Sunday, June 30, 2013

I love Michigan State University's Dairy Store!

I'm very happy (and proud) to say that I happen to have grown up close to one of the best ice cream stores ever (at least in my humble opinion.) If you are lucky enough to wind up in East Lansing Michigan,  go to Michigan State University's Dairy Store, where they make their own ice cream. I could swear that they have magical cows providing the milk for said ice cream.  I've gone there a lot with my family over the years and we've always enjoyed it very much.  This particular store has also proven that ice cream (or the pursuit of ice cream) can be good for one's health. It helped my mum get fit! My mum was dared to run from her gym to the Dairy Store (a distance of 5 miles.) So she trained hard and she and a friend jogged/ran to the store last summer. That was the longest distance my mum has run thus far and I was/am really proud of her! Plus, it's another reason why I love the Dairy Store (and ice cream of course!)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Oh where oh where have our little bags gone?

On a recent plane flight on U.S. Airways, I noticed that the company had an electronic service that allowed you to track your bags. At first I thought it would be a pretty handy thing to have since you'd always know where your bags were. I got to thinking though that if my  bag didn't arrive at my destination with me, I think the knowledge that said bag had somehow wound up in  some out of the way place like Timbuktu, might not make the situation any less irritating. Now, if they could make it so that your bags were always guaranteed to arrive at wherever it was you were actually going, then I'd be really impressed. As it stands, perhaps knowing the bag was in Timbuktu and not irrevocably lost would be slightly comforting. I guess there are ups and downs to every situation! Happy travels! 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite movie quotes

Since I like movies a lot, I was thinking of some of my favorite movie quotes and just for the heck of it I had a sudden urge to share them!
  • Babs: (Chicken from the movie Chicken Run, after realizing that the farmer isn't going to kill her.): All me life flashed before me eyes.[disappointed] It was really borin'! 
  • Veronica Fisher: (from the move The Good Old Summertime upon realizing the man that she's in love with is her formerly unknown secret admirer who she's been writing to throughout the movie.) Psychologically I'm very confused but personally I feel just wonderful! 
  • Ramses: (from the movie The Ten Commandments) So it shall be written! So it shall be done! (I think I only really watch that movie when they always play it on TV right before Easter just to watch him say that line!)
  • Edna: (from the movie The Incredibles) I never look back darling, it distracts from the now.
  • V: (from the movie V for Vendetta) Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. 
  • Maximus Decimus Meridius (from the movie Gladiator) Nothing happens to anyone that he is not fitted by nature to bear.
  • Eric Draven: (from the movie The Crow)  Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children.
  • Gandalf: (from the movie Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring): A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to!
  • John Clarke: (from the movie Calendar Girls)The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious. Then very quickly they all go to seed. Which makes it ironic my favourite flower isn't even indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire. I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.
  • Jenna Hunterson: (from the movie Waitress, writing a letter to her baby): Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that's all they do. They don't pull away. They don't look at your face. They don't try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness to it.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Despicable is the new funny!

Ok so I usually really don't like those ads that now seem to play before anything you decide to watch on the web but in some instances, I've actually grown to appreciate them funnily enough-especially when it comes to movie trailers. One of my favorites is for Despicable Me 2. I just think that the trailer was really funny -especially the little yellow Minions! Although in this movie, the main character Gru is induced to go straight and save the world instead of ruin it, it gets me that watching someone who's hell bent on doing crazy/diabolical things can be so damn funny! I realize it's a cartoon and cartoons by their nature make us laugh but I mean, living in a world where terrorism is global, it's kind of cool that we can make villains seem funny. To me it's another sign that terrorism can't really win the day and (at least in some instances) we can laugh in it's face! heh, heh, heh heh heeh!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

An umbrella that even makes the rain seem a bit more cheerful

Most of the umbrellas I've owned while living in Boston have routinely blown inside out, sprouted holes or just plain decided not to open and were eventually discarded. As it has  been rather rainy in Boston recently I'm very glad I still have two  umbrellas left-a plain black one (like a lot of people I guess) and a multicolored spotty one! If one could love an umbrella for me the spots win hands down! I like this umbrella particularly because:
  •  It serves its purpose well in keeping me dry.
  • Rain has a tendency to make me feel a tad down so seeing the spotty umbrella makes me smile and not mind the rain.
  • It often clashes spectacularly with many of the things I wear-I like this just because it shows spunk!
So you see, there's nothing like a spotty umbrella to brighten even a rainy day!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

19 places have now been established as having Outstanding Universal Value

If you're looking to fill up a bucket list, now there are 19 more options of places you should go see! UNESCO (United Nation's Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization-the UN wants the world to be more edumicated!) yesterday added 19 more countries to its list of World Heritage Sites (Places that are important to preserve because of the site's cultural or physical significance. Of the sites that were just named, 5 were naturally and 14 were culturally significant. Here are the places that made the new list:

Natural Sites:
  • El Pinacate and Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve
  • Mount Etna in Italy-Europe's largest active volcano
  • Mt. Fuji-highest mountain in Japan
  • Namib Sand Sea-costal desert in Namibia  
  • Xinjiang Tianshan -Mountain range on the boarder between China and Kyrgyzstan.
Historical Sites: 
  • Al Zubarah Archaeological Site-Qatar- Qatar's largest archeological site-excellent example of merchant town in the Gulf from the 18th/19th centuries
  • Ancient City of Tauric Chersonese and its Chora-Ukraine- Remains of a city founded by the Dorian Greeks in the 5th century BC
  • Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe-Germany- Largest European hillside park
  • Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces-mountain terraces that feed farming systems that nourish buffalos, cattle, ducks, fish and eel
  • Fujisan- Japan-sacred place and source of artistic inspiration 
  • Golestan Palace-Iran-Former royal complex in Qajar, Iran
  • Hill Forts of Rajasthan- series of six forts
  • Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong- monuments from the Koryo Dynasty from the 10th to 14th centuries
  • Historic Centre of Agadez (Niger)- Important crossroad for the caravan trade at the
    southern edge of the Sahara desert
  • Levuka Historical Port Town-First colonial capital of Fiji 
  • Medici Villas and Gardens-Tuscany, Italy-Gardens that represent the Medici family's influence on Italy
  • Red Bay Basque Whaling Station: Canada-16th century Basque whaling station
  • University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia-Portugal-public university established in 1290.
  •  Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine-Poland / Ukraine= Group of wooden Eastern Catholic/Orthodox churches
 Ultimately I think everything on the Earth is valuable and shouldn't be discounted.  I'm glad that UNESCO recognizes certain places in particular just to remind us that we live on a planet full of notable places!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Optimism is contagious-Positive!

Optimism is catching! Researchers at Notre Dame have found that students who had previously reported having a gloomy outlook but happened to have  been placed with a roommate with a more positive view on life, were more likely to report having a more positive outlook themselves after 6 months of living with their roommate. Those living with a more positive roommate in general also had a higher level of resilience- a stronger ability to bounce back when faced with a setback. The researchers even described it in terms of students "infecting" each other's personalities to cause them to become more positive or negative. They also came to the conclusion that gaining a positive outlook can be learned like a language. I realize that learning languages isn't always easy but I'm hoping that at least in terms of learning positivity this blog can act as a start! :)

To read the article I got the information from click here

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope? Well, why the heck not?

In case you missed it, a man named Nik Wallenda walked across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope this evening. A part of me is inclined to think he's crazy and yet I still watch him anyway. The slightly nutty side of me kind of wishes I could do something crazy like that so maybe I watch it so I can live vicariously through this guy while sitting on my bed quite comfortably.  Let's say though, for the sake of argument, someone actually did dare me to walk across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, this might be my thought process before I made a decision on the matter:

Thought 1: Heck no, I'm not doing it! I'm not all that well coordinated and I want live to be an old woman!
Thought 2: Well, then again, I'm all for living life to the fullest, maybe I could do it...if I practiced a lot (obviously on a much much much smaller distance from the ground!) Plus I'd have to get to a point where absolutely nothing could break my focus on something.
Thought 3: If Mr. Wallenda an do something like that and if people can do crazy things like skydive through the earth's atmosphere then there's really no limit to what people can accomplish if they want it badly enough.
Thought 4: Do I want it badly enough?
Thought 5: NO! I think I'll lie down now until any thoughts of walking on tightropes in general pass out of my head!

So even though I don't think I'd ever walk on a tightrope I want to congratulate Mr. Wallenda-I still wonder about his mental state but I'm still glad he followed his dream and achieved it!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

What makes a hero a hero?

Although I haven't seen Man of Steel yet, the fact that the movie already tops the box office somehow got me thinking about what makes a hero a hero? Is it their actions? The way they do things? How they inspire us? Maybe it's all of the above. In any case, the idea of a superhero movie also made me think about the people I consider to be heroes (both celebrity and in my life in general.) The people I'd call heroes include:
  • My family: I've written about them throughout this blog. I've always looked up to all of them, my siblings included. I love them all so very much. They've never stopped inspiring me.
  • My friends: They're like my family and their support (along with that of my family) has so often helped me to keep going when things were toughest.
  • My teachers-with patience and through having faith in my abilities they gave me the tools I needed to progress!
  •  Disability rights activists-more specifically Bill and Mary Lou Allan, Joe Bellil, John Winske, Colleen Flanagan, Allegra Stout, Marie Hennesey, Susan Welby, Hang Lee and Sandy Oh: I never thought I'd really get into activism until I met these people. They inspire me because they're really passionate about  a cause and they helped me to become even more passionate and involved in a cause I care about as well.
  • Christopher Reeve: (best known Superman actor) was and always will be Superman to me. Outside of the character, he himself as a man emphasized what a superhero is someone who is courageous, and inspires people to keep going even when things are really hard. He didn't let even paralysis stop him- he showed that people can accomplish whatever they set out to do in life as long as they're willing to put forth the effort, regardless of the circumstances they face. Even though he's no longer alive the things he represented still inspire me.
  • Dr. Ben Carson: A world renowned neurosurgeon who treated me at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. He's famous for separating conjoined twins and saving their lives.
  • Members of the armed services: they keep us safe!
  • Ellen DeGeneres: She's able to use her TV show to help people and discuss causes she cares about. Plus she spreads a lot of joy to people as she's just so funny!
  • Edna from The Incredibles: I know she's not a real person but I just think she's awesome-she saves people with her advice! Case in point: "NO CAPES!" (watch her advice giving powers here.) -I realize that Superman has a cape but I figure there have to be exceptions to rules!
  • Neville Longbottom: I know he's not real either but he represents so much of what I hope to continue to be: funny,  brave, eccentric, and smart! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

A solstice is something to smile about!

It's the summer solstice! I don't quite know why I'm so excited about this but I am! I like the fact that it's the day with the most light in it, it just makes things seem more cheerful to me. Plus according to the World Health Organization (as of 2007) approximately 1 billion people don't get enough vitamin D. If you do get enough it can help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon, breast and prostate cancers. So if you haven't already, I hope you can go out and enjoy some extra sun!  

If you'd like to read more about the benefits of vitamin D click here.
If you'd like to read more about vitamin D deficiency click here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hear, Hear!

It's truly amazing what science and technology can do for people. It can even help completely deaf people hear.  For example, today  a 3-year-old boy from New York named Grayson Clamp was able to hear for the first time with the help of a device that is placed on his ear and sends sounds through wires through the skull. Those wires connect to an implanted electrode in the area of the brain stem that processes hearing. There was something so powerful about the boy's story and the expression of shock he had on his face when he heard sound for the first time. It reminded me of a Youtube video (below) that I saw of a woman hearing for the first time in a similar fashion. It really showed how having the ability to hear really opens up the world to people. I never really stopped and thought about what it would be like not to hear. I realize people compensate for it but I'm still glad that now we have the necessary devices to help people gain a new lease on life through finally being able to hear.  Although it does make me curious what people would want to hear if they'd been given the ability to hear for the first time. Any thoughts?

To read more about Grayson Clamp click here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

You too could help save the world like Bruce Willis

I once saw the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis saves the world by drilling a bomb into an asteroid 5 seconds before it destroys the earth. In all the time I was watching it I didn't really consider it was possible that some big rock could end us all in reality. Now NASA is looking for people in real life to search for asteroids that could destroy the earth and for asteroids that scientists can study. This public search effort is one of a series of "grand challenges"-which makes the whole thing sound so....grand. Congress also has an interest in this since in 2005 a law was passed that said that NASA by 2020 had to find 90% of space objects that were big enough to take out a city (140 meters across). Not to worry though, according to NASA, asteroids that are more than 1 kilometer in diameter only hit the earth once every few 1,000 or so years. Although this still sort of freaks me out a little, I think it's cool that NASA is reaching out to us non-science whiz people to look for these things. So move over Mr. Willis, I wanna save the world too!

To read the article I got this information from click here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Insight from fortune cookies

I went to a Chinese restaurant with some friends earlier tonight and of course the meal ended with fortune cookies. I managed to get a cookie that contained the message above. I realize that most messages in fortune cookies are generalized enough so they can apply to most situations. However this one got me thinking of how surprises make life worth living, at least for me. Just think how boring things would be if everything was predictable. For one thing, it would take all the fun out of getting fortune cookies-and let's face it, what's a Chinese take-out meal without fortune cookies? (A sadly-lacking-in- fortune-cookies- Chinese take-out!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

One big rainbow to celebrate joy!

It was raining this afternoon and then all of a sudden I saw this huge rainbow. I can't remember the last time I saw a rainbow directly in nature. It was as if there was something special about it. I tried to take a picture of it but I couldn't capture the whole thing. It was like some sort of symbol of joy, just so big that you can't contain it. Somehow it was as if it was saying "happiness does come and when it comes you have to stop and enjoy it!" So I've posted the picture below for everyone because joy should be shared!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Things I Iove best about my Dad

Because it's Father's Day and it seems to be a good day to talk about one's Dad, this post is dedicated to my dad and the things I love best about him.

These things that I love best about my Dad include ( but are not limited to) the following.
  •  I don't know quite what it is about my Dad's pancakes but they taste so great! (Especially with blueberries!). They are so good to the point that I can't eat any other pancakes without comparing them to his!
  • He helped me learn to ski, which is something that I'm very grateful for. My favorite advice from him about that: "Margaret, you just have to get down the mountain, that's all." It's rather good advice about life in general.
  • He encouraged/made me go to bed on time as a kid, even when I stayed up late doing homework he told me to go to bed and he'd get up early to wake me up so I'd finish it on time anyway and it always got done. I'm grateful for this because getting enough sleep helped me get better grades.
  • One of my favorite memories involving my dad is when my brother, my sister and I were really little and he'd come home from work, he'd shout: "I'm home!" and we'd rush down the hall by the door and hug him as though he'd been away for a year rather than 8 hours. Then he'd give all of us including mum a kiss and everything would be right with the world.
  • He introduced me to classic movies such as Hitchcock which I grew to love and they are now something we can watch together as a family and all enjoy.
  • He showed me how to drive a tractor which was/is fun!
  • Best advice ever from my Dad: keep a stiff upper lip when things aren't going so well!
  • When I was feeling down if/when something bad happened, I really liked it when he said he wished he could wave a magic wand and make things better. Somehow it did make me feel better just because it was a further reminder that my parents were always rooting for me.
  • He helped make it possible for me to have a really good education which I think has made my life better.
  • He's always done everything he can to make sure I, and Mum, my sister and my brother are all provided for, which is something (like everything else I've listed) for which I'm infinitely grateful.
 I love my Dad for all these things but most of all, I love my Dad just simply because he's my Dad! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

To eat or not to eat a muffin

Today I made some banana chocolate chip muffins for my roommates just because I like baking and I like my roommates. The only thing now is that there's only one left!  I don't know what it is about there being only one piece left of a food item whether it's pieces of cake, muffins, cupcakes or whatever, I always feel weird about taking the first or last piece. It just makes me feel so dang awkward. Anyway, my thought process about this last solitary muffin is as follows: (Felt like sharing it to let off some steam.)

Thought 1: I want to eat the muffin but I'm trying to put myself on a diet not to eat sweet stuff. (The diet thing is not going so well but it's the thought that counts, right?)
 Thought 2:  I don't know if my roommates want it. 
Thought 3: I could just go ask them if they want the muffin.
Thought 4: If I ask if they want the muffin they'll probably just say no because then they'll know I want to eat the muffin! I think I'm really over thinking this!
Thought 5: Oh for goodness sakes, I left the muffin in our kitchen so anyone can take it. If it's still there tomorrow I could just not argue with myself anymore (because arguing with anyone even myself makes me tired) and ask my roommates if they want it. Then if they say they don't want it I'll break my diet for 1 day, get myself out of this intense internal struggle and eat it! Sounds like a plan, finally! I guess I'll just have to see what happens tomorrow!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mariachis can sing the national anthem too!

I just read a story on NPR's website about a boy named Sebastien de la Cruz who got a lot of negative flak for singing the National Anthem in a mariachi costume at an NBA game. In response, he was invited back to sing it again. It got me that if he'd been wearing a Spurs jersey or something I don't think people would have said too much about it. Anyway, I still thought it was really brave that Mr. Cruz was willing to recognize his heritage while also showing that he always has been American. Like many,  I applaud this guy for coming back and singing it again in his costume. It makes me happy to know that despite any negativity that might exist in our world, there are still people that are willing to stand up for what's right and ask the kid to sing again. I hope he keeps on singing because as Shakespeare says in one of his plays: "If music be the food of love, play on!" and I think a little more love in our society would never go amiss! 

To see a clip of  Sebastien de la Cruz singing the national anthem see below.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Which came first the chicken or the egg? Well the egg I guess-apparently we don't need chickens!

Now people can officially have faux eggs to go with their faux turkey. (Not that that's the greatest combination of foods but I suppose if you're really committed to eating faux things then you might as well have a little variety to spice things up a bit.) In any case, scientists have found that we might run out of eggs pretty soon. According to the UN the demand for eggs will reach 38 million tons by 2030 and apparently even Bill Gates is worried the world's poor little chickens won't be able to keep up and meet demand. This may result here

So in order to prevent mass panic among chickens this company in San Francisco has created what it calls "Beyond Eggs." These "eggs" are made out of ingredients such as ground peas and sorghum (a type of grain). Apparently when baked in cookies people can't tell the difference. (Mind you, if you put enough chocolate in something, lots of things taste good!)  The company has also made mayonnaise and salad dressing. I haven't personally tried a "Beyond Egg" but I guess if we actually do run out of our feathered friends at least we'll have something to remember them by! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sen. Kaine habla en Español

Two days ago Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) gave a full 14 minute speech in Spanish about immigration reform. In his speech he discussed the importance of comprehensive reform and gave examples of how people could be helped by this reform as well as its historical foundation. The immigration debate aside, what I really liked about the speech was that at least to me it shows that the Senate and the government in general can and should speak for all people in this country, even people who might not speak English. I think what makes this country great is its diverse population and I think this speech supports that idea through recognizing the value of speaking another language. Since I like singing these ideas got me thinking that if we all always sang the same tune (e.g. spoke the same language all the time) then there wouldn't be as much harmony and beauty in our society and I like living in a society that's really harmonious!

To hear Senator Kaine's full speech see below.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Favorite Kids' Books

Since it's summer and I love reading I'm reminded of a program that the library by my family's house had to encourage kids to read. Basically, if you read a certain amount of books and tracked how much you read on a form you got prizes based on how much you read. I think the program is still going. Anyway, thinking of this program got me thinking about books I liked as a kid. I post them here in the hopes that it will intrigue others/help inspire them to read more.
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry-it's a fictional story about how a Jewish family escapes Nazi persecution during the occupation of Denmark with the help of another Danish family. I liked this book as although the subject matter is serious it does have a happy ending and is educational. 
  • The Railway Children-E. Nesbit-Three children and their mother move to the English countryside from their former home in London after their father is mysteriously taken away. The children have various adventures involving a railway that is by their new home. I liked it especially because my grandad worked for British Rail. His claim to fame was that he once saved a train by pulling the emergency pull line to stop the train when a small fire broke out in the cabin he was in. When my grandad was interviewed afterwards his only comment was: "I've always wanted to pull the fire alarm!"
  • The Ramona Quimby series-Beverly Cleary- A series of books about the adventures of an 8-year-old girl named Ramona and her adventures with her family and friends as she grows up. I really identified with her as I had (and still like to think I have) an active imagination.
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw-Beverly Cleary-A boy writes letters to an author beginning with a class assignment. He continues writing to the author and telling him about his life. The author and the boy grow to be good friends and learn from each other. Writing letters is fun and the book is funny and poignant at the same time.
  • Matilda-Roald Dahl-A young girl who loves reading develops supernatural powers that allow her to move objects by telling them to move with her eyes. She uses this power to help her cope with living with her horrible family and to protect her teacher Miss Honey and classmates from her school's awful headmistress Miss Trunchbull. I loved the book because I too love reading and helping people and I also had really great teachers like Miss Honey. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Clash of the Titus!

On the Jimmy Kimmel show the other day was this little two-year-old boy named Titus who shot hoops with Shaquille O'Neil.  Titus shot from six feet away and  beat Shaquille 8-0. The fact that the little tyke is too adorable for words goes without saying. The NBA better watch out!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

There are some sweet toothed and surprisingly religious thieves out there

Apparently, there are things that thieves steal more commonly than others and interestingly it's not always  cars or wallets. I found this article on about odd things that thieves steal. Here are some things that made the odd list:
  •  The Bible: Really? The Bible? Why steal that? There are people/churches that give it away for free. Can you imagine if a crook was jailed for that? I can just see the conversation it would lead to  in a jail cell if someone was actually incarcerated for stealing the Good Book: 
    • Crook 1: what are you in for?
    • Crook 2: Stealing the Bible
    • Crook 1: (laughing) Oh My God!
  •  Pregnancy tests: This is a tad more understandable as pregnancy tests can be pricy but then again there are clinics that offer them free and confidential.
  • Nutella: According to the article I read, in Niederaula, Germany 5,000 jars of Nutella were stolen from a  semi truck that was parked at a former train station over a weekend in April of this year. Someone really loved Nutella.
  • Hair extensions: Last Monday 2 thieves in Chicago stole $32,000 worth of extensions from a beauty supply store. This might be a strategic robbery as the crooks could then use the extensions to hide their identities from police-very spy movieish!
  • High end vacuum cleaners: There's nothing like a safe house that's clean!
  • Red Bull/general energy drinks: There must be some very hyper thieves out there.
  • Tide clothing detergent: I guess if you're already laundering money you might as well clean your clothes too!
To read the article I got all this from click here.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Oh the horror!

The idea that we don't have anything to fear except fear itself, should be comforting except when one  considers how they define "fear itself." What's interested me is that despite the negative aspects of being afraid, people still actually want to be afraid...for fun- which leads me to horror movies. In my case there are limits to how much I want to be scared by the silver screen.( I have to admit  I don't like slasher movies. It just doesn't seem like there's much point to watching people get hacked to death just for the heck of it. I think that dislike started when I watched the movie called Valentine about a guy who asks 4 women to dance with him at his school dance. Three of the women say they wouldn't dance with him and give some gruesome reason why they wouldn't e.g. I'd get my throat cut first-or something like that. When the guy grows up he kills off all of the women in they manner in which they said they wouldn't dance with him. The only woman he doesn't kill is the one that said she might dance with him but then didn't get the chance to do so because the dance ended. It was a very bloody movie and afterwards I never looked at school dances the same way again.) I guess then that movies I really like are thrillers, a liking I think I obtained from my parents who are big Hitchcock fans. Anyway, here are some of the horror/thriller movies I actually like:
  • The Birds: (Birds start attacking people in a small town) I remember vividly, one appropriately dark night in the middle of a torrential rainstorm watching Hitchcock's The Birds with my dad. I couldn't look at a bird for a couple days afterwards without fearing it was out to get me! 
  • Wait Until Dark (Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman who gets terrorized by 3 men who believe there's a doll with heroin stuffed in it hidden in her apartment. Fun fact: when talking about Oscar nominations he did/didn't receive Alan Arkin who plays the lead baddie in the movie said of his role in Wait Until Dark that: You don't get nominated for an Oscar for being mean to Audrey Hepburn.") I happened to watch this movie on Halloween with a large group of friends and there's a certain part in the movie where Audrey thinks she's finally killed Alan Arkin's character until he suddenly grabs her ankle. Just at the moment he did this we all screamed as if on cue. Then we all burst out laughing at ourselves.
  •  The Skeleton Key (Kate Hudson plays a hospice nurse for a man living in Louisiana. After acquiring a skeleton key to the man's attic, she finds a secret room within the attic where she discovers instruments for practicing voodoo. Violet-the man's wife says she has never been in the secret room, but that the items probably belonged to the original owners' two houseworkers, who practiced black magic and were lynched as a result. It turns out that Violet and another man named Luke Marshall were the two lynched house workers who somehow managed to inhabit the bodies of victims they lure into living in the house for a while and so they live forever.) I liked this movie because it kept me guessing to the end, even if I did feel it was a really messed up story when I finished watching it.
From watching these movies I learned that I'm glad I'm not a zookeeper so I don't have to deal with  birds all day long, I need to religiously watch where I step so people don't unexpectedly grab at my ankkes  and I should avoid entering spooky old houses as it leads to rather awful results. (Unless of course it's a haunted house on Halloween and I'm going there with a group of friends who would protect me!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

You're never too old to reach a dream!

 Today a 101-year-old woman in Iowa named Pearl Russ finally got her high school diploma! It was her dream to get it as she had to drop out of school after finishing 8th grade because her family didn't have the money for her to continue her education. I think at 101 years it's high time she got her wish. As she says: "It's never too late to do what you want to do, to find your goal and your drive in life."  Her story reminded me of another story I heard a while back about a man named Alfred  from Missouri who, at 70 years old decided to learn to read and write. (He was unable to go to school at all because he and his family had to work in the fields with his family to survive. Despite the adversity he faced he still kept a promise he made to his mother and successfully learned to read and write. What I think is great about these two individuals is not really their age but that out of all the dreams they could have, their goals related to education. They wanted it badly enough that even age couldn't stop them and I think it shows you never stop learning and that's why knowledge is awesome! 

To read more about Ms. Russ click here.
To learn more about Alfred click here

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sailing Sailing on the Charles River!

I was thinking of fun things people can do in the summer that are slightly out of the ordinary and for whatever reason I thought of sailing. One of the things I wanted to do in the past is to go sailing and I was finally able to go as part of a program started by Community Boating Inc one summer. Community Boating is a charity that helps people with disabilities go sailing as they have boats that are accessible to people in wheelchairs. I went sailing with a group called Act Today Influence Tomorrow (ATIT) in the summer of 2012.  ATIT is a group of young adults (age 16-24) from the Boston area who do projects to help other people with disabilities. We were all only asked to pay $1 each for the trip. Each sailboat had a Community Boating worker who would steer the boat around the Charles River and teach us how to sail. The weather was really good and the Charles River is beautiful in summer so everyone had fun.

 I liked it most because it was something everyone in my group could do. If you do go with a group, taking a picnic like we did makes things even more fun! It was a totally new experience and it was something I’m really glad I did. Sailing (like all fun things) should be for everyone and this sailing program makes everyone able! To learn more about Community Boating Inc and download the application for their Universal Access Program please go to this website:  If you live in a state other than Massachusetts and still want to learn to sail, here are some other states that have sailing programs:

·  Arizona: Arizona State Sailing Team’s Adaptive Sailing Program (
·  Florida: Shake A Leg Miami: Adapted water sports for all. ( The Freedom Waters Foundation in Naples, Florida also has adaptive sailing (
·  Illinois: Judd Goldman Sailing Foundation (
·  Maryland: Chesapeake Region Access Boating in Annapolis. ( There is also the Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore (
·  New York: YKnot Sailing (free sailing for people with disabilities): (

For information about other fun kayaking/canoeing activities that are accessible please see this link:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What would make God laugh?

A group of children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples.. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: 'Take only ONE . God is watching.'
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large
pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples'

Read more:

I wonder what God would make of that little kid, I'd like to think the Man Upstairs has a pretty good sense of humor so maybe he'd laugh too!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An adventure!

My Great Adventure

Sometimes when things seem so dark
And I’m not always so sure where to go
I may not always go the right way
But somehow I know I’ll find the way back home 
Even if  getting there means I have to weather a storm

The way to go may not be the easiest or the happiest
It may not be the safest path to go
But if you’re going to have an adventure
I believe the safest way isn’t always the greatest way
It doesn’t necessarily help you grow

So I'll take that road less traveled 
As Mr. Frost suggests 
I'm up for an adventure
And I want it to be the best
Even if things get messy and my plans unravel 

There are so many places I want to see
So many things I want to be
So many people I hope to meet
Just to tell them that I care 
And that they mean a lot to me

I think the goal of my adventure
Is to help as many people as I can
And when I'm a wise ol' lady with dentures
I want to look back on my life and see 
That it was filled with all the love a heart could stand!

Monday, June 3, 2013

80 year olds rock...climb!

60 years ago on May 29th Sir Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay from Nepal made the first documented climb to the top of Mount Everest. What does being 80 have to do with that? Apparently, an 80 year old man from Japan named Yuichiro Miura (pictured above) made the same climb and finished on May 24, 2013. Mr. Miura said this would be his last climb of that mountain as he's already climbed it twice before. He is the oldest person to climb Everest. This proves that age doesn't have to limit people. Heck, if this man can climb mountains I think that if people want to do something enough, age shouldn't stop them!

On a slightly related note regarding Mt. Everest, when a friend of mine discovered that the world was supposed to end in 2012 she started to think up things she should do as a last hurrah- one of which was to climb Mt. Everest. I said I'd go with her as I'd feel bad about her going alone. She seemed to be quite serious about this goal except that she didn't precisely want to climb the mountain, she just wanted to get to the top. She intended to get to the top most likely by helicopter just so she (and I as her fan club) could stick a flag there to prove she'd been there and then get back on the helicopter and fly back down again quite comfortably. Since the world has miraculously kept on spinning despite what the Mayans predicted, my friend has yet to act on her goal of climbing Everest. Maybe when we're 80 we'll do it!

Yuichiro Miura
Yuichiro Miuramade the same climb over the week of May 19th 2013. Although
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay
Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - See more at:
Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - See more at:
Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - See more at:
Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - See more at:
Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay - See more at: