Simple Sunset Celebration


A few days ago my DH and I celebrated my birthday on a weeknight. We dropped in at Skyloft in Laguna Beach and enjoyed the rooftop view and generous happy hour appetizer portions. Then we got gelato to nibble on as we strolled the boardwalk. A lovely tourist from Spain offered to take our picture and she caught us in a wonderful light. I’m lucky to have enjoyed many wonderful birthday celebrations, but this simple and low-key early evening with my best friend was one of the most special. Sometimes less truly is more.

As the sun set, we drove home and I spent the rest of the night entering progress grades that were due the next morning. *sigh* Life is… ironic. But mostly in a really good way. ­čÖé

“The Last Lecture” — Help People


As part of our unit on The Value of Life, my elective class called Contemporary Studies watched Randy Pausch’s lecture called “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Knowing he was dying of liver cancer, Pausch delivered a funny, moving, and inspirational talk on how to live a good life in which he described some highlights of his journey as a family man, a student and a professor. The best-selling book he published called The Last Lecture expands on the stories and lessons of his 75-minute speech. 

Pausch’s lecture contains so many meaningful lessons, but the one message that most resonated with me on this viewing was HELP PEOPLE. That’s a given in an educator’s job description, but it also describes an attitude for anyone in any profession or any role, including student. We can learn so much from connecting with others without expectation of personal gain. The beautiful irony is that, with that mindset, we often get back more than we give. Pausch calls that a “head fake” or indirect learning, where in the doing of a fun task we learn something difficult. My own beloved father Angelo Ozoa preached that lesson and lived it, as a doctor and community leader whose legacy includes an annual medical mission to needy areas in the Philippines. So go do what Randy and Angelo said — help people!

October is Filipino American History Month


My parents came to the United States as medical interns from the University of the Philippines to the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, a suburb of Chicago. After having four children and establishing themselves at the University of Chicago as a PhD in pathology and a pediatrician La Rabida, a tertiary care facility, they became citizens. We moved to Northern California, and we children all pursued advanced degrees, becoming a lawyer/teacher, nurse/manager, engineer and human resources training consultant. 

Filipino American History Month celebrates the work ethic and strong family values that have produced similar success stories in the Filipino-American community for over 4oo years. I’m very proud that my family, my “calabash” aunties and uncles and cousins, my community (geographic and online)  have contributed so much to the immense mixed salad that is our diverse and democratic country. May it continue to strenghthen and grow!

Home


No Time Like the Present


Photo credit: bina.au

Me, again! Not uncommonly, I go through bouts of writing paralysis and writing … prolificness. I found the past school year incredibly demanding and the summer crazy busy, but have decided that writing is too important to me NOT to take out a few minutes at least five days a week to document my thoughts. 

On family:

  • Appreciate each other daily. The health challenges plagueing our elderly parents have forced me and my DH into thinking about our own planning for the future. Perhaps this is TMI (too morbid info) but our Christmas gift to ourselves last year was a funeral plot and prepaid plan that saves a ton of money on an inevitable expense. More importantly, we are more careful of our own health. My Pokemon GO obsession comes just in time to encourage me to walk around more.

On work:

  • I love my job! I’m so lucky to be an educator. My DH and I have a standing bet that I can’t go more than an hour at a time without mentioning “my kids” or considering how something I just learned can be adapted to my classroom. I spent a ton of time as both a presenter and participant in a number of EdTech workshops this summer from CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps and a GAFE Summit in Riverside to a day-long training with Code.org and planning with my grant partner Freya on how we’ll use our 1:1 Chromebooks in our classes next year.
  • Breakout EDU is a fun, fabulous tool to teach and reinforce key skills in future-ready students. THIS ARTICLE emphasizes that automation cannot replace a human’s ability to, among other skills, solve mysteries.

Knitting content: 

  • Op-Art baby blanket. I’m making great progress for the newest niece, Adeline. Hope she won’t be too old to appreciate it by the time I get it delivered!

Sing Strum Smile

This is my Ibanez bass guitar I got for my birthday a few years ago. She lives in our “home studio” populated by my husband’s and son’s electric and acoustic-electric guitars, mics, mixer, sitar, guzheng, amps, and recording stuff I don’t understand. That’s my concertina behind and to the left, though. We jammed some tonight and my poor, tender fingertips suffered. But I’d forgotten how fun it is to make music together! I need to resume the habit to build up those calluses again. Depending on the research, it takes either 21 or 66 days to form a habit. So I’m looking at summertime. Stay tuned!

When Kitties Attack


Pictured is my normally placid and loving Siberian forest cat, Midnight. His ears are back and eyes almost as dilated as earlier when he attacked me (I’m fine). In all fairness, he warned me vociferously, then nipped at my hand, before feinting toward my face. Apparently he objected to my practicing one of the songs for our school’s upcoming Faculty Follies. I’m not that bad a singer, honestly! But Midnight freaks out every time I sing aloud. 

A cursory Google search reveals others share my “pain.” I found numerous YouTube videos of cats freaking out at singing as well as  queries on pet forums, but no satisfactory explanations. In the meantime, to keep the peace, I guess I’ll restrict my rehearsing to when Midnight is outside or I’m in the shower. Maybe I’ll ask one of my students researching pets for their 20% Time Project to add a tab on feline music preferences.

Warm Fuzzies

tiger-mom

My top Google search is “baby animals” because I choose a new image every day to project as my students walk into my classroom. This was today’s “awww-inspiring” picture. I explained to my classes that I picked it because I had spent the weekend visiting my mom. As she gets older, having survived my dad and most of her friends, I cherish every day I can still talk to her.

I joke about my blatant emotional manipulation, but finding a fresh, happy baby animal to share every day sets MY mood as well as my students’. I certainly prefer it to my former practice of projecting my agenda for each class. It’s also less demanding cognitively than, say, a quote of the day. Several teachers, as part of our WASC data collection, shadowed students one day. How daunting to have to switch rooms and gears within a six-minute passing period from taking a geometry test, to analyzing┬áWuthering Heights, to setting up a science lab, then performing a skit in Spanish, THEN lunch, learning a history lesson, and working out at sports practice. The least I can do is provide a visual warm fuzzy as they transition to English class.