Saturday, January 31, 2009

Facebook Status Updates

I have been thinking about status updates for a while, and how people express themselves on Facebook. I came across this article and thought it was quite interesting.

Throughout the day I think in first-person wondering if I can honestly come up with an interesting Facebook update. Most of the time I fail, and simply write what I am doing in the update. I find that if I write down the things I am truly thinking, which would be an interesting experiment in itself, people might be offended. Just yesterday I censored myself, not from anything horrible, but because I knew it would offend people. Should we truly say what we mean on Facebook? How literary should we be on a social networking website? Is it acceptable to post song lyrics when most people have no idea what you are talking about? What rules apply when updating Facebook? Am I reading too much into this? Maybe I have too much time on my hands.

And since we are on the subject.....I have no idea what Twitter is or how it would be useful in my life.

In fact, I 'unfriended' someone who was updating their status through Twitter. This person posted every 15 minutes or so, and I just couldn't take it anymore and 'unfriended' the person. Was that bad? Did that go against social networking etiquette?

It has started

My classes have started and I am blogging everyday, on two different blogs.....even on Saturday and Sunday. I think I'm going overboard a little. This totals at least 2 blogs a day, if not more on my class blogs plus tons of emails and live chatting at random times day and night, not just for my office hours. I keep my chat window open at all times when I'm online, which happens to be the majority of the day. I do this so my students can contact me whenever they have questions....again, overboard, but necessary until the class is used to blogging. I never realized how many students have never blogged, or even heard of blogging until they registered for my class. I have neglected this blog quite a bit, but should be a in groove soon and will be back to blogging on a consistent basis shortly. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Things About Me

On Facebook, people keep tagging me to write 25 things about me. Well, here it is. Enjoy!

1. I love tomatoes. Sometimes I will eat a whole bowl of tomatoes for breakfast, or lunch. The homegrown varieties are leaps and bounds better than anything you can buy in a store.

2. At some point in my life I want to go back to school for a doctorate. I don’t feel like my education is finished, and I think I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t earn the highest degree possible. Although, I do not feel like now is the time.

3.Right after high school I spend a month in Kazakhstan (’96), a month in Peru (’97) and two months in Russia (’98). These were all mission trips that I enjoyed immensely. I especially liked Russia because we worked in orphanages.

4. Ever since working in Russia for two months I have had no desire to have kids – rather I have wanted to foster and/or adopt kids who need a loving home.

5. I am addicted to the show Battlestar Galactica. I am sad to see it end. SO SAY WE ALL!!!

6. I listen to talk radio because music tends to irritate me most of the time. I do however, love music – go figure!

7. I don’t agree with the idea of credit cards. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. I do have a few, but use them sparingly and pay the total balance off every month.

8. I miss my dad more everyday and wish I could have had just one last conversation with him to tell him that things will get better.

9. I still think about stupid things that I have said and done, even from 10 or 15 years ago. These things haunt me sometimes.

10. I went into teaching thinking it was going to be a temporary thing. I never imagined that I would fall in love with teaching, but now I can’t picture myself doing anything else.

11. My husband and I were married on a cruise ship simply because we both hate weddings and didn’t want to plan one.

12. Even though I hate weddings, and don’t want to have ‘natural’ children, I still cry when the bride walks down the aisle and when a baby is born.

13. I love politics. I would love to be a politician someday, but know I wouldn’t survive in that world because of the corruption involved. I can’t walk the line, I must be well within the area of integrity. Maybe local or small town politics would fit me.

14. I volunteered for a Christian missions organization for a year. That was a foundational year for me, also VERY eye opening. Since that year it has been hard for me to go to church on a consistent basis.

15. My husband is 3 ½ years younger than I am. I hope to God that I die first because I don’t know what I would do without him.

16. I think it’s highly important that people see their parents as human. They are people who make mistakes just like you and I. Enough said!

17. I get really sad when my semesters end. I don’t like to see my students go, but I love getting to know the people in my new classes.

18. I love to cook and to feed people.

19. I believe in ghosts. I had to stop watching “A Haunting” because it freaked me out a bit too much.

20. I hate weather above 80 degrees. I get cranky and lethargic.

21. Every Christmas until 2008 I played the “one for you, one for me game”. I ended up with lots of stuff after every Christmas. I don’t do that anymore though.

22. People constantly misjudge me. I would do just about anything for anyone and need to keep myself in check. Quite a few people have said that they thought I was really mean when we first met, then they realized how different I am.

23. Most perfumes give me a headache…all but the fruity smelling ones or really light smelling scents. Florals make me gag.

24. I think flowers are a waste of money, but don’t mind receiving them once in a while. I would rather someone cook me dinner.

25. I am a gift giver. I love giving people gifts. Even small gifts are huge messages from me – though I never express those messages in words. I have to keep this in check too otherwise I would be bankrupt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Housing Market

Let's just say it, the housing market SUCKS!!! When Shawn and I purchased our townhouse in the Bay Area in 2003, we were talked into a variable interest rate. We were assured that refinancing wasn't an issue, and since our plans were to only be in the house 2-3 years, this was our best option. Who, besides Greenspan and a handful of mutli-millionaire executives, knew what was about to hit the United States?

Thankfully we only stayed in the house 18 months, and qualified for a Capital Gains exemption, we made out pretty good. We knew our next house, the one we are currently remodeling, was going to be a house we were going to stay in for 5-7 years. After that time frame, who knows where life is going to lead. We have lots of room in our house, even though we don't like the floor plan so much. We have 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 kitchenette that we are remodeling to be full kitchen ready if we ever needed it, and ahem - no dining rooms. We have converted the front bedroom into a dining room, so it's not too much of an issue right now. Plus, our kitchenette downstairs has room for an eat-in area. That's not the point! The point is, that we are blessed to have more than enough room for the two of us.

Here's the real point to this post: I feel terribly bad for all those folks who were talked into a variable interest rate a few years back, Shawn and I included because our current home is under a variable interest rate. Thankfully ours is fixed for 10 years, but still, that puts a bit of pressure on us to refinance. With the way the current market is going, we need to refinance soon before we too, like many other Americans, are upside down in our mortgage. This is not the case yet.

Now comes the ranting part: Every time I think about the hundreds and thousands of people who are taking advantage of the system I feel sick. I personally know a few people who 'short sold' their house just because they didn't want it anymore (then turned around and bought an even bigger house in one case I know of). My question to them would be this: "Who do you think is paying for your lack of responsibility?" You want to know who? Me! And all of the other taxpayers in the world, and all of the people trying to scrape by because their mortgage amount has doubled in the last year, that's who. It is quite understandable if someone has fallen on hard times, but to blatantly take advantage makes me physically sick.

I'm done ranting. Please resume your normal daily activities now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What's For Dinner?

This was dinner last night, lunch today and dinner the night before. I am trying to get more fresh fruits and veggies into our diet, and one way I thought I would do that is have a fresh fruits and veggies meal. There is not fruit here because I am trying to stay away from the sweet stuff at first, and simply add in fruit as a snack here and there. A headache is looming, so I will cut this short. But doesn't this photo make you want some fresh cut veggies and a bit of dip?

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Wonderment of Dogs

Meet my doggie Tess. Her official name is Tess-Monster. I would like to tell you a little tale of Tess' mischievous behavior.

Today while we were working downstairs on the plumbing, our little Monster decided she wanted to be a bit mischievous. A few years back we learned that our loving little doggie is quite the little houdini when she wants to be. She has learned how to open screw top pill bottles with ease, with virtually no teeth marks. When we lived in our apartment in the Bay Area she ate an entire bottle of dog glucosamine and subsequently threw up all over the place. But first she had to screw off the top of the bottle which she accomplished, not biting it off, she actually screwed the top off. Well, today she struck again. Shawn left a 4lb. jar of peanut butter on the couch from when he was snacking last night at 2am. Now, Tess WILL NOT get into things while we are around. We can leave plates of food right next to her and she won't touch it if she knows we are close. Since we were working downstairs today with Shawn's step-dad who was helping with the plumbing, we decided to leave her upstairs to save her little paws from getting poked with nails and other sharp objects that were thrown on the floor.

She proceeded to pull the 4lb. jar of peanut butter off the couch, gently open the screw top and calmly lick out some of the contents. She had only a few minutes to accomplish this, but she managed to burglarize the peanut butter and get what she could. Tess didn't get much out of the jar, but as it stands now, she has an entire 4lb. jar of peanut butter all to herself. Oh yeah - it was a NEW 4lb. jar, so it will probably take to the end of her life and beyond for us to give her all that peanut butter since we rarely, if ever, give her any people food - save her slight addiction to carrots which we allow her one everyday. What a little Monster!!!

And yes, those are MY pillows she is laying on in the picture.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vegetable Spectrum

This morning I have been compiliing a list of fruits and vegetables that are contained within the 7 color categories. Some say there are only 5, others say there are 7. I have listed 7 here because I will trying to eat something from all 7 categories on a pretty consistent basis. You will notice that there are some things in two categories. This is because a certain website will list it in one category, while another will place it in a different one. Here is the list in case you are interested:

Purple Asparagus
Purple Bell Pepper
Purple Cabbage
Purple Carrots
Red Wine
Black Cherries
Dried Plums
Grape Juice
Purple Figs
Purple Grapes
Quetch Plums

Fresh Rhubarb
Red Leaf Salad
Red Onions
Red Peppers
Red Radishes
Red Skinned Potatoes
Blood Oranges
Pink/Red Grapefruit
Red Apples
Red Grapes
Red Pears

Acorn Squash
Butternut Squash
Orange Peppers
Sweet Potatoes
Winter Squash
Yellow Beets
Yellow Skinned Potatoes
Cape Gooseberries
Golden Kiwifruit
Yellow Figs
Yellow Watermelon

Yellow Grapefruit

Broccoli Rabe
Collard Greens
Green Beans
Green Cabbage
Green Peas
Mustard Greens
Spinach Greens
Romaine Lettuce
Turnip Greens
Yellow Corn
Yellow Pepper
Green Apples
Green Grapes
Green Limes
Green Pears
Honeydew Melon

Bok Choi
Brussle Sprouts
Chinese Cabbage
Wheat Grass

Brown Pears
White Nectarines
White Peaches
White Wine

Well, there you have it. I have printed out a copy of this and out it on my refrigerator so I can see exactly which categories I am eating everyday. I can't say that I will eat all 7 everyday, but that is my goal. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pluggin' Away

After my blog rant the other day, I started revising my classes. Of course it is not quite the crisis situation I made it out to be. The process has been good. I am looking forward to a new and improved semester. New speeches (thanks to a couple wonderful professors far more experienced than I), new discussion questions, and revised course processes. This is going to be a wonderful semester and I am quite excited about it. Thanks for putting up with that last post.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stress and Insecurity

Every semester I start to feel a bit panicked. For some reason, this semester is a bit harder. I am starting a new semester in a few weeks and need to revise my courses to make them better, more productive, get rid of the dead weight of the classes and generally improve the classes overall. This process is bitter sweet. I get the wonderful opportunity to revise my classes, but at the same time face the failures. **Get ready for some blog therapy here** I have a really hard time facing failures. In this statement alone you can probably read quite a bit into my psyche. I could have said, "I have the wonderful opportunity to improve my classes and omit those things that didn't quite work as well as I would have liked". But no, I went right to the word failure! This last semester was successful, but it was quite a struggle. I have not had such a hard semester since I first started teaching, which makes sense because I started teaching in a completely different way (online versus in person). While this medium is awesome and I FREAKING LOVE IT, it works well because of my back problems, but it has also created quite a bit of stress for me. It is now time for me to go back and look at every assignment, emails, class processes, etc... and find those things that did not work. I have a list of things I need to accomplish, but for some reason my mind turns that into failure.

I thought long and hard about this past semester, and even put in 60-80 hours of work prior to the semester. I expected that the classes were going to be perfect, and since my expectations were not met, this translates into failure in my head. I know, I know, I should think positively right? I will try to do so, but with uncertain economic times, budgets at schools getting cut left and right, this leads me to be even harder on myself than normal. I have to be perfect....the process of creating a class, fulfilling objectives then ultimately revising a class seems to have been rolled all up into one process - - - - class perfection from the start. Somehow in my head I have linked the perfect class, perfect grading, and great student reviews with job security and ultimately my only opportunity for health insurance (because only one school I work at offers health insurance to part time instructors, but I don't want to get into that right now).

So here I sit, procrastinating once again, avoiding the fact that I must face my fear and actually submerge myself into the revision process of my classes. I hope and pray that this process becomes easier overtime, and it might once I no longer have to work. It is my dream for my DH to be the sole provider of the family. I can handle the budget, the cooking, most of the cleaning, making dentist appointments, taking on the role of home secretary, foster kids and truck them around from school to after school activities, but I am certain I was not made to be a person who is depended on for monetary support. It is far too much pressure for me. I do not have the ability to segment my life, which quite a few men I have talked to possess, including my husband. Don't get me wrong, I WOULD absolutely continue to work even if it was not necessary because I LOVE TEACHING, it's in my blood. Now it's time to face the revision! Wish me luck. :)