748 - Number of minutes used on my cell phone.

4 - Number of text messages sent (amazingly low).

The First Snow


I took this picture a few weeks ago on the morning of our first snow. I like the juxtaposition of the snow and the pumpkins or Thanksgiving and Christmas together. We had more snow this morning on the pumpkins, but I was too busy shoveling to take another picture.

Enjoy ~SJ

NaBloPoMo


So I have been reading on several other peoples blogs about this thing called NaBloPoMo and have been confused about it since then. I decided to put an end to it and find out what it this strange word is referring to. Google to the rescue (insert super hero music here). Low and behold it stands for National Blog Posting Month and it even has its own website! It is a blog challenge, where you blog every day for a month, sounds easy enough. (Check back in with me towards the end of December).

When I first started blogging my original goal was to blog at least five times a week, I only need to blog 3 more times between now and Febrauary 18th to make that goal. According to my calculations if I blog at least once a day and sometimes more between now and February 17th I would hit the 365 blogs in one year mark. This has become my new goal. So stumbling onto the NaBloPoMo website came just in time. I am making it official, I am challenging myself to blog every day between now and December 31st. I hope this goes better than the time I challenged myself to swimming, we all remeber how well that turned out!

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Hermit Hut


While looking through my iPhoto collection trying to come up with next weeks ABC blog for the letter "J" (tougher than it may seem) I cam across my Hermit Island pictures. Then I remembered, I have never blogged about The Hermit Hut!

When the Music Man and I go to Hermit Island we tend to walk/hike around a lot. The island has many well maintained trials that crisscross the island. One day we decided that we were going to walk the perimeter of the island. Along the way we came across several little beaches nestled in between the woods. On one of these beaches we discovered the Hermit Hut. This hut is built up against a rock face from items that have washed up on shore. It is a welcoming little hut, complete with benches inside. I decided that it might be good luck to leave a Hermit Island treasure on the hut in hopes of pleasing the Hermit Island Gods to allow us to come back to this little piece of paradise again.




SJ's offering (the rock) to the Hermit Island God's in hopes of a good reservation next year.




SJ being "artsy" with her shot from inside the hut.

Well we wrote the reservation request letter today, let's hope that my offering at the Hermit Hut helps us get the times that we requested!

Enjoy ~SJ