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

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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!!!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

34 things to do before I turn 35

  1. Lose 30 pounds
  2. Pay off a credit card
  3. Read 5 more books off this list
  4. Update my resume
  5. Volunteer for Librivox
  6. Vacation in another country
  7. Read at least 12 Books from the Bible (approx. 1/month)
  8. Publish my book
  9. Steam, hunt, dance, or some other cultural activity
  10. Finish Atlas Shrugged
  11. Visit a new place in Alaska that I've never been to
  12. Yoga once per week
  13. Attend church regularly
  14. Whiten my teeth
  15. Attend a roller derby meet
  16. Day hike the Appalachian Trail
  17. Ski at least 4 new trails
  18. Double my savings cushion
  19. Finish the Canon of Sherlock Holmes and the Anne of Green Gables series
  20. Summit a mountain
  21. Make my own infused water
  22. Read When Kids Cant Read
  23. Sew myself a wearable garment
  24. Thoroughly clean and detail my truck interior
  25. Renew my Alaska teaching license
  26. See Cirque du Soleil's Vareki this summer
  27. Disc Golf at one of the top ten
  28. Complete a 30 day ab challenge
  29. Camp in a National Park
  30. Teach Ryder to roll over 
  31. Try 3 new chambord recipes
  32. Visit a state I've never been to
  33. Make a rip rug
  34. Add some colorful sand to my collection

Friday, January 31, 2014

Number 16: Update my vacation journal and photo albums

Since my freshman year of college, I've been keeping all my pictures in a yearly photo album.  I used the big three ring albums and had my film developed a roll at a time so when I inserted the photos they were always in order.  And then came the digital photography.  I resisted digital for awhile because I always liked the quality of film better, but as digital cameras got better and more convenient, my resistance didnt last long. 

A few years ago, I saw that making photo books was approximately the same cost as just having the photos printed and buying an album.  I have to upload the photos to print them anyway, so decided to try the photo books instead.  And then I put it off and put it off.  For three years.  So, over Christmas break this year when we were ordering Avery's senior pictures online, I noticed they were having a buy 1, get 2 free special on photo books.  Perfect!  I was behind 3 years.  I got to uploading and creating and they turned out fantastic!  I love them!
Meanwhile, my vacation journal has not been updated for just as many years, maybe more.  So, I sat down with my iphoto open and started documenting my vacations in my journal.  My goal is to be finished updating it in time for my Hawaii trip next month so I can start fresh.  It's always so much better to write it down when it's fresh in your mind because you forget all the small details that make vacations so wonderful.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Number 3: Visit the southern hemisphere, go on a cruise, or get a tan over Christmas Break

I stayed in Bethel this year over Christmas break, so I bought a tanning package and got a tan.  Now I've been keeping up my tan a little so I'll be ready for the beach in Hawaii over spring break in a few weeks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Number 2: Volunteer somewhere/get involved in Bethel community

Can you imagine what being homeless would be like in a place like Bethel, Alaska?  The bitter cold.  The lengthy darkness.  The howling wind.  Sounds dismal.

In December, the Lions club in Bethel decided that they were going to address the problem of homelessness in Bethel by opening a homeless shelter called Bethel Winter House.  As of now, it will only run in the winter and is being housed on a month to month rotating schedule at various local churches.  It is completely run by volunteers and donation.

Since I love to cook, I decided to sign up to help with meals.  I am cooking for them most Mondays until they close at the end of March.  I get everything ready on Sunday, cook it Monday, and deliver it to the Winter House on Monday nights.  The guests have been very appreciative!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Number 21: Create 1 piece of art/craft each month

Plus, I made a zen doodled journal for a friend which had about 20 pieces in it and created a calendar using all of Avery seniors photos.  I also sewed and stuffed a dog bed for Ryder and made some homemade paper.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Number 18: Start sending birthday cards again

For years, I sent a birthday card to everyone I knew.  If I knew your birthday and your address, you were going to get a cards from me.  Because... doesnt everyone like getting mail on their special day, right?  And then, I got jaded.  I started to get selfish.  I started to think more about the fact that no one sent me cards for my birthday and I stopped caring about making other people happy.  I started to think about how everybody is taking the easy way out and just wishes you a happy birthday after facebook reminds them that it's your birthday and I figured nobody really cares anymore.

But I dont want to be jaded.  And I dont want to be selfish.  So, starting this January, I am back at it again!  I've sent out cards for January and am starting to get cards ready for February.  I'm coming around.  I'm figuring out that it's worth it to do something small, but special, to put a smile on another persons face.

Number 29: Visit the library more

I've visited the public library several times this year and checked out several books from the school library as well.  That's not alot of visits to the library, but it's more than previous years when it was none.  So, there's that.