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OH Christmas Tree...Oh Christmas Tree...

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Christmas Trees.jpg December 24, 2011


            Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. Hands down. The cheer and spirit that fills the air from December 1st through New Year's Day is amazing. Everyone is joyful and just soaking up every minute of the special time of year. I can't wait to be home by my fireplace having a warm cup of hot chocolate and watching classic Christmas movies with my family. But there is one important item I need every year or else it's just not Christmas to me.


            Of course it's a Christmas tree. A REAL one I may add. Personally, I don't like artificial Christmas trees. It's just not what I grew up with, so it's just not Christmas to me if there's an artificial tree in my living room. Every year, I insist we get a real tree for our house. And a fun little tidbit I just learned is that apparently that tree is one of a half a billion Christmas trees growing in United States on tree farms. That's crazy to think about! Half a billion Christmas trees are growing each year on tree farms across the United States. That doesn't even include Chestnut, Oak, Cedar, or any other type of tree growing on tree farms in the U.S. Just Christmas trees. That's a lot of trees!


            Every year a tree makes its way into my house, and every year my family and I decorate every single branch front and back of the tree. Christmas trees have a special place in my heart. It's where many memories every year are made. I have never thought about where the tree had been before my house, or how many Christmas trees are growing each year. This year is slightly different for my family, since I am away at college. But just like those trees and this year's tree make it to my house each year, I will be home in no time to celebrate the season of love and joy with my family.


            I hope everyone has an amazing and memorable Christmas. Whether your Christmas tree is real or not, cherish the people around you and the time you have with them.


            Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Only 12 Minutes?!?

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NFL Football Game Playing Time.jpg August 17, 2011


            For both Saturdays over Thanksgiving break, there was a Penn State football game scheduled. This put many people with season tickets in a difficult situation. Do I stay for both games or just one game? Do I try to sell my tickets even though I may only get $10 for them? Do I just go home and have a longer Thanksgiving break? Many options were possible along with many outcomes.

Personally, I decided to go to both games.  I gave my brother an early Christmas present and bought him a ticket in the student section for the Indiana game. My parents ended up buying tickets to the game too. The big decision for me was deciding whether to come back for the Wisconsin game or not. I ended up coming back, and I am definitely glad I did.

First of all, the game was amazing. But standing the freezing cold and having snow falling from the sky making me even colder was not amazing. I stood/sat outside for about four hours until the game was over. For a sport that the play clock shows will only be an hour long, why was I out in the cold for so long?

Apparently in NFL football games, only twelve minutes of actual play time occurs. That is crazy! I know it's not college football, but the statistic is probably very similar. Therefore, I only watched about twelve minutes of football in four hours on Saturday! Twelve minutes of football does not seem like an equal ratio compared to the four hours I spent out in the cold. However, I knew before going to the game that it was going to be more than just an hour. So why did I go? Because it was the last game!

Even though I was freezing, I had the most fun at that game than any other game this season. Everyone around me was excited for the game. Everyone was talking to one another and discussing everything that could possibly be discussed. And yet, there was a slight feeling sadness around everyone. For some, in the stands and on the field, this was their last PSU football game as a student. For others, it meant the end of a new beginning and journey. Fans were excited and pumped to see, what was expected to be, a good game. In the end, even with the over time, I don't think anyone would have wanted the season to end any other way. The players showed PSU's strength and perseverance, and just how far the university has come from last year.

Want To Burn Some Extra Calories?

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All Nighters.jpg April 23, 2012


            Doctors constantly say that as young adults we need at least eight hours of sleep a night. However, I beg to differ. Personally, I can function perfectly on five hours of sleep or less. I did all through high school, and of course, now here at college, I do the same. Some people take naps. Sometimes I do too but only on rare occasions. Sleep for me is never constant or predictable. I'm happy if I get five to six hours of sleep in a night. However, it looks like all those late nights might be paying off though.


            Your body can burn 161 calories just by staying up all night. That may not be a lot, but it's more than you get when you're sleeping. Health wise staying up late is probably not for the best, but it does have at least one benefit. People are always asking me how do I not sleep. I always answer I just don't need too. I am a night owl. Going to bed before midnight is out of the questions. I simply cannot fall asleep. However, now I have a more scientific reason. And now I can answer, just simply to burn more calories.


            So watch out you long sleeps. One day you'll be sorry.


Let's Celebrate With A Pillow Fight!

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New Years Pillow Fight.jpg September 30, 2011


            Most girls, and maybe guys, prepare and think about who they want to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. It's a hard long thought out process for many individuals. Many things can go wrong or maybe right. I suggest everyone forget the stress, and do what Sri Lanka does? Pillow fights!


            To celebrate the new and upcoming year in Sri Lanka, people gather and have pillow fights. You heard me, pillow fights. Both contestants get on a raised pole and try to knock one another off. Violent? Maybe. Fun? Absolutely.  Instead of worrying about who you want to kiss, think about who you want to knock off with a pillow. It's easier and much less pressure. Instead of the perfect kiss, think about the perfect swing. Personally, I think this would be a blast, as long as there are appropriate safety precautions of course.


            New Year's Day is a time of celebration and joy. A year has passed with many memories, changes, and growth from everyone. Why not celebrate it with a fun game? It's only socially acceptable to hit each other with pillows if you're little kids. Why not be a little kid for a day? To celebrate the past and to start the New Year off with a whack, literally.



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Xs and Os Orgin.jpg February 29, 2012


            The other night my mom sent me a cute little text that read XOXO. I know cheesy, right? I am in college; but she misses me, so it's cute. This immediately brought me back to my elementary school days where my mom use to leave me a note in my lunch and signed it "Love Mom, XOXO." Unless your mom is as adorable as mine, you probably didn't see XOXO all year, but simply during February, the month of LOVE. Now I know it is not yet February, but after my mom's text and finding this random little tidbit, I just couldn't resist.


            Personally, I don't think Xs look like a person's mouth when they kiss, and Os only kinda look like hugs because you make a circle with your arms. It's a stretch, but I can vaguely see it. However, the letters have nothing to do with the actually reason as to why Xs and Os are used.


            Xs as kisses came from medieval times when not everyone could write, read, or even sign their names. Therefore, in front of a witness, people would simply write an X on the paper, and then they would kiss it. The kiss was to show sincerity in their "signature." Personally, I think this is a really interesting little tidbit. I had no idea that an X's meaning of kisses came about so long ago. It is also crazy to think that in the past people had to sign their name with an X and kiss it. Signatures are fun to create and personalize as you grow up and have to sign more and more documents. Maybe this is where sign by the x__________ came from too?


            Os as hugs rose similarly to Xs. However, Os were used by Jewish immigrants to sign their names. Jews believe that Jesus was a preacher and not the Messiah, which Christians believe he is. Therefore, they did not want to sign an X which represents a Christian cross. And consequently, hugs as Os were created.


            The use of XOXO is very popular during Valentine's Day. Many couples and loved ones buy items with Xs and Os on them, or sign their name with Xs and Os. But I think it is a nice, innocent, simple gesture that more people should participate in year round. I can't tell you how happy I was when I saw my mom's letter lovingly signed MOM XOXO! And I'm sure everyone at my lunch table was jealous. I thought they were at least. Either way, next time it' s Valentine's Day and you see an XOXO, you'll be the smart person in your group and be able to tell everyone where Xs and Os originated from.

Turnip O' Lantern?

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Halloween Turnip.jpg

October 23, 2012


            Halloween is the opening act to the magnificent stage of holidays to come in the fall and winter. This is a holiday completely devoted to acting crazy, looking crazy, and eating as much candy as possible. Who wouldn't love it?


            Pumpkin carving is one of the many loved traditions of Halloween. However, did you know that originally instead of pumpkins people used turnips? Turnips were first used in Ireland for the Gaelic festival of Samhain. These turnips could be used for three different things: to light the path for someone, to represent spirits or other beings, and to protect someone's home from these beings. When Irish immigrants came to the United States, they brought with them their tradition. However, pumpkins were more readily available in the States, and pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve. Therefore, pumpkins became the new turnips.


            Personally, carving a pumpkin is one of my favorite activities to do during the Halloween season. I'm not the most artistic person, but I still have fun with it. Shapes aren't too hard to draw. However, now I kind of want to try to carve a turnip just to see how it would have been. How about you?


So Who's a NERD?

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Dr. Seuss Nerd.jpg October 12, 2012


I'll admit it; I can be a nerd at sometimes. I was called one all the time when I was little. Teacher's pet, brown noser, nerd...but what does the word NERD really mean. Most people would think it was a person who was a "know-it-all" and spent more time studying and learning than having fun or going out. But if you want the true definition you're going to have to ask Dr. Seuss. You heard me...Dr. Seuss.


I Ran the Zoo is the first book in which the word "nerd" was published...


"And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo/And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep, and a Proo,/A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too!"


So what type of "animal" is a Nerd you ask? Well I'm about to tell you. A Nerd is a "comically unpleasant creature" as depicted in Dr. Seuss's book. Children then picked up this terminology and began to call their older siblings Nerds. It was therefore passed on to teenagers who at the time were calling other "weird" kids "squares." And this is how the term "nerd" came about.


Dr. Seuss and all his magical, wonderful, crazy, made up books are about happy, playful, and outrageous words and things. Most of my childhood was spent reading Dr. Seuss books. The first book I read by myself was Green Eggs and Ham. It is just crazy and hard to believe that such a negative, stereotypical word derived from such a lovable man. So next time you use to word Nerd remember where it comes from and what it truly means.


Imagine Life Without Bar Codes

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First Barcode.jpg April 30, 2012


            During the summer, bar codes are a part of my life no matter what. Working in a retail store, I am constantly scanning bar codes, so the computer can spit out to me how much each item is worth, how much tax there is, and how much the total amount the customer needs to pay. Of course, there is always that one bar code that doesn't scan, and I have to type in the umm-teen long bar code number. Even then that may not work, and I have to put in a generic bar code and then the price. This seems like a lot of work and sometimes it can be. But if you stop to think about it, bar codes have been a part of our life's since we were born. It's almost weird when a store doesn't have bar coded items or chooses not to use the bar codes to ring up items.


            Believe or not Wrigley's gum was the first item to have a bar code. This makes a lot of sense though. Many people buy gum at convenience stores, grocery stores, malls, and multiple other places. Just being able to scan a bar code would be a lot faster and more convenient for such a small item that is purchased quite often. I couldn't imagine going through a day at my job where bar codes weren't on every item. Customers already get mad if the bar code doesn't work and I take long typing it in. We live in a fast pace, hurry in and out society where bar codes fit perfectly. And to think it all started with a pack of gum.


Fear of What??

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Pogonophobia.jpg September 6, 2012


            Fear is a part of most of our lives. The fear of spiders or snakes, the fear of heights or closed spaces, and many other fears are common in today's society. Personally, I have my dad or my brother get any spider or insect that is in our house. Rationally, the spider can't really hurt me except for maybe bite me. But since I already know it is there, I feel better just getting rid of it. I am so much bigger than that spider or insect, yet I am still petrified that it can get me. With there being so many different fears in today's society, it's hard to imagine what a "weird" fear might be. However, did you ever think that there is a fear of beards?


            Pogonophobia is the fear of beards. Fear of beards? When I discovered this interesting little tidbit, I couldn't imagine how someone could be afraid of beards; that's just crazy! But then I remembered that I have fears too. A person with pogonophobia could be perfectly okay with spiders and insects. Society has just been more accepting of certain fears than others.


            I don't see spiders everywhere I go; mainly because I try not to look for them. But many men sport beards in various shapes and sizes, and at various events and settings. Walking around campus, I see all kinds of facial hair. If I had the fear of beards, I would have to deal with the fear every time I went outside my dorm room. Therefore, even though it may be irrational, I'll stick with my fear of spiders.  


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                           Donald Duck.jpg August 14, 2012



           In case you did not know this, my middle name is Jane. Just plain Jane, at least compared to the crazy spelling of Kaitlynn I have and my made up last name of Hamaty. However, not everyone has a middle name. Most people believe it is a common, almost mandatory, thing to have a middle name. My grandmother does not have a middle name though. She is a twin and was the second one born. Needless to say, her parents were not exactly expecting her. Therefore, her name is simply Margaret Yost and her sister is Minerva Yost. Personally, I think my grandma got the better deal. Anyways, if some people do not have middle names, it is crazy to think that a cartoon character would have a middle name right?


            Donald Duck actually has a middle name, Fauntleroy. I personally do not even know how to pronounce that properly. Who would have thought that a humorous, but angry little cartoon duck, that many of us grew up watching, would have such a middle name? Especially a name as unusual as Fauntleroy. After some research, I found that Fauntleroy is the name of the sailor suit Donald Duck sports in all his glory. Walt Disney was truly thinking in this situation. I wonder why Walt Disney chose to give Donald Duck a middle name and not Mickey, his most famous creation. Maybe because he figured most people will not even know Donald Duck has a middle name, but hey now you do! This short little cartoon character has a lot of personality, but his middle name, as interesting as it is, gives people a little history lesson. It is always fun to learn new tidbits about childhood characters that we all have grown to love. So if you had a chance to choose, what would you make your middle name?

Deadly Little Nut

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                             Peanut Allergies.jpg

                           September 1, 2012


            Peanut allergies have seemed to be on the rise in the past few years. More and more people, up to an estimated 4 million Americans, have become allergic to such a common small nut. Some people's allergies are so serious they are unable to go to certain restaurants due to the amount of peanut particles in the air. If a person has a severe reaction to peanuts, he or she may need to use an EpiPen, which is used for emergency treatment for a life threatening reaction.


            Emergency visits are an everyday occurrence for hospitals. However, in a year almost half of emergency visits for anaphylaxis are a result of an allergic reaction to peanuts. Also, two thirds of anaphylaxis deaths are from an allergic reaction to peanuts. These facts are mind blowing. Why are there so many people with peanut allergies, especially in the past few years? Is it that as a society, we are too sanitary?


            The reason for the sudden spike in peanut allergies among Americans is still unknown. However, many biologists believe that one explanation could be that Americans are just too clean. Americans have become more concerned with sanitary over the past few years. My mother is constantly cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms to make sure everything is clean and "safe". I was taught to always wash my clothes after I wear them once, and I take a shower every day. Since we are always cleaning and sanitizing ourselves and the objects around us, our bodies have fewer chances to fight off "intruders" and build a healthier immune system. A body may then reject food that in years prior it would accept. Although it is not the only possibility, our cleaning frenzy nature does provide a valid point as to why so many Americans now have peanut allergies. With more research and tests, one day we may solve the mystery of peanut allergies.


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