Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fun At The Job With Gourmet Gift Baskets! {Review}

 I had so much fun at work today!  Gourmet Gift Baskets sent me their Snack Classic Gift Basket to Review!  I decided to share the wealth and get the opinions of those I work with.  The thing is, I work in a self-contained classroom at a high school with 7 at-risk boys and their teacher, a man.  Believe me, they will tell me straight up what is what if I ask them, and they won't try to smooth it over or make it look pretty if it isn't.  We have a class called 'Social Skills', which I am in charge of.  I figure that sending gift baskets to people is a good Social Skill and one that is very much appreciated in a variety of situations.  First of all, I asked them when might be a good time to give someone a gift basket.  I got some great answers.  One said, "When your Grandma has a birthday, you could send her a gift basket."  Some other answers were anniversaries, weddings, congratulating someone and funerals.  I next had them sample each one of the snacks in the basket and rate them.  I had a very favorable rating with all of them.  I had most of the snacks receive Excellent, Good, or OK ratings.  But one thing didn't rate well at all.  That item was the Dipping Pretzels with Dip.  The dip was  a sweet (raspberry) and sour (honey mustard) dip that I think was a bit too sophisticated for their palates--but I really liked it! My absolute favorite snacks were the Almond Pecan Crunch and the Buttered Pecan Crunch!  They are -or were- sublime for snacking (they're all gone now)!
   Other baskets that have definitely caught my eye are the Something Naughty and Something Nice Gift Basket, full of nuts and fruits along with delectable chocolate bon bons.
  I have been wanting the Sweet Decadence Chocolate Premium Gift Basket for awhile now.  It's a true chocolate lover's delight, I'm sure!
When you want to give something special to someone for any occasion, I definitely recommend Gourmet Gift Baskets.  They will be appreciated each and every time, I promise! 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Dabble Into Long Boarding!


My son, Joseph, invited me to go on an outing with him on the local river trail.  It was about 50 degrees outside, which to us was tropical weather after the cold winter we've had.  So he got on his trusty longboard and I on my bike and off we went.  He says he would be considered average on a longboard, certainly not a "skater" type.  But I think he's really good! 

   I enjoyed watching him glide along the fairly smooth trail, his hands casually shoved into his jean pockets and when there was an occasional bump, he would jump slightly with the board to get over, with as little impact on the board as possible.  We went for about a mile and a half, with me just kind of coasting on the bike and not working up much of a sweat.  In contrast, as we were coming back, I noticed that Joseph was definitely working up a sweat.  I realized that pushing off and gaining momentum on a long board can be quite the anaerobic exercise!  
   Somehow I found myself on the long board and Joseph on the bike.  He was a great instructor,  telling me how to push off and how to line up my feet.  I found out that indeed, it takes a lot of work to push off and obtain a workable speed.  Having some sense of balance is certainly key.  I longed to be as good as my son and be able to glide gracefully along, looking so nonchalant, as if it were effortless.  Unfortunately, my movements were rather choppy and spastic, more akin to an old-time silent picture movie, where all the actors look robotic.  I would obtain a glide for all of  2 feet and find that I needed to once again push for momentum.  I hadn't been doing it for even 10 minutes, and I was sweating like a pig.  And darn those bumps where roots from the trees along the path extend out under the trail and break up the asphalt.  Somehow you need to clear those!  Joseph did so effortlessly, and when he told me to just go over them instead of getting off the board and walk across, I obediently attempted to do just that.  Unfortunately, I was not as successful as Joseph.  My board seemed to catch on the jagged lip of the bump and just stalled out.  I, on the other hand, lurched awkwardly forward, landing in an incredibly awkward and painful position, my left leg twisted under me going one direction and my right leg going in the opposite direction.  Crap!  Not my bad knee, the one I have been babying along for 2 or 3 years now, after a previous, equally awkward fall on the ski slopes.  It has never healed back to its original, healthy state.  Now, here I was, with a re-injury and in my mind, probably more serious.  I lay there on the pavement yelping and crying in misery and Joseph standing there in dismay and concern.  I had the luxury of laying there to collect myself without any passers by.  I would have gotten up quickly just because of embarrassment if anyone had come by!  After a few minutes I got up and dusted myself off, hopped on the bike and off we went. 
    We stopped on the way home to say hello to some horses and when I got off the bike, my leg wouldn't support me and kept buckling under my weight.  Not a good sign!  
    It is the day after the event and I haven't been out of my pj's all day.  I didn't walk the dog and I lounged around in bed reading, after I was served breakfast in bed, which was definitely a perk of the whole unfortunate episode.  Thankfully, I have one more day to recover before the work week begins.  Hopefully nothing got torn and I will be back to full throttle soon!
   But what this is telling me is that my days of reckless abandonment with trying new things may be almost over.  I want to keep the mobility I have and not wreck the great quality of life I enjoy.  I have to think of the consequences more than the immediate gratification I might have when trying fun and exciting physical challenges.  It's rather sad to come to that point and a far cry from when I got on the ski slope for the first time.  (Wow, another story for another time!)  I'm glad that it was with Joseph when the realization arrived.  But never say never!  Even now, I feel the need to prove myself.  I like the board I found above!  Ironically, they are called 'Old Lady Skate Boards'.  I can tell you one thing, I'd rather be the old lady riding the board than the old lady ruining other people's fun, like this lady!    Stay safe!  Live life to the fullest but be wise!

K coop and Judi Oyama Hawaii Photo Dano 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A New Way To Monitor Tailgaters

  Driving is something that almost everyone does.  But what makes somebody a good driver vs. a bad driver?  I've noticed that anyone going slower than me is an idiot and anyone going faster than me is a maniac! 
  One of the most annoying things is when someone is tailgating you.  Nothing can incite road rage like someone who is following too closely.  For one thing, someone driving too closely on your tail is telling you that you're driving too slowly.  I can somewhat understand that when you're on the freeway in the fast lane and someone is not driving faster than the other lanes of traffic.  They need to MOVE OVER!
  One time I was actually driving along in the fast lane and came upon a car that I swear to you, was driving 45 miles an hour.  I couldn't believe it.  I, apparently, was following this car too closely for its comfort.  All of a sudden, the brake lights came on and it slowed down even more.  Whereas before it was slightly dangerous, now it became high risk.  This car slowed down to 35 miles an hour!  I got the heck around this idiot and avoided potential danger. But there are all kinds of speeds on the freeway, each person thinking that theirs is the ideal. Tailgating is not a great way to enforce speed, however.  
  And what about in town? So many crashes could be avoided by just following your state's following laws.  Most states say that at speeds over 35 mph, you need to have 2 second following space.  I think one of the only things I remember from my Driver Ed days, fifty billion years ago, is the directive to say "one--one thousand, two--one thousand," to yourself for judging the two second following distance. It's actually a very helpful rule because if I were to actually rear-end someone, I would be given a ticket, without question, as the one who was at fault.  
  Well, now there is a new instrument in the law enforcement arsenal to help police officers enforce that law even more.  It's called the 'TruCam' and it targets tailgaters before the accident happens.  Ohio already has it on the law books and my state of Utah will soon follow suit.  'TruCam' is a radar gun that measures actual distance between cars and then videotapes the actual cars involved.  Police say that it really isn't to give more tickets, but to educate and show people how badly they really are driving.  (Great, just what I needed!)  "We're hoping this will help us be proactive and actually educate the public and stop the accidents from happening rather than just responding to them after they happen."  Alrighty then, maybe I'll have a little less irritation from those pesky tailgaters.  Good idea?  What is the most irritating thing for you when driving?  Will these Trucams be a big help? 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Was This 3rd Grade Teacher Going Overboard?

Last month was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  In an attempt to illustrate what it was like for the slaves to ride in a ship, below deck, without moving for days or even months, a teacher made her 3rd graders lay down on a rug and not move for 45 minutes.  Now, for me, I'd love it.  I'd pass out and not wake up for awhile and totally come out of the teaching experience thinking that while it must have totally sucked to have had to travel worse than steerage class, and against my will at that, I definitely needed the rest.  But for a classroom full of 3rd graders, that might be a little bit of a  hard lesson.  A real concept of time and a sense of empathy for others based on their own experiences are things that we don't really expect them to fully grasp at this time in their short lives
   I think that possibly a 15 minutes stretch would have been ample time to show them how hard it must have been to lay like that on a ship coming to America. 
  Evidently, though, a parent feels so strongly that this was a misuse of a teacher's authority that she has filed a complaint with the Canyons School District's office of civil rights.  The mother, a legal emigrant from an Eastern European country several years ago said this kind of teaching tactic hits too close to home.  She grew up in a school system ruled by the old Soviet Union, which "introduced a destructive educational system: teachers enjoying corporal punishments, verbal abuse and humiliation, voiceless students and helpless parents."   
    I believe that the above is a true statement, based on my acquaintance with my friend, Viktoriya, who grew up in the Ukraine and told me tales of the teachers there, who were very cruel and humiliating to students.  
   I do not believe, however, that this teacher was acting irresponsibly or cruelly.  Perhaps, uninformed and overly dramatic would be better descriptions.  I don't believe there is any looming danger of our school systems becoming encumbered with teachers who are empowered with weapons of corporal discipline and lack of guidelines.  Not a chance. I think this teacher was a young and zealous teacher, with strong beliefs about this historical event in America.  I say no harm, no foul!