Getting into the groove

I’m getting there . . . sort of.  I teach back-to-back every other day, and I’m working getting a rhythm to that pace.  I start with homeroom, move right into CS I.  I have a weird 15 minute break, then a MS study hall.  Then lunch, then Creative Computing, then another CS I.  Some days, I don’t have that study hall, which means I have about an hour.  This week, that slot is being taken over by meetings.  Bleh.  Tomorrow, I normally don’t have anything in the morning after homeroom, but guess what? I have a meeting.

I will get there.  I will settle into a routine, and it will be smooth sailing.  The classes are rocking.  I’ve had some technical rough spots getting software to install, but the kids are great and I’ve had some great classes so far.  They’re all really lively, and everyone seems eager to learn, so yay!  I’ll have more to say about the teaching tomorrow, but now I need to close up shop.


Day 37: Plug it in
Day 37: Plug it in (Photo credit: lorda)

Tomorrow I leave for a camping trip where the family and I will be mostly disconnected from the Internet, definitely disconnected from tv.  We will have our phones with us and we’re not going to be far from civilization as we plan to visit Mr. Geeky’s family while we’re traveling.  We need it.  All of us, myself included, have spent far too much time this summer in separate spaces with our heads in a screen.  For me and Mr. Geeky, this has mostly (though not entirely) been for work, but for Geeky Girl and Boy, they’ve got their own forms of entertainment online.  Gaming mostly for Geeky Boy and social media for Geeky Girl.  We all need to have some significant experience with life beyond the screen.

I really, really like being outside, and in fact, do some of my work out on my deck when the weather is nice.  I’m looking forward to being only outside, to being able to see stars, to see some cool birds, and to walk through the woods.

Mr. Geeky and I often debate where we want to retire to.  We could move downtown, be in a walkable city where there are shops, bars, and coffee shops.  Or we could live in the country somewhere where you can’t see your nearest neighbor.  We could go either way.  I do enjoy cities, but those are easy enough to visit.  I have this sense that the countryside is disappearing and that it might be nice to soak it in for a while.  I’ll get a taste of that for a week at least.

There will be–connections willing–photo posts from the road, but otherwise, it will be a bit quiet around here.

Hard Reboot

Cat lounges by the toolsOver the weekend, I did nothing.  Yesterday, I didn’t even shower.  Occasionally, I just need to power down, not use my brain too much and start fresh afterward.  It’s like holding in the power button and waiting for a couple of minutes before turning the computer back on.  Only for me, it was a couple of days.

Last night we had some major thunderstorms that hit just as we were going to bed and again an hour or so later, so sleep was restless for me.  Still, I plan to get a few things done.  I starting thinking about my 8th grade class, which I haven’t done much with and thinking about general trajectories for it.  Right now, it goes something like: digital, physical, digital plus physical, group project, individual project.  I think.  The idea is to start learning some digital things: html, css, processing.js.  Then learn how to build some things: cardboard, wood, laser cutting, 3D printing, all of the above.  Then combine the digital with the physical in some way.  Then do a group project to learn about working together, divvying up tasks, tracking progress, etc.  And finish with a big individual project.  Since I was thinking about this as I fell asleep, I had a dream about it.  In the dream, they made me teach the entire 8th grade at once in a weirdly shaped lecture hall, where some of the kids were in closed off areas.  Then the password for the computer wasn’t mine.  And, I was being observed by our new middle school director.  I woke up before I could find out how bad it went, but let’s just say, I don’t think it could possibly have gone well.

So, yes, back to school anxiety has begun.  We’re a month away, but that month will go fairly quickly.  This week, I want to finish my little personal projects, and work on 8th grade, and a little Mobile Computing (which I’m not teaching until spring but won’t have real time to plan).  I also want to start organizing some areas of the house.  I know, ambitious.  I won’t get everything I want to get done done, but I hope to put myself on a trajectory where I can feel relatively calm when the craziness of the beginning of the year starts.  And the hard reboot is a good way to clear out the cobwebs and take a deep breath before diving in.

Here I go!

A Day Off

Wednesday, I took the day off.  I had a leisurely breakfast with a new-found colleague.  Then I scheduled a massage and wandered the hotel complex.  In my wanderings, I bumped into a fellow CSTA board member and we made dinner plans.  I had a luxurious massage, worked out, and then went out for an early dinner.  I was asleep before 10.  It was much needed.  I was in meetings all day yesterday, and will be for most of the day today.  I plan to spend some time in the pool today.  I head home tomorrow morning and plan to take the whole weekend off.  At some point soon, I’m going to take a few more days off with the family before school starts.  I enjoy my work, but it is good to pause and not do anything for a while.  I always feel ready to tackle the next thing after some down time.  Here’s to taking a few days of doing nothing!

Back to the grind, of sorts

Vacation is over and now I have to get back to work for a bit. I have a week before I go to back to back conferences and I’d like to see if I can get something done before I leave. Which is crazy, I know, but I’m hoping to take some more time off later in the summer, and I’ll feel better about that if I’ve gotten something accomplished. One of these days maybe I’ll spend a whole summer doing nothing but I’m not sure I’m that kind of person.

I managed to not check email of any kind while on vacation. It helps that I barely have any kind of connection, wifi or cell. But I basically didn’t think about work for about 10 days. I think we all need that once in a while. It’s hard to do for many of us, especially when you really like what you do. I do enjoy my time off, but I also always look forward to getting back to school. Which is, I guess how it should be.

I won’t do much today. I’m dropping Geeky Girl off at the airport in a while, and I have a meeting later in the morning but I’m planning to just get the house back in order and play the other stuff by ear. Tomorrow, I’ll jump in a little more. I may feel like there’s a lot to do but I like that I get to decide at what pace to do it.

An era has passed

We’ve been coming to the beach since before we were married or had kids. Generally 4 couples and eventually their kids became the regulars.  We tend to stay up very late until maybe 2 or 3 and sleep in of course.

When the kids came along we had to adjust a bit. Usually one parent in each couple would be in charge of getting the kids to bed. When the kids would wake up, a parent would go get them back to sleep. Sometimes the parent wouldn’t make it back. Then we’d say that the kid won.

As the kids got older, bedtime became much easier. At first we would tell them to go to bed but eventually they’d just go when they felt like it. The adults always were up later. Until a couple of nights ago. All of the adults were asleep before midnight and the kids stayed up for another hour or two. The tide has turned. An era has ended.



At the beach, we all read. We’ve gradually shifted to reading on electronic devices, though I usually have a little of both. I tend toward nonfiction. I’ve read about the building of the interstate highway system, how traffic works, what motivates people, and various memoirs. I usually get through a book a day.  This year I finished my first book quickly. My next book was a 600 pager. I’m still working on it.

Yesterday was rainy so it was a good day for reading. Rainy days often entail board and card games, trips to the arcade or shopping. When I was a kid, I hated it when it rained at the beach. Now I see it as a chance to do something different.



Mornings are quiet. The ocean as been ridiculously calm. The most activity we see is when the umbrellas go up.


And sometimes people wander by. Until 9 or 10, most people are moving slowly. Even kids aren’t awake yet.

We have coffee and fruit and cereal and then we move just enough to go sit under an umbrella. And then we don’t move again.

This is vacation

In case you’re wondering what happens on vacation. There are beautiful skies.


And we play music. Here are Gary and Alan.


We also have watched the world cup with other soccer enthusiasts at a local bar.  Relaxing followed by more relaxing.  Or

while True:

Summer, Day 3: Making

I skipped the usual PD portion of my day yesterday because I couldn’t bear watching more videos about programming.  They are interesting and they are broken up with activities, but my brain was fried after 2.5 hours of course prep and building a site map.

Instead, I decided in honor of the National Day of Making, to fix my 3D printer.  That, however, was unsuccessful.  I’ve now replaced two sets of cables and been in the guts of the machine, but cannot fix the problem.  I’ve also searched forums, YouTube and other places for the answer.  The problem is I know the symptom, but not the cause.  And it’s hard to search “weird shuttering in back corner”.  I have better luck making up causes.  Well, that will have to be dealt with later.  And I may just have to buy a new printer.

Today, I’m headed in to school for about an hour to assist with the construction of the MS Makerspace.  It’s apparently coming along nicely and we need to decide where storage will go, where ventilation will go, etc.

I must, must, must complete most of my tweaking for CS I today.  Wherever I get today, I think I’m going to have to put it aside until I get through some work on the new courses.  I’ll return to it in August.

Tomorrow, I head off for vacation, which I think I’m going to need after a week of fairly intense work.  And I haven’t even started the hard stuff.