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Study Maybe — a Decade (or two) Later

Guess who is going back to college after what feels like FOREVER? Yep – me! Today is my first class and I’m so GEEKED – I’ve already read all the books.  So what if the books were mostly picture books – for Children’s Lit & Drama – but hey – I’m beyond excited, okay? 🙂

Why am I going back NOW, especially when tuition is so expensive and I have two high schoolers who will be in college soon?  Why torture myself with late night studying and homework, projects and all that that entails? Two good reasons: I received a grant and I’m not paying a dime – even for books! Can you believe that? How can I pass that up? Secondly – I love learning and bettering myself — keep my mind active and all that.  I’ll have a teaching degree, so that’s cool.  Did I mention, it’s a FULL RIDE? 🙂

Butterflies in my stomach? Maybe a couple, but mostly I can’t wait!  I know there have been a ton of changes since I went to college.  Obviously – technology will make things easier – like studying apps – flashcards and such.

Before I go get ready, I HAVE to watch Dodson Study Maybe – a hilarious video by a dedicated and amazing staff.  LOVE IT!

I’d love to hear from anyone else who went back to college after so many years.  What was your experience?  What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?  Any tips are welcome!!

~~ Maggie

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in education, Teaching, technology

 

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What not to wear…in Japan

Packing for my Japan trip feels a bit like being in the “What Not to WearTV show.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have a decent fashion sense.  At the very least, I’m not the worst dresser.  I like my casual “lived-in” clothes, but I can get a bit stylish when I want to.  I “clean up good” and all that.

I’m traveling as part of an educators group and I’m expected to wear business casual, on most days. Nothing Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in travel, Uncategorized

 

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Losing weight

“How did you lose so much weight?”

Let’s face it — there is no “miracle drug” or “quick fix” to losing weight.  If there were, obesity would not be so prevalent.  Of course, this doesn’t stop people from wanting instant results.  Why do they keep trying fad diets or take drastic measures? Well, sometimes they do lose weight.  For. A. Short. Time.  Then the weight comes back as soon as they are “off” the diet and it’s an endless cycle.

“How did you lose so much weight?”

If you lose the weight only by eating healthier and exercising, you can still gain it all back.  Why? You could revert to your old habits, if you don’t deal with the issues of why you gained the weight in the first place.

How did I lose so much weight? Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Keeping it Off

As the weather starts to heat up, swimsuit season is almost here, but many of us cringe at the thought of bearing so much skin.  Whether we’re still losing weight or are at goal weight, words like “granny arms” and “thunder thighs” seem to whisper from our past, like annoying mosquitoes.

It takes inner strength to battle these pesky thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  That’s one of the key things that helps me stay fit after reaching my goal weight.  And keeping the weight off and being fit is ultimately what we all want, right?

Like many of my women friends, I’ve always found it easier to lose weight than to maintain it.  I’d follow a certain plan or regime, including eating healthier food and exercising A LOT and eventually I’d reach my goal.  The Read the rest of this entry »

 

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My “What would you do?” moment

At the risk of sounding boastful, I want to share a story of a good deed. It was my “What would you do?” moment and I’m sharing it because I want people to know that someone cares and good deeds happen by strangers all the time.

I was driving with my teenage daughter on a busy two lane road (about 5:30 PM) and I noticed an elderly man in a wheelchair on the road’s shoulder.  His wheelchair looked stuck and his head was hanging as if he’d had a stroke or was extremely tired.  It was getting a little nippy out and the traffic was getting heavier, but this poor guy was sitting there on the road’s shoulder, which wasn’t more than a piece of broken-up concrete.  My daughter and I looked at each other and it was a “What would you do?” moment.  Keep driving? Or…turn around and help? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Good Deeds

 

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Video Game Lessons

I know many have their opinions about video games, but for our family, it started as a fun thing to do together or something the kids could play with their friends.  Now that the kids are not little, it’s not as much a family thing as I’d like, but that’s another story for another day. Today, I want to share some lessons I’ve learned since becoming a video game consumer.

A few years ago I boycotted a local video game store. Mostly, I was frustrated because two stores had merged and they’d seemingly become a monopoly. This did not sit well with me. No more competition. Why was it this Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Halloween visitors and Max

Max was whimpering like crazy as he peeked out the little window by the front door — his favorite spot to people watch.  It was not to be confused with ordinary whimpering.  It was more like his:  “HURRY, WE HAVE VISITORS! let them in, please, please, let them in, they are my best friends, please…” But the thing is….no one was at the door.  Or so I thought.  Upon closer look —  our “visitors” were our Halloween lawn decorations! We had to let the little guy go outside and see for himself.  He ran right to them (Mr. and Mrs. Witch) and he literally stared at them for a full 30 seconds before daring to go up and smell them…aww chucks…not best friends after all…what a hoot!

~~Maggie

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in dog, Funny, Holidays

 

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Janet Evanovich Rocks!

I met Janet Evanovich at her book signing in Michigan and she is a one terrific lady! I’m a HUGE fan.  How HUGE? Well, recently, I helped plan a fan party at our local library in her honor and then went in costume to her book signing and helped the book store entertain the long lines.  It happened something like this:

My friend wanted to throw a “little” dinner party with all the favorites from the books (mashed potatoes, meatloaf, pineapple upside cake)  complete with character costumes. Picture someone dressed as Lula or Vinnie!!  What a hoot!! Then – I don’t know what came over me but I thought — why not make this a community event? I contacted the local library and it snowballed from there.

Each day we came up with more fun ideas and it was like planning a wedding! Food had to be DONUTS (all Stephanie Plum series readers would get this) and of course I figured I’d ask local businesses to sponsor this.  At first it was just the donuts — Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons were super generous! Then the library provided coffee and gift cards for the used book store.

Hmmm….why not promote local businesses and help the economy while we’re at it? The responses were mostly positive! We had gift cards that related to the stories:  Lula loves her chicken — so KFC donated gift cards! cars blow up in every book — Lighthouse Car Wash donated GCs! Food is a central theme in all the books so we had GCs from Wendy’s, Holiday Market, Leo’s Coney Island and Big Boy too.  Big hair in New Jersey? Salon Anew GC! Rex the hamster and Bob the dog? Pet Supplies Plus GC!  It was amazing!  Even the Janet Evanovich website sent us tons of goodies to give out!  (Thanks Alex!!)

The library wrote up a little blurb about the event in their newsletter (we just barely made the deadline) and their website (alright!) and our local paper wrote about it too! (AWESOME!)

In the meantime, my friend created most of the trivia questions and I typed them up and put them in balloons!! (okay that was much later…) The only way to get the questions is to have fans sit on the balloons and POP — like the cars that blow up in the books! Okay…more on that later…We came up with an ice breaker type game and little details and whammo – we had our games and activities!

Food? Check! Gifts? Check! Press? Check! Games and activities? Check! Costumes?….wait, what? I have to wear a costume? 🙂

I decided on the Stephanie Plum character because she’s one of my favorites — and, okay, so that one’s pretty easy without looking ridiculous! 🙂

By the way, my friend and I work in a school and the fan party was on the Saturday after school started!! Talk about a busy week!!!

Okay – now – my friend decides she still wants to have the dinner at her house after our fan party at the library and actually cooked a fabulous meal! She made mouth-watering meatloaf, chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls!! To top it all off, we had upside down pineapple cake AND double chocolate cake!! I could hardly move the whole night!! (Think: Thanksgiving).  The characters in the books eat like this all the time — good thing they’re fictional — too much of a good thing.  (And of course, we had wine, but that’s another story).

The morning of the event was filled with runs to the donut shops and bakery but the best part was loading my car!! Remember all those balloons with the questions tucked inside them for the game? I thought I was smart by putting them in four huge black garbage bags and putting them in my garage as I loaded up my SUV.  I was standing in the back of my car watching my hubby put the seats down to make room and per chance, I glanced up — only three garbage bags are in my garage.  One of the bags blew away onto the neighbor’s yard — complete with balloons inside – AND two of the balloons escaped from the bag! I made a mad dash after the bag and the run-away balloons!  Did I mention how windy it was? Oh for pete’s sake!

The event was a blast! The fans were terrific and we all shared our favorite LOL parts of the Stephanie Plum series.  The games and activities were fun and thanks to our generous sponsors, the gifts were great too!! (Big Boy even made a special appearance!) Oh yeah, and did I mention the DONUTS!!

YUM!

The book signing was a total hoot! My friend arranged for us to provide the entertainment while people wait in the long lines.  I was happy to do it and didn’t even mind wearing my costume — it’s like Janet Evanovich fans all “understand” each other — we love her books, the humor and the men in the stories!! So many women told us they LOVED Ranger!! I asked trivia questions and the best reaction was when I asked what was Lula’s previous profession — the answer was always “She was a HO!” complete with attitude and all! People were so funny – my smile was still plastered on when I left the store a few hours later…

I’d read so many things about the author previously that I felt I already knew her when it was finally my turn to meet her. She was all smiles and friendly (and probably a little surprised at my costume). Besides devouring all her Stephanie Plum series books, I’d read her “How I Write” book and found her to be very down to earth and refreshing as a person and writer.  What a classy lady!

Pictures by Jennifer Wilmarth.  I’ll post more pictures  soon!

~~Maggie

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Funny, Games, Writing

 

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Snickers turned Cujo!

I took Max for a long overdue walk (it’s been too humid before tonight) and on our way home, I detoured through the neighborhood park where we found an adorable Yorkie. Of course, Max was super excited and they did their silent talk — I think Max dominated him by the way he kept lifting his left up (4 times) at the nearby tree.  (Mind you — his bladder is completely empty by now).  I looked around, expecting to see the dog‘s owner, but the nearby gardening neighbor said no. No one else was around.

I decided the adorable Yorkie must be lost so I took a closer look on his collar — he had one of those special invisible fence things on it and I could make out his name — Snickers.  Cute,  so I thought, until I tried to get the phone number and he turned all CUJO on me. I know he’s tiny, but I wasn’t taking any chances, so I backed up. He decided he had enough of the park and took off.  I couldn’t leave him alone without finding his owner so I decided to follow him a little until I could get his number…somehow.  In the meantime, I called my daughter to meet me at the park with some treats — bribery always works with Max when I want him to come.

Luckily, he stopped a lot — he liked Max, I guess — but every time I got closer — Grrr!! I was sure he’d get my hand or ankle one of those  times.  As I waited for my daughter, I saw two women with a stroller coming through the park path and a boy on a bike coming from the street. I asked them if they knew the little dog. The women didn’t but the boy recognized him after we said his name was Snickers. He pointed to a house down the street by the park! Phew! We returned the dog to the owner — she said the battery died on his collar and she had no idea he’d gotten out. (I resisted the urge to tell her to rename her dog.)

Some people are like Snickers – aren’t they? They look all cute and adorable, but you try to help them with something and they turn all  Cujo on you. They put up a brick wall and don’t want to hear it, even if it’s in their best interest. If you push it, they show their teeth too. My reaction is the same with these people — step away slowly and no one gets hurt.

~~Maggie

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2010 in dog, Funny

 

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A-hem…

As I’ve said here before — I LOVE working with kids.  They keep me in stitches and what makes them even more hilarious is that they’re not even trying to be funny.  Just today, in Kindergarten, one little girl cracked me up and I thought I’d share.

The teacher was in the process of calling small groups of students to choose their centers.  In order to avoid a stampede at the white erase board, she gives each group a chance to get up from the carpet, line up and make their selections by placing their Popsicle sticks; then she calls the next group.  While she was doing this, she and I briefly discussed a concern we had over a student who had been absent for several weeks.

At this point, only one group was left.  All of the sudden, one bright-eyed and anxious  little girl, who was sitting on the carpet, clears her throat and  says “A-hem” – exactly like an adult would, to get someone’s attention.  TOO FUNNY!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Funny, kids, Teaching

 

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