Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family Night - 2012

Remember when the family got out the board games and set up the table? We did that at my house when I was growing up, but it was the kids really that played. My parents went to Grandpa's house to play dominoes with my aunt and uncle, and I remember playing with my siblings around the standing floor furnace on a cold winter's snowy night. If I remember correctly, the adults drank coffee and we kids had cocoa with marshmallows; the tiny ones, leaving foamy residue and dark chocolate rings around the top of the cups. Family night was important then as it built up great rapport within the family dynamics. I think it's still very important today, too. Times have changed a bit, that's for sure. No longer are we going to the top of the broom closet to pull out an old box with duct taped corners and missing pieces to SORRY. (We used blue erases to make up for the missing blue pieces and a red jax to make up for a missing red piece). No longer do we have to gather up the cards and turn them all the right way before shuffling them, passing them out, and hoping no one realizes that the five of clubs isn't in the deck anymore. NOPE..we don't have to do that because now we play our family night games online! That's right, there's an app for that! There's an app for Monopoly, Sorry, Yahtzee, and anything else you can think of. We use to play Scrabble but now we play WORDS with Friends. It's the same thing only different, right? Any given night you'll find my family all crammed into the living room, slouching over couches, leaning over the recliner, or me -- worst of the bunch -- sitting in my computer chair with one hand on the phone keypad and the other on Facebook where I try to keep up with a few horse-loving friends in at least two horse-related chat rooms! It's so different, but not really, not when you consider that my mom was on the phone a great deal of the time when she was playing dominoes and we kids were running back and forth from Grandpa's to my aunt's (they lived next door) playing chess with Cousin Gene, Hi-Ho-Cherry-O with each other in one house and checkers with my Uncle Marvin while he played dominoes with my parents. Brandon, Caity, Laura, and I will spend the better part of three hours on our smartphones, trying to slam each other with as many odd combinations, letters placed in just the right place, or letters that really shouldn't have been considered words in the first place; but because WORDS with Friends says they're words then by-golly they're words! I know I used "kart" and "ee" as words but couldn't use "kew" or "iran". Caity used "moneys" but couldn't use "tex". Laura couldn't use "tac" but she was able to place something in Japanese that no one had a clue was legal. It is what it is!! POINTS! Family night is family night, or in our house, nearly every night is family night. Caity holds the record so far of pulling out the highest score; 120 points for the best placement of the word "jump". I think I'm next with 74 points, but hey, I'll take a good steady even flowing game of 12's, 15's, and 18's anytime. The worst thing is when you have a Q but you can't use it. DANG, I hate that!

Gotta Love Progress

In 2004 I worked for a public school system in Oklahoma. Let's just say they were the largest, and therefore this means they are often the LAST to make changes. Money is one thing, and schools just never seem to find it...not when they need it. So there I was teaching, using the affordable means of technology which was given to us, our personal cell phones, but the schools were adamantly against the students having their cells in class. GROW SOME administrators. Realize that there is NOTHING, and I do mean NOTHING that you can do to separate a teenager and his or her phones. This being the case, you may as well use them, this at least keeps up the global pace with our European and Asian friends who have been texting their teachers for eons. (Or as long as there have been cell phones) * * I instructed the students to text me when they had a question during tests. They could text their friends, but texting me would be more beneficial as I actually knew the correct answers. This practice of course led to me texting constantly during the test so I could help out this or that student, and then it became a game to see who could stump the teacher. This activity served to build a HUGE rapport between myself and my class, but you guessed it -- the administration found out and I was called into the office to be reprimanded. TOO DAMN BAD. I didn't stop, and to this day the 18-20 students that I routinely texted actually ALL graduated, they ALL went to college, and 2 of them have become teachers; BOOYAH! Why do I mention this? Oh, because NOW...yes NOW, that same district is using MY technique to build rapport with their difficult students. Texting them to keep their eyes on their own papers - or to stop talking when someone is at the front of the room. YOU'RE WELCOME NORTHWEST CLASSEN HIGH SCHOOL!! * * The next school, also an Oklahoma City public school charter, Santa Fe South, was a challenge from the first day. I had about 110 students in the 9th grade ranging from age 13-17, as many of my kids were Hispanic and came from Mexico directly. Some were not quite ready for actual high school level classes even though they were older. I got the GREAT and I mean GREAT idea to allow these kids to use their natural given tagging talents to TAG UP my room - using magic markers. I had all white walls and there were rules. They couldn't use gang or gang-related symbols or language. They could tag if they got their work done, and they couldn't tag over someone else's work. This was done (on my part) for two reasons: I wanted to teach responsibility and respect. First they had to get their work done before they could tag and second, they had to learn to respect their own areas and/or territories on the wall. WOW..it was a MAJOR success....in the classroom. The administration - - didn't like it. I was fired for inciting violence. EVEN THOUGH there was NOTHING violent on the walls. * * Flash forward. ALL of the students missed me; wanted me back, and continued to be my friend on Facebook and at that time MySpace. They reported to me that the very next y year the principal put up white boards and brought in dry-erase markers to do the VERY SAME thing I was doing in my room. He didn't let me finish my project, but he was certainly happy enough to use my techniques and my ideas. He used dry-erase and claimed to me later that I was fired for destroying or allowing property to be destroyed. NO...idiot, that's why God made PAINT! I can say that now, I'm no longer working for the man. * * I just find it sad that I come up with great teaching ideas and others steal them but before they do they reprimand me rather than praise me, or encourage me for my progressive thinking. Please, believe me when I say I can come up with some really fun ways to learn - - and I have. Some of which may never be found out! I like it that way because that separates me from the dull and uncaring, or dull teacher. I am the FUN one....and that makes me happy. Of course now I'm not even teaching, and that makes me sad, but I will never ever ever forget my "babies", not one of them; and there have been thousands! My heart is blessed for this.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Somebody Trick or Treat My House Please!

I've lived in Indianapolis for 3 Halloweens now. The first one was 2010. I had barely settled into the neighborhood, however I knew enough to know that it was NOT conducive to having kids romping and stomping toward my door to get candy because my door was not exactly easy to find. I moved to a condo which had all of the garage doors facing out onto the 10th hole of a very nice, quiet, plush, private golf course. At first, because I typically assume too
much, I assumed that the association would have a Halloween block party. They did not. I assumed also, and also incorrectly, that the association would have put out flyers to let us know what we could or could not do regarding decorating my personal unit. I found out what I COULD NOT do the instant I put up a big fluffy black spider on my front gate. Because a would be trick-or-treater would have needed to (a) enter the association, (b) find the gate that led to my front door to see my porch light was lit and (c) he/she would have to have WRIST BANDS that showed they were living within 6 city blocks of my house - - can you believe it, I was not all that hopeful that my first Halloween in the metropolitan outskirts of Indianapolis was going to be that great. Turns out I was correct. NO ONE came to my door - and there I sat with two bags of Hershey's candy bars. Alone. YEAR TWO did not bode any better for us. We were no longer living in the condo where we had first moved. The owners had decided to remodel and rent it out from November to February to a group of Super Bowl realtors who I'm told brought more in 3 months than we had paid in a year at the residence - - our 2nd Halloween was spent in a mid-way, almost a LOANER type house while we searched for a better place to land. We were more than 12 miles from any real city and by real city I mean a township of about 20,000 or so people NONE of which felt that driving 12 miles out would be beneficial to get a few pieces of candy - - and again, I was left alone with bags and bags of Hershey's candy bars because that's what I typically pass out. I typically pass out Hershey's because I know I'll eat whatever may be lefted over and it happens to be one of my favorites. Two bags, one woman. THREE TIMES WAS NOT THE CHARM! We moved to a densely populated area in January, an area literally teeming with children and often to the point of annoyance to be perfectly honest. At least THIS year (I thought) I would have a endless supply of door knockers and bell-ringers on Halloween -- this thought process called for more preparation; something to the tune of 4 bags of Hershey's candy bars and I went ALL OUT and got two more bags of Almond Joys and Butterfingesr JUST IN CASE I didn't have enough. I found myself buying a silly costume for Matrix. I dressed up as a Colt's fan and counted the minutes to the six o'clock hour, the official time for Halloween to start on October 31, 2012. I even Googled the dates and times two or three times to be SURE that I wasn't just missing my neighbors when they didn't show up. NO ONE showed up. I forced Laura, Brandon, Caity, and Copeland to repeatedly knock on my door so I could pretend to hand out candy - - yes, I am THAT pathetic. I love Halloween! This afternoon, November 1, 2012, after school and after such time that I believed all of my neighbors should be home THIS WOMAN took her multiple bags of candy outside and DEMANDED that the neighbors come by and share in my bounty. It didn't take long. I had a few takers immediately, and within a few minutes they were out like bandits around the neighborhood bringing in more kids to take up the excess. Seems the ONLY reason they hadn't come by last night was because it is tradition in our association to go outside of the actual neighborhood to do parties, games at churches, and such. NO ONE knew that I was stuck at home with black paint under my eyes waiting on them. They all promised me that they'd be there for me next year. I assured them that I appreciated it. I do, but the association is selling off my unit, not to me, and again I'll be finding a new place to live come January. Maybe some day I'll have my own group of rug-rats and brats to come by and take my candy seriously! At least this year I had baby Copeland to spoil - - he let me too. He promised Gramma to always be there; and that I'd never have to eat candy alone again. AWESOME!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sur La Table, Yes, Please!

If you're in the neighborhood - - and even if you're not; make your way to 14400 Clay Terrace Boulevard #100 Carmel, IN 46032 to see the glories, the beauties, and of course the great sales at Sur La Table! To put it bluntly, it's one of the best little shop in Indy! Take a few dollars with you, expect to be surprised, but above all, expect to be pampered. From the moment we walked into the brightly illuminated gift and menagerie store in the Clay Terrace outdoor mall, I knew I was in heaven...Kitchen Heaven anyway. Jennifer and her staff walked me through rows and aisles full of colors, textures, styles, and more. My eyes fell first to a few things my kid would die for; and my Christmas shopping for 2012 officially began. I was smart enough NOT to bring my credit card with me this time, but I know I'll be back, and when I do, the kids will benefit most. Oh, I can't say that, I found an automatic espresso and latte machine I've got my eyes on! Happy Birthday to me in a few weeks, that's for sure. First, I thought of Caity, and found a few little owls for her kitchen. I found salt and pepper shakers, big spoon holders for when she's cooking. I found a cook book rack with owls too - their little wings are stretched out to hold the book! Reuben was next, but only because Laura was shopping with me and I couldn't very well buy anything for her with her standing there - even if it was mostly pretend shopping. For Reuben it's all about the rooster! I don't know why he loves them, but he does..and I found one. The best ceramic rooster ever! Don't tell him, it's a surprise. Throughout the store I found this and that; sauces, spices, gadgets, and more. I found coffee paraphernalia - filters, flavors, cups, widgets, you name it, I found it!! I wanted to bust out my birthday wish list right then and there..so I did. I pulled out my new phone and took about 10 photos of things the kids could buy me without the fear of me ever returning or regifting it. I could have 18 flavors of olive oils and never grow tired or collecting or seeing the bottles in my kitchen. I'd just buy a bigger spice rack! I found cups and saucers in every color of the rainbow and just as I was about to pick out one I had to have I saw another one I just had to have! They all went on the list! Aprons of all styles adorn the aisles at Sur La Table! You'll simply fall in love with the pots, the pans, the scrubby things, the soaps, the dishes, the...the..the everything! I think i spent an hour just wandering around and another one narrowing down what it is that I'll end up buying soon - - which of course meant grabbing a second latte from Jennifer compliments of her new Starbucks latte Verismo espresso latte machine..the reviews rave on, and they should. Hey, when Starbucks didn't have the machines you could find them at Sur La Table! (I'm going back!) Thanks Jennifer for the tour, for the love, for the fun!! Indianapolis has a well kept secret, but I hope not for long!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shocked But NOT Surprised

WOW...and I mean WOWWWWW...I really had NO idea that I had gained back every single pound and a few more. I do that when I'm stressed and I knew I was getting heavier but didn't realize HOW fast and HOW much I had gained. I'm not really a Yo-Yo type dieter. I stay pretty close to a good routine and I eat well, but I stopped exercising and boy oh boy has it shown. SO, no more excuses - - it's time to be extremely diligent, goal-oriented and factual with myself. All those things I lied to myself about must stop. NO MORE BREAD, no means no. I tell myself "Oh, a little won't hurt", but it does. I tell myself that the sugars I eat, the candy and the creamer I put in my coffee; that it will be fine. It's NOT fine. It's REFINED...NO MORE. I just saw myself on the front page of the Register, a paper out of Portage, Wisconsin. I'm an absolute fatty; and no I'm not going to apologize to myself or anyone else that I may be offending. I'm not insulting anyone, I'm owning up to my own body needs. This is just not acceptable. EVEN if the camera added only 10 pounds I am ROUND and I won't allow it. NOPE, I will not allow it. It's not good for my lifestyle, my health, my blood pressure, my anything. I am not going to let this continue. Good thing it's summer almost. From this day forward, until I am 30-40 pounds lighter, I'm walking EVERY SINGLE day for 3 miles in the morning with Laura and if she doesn't go with me I'm doing it myself. She will go with me, since she won't let me go by myself. WE ARE DOING THIS. Man, I can't believe what I saw...but I'm so very glad I did. I just gave 5 presentations for the staff at a FANTASTIC healthcare provider. I was the keynoter at a ski/golf resort near Portage, Wisconsin. I talked about being positive, taking it one day at a time and NOT allowing negative into our lives. I talked about being well balanced and healthy...things are so vivid when you see them in the mirror for what they are! I'm the one that needs to listen to myself and do what I ask of others, so HERE WE GO!! Walking is just part of it. I'm cutting out the refined sugars, only getting what comes in fruits, nuts, veggies, and whole grains. Creamer will have to be sugar free and starches just aren't invited to the party. Not now. I can't do it. I can't let them win. It's MY turn. MY TURN!! I won't set too many goals, but this one: 30 pounds as quickly as I can doing it safely and with EXERCISE....have I said WOW enough times? I just can't get over my oversight on this one. I just can't. I let life get so far ahead - - and it ran right over me. Rather than letting the photos depress me I've decided to embrace them and show them whose boss. ME, that's who. ME! I love me. I'd be my friend on Facebook. I'd take me out, I'd run around with me...so it's ME that needs to take better care of myself. Thanks camera lens...in the future I hope to let you show a little less.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Only Thing That Doesn't Change is Change

You can say what you want about life - but you can at least be assured that if you wait long enough something about your life will change. I've often said the only thing that doesn't change is change itself. I've also heard it put this way: "The only absolute is change". I agree. We go about making plans and then the facts fall into place and we have to adjust and make new plans. Somehow however, it always works out. It doesn't always work the way we want, or the way we expected, but there's just as much to learn from the new as there was from the old. I am of course talking about my current situation. I am still teaching. I will probably always teach in one form or another. I am also selling books online, and preparing to write another book. I've been working on a children's book, a novel, and God knows what else. I'm also probably always going to write. I'm speaking, giving direction to those who call me and ask me to give them direction or inspiration. I love it! I live for those moments. Why someone would believe I have it all together is beyond me, but I do come across as being rather collected in person. God knows the real me. There is something else I'm doing again; I'm selling insurance again. This time I'm selling for AFLAC (American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus) You know them for their crazy duck commercials...I remember them from the 80's when I wanted to sell for them but my managers and those I knew in the business said they were a "fad" and wouldn't be around for very long. HA! They're not only around today, but AFLAC is a Fortune 500 company, one that has been written up in many Fortune type magazines for being the best loved and respected company and the most ethical. The ethics of any company will win me over every time. EVERY time. I recently filed a claim with State Farm, a great and honored company. However, because I had purchased the policy only days before my truck was broken into and my laptops stolen, State Farm has decided to make me wait more than 120 days to pay - and they put me through a deposition which wasn't scheduled in a timely manner, and I've been treated in my opinion, as the criminal. I'm really NOT happy with State Farm and of course I left. A company is ONLY as good as their claims department. So after years and years of carrying State Farm (renter's was a new policy) I have decided to change - and I did. Change can be good. Change can be VERY good. I'm looking forward to so many changes going on right now in my life, and in the lives of those around me, my kids. Reuben is now living in Indiana with us. He's joined the National Guard, and will be a National Guard Recruiter very soon. Changing his life from dullness and depression in Oklahoma to exciting and worthwhile surrounded by friends and family. Laura too, is joining the National Guard, where she will be a supply clerk but work at Starbucks most of the time. Reuben will be a drill sergeant on drill weekends and YES he's excited to be Laura's superior! Caity has changed the most. She's a mommy now, and though she's not working, but she is studying to sell insurance and will work with me once she gets her license and has the time to learn the field training. Brandon...well, he's been evolving since we met him over two years ago. He's really matured, works extremely hard when he has a good job to go to, and he's the best daddy in the world to Copeland. COPELAND...that's our #1 change around here. He's our boy, our pride, our every reason to breathe. Cope turned a year old this past April and he's up and running, talking, giggling, and being the best boy ever. What's up for tomorrow? Who knows? God of course, but for me I just wait until it happens and pray it will be the right thing for us. I'm always on the watch of course, but when change comes I try to roll with it, and if it doesn't come - - well, that would be a change.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I've Lived at Least a 1000 Years!

Some nights I sit here at the computer and stare into the open blank screen and think to myself "There has to be something I want to talk about, why am I not writing right now?", then it hits me, I'm usually just too tired from all the living I've done over the past 12-15 hours I've been awake! It seems lately that every morning I start the clock over again - - and someone somewhere needs me, can't live without me, has to have my advice RIGHT NOW! When did I get to be this important? When did I get to be this trusted? It must be that I'm like that old horse in the barn that's been there and done that, and no matter what you throw at me I'm going to be too calm and too understated to be upset about it. I'll probably breathe at the initial shock of whatever it is that this person thinks is so vastly important that I have to stop everything I'm doing (including sleeping in) to help them survive this newest and most disasterous peril. It must be that I have experienced something like this; and therefore I MUST have a solution. Or, and probably more accurate, it could be because I'm the mom.

I'm only 50, so I can still say with a clear mind that I remember the 60's. I was there. I was a kid, but I do remember them. I remember the Vietnam Conflict, our president claiming on television that he wasn't a crook. I remember noodling, fishing with my hands in the river. I remember climbing trees before I could read. I remember walking for MILES away from my home at night, and riding my bike even further and not be afraid that someone would kidnap or harm me in any way. I remember when moms made our birthday cakes and we licked the bowls clean. Funny, I remember what I was wearing when I jumped off the cliff at Falls Creek Church Camp into shallow water, but I don't remember hitting my knees. I've seen pictures of them all bruised and battered but if it hurt I don't recall that. I've patched up more scrapes and cuts than I care to mention and there's NO WAY I could tell you about all the times I snuck into or out of some place I wasn't suppose to be. Still I have to pretend to be upset if one of my kids does something too similar to what I got away with...is that OK? For me to just pretend to be upset? Inside I'm sort of giggling about it. Does that make me a bad person?

I grew up somehow, even after drinking creek water with tadpoles in it. I did survive! I made it to 50 even though I bought more than a dozen Volkswagen Beetle Bugs, put a bit of work into them, drove them across country to L.A. and sold them for FAR too much money so I could live off the profits and not have to actually work. Where did I ever get the idea? How did I ever pull that off? I grew up somewhere between the cheerleading, gymnastics, football and baseball games, the rodeos, stand-up comedian work, and all those times I begged McDonalds and Taco Bell to give me just one taco or burger so I could live another day. That was when a manager of a restaurant felt a bit sorry for a skinny dirty-faced kid with barn-mud on her boots and straw sticking to her hair.

Hollywood was fun. After the horses, the dogs, the friends and high school I worked my way to the limelight and then stayed absolutely clear of it. I worked behind the scenes writing, dancing, helping, driving, doing anything but acting and made it in 11 films and a few sitcoms as an extra. I was perfectly OK with it too, just as long as I didn't have to look into the camera. I don't have ONE CLUE as to why it's "eye" scared the hell out of me. I hated it; although there was this one guy that worked the lens in Hollywood that kept my attention - - I'd take 1983 back if I could. I'd do those Hollywood nights another go-round if I knew what I know now. Who wouldn't start over? I ran home you know. I ran! Got scared out of my wits; too naive and country for the real grit. Since then I've lived again but it's not the same type of living. I worked, I married, I had kids, I went to school, divorced, fought for custody, gained weight, got hurt, got over it, bit the bullet, paid the bills, and found a way to say grace every day too. Grace was the most important part of my life then and it still is.

So I wake up now, I look at the clock and think to myself "Tomorrow all of what I do today will be yesterday. I better make it work", and somehow, probably by Grace; I do.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here We Go - - Again!

So, I'm at that point again where the jeans aren't fitting, and the top of my control top tights are rolling down so they don't have to TRY to support my belly. That's never a good place in life to be, so the decisions are once again made in my head to DO IT THIS TIME. I know, it's the battle of a lifetime, but when I start out I'm always in the mood to tackle it and I'm always fed up with myself to the point that I think I can make it. I finally figured out the REAL reason for that I never keep the weight off and it has nothing to do with the way I eat; it's my dang knee! My right knee is about as cooperative as a green horse with a new bit. I get going, and I'm dancing, or I'm stretching and it decides ON ITS OWN to just quit! When your knee stops and you keep moving it can be disasterous. I've found my face too close to the concrete at times when it happens; last night it was me walking up the stairs and nearly kissing the carpet before I caught myself. Stupid knee!

I've been looking things up on line that may be able to help. Of course I'm going to want to do the right thing and not hurt myself further. I'm only 50, not too young but not too old right? I don't want to do the whole knee replacement surgery; not at this point. I don't have the money and I certainly don't want to take the time it would take to heal from it. I'm just not a sitter...not a sitter. I have to be moving or working most of the time. The answer? YOGA..again. Yoga and I are good friends. We haven't seen too much of each other lately, but we're going to become much better acquainted now that I'm in a place where the carpet is good enough to sit on it. (I don't know if you know, but for about 3 months we moved to a place that should have been condemned. It was absolutely ridiculous. We put blankets on the floor just to let the baby crawl around after the owner of the house refused to change out the carpet - - which was part of the contract - - which is why we left!)

Now that I'm able to sit and stretch, dance a little, and move a bit, I can get started on the same 30 pounds I started with years ago. I think Tom Arnold wrote a book about it only taking 20 years to lose the weight. I'm there...right with you Tom! So, it's juice, boiled eggs and one piece of whole grain toast for breakfast! Don't forget the coffee...there will be coffee. Lunches these days will be juice again; mainly veggies with an apple or two thrown in for health. I love my carrots!! I could live off of olives, yogurt and carrots if I had to, but chocolate is a staple and I'm never one to argue with the food charts. Chocolate is necessary for one's brain to function from one minute to the next, so remember, dark chocolate has less calories, it takes great, and yes, it makes you feel good. Makes the brain say to itself "It will work out, whatever is wrong will work out!" More chocolate and a few front porches is all this world really needs to settle most of our differences.

Here we go...boiling the eggs right now. I boil a dozen eggs and eat them throughout the next two days or so. I love the protein. I put raw eggs in my fruit juice drinks, and I drink both a fruit juice and a veggie juice every single day. Dinner may be a piece of chicken, lots of brocoli and some wild rice, I could have a salad, I may end up with tuna, but the point is I will be juicing again, doing yoga and breathing...just breathing, and praying that THIS TIME my knee decides to be a team player and not such a freaking drama queen.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To Fire or Not to Fire

I'm on the fence right now over the new Kindle Fire. I'm SURE an Apple iPad would do everything I wanted it to do, and probably a million things I had no idea it could do, but I don't want to pay out over $600 for it. I'm waiting on them to go down in price - - and they do. Kindle Fire offers more or less what I need such as reading, viewing, browsing, and watching TV/movies, but the iPad does more of the other things I want, namely e-mailing and editing of documents. Both have a wi-fi dependability that doesn't make me happy. I'd like to have the capability to use the iPad and/or tablet as a passenger in a car without worrying about signal going in and out. There's that. There's also the fact that the Kindle is smaller and easier to put into my purse! AAAGGGGHHHH!! I'm sure something will come along to help me make up my mind.

I was even playing around with the thought of just going without a tablet, but I could use one. I'm forever mistyping on my iPhone because my fingers are just too big, and I can't and won't carry my big laptop with me. It was smaller when I bought it, but now it's a giant compared to the technologies available. It's not that I have to be connected but I like to be. Actually with my job I don't have to be connected whatsoever, I can teach and go home and live in a cave and no one would care unless I didn't show up for work. Next year will be a different matter. I'm going to be teaching online courses and having the tablet will be so much easier than carrying the laptop into Starbucks and setting up shop. I do that, I go to Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, maybe even outside if the weather is nice, and I tell the students where I'll be in case they want to come by and have coffee with me. It will be very necessary next semester to have either the iPad or something like it; so I was hoping that the Kindle Fire would answer these questions for me.

In a few reviews I've found the Kindle Fire is NOT meeting up with the expectations of the purchasers. In one report the owner actually said she would throw the Kindle Fire into her fire if it acted up again. I don't know what she was or wasn't able to achieve with it, but I am NOT a geek - I am a dork. If I have to do more than turn it on and type there could be a problem. The Kindle Fire I'm told, is more for uploading and downloading, or as they say "pulling from the cloud" to give me the tv/movies and books or magazines I want to view. Well, I want to do more than view. I want to interact, design, create, move things around, e-mail, maybe even use it as a camera if it has that capability....how funny would that be, it would mean the return of the larger camera again.

So, it's the iPad for me I guess. Better start putting the pennies away now. Maybe Acer or HP can make something as good. I say this as I remember I have already thrown out a number of LG and Samsung phones with Android capabilities that were suppose to rival my old 3G iPhone. I'm keeping it. Fat fingers or not, it beats the heck out of the touch pads I've been playing with. I guess I answered my own questions. See how rewarding blogging can be? Just imagine if I could do this on the move...and I can, but just not today.

You Just Can't Please Them All

Laura and I have been the fodder for a young girl's rants online lately, and there really isn't anything we can do about it. She (the girl, we'll call Kate) has a bit of a mental illness and I asked Laura politely once to be kind to her because of it. This would be kinder gesture on my part led to Kate's feelings being hurt and suddenly I'm the "bad guy" online. I've been told by friends and people I don't know that I've been marked and/or targeted by her banter but to be honest I'm not that worried about it. If I had done what she claims I have done some one of authority would have already have stopped me right? Maybe not, maybe I'm that clever...anyway, my point is that I just can't please everyone and so I won't really try that hard to do so. If my gesture was taken as pity it wasn't intended that way.

I'm reminded of the time I drove about 150 miles out of my way to deliver a dog to a woman who, after I had arrived, informed me that I needed to take the dog to the vet for a check up. Then I was asked if it would be too much of a bother to pay for the check up because the lady hadn't actually AGREED to take the dog until she knew it was OK. I smiled. I opened the gate to her yard, let the dog out and waved. For that I received a blasting online about how I abandoned animals. Me, the one person who I know goes all out of whack to be sure I accommodate the fuzzies ones...but it is what it is. I'm sure we have all been there, or have stories about how our good intentions or good deeds backfired.

Today Laura and I went to the barn where she boards her horse and I told my oldest daughter that if Kate were there I wasn't going to be mean or nasty, I wasn't going to ignore her as Laura had suggested, I was just going to be as nice and sweet as I possibly could be so that speaking poorly of me again may be harder on the kid. Who knows, maybe she just didn't want to be treated nicely. Maybe that was my bad, and I should have just let the chips fall. There was (and I am thankful) absolutely no drama! Lots of mud though. We were slinging it, but it was the real mud we were mucking through and not the type you throw with innuendo! Viva la Good Deeds, I say. I believe we should continue to be nice, continue to be sweet, continue to be the great people we were made to be, and if the nay-sayers don't like it, well they can eat a worm...no wait, let's make that a gummi worm. I don't need anyone writing how I was belligerent to the needs and caregiving of our slimy friends in ponds and creeks.

Back to the Chalkboard - Or More Appropriately, the Whiteboard

So, I'm happy! I woke up happy, and I'll probably stay that way! I am about to start a new semester of teaching Ethics, Philosophy and English! YES! I'm one of THOSE instructors who just loves to get out of bed and teach someone something. It makes my day to see just ONE light bulb pop over a student's head. When the eyes open up, and the mouth drops just a tad - and then, wait for it....the SMILE! They get it! YEA!!! There aren't many teachers and/or professors out there working for the money alone. We wouldn't be doing what we do if we did. Nope, we'd be at the Financial Planning offices downtown, uptown, or on the streets peddling futures. Instead, I'm in the classroom training for the future. Hey, I'm selfish! What can I say? If I can get these guys to open up their minds and take real responsibility I'm that much better off considering they are my future. "Learn them well" as my old Philosophy prof used to say! "Learn them well".

This semester I'm teaching 5 classes: 2 English Comp., 2 Ethics, and 1 Intro to Philosophy. The Philly class is on Saturday mornings from 8-12 so we'll be up and at it before everyone else, just laughing and carrying on. One of the requirements is to bring your breakfast and pour my coffee for me when I get too busy and let it go cold. I'm all about team work. Socrates is one of my favorites to discuss. He and Teddy Roosevelt do as much as they can to teach my students what it is to be both intelligent and responsible with intelligence. If it weren't for Socrates I'd probably be one of those people thinking I knew too much, and perhaps I'd become arrogant as well. Socrates reminds me daily that I probably don't know anything at all really, and to delve too deeply into a subject may reveal to my brain that I was correct in assuming how very little I truly know. Then again, the fact that I want to delve is good - right? I think it is.

Teaching English is much more of a classic instructor's role for me. I'm required by the rules of the college to have the students meet criteria necessary to progress. We prod and trudge through academia on a much more traditional path; no one is asked even once in my English class to stand up and role play their favorite blabbermouth or explorer. We write, read, create, and revise. I like teaching English very much, it brings me back to reality. Reality is a good place to hang out from time to time, but my home is somewhere back in the mind. I'd rather think, dream, believe, and create than be, dare I say, civilized. At least I'm the Fun English Instructor. At least I have the same goals of seeing the students smile and laugh their way through the drudgery of developing outlines or determining how many adjectives should properly be applied to one paragraph. (For the record I require 15 adjectives per paragraph, and 8 sentences minimum)

Today is not a teaching day however. I must go back upstairs and put things away both in my room and in the closets. We've recently moved and though all of the boxes are now properly placed into the correct rooms I am finding that my room is so very hard to move around in. Boxes, bags of clothing, books, shelves, and shoes clutter my way. I put the 12 full boxes of CDs in a hall closet; my iPod holds their content. There will be a day when these plastic pieces will be valuable...like vinyl was. Remember LPs? No? Well, they were awesome. Go forth and learn something today! It will make you feel fantastic.