Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cha-chinging in the New Year

One of my mommy friends suggested that we have a "no spend" January, meaning that we would not buy any "extras" during the month. No eating out. No white elephant sales. No "oh-that's-so-cute-I-gotta-have-it" moments. No shopping whatsoever of any kind other than necessities.

Sounds great, right?! That'll mean more money in my pocket at the end of January, right? Sure! Why not, I thought. I can do this for me and my family.

Then I started looking at January.

We're headed to the beach for the first four days in January for my big 4-0. While the rental house was paid for back in November-December, that still means extra gas to travel. And we've got reservations for dinner on my actual birthday. Well, I rationalize that it is a special occasion.

And my older mom's group has their Mom's Night Out in January. Well, of course, I have to have a night out with the moms! That certainly benefits me and my family. You know the old saying: If momma ain't happy ain't nobody happy! So surely I can justify that money out of pocket.

And I'm going to a mini-conference, a one day drive-in for school librarians to talk about the latest and greatest in young adult literature and technology and collection development and.... Well, this is for my professional growth and while I didn't have to go, again it will surely benefit me and the students and teachers that I work with at my school. Okay, that's gas money well-spent. (I paid the registration fee in November, too.)

Hmmmm...there is a holiday weekend in January which means a day off which would really be a good time to get away with the husband and child and explore the mountains or some historical site. If I take a minute, I'm sure that I can plead my case for the educational benefits as well as the social-emotional benefits.

And I'm trying to lose weight. So that means my clothes are getting loose and I need pants. I can't go around looking sloppy and unprofessional and unkempt and...

Doesn't look like I'll be saving money in January!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thirty Percent Chance of Fog

Thursday and Friday mornings were incredibly foggy; I could barely see a hundred feet in front of me. Driving in the fog is not my favorite thing to do, especially after having a deer cross my path one morning. It makes me a little more tense and in less positive mood to start my day.

Unfortunately I've felt like I was in a fog for quite some time. I've been forgetful and apparently less aware for over two years. I chalked it up to pregnancy brain for nine months: you know they tell you that you lose brain cells while that little one grows inside of you. But after the birth, I surely thought the world would return to normal, at least my mind would be for the most part what it used to be. I left no hope for the body to return to its original state.

My husband, being mildly frustrated with me one day, responded, "Sweetie, you're the brains of this operation! If you can't remember, we're all in trouble!"

Okay, so we're not leaving the house without our pants on, but I have almost put the milk in the pantry and non-refrigerated items in the produce bin. There has been other minor weirdness at different points, but again I keep referring to baby brain. My obstetrician said that it takes at least two years for the body to be normal again after birth. I'm beginning to wonder what my normal really looks like!

The fog has set in, and it doesn't seem to be leaving anytime soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Coming of Age

When it comes to technology, I certainly don't think that I'm in the Dark Ages. But I know that I don't have the latest and greatest in my personal collection.

I have yet to become attached to an iPod. I have the basic cell phone, having upgraded to a flip phone only in the past year or so. Heck, we don't even have a working VCR or DVD player hooked up to a television in our home. I suppose if I wanted, I could watch a movie on our laptop, but for the most part the laptop remains stuck on the Internet, displaying deals on eBay and Craigslist or scrolling the various forums that our family religiously reads.

Part of my job is to introduce my fellow educators to technology, to help them see how they can enhance their instruction and make their own jobs of teaching middle schoolers just a little bit easier. I've done workshops on Web 2.0, introducing blogs and wikis. I've provided times for one-on-one training to work on Blackboard and search engines and other school and district applications. I've even demonstrated using cool new equipment with students, how the visual presenters and the student response systems can enchance teaching and learning.

But even with all the knowledge of these applications and technology and even with access to such (and even with a little disposable income with which to purchase some cool new toys), I haven't found myself coming of age yet in the world of technology.

I'm not a Luddite by any means, but I'm resisting the daily pull and impact of sitting at a computer to blog and create a wiki, avoiding putting in the time to learn real strategies for implementing a new program or integrating a new piece of equipment in my own instruction or daily life.

So today I'm making a concerted effort to do a little more meaningful technology integration. Today I'm blogging.