The most requested thing for dinner around here? Noodles. With butter.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Why I bought a Nook.

Last spring, my school district finalized plans for Wifi in all the buildings, paving the way for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) at school.  One of the other teachers and I were discussing it, and she said, "I guess I am going to have to get myself an iPad so I know what I am doing when the kids ask me to show them stuff on their iPads."

Hmmmmm.  I had never thought of that.  I mean, I like my iMac and all things Apple, but my found-in-a-trash-can 40GB iPod is 10 years old and I don't even own a smartphone, let alone an iPad.  What to do, what to do...?

I started by talking to a friend who owned an iPad.  She said she liked it but hardly used it.  She used her laptop much more than her iPad.  Good to know.  I also borrowed an iPad and tried to access all the math websites I would want for my students.  At the time, the Apple OS and Flash Player were not playing nicely together so I couldn't play the math games on sites like hoodamath or mathplayground.  That was troublesome because I sometimes assign internet homework to my students and I wanted them to have access to everything.

I then researched all the tablets that were available at the time and came to the conclusion that I just couldn't spend the money on an iPad.  (Knowing me, if I got one, I would want the highest speed, most memory, all the bells and whistles.  Cha-Ching!)  Also, if it couldn't run Flash sites, then it was not worth it.

My next two options were the Kindle and the Nook.  These both might be known primarily as e-readers, but they have grown up to be so much more.  Besides, I like reading and I figured it might be nice to have many books at my fingertips instead of the stacks on my nightstand that sometimes tip over and land on the floor or the dog or my foot.

In researching the two e-reader/tablet options, I finally settled on the Nook Tablet*.  Here's why:

1) Support.  I can walk into any Barnes & Noble store and there are real live people there who can help me with questions about my Nook.
2) Design.  I like the look of the Nook and the fact that there is a volume button on the case.  You can quickly turn the volume up or down during any Nook activity without having to exit an app to find the volume control.  Not so with the Kindle.  (This comes in handy if you have your Bible on your tablet and an email alert comes in the middle of church when you have forgotten to turn down your volume.  Not that that has ever happened to me.)
3) Security.  The Nook has a small corner cut-out on the lower left corner.  There is room to thread a cable lock through the cut-out for times when you want to cable your device to your bag, your desk, your body...   I have not had to use it yet, but I can see that there may be times when people would find it a practical feature- especially in a dorm setting.
4) Compatibility.  Kiddo has the Nook Simple Touch e-reader and we can now loan books to each other.

After using the Nook for 6 months, I still like it as both an e-reader and a tablet computer. Sometimes it gets finicky and won't load a website, but overall I think I made a good purchase. I don't feel like I have to rush out and get the latest and greatest HD version because this one meets my needs.  I can recommend it to my students who want a device for school, and for those kids who have no internet at home, I can recommend it as an inexpensive way to get connected.  They can go to any Starbucks, McDonalds or Barnes & Noble and get free WiFi so they don't even need a connection at home.  They can even sit outside our building during Christmas Break and access the district's Wifi if they are so inclined.  They can do that with any tablet,  laptop computer, or smartphone.  Very cool.

*Barnes & Noble didn't pay me to write this.  They don't even know I have a blog.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Never get a poodle.

Our vet told us that poodles are known for having bad teeth.  Apparently, that applies to poodle-mixes as well because our schnoodle has awful teeth.  I wish the humane society would have clued us in to that little fact when we got him because he spent the day at the vet's - having multiple extraction$$$.

They have to put a dog under anesthesia in order to pull teeth.  Poor guy.  He's still groggy and resentful.  He wouldn't look at me when I picked him up from the vet.  All the way home he sat on my lap and whined softly and looked away.  I gave him some soft food with his medications buried in the mix.  He wasn't interested.  All he wanted to do was sit on the rug and glare balefully at me.  After about an hour, he licked up some of the food and then snuggled into his bed.  He didn't want to sit with me on the couch.

He has now taken up residence at my feet. Still moaning softly.  He keeps looking at the bandage on his leg where they put the IV.  Like it's my fault or something.  Poor sad schnoodle.

After about 10 days he can try crunchy food again.  Hard food is good for dogs because it sort of acts like a tooth brush.  I still find it a bit weird that we have to brush his teeth.  I mean, wolves do just fine and no one brushes their teeth.  I know, I know... wolves crunch bones and that is what cleans off their teeth.  It would be great if that method worked for Friday, but I just can't see him hunting down his prey and crunching the bones.  He can't even keep the moles out of the back yard.  I think we'll stick with crunchy foods and an occasional brushing.

I hope he is back to his old snuggly self tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We met Eric Metaxas!

Here he is signing a book for Abby.
This summer, my book club read Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.  It chronicles the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party and one pastor's response to the growing threat.  It was a great read and I highly recommend it.

Of course, when the author came to town to speak at a fundraiser, I HAD to go meet him.  He signed my paperback copy (Because I didn't really want him to sign my Nook...) and also signed one of his children's books for Abby.

He was gracious and warm and his speaking style was just as engaging as his writing style.  I think my next book will be the one he wrote about abolishing the British slave trade- Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery. 

On another note, I finally figured out how to delete photos in Picasa (you have to create an account which I thought I already had.  grrrrr.)  So I have freed up some space and can post a few more pics here and there.  I just don't like the idea that Google forces me to have more of a presence on the internet than I really wanted.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mother and son

She purchased guns and kept them in the house.

According to the reports, he had a personality disorder.

Did she buy those guns to protect herself from him?  Too late now.  We might never know.

Some days, it's tough to be a teacher.  I don't dwell on school shootings and I am not afraid for my life, but I wonder...  what would I do for my students if the unthinkable happened?  How would I go about trying to keep them from harm?  I study the building and plan the escape routes and then... then...?

I pray.  Not just for me or my students, but for all teachers and students everywhere.  It's the only thing you really can do.  God is sovereign. He was not surprised or shocked by what happened yesterday.  Saddened, yes.  But not shocked.  He knows this world is fallen.  He knows we have free will and can make choices for good or for evil.  He cares for those families in Connecticut and is big enough to carry their grief if they let him.

I pray they let him.


Monday, December 3, 2012

I need a nerd.

Every time I try to post pictures, I get this message:

Whoops! You're out of space. You are currently using 100% of your 1 GB quota for photos. 

And then it says something about Picasa and photo storage.

A confession:  I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT PICASA IS!!!  Did I sign up for it?  Did I ask for it?  Did I WANT it?  I have no idea.  It's probably something that comes along with the whole Google family of "helpful" web things, but if I never asked to store my pictures on the web, then why does it?  I want to store my pictures on my computer.  I don't want to store them on the web.  I don't want yet another website where I can direct people to look at my pictures.  No one likes to click on links anyway.  If I want to share a photo or two, I will put it on my blog.  My blog that used to be free and now is asking me to pay to store my pictures on Picasa!

I don't even do Facebook.  Is it too much to ask to just be able to put up pictures for free on my blog?

There has to be some way around this.  Will they let me delete some photos from Picasa so I can free up space to post more?  Can I somehow circumvent this "storage quota"?  Do I really have to pay a monthly fee?

Is there anybody out there who can answer my questions in plain English?  My kingdom for a computer nerd that can help me with this!!!  Ok, I have no kingdom.  I have a $5 Starbucks card.  That's it.  First helpful nerd gets it.