Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More Sandy/Halloween


"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good, oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood."

I know that we all need to find a way to move on from the storm but it being the first day back to work, it's the conversational topic of choice among everyone. I was downstairs chatting with a colleague when another colleague came into the room. Phyllis is a semi-retired seventy something year old woman and the moment I saw her, I recalled her mother, deep into her nineties, live in New York City.

Recalling this about her mom and all the hurricane talk, the first thing I said to Phyllis was, "how is your mom?" Instantly after uttering those words of concern, I recalled that her mom passed away a year or so ago and I felt like a complete moron.
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Here's a statement from my friend John. John and his wife were hit hard at their home in Breezy Point; his words capture the severity of what happened:

"Cellphones are still down but I can post to fb right now. I will respond to all the texts and voicemails as soon as possible. Our first floor is totaled. No hope. Totaled. Our second floor is intact. I believe that our home is still square and on the foundation but time will tell. It can all be replaced. I have my life and for the first time even when I was a cop and being shot at or in hand to hand combat with a person with a knife trying to kill me I was sure I was going to die when I was chest deep in flood water trying with all my will power and soul just to take one more step to get to safety...we are here to tell the tale. Rock on cookie....rock on....."
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Switching to the theme of the day, Halloween. I recall a time when I was fairly young and I went trick-or-treating chaperoned my by friend Mike's mom. One of his brothers was in a carriage and I remember grabbing on to the carriage handle and then getting pooped on by a bird. I also recall Mike's mom referring to how that was supposed to be good luck but even at my young age, likely around 10 or 11, I wasn't buying any of that.

I've lived in my current house for a little over 10 years and have never had a single trick-or-treater. It's not a surprise, my house is set far back from the street and it's just not worth the effort my a kid out for lots of candy to troll the houses on my side of the street.

It's been a while since I've said thank you to those who read this blog. I don't get many comments but I do occasionally see the stats and I know there are readers - I appreciate that!

Peace!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy Three

I feel so lucky to have not had any damage from the storm; I didn't even lose power. I have no idea how or why I was so fortunate this time out but I am so grateful.

All day, there has been an overload of images of the destruction, stories about the havoc and the hardest part, the effect on people I know and places that are a part of my history.

I feel a little helpless, a lot of sadness and yet, I have so much to be happy for - its a balancing act.

Once again, it's about the healing process now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Two

I have some concern over the situation in Long Island, a family I know is unreachable at this point and they live in an area hit very hard...please pray for them.

I have been very fortunate thus far not losing power and no evidence of damage.

Hanging on tight.

UPDATE: Seconds after publishing this post, I got word that the Kassap family is safe and sound.

Sandy One

I thought I'd leave a brief update here for those of you who use this blog as the primary source of communication with me....

As I write this, it's 4:30pm EST and there have been pretty spectacular winds, but I have not lost power; amazing since about a quarter million customers are without power in MA.

My daughter and I are safe, warm, well fed and doing fine. I hope if you are reading this from somewhere in the wake of Sandy, that you have been as fortunate as we have thus far.

Later.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cinemanarcoleptic

I don't often go to the movies, I don't love going to see a movie in a theater any more. Something really odd, or at least I think odd, is that I can almost never stay awake for the full length of a movie in a theater. I have no idea why other than the obvious components of a movie theater that are conducive to sleep.
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My daughter and I had a great fun day together. We both slept in, though my idea of sleeping in was getting up around 8. She got up close to noon; by then I had worked out showered, dressed, watched last weeks SNL, and read a few chapters (I'm such a show off :).

For lunch, we went to an all you can eat sushi place and feasted on all sorts of Sushi and other Japanese style delights. We then went to the cat shelter, located in the same strip mall, and played with the kitties. We then headed to her mom's house where she had to stop in and feed her cat Nick.

We stopped home for a while and hung out with Oliver, our cat at this house and then headed to the movie theater to see Hotel Transylvania (which got me some cinematic entertainment and a nap).
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An update on the parishioner at my church that has been exposed as a pedophile, I spoke to our rector to get an update and he's been told he is not welcome in our parish. There is a crisis counseling team that will be available to those who wish to participate as a way we can all heal from this. Thus far, there have been zero reports of any issues with him and any of our current parishioners or kids.

Friday, October 26, 2012

News One Never Wants to Get

Yesterday was a on pace to be a decent day until the late afternoon where I had a bad experience at work to spoil my day. All I wanted to do was go home and hang with my kid and move on. However, a letter in the mail really put the rest of the day and night in the toilet with some devastating news about an older guy who is a parishioner at my church.

The Boy Scouts of America released last week what they referred to as their "perversion files". This guys name was on that list documenting a 1961 case of child molestation involving him. The guy had been involved in youth ministries at the church over the years and my kid has been a part of some of those events. As sick as it is, it seems that her safety hinged on his penchant for young boys over girls.

The whole thing is disturbing and upsetting; I am still trying to figure out how to deal with it. Special thanks to Tori for some important insight that made a major difference for me.

Here's to moving forward.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Great Pumpkin Cookies


Photo

Photo by Riverside Len

4 Reviews
from Food.com
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 36 cookies

About This Recipe

"From a local community cookbook. A regular during fall baking season."

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter or 1 cup margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cream butter and sugars, beating until fluffy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with pumpkin.
  4. Stir in chips.
  5. Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 17-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.
Chris' notes:
  • I think it would be more appropriate to call these "Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies".
  • If I make these again, I will use smaller chocolate chips, the larger ones didn't distribute effectively.
  • I found this recipe after searching for a Pumpkin Cookie recipe that would yield a crisper cookie (as opposed to a softer more cake like one, I posted one of those types during a previous fall season). These cookies were moist and cake like, not crisp - may have been my fault but I followed the recipe. Don't get me wrong here, they are yummy, just not crunchy.

Caught Myself There

That was a close call! A student just asked for my help at a computer as she was trying to download files from her voice recorder to the computer. She had the audio cable plugged in and was frustrated that it wasn't working. I mentioned to her that she was using the wrong type of cable, that she needed a USB cable and pointed out the differences.

This student was very insistent that I was wrong and that she has done this just yesterday but today it was not working. I told her that it would be impossible to have transferred data with that cable, and asked her if perhaps she recalls a different cable again, pointing out where on both recorder and computer the cable would have attached; again, she insisted I was wrong and dis so in a rude manner.

At this point, I got upset. I actually know what I am talking about, and I am 100% certain that she was wrong. I should have let it go, even though she was pretty mean to me but I snapped back in a louder tone, "I'm sorry, I can't help you then, I have no idea how to transfer data with an audio cable and if you insist that you did so, you know more than me." I walked away, and went back to my desk.

I don't think what I said was all that bad and I'm not even sure my reaction was uncalled for, but in the context of where I work and what I do, I felt almost immediately guilty that I took her comments so personally.

I fumbled through my desk on a hunch and happened to have the correct type of data cable and I returned to her workstation and showed it to her, demonstrated how it would be connected and asked if she would like to borrow it. I told her I was sorry if I got huffy - she didn't choose to apologize in return but I felt better about what I did.

for those of you who work or have worked in learning environments, I suppose you can understand the occasional frustration. I am not beating up on myself for this, I feel good about my initial interaction up to the point where I allowed myself to get so upset over what really was nothing. However, I am glad that I was able to put it all into perspective so quickly.


Inspiration

My post last night started out as something private. After the call from my daughter, there was only one person I wanted to share that with, and I did. What I didn't expect is how inspired I was to think beyond what I felt from that call and the trigger for that bigger thought was the validation I got from that one person.

I didn't share it for validation, I shared it because it was related to something that I feel connected about...I never expected to get this additional perspective and the fact that I did brings me such joy for so many reasons.

The point of this post to a greater audience, take the time to share what you feel with someone that matters to you...it feels really good!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Parental Observation Post

Thus far on Tuesday's this year, my daughter would call me to pick her up from school instead of at her mom's house because she's on the yearbook committee, which meets after school. Today, she called me early to let me know she had taken the bus home to her mom's because she was feeling sick. As a parent, I felt really proud of her for making such a responsible decision...as I thought more about this over the day, it made me realize a different component of the cycle of life.

As we grow up, there are many rites of passage, turning points, and the sort. We go through them at the time but in the context of the moment in time that one is supposed to experience them. For some of them, the bigger ones, we sometimes notice our parents and/or the older generation react to those moments and often don't understand. In fact, sometimes, we even react with negative connotation at those reactions.

As a parent, I now see the difference as I bear witness to my child experiencing these moments in life, someone who is beginning to utilize the thought process at a much different level than ever before and just growing up. It's beautiful, to a point it's a little bittersweet, and often, indescribable.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time is Tricky

By the time I rubbed the sand man particles from my eyeballs shortly after the 5am alarm sounded, I had felt like I was away for a week instead of the weekend. However, it was back to the grind and I felt pretty good about it.

There's a story in today's news about a death of a 14 yr. old linked to a Monster Energy Drink and I can't help but wonder how many have gone unreported.

Seems that Lance Armstrong is only human at best.

I got a new recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies today, which I may bake tomorrow.

I figured out an alternate route home from BJs today which is much more efficient when I go there after work - I can completely avoid route 9 rush hour - how did I not figure this out years ago?

I got nothing else for now.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Twenty One

I had to steal the photo from my niece's facebook page - but the weekend revolved around a surprise 21st birthday party for her. My niece Lauren has grown up to be a really terrific young woman and I am so proud of her.

My daughter and I began our journey on Saturday morning as we drove to our hotel in Newark, NJ. from there, we headed to Staten Island and had a visit with my friend Mike and his family. Mike was my next door neighbor growing up and I have known him since 1971.

We then ventured on to visit Philip's Candy of Coney Island, now located in Staten Island. The store was opened in 1930 by a guy named Philip. My friend Maria's dad started working for Philip at the age of 19 and in the 1960's, bought the store from Philip and has owned it since. A number of years back, the store had to vacate it's Coney Island location as a result of a city renovation project and relocated to Staten Island.

My daughter and I had a nice visit with my friends Maria and Laura (both affiliated with the reunion gang I've mentioned on this blog many times). My daughter was like a kid in a candy store, both literally and figuratively and I kind of gave her a $20 bill and said "Go Crazy!" They have the prices in that store very low, it's pretty hard to spend that much money unless you want enough candy for a small village. Victoria made a pretty good run of it though and Maria very generously refused to take any money. It was kind of cool to observe the clientele, many of whom had been customers when the store was in it's original Coney Island location.

After the candy store, we headed over to the party venue, even though we were early and even helped out a little bit with setup. Once the event started though, it was so fun because I had the chance to see some old neighbors, friends, and relatives, some of whom I haven't seen in decades.

This morning, I had a workout in the hotel gym and then Vickie and I both got ready for leaving. The first stop was for brunch at The Original Pancake House, Fort Lee, NJ location. The Fort Lee, NJ location isn't the original location, that would be in Portland, Oregon, but nonetheless, the pancakes were quite astounding; as was Vickie's omelet.

After brunch, we made our way to Westchester, NY for a visit with the Decoursey gang, sans Johnny. I am so glad I made that stop, I missed them and loved getting to spend time hanging with them. Finally, the trek back to MA which featured a stop in Southbury, CT where my daughter insisted on McD's fries. I made the stop and think I had found the slowest McD's ever. I would say it tool at least 15 minutes to get an order of small fries - that was all we ordered. At least Vickie enjoyed the fries! I walked over to the Stop & Shop in the same little plaza and grabbed an apple and a drink before we got back on the road and made our way home (with one more brief pit stop for a stretch).

I got home and was pooped. Fixed myself a cup of pumpkin tea and watched the PATS on the DVR and now, here I am to tell you all about it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Road Ahead (for this weekend)

It's 8:20am as I write this and just about ready to hit the road with my daughter. Lots on the agenda over the next two days - should be seeing some family and friends, some of which I haven't seen in quite a few years.

The neck feels considerably better than last night. I slept for about half the night in a neck brace and applied moist heat as much as I could. I got through a light Pilate's workout this morning with no incident so I am just hoping for the best.

I was going to just wear what I was wearing for the event tonight but with so many hours and miles before, I thought to bring it along and change later; also, to wear something more comfy for the long drive is far more logical.

Y'all have a blast today, perhaps I'll update later tonight but if not, catchya tomorrow!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pain in the Neck

Back in 2006, I had some really nasty neck pain. The pain was bad enough and for a long enough time that I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with a herniated disc in my neck and was treated with a steroid injection and a few rounds of physical therapy.

For the last 6 years, my neck has been relatively pain free - until yesterday. Yesterday there was some stiffness and a little pain, today, there is considerable discomfort, impinged range of motion, the joy of spasms and a lot of wonder as to whether this is a short term problem or one that may require treatment as in 2006.

The biggest frustration is that I am driving over 500 miles over the next couple of days which is not going to feel good. I'll need to suck it up, be careful, and take Ibuprofen then wish for the best for now.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Great Work Day

Bob Kraft
STEM - short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Today, instead of the usual type of work day on campus, I attended and STEM Educator's Conference held at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots (football team and the New England Revolution, soccer team).

After breakfast, one of the early speakers was the owner of the Patriots, Bob Kraft and shortly before go time, I had the chance to say hi and shake his hand. I know, he really is just a guy (albeit a very wealthy one) but at the end of the day, I know he's just a guy but I am a PATS fan and it was fun to be able to meet Mr. Kraft.

there were some interesting talks regarding the value of STEM education and some more specific information about the role of the Commonwealth of MA and how we as educators have a role in the growth of business and industry (with an interest in workforce development).

Up until lunch, I had already been please at the opportunity to be apart of this. Oh, I almost forgot, I got a few cool photos of the stadium and did get to see the PATS practicing.



At the lunch sessions, there was a special treat and I really had no idea how special until I was experiencing it. Astronaut Cady Coleman (second from left in picture below) spoke of her experiences in space.
 


Watching the video footage she brought from the space station, where she lived for six months, was totally mesmerizing. What a fabulous story to hear and what a thrill it was to shake the hand of a person who has actually been in space; I felt like a little kid.

It was a really fun day and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Shake It All Over

Turns out there was an earthquake here in New England tonight. I didn't feel a darn thing but several of my local friends reported on Facebook about it.

News indicates there are potential aftershocks but the center of the quake was about 120 miles from where I live so I am skeptical about whether I might feel any of those (and somewhat naive about how aftershocks work).

I'll keep you all posted on whether or not I feel anything but until then my little pretties, don't forget to tell the people you care about that you care about them.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Teal, Pink, Blue

Cancer sucks - we all know this and sadly, we've all been affected either directly or indirectly. One of the scary things is that it comes in so many forms, almost as if there is a cancer factory for each part of the body.

As I type this post midway through breast cancer awareness month, I sit here and just run off the top of my head the people that I can recall that have been affected my breast cancer and then all of the other forms of this cruel disease.

I think about those that have survived the battle and an grateful to the scientists and doctors and to the people who've contributed to the research that spawned the treatments.

I think about those who've perished and the pain and suffering they had to endure as they battled.

While I, as most people are at this point, have long been aware that October is breast cancer awareness month - apparently September is thyroid cancer awareness month. I feel like I should have know that too and I am sad that I only learned that today. Someone very special to me is a thyroid cancer survivor, someone whose taught me more about living in the relatively short time that I've known her than I ever learned in the decades of my life before.

I'm not implying that one cancer awareness month is more important than another, in fact, I think we should have a global cancer awareness month that encompasses all forms of cancer. I don't even know where to go with this at this point and I'm getting emotional - just had a thought of my uncle Carmine who survived cancer for 20+ years before it found him again.

We need to beat this son-of-a-bitch down, find a way to get rid of all cancers. More than anything I can think of, it's a word that invokes every horrible emotion all at once. If there is a demonic force in the world, I suspect that force lives through cancer.

I'm going to end here because I feel like I am becoming less coherent. To all of you who might read this, continue to spread the word about awareness and support good quality charities that fund cancer research.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

5 Questions Answered

If you could experience any life form that was not a human of your sex, what would you pick and why?
Probably a house dog or a cat. Having had dogs in the past and cats in the past and one in the present, I constantly find myself wondering what they are thinking, what the heck is going through their mind.

Has anyone told you that you could not do something?
Of course, and I’d like to say that in every case I just said a big F U and went ahead and did it. However, when I was younger, I had far less self-esteem and took it to hear that perhaps I really couldn’t do it. It’s a pretty hurtful thing to hear.

Is there anybody dead that you'd like to talk to?
I guess the obvious answer here is my parents. I feel like I still want some validation from them and neither got to meet my daughter.

What’s the best memory that you have of your dad, while growing up?
It was mesmerizing to me how there seemed to be nothing that he couldn’t do. He grew up in Italy and didn’t come to the USA until her was close to 30 years of age. I loved hearing stories of his time in Italy and how he came to this country and started from scratch. My dad was a really smart but also a very brave man.

Have you ever done volunteer work?
Yes, many times. There is one particular time that still sticks in my mind. It was 1995 and my friend Rob called me to ask if I were interested in working an event his girlfriend was organizing on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. My mom (as well as others in my family) had been deeply affected by this disease so I was quick to say yes. Rob picked me up around 4-4:30am and we worked solid through about 7-7:30pm. I t was a long and very emotional day that brought me a great sense of fulfillment.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Chillin'

One of my favorite part about Saturday's, at least for most of them, is not having to wake up to an alarm. This morning, I woke up around...I don't know - 8 something-ish? I had some dry oatmeal squares and Greek yogurt and after a while, decided to take my exercise to the chill of the outdoors.

On my quest to work through the series Dexter and today I made it through a few more episodes to put me near the exact middle of season 5.

Homecoming Dance is tonight, my daughter is going which makes me a nervous dad, but I am sure she's going to be fine.

Who else misses Goth Baby? Me too...time to come up with a new incarnation...perhaps a Goth Baby O'Lantern? Who knows...I'll have to see what or if I get artistically inspired.

I found this Pumpkin Spice Rooibos (let's just call it tea) at trader Joe's, it's quite nice.

I've been downright obsessed with the Bob Dylan song "To Make You Feel My Love" over the past few days. I've loved the song for as long as I've known it, as long as it's existed but there are a remarkable number of cover versions that are all kind of fun and nice in their own right; I discovered one today by Bryan Ferry.

I think that's about all for today...enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Title of This Post is...

Two things brought me great joy today: Late this afternoon, I learned that someone very special received news she was hoping for about school this spring. And, this evening, my daughter was sitting on the opposite side of the couch laughing uncontrollably at her computer; which just made me happy.

In other news, I didn't have to go to work today, I saw the sun shining, and I laughed a bunch of times today. Good day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When 98 is better than 100 on a Test

Of the many good numbers I received today, the one I was happiest about was the 98, which was my blood glucose level. This was the first test in a while where the number was under 100, which is the cutoff for prediabetes. Of course, this one reading does not mean I am magically no longer prediabetic but it is a good thing nonetheless.

For the first time, I requested an A1C test, which measures blood sugar over a longer period than a single reading. The test is more indicative of average levels over a 3-4 month period. My reading was a 6.1. This reading is indicative of prediabetes but is far enough from the 6.5 that would be a marker for Type 2 diabetes.

My lipid panel looks terrific. HDL and LDL are where they need to be and one of my past problem numbers, Triglycerides, are 88 a healthy number again and a far cry from the bad 200ish it was a couple of years ago.

What all of this really does for me is validates that the incredible torture I put myself through with the daily exercise and refraining from eating most of the things I wish to eat is not for naught.

This made me very happy and I have a feeling, my mom was looking down on me today and that maybe, I made her proud.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Two Years (So Far)


On October 8th of 2010, my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic and explained to me what that meant and what I needed to do to help prevent, or at least prolong, the onset of type 2 diabetes. Of the several scares I've had up to this point, this one seemed to click. I watched type 2 diabetes murder my mother and it wasn't swift or merciful; it was a long, slow, decades long torture that took her apart piece by piece. That evening, after some deep thought and reflection, I decided that I would do my best to stop eating processed sugar and to exercise every day.

The next morning, October 9th, 2010, I woke up and before I started my day, I got on my treadmill. That was day one of exercising every day. This morning, two years later, for the 732nd consecutive day, I exercised again. On 10/8/2010, I tipped the scales at 206 pounds - this morning, I weighed in at 170. I await blood work results to see where my sugar levels and cholesterol are but more than that, I feel like I have made a real effort into taking care of myself.

I don't know what it all really means in the grand scheme. I know there are things that are out of my control, no matter how hard I work at it. However, I will fight through the daily challenge of keeping all of this up, I have to, I need to, I want to.

Monday, October 08, 2012

More Points

This is a panoramic view of Walden Pond shot from the main beach, which is also the main entry point. I spent a few hours on Saturday at the Pond just enjoying the closeness to nature, the spirituality of the serenity and the views and history.
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I need to go to the doctor on Thursday of this week and had planned on fasting Wednesday for blood work. However, this morning I realized I'd fasted long enough to go today and once I verified that the lab was open, off I went. My dad always use to refer to the phlebotomist as "Count Dracula"; so I now do that too (in a cutesy joking way of course - I do it in memory of my dad).
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I knocked out the penultimate episode of Dexter from Season 4 a little earlier today and plan to finish off the season later today. (Another) Great season - great show!
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Want another cool photo from Walden Pond? sure thing, I aim to please you, dear reader:
This here is near the start of the walking path around the pond, that is, if like me, you prefer to start on this end and walk around the path with the pond to your left (some go the opposite way). As you can see, the colors haven't quite popped yet, but the place is still beautiful. A couple of weeks from now it will be stunning. I am pretty sure there are at least some pics from years past floating around on this blog.
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I just spent 20 or more minutes writing a paragraph on the NFL and Breast Cancer Awareness. I erased it all because I don't think I can figure out how to word it properly so that I can effectively convey what I was feeling so I will leave it at the only point(s) that really matter:
  • Kudos for a bunch of giant man beasts being willing to do something outside of their norm to raise awareness for such an important subject
  • Do not support the Susan G. Komen foundation, as far as I am concerned, they are frauds. There are other great organizations that do great things for this cause, including The American Cancer Society.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Three ( or more) Brief Things

I'm posting from an Android app so not certain, but hopefully this text sits below the photo; which is a picture of my shadow yesterday at Walden Pond. I think it's a super cool picture.
 
I also like that two of the most important people to me share the same first name.

Today's Pats/Broncos game was the best football game I've seen all season so far

I should be finished watching season 4 of Dexter tomorrow; have I mentioned that I recently got into the series Dexter?

I hope we get decent weather for Columbus Day, either way I am glad to have the day off.

NOTE: Editied on PC to get the picture where I wanted it - it was all the way on the bootom using the phone app.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Pictures from The Governor's Visit

This is a panoamic (love that feature) shot of our Framingham campus auditorium before the event began (the room filled up by the time the event started). The room is not nearly as big or nice as it looks here.

This is the President of our College, Dr. John O'Donnell. He's the 4th President technically I've worked for but the first human one, a truly great man (sorry for the blurry pic).

This is a student at our college who spoke about his experiences at MassBay and what it means to him. He did a great job and said some very powerful and important things to all of the leaders who were at the event.

This is Paul Reville, The Secretary of Education in the Commonwealth of MA.

Governor Deval Patrick...




Governor Patrick giving mad (well-deserved) props and congratulating our College President, Dr. John O'Donnell.

Post event interview (not sure of the particular media outlet).

Friday, October 05, 2012

Here Comes the Weekend

Note: Title of post works best when sung to the tune of the Dave Edmund's song of the same name.

I reserved a State Parks pass from the library for tomorrow so the plan is to head over to Walden Pond at least once this long weekend.

Still worse pain than I expected after my dental appointment yesterday. Up to early this afternoon, I chalked it up to simple trauma, having my jaw open for three hours. However, the inner hypochondriac/cautious person in me is wondering if perhaps there's a possibility of infection. I'll consume Ibuprofen for a day or two longer and if the pain persists, will contact the dentist for a follow up.

One of my oldest blog friends, Sprizee, is in town but her time was short and filled with work commitments so we were unfortunately unable to meet up.

Remember the heyday of blogging? what a vibrant community we had. Fortunately, I've been able to stay in touch with many of my blog friends...

As I write this, I have four more Microsoft Word, Unit C assignments to grade before I call it a night.

A very special anniversary is coming up early next week; I'll tease it for ya, it will be two years! Of course, it will be the subject of the post on that particular day.

I'll almost promise that tomorrow, I will post pics, including the ones I took when the Governor of MA visited our campus the other day. Did I mention that I managed to get the Governor of MA to let me film him talking to two of the best kids on the planet? I think I did but it was so cool of him, I'll let it go for a second mention (if indeed it is a second mention).

Back to grading...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

One of Those Days Off From Work Where Work Would Have Been the Better Option

I had the day off from work today, but I was still up at 5 am to work out and then get ready to drive into Boston for a dentist appointment at the BU Dental school to finally finish the last part of this freaking implant.

Normally, the commute should take 40-60 minutes factoring in rush hour; this morning - more than 90 minutes, which left me almost 15 minutes late for my appointment. The appointment itself, had me in the chair for 3 very long, sometimes painful, always uncomfortable with my jaw in horrid positions, hours. My face still hurts like hell from all of it, I actually popped a few Ibuprofen.

the drive home was relatively normal paced and I had enough time to stop for a brief lunch before my haircut appointment, where I sat in a chair again for about 40 minutes. I was worn out after this - LOL!!! I had my hair cut at a beauty school in Framingham (dental work at dental school, haircut at haircut school  I know), always a crap shoot but since I'm not all that emotional about my hair and even in the worst case, I go home and restyle it and it's fine - only $6.

I get home, chill out for a few then start grading student work and the darn power goes out (for the second time in the last few days). I get highly offended when the power goes out because I don't believe there that it should. I think there are very few exceptions where the power should go out, under very extreme conditions, I just don't thing it should go out as often as it does for what it costs to have the service.

Later, hanging with my daughter. She's on the couch deep into her notebook computer while I am watching an episode of Dester when it happened yet again, a faily explicit sex scene; I was able to hit stop quite fast though and watched the rest later.

Okay then - peace to you!

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Passing Through Update

The college where I work got great news from our Governor, who came to campus in person to deliver it; we were awarded $22 million toward capital developments, which will help us move toward our new campus in Metrowest as our lease in the current building is set to end firmly in the Summer of 2014. I have some great photos from the event and even got the Governor to do a short video addressing a couple of my favorite kids in the world (sorry folks, the video will stay private, but pics of the event will follow - perhaps tomorrow).
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For the first time since the great Carl Yastremski did it in 1967, a major league baseball player won the triple crown (leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI's); Congratulations Miguel Cabrera.
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Special birthday wishes to my blog friend Joy. Joy is a retired teacher who lives in Tennessee. Joy's been blogging for years and recently has some major open heart surgery. All the best in your continued recovery Joy! Have fun but take it slow.
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Heading to the dental school to finish work on the implant on "#20" (as the dental pros call it). I greatly appreciate saving more than $4,000 by going to the school but boy, it really took a long time (the scheduling system at this school needs some serious overhauling).

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Awareness Awareness


A group of students, several of whom I know, were working together in a group on a project for one of their classes. One of the students flagged me down and asked if I could help. They were putting together a skit to perform in their class and wanted to ask for my advice. They were motivated by the incentive of not having to take a final exam if they did well on this project.

Their project had to revolve around disability awareness month. One of the students in their group, Kayla, happens to have a form of Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheel chair; her particular disability is what the group decided to build their skit around.

They performed their skit and talked about their rationale. The odd thing is there was one student who pretty much dominated the talking, both in describing the skit and performing and it wasn't Kayla. It all got very real for me and while I think I do have a better than average awareness of people with disabilities, there was (and always will be something new to learn).

I offered some notes and changes to further impact the performance and asked Kayla some specific questions about how her life with MD and living in a wheel chair. The team was going to display ignorance and acceptance. They had a very real opportunity though to illustrate ignorance and its effect on someone like Kayla. I told her that if she’s in this, this is something she’s encountered for real, so I told her that she can translate those negative feelings into a positive by using them here, so that the people in her class can know that they are real. There is no way someone can get to know Kayla and not believe her if she tells you how real it is.

The close of the skit has Kayla going in for an interview but this time, the office she enters will be in full ADA compliance and she is treated with the same respect and anybody else would.

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve worked with so many varieties of learning styles and disabilities and physical challenges. What it really has taught me is something that most people already know, we are all the same and, we are all different – embrace both.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Awareness


October is both Breast Cancer Awareness month and Disabilities Awareness month. It's hard to find someone who has not been affected by breast cancer, it's almost a lock that if you were not affected by it, that you definitely know someone who has. The thing is, that's probably true of disabilities, a generalization for physical and/or learning disabilities.

It's so important to raise awareness because through awareness comes education and through education, we can take the necessary steps to play our part - whatever that part may be.