Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fate

After I lost my beautiful boy Floppy, in June, I was absolutely devastated. I cried and cried and just when I was sure my tear ducts were all dried up and couldn't possibly produce any additional water, I cried some more. I felt like I lost a sibling or other close family member. I still feel the pain, I still miss him every single day, and I feel I may never love another dog like I loved him.

Poor Nikki was so sad. She sulked. She laid around the house, hid behind the couch or under my bed all day, and wouldn't even eat her favorite treats. She knew he was gone, and she didn't like it. She missed her buddy, her playmate.

We weren't planning on getting another dog any time soon. None of us were ready. We missed Floppy, and it was too much to handle. But, poor Nikki. We felt so badly for her, so we browsed around pet sites, not particularly expecting to find any dog we liked enough to take home. We felt we would be replacing Floppy, and no one could do that.

But, then...

Then, we saw this guy.


And oh, my goodness... how could we resist?

If you remember the other pictures (click on the link above at the beginning of the post), he looks like a mix of all three of our previous dogs in so many ways. His face, his fur type, his coloring (except the speckled feet). Even when we brought him home, he displayed very similar characteristics and personality traits of the other three as well.

When trying to think of a name, we wanted something fitting for him. We thought of and ruled out traditional names like Max and Jack. We liked the name Midas, but he's too sweet and gentle for that name. We looked through pet name books and online, but we couldn't agree. When one of us would like something, the others would hate it, or vice versa.

If you look at his picture, you'll see it. We noticed that he sort of looks like he's wearing black eyeliner, and that it extends out to the side of his head and looks Egyptian. So we got the idea to look up Egyptian names. Traditional names didn't work, so I searched for Egyptian gods instead. Finally... I found it.

There was one named Shai. He was the Egyptian god and concept of fate. Fate?! Was it not fate that we found him after we lost Floppy? Was it not fate that he had the looks and the personality mix of our other three dogs before him combined? Unbelievable. It was perfect. And so, there it was, clear as day. Shai.

Now, I'm not sure I even believe in the actual concept of fate. You know, life occurrences are meant to happen, everything happens for a reason, there's a greater power controlling how the world turns... I always thought of it as a cop-out for some people not to take responsibility for their own actions. Do certain decisions lead to certain situations occurring? Absolutely. But the belief that everything is pre-planned out, and our path is already laid out for us and we don't get to decide? Not a fan.

But, this... I don't know. The stars aligned for this one.

We loved Shai immediately. He is so cute, and so gentle and loving. He wants nothing more than to please us and be loved. He hates being yelled at, so he usually learns quickly -- unless he sees a bunny in the yard, then forget it, his chasing instincts take over.

He cannot replace Floppy. And he's not the same dog, we know. However... he can be part of a new family. And we will love him unconditionally just the same.

Oh, and Nikki? She's doing much better. She is much happier, and really back to her old, weird self.

Here is a quick video of Nikki and Shai playing when they first met:


Monday, September 24, 2012

What's in a Name?

That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet...

My parents deliberated over what to call me for months. Though they didn't know I was a girl until I was born, they both had their favorite names picked out for both a boy and a girl. We'll skip the boys, since clearly that is irrelevant. Though, my father's stupid self wanted to name my older brother Fresh.

My mother liked the names Chloe, Dana, and Becky or Rebecca for me, and my father refused anything that didn't sound Irish enough. They couldn't really agree on anything.

They flipped through baby books for weeks, asking each other's opinions on names they liked, still not reaching a consensus. Then, finally, one day the debate was over. My mom saw the name Kerry in a book and thought it sounded nice. I don't think my dad wanted to admit it, but he liked it. Plus, it's completely Irish -- there is even an entire county in Ireland named Kerry -- so of course he accepted.

Per all the times I googled and searched for the meaning of my name, only two similar things came up. Kerry means "dark-haired girl" or "dark-haired princess." Well, I am a girl, and I do have dark hair. I don't know about that "princess" business, though.

When I was younger I would complain about my name and say that I wish it was different. I used to like the name Cindy, but now my tastes have changed. I don't think mine is so bad anymore. It's not terribly common, and any other people with the same name usually spell it with an i at the end instead.

Now if only I could get rid of my dad's last name...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Art of Teaching

Sometimes, I really doubt myself as a teacher.

I doubt my skills to teach properly, creatively, and to make that light bulb go off in my students' minds. Sometimes I even doubt that I truly want this as my career. I notice that tends to happen when there has been a gap between jobs, and it has been a while since I was teaching. I suppose that time away from the classroom is correlated to my doubts. Possibly, the separation exacerbates my fears, which causes me to doubt what I want.

But, then... I stand in front of my students, and I teach them the language that I love. And it all clicks back into place.

I recently started a new leave replacement job teaching ASL to high school students, grades 10 - 12. I have replaced a teacher out on maternity leave until December.

I have two classes of level 1, and one class with a mix of level 2 and 3. The mixed class can be frustrating, as they are clearly at different places in learning the language, and so different lessons and activities need to be planned for one class. However, the students are very motivated, and are pleasant in class. There have been no behavioral issues, and it doesn't seem like there will be very many, if any. Plus, many of them want to continue with ASL beyond high school.

The same goes for the two level 1 classes. I only have one student in one of the classes who seems apathetic, but we'll see how that goes. Though sometimes too chatty in a class learning a visual language where it is vital to pay attention and keep voices off, they are still good, bright kids and I think we will both learn a lot from each other. I hope I'm not speaking too soon when I say that it looks like I have a great group of students for the next few months.

Back to standing in front of them center of attention. I used to hate it.

Source


Any time I had a project in school that had to be presented in front of the class, I hated it. Except for ASL.

During any other class presentation or speech, I became so nervous automatically. I felt I could barely breathe, my hands would shake, and I would forget absolutely everything I wanted to say. Except in ASL.


ASL class was the only time I felt comfortable enough to make a presentation or act out a conversation or skit in front of my peers. And I want my students to feel that same level of comfort with me. Now that I am in the opposite position, teaching others this beautiful language, I am still no longer afraid. The only thing I still fear is that my lessons are not creative enough and I will not teach effectively to make them understand, but I just chalk that up to nerves. I've learned from the best, and I therefore strive to give my students the best I can.
P.S. None of these people are me. Source
This week, after stepping back into the classroom, I realize once again that I love what I do. I want to spread this amazing language as much as I can, and the best way I know how to do that is to teach it.



This continues to be one of my favorite speeches of all time. Trust me, it's worth it to watch and listen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crunchy Leaves!

Autumn is just about here...



Am I the only one excited about stepping on crunchy leaves?!


Monday, September 17, 2012

ASL, Meet Teaching

I never thought that I would become a teacher. I always thought that I wanted to leave school so badly, so why would I make a career out of it? I didn’t know what I wanted to be, I just knew that teaching wasn’t one of my options.

Then one teacher changed everything.

That teacher was Rachel Cerra, my high school ASL teacher. I had her for both years of ASL I took in high school, my junior and senior years. It was my favorite class of all time, and Rachel was my favorite teacher. To this day, that hasn’t changed.

First, I fell in love with American Sign Language from the very first day I started learning it. Though it had always intrigued me before this, I never knew how fascinated I would become with the language, so engrossed in Deaf Culture, and so I quickly fell head over heels. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, but I knew I had to make ASL a part of my career.

Second, Rachel made me realize that I actually did want to teach ASL. I didn’t want to interpret, and I didn’t want to be a Deaf Ed teacher. Not necessarily by process of elimination, but by realizing that because I thought everyone should learn this beautiful, visual, natural language of the Deaf, the best way I knew how to spread it and bridge the gaps between the Deaf and hearing worlds was to teach it to others.

The passion that Rachel had not only for ASL, but for teaching, impacted me to a high degree. She lit a fire in me I didn’t know I had for a career I didn’t know I wanted. If I had had a different teacher, I know I would still love ASL, but I don’t know if I would have wanted to become a teacher as well. Every single day in class I couldn’t wait to learn more, and it was never boring. My favorite days were the ones we learned something new, and those days in ASL 2 that we got to learn a new ASL idiom or phrase.

I had the pleasure and honor of working with Rachel during my student teaching, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. To have been her student, and then work with her as a colleague was such a blessing. I learned so much about the art of teaching, from curriculum to lesson planning to creative activities to time saving tricks. Though, it was difficult getting used to calling her Rachel instead of Ms. Cerra. She even yelled at me via e-mail for it numerous times after I graduated, as we kept in touch. “We’re colleagues now!” She told me. She was right.

She must have known all along…

Look what she wrote in my yearbook!



Have you had a teacher who changed your life?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Effects of Over Exercising: How Much is Too Much?

Effects of Over Exercising


Have you ever see the TV show "Obsessed"? I'm not talking about the movie starring Beyonce, I mean the TV show about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) destroying people's lives.
People joke about OCD all the time, but when it's this severe, it can disintegrate relationships and completely control a person's thoughts and life.
I just watched an episode featuring a 35 year-old woman named Cindee living in Wisconsin with her husband and five children. She was so obsessed with exercising, that with the exception of the births of her children, she did not miss one single day of exercise in fifteen years.
Fifteen years straight with no rest! And on top of that, she restricted herself of food and in the past had gone days without eating at all. She only ate one meal a day, alone, between 2 and 3 in the morning.
Her entire family was suffering the effects of over exercising. Her five children had never seen her eat, and she had never sat down to dinner with her family because she was on the treadmill. She put two of young boys on the couch next to her treadmill so they could watch TV while she exercised, and she could still keep an eye on them. Her oldest daughter expressed that she feared for her mother's life and was terrified she would lose her early.

As a Beachbody coach, I promote exercise all the time. However, let me be clear.

There is a big difference between healthy living with exercise and being so obsessed that you cause Effects of Over Exercising.

When I help people get fit, I also help them get healthy. People can become addicted to working out. However, we teach them how to live a healthy lifestyleincluding eating cleanly and working out WITH a rest period, avoiding the effects of over exercising.

How do you know if you're over doing it? Check out these Effects of Over Exercising:

  1. You can mess up your body's chemical balance, causing a gateway for other health problems and stress on your immune system
  2. You can start to look older than you are. That's right, bring on the wrinkles. Your body ups its cortisol and pro-inflammatory chemicals when you over exercise, which causes tissue damage early aging.
  3. You can get sick easier. While exercise can keep you healthy and prevent diseases, too much exercise can do the opposite. It can subdue your immune system, making you more vulnerable to contract illness.
  4. You can get tons of unpleasant physical symptoms. These include more susceptibility to to natural elements such as cold or heat, dehydration, fatigue, chronic muscle soreness, insomnia, appetite loss, pain in the upper left side of the body, headaches, prolonged recovery and/or feeling more exhausted finishing a workout than before it, increased morning heart rate, decrease in performance, coordination loss, sudden lightheadedness/dizziness and/or fainting, gastrointestinal issues, and skeletal injuries such as fractures and shin splints.
  5. You can get tons of unpleasant mental and emotional symptoms.  For example, like Cindee above, who felt she couldn't get enough exercise, her workouts robbed her of time with her family, and not working out caused her such anxiety she cried and shook with fear. You could also begin feeling depressed, have lowered self-esteem, concentration problems, and you could ignore you body's symptoms telling you it's time to stop.
  6. If you're a female, you can stop menstruating (amenorrhea)While most of us would be jumping for joy over the loss of our monthly inconvenience, the negative side is that it can affect fertility. It can also cause estrogen deficiency, leading to a whole mess of other problems, like ovarian cysts and bone density loss.
And more. As you can see, over doing it and over working your body can cause a slew of negative repercussions that you don't want for your body and your health. I'm all for being healthy, but please, please take care of yourself and beware of these effects of over exercising.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quick Vegetarian Recipes Any Veggie Hater Will Love

Quick Vegetarian Recipes

Hey there! I wanted to quickly share some easy and quick vegetarian recipes. Any veggie hater will love these -- including me. They are incredibly simple AND tasty. So if you're looking for some healthy vegetarian meals you can make without too much effort and in 30 minutes or less, you've come to the right place!
If you like what you see, please take a few moments and share your feedback and some other quick vegetarian recipes that YOU love!

Here are a few Quick Vegetarian Recipes you can't live without:

Toasted Pita & Bean Salad

Prepared with pieces of pita bread, lettuce, tomato, mint, and cucumbers, additional protein comes from beans included in this delicious fattoush salad. I normally don't even like tomatoes, and this is great!
4 servings, about 2 cups each
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 6-inch whole-wheat pita breads, cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons ground toasted cumin seeds (see Tip)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans, well drained and slightly warmed (see Tip)
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes or 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup sliced romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spread pita pieces out on a large baking sheet. Bake until crisp and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan.
  3. Mash garlic and salt with the back of a chef’s knife to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add lemon juice and ground cumin and whisk to blend. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continually. Season with pepper. This dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days if you need to make this portion in advance. You can also toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until very fragrant -- about 2 to 5 minutes. Let it cool, and grind into a powder in a spice mill or blender.
  4. Place beans, tomatoes and cucumber in a serving bowl. Add the toasted pita, lettuce, feta, parsley, mint and the dressing; toss to mix. Season with more pepper. Serve and enjoy the first of the quick vegetarian recipes!

Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta

This pasta dish is awesome! In addition to the great vegetables sweet potato and red pepper, it's loaded with fresh herbs -- any you have available can replace the tarragon -- and rich goat cheese, or feta cheese if you'd like. I like to serve this dish with a garden salad as an appetizer.
4 servings, about 1 3/4 cups each
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato (about 1 medium)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (or basil, orregano, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta cheese)

PREPARATION

  1. Boil a large pot of water, and cook pasta until just tender (about 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions).
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a large skillet and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant (2 to 5 minutes). Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender and crisp (5 to 7 minutes). Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.
  3. Drain the pasta when ready, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the vegetable combination, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, tarragon (or your spices), vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese. Toss to mix. Add the reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Serve and enjoy!
As an Italian, I love pasta, so I was psyched to find the above and the next dish to add to my quick vegetarian recipes!

This dish "takes the cake" of Quick Vegetarian Recipes!

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe & Chickpeas

This yummy pasta dishes combines bold flavors of broccoli rabe and rosemary, coupled with chickpeas. Make sure that when you are purchasing broccoli rabe, you check the stem bottoms to see if they are mostly green and moist, but not soft or mushy. If it is beyond its glory days, or if you'd rather have a milder taste, substitute with broccolini or regular broccoli. I like to sprinkle yummy, freshly grated Parmesan cheese on this dish for added flavor.
2 servings, 2 cups each
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces whole-wheat orecchiette, or chiocciole (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup vegetarian chicken-flavored broth, (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced (or 1/8 tsp dried) fresh rosemary
  • 1 8-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Boil a large saucepan of water, and cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add broccoli rabe and continue cooking while stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli rabe are tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain, and rinse and dry the pot.
  2. Whisk the broth and flour in a small bowl. Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat, and add garlic and rosemary and cook. Stir until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute). Whisk in the broth mixture, and bring to a simmer, now whisking constantly, until it thickens. Add chickpeas, vinegar, salt, pepper and the pasta mixture. Cook and stir continuously, until heated through and coated with the sauce (about 2 minutes).
There you have it! I hope you try these 3 quick vegetarian recipes, and if you like them, feel free to share them! Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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