Category Archives: Fun


I watched Quarterlife on television tonight. I had already seen it on MySpace and the Debut episode was the same as what had already been online. I think I liked it better when it was just online. I could put on my ear buds and work on a blog post while I watched a show online told front he point of view of a blogger.

It really is just a soap opera – same old story, different venue. Young people, angst with blogging thrown in. Yada yada yada. I had hoped for a little more. I’ll watch a few more times and give it a fighting chance

The narrator/blogger claims at first to be honest and driven to blog about what moves her which is really just her self-justification for telling her friends secrets online. She is not as open about herself and at the point in the plot where she makes the decision to put herself out there something happens that makes that piece of film end up in the trash bin.

I have often wanted to blog about something that happened during my day and couldn’t because it might hurt someone or cause problems at my job. I have for some time thought about starting a blog somewhere and being completely anonymous and telling stories that usually only get told in my head. I would disguise names and places.

Do you think it would be freeing? I think so. The things that happen in my life that are interesting or funny or sad, are usually things I can’t tell about here because most of the VERY SMALL group of people who read this blog would know immediately who I was writing about.

I don’t know that I will actually start a new blog but I will enjoy thinking about the personalities. I may try to write the debut post just to see if I can write something worthy of ‘blogging around”.

PowerPoint Can Be Artistic? Poetic? Pretty???

Frame 1

Take a look at this site – a teacher wants her class to do a project like this – can we put together some instructions?

Sidebar – whoa this is cool! I am loving this.

Frame 2

A little playing, a little tweaking, some typing and some screenshots and yes we can do this! This is fun and creative and the students will take it and run!

Frame 3

Some explaining – this is how, this is where, be creative – think! not just about the bells and whistles; the bells and whistles have to enhance the symbolism in the text.
Think about the poem, put some words in separate text boxes. Animate them, use color, movement, sound and pictures to SHOW the poem!

Frame 4

Next day student asking will I be there that afternoon – this is confusing. Sure, we talk about the poem (she was stuck – how to animate a poem about sleep)

Frame 5

Student using all the elements – beautiful! Walking around helping, add a few seconds, try this and that. Go sit down – get out of the way. They are the artists!

If you are creating – you are learning. I’m learning, they are teaching me!
They are making a new piece of art!

There will be some tutorials coming up!

Commercial Break – Eating in Austin

I have more TCEA notes to post but thought it would be fun to take a little time out to tell you about some great places to eat in Austin. I’ve been fortunate to travel there with a friend and colleague who lived in Austin and ever meal is an adventure!

Here are some of my favorites!

**** Flip Happy Crepes

Serving delicious hand-made savory crepes, sweet crepes, and Saturday breakfast crepes. To compliment we serve fresh French pressed coffee and other assorted beverages.

400 Jessie Street
Austin, TX 78704

Wed – Fri 10:30am – 2:30pm
Saturday 9am – 3:00

I had roasted chicken, mushrooms, gruyere, carmelized onions and my friend and I shared a dessert that was crepes with Nutella and bananas. They also have veggie crepes if you like.
Flip Happy is a little Airstream trailer where you place your order, retrieve your beverage from a cooler sitting in front, and sit at a picnic table under the trees to eat.

The food is incredible and it is located right next to the trailer park where Matthew Mcconaughey keeps his trailer. Who knows – you might get a peek!

**** If you are “rumbly in your tumbly” there is a wonderful place to satisfy the growlies – freddie’s. There is a playground outside for the kids and dogs are welcome.

I ordered the texitarian portabellas – 2 large portabella mushroom caps handbreaded and deep fried to a golden brown with cream gravy. Add to that garlic smashed potatoes and spinach-artichoke casserole and it was heaven! The portions are huge, the atmosphere definitely South Austin. WWFD (What Would Freddie Do) – whatever his wife tells him to do!

**** Another great place is the Magnolia Cafe. The specialties are omelets and pancakes. There are all kinds – they are all good, the portions are huge and come with cottage fries – yum!

**** After you have filled your tummy with Austin goodness you can stop and have coffee at Mozart’s (and dessert if you have room left) There is a plethora of wonderful desserts to choose from including cheesecakes, cobbler, tiramisu and enough chocolate to make you want to cry.If they are roasting beans when you arrive there the aroma will greet you in parking lot. If the weather is nice you can sit out on the deck with your coffee and enjoy the weather and view of the lake. There is free wireless and often entertainment. Mozart’s is one of my very favorite places in Austin.
3825 Lake Austin Blvd.
Austin TX 78703
512 477 2900

Arrival In Austin

We have arrived in Austin after a deluge near Sulphur Springs. We made a potty and Starbucks stop and ate supper at Freebird’s.

We got to the Omni and there was a mistake so they didn’t have a double occupancy room and they ended up putting us in a suite. suite This room is a smoking room so there is a bit of a smell (the ex-smoker said a bit sarcastically) but it has two full bedrooms, three baths, two walk-in closets, a spa tub, a kitchen, two balconies, a bar, and three tv’s. We had to use our room key just to get on the right elevator. Not too shabby for a couple of country girls. They are supposed to move us tomorrow but we wouldn’t complain if they just left us alone.
view from 17th floorWe took a walk down on Sixth Street just to see what it’s like on Fat Tuesday. We found Mardi Gras beads, tons of people, a group of drummers in a circle playing in the street, music pouring out of the doorways and children dressed like grown-ups. There were grown-ups acting like children, a street artist using spray paint to create fantasy spacescapes, an Irish pub where a man was playing and singing country music, police on foot, horseback, and bicycle and an atmosphere of friendly fun. I don’t know if that atmosphere remained later in the night because we headed back up to our hotel to rest up for our first morning at the conference.

sixth streetAddendum – First day was fun – I learned a lot and as soon as I get notes typed I will start adding them to the blog so keep checking back!!

Winter Wonderland

It is chilly here and we have the fireplace insert working overtime but it is nothing compared to where I grew up. I ran across a news/weather flash the other day about the New Years winter storm in Southeast Michigan and had to go looking for pictures of the 16 inch snowfall.


I remember the quiet muffled peaceful atmosphere when winter snow would cover everything – softening the lines and slowing everyone and everything down.


We lived with Lake St. Clair in our front yard and a canal similar to this one in our back yard. We spent the summers in the water and the winters on the ice. In the winter it was often much quicker to get from one place to another by cutting across the ice.


I remember the fun when we were kids. School closings were very infrequent – you might be late but you got there. The salt trucks would be out on the main roads but those of us who lived on little side roads had to work together to dig ourselves out. As an adult I remember what a lot of work and trouble it was to deal with the roads, the cars, and the slushy muddy mess when it all melted.

These images were from the Detroit Free Press and the Port Huron Press Herald.

Stay warm and safe everyone!

We have a doctor appointment for labs tomorrow morning (yes I had hoped to be back at work tomorrow but it will have to wait til Friday) and I will post about our results tomorrow evening. We know that Dale’s vitamin D and calcium levels are low and they are going to be addressing that. If you are a transplant patient you are supposed to protect yourself from exposure to the sun which is one source of vitamin D and because your potassium levels can be affected but the anti-rejection drugs you are restricted in what you can eat. Milk is high in in vitamin D (fortified) but also high in potassium.

The medications also can cause problems with your bones so Calcium and Vitamin D are important. Dale feels a little like a chemistry experiment gone awry but it is slowly getting better.

See you all very soon!

My Daughter And I Do Not Have Communication Problems!

We are sitting 12 feet away from each other – she is on the pc and I am on the mac.  My husband is sitting between us in the recliner watching tv.

Chat transcript from Skype:

She: rawrrrr i is BORED mom.
can we watch the other movie??

Me: ask dad – I have to go mash taters and get out the turkey

She:  kk, need any help?

Me:  oops how are you going to ask him he doesn’t have a computer?

Husband: Just shaking his head and rolling his eyes as we explain

A Little Santa Break

My kids always want to know what I want for Christmas – I’m totally telling them this:


Quote from the back cover:

Champagne punch anyone?
Watch for fun, stress-reducing ideas sprinkled throughout the book, such as the best lotions for busily blogging hands, refreshing recipes, and great ideas for cocktails

That’s what I’m talking about!

Resources For Storytelling – Digital or Non

Cross posted at PHS Computer Project Lab
I started out searching for how writing is taught so that in the future I might be a better commenter. I found some wonderful resources and I’m going to share them here before they disappear into bookmark oblivion.

The first is from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and is called 6+ 1 Trait Writing.

The 6+1 Trait Writing framework is a powerful way to learn and use a common language to refer to characteristics of writing as well as create a common vision of what ‘good’ writing looks like. Teachers and students can use the 6+1 Trait model to pinpoint areas of strength and weakness as they continue to focus on improved writing.

There are lesson plans, assessment, prompts and more. There is more on this at The Writing Fix and at eMints which has a huge list of links that even include classroom posters you can print out.

The next treasure is The Scribe Initiative which is a wiki of the San Antonio School system dedicated to digital storytelling. There is an incredible wealth of resources here including links to open source software for editing audio, tutorials for using MovieMaker and PhotoStory, sources for images and sounds and much more. If you want to take your student’s writing digital this is a great place to start.


“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?
E. M. Forster

A Foggy Fun Day

We drove up to Mena today to see the leaves which have changed colors and would have been gorgeous. Unfortunately a system that was supposed to move in tomorrow managed to arrive early and made it a cloudy, misty day.

mistlyleaves07We still got some nice pictures and ate at the Skyline Cafe which was packed for lunch as usual. I had the house omelet which was huge and had everything but the kitchen sink in it! After lunch we walked around town a bit, browsed several antique stores and got lattes at the coffee shop. We had also bought some books at the used book store.
We took some pictures in town and then headed up into the mountains where we took more pictures. I’ll probably post some here after I get them uploaded to Flickr. We would have gotten more pictures if the visibility had been better but we still took quite a few and had a great time. I took several pictures of signs. I want to start building a collection of images to use on the web and so I tried to keep that in mind today.

We had a slight hitch with the BJs car. We had pulled off for pictures and when Dale went to start the car it wouldn’t do anything. We were a bit nervous as we were at the top and heading down some steep grades, had no cell service. Dale and BJ spent some time consulting the car manual and after a few minutes tried to start it again. something weird with a security thing had happened and evidently when this thing happens you have to wait til a certain light goes out before you start the car. The time they spent looking at the manual was enough time for whatever needed to happen. We still have no idea why it happened but we are grateful it got us home!

Despite the weather and car trouble it was a nice day and we laughed a bunch. We needed something just for fun before we get down to serious transplant time!


Big Bang Quotes

Heard on my new favorite show “Big Bang Theory” As Sheldon stomps out because Penny blew his head up in Halo:

Penny – “Wait Sheldon – you forgot something”
Sheldon – “What?”
Penny – “This plasma grenade – Oh look – it’s raining you!”
Sheldon – “Just wait til you need tech support!”

Sheldon – “OK this bowl of cereal has now lost all it’s molecular integrity. I now have a bowl of shredded wheat paste”

I love this show….

Hallelujah Halloween

Our church had Hallelujah Night and celebrated with games, music, bounce houses, hotdogs, and a bike drawing. It must have been a great turn out – I didn’t get to look up much to see. I painted faces for two hours. I don’t mean I painted a face and then a few minutes later I painted another one. I mean that as soon as I finished one there was another little face hopping up in the chair for – two – hours. I am tired, cold and will be curling up in blankets with a book in a few moments but I had a great time!

Most fun – a little princess who wanted different colored polka-dots on her arms and giggled every time I painted another one.

Sweetest – a little girl who wanted a flower on her cheek and when I was done went down the line showing everyone waiting and telling them I was really good and then she would run back and ask me where I learned art.

Cutest – a baby in a bumble bee costume who scrunched up his face and laughed every time I touched him with the paintbrush. We were trying for a heart but…

Strangest – an older fellow who said his girlfriend dared him to get lips painted on his cheek. OK there are just too many things wrong there.

Several kids would ask how much it cost and I got to tell them nothing – it’s free. I could paint their face and give them candy. I’m not good at evangelism but if I can share the gospel by painting a face and offering free candy – I’m all over that!


“Keep It Simple Stupid!” Is a motto I should have etched into the inside of my glasses lens so I would constantly have it in the corner of my line of vision.

One of my favorite websites that I feel embraces this idea is CommonCraft and they had a wonderful piece recently titled “Super Simple vs Needlessly Complex“. It showed a picture of a young man pulling a device called the Q-drum which is basically a rolling container for water with a rope attached. One person can easily haul 20 gallons of water with this simple tool. The comparison image showed a Japanese toilet that had 17 buttons on it. The picture of the Q-Drum came from an article on simple design that can be found here. My attention was grabbed by this quote:

The world’s cleverest designers, said Dr. Polak, a former psychiatrist who now runs an organization helping poor farmers become entrepreneurs, cater to the globe’s richest 10 percent, creating items like wine labels, couture and Maseratis.“We need a revolution to reverse that silly ratio,” he said.

Amen Dr. Polak – sign me up.

So how do I make these changes on a personal level? I am starting with some of the suggestions in the article Simple Living Manifesto on the Zen Habits blog.

For the cynics who say that the list below is too long, there are really only two steps to simplifying:

  1. Identify what’s most important to you.
  2. Eliminate everything else.

Of course, that’s not terribly useful unless you can see how to apply that to different areas of your life, so I present to you the Long List.

The long list contains 72 ideas with links to help on some of the individual suggestions. This seems like a “complex” list but if you start with the first which tells you to identify the four or five most important things in your life and make those your priority. The next two are evaluate your time and your commitments and ditch whatever is not in line with your most important things. Everything else flows from there. The blog author states that the entire list will not work for everyone – to just choose a few that work for you and concentrate on them.

I’m going to spend some time working on my “Most Important” list and post about it later. I also want to think about how simplifying would translate to education.

The internet is the great “leveler”. Anyone can find information on anything – anytime. That information doesn’t mean a thing if the learner can’t read, comprehend, or aggregate it into something meaningful to them. If we distill what is the most important skill in education today wouldn’t it be reading even in the higher grades?

We work harder to have more which means we need more to organize and take care of the more we worked for which means we need to work more to pay for it all. We eat junk because we don’t have time to cook good healthy food because we are working so hard so we have to work more (or at least make more money) to afford the junk food that ultimately makes us sick which means we have to make more money to pay for the medical bills. We teach our kids that they need a good education so they can have nice things and a nice job but if the above life is what we are showing them and if they are seeing it all as pointless I vote with them.

I don’t think simplicity is the goal so much as the way to achieve the goal. If we are so tied to all the stuff and the working to sustain it then where is the meaning? How often do we even have time to stop and think and question if there is meaning in our lives? Why should this generation educate themselves to have a live that has no meaning?

That’s the context for the questions I am asking myself while I work on my most important list. I want to be productive. I want to have meaning. I want to be present in my life, in my family, and in my job. I want a little solitude. I want to be as healthy as my choices can make me. I want my kids to see meaning in my life.
Do you have a list? Am I the only one who struggles with this?

Well Yes I’m a Nerd But… What Kind?

Okay Denise, as if we didn’t knownerdquiz.jpg

By the way I copied and pasted the code and the formatting didn’t show up for me so I did a screenshot. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! I passed my 200th post this weekend. My kids said I was getting old but wow! I don’t know about everyone else but this is the first week of school with students for us so say a prayer watch the traffic, eat healthly, get plenty of rest, drink fluids – oh wait that’s the flu! Do whatever it is you need to have a great week and a great year!