Saturday, September 29, 2007

Whoa...300? And Welcome to the 21st Century, Mrs. L

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So I noticed as I was logging in to write this post, that I have written 300 posts now. Really? 300? Wow, I must have a lot of unimportant things to say! ;)

Anyway, Hubbs and I like to think that we're on top
of the tech world; we know about new technology coming out, and we're familiar with the gadgetry that accompanies these advances. However, the constraints of the wallet (and perhaps our need) often prevent us from actually indulging ourselves in the purchase of said new technology and new gadgetry, until such point that they are, well, no longer new.

Cases in point: my new mouse. I have been using the same corded old optical mouse on my laptop since I bought the computer two years ago. The wired mouse was Hubbs' old mouse, so I have no idea how long we've had it. Well, it finally died yesterday, giving me the excuse I needed to go out and buy a "real" mouse, an optical cordless Microsoft notebook mouse (model #3000) that would be much more convenient for me to use on my little desk. Voila my purchase:



Hubbs, too, in spite of being the audiophile that he is, was quite content with his Sony mp3 player, a player that he has had for well over a year. It had enough memory to hold his collection of workout and walking songs, and it was a good little size. At the time of purchase, he saw little need or appeal in the seemingly-overhyped iPods that were on the market. He didn't feel he needed one until early this week, when his own mp3 suddenly decided to stop responding to button controls. Then, and only then, did he feel that an iPod nano would be a good fit for him and his green Macbook Pro. Well, little did we know (but you probably knew this) that the skinny tall nano has been discontinued, in favour of the "chubby" nano. The skinny nano has become virtually impossible to find in most electronic stores given this discontinuation and the subsequent sales that have been going on, and so we figured we were out of luck. It was a glaring example of our having technological awareness and simultaneously "missing the boat."

Fortunately, we did manage to locate one little skinny nano in the end,


...and it happened to be green, in keeping with Hubbs' favourite colour.

My point, I guess, is that we are perhaps too cheap to keep up with the advances in modern technology that seem to pop up every month. Or, perhaps, we are smarter than most - waiting until these new toys have been tested by the masses, and have established a positive reputation, and have gone on sale. Maybe we're just being responsible with our money, recognizing that a "need" and a "want" are not the same, and that owning a Roomba isn't exactly something that is high on our list of spending priorities.

Who's to say? But I know I am going to enjoy using my new little mouse, and Hubbs is going to continue to enjoy using his new iPod nano, for a good few years to come.




Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PD Sucks for Perfectionists

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I am a big fan of professional development, and the improvement of one's craft, whatever that might be. If you're not learning something new, you might as well be dead. That's my thought, anyway.

However, as a perfectionist, professional development (PD for short) is a double-edged sword. Of course it is great for picking up new strategies and skills and helping me as an educator to become a more effective one. However, it is also excruciating for me as a perfectionist to hear all the things that I can be improving on, because then it drives me into over-drive mode as I try to revamp everything I am doing to incorporate all of these strategies immediately. After all, if I'm not doing it the most effective way now, why would I not change it immediately in light of new information, to become more effective? PD also evokes all kinds of guilty feelings as I reflect on how I didn't do something perfectly in the days and weeks leading up to this new training session.

Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, I know it's a process and nobody is perfect the first time round, and the important thing is to take what you've learned and try to incorporate it slowly to make positive changes to enhance current effectiveness in the classroom. I know the platitudes. However, the crazed perfectionist in me has a very hard time with the idea of slow incorporation and gradual improvement, because if you already have a new set of "tools" to work with, why would you introduce them slowly when you know full well that the end result would be better served by using the whole set right away?!

This may be why I am losing my hair. I am a stress bucket of obsessive-compulsive perfectionism.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Iron-ic

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The rumours are true. I derive some sick form of pleasure from the act of ironing, when I have time to do it leisurely. I don't know when this fancy for pressing began, but in recent years I have noticed myself ironing whilst watching TV, or ironing while chatting with Hubbs, and it has been quite cathartic and relaxing to me.

If I had to venture a non-professional theory on this, I would have to say that I probably like ironing because I like making things look better. There is something immensely satisfying about watching a nasty wrinkle disappear under a hot, steamy iron, transforming a withered looking shirt into an impressive, sharp-looking article of clothing. The whoosh of the iron as its steamy vapours shoot out in attack on wrinkles is very gratifying to see.

Perhaps this is also the reason why I secretly enjoy vacuuming and cleaning, as well. Running a powerful vac over a carpet and hearing the clackety-clack of debris being suctioned out of my flooring feels really good. So does spraying some cleaning agent and water over a filthy dirty area and watching the grime disappear under a paper towel or sponge.

Now before you start thinking I should consider a career in maid service, I have to qualify my sick fascinations. I only like ironing when I have time, and it's not something I am being forced to do because Hubbs needs a shirt to wear and all of his dress shirts are wrinkled. Likewise, I don't appreciate vacuuming if I have other, more important things to do (like prepping for my classes), and I abhor cleaning if it is done under the pressure of having guests come over.

But, time factors aside, all of these mundane chores (especially the ironing) give me a little thrill when done for pleasure. I'm sure a psychotherapist would have some fun trying to psychoanalyze what this is all about, but until I get a good analysis of my condition, I will continue on enjoying the chores that usually drive people crazy.

I'm actually excited about the 3 shirts awaiting my ironing today. :) I think I may be sick in the head.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Good to the Core

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And good for the core! I saw a colleague of mine perched on this lovely little seat the other day, and I realized that I just had to have one for myself:


Yes, it is what it appears to be: an exercise ball chair. I got mine on sale for about $40, and so far, it has been a pretty decent investment. It's not altogether uncomfortable (my back is pretty strong, and my abs hidden beneath my tummy are also relatively strong), and it forces me to sit upright and to not cross my legs all the time in my computer chair.

Some very preliminary reviews of the product online (I didn't do a very thorough or responsible research job prior to this purchase - it was a buying decision made by gut instinct) seem to suggest that it is good for relieving lower back pain (which I have) and for improving posture and building core strength (which I need). It's also funky looking.

The ball chair also supports up to 300 pounds of weight, and even though I don't weigh nearly that much, it's good to know that this product is able to support me very well, and is also something that someone much heavier than I could use without fear. That said, I'm not too sure I want anyone over 250 to sit on my chair...just in case.

If you're in the market for a new office chair, why not give this one a try? It's definitely less expensive than many of the "ergonomically correct" chairs out there, and it is probably going to be better for you in the end! :)




"Hi, I'm a Christ-Follower"

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Thanks to my colleague Bri-D, I located these thought-provoking parodies of the all-too-famous Mac vs. PC commercials. Done with exactly the same concept, they explore what it means to be a "Christian" versus a "Christ-follower" in today's world. I find the parodies to be excellent illustrations of what I am discovering myself: that the face of the Church, the worldwide body of believers who have been called out by God by grace to be His ambassadors, is changing. My experience has been that many people who are living out Jesus's commission today are no longer conforming to the legalistic standards that have become a part of the traditional churches of years past.



Anyway, there are 6 of these parodies on YouTube, and if you want to see them, just click on the image above, and you'll find them all linked up on the nice YouTube page. :)

Hi, I'm Mrs. Loquacious, and I'm a Christ-Follower.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Frequent Flyer

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I have always envied those whose jobs offered them the luxury of travel. As a teacher, my job has no such perks....most of the time. Fortunately for me, however, this year I will have the chance to travel 2 provinces over, to attend (pro bono as part of my membership) a Christian teachers' convention. The convention is usually locally held due to the majority of the membership being from this area of the world, but every 10 years it travels eastwardly because there is a small number of schools belonging to the association located there.

I, it so happens, lucked out this year. I'm so excited...even if it *is* Winnipeg! :)

However, I'm even *more* excited about returning to the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, the Paradise of Canada, VANCOUVER, in two months' time. It, too, is somewhat work related - Hubbs is attending DevTeach West there, and I am flying out to join him in the schmoozefest / networking that will take place in the evening hours following the conference.

The reason why I am so excited is that we will be staying at the Sheraton Wall Centre, which so happens to be the hotel at which Hubbs proposed to me three Novembers ago! Oh, the memories. I keep wondering if there will be rose petals on the bed this time 'round ;)

Though I work in a profession that doesn't permit me much travel, I have been fortunate enough to find ways to visit other cities anyway. Though I realize my two trips are hardly noteworthy (like a trip to Barbados or Italy might be), even these two occasions to wrack up some flyer miles are highlights to my simple mind and simple (or simplifying) life. I can hardly wait!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

O'Really, O'Reilly? - My New Toy

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I am teaching a speech & debate class as part of my new job. This resulted in my need (yes, NEED) of a good voice recorder. One where I could burn files into CD format for replay to my students, or to store student work to keep for posterity (or until CDs go out of style).

I ran my potential purchase idea past Hubbs, and it turns out that *he* was also considering a digital voice recorder for podcast/Hot Developer Corner events. Even more coincidentally, we were both looking at the same Olympus Digitial WS-200S model. I wanted it because it was digital and on sale, and Hubbs wanted that one because O'Reilly blogger Giles Turnbull wrote up a very flattering review of it.

Of course, things never turn out as you would initi
ally think. The WS200S model was nowhere to be found in my city, despite it being promoted in a flyer for a local store that would indicate they had stock. As well, turns out Turnbull's review was 2 years old, and we know how quickly technology changes in 2 years.

I did find the updated cousin to the WS200s - the WS320M - and it was relatively affordable. So I bought it.


My new toy looks like this:


It has 1GB of internal flash memory, a plug-in USB port, WMA file formatting, and it can play mp3 files. I don't need all the fancy bells and whistles of this toy, but I do like that it is super light, super small, and easy to use. Mind you, I have yet to upload anything for burning onto CD, but I anticipate it won't be hard (and I can always consult with my techie Hubbs for advice).

So, thanks to the O'Reilly guys, I have a new toy that was approved for purchase (with full blessings) from Hubbs. I can't wait to test it out in my debate class! :)


Being Married...Happily So

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Why do people say that the first year(s) of marriage are the most difficult? Is it the common experience of most newlyweds that their first years of marital bliss aren't quite so blissful? It stands to reason that merging two lives into one household (presuming no pre-existing cohabitation occurred) might require some compromise and adjustment, but is it really that hard?

Perhaps the statement is a bit of a misnomer, and misleading; perhaps one should instead be saying that each successive year of marriage is better than the last. And perhaps the statement should be qualified to only apply to those who make the effort to invest in, and build on, their marriage.

Hubbs and I are entering into year 3, having celebrated o
ur 2nd anniversary back in July. I can't say that our first year was super difficult, though of course there were moments of negotiation that had to take place as we learned to live with each other as man and wife. Since our first year, which was awesome, our marriage has only gotten better with time. That doesn't mean that our first year was fraught with insane levels of difficulty and challenge; it only means that something amazing has become ever more so over the years

To me, a marriage is what two people make of it. If their goals are aligned and they both wish for their marriage to remain intimate and affectionate like it was during their honeymoon, then they will take the steps necessary to ensure that this occurs. The so-called "honeymoon period" only ends when one or both parties decide to end it and to live differently than they did during the honeymoon phase of their relationship.

I've seen couples married from 5 to over 50 years remain on honeymooning terms with their spouses. The lovey-dovey affection hasn't appeared to fade in spite of age, time, children, or grandchildren. I've also seen people married for less than 5 years, who live as though they are merely roommates sharing a home and a bed, and who do not appear to nourish and cherish their couplehood as they would have done when they first got married. In the end, I suppose it is about choice, and how these spouses have decided to cultivate (or fail to cultivate) their marriages.

As for me and my Hubbs, we belong to the former category. Hubbs asked me a long time ago, "Why does the honeymoon period have to end?" It doesn't. We are committed to making ours last as long as we last in this life, and so we can quite confidently say that every subsequent year of our marriage will only be better than the last. :)

My mentor teacher laughs at me all the time when I tell her about Hubbs and I going on dates, or taking getaway trips, or generally being romantic. She teases that we're still on our honeymoon, because we're still newlyweds. I daresay that, after 2 years of marriage, we're technically not newlyweds anymore. That said, we'll always be like newlyweds, because in our minds, our honeymoon isn't ever going to end.




Sunday, September 02, 2007

Put On My Dancing Shoes

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I have a thing for shoes. Most women do, and I am among that majority. I especially have a thing for attractive looking, comfortable, affordable shoes. Sometimes my feet get all swollen from standing (the typical teaching day in my life) so I need professional-looking, attractive shoes that will accommodate my expanding feet and also not give me blisters.

Imagine my delight, then, to find the Naturalizer Aprika shoe. It's a last-season shoe, so it is on sale now and of course they only have the big and small sizes left in stock (which works for me, because I need to buy it a size larger to accommodate my foot swell anyway).

It's an all-leather shoe, with a soft and bendy rubber sole. It has an elastic stitching on the top of the shoe, so it fits well and stretches when necessary. It is ligthweight, high-heeled, and better still it feels amazingly soft on my feet; these shoes are the closest I've come to buying official dancing shoes (the kind that ballroom dancers and the people on "Dancing with the Stars" would wear) without dropping $200.

I am so very pleased with my purchase, even though I never go dancing anymore (is it an age thing? Maybe it's my 9:00 pm bedtime). It's good to know that if I ever decided to hit the dance floor, I won't be killing my feet to do so.

Now if only I could learn how to walk gracefully in heels, we'd be good to go. ;)