Friday, January 20, 2012

I Had to Leave for a Few Days

As we go through the mundane of winter and the end of the quarter grind, I had to take a break from blogging daily.  It has been such a busy week, and one night, we decided to have family night and watch Dolphin Tale.  After the movie was over and the kids were put to bed, I didn't have it in me to blog.  None of my experiences of the day were speaking to me.  Sharing a computer is difficult also.  I can blog from the tablet or the iPod touch, but I like the feel of keys under my fingers.  I also like to see what I am writing and feel that I can go back and edit without messing up the whole post.

Although the reading testing is done, the math is not.  Report card weeks find me running here and there.  Do I plan for class and teach or assess and do grades?  I did get some assessment/report card comp time from the principal.  The first day I entered all my grades on the report cards.  Today, I started on the comments and did some planning for next week.  I am on a quest to write better comments on my report cards and was given a hand by a colleague who let me borrow her Timesavers for Teachers Book 2.  I love the examples of comments that it gives, but it is taking me longer as I search for the words that express what I want to say.  I wish that I could have kept on task and finished my math testing also, but there is always next week.  The problem is that the longer I take, the more out of routine my class gets.  I am ready to change some of the routines in my classroom again and need to set higher expectations for my students to get the best work out of them.  At the end of the month I have a student teacher coming.  I enjoyed having a student teacher for the first time in the fall and hope that this experience will be just as enjoyable.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Grocery Store Took Two Hours!

I used my new app, Grocery Pal, when I went to the grocery store today.  I actually had a grocery list, some coupons downloaded to my loyalty card, and I was armed with my stack of coupons.  I took my youngest with me.  We had to go and look for a special cart.  We didn't find one, and we were at the other end of the store so we started out in Health and Beauty and worked our way backward.  I think that Eat This, Not That! suggests that you do the perimeter of the store first to make sure that you get the things that you really need.  So, we started out in Dairy, then Meats, Bakery, and Produce.  As we were doing the middle of the store, I realized that we forgot the minced garlic so we had to go back to produce.  Then, Reese really liked the imitation crab, so we had to go back for another sample and to pick up a pack for home.  We were almost done with frozen foods when Reese had to go to the restroom.  We ended in cleaning supplies and then had to wait in line because we got the after work shopping crowd!  Whew!  Glad that is over!

For all that hard work, I saved almost $37.00, which is cool because in this day and age, groceries are expensive and packages are getting smaller and smaller!  I think that I just realized that if you download a coupon to your loyalty card, they do not double it, but if you have the paper coupon, it comes up as scanned coupon and bonus coupon, meaning it is doubled!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Three Day Weekend

I am so glad that this is a three day weekend.  We have spent the last two days doing other things.  Tomorrow will give me the opportunity to do the housework and laundry that still needs to be done.  I also had some goals for household organizing that I would like to complete such as labeling the LEGO boxes and finishing up the cleaning up after the holidays (yes, I realize that we are 15 days into the new year) and some things that I need to complete for work.  I have trouble doing things during the week.  Once I go to work, come home, cook dinner, and do homework, I am beat and do not feel like doing any extras.  I know that part of it is my ADHD, but the other is that I like to watch TV and play on the computer also.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Well, I believe that I did a pretty good job today.  It did help that I did some research ahead of time on the Internet.  I did find that the information that I found on the Internet was a great deal more user-friendly than 20 years ago when I was trying to find out more about Buddhism and came away with a bunch of talk about Nirvana, but no real knowledge or understanding of Buddhism.  Some of the website that I found the most useful were: Buddhism in Thailand, Thai Buddhism, and An Interview with "Phra Frarang".

We went to pick up the monk today, and he brought along his assistant.  He has been in the States for 10 years and a monk for 20 years.  He is a Thai monk, but he lives in a temple run by the Laos people.  We ended up being the first speakers after introduction because we needed to leave shortly after 11am so that the monk could eat before noon.

Some of the words that were used by the monk, I was not able to directly translate into English, but I believe that I got the gist of what he was saying across to the audience.  My reading on the 227 tenets and the most important aspects of Buddhism helped me when the audience asked what some of the 227 tenets were.  The monk related the four most important tenets which were no lying, cheating, or stealing, no killing of animals, even insects, no sexual acts, and living your life peacefully with an open mind and heart.

The audience was from the Lifelong Learning Institute and consisted mostly of elderly members of the community, but also included the mayor, the fire chief, and members of city council.  The local newspaper people also attended.

The Buddhist expert members of the panel were a Jew turned Catholic turned Buddhist and a Catholic nun who had experiences in predominantly Buddhist countries in Asia.  I did not get to hear them speak, but would be interested to know if they agreed with me with regard to my translation of the monk's words.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Scrabble with My Hubby

When Scrabble first came out on Facebook, we use to play on the same computer using different browser to play the same game together. For awhile we would get out the real turntable board that we own and use the computer for the dictionary and to keep score. We then graduated to playing a few games on Facebook whenever we are on there which for me is daily. In the past two days we have started playing our three games with him on the laptop and me on the iPod touch. We sit next to each other on the couch and play back and forth. My Scrabble skills have improved immensely since I started playing with other friends on Facebook. There was a time that I would not play with my husband or any of his family. Now, I can hold my own and I sometimes win!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another Attempt of Interpreting

My Thai language skills are pretty good considering that I have never lived in the country for more that three and a half months at a time.  I can speak the main dialect and understand three different Thai dialects, the main one, the Northern (Phrae) dialect, and the Southern dialect.  I can also understand some Lao and Cambodian people because the languages are similar.

I have been called upon to interpret a few times.  I have done mostly volunteer work for family friends by going to the hospital for a circumcision and speaking to English classes at schools in Thailand.  I had one paid opportunity for a family friend who had clients in Thailand come to visit the US.  For me that was an enjoyable and easy opportunity because it was mostly conversational and just interpreting for the clients landmarks as we passed them.

This weekend, I am the substitute interpreter for a Buddhist monk who is going to be speaking about Buddhism near where a Buddhist temple is going to be built in Central Ohio.  He is going to be speaking to students at a school.  Now, schools and students, I am comfortable and have experience; Buddhism, not so much.  I know enough about it to know that it is a way of life, not particularly a religion.  My parents are Buddhist, and my mother is pretty religious, but she raised me on the basic tenet that if you do good, you will get good.  Her belief is that all religion is good, so when I married a Catholic and have two children that I am raising Catholic, it is not a big deal.

I think that I am going to have to do a crash course of reading up on Buddhism sometime between now and Saturday!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Big Red in the Big Ten

Welcome to the Big Ten Nebraska!  We were warmly welcomed by the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, NE.  We were "lucky" enough to sit behind the cornhead and were told to try a Runza; we ended up having two!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Beginning of My Life

I was born by C-Section at Grant Hospital at 5:25pm.  I was born with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck three times.  The doctor had to cut a slit in my neck so that I could breathe.  I still have a scar behind my left ear.  Obviously it worked because I am still here today to blog about it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mirror Frame Tutorial

We have lived in our house for 11 years, and I have not changed very much in the house nor decorated that much.  I have gotten to the point that I want to start to make my house look better and have some sense of what I want to do.  Most of the interior of the house has been repainted except for the bathrooms, the small hallway that connects the bedrooms, and the master bedroom.

I now have a real itch to paint the bathrooms and apply the mirror frame tutorial from Impatiently Praying for Patience to the mirror in the bathrooms.  It looks really cool even though it may not be easy.  I was wondering at first if I would be able to do it because the mirror in the master bathroom is so close to the wall, but then I realized that the frame is actually applied to the mirror.  I would not mind a smaller mirror with a bolder impact.  We actually already own a miter box, and I know how to use it from when we finished the basement.  I don't want to spend a great deal of money or put up with taking the old mirror down, looking for a whole new mirror that would fit the space, fixing the holes in the wall, etc.  So, adding to the old mirror sounds like a wonderful solution!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I got an iPod touch for Christmas.  I wanted it mostly for the kids to have something for long trips, but I did not want to invest in their own personal ones.  It has worked out wonderfully because it seems that one likes the tablet we have better, the other one likes the iPod touch so they do not fight over the gadgets.  They also still have their own gadgets if they choose not to play either of the ones that their parents own.

When I went to a conference in July, one of the technology presenters recommended The Missing Manual series of books if you want to know more about your piece of technology.  I did not really think anything of it at the time.  Then, I got a Canon Digital Camera and an iPod touch for Christmas.  The Canon Digital Camera came with an instruction manual, but was easily usable without reading the manual.  I do need to go back and read it to find out how I can get the camera to work faster, or not take so long to be ready for the next picture after taking a picture.  The iPod touch came in a pretty box with a small pamplet that helped to get it set up and ready to go.  I had no trouble getting it started, hooking it up to my computer, or buying apps.  But, I was left with a sense of I know this machine can do more than what I am doing with it, but I don't want to find out by trial and error how to work it.  I got on the library's website and reserved the missing manual: iPod 8th Edition and My iPod touch Second Edition by Brad Miser.  I started with the missing manual and I liked it, but then decided to switch to the other book because it is specific to the iPod touch.  It is telling me some things that I already know, but I am learning a great deal about my new iPod touch.  I may not use it all, but at least I will know what it is capable of doing!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


For me, the significance of being able to park in the garage is huge.  It represents hard work that has paid off.  I keep seeing a few ideas on Pinterest that have really interested me.  One is from The Family Handyman that shows a way to store bins on the ceiling of the garage.  This idea appeals to me because we have a really tall ceiling in our garage and with two bigger vehicles, we need to minimize the things that are on the ground on the sides of the garage.

Another idea that I have gotten from Pinterest is how to store LEGOs.  We sat around one Saturday morning and organized all of our LEGOs by color, but the bins were different sizes and not easy to put back where they belong.  In fact, my son has not been able to play with them since we have separated them.  I want him to be able to play with them, but also put them away in an organized fashion.  This is the idea that I copied from Heather J's Life.  I would like to add this idea from Better Homes & Gardens and make a LEGOmobile for the LEGO plastic shoe boxes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parking in the Garage

Tonight, as I was driving the van into the garage, Reese says, "Ooh, I have never done this before." When I thought about it, she was right. I don't think that in her whole lifetime we have parked cars in the garage. It has always been a storage unit for mostly restaurant things including a 6 foot grill with a trailer hitch. Even though we have not had the grill in the garage for awhile now, the garage still never got clean enough to put a vehicle in last year. We still had kid outdoor toys and other storage items including some of my work crates and boxes that got in the way.  Through dilligent cleaning, storing, and donating in 2011, 2012 is the year we finally accomplished what was for many years impossible.

I did offer the one space that we have in the garage to my husband because he drives the older of our two vehicles (although mine has more miles on it).  He said that it was for me because he has time to warm his truck and scrape in the morning because he has to wait for the kids to get on the bus anyway.  Score for me!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My New Interest: Pinterest

My student teacher was the one who told me about StumbleUpon and Pinterest. At first I was hesitant to get started with these new "research" sites. I tried StumbleUpon first and I liked it, but once I got my Pinterest account, I loved it. The ideas that other people pin are awesome. They are mostly from blogs that I may not find in a regular Google search. I have found things that I would use in my home as well as professionally. The problem I had with StumbleUpon was the websites, where it sent you, were mostly pretty crappy and very random. You cannot see where you are going prior to getting there. With Pinterest you can see what you are going to pin before you find out where it is from.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Love My Book Club

Tonight was the first book club of the year.  We read Night Road by Kristin Hannah.  Previously, we read Firefly Lane by the same author.  Although we could all relate to both books on many levels, across generations, most agreed that they like Night Road better.  It was a quick read, and there were many different points of view with regards to how issues were seen in the book.  We all cried through the book even though it was fiction; it could happen to anyone.  For our book club the overreaching themes are forgiveness will make your heart lighter, justice and revenge are two different things, and "Man makes plans; God laughs."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Trying to Develop New Habits

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to eat better.  I have not been that good at this resolution, but I believe that with our routines go back to normal tomorrow, and I go back to work, I am hoping that eating better will become easier.  Routine means eating breakfast in the morning and not getting up so close to lunch that skipping breakfast is easy.  All the cake is gone from the house, and most of the Christmas sweets are thrown away.  I have to start drinking more water, and that is a tough assignment to start considering that I cannot go to the restroom when I have the need.  Going to continue trying to develop these new habits, cannot go on like I am invincible of all health problems.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Tournament of Roses Parade

I ended up watching most of the Tournament of Roses parade this year.  I think that my interest was peaked by The Bee Movie.  We have watched this movie many times this year, and it was really interesting to see what can be done with flowers.  The theme was Just Imagine....  I was excited to see many travel destinations as floats such as Thailand and Indonesia as well as the organ donation float.  This parade presentation is more subdued than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade where the big items are the character balloons.

Bowl games on Monday ended up making it seem like two New Year's Days.  Tomorrow, it is back to real life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beginning the Year

In our house we always start out our year with a birthday celebration!  My husband is born on the first day of the year.  We contemplate the past year and make goals for the coming year.  He feels that 2011 was not so great and so has big aspirations for 2012.  My feeling is that 2011 was a mediocre year; does not go down as the best year, but not the worst either.  I am thankful for a job, pretty good health, and healthy and happy kids.  There are things that I want to accomplish in 2012, but don't feel that 2011 was a complete waste.