Friday, December 31, 2010

Post the Last!!

This has been an excellent blogging challenge for sure.

For my last post, I really really wanted to experiment with Google Voice. Did you know that you can get a Google phone number that will ring to your home number, as well as your celly?

Also, on Google Voice you can record your calls, among other things. I thought it would be awesome if Lee called in and we podcasted together across the miles. However, things are busy and we couldn't make that work. As a back-up, I asked Rachel to call me at some point, any point, during the day. But, that didn't work out for some reason. Probably related to Mario and his video games.

So then, as a last ditch effort, I made Dan go in another room and call my Google Voice number. He did, thank the lord. And here's the call I recorded. The possibilities for this thing are endless, I feel. In addition to embedding it like this, you can also download an MP3 file and edit it in a podcasting software like Garage Band. You can also do conference calls and send text messages to your email. And it's free! I'll be using this in 2011 for sure.

Happy New Year, Everyone! This next year will be a fun adventure.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year In Review - The Penultimate New Media Post

Lee had an awesome video on her blog that was a year of blogging in review. I instantly loved it and decided to make one myself. Since my blog is more text and not as many (zero) amazing photos, my vid is not quite as fascinating. Oh well.

This was my first time doing a voiceover on iMovie, and I was surprised about how hard it was. It was my first time also using an iMovie theme. I'm indifferent about the theme, actually.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Taking Things Up a Notch

Dan pointed out last night that I hadn't really tried hard enough to become a style blogger for Ann Taylor LOFT.

"You haven't even emailed the company," he pointed out.

That's so true.

So, this morning I wrote an email and sent it to Public Relations/Media Inquiries people at LOFT. After I drafted and edited the whole thing, I realized I'd have to cut it to 1000 characters.

This is probably good because, as any fashion blogger will tell you, less is more. Unless less means no boots, scarves, necklaces, skirts or dresses. Or make up. Or actual sense of style. Anyway.

Here's what I sent:

I’m a 32 year-old working mother of two. My day job is teaching English at a suburban high school. I love coffee, minivans, Guitar Hero, and LOFT. I always imagined that I’d magically become more fashionable and put-together as I got older. However, for those of us who are more challenged by style, it takes a conscious effort. For me, that effort has been absolutely inspired by LOFT.

I’m interested in writing some LOFT-sponsored posts, wherein I’d wear LOFT pieces and write about them.

My blog, Word Savvy (, has consistently growing traffic. I participate in cooperative blogging challenges that increase traffic and interactivity. My writing is funny, open, self-aware, and sometimes flip.

Here are some representative posts I’ve written about style challenges:

From before my LOFT days:,

And here are some posts that include the word “fashion”:

Let me know what you think! Thanks!

So far, I've just gotten a response from a robot saying that they'd research my inquiry and get back to me within 3 to 5 business days. I think we can agree that this is truly an interesting experiment in new media communication.

You'll notice I didn't reveal to LOFT that Dan is actually a funnier writer than I am. But then again, he won't be modeling spring pieces on Pronto Pup.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Here's Pummel Part 2

I deleted a bunch of my photos, so I wouldn't deprive anyone of the rest of the sporting themed pictures. This now counts as a post, and I think that means I'm three away from finishing this great challenge!

June 5! Marathon! Minneapolis! Mary!

A Big Announcement

I've decided something: I'm pretty sure I am ready to commit to running a marathon in 2011. So this is my announcement: my sister Mary and I will be running Minneapolis Marathon on June 5, 2011.

In honor of this announcement, I've created a Pummelvision with a sports theme. I chose pix related to sporting events from my iPhoto library. (YES, labor and delivery counts as a serious sporting event, but don't worry - I didn't allow action shots). I chose 381 photos, but with my free Flickr account, I was only allowed 200. Oh well.

Mary wants to run a sub-4 marathon. This will be a tall order. My first marathon in 2001 was a 4:03, and since then I've run as fast as 3:40 and as slow(er) as 4:57. I'm proud of them all.

BUT, because Mary wants to go sub-4, I'm pledging to train a bit harder. 3-4 times per week instead of 2-3. We'll see if this makes a difference.

The Biggest Present of All Time

Shef really, really wanted a hand-held gaming thing for Christmas. We have so much media in this house that we weren't going to get it.

But, then we did.

I'm glad about it, to tell you the truth.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Status Update

So far, it's my calmest happiest adult Christmas ever.

I'm very cheerful, and I'm currently in between parties. I'm organizing a bit right now and sipping a Diet Coke.

I hope all of my internet friends are also having a wonderful holiday, if they celebrate.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Sadly, This Video Reminds Me of Some People

I saw this video embedded on Scott McLeod's blog, and I really liked it. Probably because I've heard a lot of these comments in the last year in response to some really good ideas: ideas about making our school about equitable opportunities for black and brown kids, ideas about technology integration, and ideas about the nature of school itself.

My Anti-Creativity Checklist from Youngme Moon on Vimeo.

Let's keep fighting the good fight, peeps! I think it might be worth it. Someday. Perhaps. Maybe in an alternate universe.

Well, really what's the alternative? Great education for the rich white kids and that's it?

Merry Christmas Eve!

Not only is it Christmas Eve, but it's also my mom's birthday! Usually, this has been kind of an issue for my mom (and everyone else I know who has a Christmas birthday) because their birthdays get swallowed up by the big HUGE holiday.

This year, my mom is really happy because she has a great new boyfriend, Chuck! She hasn't been stressed about her birthday at all. That makes me very happy for her! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Is Tumblr Awesome?

I've gotten kind of fixated on Tumblr. Is it cool? If so, why is it cool? Would I like Tumblr better than Blogger?

I can't explain why I've become so obsessed with this issue. Or, why in other times and places I've become obsessed with cloth diaper sites, types and specs of bicycles, pro triathlete blogs, Tim Gunn, or Ann Taylor LOFT. Except in the case of the latter topic, of course I'm obsessed with LOFT because it's the awesomest retail store I've ever known.

Anyway, I decided to experiment with Tumblr. After I made one really fast (click HERE to see my one post and my About page!) I realized some cool things are you can upload things really fast and easily. Things like MP3 files, which Blogger does not support.

Who knows if this will go anywhere, but maybe now I can stop thinking about Tumblr for a few hours at a time.

Vacation Status Report

Basically I've been acting like Mother of the Year. Trips to the ski hill and the indoor play area, building a ginger bread house with all types of candy known to humankind, staying up late to watch movies and cuddle on the couch.

Someday soon, I'm going to have to start working a little bit. But probably not today, and probably not tomorrow or Saturday or Sunday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It Turns Out LOFT Has a Great Blogger Already

So, I did a little research, and I found a style blogger who is already sponsored by LOFT.

Here's Jessica. Today she posted a picture of all of her outfits from June 2010:

I'm really impressed by this, obviously. I don't think I really even got dressed in June. I mean after school got out.

After I learned about style blogging, I spent a few hours looking at Jessica's site, What I Wore. I think it's really inspirational! I even feel like I could pull off some of Jessica's outfits. And I learned about some other stores that sponsor Jessica. She's really awesome, I think.

So, I added Jessica's blog, What I Wore, to my reader.

Obviously, I would be more of a "make over" project for LOFT. Mid-thirties mom of two, double c-section, full-time teacher who fantasizes about Botox and minivans.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Club Can't Even Handle Me Right Now

Mary and I went to Zumba this morning. Our teacher was Leslie. We picked her class because she had an awesome video on YouTube featuring her and her crew dancing on the Stone Arch Bridge here in Minneapolis. You can see the original video here.

For this challenge post, I first danced along with the YouTube vid in front of my webcam. Then, I uploaded and downloaded the original video using Zamzar. You're probably not going to believe this, but I did the absolute best I could during the dancing. Then, in a probably spectacularly stupid move, I edited my own dancing into Leslie's original video.

OMG. Challenge participants, this is called: LAYING THE SMACK DOWN.

p.s. in this video, I'm wearing a LOFT sweater and LOFT jeans. Nice!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hey, Ann Taylor LOFT! I Will Blog For Clothes!

I was thinking it would be great to get sponsored by Ann Taylor LOFT. My plan is that LOFT can give me several new outfits every season. Then, I'll wear them and post photos on my blog.

Right now, I'm using new media to get sponsored by the LOFT.

I would be an excellent blogger for Ann Taylor LOFT for many reasons:

First, I already wear lots of stuff from LOFT. I like the clothes, they fit me well, and they're perfect for my teaching job. When I wear LOFT, I feel put-together and professional. Thanks to LOFT, I've been able to limit jeans-wearing to Fridays.

Second, it says on their website that LOFT loves teachers. As we know, I AM a teacher!

Third, I'm open about my need for fashion help. Style does not come naturally to me, so I make goals and publicize them. My next goal is accessories and skirts, dresses, and boots. I don't have a skinny jeans goal, but if LOFT wanted me to demo a pair, I'd do it. All in the name of fashion adventure by LOFT.

For the next few days, I'm launching a campaign to become a LOFT spokesblogger. You can see my LOFT items of the day in the sidebar. Probably LOFT people could think of ways to make me look cuter. I'm open to all of their suggestions.

Will this work? Dan says probably not. He says my goal should just be to get an email back from LOFT people. That's a good goal, but I'm aiming higher. Obvi.

Winter Break Begins

This is the first day of Winter Vacation. I'm celebrating by posting this podcast, which features my all-time favorite Christmas song.

I tried to upload the podcast to YouTube, but it wouldn't work for some reason. So I published it here.

I hope you enjoy the podcast!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have an idea for a podcast that I'll record later, I hope, depending on when Mac falls asleep, but right this moment I'm announcing something amazing:

I have returned my archive to this URL!

As you may recall, last spring students started reading my blog en masse. I had to move the archive, lock it down, and delete every F-word I'd ever written, except the ones in quotes. (Of course those are mostly from Shef.)

This painstaking editing process was an excellent lesson in the pitfalls of new media self-publishing.


So finally, after months and months and editing the over 700 posts I'd written since 2005, the blog is all back together!

And thank God! Because, how else would we be able to re-read all the week-of December 16th posts I've ever written? Like this one from 2009, wherein I detail the results of my evaluation surveys. Or this one from 2008 when Mac was 6 months old. In 2007, I had only gained 9 of the 60 pounds I would eventually put on in pregnancy with Mac. I was desperate for winter break in 2006. In 2005, I documented a conversation between Shef and me that has become a FAMILY STORY, one that's sure to survive until the kid is an adult. He was 1.75 years old.

I'm so happy the blog is back together again. It was like a piece of my heritage had been taken from me when it was gone.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Just a Blog Post

Shef came running into our bedroom the other day, shaking Dan awake.

"I have a loose tooth!" he whispered urgently.

He's six-and-three-quarters, and he's been waiting intently for this moment.

Seconds later, he burst through the bathroom door to give me the news. I took a break from brushing my teeth to hug him in celebration.

Later at breakfast, I asked him to show me the wiggle. "Here," I said, reaching my index finger toward his lips. "Let me feel."

"MOM," he scolded, stepping back. "I don't want you sticking your finger in my mouth."

I guess that's fair. He blogged about The Wiggle here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

John Proctor Jam!

I haven't left the house in 29 hours, but the streets are now kind of plowed, I think.

Have I been productive during this time? Not really. We did make a music video to a song from High School Musical that you can see on Shef's blog.

I also made pound cake from a mix and ate a bag of microwave popcorn that made our kitchen smell disgusting.

Finally, I remembered this cool video that some of my juniors made that you should probably see. They wrote and played the song and then Windows Movie Makered it up.

Click HERE to view.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Party Like It's 1991

When I was a ninth grader, we had a crazy huge snow storm that stranded me at my friend Buffy's house for two days. It started on Halloween night, and the snow just kept on coming, all the way up to 28 inches. The stir-craziness at Buffy's peaked when her dad took her grandmother's tiny dog (Grandma was also snowed in with the family), and chucked it straight out the back door. The little white dog plummeted out of sight and barked from beneath the snow blanket until older-brother Charlie rescued it, which he did pretty hastily, as I recall.

The newspeople say we might top out at 20 inches of snow today, which is the next biggest snowfall after that 1991 extravaganza.

The combination of the snow and the Sadie's chaperoning last night (40 forgotten IDs, 3 too-small shirts, 2 missing straps, and a breathalizer blown for the po-lice!) made me extremely sleepy, so I napped with Mac for 2 hours. Dan took a picture of us when we woke up. It's just kind of a snoozy day around here.

Gotta Be From Outta Town

Mary had one of these great Flicks on her blog, so I made one too.

I'm not a good photographer, but it was fun to take pix of the kids. Even the seniors seemed to feel like the photo session was novel.

Obviously, my classroom needs a makeover. I already blogged about that, tho. Remember, I made a glog?!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

With a Cheez-It on His Tongue

We're going for cuteness today. Cuteness and hat hair and the first time he's been cognizant of the webcam.

Oh, Mac. How can you be so adorable??

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

I used to be the biggest Bah Humbug known to humankind. However, in recent years, I've really stepped up my Christmas Cheer.

This year, I documented our tree decoration in a stop-motion video, so you can see my cheer for yourselves.

After I posted the video, I realized I should have added cheery Christmas music. Oh well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saying A-Oh

My mom took this picture of the boys and then sent it to my email from her phone:

They're sitting at her kitchen table because I bet you didn't know this: Just about 90% of the Friday nights of this school year, my mom has invited the kids to sleep over at her house and then has kept them until lunch time on Saturday.

Can you even believe that?

It's true! And she hardly even complains at all about how they sleep perpendicularly in her bed that she also sleeps in.

When I tell my colleagues who also have young children about the sleepovers, they often look at me with jealousy and hate in their eyes.

But I can't really help it that my mom rocks. Whose fault is that? It's just not really my fault.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Media Day

I teach with new media every day, since I teach all blended classes and a class called Mass Media.

Today, we worked with Google forms to evaluate multimedia projects the kids made. Some of the kids had problems publishing their pieces, so here are some things I did:

- learned how to insert a page jump on blogger

- uploaded an iMovie to YouTube and embedded it on the Am Lit class blog

- embedded three VuVox collages on the Mass Media blog

- created a mixdown of an Aviary podcast and embedded it on the blog

- uploaded an MP3 file to my edublog as a podcast entry, and linked it to the class blog

And then for other purposes, I did a few more things:

- encouraged kids to use their smart phones to complete a recording assignment

- edited a Prezi to use in a grant presentation I'm helping with tomorrow. It's not my grant, but I still hope the guy who proposed it gets it.

- used Jing to grab screenshots of kids reflections on my class.

- recorded and uploaded quick YouTube webcam vids into that Prezi.

And a few other things. Basically, new media is my entire life these days. It's a good life, but seriously. It's a lot of media.