Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Need Motivation

Here's the thing.
March was a difficult month.
Teaching the class.
Family difficulties.
But the class is over.
The other is vastly improved.
A month has passed, and now April is over too.
So, what's the problem?
I can't seem to get motivated to post.
Seems like too much effort.
How do I get my MOJO back?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mystery Girl Revealed

Ooh, sorry about the mystery girl from a couple of posts ago.
(Refresh your memory here.)
I kind of forgot to give you the answer.
So, the girl in this picture...

...the pretty one, back row, white blouse, 2nd from right?
(and by the way, my sisters & I are also in that picture.
All of us were in our awkward phase at the same time, I think.)

That girl is the much younger version of:

After some of you recover from the recoil and mental "ewwww",
(I know she can inspire strong reactions)
let me just say this.
My family and her family were good friends back in the days before fame & fortune hit.
Wonderful people.
Salt of the earth & lots of fun.
We always had a great time with them at their big old inn in Rehoboth Beach.
She wouldn't know me from Adam these days,
but I have very fond memories of those days.

So, other than Sista G & Nana,
how many of you guessed?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Never Forget

April 16, 2007

Never forget . . .

not the students and faculty that died,
not their grieving families,
not the students and faculty and staff who lost their friends,
not the thousands of other students whose lives were forever changed,
not the Hokie families who saw their loved ones weeping,
not the world who wept with them,
not the lessons learned,
not the legacies left behind.

This anniversary still touches the lives of those who were there.

Never forget.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

They're Called "Vanity Plates" For A Reason

A site that I look at regularly had a post recently about the road trips of the author's youth.
The post was really about modern road trips,
wherein each whiny brat has his own personal DVD player
and doesn't have to interact with another family member the entire time.

I thought about the road trips of my own youth with my sisters.
Remember arguing with each other and yelling "Daddy! She touched me!"?
And Daddy saying "Don't make me stop this car."

We had bubble gum chewing contests with my mother on our way to the beach.
And we slept in the back seat leaning against each other like toppled statues.
This is me & my sisters on our way to Ocean Isle, NC.
Looks like that awkward stage again, huh?
The slide is old & faded, and I don't know how to fix that yet. Sorry RAD.

We would load up my father's Bug and go to Rehoboth Beach in Delaware
to stay at a big old rambling hotel owned by friends of the family.
That's us with some of them in this picture with my father behind the camera.
See the girl in the white shirt, 2nd from the right, next to the girl with the long blond hair?
She is now hugely famous, and not always in a good way.
Click on the picture to enlarge it and see if you can figure it out.

Remember playing the Snug Bug game?
I think the kids are playing that again, complete with overly hard arm punches.
(In fact, I think BS still does.)
Although now they call it "Punch Buggy".
What do they know?

Remember playing the license plate game to see how many states you could find?
Wasn't hard to do since most states had easily identifiable tags.
There were unique combinations of letters, numbers, colors, state mottos & sometimes an image.
We could tell a Colorado plate from way down the road by its green & white mountain design.

Pennsylvania had that odd mustard colored plate.

Florida was "The Sunshine State" . . .

. . . and later the state's outline in unmistakeable orange.

(license plate pics courtesy of this site)

Can't do that anymore, as each state has about 1,496 different patterns available.
Look here at just of a few of the ones you can get in Virginia.

And, of course, all of these road trips were taken in the summer.
With NO air conditioning.
They are some of my fondest memories.
Take THAT, spoiled modern kids!

But I digress.
This all got me thinking about the idiotic vanity plates I encounter on a regular basis.
Are they nuts?
They pay money, every year, to announce this kind of stuff?
I saw these in the last week.

Dude, THAT I don't need to know about you.
And yes, it was a young man driving, but I had no way of verifying his claim.
Darn. But something tells me I didn't miss much.

Does anyone else share that high opinion of yourself, Missy?
She had on an overly tight shirt.

Excuse me, but aren't we all?
Didn't see who was driving.

Another young man.

I found one on the internet machine that said "COPBAIT" on a little sports car.
He'll NEVER talk his way out of a ticket.

Here is a link to a few more.
The first one says "IDIOT".
I have a feeling that announcing it on your car is redundant.

Some were so borderline profane, I won't show them here.
But go see for yourself, or here, and mock them to your heart's content.
If they make you feel intellectually or smugly superior, don't worry.
It's not vanity.

Leave comments with your guess as to Mystery Girl
and the worst vanity plates you have encountered.
I'll post the answer in a couple days.

update: I confess.
After looking at the VA plates available, I want one.

I am ashamed of myself.
And I know what I want it to say - a personalized plate.
I am doubly ashamed of myself.

I have been sucked in.
But I won't be announcing my questionable physical attributes or obvious mental deficiencies.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Free At Last . . .

It's over!!!

The month from H. e. doubletoothpicks is over, and I have had a weekend of sleeping late and drinking in the glorious spring weather. (Although today it hit almost 90 degrees. Sheesh.)

I had hoped to add that there were several days of drinking celebratory margaritas, but that didn't happen. Although I did have a Caribbean Breeze last night with Sista G, Brotha P & BS at a local watering hole. It was cool & frooty & good.

First - the course I taught:

I purely LOVED being in the classroom again!!!

BUT, the reality of rearranging my schedule at work to accommodate the class was more of a nightmare that I anticipated. Not only was there an additional 3+ hours of travel time each week (depending on traffic), the 10 hours of class time, and the ~1/2 hour before & after each class to take care of the details of academia, but there were also the hours of preparatory work & grading at home. I figure that I added an additional almost 20 hours per week to my regular full-time workload. Ewwwwww!

It's every teacher's dread to teach someone else's class with all their course materials and tests. Especially when some of the stuff is unfamiliar. But I mudded through, and the students gave me glowing evals at the end. They were a good group, and I actually learned all their names by the end of the class.

Evidently, the students gave such good feedback that the program offered me a full-time job teaching and coordinating the internships. Just what I love doing. Wait, whaaaa? Really? Wow!

Yeah, and I turned that one down.

Why, you ask?
  1. The commute. 45 minutes each way on a day with zero traffic. No thanks.
  2. The philosophy of the college (not the program; the college). I don't buy into the whole 'herd them through as quickly as you can' mentality. That may work fine for a profession that is not a hands-on field, like computers (which is what they started with), but I don't think the formula works as well for professions that require a lot of hands-on practice, like many of the medical programs. I didn't like that a whole semester's worth of material is condensed into a 5 week class, which translates into 5-hour class sessions. Okay for memorizing, I guess, but not really conducive to being able to solidify & apply knowledge. But that's just my opinion. Plus, it's no fun to have to teach for 5 straight hours. Yuk.
  3. The cost. The amount that students have to shell out for this privilege makes me gulp. I can't help but think it's something of a rip-off, especially since you can do the same thing at the local community college for 1/4 - 1/3 of the price. Granted, it will take longer, but still, in the grand scheme of things, not that much longer.
  4. The atmosphere. All of the "rules" almost made it feel like high school. Technically, I was supposed to clock in & out every day, even though I was on a flat-rate contract (WTF?!), but they never got around to showing me where the timeclock was, so that was okay after all. Every student has to wear a uniform to class - each discipline with its own uniform. They are not supposed to call their instructors by their first names. What did I do about that, coming from the community college program where we always called our instructors by their first names? I said that when the door is closed, please call me 'Kathy', since I didn't like any of my other options. I'm not really a 'Miss', I haven't been a 'Mrs.' for a lot of years, and I purely loathe "Ms." The response I got was "You mean we're actually going to be treated like adults? Wow! It's the dawn of a new era?" Funny kids ;-)
So, I turned it down without stewing and pacing and fretting about it. They still want me to teach this class again in November when it is offered again. We'll see. Maybe by then, I will have forgotten how miserable this past 5 weeks was, but I don't think so.

Second - the family issues:

Some of you reading this already know what this is referring to, and I am happy to report, with relief and joy, that things are going very well. I know we had a lot of prayers going up, and for that I thank you.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to provide details. Suffice it to say that some very black clouds are lifting and light is coming back into someone's life again.

So, my relief has more than one face, and I feel strangely free.