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Monday, 28 October 2019

Back to school

Last week on Friday I went back to school - no, not as a student but as a substitute teacher. I have been appointed in that position at the Saint Johnsbury Academy, a prestigious 9 to 12-grade high school in the Northeast Kingdom - the far Northeast portion of Vermont, bordering the Canadian border.

This change so late in my life comes as a result of several different circumstances. Liz and I recently took ownership of a ranch-style house just five minutes from the Academy but frankly, I have become bored with being at home every day, and when the opportunity came up of being able to spend some time helping out at the Academy, I jumped at it. 

At the time of writing, I have sat in on two hour-long sessions of Grade 11 American History,
tow of Grade 12 English and two of Grade 11 English. The students are mostly American, but with a smattering of Chinese and other nationalities. 

The Academy offers a wide range of subjects and has a particularly wide range of the Arts, including  Visual Arts Courses comprising Foundations of Drawing and Painting, Anatomy and Figure Drawing, Printmaking, Photography, Fashion Design, Filmmaking, Digital Design, Clay, Sculpture, Water-based Painting, Oil Painting, Portfolio, AP Art, and Visual Art Capstone.

The Academy also offers Performing Arts Courses comprising Acting, Stagecraft, Popular Dance, Dance, Band, Jazz Band, Chorus, Strings, Guitar, Music Appreciation/Theory, and AP Music. I believe that the coming year will certainly not be boring,  

Saturday, 12 October 2019

The power of Positive Thinking

Much has been written in the past by many authors about Positive Thinking, and I would like to add my small contribution.  Does Positive Thinking actually work? Can your life be bettered by practicing it? The answer is “Yes, it can and it does”. I believe that Positive Thinking is directly related to the Quantum Theory – for the uninformed that is the science of physics, but at a sub-atomic level. You are probably unaware that millions of dollars are spent every year on Quantum Physics research, that there have been major breakthroughs in recent years in such subjects as c and in Quantum Computing.UU

The Quantum Theory is said to be linked to or responsible for a number of common phenomena. These include extrasensory perception, telepathy, telekinesis, and similar phenomena. It has also been theorized to have links to near-death experience, ghosts, the afterlife and more recently with UFOs. There is also a school of thought that hypothesizes that consciousness is a quantum event that takes place in the brain. Have you ever been thinking of something only to find out that a loved one has been having exactly the same thoughts at the same time? That is a quantum event, and it is more common than you may think.

What has this got to do with Positive Thinking? One of the principles of the Quantum Theory is that everything in the Universe is interconnected at a sub-atomic level. It is a proven fact that, at a quantum level, information can be transferred from one point to another instantaneously, no matter what the distance is between them. This can account for two people thousands of miles apart thinking the same thoughts at the same time.

Your mind is a very powerful weapon that has been encoded throughout your life by your memories, experiences, and environment. All of these memories are buried deep in your brain and are the reason for your present state of mind and self-esteem. Many people have developed a low frame of mind because of their jobs or the kind of environment they exist in, one of extreme negativity. But low self-esteem can be countered and turned around. There are a number of recognizable signs that will tell you that you are suffering from low self-esteem. Typically these are depression and possibly, in the extreme, suicidal thoughts.  People suffering from low self-esteem frequently turn to drugs.

It is important that you recognize that you are suffering from low self-worth in order to reverse the process. If you find yourself in such a position, if you think that you are stuck in a rut. Once you have made up your mind to do something about it, all it needs is a little positive thinking. To drag yourself out of that rut you have to make a determined effort to employ the use of positive thinking. One way is by using the Law of Attraction, one of the spin-offs of Quantum Theory.

Most people unconsciously allow outside influences to control their lives. In order to change this, you have to let your inner thoughts do the job, not outside influences. This calls for serious positive thinking. When you concentrate your mind on positive things, then positive things will happen. Let me give you an example. If you think all the time of having no money, guess what – you will never have money because that is a negative thought. Rather think positively and use visualization and you will attract the positive.

The Law of Attraction states that whatever you concentrate your thoughts on will be attracted to you. This law works for everyone all of the time. It works for rich and poor, young and old, and for all races and religions. By getting rid of your negativity and concentrating on the positive, you will put yourself onto a pathway that leads to abundance and contentment.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Getting settled

We were devastated at the time, but in retrospect when our landlady phoned us on that Sunday afternoon in late March and gave us 60 days to vacate our apartment, it was the best thing that could have happened to us. It is now late July and we have just celebrated Independence Day. The house is starting to look very lived in, although we are still unpacking boxes, some of which have been sitting unpacked for more than two years. I can say with absolute certainty that we are both extremely happy in this house, and even happier that all of the paperwork is now over and we have the Deeds in our possession.

The country is warming up for the 2020 election, and more than 20 Democratic hopefuls are campaigning hard, with the first of the debates now behind us. It is no secret that I cannot stand that idiot Trump. More than 10,000 lies have been recorded since he took office. In fact, he lies so often that it has become patently obvious by his lead in when a lie is about to be told. I didn't really understand the political system in America before I arrived here five years ago. But having now witnessed it first hand, I do understand it. I know that nothing will ever persuade me to vote for any Republican candidate. At the same time, I will stick by the Royal Navy ruling for mess dinners - no discussions of a political or religious nature in our house.

The road our house is on is named Sunset Drive, and the above picture, taken a couple of weeks ago, is a good example of why. For a change, this year, we are going to be able to host the Thanksgiving Dinner in late November. One of our rooms is easily big enough to seat more than a dozen people - and our stove is massive. Yesterday we picked up a garden table with 6 chairs and a couple of matching loungers for a very reasonable price, and we have a dining room table and six chairs as well as some other furniture on hold for us.

The yard is starting to look good too. We have removed a rather ugly fence, originally erected to keep in small children when the previous owners were running a day-care center here. We have put out bird feeders and so far have seen a pair of red cardinals and of blue jays and a  nesting robin as well as a number of species that I do not know. One songbird wakes me every morning at about 0430 with the most beautiful singing I have ever heard. Other wildlife includes a grey squirrel and, next door, a groundhog or woodchuck. No chipmunks, skunks, bears or deer as yet though!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Six months

It has been six months since I wrote my previous post - six months too long. The last time that I wrote I had just become a United States citizen. This time Liz and I are celebrating closure on a property in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. We took closure on June 3rd and moved into our new property on the following Saturday.  At the end of March, I had received d a telephone call from our landlord giving us sixty days to vacate the apartment. Not that we had done anything wrong. No! The landlord and his wife have gotten divorced and he required our apartment, it is the largest in the complex, for himself, his mother and granddaughter...

It has always been my belief that things happen for a reason, and so it was in this case. We searched the region for a suitable apartment to rent, but they were each either too small, too expensive or in an area of town inhabited by a lower class of people or drug addicts. So I suggested that we look at houses that were available for purchase, which we did. At the same time, we investigated the possibility of obtaining a mortgage. and were quite surprised when we became pre-approved.

So here we are on our 10th day. We have a garage full of boxes from the apartment and are slowly working our way through unpacking them, and a basement that still has a bunch of unpacked boxes left over from two years ago when we vacated 200 Sampson. When we viewed this house there was over a foot of snow on the ground, and so our offer was based only on what we were able to see.

The closure was not by any means cheap, and boy was the lead-up complicated and full of red tape. The purchase of our farm in the Eastern Cape was chicken feed by comparison. I just started counting the emails that I had received regarding the purchase and stopped counting when I got up to 110. Because of a couple of spine operations that I had more than 25 years ago, I am unable to lift anything weighing more than a few pounds, so Liz has been doing all of the heavy liftings. I do what I can with a trolly while she is at work.

Today was a first for me with our ride on lawnmower, which we picked up second-hand after closing. I had never driven a ride-on before so it was all new to me, but I did manage to cut a patch of  2,000 square feet in our back yard this afternoon before the first rain shower. I still need a lot of practice though. I turned 79 last month so I have every reason to be proud of myself. Fortunately, we have a very friendly neighbor who mows our front yard whenever he does his own. 

I took my Jeep Liberty in for a service eleven days ago and still have to get it back - there was a problem with the gear selector that I told them about, and as a result, it needs a new valve cover fitted at a cost of a little under $2,000 - it never rains but it pours.. 

It is a couple of days now since I started this post. I have been busy moving and emptying boxes. Yesterday I got our hifi (if you can call it that) and treated myself to opera highlights for much of the day. Today has been a lazy day. My back has been playing up so I have been taking it easy for a change, Liz has the morning off tomorrow (Saturday) so I'm looking forward to passing the whole weekend with her for a change.