April 30, 2010

Do Not Fret!

You may or may not know that I recently finished work on a book to be published this fall with Arcadia Publishing. It's a pictorial history book about the university. It was a ton of work, but I'm really excited about it. There haven't been any books published recently about the full history of our school and the format will make it a fun and easy way to breeze through the years while still learning some fun facts and figures about USF.
Here's a copy of the cover:
I have had people in the past say "You should write a book," and there are a number of reasons why I haven't done that (a lack of talent being very high on the list), but one of the main reasons is because I didn't want to have to give any book talks about the book. I don't like talking in front of people and having to talk about something that came out of my head sounds very personal and frightening.

But I thought, "this will be different." It's not about the author, its about the content. I didn't make this up, I just compiled facts and information in a neat little package. But in actuality, I kinda shot myself in the foot. I've discovered that with history books, people assume if you wrote them you must be an expert, so they think "She should come and talk to us about the history and the book."

Oops. I've been asked to give a talk about the history of the school during Homecoming and I have been fretting. Even though it's months away, I get a scared little feeling in my tummy whenever I think about it. I know that I'm technically a grown-up, but sometimes I'm back in elementary school freaking out about having to read my book report in front of the class.

So here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to cling to these verses "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6: 33-34) I do not need to heap more trouble on myself by worrying and fretting about something way down the road. I need to remember to seek first the kingdom. God is in control and everything will fall into line according to his plan.

If you see me in the next few months be sure to ask me how I'm doing with letting go of the fret. I will definitely need the reminders.

April 28, 2010

The Season of Presentations

It's the end of the semester here. Actually, the end of the school year. And you know what that means: Presentations. Every so often I'll hear a classroom somewhere in the Library erupt in polite applause and I'll know someone else has completed their final presentation and can sit back down and stop sweating. At least until their next exam. I was thinking about these students wrapping up a semester full of information in a 15 minute talk and wonder how many of them use PowerPoint. What do you want to bet it's close to 80%.

On Monday there was an article published online by the New York Times titled We Have Met The Enemy and He Is PowerPoint. The article quickly makes the point that PowerPoint presentations are running rampant in government meetings and have become more of a hindrance than a good. The article, written by Elisabeth Bumiller, says "behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. Not least, it ties up junior officers — referred to as PowerPoint Rangers — in the daily preparation of slides, be it for a Joint Staff meeting in Washington or for a platoon leader’s pre-mission combat briefing in a remote pocket of Afghanistan."

I can't help but wonder: are we preparing these PowerPoint Rangers? Are we setting the next generation up for ""death by PowerPoint,” the phrase used to described the numbing sensation that accompanies a 30-slide briefing?" I know that there are definitely positives to PowerPoint presentations, but I do wonder if it's gotten a bit out of control. And it's very true that I am not in these classes from which the spontaneous clapping arises so I don't know how their presentations are done, but I do hope there's more creativity and depth out there than PowerPoint alone can offer.

April 26, 2010

The Cardboard Jungle

Who knew cardboard could soak up so much water? While doing laundry yesterday I finally noticed a small dripping noise somewhere in the basement. I remembered that there had been a very tiny leak in the corner where all my stuff is stored, but it had stopped and then last week it was "fixed" to prevent it happening again. I decided to investigate, and sure enough, the pipe was dripping and probably had been since it was fixed last Thursday. The boxes right below it were in different states of wet and icky.
I managed to get everything wiped off and set out to air dry with the help of my roommate, but I'm going to need to re-box a lot of stuff to prevent any mold from taking hold. Ugh. What a crappy way to end the weekend. At least nothing was ruined. Most of the wet stuff can easily be washed and the boxes with paper in them didn't get wet on the inside.
I'm really glad I noticed it yesterday because it could have made a huge mess if it was left too long. But like they say: a little water never hurt anything, unless you're the Wicked Witch of the West.

April 23, 2010

Another Pleasant Trip to Florida

I finally got my Florida photos together. I had a lovely time again. I love, love, love going down there. I get to see my Grandma again and spend time with my family. We are a family to whom vacation = relax. We don't fill our time with activities we mostly sit and do very little...and it's perfect. I read six books this year...heaven.

Jesse, Dad and Mom at the beach our last night. We went down to check out the sunset.
The drawbridge on Cortez Road as seen from the Seafood Shack.

A closer look at the bridge. It was up for a sailboat to go through.
The sun setting behind clouds. This is a view towards the island in the opposite direction from Cortez Road.
The family enjoys dinner at the Seafood Shack. It was our first night there and Aunt Jan was there with us.
We did some yard work for Grandma and then washed the gloves afterward. This is the best way to dry everything down there.Jesse decided to take a photo of the sunset with the bird in the shot. I decided to take a picture of Jesse. hee hee.

People walking on the beach at sunset.
Almost done.
The last bits of sun were behind clouds so we headed home. This is what the beach entrance looks like. Lots of people drive in, although we walk.
Overall - awesome. Already looking forward to next year's visit.

Attack of the Inflatable Marketing Animals

I'm still amazed every time I drive past another huge animal or cartoon character stationed outside a car dealership or restaurant or just anywhere really. Joliet has a fascination with using these to promote their businesses and I still don't really get it. True, they do catch my eye, but really they just make me think "that place is a bit too cheesy for me."
I spotted another one right before Easter. It was a huge pink bunny at a busy intersection. I didn't get a clear picture, but I'll post it anyway.
I also drive by a car dealership that has a cowboy at one end of the lot and a giant purple dinosaur at the other end. Cause, you know, nothing says "Used Car Sale" like a giant dino and his cowboy pardner.

April 22, 2010

My Jet-Setting Aunt and Uncle

My Aunt Karen and Uncle Bill are world travelers to the extreme. Every time I turn around, they're heading somewhere new and trying something different. It's great to hear their stories at family get-togethers and learn what the food is like in certain countries and what the transportation options are in other countries. They are founts of information.

This works out well for me for a couple of reasons:
1) When I finally get to the point where I can afford to travel out of the US, I totally know who I'll go to for advice. Chances are they've been there, done that...twice.
2) Aunt Karen is great about sending me photos of their adventures, like these from Amsterdam. She's a great photographer and its fun to see pics from around the globe that aren't just stock photos.

So here are some of the newest ones from Turkey. She said they were with a large group this time and their tour guide was great. They also got to take a hot air balloon ride. What fun.

April 21, 2010

Relay for Life 2010

Every year the American Cancer Society does a Relay for Life fundraising event. Here's the blurb from their website:
"At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length."

This year I've joined a team, the Memorable Moments, and we're off to a great start. My goal is to raise $100 and the team goal is $1500. At this point, the more the merrier!

If you have any desire to contribute you can donate online at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?team_id=628833&fr_id=22181&pg=team
Click on my name or donate to the overall team. If online doesn't work for you, feel free to send me an email to figure out an offline donation.

Thanks and here's to putting up a good fight against cancer.

April 19, 2010

Heck of a Weekend!

For those of you that know me, you know that my love for the Doctor runs deep. I think it's a genetic thing. My dad watched Doctor Who back in its first incarnation and I distinctly remember him trying to sing the theme song to me and my brother. Now that the show has successfully rebooted I am a full-blown addict.Saturday night was the 5th season premiere on BBC America. (and yes I know that it's been on for three weeks in the UK so watching future episodes online is a possibility, but I've chosen to watch it with the rest of the country...well most of the country...the honest part) In addition to being the start of a season, which means new adventures every week instead of sporadic "specials" for a year - blech!, the big excitement is that there's a new Doctor. And as much as I loved David Tennant's space man, Matt Smith has quickly showed he's got the right stuff for the job.
I am really pumped about this upcoming season and I will fly my freak flag and admit that I have watched Saturday's episode three times now. It's that fun.

In addition to the Doctor Who high, I also went and saw How to Train Your Dragon (in 3D of course). What fun! The characters were these great stereotypes, which is exactly what you would expect, but they did it so well. There were plenty of laughs that weren't in the previews and the 3D really did make a difference. I would love to see a sequel if they made one. I would freely go back to that world for another adventure. (and random tid-bit: according to the end credits, David Tennant does a minor voice in the movie - I'm tellin' ya, small world)