"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Number 31: Try 3 new chambord recipes

My neighbors gave me a bottle of Chambord and a bottle of Grey Goose as a thank you gift for watching their dogs over Christmas break.  That's how this bday list item came about.  I hadnt had any Chambord since college and I wanted to see if I could some up with a few new ways to try it.

Recipe 1: chambord, vodka, and OJ
This was pretty delicious and I would have it again, but I cant drink too many of these because the OJ is just too sweet.

Recipe 2: chambord, vodka, and diet sprite
This was also delicious and I could easily drink several of these because the sprite isnt too sweet.

Recipe 3: chambord and ginger ale

Number 27:Disc Golf at one of the top ten

Smugglers' Notch Resort

Just as I was getting ready to leave Vermont, I happened to look at the top ten list to see if I would be passing close to any of them on my travels.  That was when I found at that there were two right there in Vermont all along.  In fact, we had driven right by the course ranked 7th in the US the day before.  Chris and I took a little jaunt over to this disc golf course and played 18 holes.  It was a beautiful course!  It was well maintained and took a beautiful path through the Vermont woods near Jeffersonville, Vermont.  I would highly recommend this course!  On your way out, stop by the local burger joint for the most amazing burger and homecut fries ever!

Sorry no pictures, I was having too much fun!

Number 26: See a Cirque du Soleil show this summer and Number 6: Vacation in another country

While in Vermont this summer, some friends and I decided to take a quick trip up to Montreal.  
We explored the city for the day at a park on the top of Mount Royal.  The view from the hill was impressive. 
 We ate sushi at a cute little sushi place that had sushi happy hour.  Then we walked around to some of the street fairs that they had in the city.  There were several that day and many streets were blocked off.  We spent quite a bit of time at a festival where they poured big piles of dirt in the street and had bmx bikers and skate boarders and such.
 We made our way down to the river front to complete our stroll and head toward the Cirque du Soliel tent.
 The show was called Curios.  It was a new show that just came out.  The cirque headquarters are located in Montreal.  All new shows premier there.
 It was a steampunk based story about weird and curious things.  
 We had tons of fun!  I always feel a little better about the world after I see a Cirque show.
 Then we walk around the cobble stone street down in the Old Montreal section of town and had a bite to eat.  It was crazy crowded, but still alot of fun.  I especially loved hanging out with friends.
We only spent a day in Montreal, so it wasnt a full vacation, but I've got a vacation already booked for spring break to Mexico.  Between the two trips, I think I can cross off Number 6. 

Number 21: Make my own infused water

 I started making infused water after I added it to my birthday list.
 Now it has become part of my weekly routine.
 I get a new flavor ready every weekend.
 Then, I drink it throughout the week.
 I just add more water when it gets low.
And start over with a fresh pitcher full each weekend.  Love it!

Number 20: Summit a mountain

 While visiting Vermont this summer, some friends of mine knew one of my goals was to summit a mountain.
 Chris and Erin are pretty avid hikers, so they also knew that I was not in the best of shape to be summiting really tall mountains like they do.
 They suggested Mt. Philo, just south of Burlington.  We took a drive out with the dogs one fine evening and climbed up the 968ft peak.  I know...a baby mountain...but still a mountain, ok?
 We had a beautiful view of the Champlain Valley from above.
 And the dogs got some good exercise too!
Next summer, I'll shoot for something over 1000 ft :)

Number 18: Double my savings cushion

Thanks to a resigning bonus last month and a deferment by my student loans for two months while they processed my loan forgiveness application, I have officially doubled my savings cushion!

Further good financial news...
I received a loan forgiveness of $17,500 off my student loans for working as a science teacher for 5 years in a Title 1 school.

I am really close to paying off both my Ohio house and one of my credit cards (number 2 on my bday list).

I've got a roommate this year who is splitting half of the costs and saving me at least $1000 per month!!!

I'm still working my second job at the college one night each week, which is earning me a little extra to put toward my financial goals as well.

Feeling really positive about my financial future :)

Number 19: Finish the Canon of Sherlock Holmes and the Anne of Green Gables series

I enjoyed both the Sherlock Holmes stories and the Anne of Green Gables stories, although they were very different.  

I enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories, because each one was really very independent of the others.  I could listen to each "episode" with another person while traveling in the car and they could listen along without missing anything.  There was an over arching story of Prof. Moriarti and the "ring of crime" that you could follow throughout all of the stories, but it really is not a predominant part of any of the individual tales.  The relationship between Holmes and Watson was always the most interesting part to me.  Holmes is very much like an autistic savant.  He is a difficult person to interact with socially, but Watson is his steadfast friend, confidant, and partner.  They often exchange fun banter in an old-english kind of way.   Below, I have copied and pasted the whole list of S.H. stories so you can see just how many there are.  I was surprised when I found out.

The Anne of Green Gables novels were also very good, particularly the first three or so.  After that, they seemed to get a little forced.  Anne grew into adulthood and her life got predictable and pretty boring.  In total, I read books 1-5, which are all the books before Anne has children and the books become predominantly about her children.  I liked the homey stories of Anne's childhood and the interesting peek into rural Canadian life in the early 1900's.  When I read stories like these, I often feel as if I really should have been a part of that era.  

The Cannon of Sherlock Holmes


Here is the list of the four novels of the canon:
  1. A Study in Scarlet (published 1887)
  2. The Sign of the Four (published 1890)
  3. The Hound of the Baskervilles (serialised 1901–1902 in The Strand)
  4. The Valley of Fear (serialised 1914–1915)

Short stories

The 56 short stories are collected in five books:
  1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (published 1892)
    1. "A Scandal in Bohemia"
    2. "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League"
    3. "A Case of Identity"
    4. "The Boscombe Valley Mystery"
    5. "The Five Orange Pips"
    6. "The Man with the Twisted Lip"
    7. "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle"
    8. "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"
    9. "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb"
    10. "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor"
    11. "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet"
    12. "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches"
  2. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (published 1894)
    1. "Silver Blaze"
    2. "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" (this story is included as part of His Last Bow in lifetime editions of the collection)
    3. "The Adventure of the Yellow Face"
    4. "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk"
    5. "The Adventure of the Gloria Scott" (Holmes's first case, described to Watson)
    6. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" (another early case, told by Holmes to Watson)
    7. "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire"
    8. "The Adventure of the Crooked Man"
    9. "The Adventure of the Resident Patient"
    10. "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter" (Mycroft appears for the first time)
    11. "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty"
    12. "The Final Problem" (Watson reports the death of Holmes)
  3. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (published 1905)
    1. "The Adventure of the Empty House" (the return of Holmes)
    2. "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder"
    3. "The Adventure of the Dancing Men"
    4. "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist"
    5. "The Adventure of the Priory School"
    6. "The Adventure of Black Peter"
    7. "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton"
    8. "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"
    9. "The Adventure of the Three Students"
    10. "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez"
    11. "The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter"
    12. "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange"
    13. "The Adventure of the Second Stain"
  4. His Last Bow (published 1917)
    1. "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" (originally published simply as "A Reminiscence of Mr Sherlock Holmes," this story is made up of two parts given separate titles: "The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro")
    2. "The Adventure of the Red Circle"
    3. "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" (Mycroft appears)
    4. "The Adventure of the Dying Detective"
    5. "The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax"
    6. "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot"
    7. "His Last Bow" (told in third-person)
  5. The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (published 1927)
    1. "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" (told in third-person)
    2. "The Problem of Thor Bridge"
    3. "The Adventure of the Creeping Man"
    4. "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"
    5. "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs"
    6. "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"
    7. "The Adventure of the Three Gables"
    8. "The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier" (narrated by Holmes; Watson does not appear)
    9. "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane" (narrated by Holmes; Watson does not appear)
    10. "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"
    11. "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger"
    12. "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place"
Lucy Maud Montgomery's books on Anne Shirley:
#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's age
1Anne of Green Gables190811—16
2Anne of Avonlea190916—18
3Anne of the Island191518—22
4Anne of Windy Poplars (US & Canada)
Anne of Windy Willows (Other)
5Anne's House of Dreams191725—27
6Anne of Ingleside193934—40
The following books focus on Anne's children, or on other family friends. Anne appears in these volumes, but plays a lesser part.
#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's age
7Rainbow Valley191941—43
8Rilla of Ingleside192149—53
9The Blythes Are Quoted200940—75
Anne Shirley features in one story (and is referenced in other stories) in each of the following collections:
#BookDate publishedAnne Shirley's age
Chronicles of Avonlea1912approx. 20
Further Chronicles of Avonlea1920approx. 20
The prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), was written by Budge Wilson with authorization of heirs of L. M. Montgomery.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Number 10: Finish Atlas Shrugged

When I was a teenager, I found The Fountainhead on a bookshelf in my greatgrandmothers house.  I picked it up and read it, although it was long and philosophical.  I enjoyed the story and the philosophy behind it.  Rand's philosophy is called Objectivism.  I've always wanted to read Atlas Shrugged, but was it was a daunting task due to the size of the book and the brain power required to read it.  This book is not a "fluff" book.  It is not an easy read.  You must think it through while reading.  

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand

In the book, Rand describes a dystopian society where the government officials had all the power, but no brains.  They make decisions based on their own gain and are considered loofers on the societies capital.  They over regulate everything and institute very "robin hood" like policies of taking from the rich and giving to the poor (themselves excluded).  In many ways, the government system reflects similarities with the corruption of some government officials today.  In response to the pressure from society to give everything away including their minds (ideas), all the best industrialists of the time "go on strike" by leaving society and forming a new town deep within the mountains where they cannot be found.  The economy collapses and the "moochers" dont know what to do about it. The title of Atlas Shrugged refers to the mythical Atlas who carries the world on his shoulders.  The only way to teach people to be self dependent is to shrug off their load and let them carry it for themselves.

The book is also a love story and a science fiction story.  The philosophy is interesting.  Her perspective and the way it is presented are unique.

Number 34: Add some colorful sand to my collection

I collected 7 new jars of Hawaii sand for my collection.
 First, the beach at Ho'okena, which was our first campsite.  The sand was a dull grey color.
Then, Kealakekua recreation area.  The sand was a dark grey.
 On the trail out to the green sand beach, there was alot of rusty orangish red colored sand.
 And then, of course, the famous green sand beach which is really more of an olive color from the olivine mineral in the rocks at that site.

Just as famous is the black sand beaches of Hawaii.  These are made from lava rocks that are crushed by the waves and very course and uncomfortable to walk on.

While horseback riding in Waipio Valley, I noticed alot of sand in the streams, but we couldnt get off of our horses, so I asked the guide to collect some for me.  The sand was grey.
Hapuna beach had the finest, softest sand I've ever seen.  Very light and powdery and tan colored.
Here are my samples on the shelf in my classroom, where my students have already been enjoying taking a look at them.

Number 29: Camp at a National Park

 For spring break this year, a fellow teacher and I camped our way around the big island in Hawaii.  One of our camping stops was Volcanoes National Park. 
 We camped two nights at the Namakanipaio Campground located in the park.
 The Nene is Hawaii's state bird and apparently endangered.  There were signs everywhere about the bird, but we one saw them once near the shore.  The signs at the campground assured us that there would be plenty of bird all over the site, and that we should not feed them or harass them in anyway.  
 We drove the bottom half of the park road on the first day in the park to see the most recent lava flow.  We did not do the 13 mile round trip strenuous hike over lava to see the actual currently flowing lava, but we were ok with that.
 We drove the top part of the park on the second day and we went late in the day so that we could see the orange glow of the lava lighting up the sky from within the crater.
 We could even see the glow from out campground out the window of our tent.

Although we never saw the elusive Nene, we did see plenty of free range chickens!!!

First thing of the list...done!!!