Something to SEA: SoulSEAker’s New Monthly Newsletter

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Fresh off the presses!  I am pleased to share that SoulSEAker now has a monthly newsletter!  Enjoy content that will be a bit more personal than what I post here on the blog.  Also, if you sign up, you will receive a free electronic copy of my new book, Escape: Lessons from the Sea.  It will be sent as a .pdf file within a day or two of signing up.

If you’d like to sign up for the newsletter, please click here.  The first newsletter hits inboxes this week on March 1!  I am looking forward to sharing this new venture with you.  As always, thanks for reading and for your support.

PS: Should you be interested in purchasing a hard copy of Escape: Lessons from the Sea, please click here.  Thank you!

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 2/27/2016

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It is the last Saturday in February, and it’s sunny yet cold as I type today’s post. I am grateful that I have heat, shelter, and a nice cup of hot coffee to drink. It’s the little things I’m thankful for today, the things that are most often ignored or taken for granted.  No holes in my socks. The sun shining through the frosty window.  The little bird singing outside, despite the 23-degree temperature. It’s humbling to really sit back and think about all that I do have, when there are so many others who go without.  Most of all, I am thankful for today.

Without further ado, here are some interesting posts, pages, and sites I saw this week-it’s a hodge podge of topics, but some with a running theme.  Hoping your day brings you comfort and gratitude!

Scott Kelly’s Year in Space – NY Times Interactive and super-cool documentation of Kelly’s year at the ISS.  He’s returning home this week.

The Curious Bohemian – Suanne Elisabeth began walking from New York City to Miami in the fall, and has been documenting her journey.  She will reach Miami sometime this week.

Treasures of Ireland: Along the Banks of the River Shannon – Wanderlust-causing post by The Palladian Traveler

Victimized NJ Homeless Man Gets Surprise from NFL Team – An update to a local story about Ron Leggatt, a homeless man who was paid $5 to pour hot coffee on himself by a sub-human wanting to videotape it.  Following the aftermath and Ron’s journey since has shown me that despite the sub-humans who walk among us, there is still compassion, empathy, and kindness out there.  If you would like to join me in making a donation to Ron, this link will bring you to one of the two Go Fund Me campaigns set up for him.  Thank you.

How to Take the First Step – Great post by Vicki Cook, especially if you are feeling stuck

On Being the Duckie – by my treasured friend Mandi Bean, a fellow Duckie

“Ferris” Fest Set for May – Chicago festival celebrating the 30th Anniversary of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” Where did those 30 years go?

The Solo Surf Trip: A Reflection of Life – I just love this

The Cast of “The Princess Bride,” 25 Years Later – As you wish.

Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience, Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, and Spirit – it begins on March 21…sign up now!

And finally,

Somebody Should Do Something – I am that somebody and looking for something to do to help…perhaps you can, too, simply by donating to Ron’s Go Fund Me page.

Thank you for your kindness, your compassion, and for reading my post.

Jill

Something to SEA: My “Living 45” List

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As you probably already know, I started an annual tradition last year of listing 10 things I want to accomplish within my birthday year.  The decision to make this list stemmed from deciding to live versus watching life pass me by. After much thought and careful consideration, I present to you my list of things I intend to accomplish while I am 45:

  1. Watch a sunrise in all 4 seasons
  2. Learn to surf by taking lessons with my niece
  3. See at least 2 new places a month. These places are on my “hope to visit” list: Grounds for Sculpture, the Liberty bell, the NJ Balloon festival, Red Bank, 9-11 Reflection Pool/Memorial/Museum, Sea Girt Lighthouse, Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, Old Barracks, Belford Docks, Tuckerton Seaport, Sayen Gardens, NJ Vintage Automobile Museum (it’s right here in town!)
  4. Finish writing two books
  5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  6. See The Cure in June at MSG
  7. Have firm plans to travel to Ireland and/or Iceland by the end of 2017
  8. Go to the Point Pleasant Beach Grand Prix powerboat weekend and race
  9. Take each one of my 3 nephews and niece on a “mystery day” with Auntie Jill, and spend time with each and make them laugh a million times throughout the year
  10. LIVE! Just life and enjoy life without taking it too seriously. Included here will be trips to Six Flags, hopefully a NY Yankees game, return visits to other special places, laughing with friends, etc.

I will be making this list a stand-alone category in my menus.  I plan on updating my progress throughout the year, so please check back!

If you’d like to see my 44th year List and Stats, please click anywhere in this sentence.

 

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 2/20/16

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Yet again, it’s Saturday morning, and I look at my planner wondering where the week went.  I’m working on compiling my list of things I hope to do during my 45th year (this year) and I am still weighing a few options.  I’m hoping to post the list in the next week or so.  I have been battling a pretty severe lupus flare for a few months now, which is aggravating and making me feel very defeated.  I was hoping to accomplish a lot more than what I did this week, but as I’ve learned, I have to go with the flow and make due with the energy I have and find time to rest when I can.  Albeit frustrating, that rest time gave me a chance to find some interesting links for you this week…some inspiring, some quirky, and some things I just love.  Have a splendid week!

Boy Buys Valentines for Every Girl in His School – what a kind act

How 43 Giant, Crumbling Presidential Heads Ended Up in a Virginia Field – I’d like to see these!

19 Amazing Caterpillar Transformations – nature is truly amazing

This Crazy Creature Just Returned from The Dead After 30 Years Encased in Ice – TARDIGRADES!  I love them as much as I love narwhals!!  And you’d think I was a science teacher with all of these links, right?!?!

10 Powerful Harper Lee Quotes – in loving memory of an inspiration

12 Surf Artists You Should Probably Be Following in Instagram 

Mariano Rivera: 42 Facts About No. 42 – one of my favorite players, and baseball articles put me in springtime mode.  Sidebar: COMCAST…get your act together and put Yes Network back on your lineup!

The Ultimate Guide to the Must-See Attractions Along I-95 – for those on the East Coast planning a road trip

Look for the Good – something for me to remember

These Shoes  –  This Watch  –  This Desk

And finally…

Surf Legend Brock Little Loses Battle to Cancer at Age 48 – Rest in peace, Brock.

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Freedom

This year, I performed a simple ritual on my birthday that has set me free.  I wrote down all of my regrets and bad decisions from the past, things I did which I was not proud of, etc., on post-it notes, then put the notes inside an envelope.  I sealed the envelope, then shredded it.  The simple ritual allowed me to say goodbye to regret and goodbye to the past.

It was a tangible farewell which set me free from the chains of regret and remorse, which can no longer haunt me.

Instead, I am now free to embrace my future with a clean slate.

And boy does it feel good.

Video made using iMovie for iPhone

Something to SEA: Polar Vortex Clicks for 2/13/2016

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Yes, that Polar Vortex is showing his ugly face again here in the Northeast.  I find it funny that the media is freaking out about it…don’t they remember it visited the last two winters, just like the Groundhog?  It’s winter…it’s cold…it might snow…it might be frigid.  No need to get in a tizzy!  Anyway, as you are bundling up and staying inside this weekend, here are some links you might find interesting.

Gangster Crab – I find this hysterically funny

The Short, Tragic Life of the 8-Ball Jacket – Made famous by David Puddy

February on Fire – some awesome waves this month already!

Essential Guide to Maritime Dun Laoghaire – boy do I want to go back

30 iPhone and iPad Tips and Tricks to Make You More Efficient – I didn’t know about some of these.

Destined for Failure? – don’t listen to the voices in your mind

51 Things I Wish I Knew in High School – on target, but something tells me the young ladies I teach wouldn’t listen

The Cost of Traveling in Iceland – someday

You Don’t Need to Fix the Past In Order to Have a New Future – post coming this week about this very topic

Last Ride – by Joe Loftus.  Grab your tissues…this one is wonderful.

The Extreme Love Experiment – by Elizabeth Gilbert

And finally…

Be Your Own Valentine – by Dani DiPirro backed up by…

5 Alternative Holidays For People Who Hate Valentine’s Day – I always hated Valentine’s Day.  My husband and I have been married for 13 1/2 years and we still don’t celebrate it.

Happy International QuirkyAlone Day, friends!

Until next time,

Jill

 

 

 

 

365 Days Later…

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…is now over.

Effective today, I am now 45.

365 days ago I turned 44, and I started blogging at what I called Living 44, which was a way for me to write about what I accomplished during the year (including 10 specific goals).  SoulSEAker morphed out of Living 44 and will be my blogging focus from today forward.

My 44th year was different in many ways.  Sure, I endured happiness and sadness, laughter and tears, but we all do.  It’s part of life.  However, turning 44 was the first time in over a decade that I actually looked forward not only to my birthday, but to the year as a whole.  I embraced each day and tried my best to be positive, albeit difficult at times.  I began a Gratitude journal, which has given me an appreciation for things I formerly took for granted.  I began writing again, both professionally and for myself, and I found my voice, the voice that has been missing for far too long.

I found inspiration through Susannah Conway, Elizabeth Gilbert, Mallika Chopra, and others; as a result, I aim to inspire others the way these wonderful people inspire me.

Most of all, I shared many memories with treasured family and friends.  Instead of sitting at home by myself and living vicariously through others, I chose to see new places and to make memories.  At times, I had to scale back and take it easy due to Lupus and Fibromyalgia.  Sometimes it was tough to manage my symptoms and plug along, but I did the best I could.  I still do the best I can every day, and some days are better than others.  Regardless, each day is a gift, one which I value and welcome with open arms, no matter what.

I accomplished most of my 10 Things I Wanted to do While 44 (list at the bottom), and then some.

Here’s my 44th Year in Facts and Statistics:

Number of new places I saw: 42

Number of mystery trips with my niece and nephews:  6. I began a tradition of spending the day with each of my 3 nephews and niece, just the 2 of us, destination a secret.  My niece’s surprise days were to Ron Jon’s in LBI and to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island.  My nephew’s secret trip was to Six Flags Great Adventure.  The 3 of us went to Six Flags two more times, and we all have season passes, so next year will be filled with fun trips.  Perhaps I will conquer my fear of Nitro and other big rollercoasters…we will see.  On the other side of the family, I took my 4-year-old nephew to the aquarium, rides, and to dinner 3 times this year.  We enjoyed our special dates very much.  I have a few places in mind for each’s mystery trip this year…places they will never be able to guess!

Number of Yankees Home Games I attended:  2

Number of times I saw the Core 4 in person:  1

Number of places I went with my treasured friend C: 22

Number of presentations I gave at conferences:  2

Number of GSSPA meetings I attended: 7 plus two conferences

Number of photos I took: More than 20,000

Number of weddings I attended as a guest:  2

Number of weddings I photographed:  0

Favorite Summer Song: I Can’t Feel My Face

Favorite Toy I Bought: My stuffed dinosaur named Monk

Number of times I made work friends laugh:  too many to count

Number of times I saw “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”: 4. The best was on opening night (actually, the night before opening night) with my brother.

Number of times I went to Six Flags Great Adventure:  4

Number of Monarch Butterflies I raised from caterpillars and released:  17

Favorite Book I read:  Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Number of surgeries:  1

Number of things removed during surgery: 3

Most played artists on my playlists:  311 and The Cure

Number of postcards I mailed:  226

Number of postcards I received:  237

Number of Seinfeld references I made on a daily basis:  At least 3

Favorite Winter Song:  Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay

Favorite Sound: the laughter of my niece and nephews

Favorite Christmas Gifts:  My Jedi Alex and Ani bracelet and my 13” Boba Fett talking figure from my husband

Town/Local Events I Attended:  Earth Day Celebration, Memorial Day ceremony, Seafood Festival, Car Cruise, Xmas Tree Lighting, Chowderfest, Wings of Freedom Tour, NJ Run for the Fallen, Manasquan Offshore Grand Prix, Postcard Show

Places I Ate:  Frankie’s, Shrimp Box, St. Stephen’s Green, Mastoris, Shore Point BBQ, Olive Garden, Revolution Café, Cool Beans, Applebees, Turning Point, Lubrano’s, Surf Taco, Bubbakoo’s, Five Guys, Lava Java, Wharfside, Luigi’s, Emilio’s, 709, Asbury Festahus & Biergarten, River Belle, Holiday Inn Manahawkin, Holiday Inn Clark, Toms River Hotel, IHOP, Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar, Tom’s Restaurant, The Dublin House, Chipotle, Winward Tavern, OB Diner, Brick Diner, Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood and Vine, Biergarten (Epcot), The Wave, Cape May Café, TRex Restaurant

People Who Passed Who Left Footprints In My Heart and In My Journey:  Roscoe, Tom S., Neighbor Lorraine, Neighbor Mike, Melvin, Denasia, Kesse, Scott

Some of my favorite memories:  Disney, Deepak with Hannah, the Manasquan Offshore Grand Prix, grave hunting and NYC with C, starting the Hawks Hall of Honor, Yankees games, eating at Tom’s Diner, picking a quart of blueberries a day for about two weeks this summer from our bushes, getting the waves around my ankle, writing Boro Kids, starting SoulSEAker, getting tickets to see The Cure this June with some pretty awesome people, spending time with family and friends, Teacher of the Year celebrations, walks with Laura, laughing with Jen, And Then LIFE Happened, laughter in the Batcave, and any time spent with the 4 most special people in my life, my niece and nephews.

Here’s a short slideshow of memories made during my 44th year. Thank you to everyone who played a part, no matter how big or small, in my 44th year.  I will continue enjoying each day even more during my 45th year.  My 45 list is forthcoming…until then, I am going to enjoy celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 25th birthday.  This year will be like no other.  45 Alive…here I come!

 

Living 44: My Goal List, as published on February 13, 2015 – one day into my 44th year: There were a lot of great ideas about things to do during my 44th year, as suggested by friends, family, students, and colleagues.  This is my final Living 44 Goal List and notes about each goal.  I think I did pretty good.

1.  Go to Central Park and see Strawberry Fields. COMPLETED on 12/7/15.

2. Go to the State of Liberty and look out of the crown. COMPLETED on 8/12/15.

3.  Do 3 things I never did before.  COMPLETED! 1:  Meditation (March).  2: Yoga (June).  3:  Hear an author lecture (February-Deepak Chopra).

4.  Sit at the Inlet for a day and photograph all of the boats that come in and out.  COMPLETED on July 10, 2015!

5.  Get my passport stamped at least once, or have travel plans that will have it stamped in 2016.  KIND OF.  This one, so far, did not happen and I’m okay with it, since my husband and I went to Disney together in November, which was a surprise and time just for us.  Our trip meant more to me than seeing someplace needing a passport.  But wait…we DID have a passport for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.  SO I DID ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL!  🙂

6.  Go to a Yankees game:  COMPLETED on May 9, 2015!

7.  Go to Grounds for Sculpture.  This one did not happen, and I’m okay with it.  I have seen so many other new places this year in place of Grounds for Sculpture that I’m happy.  Perhaps I’ll make it there during my 45th year.

8.  Watch the fireworks on July 4th.    It’s been a long time since I have done this. COMPLETED on July 4, 2015!

9.  Watch a sunrise during each of the 4 seasons: COMPLETED!  Spring:  Completed on April 6, 2015.  Summer: Completed on August 2, 2015.  Autumn:  Completed on November 27, 2015.  Winter: Completed on January 26, 2016.

10.  See 3 new places a month.  95% COMPLETED!  New places for March: Ron Jon’s in LBI, Surf City 5 and 10, St. Stephen’s Publik House in Spring Lake.  New places for April:  Flatiron District in NYC, Strand Bookstore in NYC, Heritage Park in Allentown, NJ.  New Places for May:  The Record store in Howell, NJ, Yankee Stadium, D-Train Subway in NYC.  New Places for June:  Due to medical appointments, surgery, and recovery, I was unable to attain this goal for June; however, I did go to Six Flags Great Adventure on a school trip, and Jenkinson’s Aquarium and the rides with my nephew (awesome places, just not new places).  New Places for July: Turning Point, Shore Points BBQ, Lava Java, Cattus Island County Park, Atlantic City Aquarium, Absecon Lighthouse, Lucy the Elephant, Panda Express. New Places for August: Monmouth Battlefield, NJ Vietnam Memorial & Museum, Smithville, Topanemus Burying Ground, Middletown Church.  New Places for September:  Surf Taco (Manasquan), Winward Tavern, Crown & Anchor Tattoo.  New Places for October: Seaside Park Beach at 4 Street, Frightfest, Chowderfest.  New Places for November: Stroudsburg PA, Hot Dog Johnny’s, Chef Mickey’s.  New Places for December: Asbury Festhaus and Biergarten, Tom’s Restaurant, Central Park, Book Culture.  New Places for January: Marquee Cinemas, Monmouth University Polling Institute, RWJ Hospital, Plastic Surgery Center in Shrewsbury (last 2 are due to husband’s surgery..lame, yes, but nonetheless are new places). February: Count Basie Theater, the Dublin House.

44 Thanks

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 2/6/2016

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Groundhog day with conflicting reports.  Another snowstorm.  Super Bowl weekend.  Yes, it’s February again.  I think back to last February and while it was 365 days ago, it feels like it was only 100 days or so ago.  I’m working on compiling my “Living 45” list, which will be at least 10 things I hope to do/see/accomplish during my 45th year, which starts on Friday.  I will be dedicating separate blog entries this week to both reviewing my 44th year list, and to sharing my 45th list.  Keeping in mind that money is very tight and that I’m experiencing a pretty active Lupus flare right now, what is something you suggest for my list?  Feel free to comment.  In the meantime, here’s some links from the week I thought worthy of sharing…

Who’s in Charge? By Kristine Carlson

US Astronaut To Return to Earth After Bringing Mankind Closer to Mars – Scott Kelly will be returning to Earth on March 3 after a year-long ISS stint.  If you haven’t seen his awesome collection of Instagram photos from his ISS mission, check them out here.  Truly amazing.

This week’s episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” features Jerry Seinfeld with Will Ferrell.  Hysterical!

I am not Black. You are not white. – By Prince Ea.  Every human being should watch and learn from this video.

To Anyone Who Thinks They Are Falling Behind – by Jamie Varon.  Excellent message.

Dani DiPirro’s Find the Good in February – it’s a long and cold winter, and Dani’s trying to change that

An Open Letter to Those Who Are Overwhelmed – by Mark & Angel Life Hack.  I had this on my list to share, and it was also on Dani DiPirro’s list this week too!

Moving Beyond Just Dreaming (Taking Inspired Action) – by Sian Richardson (The Girl Who Knows)

Of Course You Can Do It – by Elizabeth Gilbert.  And YES, you can!  Good advice for me too!

and finally

Rob Werner: Lost in Space – Rob was one of my students.  He is a very accomplished skateboarder and is pursuing his dream of skating for life while seeing the world. Usually, it’s the student who is inspired by the teacher, but here, the student INSPIRES the teacher.  Thank you, Rob!

Until next time,

Jill