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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Twain: 176 Anniversary from Birthday

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is most noted for his novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "the Great American Novel."
Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which became very popular and brought nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling.
He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
He lacked financial acumen, and, though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility.
Twain was born during a visit by Halley's Comet, and he predicted that he would "go out with it" as well. He died the day following the comet's subsequent return. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age," and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature." /

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Trainings on Quilting (Maggie Hankamp)

A PC Volunteer Maggie Hankamp is making trainings on Quilting at the Information Center "WOA". These trainings are open for everybody who is interested in this art. You are welcome to participate in this activity every Saturday from 9 to 10:30. 

Some works are almost ready to be shown.

Thanksgiving Day in Vinnytsia

This time (26, November) the Information Center "Window on America" was hosting its users (32) for Thanksgiving activities. PC Volunteers led English Club choosing Thanksgiving as a topic for their discussion. The participants had opportunity to share their ideas on Thanksgiving Day telling some facts on a history of this holiday. The leaders told about Thanksgiving traditions and their experience of celebrating this fest in their families. It was interesting to get to know more about "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving Thursday. Most Americans  try to skip it. For some members of the Club this hoilday is a day to forgive enemies. It is a Day of Purification to start things fresh with each other.
At the end everybody shared ideas about a meaning of Thanksgiving Day in their life. Hmm... What are you thankful for?
The activities and a discussion were arranged in the following way: Thanksgiving Facts, When is Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving Over the Years, Thanksgiving on the Roads, Thanksgiving on the Table, Thanksgiving Around the Country, Fun Facts About the First Thanskgiving, Thanksgiving Facts Throughout History, Fun Facts About Thanksgiving Today, Fun Turkey Facts and More History.

How Americans Are Rethinking Prosperity

How Americans Are Rethinking Prosperity
By Susan Johnston | US News – Wed, Nov 23, 2011 
Despite lingering unemployment and a still sluggish economy, many Americans are finding reasons to be thankful this time of year. In fact, for some, unexpected layoffs, financial setbacks, or simply a desire to spend more time with family have served as a reality check, a wake-up call for consumers to rethink their idea of wealth and prosperity.
"People are focusing more on life satisfaction than satisfaction by consumption," says Ethan Willis, co-author of Prosper: Create the Life You Really Want and co-founder of Prospect Inc., a one-to-one distance learning company that focuses on topics like real estate, entrepreneurship, and personal development. "One of the big shifts is that people are questioning, 'Is the time that I'm spending bringing me greater satisfaction in my life versus something that is just on autopilot?'"
More money doesn't necessarily lead to greater happiness, says Willis, so many consumers are getting off the "hedonic treadmill" and looking for ways to realign with family and the values that matter to them. He calls this finding one's "Polaris Point," a personal philosophy or set of values that guides decision-making.
For some people, like Shelly Cone of Santa Maria, Calif., that means starting a business that allows for greater flexibility, even if it means less money. Cone and her husband are serial entrepreneurs who once owned a successful real estate business. The housing bust took their business down with it, but Cone has made her peace with that. "We've learned that money can come and go, but life's experiences remain with you," she says.
Cone has seen friendships end because "their business coaches said that's not the right circle to be in." Although she has received similar advice from coaches focused on building wealth, she wants no part of that now. Currently, Cone runs a public-relations business and chooses the clients she wants to work with, rather than having to work with them. The former editor also pens a newspaper humor column, which allows her to bring her three sons along to events and write about it.
"The focus isn't necessarily about pursuing the wealth," she says. "It's about pursuing it in a way that gives me a wealth of experiences." For instance, one of her clients, a luxury bed and breakfast, invited Cone and her husband for a weekend stay so she'd have firsthand experience for writing about and promoting the B&B.
For others, redefining wealth and prosperity may mean downshifting their career. After almost losing her son and nearly divorcing her husband, Cari Andreani traded her all-consuming job as a hotel and restaurant manager for a high school teaching job.
An ambitious type-A by nature, Andreani says she's happy with her decision but still struggles sometimes to maintain balance. "My personality is very driven, and honestly, it is a constant effort to stop working and put my family first," she admits. When that happens, her husband gently reminds her to check her priorities and she'll bow out of a project if she needs to.
Working as a teacher doesn't pay as much as her previous job, but Andreani appreciates summers off and school holidays with her three children. Last summer, she and her husband left the kids with their grandparents and backpacked through Spain. Although Andreani's former job in hospitality meant frequent travel to nice hotels, she says it never allowed the kind of time she wanted to actually enjoy it. Focusing on her partner durin the trip was "almost like dating again," says Andreani.
In addition to rethinking her career, Andreani has also scaled back on holiday gifts. Her children each get one gift from their parents and one from "Santa," plus a few items from other family members. "I see my friends go crazy [with kids' gifts]," she explains. "I think it just feeds selfishness and entitlement." She hopes to model generosity and selflessness for her kids, so she donates money through a charity catalogue instead of buying her parents and grandparents a gift that would likely gather dust. "They love it because they know it's giving to the needy," she adds.
While some gift-givers choose donations in lieu of presents, others purchase experiential gifts, an option that has grown increasingly popular over the past few holiday seasons. For instance, taking a family member out for lunch, treating a friend to a movie, or giving tickets to a concert or sporting event. "People are looking at more time-based gifts and looking at making gifts, which from a time standpoint is one of the best gifts that someone can give," says Willis. "That shows someone you care about them tremendously."
Andreani recalls getting a "memory book" from her mother, which chronicled her life from her mother's point of view, including birth, ballet recitals, and other milestones, mixing text and images in a print-on-demand book. "That was the most meaningful gift I've ever received," she says.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Manners and Mannerisms

Happy Thanksgiving!
Fun Fact of the Day: “According to the Guinness Book of Records, the greatest dressed weight recorded for a turkey is 39.09 kg, or 86 lbs. – about the size of a large dog” (
Topic: Manners and Mannerisms
  1. What are manners? Are they different than mannerisms? Which refers to gestures and actions that are often repeated and which relates to the way things are done? Compare and contrast.
  2. What are good manners and why are they important? Why do we have standards for manners?
  3. How can manners lead to success or failure? Are manners different in older generations, between the genders, or in the workplace? Are manners restricted to face-to-face interactions or are there separate manners for interacting with people over the phone or online?
  4. How do mannerisms differ in your daily life? Do you have separate mannerisms at work and in your personal life? What are good mannerisms and what are some examples of annoying or disrespectful mannerisms?
  5. Can you think of any “good” manners than may be perceived as “bad” manners in another country? Can you think of differences in manners between Ukrainians and Americans?  Or others?
  6. Do you think certain cultures are more polite than others? Have you ever been offended by the manners of a foreigner? Do mannerisms differ between cultures? Give examples.
  7. Schedule: Saturday, 26 November at 10:30 – Special Thanksgiving Club! Thursday, 01 December at 5:30  

Thanksgiving Celebrations!

24 листопада 2011 року у Інформаційному Центрі “Вікно в Америку” м. Вінниці відбулась інформаційна зустріч з вихованцями Вінницького обласного центру соціально-психологічної реабілітації дітей та молоді з функціональними обмеженнями “Обрій”. Була підготована мультимедійна презентація, що ознайомила вихованців із традиціями святкування Дня Подяки в Америці. Історія святкування Дня Подяки та його традиції зацікавили вихованців (45). По завершенню презентації відвідувачі отримали символічні гостинці, характерні для Дня Подяки. 
Це трапилося 1606 року. Велика група англійців відокремилася від офіційної англіканської церкви і створила свою власну. Англійські власті почали переслідувати цих людей, і ті змушені були тікати до Голландії. Там терпимо поставилися до нової віри, та все ж несолодко велося емігрантам на чужині: важко було заробляти собі на кусень хліба. І тоді вони вирішили їхати до Північної Америки, де вже утворилися англійські колонії.
9 листопада 1620 року корабель «Мейфлауер» («Травнева квітка») висадив пілігримів на мисі Кейд-Код, що тягнеться вздовж узбережжя Массачусетської затоки. Зима була вже на носі. Рушати в путь у Вірджинію. Кінцевий пункт мандрівки видавався небезпечним. І пілігрими вирішили залишитись у цих краях, які вони охрестили Новою Англією.
11 листопада перша група емігрантів вирушила на розвідку. Вона висадилася на берег у тому місці, де зараз розкинулося місто Плімут, і вирішила створити там своє перше поселення.
Будівництво фортеці, обнесеної частоколом, було перерване через холоди і нестачу їжі. Тієї зими тяжко захворіла і загинула половина пілігримів. А ті, що залишилися живими, навесні 1621 року зав'язали дружбу з індіанцями, які навчили їх вирощувати кукурудзу і гарбузи. Ранньої осені колоністи зібрали свій перший урожай. Вони влаштували свято, на яке запросили своїх друзів-індіанців, і назвали його «Подяка». Перша Подяка затяглася на цілих три дні, упродовж яких пілігрими та їхні гості частувалися смаженою індичкою, гарбузом та кукурудзою. 
Відтоді це свято стало відзначатися досить регулярно, хоча й стихійно.У 1789 році президент Дж. Вашингтон узаконив свято спеціальним указом. Воно стало називатися Днем Подяки. А офіційно ця дата носить дуже довгу назву: «День подяки за благословення минулого року, який історично є національним та релігійним святом, початок якого був покладений пілігримами». З того часу минуло близько трьохсот років, але американці дотримуються традицій так, щоб свято було точнісінько таким, яким його впровадили пілігрими.
День Подяки відзначають в останній четвер листопада.
Традиційно, найпопулярнішою грою цього дня є футбол —. У багатьох навчальних закладах матч у День Подяки вважається найважливішим матчем року. Звичайно деякі з футбольних матчів транслюють по телебаченню.
Універмаг Мейсі проводить щорічний парад на честь Дня Подяки в Нью-Йорку. Знаменитості, оркестри, повітряні кулі у формі героїв відомих мультфільмів і оповідань з'являються на параді. Санта Клаус прибуває наприкінці. Його прихід відкриває сезон різдвяних свят.
Магазини, будинки прикрашають іграшковими індичками, пілігримами, індіанцями, вінками із сухих квітів і овочами. Ріг достатку також популярна прикраса.
Добродійні організації пропонують обіди для нужденних. Вони також надсилають кошики з їжею старим і хворим.
Все це робить День Подяки особливим днем.
Напередодні здійснюється обов'язковий ритуал. Президентові США на особливій церемонії демонструють двох кращих індичок, одна з яких наступного дня прикрашає святковий стіл в Білому Домі, а друга урочисто милується президентом і вирушає доживати свій вік на особливу ферму, де її більше ніколи не намагаються з'їсти. За даними Міністерства сільського господарства США щорік на День Подяки американці з'їдають більше 45 млн. індичок.
День Подяки святкують люди різного віросповідання. Вони дякують Богові за все гарне, що є в їхньому житті. Це сімейне свято. Сім'ї збираються разом, незалежно від того, як далеко вони живуть один від одного. У деяких місцях уранці проходять релігійні служби.
У кожній родині воно перетворилося на щорічний ритуал, в якому не повинно бути жодних змін. Від Білого дому до найскромнішого ранчо у Техасі - в усіх оселях Америки цього дня апетитно пахне смаженою індичкою та гарбузовим пирогом, їжа, яку їли пілігрими, стала символом свята.
Увечері в багатьох американських родинах зустрічають гостей. Починається звичайна вечірка з танцями, жартами і сміхом. Та настає мить, коли всі раптом стають серйозними. Гості та господарі всідаються за стіл. У центрі його лежить аркуш зім'ятої фольги, обрамлений гілочками зелені. Він символізує Атлантичний океан. Посередині його, немов на хвилях, гойдається паперовий кораблик. Він нагадує про «Травневу квітку», на якій прибули до Нової Англії пілігрими. Біля країв «океану» лежить камінчик з написаною на ньому датою — «1620». Камінь символізує Плімутську скелю, на якій висадилися три з лишком століття тому переселенці з Європи. І ось урочиста мить! Господар вносить індичку, начинену хлібом, петрушкою та спеціями, картоплю, запечену у вершках, і гарбузовий пиріг. Словом, усі ті страви, якими колись частувалися пілігрими та індіанці.
До індички подають журавлиновий соус. Він також нагадує сучасним американцям славних колоністів та їхніх друзів-індіанців, які навчили пілігримів розбиратися в рослинах. Зараз, звісно, на святкових столах страв значно більше, ніж у ті стародавні часи. Та хто знає?! Може, без тієї індички, гарбузового пирога і кукурудзи історія Америки була б зовсім інакшою, аніж зараз!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UN International Day of People with Disabilities

December 3


UN International Day of People with Disabilities

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Training 1. History of Quilting (Maggie Hankamp)

Quilt:  a three-layered cover made with a back fabric; a center heavier, warmer fabric; and decorative cover
Fabric:  material used for quilting; people like a material that washes easily
Thread:  a piece of fine string-like material; used in sewing
Needle:  a sharp-pointed instrument that holds the thread; used in sewing fabrics together
Stitch:  A method of sewing; often quilts use a “Running stitch,” where fabric is picked up and needles inserted
Thimble:  a protective cover for finger or thumb
Ruler:  an instrument to make lines straight
Scissors:  an instrument sued to cut fabrics
Template:  a pattern; you lay template on top of fabric and then cut out
Piece:  here, means to sew together
Batting:  fabric inside quilt; may be old blanket, or in old days, people used paper to make quilt warmer


1)select patterns, fabric, batting; wash and dry fabric;
2)measure and cut fabrics to make blocks for pattern
3)piece cut pieces of fabric together using a sewing machine or hand sewing to make blocks; press with iron toward dark color, piece blocks together to finish top layer
4)layer quilt with backing and batting in between, like a sandwich
5)Quilt by hand or machine sew through all three layers
6)Square up and cut extra batting from edges
7)Machine sew one side of edging to quilt, then hand sew other edge to quilt
8)Wall hangers need hanging sleeves attached also
Our Mission
/San Diego Visions (quilt museum)
Visions Art Museum is a not-for-profit international arts organization dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of the quilt as art. The organization will achieve its purpose by establishing a worldwide network of dedicated members, advisers, associates, and affiliates that will —Organize and stage exhibitions of outstanding quilts in museum quality settings. Present workshops, lectures, contemporary quilt registry, and related activities to its members, world arts community, and general public. Promote presentations and discussions of the quilt as art in leading international art, quilting, and general circulation media.
Encourage and promote quilting of the highest aesthetic and artistic quality.
San Diego Visions (quilt museum)
Traditional quilt patterns:
Log cabin quilt:
Rail fence quilt:
Pin wheel quilt:
More beautiful quilts:
Timeline of American Quilts:

Dress For Success (Matt Mozingo)

Introduction Question: 
Task with Partners
Ask your partner the following questions: 
- What new hobby, activity of skill would you like to learn?
- Where would you like to go on your next vacation?
Discussion Topic: 
1. There is an expression, “Dress for success.” What does this phrase mean? Do you agree with it?
2. What can you learn about a person from their clothes when meeting them for the first time?
3. Do you think that people working in business should wear formal clothes to work? Can business be done in casual clothing?

4. In general, what do you like or dislike about popular fashion and style of clothing in Ukraine?
5. Can you tell that someone is a foreigner by their clothes? How?

6. What is different between the way that Ukrainians dress and the way that Americans dress?
Group Contest

Friday, November 18, 2011

Practical Jokes, Pranks, and Humor

Fun Fact of the Day: "The State of Florida is bigger than the country of England!" (
"Laughter is contagious" - Do you agree?
1. What is humor? How important is to have a good sense of humor? How is humor manifested (or shown) in our daily life? How does humor build realtionships with others?
2. Do you like to tell jokes? How can jokes be helpful? Do you appreciate when others tell jokes or make light of potentially difficult or awkward situations?
3. What is the difference between a joke and a "practical" joke? Practical jokes are physical. They often involve tricks that may lead to embarrassment or discomfort. Do you find practical jokes amusing or out of line?
4. Pranks are practical jokes meant to physically single out a person or a group. Do you think pranks are funny? Can they be harmful?
5. Have you ever pulled a prank or practical joke on someone? How did they react? Has anyone ever pulled a particularly funny practical joke or prank on you? 
6. Which is better in your opinion, verbal humor and joke telling or practical jokes and pranks? How do they affect us differently?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Presentation of New Technologies of the Center: IPad and Kindle

International Education Week November 14-18, 2011

International Education Week November 14-18, 2011
Find resources:
International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
We encourage the participation of all individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities, including schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Start Your Day Right

Introduction Question: 
  If you had to change your profession or studies to something new, what would you choose?
Task with Partners
Ask your partner the following questions: 
- What hobby or activity helps you to feel better when you are stressed?
- Do you remember your very first day of school? What do you remember about that day?
Discussion Topic: Start the Day Right
1.What do you need to do to start your day well? (drink coffee, listen to music, shower, etc.)
2.How much sleep do you need to feel awake and ready for the day?
3.Do you use an alarm clock? What time would you wake up without the alarm?
4.Do you think that your mood in the morning has an impact on your whole day? If you have a bad start to the day, will the whole day be bad?
5.What can you do when you start the day to make sure that the whole day will be a success?
Group Contest
Our Schedule
Thursday, November 17 – 1730
Saturday, November 19 – 1030
Visit Our Group on – English Club in Vinnytsia
English Club Blog -
 To those who like art and who'd like to try herself/himself in quilting! 
You are invited to participate in this activity organized by a volunteer of PC Maggie Hankamp. 
You will get to know more about this art, make your own quilting and practice your English. 
When: November – 19, 26, December – 3, 10 (Saturdays)
Where: Information Center “Window on America”
Time: 9-00, before English Club.
Please, have your needle, threads and some pieces of fabric!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Self-Teaching Other Languages

Self-Teaching Other Languages
Fun Fact of the Day: “Veterans Day is always observed on Nov.11 with speeches and parades across the U.S. The holiday began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I” ( 
 Topic: Self-Teaching Other Languages
1. What is self-teaching? Which ways does it differ from other forms of mastering languages?
2. Why do people choose self-teaching, as opposed to other forms of mastering languages?
3. What qualities should a person possess to be a successful language self-learner?
4. What are the most favorable external factors of self-teaching languages?
5. Should self-teaching languages be based on a certain model, or should it be performed spontaneously?
6. Does such thing as an individual style of learning languages exist?
7. Do you have any experience in self-teaching languages? If so, what can you tell about it (positive and negative aspects, conclusions made)?
8. Do you think problems of mastering languages in different forms should be the focus of discussions at English Club meetings (permanently, periodically)?
Saturday, 12 November at 10:30 a.m.
Thursday, 17 November at 5:30 p.m.