Thursday, February 25, 2010

33. Learn all of the countries in the world and the general area of where they are located

This goal is finally done.  I think my students had more fun doing it than I did.

When preparing to complete this goal I didn't know how to decide when it was complete.  It is unrealistic to say that I had them all memorized so I decided to put together a bag with scraps of paper listing all of the countries in the world.  From there I just spent a few minutes a day pulling out scraps from the bag and locating where they were at on my map in my classroom.  I kept a list of all of the countries that I struggled with and made a point to spend extra time those ones each day.  I got much better as I went along and finally decided to include my students into my quest for success in this goal.  I told my kids that they could each grab a piece of paper out of the bag to quiz me.  They could only ask me where the country was if they knew where it was.  I gave myself three seconds to be able to locate the country.  My kids had a lot of fun trying to find countries that they had never heard of to try to stump me.  They really gave me a run for my money and while doing so made both of us learn more about our world. I think my favorite country that was drawn was Djibouti.  Not because I like the sound of it, but because I like the sound of 9 and 10 year olds giggling at the sound of it.  I always felt bad if one of the shy girls drew it out of the bag, but when one of the boisterous boys got it they were more than proud to shout it out!

Here's the bag with all of the scraps that I used. 

In the past couple weeks I have wondered what it would take to consider the goal done. I asked them what they thought it would take.  They came up with a good idea that each student could take two countries out of the bag and quiz me on them.  If I got all of them right from the whole class, I could be done.

I now know where Comoros, Cape Verde, Maldives, Brunei, Burundi, Namibia, and Andorra are! And all of the others. Useless information?  I don't know, but at least when I watch the Olympic opening ceremonies again I will know where the countries are all located!

Monday, February 22, 2010

27. TIME Opinion Leaders Panel

This post is as dorky as the goal is.  As many of you know I have been reading TIME magazine for a few years now and one of my goals is to submit a letter to the editor that gets published.  Every Friday I go into the office at my school and pick up my magazine (I get it delivered free to my school) and read as much of it as I can right away.  I try to get a letter written to the editor as quick as I can hoping that earlier submissions have a better chance at getting looked at. This is definitely a lofty goal, I know that. I feel like it is one that if/when I do get published, I will have an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Up to this point I haven't even heard from TIME regarding any submissions...until today.  I got an email asking me to join the Opinion Leader's Panel.  I am sure it is a mass email out to anyone that has submitted a letter to TIME over the past few months, but it is still my first validation that I have done something that they have recognized as being important.

Here is the letter that I recieved:

"Dear Eric,
You are invited to join the TIME Opinion Leaders panel.  This is an exclusive community of TIME Magazine readers who, like yourself, are interested in communicating with the editors to discuss what you like about the magazine, and what you feel may need improvement.  By joining this panel, your opinions will be used to make our magazine better."

Yep, the wording definitely has that mass email feel, but still, for all the hours I have read the magazine and written about it's contents it feels good to hear back from them.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

99. Get a new address book and update it

This is one of those goals that really didn't need to have a post to show that it was completed.  There's nothing more boring that blogging about getting a new address book, but I hadn't blogged in a week so here you go.

Address books are a thing of the past.  It used to be cheaper to send a letter to someone across the country than it was to give them a call.  Now it seems that long distance calls only relate to calls that are out of the country.  Phone calls are cheap, or even free depending on the phone plan. Email is the easiest and most efficient mode of written communication.  It just seems that knowing someone's address only really matters when you need to actually go to their house...or send them a Christmas card.  That was the basis for me putting this goal on the list.  It always seemed that we were tracking down addresses every year that we didn't have.  Our address book, which Melissa had from before we got married had updated updates in it with scribbles all over. It seemed to me that we were in need of an updated book.  Last week Melissa and I headed over to Borders and picked out this book:

I have to say, this goal really had little to do with me except for me having the idea.  Melissa did all the work.  She picked it out, and she asked me nicely if she could be the one to write all of the addresses into the new book.  She didn't say it explicitly, but I think it had something to do with my handwriting being a little sloppy for her standards.  I didn't take the time to point out to her that I had already accomplished a handwriting goal. It was easier to just say ok and let her do all the work. Honestly, she does have much better handwriting.

It is nice to say we are new proud owners of an up to date address book!  Exciting? No, but it will make the next time we need to send a package of cash to a frie much more efficient.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

Today has been filled with delicious meals.  This morning Melissa decided to do eggs in a hole with a heart as the hole.  The girls loved them!

Melissa was smart enough to save the holes and made heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

For dinner was our traditional Valentines dinner that Melissa and I started eight years ago (last year I said 6, but I noticed that I miscalculated).  Back when we were dating and I lived in Volkman Hall at Judson I made Melissa dinner.  I stopped by Dominick's and picked up food to cooked my very first steak dinner.  Along with the steak I bought a can of corn, a box of instant potatoes, a package of Hawaiian rolls and a brownie to share.  This is the dinner that I have prepared eight years in a row.  I went back to boxed potatoes this year because it is tradition.  In our minds real potatoes are so much better than ones that come from a box.  Here's a before picture of the meal followed by an after shot with a view of what I see many evenings at the dinner table.
This dinner could definitely be spiced up a lot, but the tradition of seasoning steak with only salt and pepper, boxed mashed potatoes, can from the corn and always the same rolls is what we do each year and hopefully what we will do for years to come.

I gave blood yesterday and also cooked burgers for dinner last night.  I'm counting down dinners needed to cook!

Monday, February 8, 2010

1st and 2nd Samuel and Psalm = Interesting Perspective.

I'm reading 1 and 2 Samuel right now and Psalm at the same time. When David entered the picture in 1 Samuel, I decided to start reading Psalm along side.  I am really glad I did!  When reading at the same time, it feels like Psalm is the behind the scenes journal that David writes as he goes along on his quest toward becoming king.  I'm only 21 chapters into Psalm, but it really helps to enhance chapters of Psalm that otherwise wouldn't have been understood the same.
This was an observation that I made that seemed very fitting to share with everyone else.  If you're looking for somewhere to read in the Bible and haven't done so already, give it a try.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

57. Go to an Aurora Christian basketball game

Boy have things changed at Aurora Christian since I went there. I have been back to a few football games, but have only been in the building a couple of times.  It was my second time in the gym.  My first time was to just peek.  I have to say, this game was no where near what games were like back when I went there.  The atmosphere was much more laid back than it was 10-15 years ago.  It was Senior night.  The coach played Seniors the whole game. What a great chance for those Seniors that had played very little all year to have a chance to have one last chance on the court. It was definitely a sloppy game, but it was great to be there.
I got to see a few of my past teachers including my fifth grade teacher Mr. Etchison who is now the principal of the elementary school.  It was nice talking with him to let him know the influence he had on me.  He was a great teacher.  I remember a lot from his class.
1 of 7 done for the month!

Monday, February 1, 2010

7 Goals this Month

Too keep the momentum going that I had last month, I am going to keep up with setting monthly goals that I think I can accomplish.  I was able to get 11 done last month successfully and think that this month I can get 7 done.  In keeping with what I did last month, I am not going to reveal the goals that I want to do.  This is for two reasons: 1) it keeps it a surprise what goals I will have done, and 2)just in case I can't get one of them done and have to do a different one.  Last month I was only able to get 9 of the 11 original ones I wanted to.  I inserted the knot goal and juggling goal when I realized that I wouldn't be able to complete my original ones that I had intended to do.  Hopefully 7 will be the minimum for the month. I'm loving checking these goals off as I go along!  I'm actually feeling like I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.