Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for Zoo

ahhh it's April 30th and today's letter is Z.  It's end of the road for my A to Z blogging challenge.  I'm going to miss it, I really enjoyed it.

But before we say goodbye to this journey, I'm going to take you on a tour of some Zoos of New Jersey.

First stop is the Popcorn Zoo

The Popcorn Zoo is more then just a zoo, it's a rescue zoo.  That means most of the animals were someone's pet and they were rescued.  Some were wildlife that needed help.  Located in Forked River (pronounced fork-ed - two syllables) NJ, visiting the Popcorn Zoo is a great way to spend some time. 

And there is a shelter on premise with dogs & cats an other animals up for adoption.

Here are some pictures of the rescued animals I took during one trip or another.

Leaving the Popcorn Zoo, we head even further south and hit the Cape May Zoo.  This is probably the best zoo in the world.  Not because it's got the best animals in the world, but because it is a free zoo.  They ask for a donation, and you should donate, but it is not mandatory. 

It's ALLLLL the way down at the southern end of the parkway.  Down where the parkway has traffic lights.  Until I was in my late 20's I had NO idea the Garden State Parkway had traffic lights until I went down to Cape May!

Hey there is a link to the zoo map!

Here are some pictures that I took at the Cape May Zoo in November of 2008.

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There are a TON of more animals then I have posted here, like zebra & gi-raffs.  This is just a small sample.

If we head all the way up to North Jersey (Essex County), we can visit the Turtle Back Zoo.  Even though I've been there a ton of times, I don't appear to have any pictures on my computer. I probably have real printed pictures, in a box, somewhere..  LOL  I do have this one.  This is my now 12 yo son when he was just a little over 2.

There is one last zoo I'd like to mention, even though I don't have any pictures of it.  It is the teeny tiny zoo in Johnson Park, in Piscataway - where I grew up.  This park get honorable mention because of a bear they used to have there.  His name was Monty and I remember him because the sign in his cage said he was born in the winter of 1969, and so was I.  Monty passed away a few years ago, but I'll always have fond memories of Johnson Park & Monty the bear. 

Just like I'll have fond memories of being a part of this challenge! 

I love this award.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yellow

Yellow is one of my favorite colors, along with Purple.  

Especially when it comes to seeing the bright yellow sun when I have beach writings to do. 

For, what seemed like ALL of April, the yellow sun was hiding.  It would come out once in a while, IMHO - not enough.

But now we are moving on to May and we can say goodbye to the April Showers and look forward to the May Flowers. (which bring pilgrims, according to my 9yo son) 

It also means that the April blogging challenge is coming to an end. 

I've really enjoyed the challenge of blogging every day has brought. Let's face it, some letters are very hard, including today's letter Y.

I've got something for Z, but Y has proved to be hard. 

So for you, I present the Yellow Sun. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is your eXpertise?

Yep, totally cheating and using a word that doesn't start with the letter X.  

I thought about doing X marks the spot or show you how sometimes I offer eXclusives to my facebook fans.  But I've decided to share something about me with you, and hopefully you'll share your eXpertise with me. 

I am an Elearning Specialist.

I am an eXpert Elearning Specialist.

What does that mean?  
It means that for the last almost 5 years, I have been doing anywhere from 4 to 8 online training classes a week. I once read an article about an "online meeting expert" that got that title from hosting 1 meeting a week for a year.  I guess that should jump me from eXpert to Guru. LOL

And I love doing it.  First of all I will talk to anyone.  When I first started dating my husband, we were in some store when I started talking to the clerk.  He asked me "Do you talk to anyone?" 

Yes, yes I do.  You never know what information you will get from that person, or what you can give them.  Perfect example. I just came back from the store getting milk.  The guy behind me in line was being chatty so I chatted back.  Turns out he is a hardwood floor specialist and I really really need my hardwood floors refinished.  So I got his business card.  It may be a while before I call him, but I have his card and I will call him first. 

This helps a LOT when I'm doing my online training class because I can not see my students.   So I need to have the ability to pull information from them.  And we don't just talk about what they do or the class material.  Sometimes we go off in totally different directions.
And I've also learned how to corral the students back to the topic. That can be really hard, but it can be done. 

But what makes me an Elearning eXpert is I make the learning eXperience fun and interesting.  I've never had negative feedback (other then 1 who said I talk to fast, sorry it's a Jersey thing) and usually my comments are about how I made online learning fun and interesting. 

And I'm not teaching something that is eXciting...  I'm teaching corporate users how to use the software to host online meetings.

I love my job and the company I work for.  But I'm starting to wonder if maybe my eXpertise can be utilized better.  Maybe I could consult with other companies on how to make their training programs better.  How to save money by hosting live training classes online vs. traveling all over the country to host classes. 

I believe the first step would be to start networking...  again not a problem because I am an eXpert at talking to anyone. 

I won't stop doing my beach writing.  I love it too much to give it up.  But maybe I should share my status of Elearning Guru with others..  It's something to think about. 

What are you an eXpert at?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Willfull Blindness

I heard this expression this morning and had no idea what they were walking about, so I stopped and listened (it was a commercial, I wasn't eavesdropping!)

Basically it's similar to burying your head in the sand. 

Hey it's actually a legal term!  I had no idea! 

is a term used in law to when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable.

I had no idea!

The commercial this morning was talking about it in reference to not opening your credit card bill! (been there, done that) 

I was thinking of it in another way.  

Summer starts in just about 8 weeks. 
54 days from today

Are you ready?  

Even though I have been actively trying to lose weight, I've only lost 11lbs since the beginning of the year.  I've lost 61 over all, but it has slowed down BIG TIME since I'm getting closer to a healthy weight.

I'm still overweight though.  According to the BMI calculators, I need to lose 10 more pounds to be considered a healthy weight for my height and age (I'm 41).

At this rate, I don't think I'm going to make that goal in 8 weeks.  

So do I just turn my attention somewhere else and pretend there is nothing I can do?  (willfull blindness)
Or do I change what I'm doing?

I change. I started working out. I will do some sort of exercise every day. 

Yesterday I walked the beach for a little bit waiting for the fog to burn off so I could do some beach writings

Today I did Level 1 of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I'm sure I'm going to be sore tomorrow, I haven't been working out lately. 

But summer is just 8 weeks away.  There isn't any time to bury my head in the sand!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins
Other reasons not to wear shorts.

Thankfully I do not have have Varicose veins.  But recently I was reading a post on a message board about wearing shorts or no sleeve shirts.  Varicose veins was pretty much the #1 reason most women gave for not wearing shorts. 

#2 was being over weight.  "No one wants to see my fat arms"

It made me feel bad for those people who felt they can't be comfortable in hot weather because of their preconceived notion of what other people think.

Honestly, unless you're wearing something 10 sizes too small, no one really notices what you are wearing, much less any imperfections.  

Everyone else is as self conscious of themselves as you are of yourself. 

Trust me on this one, we all have imperfections

Even when I get to my goal weight, I will never be able to wear anything that exposes my stomach because of scars on my skin from my HS. But that is not going to stop me from wearing a bathing suit, or go swimming!  And even though I have a big scar on my thigh, I'm not going to suffer in the heat by wearing pants when it's over 75 degrees!

And neither should you.  

Be yourself, don't suffer from the heat, WEAR SHORTS!

Summers coming!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Under the Boardwalk

This song always makes me think of summer

I am SO ready for summer.  8 weeks from tomorrow.

No more going to the beach bundled up like the kid from "A Christmas Story"
Wearing flip flops & shorts
Enjoying my time at the beach doing the beach writings instead of freezing my patootie off! LOL

Bring on SUMMER!!!!
Don't forget to visit my shop!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

What Exit?

Turnpike AKA the New Jersey Turnpike.  

What Exit?
You know what my favorite answer is to that question is?

Flip em the bird & say Exit #1!


 The ride along the Jersey Turnpike is really rather interesting because if you travel the length of it, you get quite a good cross section of the state. 

Hop on from Delaware & you're going to see a lot of trees.  Probably the first 1/3 of the state you're going to see nothing but trees.

Exit 2 will take you to Atlantic City. It's about 50 miles east.

But after that you'll start seeing sign to the shore, take one because the Jersey Shore is beautiful. 

After that you'll start seeing signs for Great Adventure.  Around the rest of the country, these parks are know as Six Flags.  Here it's Great Adventure, don't screw it up.

Keep going north and you'll go through East Brunswick/New Brunswick, home of Rutgers, the State University of NJ.  Also, those two tall buildings on your right, my Daddy built those.  (he was an Ironworker before he retired)

From this point on, most of the Turnpike goes through the more commercial part of the state.  Edison, Carteret, Rahway, etc. 

Pretty soon, depending on which way the wind is blowing, you'll either see plans landing or taking off.  

As you enter Newark, NJ you are in the only place in the world that all 4 modes of transportation run in the same North/South direction.  Trains, cars, planes & a bit east, boats. 

The big blue building on your right is Ikea.  That place is ALWAYS packed, always!

You're going to start seeing the New York skyline now.  If you've never seen it from NJ, trust me when I tell you it looks a LOT different since 9/11/01.

Look left & you'll see the new Giants Stadium.  Pretty, isn't it.  It's going to host the Superbowl in 2014! Go Giants.  

And that funky colored building, is Xanadu.  Ugliest building I've never seen.

You're getting to the end of the of the Turnpike now and are starting to see signs for New York.  The Holland Tunnel will take you to the Village, the Lincoln tunnel will take you to Times Square and the George Washington Bridge will take you to Yankee Stadium

Thanks for visiting our state!  Hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Secrets of Sandy Hook

Want to hear something you probably didn't know...

New Jersey has a nude beach.  Yep, on one of the beaches in Sandy Hook, you can go sunbathe, swim, play volleyball completely in the buff!

It is the largest clothing optional beach on the east coast.

Please excuse my inner 12 yo, but I find it amusing that the beach used to be a part of Fort Hancock.  (tee hee).

R is for Rest Areas!

LOL I'm a little behind here.  I knew what I wanted to post about on Thursday, but just never got the chance. 

So here it is. 

Did you know that former Governor Christine Whitman named a rest area after Howard Stern?

Yep in February of 1995 Governor Whitman kept her campaign promise she made to Howard Stern and named a rest area after him after he helped her get elected.  There was a sign in the rest room of a caricature of Howard peeking out from behind an outhouse.  That sign was stolen so many times, that they just stopped putting it back up.

Only in New Jersey!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Quaint Little Town of

Bound Brook.

In honor of the letter Q, I bring you a story that has stuck in my head since it happened.

Late summer of 1999, New Jersey was suffering from it's worst drought in 30-40 years.  Then we got hit with what was left over of Hurricane Floyd.  While we did not experience full hurricane force winds or even really that bad of a storm, it did a lot of damage due to flooding because the ground was so dry it could not absorb the water fast enough.  The town of Bound Brook was basically under water.  

It made the national news and it was a very sad story.  Some people lost everything.

But I will never forget when I heard the news reporter say  "the quaint little town of Bound Brook."  

I remember thinking "are you kidding me?"

Bound Brook has/had more bars & strip clubs per mile then any other town in NJ, probably in the country!  There are industrial and commercial buildings all over the town.  If you looked up the definition of quaint in the dictionary, Bound Brook would come up as the direct opposite of quaint.

New Hope, now that's a quaint town.  As is Cape May.  But Bound Brook.  Umm No.

BTW as I was looking around for other people's stories about Bound Brook, I came across this one, it's got some great pictures of the flooding from Floyd if you want to see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P - How to make Photo Glass Pendants

One day I was reading my sister in law's blog  where she had blogged about using her photography to make pendants.  I thought that was as cool as can be, so I followed to link to see how to do it. 

Even though I sell these in my shop, I have no problem sharing how I make them.  It's not like you can't browse the web & figure it out anyway!

I was looking for something to sell at craft fairs and I thought it fit the bill perfectly. 

I started out using the landscape shots I took to make pendants. 

And then I moved to making Christmas ornaments

And then it just went from there!

This heart is customizable with initials or very short names!

This was a big hit for Valentine's Day this year

Just listed this one today.

I even made a few magnets.

And my favorite, Bridal Wine Charms!

And amazingly, all of these are available in my shop!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Ocean


2/3rds of the Earth's surface is covered in water, yet we know so little about it.

We've made it to the moon and back, yet still can't get down to the deepest depths of the ocean.  There are creatures living down there no human has ever seen.

As I stand on the beach doing my beach writings and look out over the horizon, I can't help be feel so small.  The ocean just goes on forever.

Watching the waves, knowing at any second the ocean can surge and take me out.  It makes me feel weak, yet strong at the same time.  Even though my Zodiac sign is Sagittarius, which is an fire sign, I feel the ocean feeds me.  Spending my mornings watching the sunrise, marveling how the birds skim the water as the fly by, it's my idea of heaven. 

I'm never scared when I'm at the beach, even when I'm the only one on the beach.  

What does scare me is what we humans are doing to the ocean.  While NJ has a bad rep for having dirty beaches, we really don't.  You don't have to walk through fields of dirty needles or other medical waste.  But there is garbage on the beach.  Sometimes I bring my sons with me to the beach and we collect the garbage.   Unfortunately our bag is always full when we leave and we don't get it all. 

So here is my new rule for you if you're going to share my ocean with me.

Whatever you take ON the beach, you take OFF the beach. 

Bottles, cans, wrappers, cigarette butts, everything. 

It's not very hard, there are garbage cans at the entrance to ever beach I've ever been on, use them.

Because even though the ocean seems vast and endless, it's not.  And it's our job to protect it.