567: Travel Deals

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I have been subscribing to a travel website for years now that I would like to share. It is free to subscribe to travelzoo.com’s weekly e-mail posting of what they consider to be the Top Twenty travel deals that they found by canvassing hundreds and hundreds of travel companies world-wide. The weekly post arrives via e-mail every Wednesday, and highlights twenty or more local and/or international travel deals that are often astonishingly inexpensive.

To be fair, often they are at times during the year when I cannot travel, being a schoolteacher – travel companies tempt travelers to travel at non-peak times with extra good discounts, and usually, those are times when I am tied to my job and can’t go. However, if it is a time when I can go, the deals are spectacular!

I have booked and traveled with Travelzoo’s recommended deals several times over the last few years and I have been thoroughly pleased with each trip.Often the trip packages offered through the site’s recommended agencies include airfare, accommodation, taxes, fees and excursions, and some are all-inclusive resorts that include entertainment, sports and all you can eat and drink into the bargain.

To sign up for the free weekly e-mail and see the great travel deals yourself, go to http://www.travelzoo.com and register for free. They have departments of the company located in various parts of the world, so there are e-mail deal packages especially for people who live in Europe, or in the USA/Canada, or inĀ Asia, for example. They also offer local deals for you based on your identified zip code, which means for me that I see extra travel and entertainment deals in the southeastern USA, and in Atlanta, Georgia, especially.

Have fun planning your next exotic (and cost-conscious) destination!

566: Choosing

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There are some who think that having a good life is a matter of simply choosing to have a good life: looking on the positive and choosing to be cheerful. Well…..sort of.

There is a very great deal that I can do to improve things by simply refusing to get mired down or sidetracked by the circumstances of life. I can plan, and live courageously, without succumbing to my fears. I can decide each and every day to try again, and to make it my personal best – yeah, I know all that. Get up once again, and move forward.

Sometimes, though, thinking positive thoughts isn’t all that is required. Sometimes there are physical problems which need to be dealt with, usually with diet, exercise and lifestyle choices I need to amend for the better. YUCK. WORK. Yup.

Sometimes I need to seek out and/or accept a helping hand from a family member, a friend, or a professional counselor/doctor. The point is that I am working on making it better, and that I don’t give up working on it until it IS better – whatever that takes. My ultimate solution may not be your solution. That’s why the world is such a big place. My solution does not have to be your solution. Why do you think they make so many different forms of transportation? What works for me, works for me.

My daily choice is to try again, and to keep trying until I find that blend of practicality, extension and reservation of myself that works for me. Not to give up, and settle for situations and people that do not work for me. Sometimes that is endurance, and sorts out with time, and sometimes I need to choose alternatives. And, sometimes it is serendipity – which is a big word for God’s finger stirring the pot of soup that is my life until the good bits float to the surface.

 

565: Mea culpa maxima

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It’s all my fault.

You would not have it any other way – you cannot possibly bear any responsibility, now, would you?

Things, and people, which cannot be borne are best forgiven, and then assiduously avoided, because pain is…..painful. It is possible to think of you, now, without anger. But not without pain. Yet. When I have achieved that goal, it will be possible to remember you without sadness.

I invested in you. The money is irrelevant – it is only money, no matter how much money it was. I invested myself into you. It is now time to invest in myself, even though I don’t do that very well yet. I have spent so many years investing in others instead of me, that it is difficult to even believe I am worthy of investment.

Working on it.

On all of it.

564:Tomorrow is another day, Miz Scarlett

Determination

Determination

See, I understand that not every day is a winner.

Today is not my best day, but it also isn’t my worst day.

So, that means it isn’t so bad, this today.

Still, it would be fabulous to have a winning day, where things go well and no huge issues raise their ugly heads, demanding attention and energy.

Just one.

Tomorrow……..is another opportunity.

Another chance to get it right.

Tomorrow.

563: Uh, oh……

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Our little high school is purging old texts from its collection, and teachers were invited to come and select those books they wanted to keep in their classrooms, as well as just to take some for pleasure reading – yes, I do read for pleasure, and no, it isn’t porn, unless you count cheesy romances.

Raccoon

As I was sorting through the 400 or so volumes, I came upon a copy of Rascal, by Sterling North. It is a novel. About a boy and his pet raccoon. For tweens and high school youth. In the discard pile. I was flabbergasted. This novel was so popular they made a movie out of it. Why would such a book be in the throwaway pile, especially as it was certainly not yet worn out?? Flummoxed, I open the book at random and started reading a page – and then I completely understood.

With a few rare exceptions, our current high school students cannot comfortably read this book anymore. Its language, diction and reading level are above their capacity. As I put Rascal into my keep pile and sorted through more books, I found my suspicion confirmed by book after book that I opened to peruse, chock full of language our students cannot read and comprehend.

As we strive to keep every student in school, to educate every child, what we have done is created a couple of generations of functional illiterates. Yes, fewer of our modern day students are dropping out, and more are earning high school diplomas….but what does that diploma signify these days? We are slowing down instruction, shallowing content, and accommodating students of lower achievement at the expense of the brightest students, who get to sit in class just as long as the slowest learner in their class, because there are few options to accelerate learning if you are capable of acceleration. Lessons are tailored for the midrange – those who test in the ‘acceptable’ range, so the school does not lose face or funds.

One of my high school students (and I do not teach English, although I am certified to teach it) has a bright mind, who writes as though he is a Special Education middle schooler. His spelling is hit or miss (mostly miss) and his grammar and mechanics are atrocious. I referred him for additional help (since English is not one of the curriculum standards for my current courses) because he is bright enough to go to college, and he takes AP level courses. No dice – he tests well enough on the multiple choice, school and state mandated exams that no one will give him help during the school day to address his weaknesses in mastering his own language. He does not qualify for help. The best I can do is offer to tutor him after school, for free, if he wants to. Yeah, right.

He will get into college, because the SAT is a multiple choice test. But I fear he will not be able to stay there, because college is writing papers. *sigh*

The more days that pass, the more I appreciate the fact that I am close to retirement age.

 

562: International teaching jobs, and good advice

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I taught internationally for five years before I returned to the USA to get married. So far, HE’S been worth it, but teaching abroad was certainly more rewarding than what I am doing now, PLUS the travel opportunities. But, where do you get a teaching job overseas?

I joined two subscription sites, and several free sites, that list available teaching positions for teachers with a passport and a love of teaching. The one that trumped all the others was this one: www.joyjobs.com

This site lists jobs the other sites have never heard of, AND they have a training program online where they teach you what to do in order to get hired. AND they help you set up and host for you a professional website so you can say to schools – here is my professional website for more information – and THAT is a big help. The people who run the site are quite knowledgeable, and will assist you if you ask. Igor helped me tweak my cover letter with excellent results.

A year’s subscription is less than 40 bucks -and was worth every penny.

561: It’s only a book

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It’s only a book that tempts me

to ignore the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the basket, the litterbox,

the papers waiting to be graded.

It’s only a book that tempts me

to stay up and read the last half (when it’s already midnight)

and I have to go to work tomorrow.

It’s only a book, and when I read it, I hear nothing, am aware of nothing else in the universe, including

alarm clocks, phone calls, microwave timer buzzers, the purring cat in my lap who

prickles my leg as she makes bread against my thigh.

It’s only a book that calls me

into another’s life, another world, another reality, another experience of someone else’s imagination.

It’s only a book. I’m hooked.