Friday, May 30, 2008

Live From MLTI

This is SJ reporting live from the Maine Laptop Technology Initiative (MLTI) 2008 Student Tech Team Conference. I am currently waiting for my Student Tech Team to arrive here on campus, once they get here they will help me with a workshop presentation on Sketch-Up. Sketch-Up is a wonderful free program from the amazing folks at google. It allows you to create 3-D models much like CAD.

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Free Wi-Fi For All!

Ahh.... you have to love places that offer free wireless internet for the completely connected people (like myself) in the world. I'm spending the night at a Holiday Inn getting ready for a technology workshop tomorrow and am enjoying the perks of free Wi-Fi. My question is, why can't we have free wi-fi everywhere? You know there have been more times I have been driving in the car with someone and some trivial bit of information that could be easily found with the aid of google was out of reach due to the lack of wi-fi. Just think, wouldn't it be nice if you could go and enjoy a park somewhere complete with your laptop? Or what about our countries National Parks? I know that I would enjoy my camping experience more if I had wi-fi! Ok, ok, maybe there are times and places where having wi-fi just isn't appropriate, like the car, town park, or National park, but it is nice to day dream a little bit about it while enjoying some free wi-fi.

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The end of the school year squeeze has official begun! With only twelve days of school left and the sun shining outside our windows, it is getting to be more difficult to get anything done in the classroom. Many of the students (and myself) have started to long for idle summer days. The list of end of the year chores are mounting and the time to get them finished in seems to be just not enough. I would rather worry about how to spend my day of nothing and when I need to put on sunscreen again, but instead it is class lists, packing my classroom, and end of the year festivities. Oh well, sunscreen, swimming, and days of nothing will be coming soon enough!

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, May 26, 2008


Since Beth passed Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella onto me a month or so ago I have been wrapped up in Becky Bloomwood's word. Sophie Kinsella is actually a pen name, the authors real name is Madeleine Wickham, and she has authored many more books than just the Shopaholic series. I don't normally read so many "fluff" books in a row as I have been lately, but Kinsella tells such detailed stories that you never know what sort of trouble Becky is going to get herself into next. I confessed my Kinsella addiction to Beth earlier in the week, and she gave me permission to read Kinsella until school gets out, then I need to read something more meaty. Until then I will enjoy the crazy world of Beck Bloomwood!

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summertime Challenge

Lots of people set goals for themselves; loose weight, read more, exercisers more. This summer I have set the goal (challenge) for myself to swim every day that I am home between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Since it was such a nice day today, currently 76, I decided to start my challenge one day early. I put on the wetsuit, flippers, and goggles and headed for a little swim to the point and back. I'm sure that I'm going to regret my decision to challenge myself to this, and then blog about!

Enjoy ~SJ

A Surprise Gift

We Simmons Gals like to celebrate every type of milestone in life - sometimes it is a simple little phone call/email, a joint gift from all, or a full blown party - complete with Sangria! About a week ago I came home from another long day at school so find a package in my mailbox. I quickly checked the return address and read "Simmons Girls Central", I immediately know it could only mean one thing - surprise present for SJ from my most wonderful college friends! I hurried into the house, tore open the package and found a gift wrapped present with a note "Congratulations on your recent master's degree!" My immediate thought was "Wow, how sweet of them to get me a present!" I tore the paper off and found a box of note cards, but not any note card, personalized scooter SJ note cards! I started to smile and laugh to myself as I quickly dialed the Simmons Gals numbers (of course they were all at work still), so I thought to myself, "I will send them all thank you notes using the new cards", nice thought but still on the to do list. So Simmons Gals, take this as my unofficial thank you! Your gift made me smile, and the framed card sitting on my windowsill reminds me every morning to have fun in life! Thanks for your never ending support! Official note of thanks will be in the mail at some point in the near future.

Enjoy ~SJ

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I showed My Mom the wonders of youtube the other day, she was blown away at the volume of entertaining clips that live on this great website. We watched a few Saturday Night Live skits, as well as a few Sesame Street skits. My favorite character on Sesame Street, aside from Kermit The Frog is The Count. The Count was the first "person" that I could do an impression of. As an ode to The Count I made his song "Batty Batty Bat" the ring tone on my cell phone. Since this song has been stuck in my head for days now, I thought that I should share it with all of you as well.

Enjoy ~SJ

Wondererful Wonder Bread

Last night I went to a retirement party for two outstanding high school teachers. I got talking with The English Teacher and his 30 plus year career. We got joking about how many students he taught the mysteries and tricks of the five paragraph essay to, including me. The English Teacher commented that his career could be like Wonder Bread, packed all down to one thing - the five paragraph essay. I got thinking about it, if his career could be packed down to the five paragraph essay, that means that my career could be packed down to x = . Humm........

Enjoy ~SJ

Friday, May 23, 2008


For many people Memorial weekend marks the beginning of the summer season, and for these people summer means camp. Camp has always been an important part to my summer, since I have spent every summer of my life at Worthley Pond. Now I have the pleasure of living at Worthley Pond 365 days a year. Now I get to enjoy the pond through all four seasons, but just one like so many other people. For me Memorial weekend marks the beginning of when I need to share my Pond with all of the summer residents. I'm sure that many of the other few year round Pond residences feel the same way as I do, and are looking forward to Labor day weekend, the official close of summer. So until Labor day I have to share my little slice of paradise with the summer residences, but I know that I get it back to myself come early September.

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, May 22, 2008


For fear of being called out by Rach again, I am blogging just to blog. Also, my goal of blogging at least five times a week has not been going too well lately. School is swinging quickly into wrap-up mode, the weather has been in a slump, the long weekend seems just a few too many hours away, and I just haven't found anything to be blogable lately.

The new seafood opened today on Weld St, maybe tomorrow I will have something exciting to say about that. In the mean time, here is a little info on The Thinker, since I sat at my desk impersonating this pose trying to come up with something that is blogable.

"The Thinker (French: Le Penseur) is a bronze and marble sculpture by Auguste Rodin held in the Musée Rodin in Paris. It depicts a man in sober meditation battling with a powerful internal struggle. It is often used to represent philosophy." (

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, May 19, 2008

Commute Another Way

Mike blogged a few weeks ago about the Commute Another Way Week. As a good blog reader I clicked on the link and read more about it. After poking around the website for a little bit I discovered that you could sign up for how you were going to commute to work during the week of May 12 - 16, and the best part is the first 1,000 people got a free t-shirt! What could be better than saving the environment AND getting a free t-shirt. I quickly filled in all of the boxes with my info, including t-shirt size. A few weeks later, after I had forgotten about the t-shirt, but certainly not commuting to work a different way, the t-shirt arrived in the mail! It is a wonderful bright green t-shirt that I have been wearing proudly since. In the end I carpooled with the Music Man two days of the week, the other 3 days I was on a bus on the Quebec trip. So even though I didn't drive my scooter like I had originally planned, I still did my part to save the environment AND earn the t-shirt.

The Power of Ten

Ok the River Valley bloggers have called a challenge, not it is my turn to respond.

10 years ago I was living on the Spirit of Massachusetts, doing my spring semester of my junior year aboard this working tall ship/classroom. It was a life changing experience for me, and opened my eyes even wider to the world beyond my back door.

10 months ago it was the middle of July and I was teaching summer school, and enjoying my weekends with Meg in Boothbay. Too bad she won't be doing that gig again this summer, I will miss our afternoons on the rocks.... "I'm a lizard, warm me"!

10 days ago I went out after school with some of the staff, and then went to see the middle school production of The Wizard of Oz. The songs are still stuck in my head.

10 hours ago I was watching Six Feet Under (my new favorite show) on the couch.

10 minutes ago I was teaching my 7th graders how to solve multi-step problems. Now they are working away quietly while I try to get in a little blogging.

10 seconds ago I was answer a students question about how to get rid of the 7 in the equation.

10 seconds from now I will probably answering another student question.

10 minutes from now this call will have left and I will be teaching my 8th graders about solving inequality problems.

10 hours from now I hope to be back on the couch watching more Six Feet Under, or at least reading.

10 days from now I have my last after school tutoring session, and I will be getting ready for my first time presenting at a workshop.

10 months from now it will be March, the longest month of teaching. I will be counting down the days until the end of the school year, longing again for summer. Oh, let's hope we won't be shoveling.

10 years from now I hope to have finished my Ph. D. and be working in the area of educational technology. Maybe I will still be here in Maine, and maybe I will have moved on to someplace else.

Hey, that was kind of fun! Can't wait to read what other people have to say.

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It must be in metric!

So while I was away in the far away country of Canada, I purchased the Music Man a gift. After searching high and low through way too many shops in Quebec, I decided on a nice bottle opener. He isn't the collectible spoon kind of person, and I thought the thimbles were just too... uhh.... odd. Well, the thing must be in metric or something, because it doesn't get a good grip on the cap when you go to open it. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.

Enjoy ~SJ

The View From Behind

When I ride my scooter, I spend a lot of the drive looking behind me in case a vehicle comes and I need to move over. The view from the rear view mirror can be impressive at times, and I have always thought that it would make a great picture. Well, today when I was out for a little scoot ride I tried to take one of these pictures. I got a little bit of my sleeve in the picture, guess I will just have to keep on trying.

Enjoy ~SJ


SJ is back! I have been gone over the past few days to Quebec on the 8th grade trip. We had a marvelous time seeing the sights of beautiful Quebec. It was a backed three days, filled with sight seeing, museums, natural wonders, eating, shopping, and even a boat cruise! The kids were wonderful, and I think that everyone had a great time.

I think that one of my favorite stops was to Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré. The architecture was amazing, the craftsmanship was breathtaking, and the students' reaction was impressive. They were in awe of how long it must have taken to build such a detailed building. They did get restless after awhile so we had to cut the visit a little short. I could have spent all day looking at the amazing arches, mosaics, and stain glassed windows. After talking to Mom when I got home, come to find out this is the area of Quebec where part of the family is from, and Saint Anne's is where they went to church.

Although it is always exciting to go and visit new places, it is always nice to get back to the familiar surroundings of home.

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Seeing Double!

Like many people, I spent the afternoon with My Mother and The Grandmother. We had a fabulous time eating too much food at The Grandmother's favorite restaurant, Town and Country. It is a great little place nestled in the mountains of New Hampshire. The Grandmother, at the young age of 92, plays competitive bridge at Town and Country once a month. The three of us had a wonderful visit with each other, and I truly cherish the time I get to spend with these two ladies.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Academics of Academic Dress

I went to watch a dear friend graduate today from the University of Southern Maine, she earned her degree in occupation therapy. While sitting in the Cumberland County Civic Center through the ceremony I began to study and wonder more about the academic dress. I have always found it interesting to look at the large variety of academic dress and wonder why there is so much variety. I also wonder why only at college graduations to the professors wear their academic dress, why don't we see teachers wearing their academic dress at high school graduations?

I always knew that most colleges choose to have their students wear black along with the traditional mortarboard hat, and that people earning a masters degree wore a hood, but too much beyond that I got lost. So after I got home this afternoon I decided to see what wikipedia had to say on the subject.

After reading the lengthy, and at times dull, article I realized that there are reasons why there is so much variety. The color of the hood corresponds to what field the degree is earned in. Undergraduate and graduate students wear a mortarboard had, while doctoral students get to wear the velvet tam. Undergraduate and graduate robes are black, while some doctoral robes are in a color corresponding again to the field the degree is earned in. It seems that in the United States and Great Britain this formal academic dress is only worn at graduation.

So anyway, after all of this reading I have decided that someone somewhere must have a degree in academic dress, and it all makes me wonder, what do they wear?

Enjoy ~SJ

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Location

SJ's feet on location, can you guess where they are?

Enjoy ~SJ

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Now I Know

Have you ever wondered what your dog or cat is thinking? Well this email I got from a dear friend might give us all a little insight.

8:00 AM - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 AM - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 AM - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 AM - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 PM - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 PM - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 PM - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 PM - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 PM - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00 PM - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with biza
rre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet. Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a "good little hunter" I am. Bastards! There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of "allergies." I must learn what this means, and how to use it to my advantage. Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs. I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is obviously retarded. The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with the guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell, so he is safe.... for now....

Remind you of a furry friend that you know?

Enjoy ~SJ

Monday, May 5, 2008

Heeeeeeeere Fishy Fishy Fishy

Bert and Ernie are classics, in the same way that the Three Stooges are classics. Ok, so maybe Bert and Ernie aren't at the same level as the Three Stooges, but if you are under the age of five they are. One of my favorite Bert and Ernie sketches is when they go fishing. Of course Bert is trying to fish with a fishing pole while Ernie decides to "call" them. Well watch for yourself, and enjoy!

So, what got me thinking about Bert and Ernie today is a new Google Gadget that I got for my iGoogle page called fish. It is a fun little "toy" that can live on your iGoogle page, where you can simply keep virtual goldfish and feed them. You can pick out how many you want and what colors they are. It is a nice escape from the school day every now and again. And now I have figured out how to make them live on my blog page, it is an exciting day!

Enjoy ~SJ

Driving Range

The snow has melted, the grass is growing, and the greens are beginning to dry out. What that all means is that it is time to get the golf clubs out and head to the driving range to get ready for another exciting, and at times frustrating, season of golf! I have been given a nice set of woman's clubs from a friend at work who is too tall for them, so it has been interesting getting used to new clubs. There is always hope that the new clubs will improve my game, along with the Pretty Pink Putter! The Music Man and I are hoping to get out on the course sometime this week, until then it is practice, practice, practice!

Enjoy ~SJ

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Three Of A Kind

I just had three unsuspected visitors at The Shamrock. I was out on the rocking porch getting it ready for the summer season, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye three dogs coming down the road. Now you have to understand that where I live, and it not being the summer season yet, if anything comes down the road after 5 pm it means excitement, never mind three of something! I recognized these three dogs from my summer days of riding my bike around the pond, they are three friendly labs who were far from home. I got the Music Man to come out and watch them while I went inside to try to get their owner on the phone. After calling what seemed to be half of the pond, I got a hold of the trios owner, a slightly worried owner at that. I went back outside, and the Music Man and I played stick with our three new friends while waiting for the owner. We managed to keep them amused until their owner came along to whisk them back home. I'm sure that those three had a wild adventure and will sleep well tonight. This only plants to seed deeper into my head, I need to find a dog to play stick with all of the time.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Oh What To Do?

The Music Man was going to have a gig today, but at the last minute it was canceled. Now we are in the quandary, what to do with a now free Saturday? The trash and bottles have been taken care of, and the rest of the weekly chores can wait until tomorrow. So now what? We looked into getting tickets for Prairie Home Companion who is performing in Bangor, but no luck, no more tickets. We might just travel to Augusta and see what sort of fun stuff we can stumble upon. Oh the joys of an unexpected free day!

Enjoy ~SJ

Thursday, May 1, 2008

And Yet Another Idea....

From one my favorite daily comics, Close to Home, here is another suggestion for how to use all of those odd socks.

Enjoy ~SJ

Folding to Folding

Ever since I got a "real job" and "became and adult" My Mother has always had a job when she comes over to my house, fold my laundry. Now, I never asked her to do this for me, she just would do it since I always had a mound of clean clothes awaiting the next phase in the laundry process. I am good at getting my clothes clean, I am even a well accomplished laundry folder, I just don't like to take the time to fold it. So My Mother, being the caring woman that she is takes care of this chore for me when she comes to visit.
A few years ago My Mother sent me on of Martha Sterwart's books, Homekeeping Handbook. This book includes chapters on all the different parts of your house and how to take care of them. It even outlines how to make your own cleaning products and how often you should clean your switch plate covers. Well, My Mother thought that she would poke fun at my inability to fold laundry and bookmarked the section on folding!

Well, after all of this rambling, I would like to publicly announce that since finishing my master's degree I have now been staying on top of all the stages of the laundry process. I have taken My Mother's, Grandmother's and The Music Man's advice and started folding it as it came out of the dryer. What a novel idea, there is so much less to do at one time this way! The even better news is that when My Mother comes home from Florida next week she will not be greeted with my traditional mound of clean clothes, but rather a nice and tidy laundry room!

Enjoy ~SJ