Kendra emailed me this description from the Chapman U. fall course catalog:
While the default mode of most English Composition courses teaches students to write for print, “Writing in Electronic Environments” focuses on writing well for online mediums such as blogs, wikis, microblogs and social networks. Assignments will encourage multimodal writing, which “exceed the alphabetic and may include still and moving images, animations, color, words, music, and sound” (Christine Tulley). Deep collaboration between classmates is required—students will review, adopt, rewrite, and contest each other’s posts. Finally, all of the above goals will be accomplished without a single sheet of paper—all assignments will be posted, graded, and commented upon online.
Wow. First of all...cool! I totally wish I could take this class.
And second of all...talk about a sign of the times. These online 'mediums' (which, hello Chapman English department...I'm not an expert or anything, but shouldn't that be 'media'?) didn't even exist when I was in college. Or, when I was out of college for many, many years.
And third, kudos to colleges that are recognizing the evolution of technology and media, and are keeping their curriculum contemporary with these developments!
A lot of firsts going on around here! Today was Kendra’s first day of classes in her first year of college, and she is living away from home for the first time. Taite’s first day of kindergarten is in 10 days. It will be my first year having both younger kids at the same school, and my first year with my “sidekick” in school five days a week.
We moved Kendra into Chapman U. last week. It was a combo plate of emotion and excitement, with a small side of “holy crap, there’s no way you’re going to fit all that into your dorm!” The car looked like this just before we drove off:
There was more in the back seat. I actually bet her a dollar a hanger that she was not going to be able to get all those clothes into the closet she was sharing with two other girls. But she had the last laugh…they got one of the few walk-in closets in the dorm and it all fit. In fact, she actually brought LESS stuff overall than her roommates.
I wish I had thought to take a pic of the pink & brown dumping ground BEFORE we got it all organized. I guess I was too zonked from lugging load after load up four flights of stairs to her floor. But between the girls & moms, we had it shipshape in no time.
Between all of the orientation activities, exploring the town, and her birthday last Saturday, I think she has been too busy to be homesick, but we sure have been missing her here. Especially when I want to run some errands, and I realize I no longer have a live-in babysitter! Or when it’s Project Runway night and I have to snark about the contestants via text with her instead of in person. I couldn’t be happier for her though, as she embarks on this new experience. As hard as it is to let go, this is the girl I raised her to be…independent, confident, and ready to start leaving her mark on the world. Big, big things are in store for her, and this is just the beginning.
There are some changes afoot in Noodle Soupland! I have long felt that things looked more blah-g than blog around here. The uber-talented Carly of Playful Pickles Design is in the process of remedying that. Let’s hear it for colorful and fun!
Meanwhile, I realized I have a bit of unfinished business. Back at the beginning of May LOAD, I issued a challenge to spot some specific products on my pages. Even though I only did 7 layouts, I did manage to use some of the goods, and there were several savvy readers who spotted them. I put all the names into my cute turquoise bucket from the Target dollar spot, and the lucky winner turned out to be…
Congratulations, Tracy! Email me your snail mail info at the above link, and a prize will be heading your way.
In other summer news, Big Picture Scrapbooking is offering 10% off all classes through June 30, with the code summer2009. It’s the perfect time to take that class you’ve been considering.
And if you’re really feeling like treating yourself, now is the time to sign up for the Palm Desert Craft & Crop Retreat. Everyone who registers by July 4 and mentions my blog will be entered to win a $100 credit towards their retreat and a free spot in one of my classes.
Speaking of classes, I am hard at work finishing up a brand new class for Big Picture that will be announced soon, so stay tuned. I’m really excited to share it with you!
In light of today’s sad news about Michael Jackson, I’ll leave you with this Thriller 25th anniversary tribute video that Kendra’s high school TV show did last fall.
The last couple of weeks of high school here are filled with event after event sponsored by the various departments and extracurriculars. We parents basically gather for performances, or over catered food and awards, to recognize how awesome our kids are, which is always fun (even if we already know it!). One of the highlights every year is the Pops Concert, put on by the chamber choir. After a year of choir-ish songs, the director lets his most advanced students bust out their favorite pop numbers and audition for an evening concert complete with a live band made up of uber-talented peers.
Tonight is the drama banquet, which has an uncanny way of falling on my birthday every single year, no matter what day of the week it is. (Happy birthday to me, by the way!) This is by far going to be the most emotional of the bunch. Not only is it our final banquet of Kendra’s high school career, but this is a department Kendra has been part of for all four years, where she has made her closest friends. And in case that isn’t enough to send me dashing for a box of Kleenex, the seniors record their favorite memories and goodbyes to the school on video for all to blubber through. Waterproof mascara, don’t fail me!
Okay, I know this has a bit of an “uphill both ways, barefoot, in the snow” tinge to it…but I really like the comparison I was able to document on this page I did on Sunday. Plus, I kinda dig the reflection-in-the-computer photos.
(click to biggify)
I will admit I don’t always understand technology or know how to use it instinctively, but I still think it’s pretty darn cool. In fact, one of my favorite tabs in my category drawers is the Technology tab. I think it's fun to reflect on how far technology has come since my childhood, or my grandmother’s…and wonder how different things will be from my kids’ perspectives when they are adults.
Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet yet when I was a teen. There were no cell phones, and if pagers were around, they were still only for doctors at that point. If you weren’t home to answer your phone, it just rang, unless you were some sort of howty-towty business-type with an answering service – which meant someone could call a number where there was a person waiting to take a message for you. I had to carry home an armload of books (uphill, but not in the snow)…there was no such thing as a digital textbook. Cable TV and microwaves were still newfangled gizmos.
It’s hard for me to imagine that things could get much easier than they already have…and yet, newer, cooler things come out all the time.
When I was 15, I got busted for running up a $62 phone bill, and had to work to pay it off. If you had told me then that there would one day be a way to video conference with far-away friends for free via something called Skype, I would have told you to stop watching so much of The Jetsons. I was convinced that the coolest thing to ever happen to phone technology was the 6 foot cord, and those speaker phone booths sponsored by AT&T at Disneyland. And now? One word: iPhone.
I’m sure my kids will look at this page one day at laugh at the primitive device Kendra used for homework. And I can’t wait to see what the next generation uses instead.
Today I got a
phone call from Kendra on her way home from school. She ran out of gas…in the
rain. I had been home from a busy day of appointments and errands just long
enough to make myself a nice, hot cup of tea. Glancing at my beckoning,
steaming cup, I squashed my kneejerk instinct to chastise her for not putting
gas in the car, because who hasn’t run out of gas at least once in their life?
Especially as a teenager. But Matt was over an hour away…maybe more with Friday
traffic on a rainy day. And my brother-in-law wasn’t any closer. No knight in
shining armor for us.
So I did what any
sensible, self-reliant woman of the new millennium would do…checked our
insurance policy for roadside assistance. Turns out we don’t have it. Okay,
Plan B. I hurried my preschooler into the car and headed down to the gas
station. Surely they would know what to do.
attendant loaned me a gas can, and I proceeded to try filling it. I suspected I
might be in over my head when I couldn’t figure out how to get it open. I
sheepishly went back to the window and the bemused attendant showed me how to
open it, and how to pull back the nozzle to pour it into the tank. Okay, I felt
empowered. I felt capable. How hard could it be, right?
I found Kendra
sitting in her car, reading a book. Always one to use her time wisely, that girl.
But she had just barely made it around the corner onto a side street, and I was
worried that she might get hit by someone turning the corner. I had the bright
idea that we should try to push her car ahead a little bit. I told her to put
it in neutral and take off the parking brake, and I would push while she
steered. I’ve seen this done before, and it doesn’t look that hard.
Looks can be
deceiving. She skeptically did as I told her, I pushed against the back of the
car with all my might…
…and my cute
little black patent flats slipped right out from under me on the slick, rainy
street, and I fell spectacularly into the gutter. I wasn’t hurt, other than my
pride. My shoes weren’t even scuffed – I checked. And the car hadn’t budged an
inch. Oh, and my daughter, who should be eternally grateful for a mom who would
stand in the rain and try to push her vehicle out of harms way? She was
laughing so hard I thought she might pee herself.
We scrapped that
plan, and decided to just put the gas in the tank quickly and get out of there.
I opened the tank, pulled back the nozzle like the station attendant had shown
dripping all over my hands and into the street.
Same thing. We finally figured out that there is this little trap door opening
thingie on her gas tank, and our nozzle was bigger than the trap door. We only
had a gallon of gas to begin with, and now about a third of that was making
rainbows on the asphalt.
It was time to
suck it up, chance being a disgrace to the Women’s Movement, and call a boy.
Kendra sent out an SOS via text, and a boy she went out with once was about to
come help when lo and behold, a woman pulled over and told us she owned the
service station down the street and would be happy to send one of her mechanics
over. Within minutes, our hero rode up on his white steed…or white pickup,
whatever…walked over with a funnel (duh!) and put the gas in the car. And
furthermore, he would not allow me to pay him a dime. Guess where I’ll be
taking our cars for service from now on?
We made it home
safely, but I took this photo before returning the gas can. Kendra wasn’t too
thrilled about her exploits being my Project 365 topic of the day, but let’s
face it. She owes me.
I took a long,
hot shower and was able to wash almost all the gasoline smell off. And
now I’m sitting here filling MY tank, drinking a (fresh) cup of tea, listening
to music, and unwinding from the adventure while my husband picks up takeout
for dinner. Because if you don’t pay attention to the signals that the tank is
getting low, you might just find yourself out of gas. I am considering that the
symbolic lesson of the day, and taking it to heart.
My studio is a
blur of creative activity. The teacher gifts were successfully completed and
delivered, and I’ve moved onto the skirt sets I need to finish for my nieces. In
between all of that, I’ve been wrapping, shuttling kids to performances,
helping backstage, working on a super fun little something I hope to be able to reveal VERY soon, and fighting the losing battle of trying to keep the house tidy
enough for Santa to avoid tripping over something and breaking his neck on
I hope to post
some photos of my holiday craftiness over the next couple of days, but
meanwhile, enjoy this completely unrelated Twilight parody starring Kendra. It
was a recent segment from her school TV show, Diablo Heat, which is written and
produced twice a month by the six students in the cast and the video production
years ago today, this baby girl stole my heart.
somehow, although I haven’t aged a day (ha ha), she is now a legal adult. It
seriously makes me afraid to blink.
let me put cute elastic bows around her head anymore, but she does sometimes
still keep me up after midnight (waiting for her to get home safely). She is
still a picky eater, and she still gets into my makeup occasionally (and my
she still loves surprises!
of her best friends planned a big surprise party for her. I have been in stealth
mode all day, helping them pull it off. I think world wars have been waged with less covert maneuvers than this party, but it all worked out perfectly. I stuck around just long enough to
get a few pictures. The music was blaring, the pizzas were being delivered, and
there was dancing on the trampoline when I made my exit. Good times!
Lots of drama
going on in our family yesterday! Take a look…
as Medea in the “Contemporary Comedic Ensemble” category for a big high school
(Pardon the poor videography skills and sound. I can blame
the sound on the mic being too far away and the bad acoustics in the room, but
the rest is all me. I sometimes get caught up in watching the actual action and
forget to look at the screen to make sure there are still people in the frame.
And we won’t talk about that one time a while back when I tried to get a wider
angle by turning the camera sideways. I’ll never live that one down.)
and Taite had 2 performances of Promised Land in one day.
Reece knocked it
out of the park on his song.
Taite was an adorable
little sheep, but by the end of the second show, I think she would have rather
been counting sheep than being one.
Kendra, regarding KFC for dinner:
K: Do you know
how badly they treat their chickens? Me: Well, umm…I have parts of one on my plate, so I’m guessing badly? K: No, seriously.
Somebody passed a flyer around school that said all the horrible things they do
to the chickens. Me: Besides
killing and eating them? K: Yes. It’s
totally inhumane. Me: So you’re not
going to eat it? K: I didn’t say
that. I’m starving. But I’m going to be outraged the whole time.