Friday, November 24, 2006

How to be thankful

Do you take many things in your life for granted? By looking at the world a little differently, you just might realize how much you have to be thankful for. Here's how to stop and smell the roses.

1. Look around and pay attention to the people around you. You will find that everybody has something to worry or complain about, not just you. It's easy to focus on those who seem to have it all, but you never know what's going on inside. They might look happy, but they might be miserable as well. Don't look at others and think "I should have it like they do." Look at those who aren't as fortunate as you are and count your blessings.

2. Practice acceptance. Stop dwelling on how things should be, what could've been, and what you don't have. Recognize what you do have--whether you like it or not, it's yours to keep or to change. Accepting your lot in life is not about resigning yourself to unhappiness. It's about not wasting time lamenting or denying your problems. Take them for what they are and...

3. Become a problem solver. Use your lemons to make lemonade. Get in the habit of asking yourself how you can turn the negative into a positive. The most successful people in life, and those who have the most to be grateful for, are also those who've endured tremendous trials and managed to persevere and turn it all around.

4. Learn to see hardship as a chance to develop character. Imagine yourself looking back ten years from now and recounting your difficult circumstances, and being proud of how you handled it and worked through it.

5. Focus on what you can control. Stop concentrating on your situation, and on conditions and incidents that happened to you and that you have no control over. Instead, shift your focus on what you can control: your response, and your behavior.

6. Take joy in the small things. Blow bubbles with your kids. Play with a puppy. Get lost in the park. Goof off and have a good laugh. Life's treasures are the small pleasures. Give thanks for each small gift you receive!

• Avoid negative people whose social interaction consists of comparing their lives and competing for who has it worse.

• Volunteering to help those in need will help put things in perspective.

• No matter how positive and thankful you are, remember that life will always have its ups and downs. You're going to have to take the good with the bad.

Initial Author: Alan J .
Contributors: Jody , Pastor Zack , Anonymous, Ben Rubenstein , Maths genius and others.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Time Out

My online class is finished, with final grades not due for almost a week. I'm on vacation for the next 5 days. The house is clean. I have clean sheets on my bed. It's cold outside, warm inside, and I'm in my soft clothes.


Hoo-vision redux

After my debut on Hoo-vision Friday night, I received quite a bit of flack at work Monday morning. Our SPED secretary (Joel) is a fanatic about UVA sports - all of them. I think he has season tickets to just about everything, including girl's basketball. His seats are directly across the arena from ours, and he saw me win my prize package at the game on Friday. On Monday, he accused me grabbing the guy in the stands and forcing myself on him to let me play the game. He gave me a hard time about winning a gift card instead of a TV. Funny stuff, Joel. Now, leave me alone.

So, we went back to the arena last night to watch the girls play Liberty. (they lost, btw) During the 2nd half, mom points up to the ginormous screen and says, "Isn't that the guy who works with you?" Sure enough, there's Joel - getting ready to play the same game I won on Friday! He wins! What does he win? A gift card.

Needless to say, I had great fun this morning when I got to work.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Christmas cacti in bloom - in November.

Mom wanted me to take a picture of them, in case the blooms were gone before anyone could see them. I told her it was a perfect excuse to throw a party.

Ignore the date on the photos. I just got this cheap camera, and I haven't bothered with any of the settings yet.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Luck of the Aisle (ish)

Those who know me best can remember the embarrassment of being slimed by a Lawrence Welk has-been in W-burg one summer. I should learn never to sit in an aisle seat.

Last night, we went to the UVA women's basketball game in the new arena. Very nice place - not so handicapped accessible. Parking was fine, but you have to wait in line for a teensy elevator, and then walk around the arena to your section. Then, there are steep steps down to the seats. After the game was worse, due to the crowd of people wanting to take the elevator. I ended up using the stairs (much needed exercise), and meeting mom at the exit. We made it, but it was not easy, nor accessible.

Anyway, our seats are on the aisle, and I took seat 1. Good seats, too - right at mid court. During half-time, a young man came walking up the aisle, looking for a victim. There I was! Would I be interested in playing a game on 'Hoo-Vision'? I could win a free pizza and a gift certificate! My only question - 'Will I look stupid?' Answer ' "no, not at all." Ok - all set - he'll be back at the 16 minute time-out.

For those who don't know - in the new arena, there's a huge, four-sided screen mounted over center court. Throughout the game, you can watch play-by-play, and during time-outs you can watch as the camera pans over the fans. Very entertaining. It's Hoo-vision.

Here comes the second half, and sure enough, about 3 minutes later the guy is back - with a microphone. Time out is called, and there I am -- on Hoo-vision. The game I have to play is the old 'which cup has the ball' thing. Only this time, the game is animated, with three basketballs, one of which has the Virginia logo hidden 'in' it. Now, for some reason, I've always been good at this game. Visual learner, I guess. When the balls stop bouncing around, I say the logo is under #1. I win! What did I win?



for my entire row!

Aren't I a lucky sun-of-uh-gun? Who wouldn't want to be me right about now?

After the game (VA won, by the way) a guy comes up to me and asks "What size TV did you win?" I laugh, then he says "No, really. Last week the prize for that game was a flat-screen TV." "$#@$#$@$##@!!!" I say.

I look at the back of my ticket,

find I can get a free apple pie with my next purchase!
Life is good.
Who says the aisle seat ain't lucky?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

5th Period Duty!

Every day, after my lunch, I sit in the computer lab 'monitoring' students. Most of them are seniors, working on a project for AP English. Pretty good kids - not much monitoring to do. The lab can also be used by students from various study halls, and this is where the fun comes in.

To my left is a guy who is here every day, playing some online game. Across the lab is a couple who are 'working' every day. I think my job is to prevent them from making puppies. So far, all I have to do is give them my patented teacher look, and they pretend to go back to work until my back is turned again. Some days, I feel like Linda Blair - whipping my head around every few seconds to make sure nothing inappropriate (for the computer lab, anyway) is happening.

Is this a good use of my time? I get paid pretty good money to do this for a half-hour every day.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Yeah - and here's another one...

No more, I promise!

Told you I was turning in to some kind of science nerd...

Evidently, when you combine Mentos (chewy mint candy with a thin candy shell - very refreshing!) with Diet Coke, you get some spectacular effects.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I was working on some presentations for lessons next week. We just finished up the chapter on minerals in Earth Science, and I wanted to include a little review before we moved on to the rock cycle. Ok - I'm turning into some kind of Earth Science geek. I know - I look at rocks differently now...

Anyway. I typed in a google search 'minerals' just to see what might come up. I found this video and it made me laugh. That's worth it, sometimes.

Parent Conference Night! Woo-Hoo!!

Ok - so here I sit, the lonely Special Education teacher. All around me, teachers are meeting with parents of students. Some are here because a child is failing. Some are here because a teacher is failing. Some are here simply because we invited them to come. I've been waiting for 4 hours and 15 minutes now, and the only visitors I've had are other teachers, asking "You had anyone yet?" I've planned my lessons for next week, and my grading is all done. I have another 45 minutes to go tonight, and 3 hours tomorrow morning. Good news is - we don't have to be here tomorrow until 9, and we can go home at 12. Makes up (in part) for this endless, 12-hour day.

Hey - but the Beta Club fed us dinner, and it was every bit as good as those Baptist Homecoming spreads I got used to down in NC. I'm full as a tick, and gettin' sleepy sitting here at my desk.

Tomorrow, I'm bringing my iPod, full of music, and my laptop to work on some presentations for next week.

Ain't life grand?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Mighty Greenfields!

Now, this is my kind of political ad! Same mentality, same empty promises....

I, for one, am glad this election is over. I'm tired of political correctness, and I'm tired of being villified if I don't want to wear a tee-shirt on a teacher workday proclaiming a politically correct viewpoint (not necessarily my own). I kept hearing about how such displays 'open dialogue', but I saw and experienced the opposite effect.

I'm tired of president bashing. No matter who is in office, someone isn't happy,and is more than willing to let me know about it. Funny thing is, no one ever asks me what my opinion might be - it is simply assumed that my opinion is the same, and we've got to be right, right? Or left, right? Whatever...

As I often tell my sons and my students - the loudest one doesn't always win.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Teaching a class online is supposed to be relaxing - I can do it whenever I have a few moments, I can do it in my PJs, I can do it while watching TV or listening to my Ipod - Right?
This month, I have a class from.....

Out of 8 students, I have three who are driving me crazy. They don't like that I grade their papers for grammar and spelling. They don't like that I expect them to work on their assignments like adults. They don't like that I'm not holding their hand through every discussion. One of them is talking about me in the Team folder as if I can't read everything she posts. Hello? I'm right here! I've already sent out a copy of the Student Code of Conduct to her, and given the Instructional Specialists at the university a head's up. She will definitely NOT be happy with her grade, and will try to file a grade grievance.

I've spent most of the day right here, in front of my computer, trying to explain to these 3 people how to act like Master's level students.

I've gotten nowhere.

This guy is crazy! I want to be just like him when I grow up...