Eleven Things

Earlier this week, I shared Krissy Venosdale’s blog post “Eleven” in the Google+ Community #INeLearn Bloggers.  While I was too busy at the moment to consider the invitation, I thought it might be the encouragement someone, who has been looking for a low-key means for re-engaging with their blog, needed. While there are a handful of diligent members in the group who regularly share their posts, more of us have shared that our main goal for joining the community was to improve our consistency in posting.

For educators who get so much from bloggers such as Krissy, there is a tinge of guilt when we neglect our blogs. It’s as if we came to the potluck (or pitch-in for my Hoosier friends) without a dish. Sure, there’s plenty to go around and no-one is judging you, but you know that with a little planning and effort you could have brought something to add to the samplings.

I don’t have the same level of demands eating up my time now that I’m out of the classroom, but it seems I’m too easily distracted to see a post through from inspiration to publishing. So when a thunderstorm’s raging woke me earlier than usual this morning, I thought I should give this a try.

Here are my responses to the Eleven questions:

1. What inspires you most of all?  Quiet. I make connections and get my ah-ha moments in the quiet between all the doing and demands.

2. What is the best food you’ve ever tried while traveling? There are too many “bests” to select from so I’m going to swap adjectives and go with “unusual.” I actually used this fact with my students for years when we played Two Truths and a Lie.  I have eaten fish-eye soup while visiting Mount Fuji. More specifically, the nine-year old me was eating a magnificent fish and vegetable soup until I realized that the white bouncy things were in fact eyeballs. At that point, I quickly put my spoon down, placed the lid back on my bowl, and tried smiling politely hoping not to look rattled, which would have insulted our hosts and mortified my mom.

3. What is your favorite holiday? Why? Fourth of July is my favorite holiday because it unofficially launches my birthday month. As a kid, it was one holiday my dad almost always had off, so it meant family time. In good years, it means homemade ice-cream.  And in the best years, it means time on the beach. Being born and wed military and a first-generation American-born citizen on my maternal side makes the celebration of our county’s independence and spirit all the more meaningful.

4. What is one school supply that you could not teach without?  Laughter. Okay, I know that’s not what you were looking for, but I’ve thought long and hard about this. I loved my colored pens and giant post-its but we could always improvise when materials were short. Without laughter, we would have been lost.

5. What’s your typical morning beverage? For the last twelve years it’s been chai tea, a heaping teaspoon of sugar with a dash of fat free half and half in an oversized cup. I did go through a phase where I used soy, but then I looked at the calorie count!  When I travel, I bring my tea envelope so that I don’t have to be overly grumpy that conferences tend to cater to coffee drinkers.

6. When you fly, window seat or aisle? Both actually! On flights when I have to make a connection, I prefer to take an aisle seat so I can just get up and go. Otherwise, I enjoy a window seat. It must be noted that I dread 3+ seat rows where I’m stuck in the middle with no way to cross my legs without entering someone else’s space.

7. Describe the best teacher you had when you were in school. This is another question that I have to tweak a bit. My response is about the best teacher I never had. Kathy Palermo taught (and STILL teaches) some English classes at Lemoore High School, but was best known as the Drama and Speech teacher. I wouldn’t be caught dead in her classes, but for some reason, she saw something in me and encouraged me to direct my junior and senior class plays. Her ability to see qualities in me, that I did not know were waiting to be exposed, changed the course of my life in a small, but powerful way.

8. Do you enjoy cooking? Anything specific? I enjoy my husband’s cooking! Once in a great while I enjoy surprising him with an Italian dish, chili, or a soup, but he is an amazing cook and the whole family agrees that the kitchen is really Dad’s territory.

9. What book are you currently reading? I’m currently reading Invent to Learn as it will be the next book club read for the IDOE eLearning Book Club. Since 2009, my first year as an eLearning coach, I have been inspired by Sylvia Martinez’s work with student technology teams.  Even though I am no longer in a building working with students, I continue to find ways to bring this passion into my work. I’m interested in the Makers Movement potential to shift our perception of what it means to learn something. I also love that it embraces the concept of “hard fun” from my grad work at Pepperdine, a program that both authors have connections to.

10. What’s your all time favorite movie? I have favorite movies for different moods.  There is one movie that I grew up anticipating annually, even when we lived overseas (thanks Armed Forces Network). It was one of the first VHS tapes my husband I bought together and it spurred a whole collection of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. I have loved sharing the music with my daughters and hope that one day the next generation will sing “My Favorite Things.” It is of course, The Sound of Music and no, I didn’t watch the recent live production on television.

11. If at the end of your life, there is just room for one word on your grave marker, what do you think it will be? I’ve given some thought to what my legacy should be, but there won’t be a marker for loved ones to visit. Having been a transient military brat and then spouse, I have found many “homes” around the world. I don’t expect my children to be rooted, and I don’t wish for them to be obligated to visit one place in particular to feel near me, so my plans don’t involve a grave site. Instead, I hope that when they visit the Pacific Ocean that they experience the awe and resiliency that I do when I return to the place that resonates so strongly with my soul. I imagine them standing out on the edge of a cliff, feeling the spray on their faces and recalling a mother who more than anything was committed. Committed to them, to their father, to those she served and the causes that inspired her.

That’s me in eleven responses. I’m going to forgo sharing eleven random facts. I think you’ve had your fill of Michelle trivia, but I’d love it if you’d consider indulging in this thread. Answer 11 questions about yourself on YOUR blog and leave a comment below with a link to your post so we can learn about you. You might even go back to Krissy Venosdale’s original post to share with her too! 

1-6. Select six of your favorite questions from those Krissy posted for her readers.
7. What is your favorite kind of weather?
8. If you could design a professional development experience for your colleagues, what would you include?
9. What is your favorite quote or mantra?
10. What is the best gift you’ve ever given?
11. What is something you wished I had asked you?

I’m off now for my third and final cup of tea this morning!