Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Brain, Over Easy

My brain is fried.  I feel like I'm getting into the groove of things here and there, but my brain is on overwork, overflow, and it is overcooked.  I just got back from a technology conference, CUE, in Palm Springs.  I look forward to this conference, especially after my first experience last year.  Aside from it keeping me away from LA for a couple of days, I get some really amazing ideas from the conference.  However, it takes some time to process all of the information that has been presented, so there is where some of the overflow comes from. I did, however, have some teacher rockstar moments.  Scroll below:
Second row hearing keynote speaker Lavar Burton
(If unfamiliar, from Reading Rainbow, Star Trek, and Roots)

Being front and center hearing keynote speaker Sal Khan (founder of Khan Academy)
An icon in education technology
Fellow teacher Laura and I were stoked to meet Sal Khan before his amazing speech

Other things contributing to the frying pan?  I just recently turned in my clear credential portfolio.  Two years worth of work are out of my hands and we shall see how it goes after the review.  That was a major hot oil fryer.

Aside from recent news, news that always leaves things in the air, it's a bit frying as well.  There are also other endeavors I'd like to partake in, which I'm sure will leave me well done.  Well enough cooking, my fried brain has a lot of sleep to catch up on.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Snow Melts

I just returned from the memorial service of Mr. Abel, my friends' father whom I had just written about.  As I heard my friend Nancy give the eulogy, I was overcome with pride for her, her articulation, her storytelling abilities, and her talent for getting people to ponder, rejoice, celebrate, honor, and respect the life of her father.  It is also a difficult time to see friends I have had for over 10 years be in the state that they were in tonight.

But from what I spoke before, Abel reminded me to celebrate moments, moments that make one's life here worthwhile.
Proud to call them friends

It is with that spirit that I ventured off to a trip to Vail to visit Brooke and Mark.  I had a blast hanging out with them.  Thanks to the both of them for taking me anywhere and everywhere.  I am looking back at what we did, and it involved visiting breweries, seeing Vail, Lionshead, hitting up Nicky's Quickie for Greek food, yoga (├╝ber hot yoga), ice skating in Beaver Creek, hitting up Buena Vista's hot springs (so amazing), and of course skiing.  They asked me to list what I enjoyed the most and I was stumped.  I had such an amazing time doing things with them that I couldn't pick a favorite, even still.

Thanks Brooke and Mark for an amazing experience!

Winter Olympic Training (yeah right) in Beaver Creek, Vail

Ski Time

With celebrating those around me, I have also been fortunate enough to share Valentine's Day with some amazing friends, thanks Pat for your organization.
V Day

I also got to share a special moment with my sister, Celia.  Right after my return from Vail, and mean right after, like an hour after, we bolted to Hollywood and watched "The Book of Mormon." It was a great show that shared our humor and musical taste. Again, we don't frequently see each other, but when we do, we have an amazing time, just like when we were kids.

Broadway in LA

I just came from snow, and I just came from a memorial service to celebrate a family man's life.  Although snow melts, you remember it.  You had your fun, you were a child in it, and were delighted in it.  When it leaves, you don't want to remember your time without it, you wish it were still here. But snow melts, but just because it is gone, you do not allow yourself to forget the great times you had in it.  My friends and I will not forget the good times you shared with us Mr. Abel.  Like Nancy said in her eulogy, people are only forgotten if you allow it.  Those memories will not melt.

When I think of moments like these, I am taken to this song's video:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Still in Disbelief

A family that is really close to me just went through a very difficult loss as of this morning.  I recently had a colleague with a similar loss happen as well.

After I heard some news last night, I turned off the TV, went back and forth in my thoughts of condolence and not believing what had happened.  I eventually found my way of dealing with these types of truths in a way I'm used to dealing with them, by losing myself in work.  I came across my TED app and browsed through their Technology section as I normally do.  I have a fascination with TED Talks, and my students love watching their talks, so I try to include them in lessons when I find them fitting.  After evaluating some of the talks for my class, I wandered and browsed through their featured section.

One of the talks highlighted was about death, a talk given by Stephen Cave.  I clicked on it and proceeded to watch it.  I noted from the talk that our behaviors change when we remind ourselves that our own deaths are imminent.  It becomes a point of obsession for children who first realize that they are to face the same fate someday.  This point Cave made about being a child himself and thinking of death just prompted a reminder that I just watched My Girl with Yaya, an ongoing theme in the film.  I have my beliefs of what happens to us when we depart, but the physical me has unknowns that the faithful me does its best to reassure.  After the talk, I found out the next morning of my friends' loss.

While looking at this time as I time when my friends both need to be surrounded by loved ones and need to be left alone, I lay here thinking about the good times we had.  The good times I've had with them, their family, and the father they just lost bring me joy.  He was a man who enjoyed being surrounded by family and friends, and liked to see people enjoy themselves, too.

It led me to think about some of the celebrations in my life, and how it is those celebrations that make our inevitable fate worth it.  Just this past weekend I got to have dinner with my siblings, which doesn't happen too often because of our commitments, but when it does I do enjoy it to the fullest.  That is where my train of thought has led too, making sure I treasure the moments here as much as I can with those who are by my side.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Alanis Morissette, whom I just saw speak at the Arclight, and I find the quote fitting for the circumstances.  It says that "as we grow older, things become less and less precious and more and more sacred."

Though I know the realities of me facing this time are unavoidable, I cannot imagine what my friends are going through. Like I told them, I just want them to know that I'm reachable and there without hesitation.

Rest in peace Mr. Abel, thank you for taking care of us every time you had us over.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Web Finds

I always support fellow bloggers (especially those who do a much better job than I do).  This is a good one that pretty much explains why I teach what I teach.