Monthly Archives: September 2012

Experience 25 of 52: The Mysterious World of Alain Nu

Alain Nu, “the man who knows“, recently performed two shows at the Applied Physics Laboratory (or should it be the “Applied Psychics Laboratory”?).  As described on his website:

“A headlining performer at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for four straight years, Nu was also the international star of four hour-long television specials for TLC entitled “The Mysterious World of Alain Nu.” On January 20th, 2009, Alain was asked to appear before many of the living recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor at theSalute to Heroes Inaugural Ball which celebrated President Obama’s inauguration into the White House.”

Alain Nu is “the man who knows” the hidden potential of our minds, and he proves it with every appearance!”

The performance was rather fascinating and, even though we know that he will

“incorporate elements of probability, psychology, suggestion, professional techniques or just plain “good timing”,

it is still fascinating to contemplate what you’ve just seen and you will still ask yourself “how did he do that?”

We were enthralled throughout the show and we watched in awe as he continually stunned the audience with his appearance of knowing more than he should have known.

I don’t think I could do this show justice using my own words so instead I’d suggest watching these videos.

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Experience 24 of 52: Riding bikes along the C&O Canal

Riding bikes on the C&O Canal towpath allowed the girls to visualize the book “Captain Kate“, purchased during Experience 1 of 52 at the Cumberland Visitor Center, that Susan is currently reading to the girls. The book follows a young girl named Kate and her step-brother as she learns humility while captaining their mule-drawn canal boat from Cumberland to Georgetown. Having heard about the canal, seeing an actual lock with the home a lock master would have lived in with his family and seeing the depth of the aqueduct provided context the girls could apply to help visualize the story.

We began our experience at mile 44 of the C&O Canal, a.k.a, Noland’s Ferry because it was the closest point to our home. As this was our first time on the towpath, we decided we would go as far as Kate and her seven-year old legs (and non-existent trail biking experience) would take us.

We headed south towards the Monocacy Aqueduct where we would have our picnic lunch before making the round trip back home. Grace led the way as if she were a veteran of the Canal and Kate, as she always does, persistently pedaled along determined to stay on the path and keep up with the rest of us.

After a few breaks along the way, we reached the aqueduct and enjoyed the serenity of the Potomac River over which the aqueduct was built. The girls learned that an aqueduct is essentially a water bridge and this aqueduct is considered the finest one of eleven built along the canal. Seeing and walking along the aqueduct also allowed us to envision the depth of the canal and to help us visualize why the draft of a canal boat was less than five feet when fully loaded.

After lunch at a picnic table near the aqueduct we decided to continue another 3/4 mile to Lock 27, a.k.a. Spinks Ferry. This was an easy ride and we were rewarded with seeing an actual lock and the house a lock master would have lived in, as well as several turtles living in the canal.

This experience was worth the time and the effort although the next time we take this adventure I think we’ll seek new sites to see by either starting at Brunswick, MD and riding five miles north to Harper’s Ferry, or starting at the Monocacy Aqueduct and riding about five miles south to the Marble Quarry. Riding along the canal was time well spent and an experience worth repeating. Kate was very determined and did a fantastic job with her biking, however, if you have younger kids who may not be as determined you may want to wait on this experience. Grace, at 10 years old, had plenty of stamina and a bit of an easier time since her bike could change speeds and was intended for trail riding.

Categories: Educational, Historical Site, Recreation | Leave a comment

Experience 23 of 52: Delivering Donations and Touring Facilities

Delivering the Hygiene Kits

For our 23rd experience we delivered the food collected and the Hygiene kits the gals and their friends had packed during their birthday parties.

Compressing the blankets – the pile was as tall as the door to the machine!

The food was delivered to the local Salvation Army Service Center.  We dropped off the food and were given a quick tour of the food pantry and the kitchen area where food bags are packed to be distributed to those in need.  Volunteers pack the donated non-perishable food into grocery bags where they will later be supplemented with frozen meats.  These bags are given to local families who come to the service center requesting assistance.

Following our drop off of the food donations at the service center, we made our way to the Church of the Brethren: Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md to deliver the Hygiene kits.  After unloading our kits, we were given a tour of the warehouse where we learned:

A little blurry, but this picture shows 210-280 blankets on a single pallet ready for shipment

Basic Utility Vehicles (BUVs) ready to send to the Congo

This was an enlightening experience where the girls heard about how their donated items make their way from their home into the homes of others around the world.  Loretta gave us a fantastic tour, patiently answering the girls’ questions about where the donations come from and where and how they are transferred to their destinations.  We hadn’t requested a tour in advance which made us appreciate Loretta’s patient and comprehensive tour all the more.

Categories: Educational, Volunterring | 1 Comment

Experience 22 of 52: The Giving Klub Birthday Parties

Giving Klub Contributors

The Giving Klub is an informal club created by Grace and Kate to help provide opportunities for other kids to give to others.  Past projects have included packing Hygiene kits (as discussed below), packing lunch bags for the homeless, assisting with the setup of the Holiday Shop sponsored by Neighbors in Need, creating Christmas cards to send to soldiers stationed overseas, having a lemonade stand and donating the money to charity and sponsoring a family with both food and gifts for the Christmas Holiday.

More Giving Klub Contributors

For their birthday parties this year, each girl chose to spend half of their party time continuing the Giving Klub by inviting their friends to pack Hygiene kits for those in need in response to the damage incurred on the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Isaac.  In addition, the girls decided to assist local families by asking each friend to bring a canned food item to be donated to a local food bank.

Packing kits in groups of 2

Although not affiliated with a church, we took our cue from the Church World Service organization that facilitates delivering the kits to those in need.  As stated on its website, “In the face of natural disasters, violence, or grinding poverty, Hygiene kits can mean the difference between sickness and health for struggling families.”

In teams of 2, Kate and 22 of her friends packed 100 Hygiene kits containing a hand towel, a wash cloth, a comb, a nail clipper, a bar of soap, a toothbrush and 6 Band-Aids.  Each team had a bagger and a selector and sequenced through each station to collect contents for each kit.  Parent helpers verified the kit contents and the packing continued until all kits were packed.

The gals with the donated food

Grace and 24 of her friends followed Kate’s party repeating the process until another 115 kits were packed and ready to donate.

In addition to the 215 total kits packed, friends of both girls contributed a total of 53 canned goods and 23 dry goods to contribute to the Salvation Army Service Center pantry.  We couldn’t ask for a better group of friends for each girl and the willingness of each friend to enthusiastically pack the kits to help those whose situations may be less fortunate than their own was truly a sight to see.

Categories: Celebration, Volunterring | 2 Comments

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