When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Squirrel of the Month for November 28, 2012

I know I have been remiss in my squirrel postings. It is not from lack of material, but rather an increasingly filling schedule. So, my apologies for this late entry. I give you the November Squirrel of the Month: Sandy Cheeks.

Picture from the Spongebob Wiki page: http://spongebob.wikia.com/wiki/Sandy_Cheeks
One of the things I first liked about Sandy was the fact that she was from Texas. I was born and raised in Texas and I sometimes get tired of seeing characters from the more popular states (New York and California are over-represented; there are 50 states, not 2, and many other countries to boot). Sometimes Sandy's Texan, however, is a little too over-the-top. This is actually by design, as her character is meant to represent one of the 7 cardinal (or "deadly") sins: Pride. Sandy is definitely overflowing with pride. She shows kids that it's okay to be proud of your accomplishments and abilities, but she also illustrates the dangers of extreme hubris. When her ego gets too big for her helmet she finds herself in trouble that only the sometimes-humble (humility being the saintly virtue that counters pride) Spongebob can help her out of. Then Sandy shows that she can swallow her pride and graciously accept help when she needs it.

Speaking of smart, Sandy is one of the few characters on Spongebob Squarepants who seems to have a fully-functional brain. As a scientist, inventor, and explorer, she shows kids that anyone can accomplish great feats, regardless of their gender. Of course, sometimes her "genius" leads to a cold calculating response when warmth and caring are needed, but this is thankfully not always the case. She also breaks another female stereotype: weakness. Sandy's karate, coupled with her feats of strength, make her a formidable foe and a great ally to have fighting in your corner. She balances brains with brawn when solving problems, showing that there is never just one way to accomplish goals.

Sandy Cheeks is a strong, intelligent, talented, air-breathing female in a male-dominated water world. She is adaptable and loyal to her friends. Even when she lets her ego get in the way, she still tries to help out with the best of intentions. So, thank you, Sandy Cheeks, for teaching us the ups and downs and having self-confidence (sometimes too much) and for teaching us that we can adapt to just about anything if we put our minds to it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When Tech Takes a Vacation

I tend to take my technology for granted. At first I resist new tech because I become comfortable with my way of doing things.  The thing is, once I do finally embrace the technology, I become completely reliant upon it to fulfill that function it took over from my arcane methodology. It took me a long time to adapt to a smart phone, now I feel naked, lost and alone if I leave home without it or if the battery dies on me (I carry around a spare battery just in case now). I guess you can say that I have a slow-to-warm up temperament (see my post in my Psych Vocab blog on personality). I don't run away from change, but I tend to be cautious about it and once I embrace it and become comfortable with it, I don't want to change again too soon. So, what happens when the technology I depend on becomes unreliable?

At first, a part of my mind shifts into a post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world type of mentality. "Oh no! How will I check my email?" or, as in the case today, "What will I do with my students if I can't get these copies made?" As I have been striving during my entire young adulthood (all 12 years of it so far) to become more optimistic and calmer, this "nightmarish" thinking does not last too long any more. Instead, I take a breath after my mini panic and think of alternatives. So, the copy machine is "on vacation" and I can't make copies. I guess that means that this assignment will have to wait until tomorrow or I can email the information to my students and have each of them print it out for themselves. When the SMART equipment in my classroom decided to go wonky--could not get the projector to cooperate, thus using PowerPoint for the lecture was a no-go--I eventually turned the class period into a project work day for my students. This was after vainly trying to show them a DVD; the player and the class set-up were not cooperating.

What do I do when my phone dies? I now have a boredom bag to keep me occupied. My boredom bag holds a number of travel craft projects that I can pull out to work on when I am bored (I'm not the kind of person to randomly strike up conversations with people if I have nothing else to do). After all, the main thing I do with my phone is read tweets and check email, sometimes check in to Facebook, when I am waiting for something else to happen. I try not to let technology rule my life. When the tech "goes on vacation" I get a chance to step back and realize how much I've let it encroach upon my time. I can then take the opportunity to make some adjustments and find alternative ways to accomplish my goals and/or to prioritize my goals to reduce or prevent stress.

Yes, technology is fantastic. However, like all things, it is best in moderation and it always helps to have a plan B (or C or D or E, etc.) in your back pocket just in case.