Thursday, February 28, 2013

Field Trip to the Art Institute

So, my third-grader and our neighbor girl (also a third-grader) went on a field trip with their classes on Wednesday. It was to a local art institute. I happen to take both of them to faith formation (where I volunteer and they attend class) every week, so I had them alone in the van with me on the drive to church. Decided I'd ask about the field trip ...

Me: How was your field trip today guys?
Them: Cool. Neat. (or something like that from both of them - in an excited tone)

Me: What was your favorite part of the trip?
My son: The bus ride was cool because they let us sing songs on the way home.

Me: Ok, but how about the art? What was your favorite?
My neighbor: France.

Me: ....

Me: France? Was there a room with French paintings?
Neighbor: No.
Me: What was it?
Neighbor: Just a room.
Me: ... No paintings? Just a room? Were there four walls?
Neighbor: Kind of. And there was something in the middle.
Me: Ok.

(moving on)

Me: Son, what was your favorite?
Son: George Washington.

(I went on to figure out that one of his favorite rooms had a bed and two paintings in it, too; however, the initial conversation had me questioning how much these kids got out of the trip to the art institute. Oh well. They seemed to enjoy it.)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Drum roll ...

... ok, not quite yet, but soon (and very soon), I will be venturing to the scale to see how much weight I've lost. Anxious to get back down to my high school weight (175#). I'll just say that I've been north of that for a while - especially since I gave up running longer distances (and pretty much gave up running for a while). I think my current workout routine will work well. I took a month at the beginning of the year to figure out what would work for me and what I just wouldn't get motivated to do. So far, so good. I have settled on a weekly routine that includes running on the treadmill four days per week, walking for one day, lifting three days per week, and core work four days per week. I've added in some DVD workouts a couple days per week. And I'm feeling good. We'll see how this goes. It'll be good to see where I'm at on my second friday of rigorous activity. Slow, but sure I'll get there!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Masters program and relicensure ...

So ... I've really been thinking about cutting this out and using it lately ...

Basically because I feel like I'm not getting exactly what I want out of my masters program. Which is interesting (and frustrating) to me because I will be done with a class in another week or so, at which point I will have a total of two classes left: one on differentiation for gifted education, and one that is simply finishing research and a capstone project.
However, even though I don't have something that I can look at from my experience with my masters program and take away an "Aha!" yet, I do feel a bit less frustrated today. And it's not because I used the above kit to release the stress. Instead, it is because the process of relicensure ended up being a lot less detailed and intricate than I originally thought. I took care of most of the process online, requested a copy of my current transcript, and sent that in to finalize my renewal.
I received an email this morning with a simple phrase at the top:
"Your new license has been issued and on original hard copy will be sent via postal mail."
Hurray! The current fruit of my $10,000 labor has been realized!
Now, for that masters degree that should come in late June!
... not that it'll help me get a job in the fall. Oh well. Here's hoping!
... at least when I do find one, it should help increase the take home.
... but, per the company line, us teachers aren't in it for the money.

Take that risk

“You may fear the disapproval of others. Take that risk and you’ll discover that you receive more approval when you don’t seek it than when you do. You may fear the unknown. Take that risk as well. Wander in there, asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if this doesn’t work out?” The truth is that you will just move beyond it. You’re not going to starve to death or be tortured if it doesn’t work out.”

- Wayne Dyer

[DISCLAIMER: this post was taken directly from]

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Personal Soap Box

I was going through my normal routine this morning. Took a shower. Shaved. Got dressed. Had my one cup of coffee. Sat with my son to look at how our fantasy basketball team was doing. Turned on Mike & Mike.

Then I started scanning my twitter timeline. Wow.  Found quite the discussion-starter (or soap box material, as the case may be).

Check out link above. It may help as you continue to read my rant, er, blog.

See, I'm a huge high school sports fan, but I'm starting to get fed up with selfish youth and high school 'athletes' and their parents. Since when is it okay to take out your frustrations on your teammates? Since when is it cool to sabotage a team's opportunity to play on a level field (or court, or sheet of ice)? I really don't care how much you (or your child) think you (or your child) should be playing. If it's really such an injustice, then so be it, but that's life. Someone's in charge. They make decisions based on what they see. If you think it's wrong, then don't take it out on everyone. Either deal with it and keep trying to help the team ... or quit before it affects the team.

It is not your right to play. If you want to play more, find a rec league, find a park, find open courts, find open ice, find some friends to play pick-up games. Or ... work harder and put in the time. And, even if you do that ... respect that a coach makes the decisions on what he or she thinks will be best for the team. This is called life. You will be dealing with it for the forseeable future. Personal justice is not always served. You will get laid off even though you think you are better suited for the job. You will be taxed more (percentage) even though you earn less. You will get pulled over for speeding even though others who speed do not get a ticket. It is not your right to make your problem (or injustice, as you see it) be everyone else's.

Find a way to respectfully deal with! First, change your behavior. Second, if you feel the system is wrong, then use the system to change the system. Third, realize that you can be happy with or without your current situation/problem; you don't have to bring others down; you are a part of something bigger than yourself; and it's not all about you!

In my own athletic career, I definitely felt like there was some injustice. I thought that I was better than at least one other player with whom I shared time. I believed that I had put in the work and that results showed that I should play more. I didn't play more. Tried to change my behavior: worked harder. Respected the coaches' decisions: did whatever I could to help the team. Realized that I could be happy with or without my situation/problem: lived my life, found ways to keep sports as a central part, didn't make my problem everyone else's.

Looking back, I still think I should've played more, but I also see how my coaches made their decisions. I know that I could've (and should've) done more to improve my chances of playing more. No injustices, though. It has been my life and I appreciate all that I've dealt with. More than anything I think it has shaped some thoughts I keep having ...

Work hard. Get better. Have fun.

Take responsibility. Help others.

Pass it on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


By Ralph Waldo Emerson
'To laugh often and much
To win the affection of intelligent people
And the affection of childrne;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics,
And endure the false betrayal of friends,
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better,
Whether by a healthy child, a garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition,
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived,
This is to have succeeded.'

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Just coincidence ...

Full disclosure: this is NOT a picture of where I live. However, driving home from the grocery store today I noticed this type of thing TWICE in my town.
First: MedShape Weight Loss Clinic happens to be right next to Papa John's Pizza.
Second: Weight Watchers is set up directly adjacent to Domino's Pizza
Coincidence? You tell me. But ... Do they HELP or HURT each other's business?

Monday, February 4, 2013

The week that was ...

It's been almost a week since I last took to this blog thing, so ...

Some updates:

  • My son's parent-teacher-conference went well. He's doing well academically and a lot better in general at school. Not sure the whole classroom/teacher/environment is the best fit for the year, but he's definitely working hard to make it a good year anyway.
  • My daughter says she is just about ready for her dance competitions - which are still a couple months away. She's still happy with her two hours at the studio on Wednesdays (and again on Saturdays).
  • Speaking of Saturdays ... Jimmy didn't see his shadow, so we should have an early spring. Yeah! My son also had a basketball tourney and they went 1-2 again. Not a bad showing for a third grade team in a fourth grade tourney.
  • Sunday was fun, too. We all slept in, so we missed church for the first time in a while, but we made up for it (at least in my mind) by spending quite a bit of the day together. The super bowl was ... well, just fine.
  • I'm still bored, jumping through hoops, and trying to get to my end-point ... just in case you're wondering :)
Happy Jimmy didn't see his shadow. Happy the Badgers beat the Illini. Happy my family is fairly healthy.

Happy. Happy. Happy.

[I have to keep reminding myself of this when the hoops keep popping up.]