3 Rs




Friday, January 1, 2016

Cousins Christmas Party 2015

The Cousins’ Christmas Party in Windsor, ON was awesome this year, but the conversation started long before the event took place.

My cousin Sue, for whom I have the deepest respect, used “Xmas” in the invitation on FB instead of “Christmas.” In an attempt to elicit a discussion/debate,  I went into a brief dissertation about leaving Christ out of Christmas. I wrote an article about replacing “Christ” with an “X” in The Fredericton Gleaner newspaper in 1969. I suggested using a ‘Chi-Rho” the Greek letters for the first three letters of Christ instead of an “X.” I further suggested that if advertisers wanted to save space and cut their costs (since they were charged per word and column space), they could use the Chi-Rho symbol instead of just an X. It is a symbol using an X with a P through it. X in Greek is ch and P in Greek is r.

By researching “Xmas” I learned that the use of the "X" predates advertisers and was used in the 15th century (see http://blog.dictionary.com/xmas-christogram/).Thus, I learned something new this Christmas. "Xmas" is properly pronouced "Christmas."

The party hosted by Sue was attended by 17 cousins. As one cousin put it: "We’d have to rent St. Peter’s Basilica to host all of the cousins."  The pot luck food was provided by the cousins and it was delicious. The highlight of the party was the opening of the gifts. Everyone had to bring a gift and not spend more than $20. The gifts were as varied as they were delightful.

A good time was had by all.

Jan (Sue's sister) and Stan watching the cousins open their gifts.

The cousins huddle together as their names are drawn to get a gift.

The cousins feasting on the delectibles

Two cousins swapping stories while cousin Sam looks on

Just checking messages ladies. I'm so busy.
My gift was this lovely lady's shoe designed to hold a bottle of wine.

Thank you Sue for hosting the party. I had a blast.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


This was the second year that the Writers Community of Durham Region (WCDR) hosted BookaPalooza. The event was held at Durham College-Whitby Campus, running from 10:00am to 4:00 pm on November 21st. The event was attended by the general public. With the variety of genres available coupled with readings and book signings, it promised to be a wonderful opportunity for shoppers looking for a gift to give during the Holiday Season.

I bought a book for my daughter by a gifted author and I sold one of my two books. 

For those of us displaying our books, the day was about networking and if you sold a book or two, that was a bonus.

I had a great time and conversed with many authors.

AstroNut Kids Space Club Mission #60

Each Mission that Ray organizes is 3 hours of packed science fun for the AstroNuts. The children range in age from 9 to 14 years. Mission #60 was held on October 25, 2015.

Scientist Stan's baskets prepared for his workshop
At 2:00 pm, Ray welcomes the group and makes a few announcements. Sometimes his son Brett makes the announcements.

At 2:15 pm Tim Harris updates the kids in the latest technological developments in his “What’s Up in Space” news reel that he creates himself.

At 2:30 pm, Astronomer Paul Delaney gave a brief talk about ”What’s Up With Being Down With Gravity” indoors.
The group goes outside to the back, grassy area of a school yard. Paul has designed two scale version activities using rope laid down almost the length of the field. He places one student at the start of the rope which is the Big Bang Theory, and assigns positions on a cosmological scale to modern humans. Students are placed at each point with a picture and a title of the period. The children get to visually see how short a period of time that humans have been present on this scale.
Assembling the control surfaces that will control roll, pitch and yaw
Paul’s second activity is to place the planets in order from that closest to the Sun to the eighth planet Neptune being the farthest.  This visual is very impressive.

At 3:30 pm we have the world famous, 15 minute Pizza Pizza break.

At 3:45pm, it is time to do my activity. I taught the children how to make a simple delta wing balsawood glider with control surfaces. Once built, the children took their planes outside and under Ray’s direction, flew them.

At 4:15 pm, Scott Sutherland showed pictures of various nebulae for his theme “Halloween in the Cosmos” also termed, ”Scary Stuff in Space.”

The children were delighted with all the activities as the program concluded promptly at 5:00 pm.

What a great way to spend a Sunday.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review of Career Options Maria Sirdar-Nickel

Career Options: Maria Sirdar-Nickel is a book about what everyone aspires to do with their life….find a job that they absolutely love.   Stanley R. Taylor has written this wonderful book describing the path that led teacher Maria Nickel to be the amazing educator that she is today.  Everyone has their struggles and highlights, but Mr. Taylor is able to focus on one incredible person and her profession to show how one can affect so many others in a positive way.  

Jacqui Flowers
Grade 5 Teacher
Chandler School District
Arizona, U.S.A.

Career Options: Maria Sirdar-Nickel reminds all of us of how inspiring educators are and the lasting impact they have on our lives. What an incredible person Maria is. Not only selfless in giving of her ideas and time, but her persistence in helping others to achieve greatness. When reading the book, we get reminded of the things that truly are important and if we focus our energies, great things happen. A highly inspirational story and I cannot wait to see what else the future holds for Maria and her students.

Jackie Slaviero
Ambassador, Honeywell Educators @ Space Academy
Founder, One Giant Leap Australia

Buy on Amazon, http://www.amazon.ca/Career-Options-Sirdar-Nickel-Stanley-Taylor/product-reviews/0991809823/ref=dpx_acr_txt?showViewpoints=1 in Canada and http://www.amazon.com/Career-Options-Sirdar-Nickel-Stanley-Taylor/dp/0991809823/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1437321773&sr=1-1&keywords=Career+Options+Maria+Sirdar-Nickel&pebp=1437321775703&perid=16YE1NH19S2ZQ5FWA257 in the U.S.A. and at Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo

Sunday, May 31, 2015

4th Annual What’s Up In Space” Camp and STEM Contest

Children enjoying science with presentations, demonstrations and workshops at the David Dunlop Observatory (DDO) in Richmond Hill on Sunday, May 24, 2015 was an informative afternoon. I had the privilege to do a workshop at the "What’s Up In Space” Camp and STEM Contest."

The AstroNuts Kids Space Club began one night during the summer of 2009. Ray Bielecki’s son Brett was 7 years of age. Brett was quite the space enthusiast. Ray built Brett’s space ship under his basement stairs. The ship had space models, monitors, twinkling Christmas lights and other gizmos that became their window to the cosmos.

Brett invited a few friends over and the adventures began with the imaginations of the children. Soon more friends came over to the point that the space ship wasn’t large enough to accommodate the many visitors. Over time, Ray converted his basement into a space station along with the spaceship they titled “Mercury Spaceship 2.”

Ray started the "What’s Up In Space” Camp and STEM Contest to get more children interested in space and to give them activities to spark their interest. May 24th was the fourth annual Space Camp and the first one at the DDO.

My friend Brian Ewenson, a space educator drove from Wisconsin to do a 15 minute talk. Another friend, Melissa Battler from the University of Western Ontario also gave a talk. I taught children how to make an end effector, the apparatus at the end of the Canadarm that snares cargo ships, satellites and anything else bound for the International Space Station.  It’s made using Styrofoam cups, string and masking tape. The design is not mine. It was created by Dr. Gregory Vogt, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Baylor University when he worked for NASA in 1999.

It was a wonderful day with storm troopers (the kid in me had to have a photo), tours of the planetarium, and skype messages from Canadian astronauts B   and Chris Hadfield.

See http://www.astronutskidsspaceclub.com/home-base/ to learn more about the AstroNuts.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Pneumatic Canadarm Video Part 2

If you have been following my blog, you know I have what is called an essential tremor in my hands. This doesn't stop me from making my pneumatically controlled Canadarm for workshops that I do with children and educators. See Part 2 on YouTube as follows.


Part 1 can be found on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvv7lDy0nds

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Career Options Maria Sirdar-Nickel

“Career Options Maria Sirdar-Nickel” is my latest book printed through LSI, February 15, 2015. Maria is an educator in Winnipeg who taught educators in her school district how to design an experiment to go to the International Space Station. This book is the first of 24 that I plan to write to provide elementary and secondary school children options for a career in science that they may not have had prior knowledge. The book is available from Chapters in Canada and Amazon in the United States. Book stores may purc hase it from Ingram through Lighting Source Inc.