April 30, 2008

Children's Museum

Did they even have these when we were kids? There seems to be one in every city these days. A fun afternoon was spent at the one in Vegas, where the kids got to play dress up, sing karaoke, make ice-cream, and generally run around.

You can see other pics from the afternoon here.

April 29, 2008

Recent Reads

1. Art Making, Collections, and Obsessions: An Intimate Exploration of the Mixed-Media Work and Collections of 35 Artists.
Fun book to read, and delightful visually. It's always interesting to see what people collect. I like the image of artists as magpies, collecting shiny objects.

2. Name All The Animals
My book club's April book. The story about how a family copes/does not cope with a death in the family. The story is told from the POV of the sister who is left behind. Overlays of faith, family, loss, and growing up. Members of the book club loved it, and while it had many wonderful images, I doubt I would have finished the book on my own.

3. Change of Heart
The most recent Picoult book - the one I went to listen to her reading recently. The author does a good job of taking a situation and showing it's many facets. Found the book interesting, though certainly not as good as My Sister's Keeper.

April 28, 2008

Park Girls

Pics from a play afternoon in the park. Why is it that we stop swinging when we become adults?
You can see more of pics from that afternoon here.


Ain't this a sign of the times? Who would have thought that cell phones would be so ubiquitous? These stripped phone booths remind me of a time that seems so long ago. The real question is where will Superman now change into his cool outfit?

April 25, 2008


I can tell it's going to be a busy day - just look at what is in the inbox!


It's always fun to see the many way that people are creative. These are pics from some of my neighbours yards.

April 24, 2008

Bellagio Girls

If you get to Vegas, you gotta check out the decorations at the Bellagio - they do an amazing job.
These pics of my sister, sister-in law, nieces and yours truly are taken over xmas - yes, am finally getting around to posting these. The entire Bellagio photo set can be seen here.
I do think that I have the cutest nieces!

April 23, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year

Other than football season, this is the most wonderful time of the year: the local ice-cream stand is open for business. It has been a long, hard winter, and I for one am delighted that I can walk over and get me some home-made "bear claw".

Food for thought

Susan sent me this funny link - read the text below the pic. I laughed out loud - brilliant in so many ways.

April 22, 2008

Mailbox Art

The weather is beautiful out here - though we could certainly use some rain - if only to flush away the pollen. On a walk yesterday, found some creative souls. Aren't these fun?

April 18, 2008

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and my pal Michele pointed me to this link.

I have always struggled with poetry - believe that I have repressed memories regarding them! I write some poems of my own. We ask all visitors to the boat to leave a Haiku in the log, and yet, I simply cannot sit and read a book of poems. Every year, I pick a couple of collections to read, and I like some and do not like others. The learning and expansion of my mind continues ....

Recent Reads

So many books, so little time....

Duma Key
I used to be a huge King fan - he has written some amazing books and short stories - Misery and Dolores Claiborne, are a couple that come to mind. But I lost interest in his books after IT - right about the Dark Tower series - huh? Well, decided to take the plunge and read his new book, and really enjoyed it. King has a wonderful way of scaring you in bits, and before you know it you are not breathing. I blew through this 600+ page book in 4 days, and I worked 2 of those days; and I had to stop reading by 10:30 at night or else I would not be able to sleep. A wonderful sort of creepy, scary story.

April 17, 2008

Education Article

I had this article published in a trade ezine earlier this month. DAC stands for Design Automation Conference, and is the largest annual show in my industry.

Education: A Lifelong Adventure

In Bill Gates’ recent testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, he highlighted the gathering threat to U.S. preeminence in science and technology innovation. For the United States to secure its continuing global leadership in technology innovation, he warned, we must as a nation commit to a strategy for excellence in, among other things, education.

There is a crisis in our public education systems today.

As professionals in the technology arena, most of us have an inkling of the statistics that reveal the seriousness of the state of education in our country. According to the U. S. Department of Education, we have one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the industrialized world. Thirty percent of ninth graders, and nearly half of all African American and Hispanic ninth graders, do not graduate on schedule. Of those students who do graduate and go on to college, a full 25% must take remedial courses on material they should have learned in high school. Less than 40% of our high school students graduate ready to attend college.

The record of American students in math and sciences is particularly alarming. Tests indicate that U.S. fourth graders rank among the top students in the world in science, and above average in math. By the time they reach eighth grade, they are only average compared to their peers in other nations. By 12th grade, U.S. students score near the bottom in math and science, across all industrialized nations. As a result, too many U.S. students enter college without even the basic skills needed to pursue a degree in science and engineering.

It is hard to disagree with Bill Gates’ stance regarding the importance of education from a competitive and societal standpoint. In fact, I so strongly felt the need to better understand what has gone wrong with education, and to, in some way, be part of the solution, that I recently took a year out from my career in technology to teach. I chose to teach seventh grade science in an urban Massachusetts public school.

The experiences I had teaching science to those seventh graders were exciting, frustrating, eye opening, and infinitely rewarding. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • Most students are hungry to learn, but the structure of public school classroom education and the budget pressures in many communities leave both students and teachers underserved.
  • Seventh grade is around the time that the lack of a solid foundation in math and science starts to stress kids. Students, particularly girls, either get hooked on science or lose all interest in it.
  • The quality of math and science teachers in the public schools is proportional to the compensation provided for them.
  • Until teachers are held accountable for understanding the material that they are hired to teach, it is the students who will be shortchanged.

You may not be able to take a year away from your current profession and teach math or science as I did. If you are reading this, you do have the power to make great changes in the quality of public education in your community. Here are some steps to take:

  • Take an interest in the quality of public school education.
  • Encourage your employer to get involved. Sponsor a science field trip, provide supplementary educational materials, and expose children to the rewards of careers in technology.
  • Volunteer to tutor a child in math or science.
  • Ask your children’s teachers what help they need to succeed.
  • As a person in a technology profession, volunteer to talk about what excites you about your work.

Moving forward, I’m encouraged by Bill Gates’ call to action and applaud his use of his celebrity status to bring attention to this problem. He recommends a commitment from the U.S. government to build a strategy for innovation excellence, and suggests a set of initiatives and policies to provide the foundation to strengthen U.S. competitiveness. His proposal to build educational opportunities for students to ensure they have the skills to succeed is an idea we all should embrace. As someone who has been on the front lines, I endorse these reforms to improve educational opportunities and invest in our young people. Take a moment while at DAC to consider how you, as a technology professional, can effect improvements in public education.

To read the entire transcript of Bill Gates’ testimony March 12, 2008 before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, visit: link

April 14, 2008

Tax Day Cometh

Oh do not even get me started!


Love barns. Want to someday own land with a barn - there is something magical about them. Pics of a lovely barn from a recent Stowe weekend.

April 11, 2008

Night at the movies

I find it incredibly ironic that as TVs get bigger and better with HD, the content of movies continues to deteriorate (at least Hollywood ones). How long before the movie industry goes bust do you think?

1. Gone Baby Gone
Woof! Casey Affleck simply is not lead actor material. The movie is simply not worth the time, and I was looking forward to it - it's a Dennis Lehane story. Ah well, glad that I did not pay the $10 to see it in the theater.

2. Away From Her
Simple, lovely movie about a couple who have been together for 40 or so years, when the wife gets Alzheimer's. The story of love and loss, and how people cope. Beautiful.

3. La Vie en Rose
I see why Marion Cotillard got the Oscar for best actress - wow! Though the movie itself dragged a bit, it was interesting to learn about the life of Edith Piaf.

April 7, 2008

Visual Journal

Here are some recent pages. So glad to be feeling better.

April 2, 2008

Flu Season

Been hit twice this season .... did not even know that you get it twice.

Some interesting watching material when you are sick:

1. House MD
No matter what you've got, and how miserable you feel, you are simply grateful to not have what they have on the show.

2. Sicko
Oh, why did I watch this while sick? So many things to talk discuss - but my mind can only hold one thought at the moment, and that is - let's move!