Saturday, October 19, 2013

To Stroll or Not to Stroll

Well, really, I suppose it's more a question of HOW to stroll.

 Last year, when I discovered I was pregnant, I thought I knew exactly what type of strollers I would want.  So, I registered for - and received - them.  While the basic Graco is nice, and the Snap & Go attachment for our infant car seat was handy, neither were what we really ended up wanting, once I had my baby and learned his preferences.

 After getting a grand total of 8 strollers (some were hand me downs), I want to share some that work really well for our family.

For a light weight, toss in the trunk umbrella stroller, we love the Jet stroller by First Years:

This umbrella stroller is very light, can be set up or collapsed with only one hand, and strolls smoothly.   In addition, it is a lot taller than most umbrella strollers, so there's no need to stoop over while pushing - A big plus!

With regard to our other favorites, we found that our little guy really preferred to sit facing us, and not facing forward.  Sadly, it's hard to find many affordable strollers with this option. One that worked quite well is the very affordable Quinny Zap Extra:

The seat can be forward or parent facing.  The handles are also nice & tall, though the back wheels are heavy and very wide set.  This means that you don't accidentally kick them when walking, but it also means you're more likely to run into doorways.

A cushier option is the Stokke Scoot!  Nice and compact, great options for seating, but a bit heavier at 25 pounds.  Unfortunately, it is quite a bit more expensive.

Overall, the lesson we learned is that we couldn't really predict what the best stroller was for our family until our little one was born and let us know his preferences.   So, if you're planning ahead, you might just want to get the stroller attachment for the infant car seat and then wait to get to know your little one before deciding on what other strollers you might need.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be?

OK - good advice, but from a worthless fellow - Polonius, not Shakespeare :-)

Sometimes, we have to borrow - a mortgage for a house is a prime example - or a school loan. Perhaps even for a car - if a car is truly essential to get you to work - although I would rather pay upfront, even if it means a cheaper ride. But otherwise, I think Shakespeare is right on. And the good folks at SNL - "Don't buy stuff you cannot afford."

It's not always a bad idea to loan money, but money should never be given to someone who has a bad track record. Well, unless you're ok with potentially throwing that money away. I know it may seem heartless, but I have a lot of trouble reconciling any gift of money to a person if I consistently see them buy discretionary things they can't afford - like cable, overly expensive clothes, etc. Especially when those are luxuries I deny myself, because I'd actually like to be able to afford to support myself when I am old & grey, and not leave any debts behind for others to have to pay.

Everyone has free-will, and can of course do whatever they want with their own money. I won't lecture a frivolous spender, but I'll never loan them money either.

Even though Mister Micawber wasn't quite smart enough to practice what he preached - here's his sound advice:

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." - Charles Dickens - from David Copperfield.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

You're Responsible for Your Education

Whether you're a high school grad, or an older adult exploring a college career, please dig deep before making a decision that really does affect the rest of your life.

For example, there are many so-called universities out there that are for profit & as a result, they may not have your education as a top priority. As a former faculty member at NAU, I cannot recommend that school at all. It was my very 1st teaching job & I was told that I would be observed each semester by the Dean. I was never once observed my whole time there (2+ years). So - without any proof that I could teach, they let me loose to do my thing. Naturally, I like to think I can teach, but they shouldn't have taken that for granted. And they wouldn't have, if their students' education were actually a priority.

I taught Advanced Composition, and the students who came into my class had to pass Composition 1. Well, many of these students wrote papers without verbs in them. They didn't know what a topic sentence was. They didn't use spell check. How on earth did they pass Composition 1???

I also taught Speech. One important component in Speech is to get up in front of a group & give a speech. Another important piece is to provide feedback to those giving speeches. There was a student who signed up for my class & couldn't attend any of them. The Dean suggested that the student just come in and give their speeches to him & that I give the student a grade. I told the Dean that I couldn't ethically give a grade to speeches I didn't hear, nor could I let someone in the class who wasn't ever in class. It might have been different for a writing course, but for Speech, attendance was crucial to success. I believe the Dean passed the student anyway. I wonder if the student learned anything???

While at NAU, I noticed that MANY students were "encouraged" to take a full-time schedule of classes. For most, this was not a good option, they were working 1-2 jobs, were single parents, or just weren't ready to attack college full-time. At NAU, it seemed like all they were interested in was getting money & processing their students - the quality of education wasn't a concern. As a result, I think a diploma from NAU is a very expensive, useless piece of paper.

It may not be like this at all campuses, but this was my experience. My best piece of advice for you is to go to the places you want to work when you graduate & ask them how much value they give a degree from NAU. because in the end, you need to go to a school that is considered to be good by your future employers. Just ask: are graduates from NAU considered competitive in your company? What schools do you like to hire from?

And remember, you get out of your education what you put in to it. If you don't feel challenged, demand better. Schools are there to provide a service to you.

Good Luck!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Appreciation of Another's Open Mind.

I LOVE Secular Parents post:

Here's why - usually, when people talk about god - they become a little fanatic and crazy - whether they are believers or atheists. Many people seem compelled to force others to agree with them about religion. I guess it's all about conversion. The religious fanatics want to convert others to "save them" and prove their own superiority. Many atheists want to convert others to affirm their own belief systems, and they often do this through ridiculing faith.

Personally, I do not believe in god - at least, I am pretty sure I don't. Not in the way s/he is typically conceptualized. I believe that there are things in the universe of which I cannot conceive & therefore, something like god could exist. I just happen to doubt it. However, I was raised Catholic, and I am from a loving Catholic family: no one judges, everyone is tolerant. I learned life's lessons through parables & other stories. Religion-in-moderation helped shape me for the better, I think.

While I do not plan to raise my children (if I have any) in a religion, I do want to use stories from different world religions to teach morals & give my child(ren) multiple perspectives. I think religion, like everything else, can be good in moderation. I applaud the writer of Secular Parent for her understanding, and for the way she is teaching her girls tolerance of the perspectives & differing beliefs that they will encounter in life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Creative Process?

I have never thought of myself as a creative person - and many of my friends would most likely agree with that ;-) I appreciate Art, Literature, Painting & good Music. I can do interpretations of these things, such as: copying a painting or photo, editing someone's story to improve it, sing a song with pretty darn good pitch - but as for creating, I don't know where to begin. I can't make something out of nothing.

So - this being my long-running mindset, I had a strange experience the other day. My husband is a musician & writes fairly decent songs. Well, he wants me to sing on recordings for some of them. A bit hard, because I learn how to sing by hearing the song sung - it almost has to be recorded already for me to be capable of it. Anyway- he said he wanted me to come up with some harmonies for the song & I just felt paralyzed. I told him that if he came up with them, I could sing them, but that I certainly couldn't come up with anything. Well, after 20 minutes of some friendly bullying, he did get a harmony out of me. But what a draining process. And, I would say he encouraged the notes that came out - I didn't really come up with them on my own. Definitely not 100%.

Later that evening, he played me a new melody for an old song of his & I had a weird sort of intuition that it was just wrong. I hummed how I thought it should go & he agreed and changed it. He basically said, see you can create music. It just takes work.

The thing is - it didn't take any work. It was almost like the tune was out there & I could hear it better than him. At least - if I were some kind of spiritual person, I might believe that... But it didn't feel like it came from me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A New Page

Hi there friends & others. Welcome to my new blog. My old blog, Interrogations, has a link to it on the right sidebar, if you want to relive any of my past writings. For some reason, I was a much better writer then. I suppose I should have stayed in academia forever & never entered the working world...