Miles, that is. Yesterday, we went to visit Valley Forge National Park, taking with us a picnic lunch and the dog. We meandered around the various pathways of the park, including one that took us through a nice wooded area. I had my pedometer on, and by the time we walked up to the car, we’d walked over six miles. The dog was exhausted.
It was good training for me, for my sixty-mile walk, and probably good for the rest of the family, too. On the agenda today, work around the house and cooking out, maybe some yoga. I hope you are all having a wonderful long weekend.
Since Sundays are often pancake days, here’s a very cool blog for inspirtions, Jim’s Pancakes. I mean, seriously. These are cool.
I’m not one to go shopping to make myself feel better. In fact, I kind of hate shopping, especially now that I no longer have my 20-year-old body. Actually, I hated shopping then, too. But I really needed clothes. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing the same old thing over and over, but it was starting to wear on me. So I spent a few hours at a nearby outlet mall, which was, I must say, kind of fun. For one, it was outdoors, so that when I wasn’t in a store, I was meandering outside, which was much better than being in the stifled air of an indoor mall. It was also nice to be by myself. This was the first time I’d been shopping by myself in I don’t know how long. Everything I’ve bought for myself lately has been picked up while shopping for one of the kids. And they don’t give me a whole lot of time to pick stuff out. I had alloted a certain amount of money to spend, and even though I still had some of that allotment left, I didn’t spend it because I was too worn out to try on anything more, proving I really don’t like shopping *that* much. I’ll have to make another trip, this time with the family in tow. When I got home, I cleaned out my closet and drawers, getting rid of the things that had been sitting there not being worn for years. I put away my new clothes, some for work, some for play, and I felt like I’d made a fresh start. Even Mr. Geeky cleaned out his drawers (though not the closet). Now I’m inspired to get the house into better shape this weekend. Hooray for holidays!
Though there is plenty to do around here, I’m taking the day off. I’m going to eat breakfast out, go shopping, and generally not do anything productive (mostly). I realized yesterday that I’d mostly worked, in one way or another, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Sure there were breaks for lunch and dinner, but guess who makes those meals? Plus, I developed some lovely back pain on my right side which makes it difficult to work at the computer for very long. Basically, all week, I’ve spent an hour at the computer, then went off and ran errands or did laundry for a while before coming back to the computer. Bleh.
If you read the Huffington Post, you might have seen these. They are exam answers, real ones presumably. And they are hilarious. Enjoy! And enjoy the long weekend.
I know the last couple of posts have been all “omg, I have so much stupid stuff to do I can’t see straight,” but I do actually think about other things outside my domestic sphere. Here are some of them:
- The oil spill. It’s just awful, and I think I’ve decided that the profit motive has screwed up everything, from BP’s lack of preparation for the event to the governments oversight and response.
- For-profit education. The argument about for-profits used to be that their quality wasn’t up to snuff. That’s not so much true anymore across the board. But there are some issues with the business side, specifically the way they are handling student loans. Watch College, Inc., read Dean Dad’s responses, and then read this article in Business Week. For-profits fill a gap, but at what cost?
- Facebook and Apple as evil entities. I’m on a Mac as I speak with my iPhone plugged in. Facebook is not currently open, but all bets are that it will be at some point. We could add to this all kinds of other entities that basically hold monopoly power over us as consumers–cable companies, mobile phone providers, internet service providers, maybe Google? For Apple products at least, I like the experience I get from using their products. They generally work, and they’re fun to use. I rarely become frustrated when using my mac or my iPhone. The same is true of Google products, and quite frankly, a little blip is less of a problem, I’m not really paying for them (well, I am, through the use of my data, but no actual cash exchanges hands). Facebook is not as important to me, and as I mentioned, I’m still on the fence about its practices. Those other companies–cable, etc.–totally piss me off. It costs an arm and a leg for phone and internet service. I agree with DD, I want to have a selection of companies that I can buy all those things from. So, I could go to Comcast or Verizon or another company and say, “I want internet (both home and wifi), phone (both landline and mobile), and tv for a single price that won’t kill me.” Or I want those companies regulated like hell. Landlines are cheap despite having a monopoly because they are regulated to a degree. Same for the electricity. If Facebook can be a utility that can be regulated, as danah boyd argues, then why can’t the mobile service providers? Just saying.
Other than that, I’m mostly planning for the fall, dealing with household crap, carting kids around. What a life!
Yesterday was a crazy day. It shouldn’t have been but it was. The morning was fine. I worked on a couple of things. I got some stuff together that needed to be mailed off. Before lunch with a friend, I dropped it at the post office. After lunch, I had planned to go by Geeky Girl’s school and get some materials I needed to prepare for a lesson I’m doing today. I had been by the day before and they weren’t there, so I double checked the information when I got home and planned to pick them up after lunch. Only, again, they weren’t there. So I emailed the other volunteers and watched as the hours went by with no response. Geeky Boy had something in the afternoon which he insisted he didn’t have and when he called to check, he found out that yes, he did have it, but it got postponed because we were late. Which meant that *I* had to reschedule something I had later, which bummed me out because the thing I had was supposed to be fun. I made dinner, ate dinner, and did more stuff that was not my own and got disrupted by one kid or another every time I tried to do something. And then I passed out before 10.
I was kind of cranky yesterday. I hate being cranky. You’d think by now I’d be used to the fact that kids are disruptive. One of our friends back in grad school when we asked him to describe what life was like with a kid (before we had any), he said, “It’s like watching Jeopardy and then not ever getting to see final Jeopardy.” This was also before Tivo and DVRs, which have been a boon to at least that kind of disruption. I think one of the hardest things for me as a parent is realizing that your life isn’t always your own. You are responsible for the well-being of others and that often means that you don’t get to do what you want when you want to. Now I’m a “put your own oxygen mask on first” kind of parent. I believe in taking time for yourself and not putting your whole life into your kids. And, I think I’ve done a good job over the years of doing that. But sometimes, you have absolutely no choice. And I don’t mean just in emergencies. Sometimes, the kids just have to come first.
Now that my kids are older, there are less disruptions, but they’re still there. And because they’re more infrequent (they used to be constant), I get cranky about them. I really shouldn’t. Also as the kids get older, I realize how little time I have left with them living under my roof. In three years, Geeky Boy will be off to college (presumably) and then on to other things. And Geeky Girl is just 7 years away. That time will go by quickly. It’s hard sometimes to pull oneself back to the present, to being in the moment and really appreciating it, rather than thinking about what your kids are keeping you from doing. Or worse, looking *forward* to the time when they’ll be gone. Because when I really think about it, I don’t look forward to it. I will miss seeing them every day and talking to them. I will actually miss those disruptions, the questions, the stories, the funny observations. And I know I’ll still worry about them, hope for them, and be happy for them. And I’ll wish for their disruptions. For now, I have to think of them not as disruptions, but as moments of connection, time to be together.
My typical approach to a week is to front-load it. I do more from Monday-Wednesday than I do Thursday or Friday. I used to lament the fact that I hit Monday with both feet running and that by Thursday, I was worn out. But then, I thought, who cares. I get the same amount done, I just don’t spread it out. This week, and the next couple are packed. The kids’ birthdays are coming up and we still haven’t really planned what we’re going to do. So that’s on the list. I have some house projects I put off while I was in the interview process that I’d like to finish in a week or two. I’ll be volunteering at Geeky Girl’s school this week for which I need to pick up materials. I now have job-related stuff to do. I have summer plans to make and confirm. I’m also training for the 3-Day (today, 5 miles), and I need to continue fundraising for that. I’m working on a big plan for fundraising that I’m very excited about (because it’s kind of geeky), but that will also take some time. And things fall out of the sky all the time. I find out about events or projects for the kids at the last minute. Sigh. I think I’ll be able to breathe in late June with little breaks on the weekends. Until then, I’m plugging away.
I have this feeling that this blog is about to get even geekier. Yesterday, at Edcamp Philly, I spent a good portion of my time hearing about other people’s robotics programs, trying to figure out what I want to do in that regard. And I’m hoping to make this project from Make magazine. We haven’t had a free weekend to tackle this, but we do have the arduino. Seriously, who doesn’t want a cat toy that sends a note to Twitter when it’s being played with? I feel like my new gig has freed me to be as geeky as I wanna be, and the conference yesterday reconnected me with my own geekiness.
Though I’ve been to a few tech conferences over the last couple of years, it had been quite a while since I’d been around that many people who were as geeked out as I was. We always put our geekiness in context, though. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed about most of the ed tech conferences I’ve been to. There’s always a lot of conversation about the implications of what we’re doing as well as talking about the specifics of how to use a blog or a wiki. This was just the second K-12 conference I’ve been to, and at both of them, I felt as though the educators there were more “in the trenches” than the faculty or technologists at higher ed conferences. They talk a lot more about the practical. That’s not to say that there isn’t good pedagogical theory behind what they talk about, but they get down to the nitty gritty much more quickly than higher ed faculty seem to. I’ve been to many a session that’s been theoretical in its stance. Faculty Academy stands out to me as an exception to that. Maybe that’s just a factor of the two conferences I’ve been to, which both had a down-to-earth feel to them. One thing I can say is that I’m looking forward to more of these. Like the conferences I attended in my former career, I felt energized by yesterday’s conference and ready to tackle new challenges.
I have an announcement. I was going to wait until Monday, but what the heck. What I’ve been busy with over the last few weeks has been interviewing. Interviewing, preparing to interview, researching, etc. I’ve accepted a position at a nearby Independent school for girls (my own FGS, if you will) as the Computer Science Coordinator. I’ll be teaching technology and computing for middle school and high school. Quite frankly, I’m a little giddy about the whole thing. I can’t remember if I mentioned it here, but I know I’ve mentioned it in comments elsewhere that K-12 was an avenue I was looking into. I had thought, of course, that I’d end up teaching English. And, indeed, I’d sent out many applications and inquiries looking into doing just that. And then this job fell into my lap. At first I thought, I can’t do this. On paper, it looks like I can’t do this. But then, I started thinking about it, learning more about the job and I realized that actually, I could do it and could do it well.
So many interviews later, and a practice course teaching a group of middle school girls, here I am with a new job in a field that I love. Sure, I love reading and writing and talking about books and poetry and communication, but I think my true passion lies in technology. And I’m especially excited about the possibility of influencing and mentoring young women to pursue computing as a career. If I’d had someone like me teaching when I was in middle school, I might be at Google by now. And now, I’m at EdCampPhilly, meeting all kinds of new colleagues, people I can draw on as I’m learning the ropes, so yippee!
This week has seen a lot of developments on the tech front, which can be summed up as “Google is taking over the world”. Oh, and “Facebook is evil.”
- the android has surpassed the iPhone in sales, and they released a new version
- they’re working on an operating system
- their browser, Chrome, is gaining market share rapidly
- they announced Google tv
- they announced fonts
- they announced storage
- oh, and, they’re supporting flash on mobile devices, unlike Apple
- rumor has it they may also be working on an iPad-like device
- privacy concerns continue, with promises from the company to simplify the privacy settings
- But, it was revealed today that they released private information to advertisers without the users’ permission or knowledge (as did some other sites, like Digg and MySpace)