Saturday, September 29, 2012

Color Me Rad Race

September 29, 2012

If you've never heard of the Color Me Rad Run, it's a unique race that combines fun, fitness, 'art,' and philanthropy.  A fantastic combination, if you ask me. Okay, so I'm not such a fitness buff.  I know, I know--shocker, right?  Also, I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, so the art thing isn't my strong suit.  (Who actually DOES draw their way out of a paper bag, anyway?  A very strange set of circumstances would have to occur in order for that to a course of action to take place, no?)  I am a big fan of fun, though, and philanthropy is a beautiful thing.  If you can help someone in need, you should, in my opinion.

So.  Color Me Rad is a 5K race (fitness) where they throw colored corn starch on you at strategic locations throughout the course ('art') as a fundraiser for a non-profit in the area (philanthropy).  And that, of course, adds up to the fun!

When I first heard about the Color Run, it was at a location down in Southern California.  I told Danielle about it and said I thought it would be great to do it with Aunt Lisa and her girls.  As soon as Danielle saw pictures of the finish lines of previous Color Runs, she was in, one hundred percent.  She'd been asking me to do some kind of a run with her for about a year, but running is a bit of a tough sell for me.  Since she and I became gym partners, though, I committed to finding something we could do together like this, and the prospect of doing it with Lisa and the girls as well drew me in.

And then, I went on line to sign up.  Sold out.  Shut out.  We were out of luck, and I had to break the bad news to Danielle.  It got put on the back shelf until a couple of months later, when I saw a Facebook post that Color Me Rad was bringing its brand of messy, colorful fun to Fresno.  I jumped online immediately, and Danielle and I became the founding members of Team Skittles, racing to benefit Ronald McDonald House.

At the Color Run, everyone starts off in plain white t-shirts.  There were literally thousands of people who showed up at Woodward Park to participate.  Doug, being the great husband and good sport that he is, came along with us to take pictures of the event.

There were sections of the race where the cloud of color was so dense that it was difficult to see directly in front of us.  Each station had volunteer 'color bombers' with different colors--handfuls of the powdered stuff that they flung at us to 'decorate' the runners.
I should point out here that I use the terms 'runners' and 'race' loosely.  Not only am I not much of a runner to begin with, but I had recently injured my knee.  (Freak trampoline accident, if you must know.)  Honestly, Danielle can walk as fast as I run.  Faster, probably.  We weren't running for the best time, though--we were running to have a cool experience together, and we did.  There were at least a few times during the run where she turned to me and said, "This is really fun, Mom.  I want to do this again next year!"  And really, that alone was worth the price of admission.

Anthony at the Homecoming Dance

September 29, 2012

This is another one of my wonderful nephews.  Anthony is also graduating from high school this year.  How is that possible?  This is Anthony and his date on the way to the Homecoming Dance.  I think they make an adorable couple!

Matthew's Senior Photo Shoot

September 29, 2012

My nephew Matthew recently had his senior photo shoot, and I think he got some really great shots.  It's so hard to believe that he's graduating from high school this year.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just Another Friday NIght

September 28, 2012

Tonight was Family Dinner Night, and Nicholas' choice took us to IHop.  A "Question of the Day," a little catching up on our week, talking, laughing, learning about each other, and sometimes just being silly.  There are lots of ways to spend a Friday night.  Our Friday nights are my favorite.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little Things Matter

September 27, 2012

Since the beginning of my teaching career, I've made it a habit to stand outside my door to greet my kids walking in.  There are times, of course, when I get caught at my desk or with a student and don't make it out to the hallway when the bell rings, but more often than not I'm there.  I love it when the kids smile or give me a high-five on the way in, or even just say hello.  It sets a nice tone, you know?  It's such a habit for me that I don't always think too much about it, but the other day I was sitting at my desk between classes as the students filed in, and a couple of my girls walked in, looking a bit indignant.

"Hey, Mrs. L!  You weren't at the door when we came in!  What happened?  Why weren't you there?"

"I'm sorry! I had to send off an email between classes.  I'm glad you missed me out there, though."

"Of course we did--that's our Tuesday thing.  We always know you're going to be there to say hello!"

Seriously, that made my day.  It's just a little thing, but they went out of their way to let me know they noticed, and it mattered.

Robotics Is Back in Full Swing

September 27, 2012

Nicholas at one of his after school work sessions:

Color Me Colorful

September 27, 2012

Danielle and I picked up our registration packets today for the Color Me Rad run on Saturday!  We've been waiting all summer for this day to arrive.  Two more days--woo hoo!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There's a Test Today?

September 25, 2012

When I was in high school, I could remember all kinds of seemingly insignificant details:  all of my old addresses and phone numbers, the birth dates and times of birth of each of my siblings. I could remember when I had tests coming up, or when I had club meetings, or the geometric equations I'd need for the upcoming tests.  I knew complex drill for the band's field show.  I remembered conjugations of irregular Spanish verbs, and the complex causes and effects of major conflicts in history, and memorized five minute persuasive speeches and long 19th century narrative poems.  Simultaneously, I remembered my boyfriend's favorite color and favorite food, and his mother's favorite T.V. show.  All these and hundreds of other details were swimming around my brain taking turns, appropriately, at the forefront and at my disposal whenever I needed them.

This is not any particularly amazing feat; everyone I knew was capable of holding these bits of flotsam and jetsam in their brains--the minutiae of every day life.

Now, however, there's an App for that.

Which is great and all--we don't have to remember things anymore because our computers and our emails and our websites and our smartphones will do it all for us. Can't remember a birthday?  That's okay; Facebook will let you know when your loved ones and friends are celebrating their special day.  Can't remember the best route from here to San Francisco?  No problem; your GPS will map that out for you.  Don't remember Aunt Martha's phone number?  Just type the first two letters of her name into your smartphone contact list and the number magically appears.  These are all fantastic things, don't get me wrong.  I love the conveniences that technology affords. The problem is, though, that not only do we not have to remember anything anymore, we've let that collective memory muscle atrophy, and many of us are not capable of the basic skill of remembering anything beyond a two minute span of time--the amount of time it takes to program a reminder into the iPhone.

Never is this more evident to me than in my classes, where education has fully embraced the technological tools that are intended to benefit our kids and facilitate learning for all, but has in fact managed to coddle and enable passivity in many of our kids.  We all write our agendas and standards addressed on the boards in our classrooms to reach our visual learners.  We tell our kids and then remind them again and again of assignments and due dates and upcoming tests, so that our auditory kids hear it over and over again.  The kids use their camera phones to take pictures of essay assignments written on the board for later reference.  The parents have up-to-the-minute access to online grades, and anyone can go on our websites to click on the calendars to see exactly what's due when, along with pdf documents the kids can download again if they lose the initial handout given out in class.  There are online flashcards and study tools and self-quizzes and discussion boards--study tools galore to help kids learn and engage and extend their understanding of ideas and concepts.

Everything is there with the click of a mouse or a touch on the iPad, except the most basic idea--that one has to remember to use it, and when to use it. Because kids don't have to remember anymore, many of them simply don't.  If it's not right there in front of them, it's out of sight, out of mind.  Unless they've set an alarm to remind them to go online and look at the calendar or study for the upcoming test, it's almost as if it doesn't exist.  That is until they walk into class on Monday morning, look at the board, and despite my every effort to remind and prepare them the week before, I hear the first of many, "There's a test today???" that day.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

And She Scores!

September 22, 2012

Danielle's been suffering a little bit of knee fatigue, so her coach decided not to play her in the goalie box this week.  He figured he'd give her some relief from the lateral movement of that position, but he still played her out on the field.  Since she got focused on the goalie position about five years ago, she's been all about defense, but Coach has decided that on this team she fits at forward.  When she was little she was often at forward, and there must be a little sense memory there, because she's definitely holding her own out in front on the offensive team.  The team played a very tough game this week, and although they ultimately lost 3-4, the girls gave it their all, and I was very proud that one of those goals belonged to Danielle.
Danielle and Maya

Cut Shot Gig at Ozzy's

September 22, 2012

We've been waiting for the Ozzy's gig for a long time now with a healthy mix of excited anticipation and nervousness.  This show marked the debut of the fabulous new lead singer Patty, who with the boys, rocked the house.  The place was packed and Cut Shot got really positive feedback from supporters and new fans alike.  It was a great night--lots of fun, and probably the best show the band has had to date. 

Doug's having a great time entertaining the audience.
Joe, working the crowd.

Love these boys!  Paulie, Doug, and Dave

Jimmy the Showman

Patty, Doug, Larry, and Lisa
It was great to see Lisa come out to support her baby brother.

The lovely Pamela Henri graciously stepped in as a guest on one of the songs.
Band wives:  Wendy and me
Patty, having a ball!