All tagged August 2015

Trying to Live More in the Present? Tackle a 21-Day Mindfulness Challenge!

My friend Andrea sent me a link to a 21-Day Mindfulness Challenge hosted by Kind Spring that starts on September 2. Since school started a few weeks ago, we've both been running around to various meetings, planning lessons, grading, and teaching. We've both commented on how sometimes we lose focus on what's most important.

I'm really glad Andrea sent me this link because this challenge seems achievable. 

The basic premise is that I will receive a daily email from Kind Spring inviting me to perform one small daily action that relates to mindfulness. The website describes the process: "Every day for three weeks a unique idea is emailed out that serves as a prompt. Participants are encouraged to carry out the act and share stories of their experiences in both online and offline spaces."

Book Review: The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

A fellow English teacher recommended Jasper Fforde as an author I should read a few years back. She suspected that I would enjoy his dry humor. She was right.

I decided to start with his YA series The Chronicles of Kazam because I wanted to find another series to recommend to my students who are Harry Potter fans. Not only can I recommend this first book in the series to my students, but also to any of my friends who enjoyed Harry Potter.

The story is this fantastic social commentary about greed, commercialism, entitlement, deception, and more, but it's perfectly balanced by imaginative world building. Even if younger readers don't always pick up on Fforde's underlying messages, they'll enjoy every whimsical detail, right down to the Quarkbeast.

Dragons, Detectives and Muppets! Why I'm Keeping My Subscription to HBO Now

I do not watch much television, but I do love HBO's Game of Thrones. Even though I've just read the first three books in the series, I know that I will read all of them...eventually. And their ten episode season fits me perfectly. Give me enough story to keep me interested, but don't draw out details just to fill time.

And this past April, HBO made watching their programming much easier by offering HBO Now, the online stand-alone streaming service for people like me. People who do not want to pay the cable company for a television package filled with channels they will never watch. Instead of paying some ridiculous amount of money for a cable TV plan, I pay $16.20 after tax per month for access to all of HBO's programming.

Book Review: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

I heard about The Water Knife on Books on the Nightstand, where they were discussing cli-fi or climate-fiction. Their summary of a dystopia plagued by climate change where water shortages leave everyone in the American Southwest vying for control of various water rights hooked me immediately. Since I live in Arizona, water scarcity is a topic that truly frightens me. And this book flew by for me.

The first 100 pages I read in a couple of sittings. Once the plot took off, though, I had one of those nights where I was up well past my bed-time turning page after page dying to know what would happen next. I finally had to force myself to sleep and I picked up the book two mornings later and finished it.

One Calendar to Rule Them All! How I Use iCal to Coordinate Multiple Schedules

After just over a year of trying various systems, My Person and I have a shared iCal system that makes scheduling our lives, jointly and separately, much easier and more efficient.

Why iCal?

We are Apple people. He's the original Mac enthusiast, but I converted a few years ago. I love how seamlessly Apple products sync. As a digital immigrant, I can learn new software and new apps by trial and error and get the gist of the program. But I'm no techie, especially when it comes to hardware. I know that Apple products will play nicely with each other. And I'm willing to pay more for that convenience.

Approaching My One Year Anniversary of Blogging: Launching a New Look!

I had been wanting to start a blog for a long time. Years. Blogging was up there with some of my best intentions...kind of like me telling myself every November that I will participate in NaNoWriMo. I will!

Last summer was the perfect time for me to start blogging. I had done my research on various platforms and felt confident in my decision to go with the SquarePants. I had been reading various blogs with helpful advice. I had been brainstorming ideas for posts. And then I paid for the subscription.