Posted by: moreatforty | March 28, 2008

I’m baaaaaack…

It has been a really overwhelming few months.  Actually, the last five months have been really overwhelming.  But, I’m trying to get back on track and hopefully post more regularly on this blog.  I’m not sure that anyone is out there still listening, but I suppose even if there isn’t, someone may come along in the future. I haven’t even had time to keep up with reading other blogs.  And I feel like a hamster in one of those plastic balls, so I am walking and running and I’m getting places, but I can’t accomplish what I want to when I get there because I’m stuck in the plastic ball.

As March comes to a close and April brings in the Spring, I will view this week as my personal Spring Cleaning.  I am trying to get rid of the clutter, organize things and clean up the messes that have been left behind during the last few months.

Although there have been many snags in the past few months – and really, a few of the incidents have been full-fledged rips – there is a lot for me to be grateful for.  We have found a roommate so our financial situation is better.  I also have a two week gig petsitting to bring in some extra cash in May as well.  In addition, I got a puppy back in late November who is doing quite well.  I got a good review in my performance review yesterday.  I finally have some weekends off to get caught up with stuff.  I just won an award from the national organization that I do a lot of work with.  I have some exciting projects that I’m looking forward to working on in the coming year or so.

I am looking forward to a successful spring cleaning this week and a fresh start on growth starting in April!

Posted by: moreatforty | January 21, 2008

Living a Dream…

I have a Dream poster

 (poster available at www.art.com)

It is Martin Luther King Day here in the US and I was doing some thinking about MLK, my life and the community around me.  I think that MLK was a hero for the ages.  I was lucky enough to visit the memorial for him in Atlanta a few years back and it was truly meaningful.  I respect MLK for his many great qualities of leadership and humanity and public speaking.  But, I also was thinking about how it would be to live your life like he lived his – with almost singular purpose, with tenacity and believing in a dream.  I think today we lack leaders with these qualities.  It seems that so many of our leaders – whether politicians or businesspeople or sports figures – have so many different things on their plate, and are so easily deterred from taking action or taking a stand and are living in “reality” without considering how believing in a dream could change the world. 

Then I thought about myself.  I am suffering from these things as well.  I have so many things going on in my life and none of them are really priorities for me.  I just flit from one project to another without considering what it is I REALLY want to be doing.  This age of multi-tasking has almost made approaching life with a singular or narrow focus something to look upon with disdain.  I really feel the need to figure out where my focus should be and then to simplify my life based on that focus.  What do I REALLY care about?  If I could only do ONE thing for the rest of my life, what would that one thing be?  What about you?  Are you moving through life without any focus?  Are you simply riding the current along downstream or are you planning your path and focusing on where it is you want to end up?

I am also easily deterred.  I used to approach things with some tenacity.  But, now I give up easily on things.  If challenges arise and things don’t seem to be moving along smoothly, I’ll just change direction and move somewhere else.  So, to continue the metaphor, I seem to be drifting down river with no destination in mind and when obstacles arise in the river, instead of figuring out a way around them, I simply change direction and catch the next current to whereever that is going.  The problem is that I don’t necessarily get to experience what I want to experience because I am easily deterred.  Part of that is because of the first problem.  Without a specific destination or plan in mind, there is no reason to struggle or fight when the obstacle arises.  Why not just change direction and take the easy way?  With a destination and a plan, you have a reason to struggle and fight when those inevitable obstacles arise.

Finally, I too am trapped in reality.  I don’t really have a dream for which I’m living and striving.  I have some things that I may find interesting or appealing or frustrating, but I don’t necessarily have a dream for what I want my life and the life of my community to be.  That is what I am taking away from this MLK day.  MLK had a dream – a vision for society that was a good one.  He used that dream to make a plan and establish a destination he wanted to reach.  He then had the tenacity to overcome the obstacles that arose in his path.  And, even in death, he was able to motivate and inspire thousands, perhaps millions of others to make the world a better place.

 So, what is it I want to pursue to make the world a better place in some small way?  What about you?  What is it that you think you can do to make the world a better place in some small way?  What is your dream?  What can you do to make it a little more real?  I’m going to spend some time thinking about that today…I hope you will join me.

Posted by: moreatforty | January 17, 2008

Rough Start to 2008 – Nowhere to go but up!

 Our Fat Cat - May she Rest In Peace...

DEDICATED TO HOMESTEADER – WE’LL MISS YOU BIG BEAST!

Well, I have definitely been inactive on this blog as of late.  Sorry about that.  I was traveling for work when the new year began, came home just in time for one of the worst storms in California history (with hundreds of thousands out of power for multiple days, including me for 38 hours), a cousin dying of lung cancer (after successfully fighting breast cancer over a decade ago), a sick cat who held on for a week, but had to be put to sleep on Monday, and a financial mess because our rental’s check didn’t get to us until almost a week after we are supposed to get it…ah, 2008 – what a way to begin.

But, on the bright side, we can only go up from here.  I have a week and a half before school starts up for the Spring and I am bound and determined to (1) get my life in order and (2) make the most of it.  My in-laws are coming to visit this weekend for my MIL’s birthday, so we’ll do some fun, cheap, local touristy stuff and then next week I’m going to try to get away for a couple of days to see my college roommate (who is also going through a rough start to 2008) and enjoy myself in the City (San Fran).  We’ll see if that pans out or not.

In the end, even though the last month or so has been totally overwhelming for me both physically (too much travel) and emotionally (too much loss), it has also been a time of realization.  I have learned a lesson from these trials.  First, life is short and I need to start spending time with people I care about and organizing my life in such a way that priorities are given the time they deserve.  Second, even when things seem totally unbearable – funerals, sick and dying pets, etc. – there is always some good that is slipping through around the edges.  My cousin’s family showed me what being close and truly caring can mean to others.  My puppy and other cat remind me that even though it seems unbearable when they get sick or die, pets truly are worth it.  My college roommate reminded me that even if we don’t have money to pay for extras, we have each other (she has just gone through a divorce).  And through it all, life goes on with my brother’s girlfriend having her baby (little Wyitte, who is a real cuties). 

So, even though we’re off to a rough start, I’m still looking forward to this year.  After all, what would make us appreciate all the great times if we didn’t have a few trials along the way?

I hope the rest of you are off to more uneventful start to 2008.  I also hope that I can get caught up reading all of my favorite blogs and commenting along the way! 

Posted by: moreatforty | January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!!!

Just a short note to say happy new year!  May all your days be great in 2008!

Posted by: moreatforty | December 29, 2007

Feed your brain and feed the people!

free-rice-banner.jpgA great new website allows you to do something for yourself and others while having a good time doing it.  You can click on the banner to access the website where you can test your vocabulary.  For every correct answer on the multiple choice vocabulary questions, they will provide 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program.  It would be a great tool for studying for the SAT or the GRE, but its also a way to do some self-improvement while also helping out those who need it most across the world.

I was happily surprised that my score was pretty high and I did well enough to have 100s of grains of rice donated.  I also think it is something I will go back to again and again.  I will encourage my students to participate, as they always can used an improved vocabulary.  Plus it can be a source of challenging friends and family.  So, I challenge you all.  My vocab was rated a 36 – what’s your score!?!?  And remember, you can go back to make improvements!

Posted by: moreatforty | December 29, 2007

Looking for something fun to do this weekend?

Send out a message to all your friends and stage one of these corporate coups:

 http://www.improveverywhere.com/2006/04/23/best-buy/

Update on me:  I have been traveling and without tech for most hours of most days.  But, I should be back in the swing of things as the new year begins.  My only question – where did 2007 go?!?!?

Posted by: moreatforty | December 14, 2007

Images of me

I got this meme from Corrie over at  Tyler’s Triumph and I’m looking forward to it.  Please take the challenge on your own blog and link back to let me know you’re doing it.  You just have to answer each question, put the answer into google images and choose one of the resulting images!  Enjoy!

1.  Age at next birthday…(do I really have to say?)

  Dundee 40

2.  Place I would like to travel to…

Eiffel Tower

3.  My favorite place…

Redwood forest

4.  Favorite objects…

Scrapbooks

G2 pens

5.  Favorite foods…

Cookies

Mashed potatoes and gravy

6.  Favorite color…

Blue daisy - andy warhol

7.  Nickname…

Suebee honey

8.  Place where you were born…

Vallejo Georgia street long ago

Posted by: moreatforty | December 12, 2007

1000 posts!?! Will I ever get there?

Melonie over at Workerette.com is gearing up for her 1000th post by holding a little contest to guess when she will actually make that post.  You don’t have to be correct in your guess to win, you just have to make a guess in the comments.  Melonie is pretty prolific in her blogging.  She sometimes posts upwards of four or five posts a day.  Now, that may not seem totally unusual, but she also has posts of substance, something a lot of more prolific bloggers can not claim. 

I can not imagine getting to 1000 blogs.  I would like to think that I will someday reach that number and that those 1000 posts will include a lot of things worth reading.  We shall see.  I guess that is one of the beautiful things (and scary things) about blogging.  It allows us to look back over our writing and see the progression and growth (hopefully) that we experience over a period of time.  This blog is relatively new, so sometimes I am not sure where I want to go with it or what I think is worth including and what I should leave out of the blog.  But, I am hoping that as I continue and get a feel for who is reading and what their interests are, I can get a better focus.  Although, sometimes I really like the blogs that do not have that singular focus, but instead go with the flow of their lives.  So, I do not want to lose that personal feeling of the blog.

Its tough to know what to do and what is the best approach.  For any experienced bloggers out there reading (Melonie?), I would love to know what your approach has been and how you continue to find things to write about that others see as valuable, interesting and/or entertaining.

An early congratulations to Melonie, in case I miss the actual 1000th post.  And well-wishes to all the other bloggers who are reading – may your 1000th post come and go with 1000s of readers peering in on it!

Posted by: moreatforty | December 12, 2007

Tackle it Tuesday – Vista Class Pages

Tackle It Tuesday MemeI am new to this “Tackle it Tuesday” thing, but seeing as I have a list of to-dos that will last for days and time available that adds up to about a minute (at least it sure seems that way), I thought it might be beneficial to get involved.  I have decided that I need to tackle getting started on my Spring semester Vista webpages.  For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful world of educational software, Vista is an updated version of Blackboard, which provides instructors with readymade webpage templates for grading, doing online assessments like quizzes and tests, providing links to educational resources, etc.  And, although I consider myself to be relatively computer savvy, Vista has me totally frustrated.  I attempted to use it in my classes this semester, but gave up quickly when I realized that I needed to get the pages set up well in advance because I just don’t have the time while classes are in session.  So, I gave up and just used it as an online gradebook basically, allowing the students to access their grades and nothing else really. 

My goal is to have a well-designed webpage for my Argumentation class this semester.  I have already started listing the things I would like to include, so now I need to figure out how to post all those items in an organized fashion that follows the in-class instruction that I do each week.  We just got access to the pages this week, so for today, I’m just sticking my toes in the water by getting the template for the class set up and exploring the different ways of organizing material through “Learning Modules” so I can then move on to actually constructing the Learning Modules appropriately.

Three cheers for technology in education!  I know that once I get it set up correctly, it is going to make my in-class instruction and discussions go so much more smoothly!

Posted by: moreatforty | December 10, 2007

A long weekend…and not in the good way

Sorry for the downtime here at Speech Teach.  My husband’s uncle died Friday morning and I had to come to my in-laws house for the weekend.  The tech is a little lacking here, so I don’t have a chance to get online often.  I am headed home tomorrow, so back to regular posting hopefully. 

Its been a long weekend.  I love my in-laws, but its a definite challenge living with them for days.  The family is very high stress, very high anger/bitterness and during a time like this, with a death in the family, that all gets heightened.  I don’t do really well with conflict and consider myself to be pretty much an optimist. Pessimism really tends to bring me down or to frustrate me.  So, its been a long weekend.

But, I’m glad that I could be here for my husband, even if he really hasn’t been around much at all.  And I’ll survive the long weekend.  But, it just reminds me how happy I am to be the person I am and living the life that I am.  Anyways – just wanted to let anyone out there wondering where I’ve gone that I will return! 

See you on Monday!

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