ESL day and impending snow

My Conversaton set up. I take notes which students can see as I take them and then send them a copy after the session.

I am sitting waiting for the French Conversation group to show up. Of late, I have had a really interesting group of at least two, sometimes three adults who show up, none of them being students at Oakton.

Today, they are later than normal. Two of them are Oakton employees, the other one being a community member. It is really cool that there is this kind of interest in speaking and learning other languages.

I had a busy morning, flying out of the house earlier than normal to get a special medallion from our bank in order to take care of some financial dealings. We have noticed that as it gets easier to do things online, there are also special things we need to do. In order to prove that we are, in fact, the people we say we are online, we had to get a special stamp from our bank before sending the details in. The funny thing is that it is akin to notarization, it just doesn’t require a notary, just a bank official. The odd thing here is that when I put it to the bank employee, she almost started to argue with me about it. I truly didn’t get that and I don’t get it when some people misconstrue something when it is very clearly explained to them.

I then went to the Optometrist to get my yearly eye check and then went to Oakton.

My two regulars arrived a little late, accompanied by their lunches, and we had a great time with it going by so quickly that when Carlos got up to leave, I didn’t realize that it was actually time.

The weather is cold and at 1:00 PM it started raining, as we were told. So far, it has not yet changed to a more freezing precipitation and then snow. Supposedly, we will have snow on the ground tomorrow. Happy spring in Chicago!

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Running the World

I am thinking that this should be my throne to run the world. Maybe I need to install one in my yard…

With our smartphones, sometimes it seems as if we are running the world. Perhaps we are not ‘running the world’ but feeling as if we are, to make up for our not always reaching goals we may have had.

I am totally unable to control so many things and being somewhat of a control freak, that is a tough lesson to learn. Surprisingly, I am often way more flexible than anyone would believe. Once, during my teaching career, I directly asked my principal what was holding me back, career-wise, in my quest to be department chairman or something else within my school. He told me that the only thing was that some of my colleagues within the department felt that I was somewhat rigid and inflexible. Clearly they did not know me. My father-in-law, who was also in the same department and had the same unsuccessful quest I had, told me to beware of the ‘women in that department.’ He felt that there was an interesting clique of power and one that was not always on the beam. As it turns out, he was right, my department ended up with a series of department chairs of dubious quality, one of whom I even nicknamed Caligula.

My father-in-law was perhaps the least sexist man I have ever met in my life. He was also one of the least racist human beings I have ever met as well. He was a scholar, in my eyes, and unfortunately not a person to truly become what I thought he should have been, a revered college professor in a red brick college somewhere. His academic gifts were many; his shortcomings were that he didn’t always ‘get’ the students he was teaching. However, I don’t see that as a great fault as human beings need to encounter all kinds of individuals as they proceed academically and they need to learn how to deal with them. My father-in-law, teacher of German and Spanish, had a wealth of information and talents that far superseded his gift being a ‘language sponge,’ something that he imparted to his daughter who totally followed in his footsteps as a German (and Spanish) teacher.

One thing I had over my father-in-law was my gift of reinvention. Each time I had a setback, and my setbacks would only be setbacks to me, not to others, I came back in a new way.

My father-in-law could not do that, nor did he really need to. I did.

But back to flexibility, I am surprisingly flexible; I need to state that to combat the trauma of being perceived otherwise. In the end, it doesn’t matter one iota as my real career has been my family and that has always been my top priority, one that forced more decisions than my language career. Having lost my dad at the age of seven made that decision quite easy. I went into teaching because I love helping others and to be with my family. I went into it as a full-force father, trying to make up for my loss.

Hopefully, when all is said and done, I will have achieved that goal.

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Our ‘hot’ receiver, the Denon AVR-X4000

The new set up with more space above for air flow.

A few weeks ago, we had issues with our Entertainment System receiver, as it was shorting out. It would turn off by itself, ostensibly to ‘save the system,’ and then I would have to turn it on again. One evening, in order to be able to complete watching a show, we had to turn it on and restart the show at least twenty times. It continued to do this for days.

Needless to say, it was annoying.

It was a serious problem in terms of watching anything.

We did some research and found out that our Denon AVR-X400 is known for this. The first suggestion was to check out the connection of the receiver to the speakers. I did that more than once. Then they suggested that perhaps the receiver was overheating. In doing more research, our son found out that, in fact, we did not have the side clearance or clearance above, that Denon wanted for its piece of electronics.

We had to change things up…

First, we pulled out the receiver, placed it on a TV table, and tried to see if that was enough to keep it cool. It was not. Then we placed a little fan on top, drawing the heat out. That helped one day and not the next. Finally, in desperation, I turned the fan downward on the receiver, pushing cool air on to the receiver. That worked.

Once we knew that air-cooling worked, we purchased what is called a laptop cooler, to be placed directly on top of the receiver. The good news is that they are made for laptops and receivers like this. We made sure that it was not noisy, because as our son reminded us, we are not happy campers with unnecessary extraneous noises.

The new purchase was close to $100. It arrived and we set it up. Our son had already removed a shelf in the area we keep the receiver in to allow for more air space and flow. As I was setting it up, I realized that we had to set the thermostat. It shows the thermostat setting and the actual temperature reading of the receiver. I quickly found out that the receiver shut off around seventy-five degrees. I thus set the thermostat for around seventy-three. As it turns out, I needed to set it lower. We have not had a problem since, but the strange thing is that I have noticed that the receiver has gotten as high as seventy-six degrees with no shut down.

Go figure…

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C.J. Box – The Disappeared

The Disappeared (Joe Pickett, #18)The Disappeared by C.J. Box
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My only disappointment here is that I am finished. I did not want it to end. I don’t understand how C.J. Box manages to write books that continue to intrigue the reader. What a fertile mind he has. As Randy, our friend who introduced me to C.J. Box’s books says, “They are real page turners.” They are! C.J. Box wrote this book as if it is just the first chapter, now I am dying to see what happens to Joe Pickett in the next novel!

I like Joe Pickett because he reminds me of myself, kind of a guy who cannot break rules. I also like him because he is so human and although he is very capable and good at his job, he has frailties and he is aware of them. I thoroughly enjoy seeing his aging process and how he goes from being a young man with a young family to middle age and sees his chicks leaving his nest. These are great reads, every single one of them.

View all my reviews

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Winter monsoon

I dreaded the morning walk. It seems as if it has been pouring rain nonstop for well over twenty-four hours. I kept waiting and hoping that it would let up for a few minutes. Not only is it raining incessantly, the temps are in the low thirties. I am so surprised that at thirty-one degrees, it is rain and not snow.

I put my North Face Gore-Tex jacket on that I luckily had purchased a size larger than I normally wear. I was thus able to put it over my winter jacket and avoid being completely soaked in the short time I was outside. It has a hood and kept me very dry. I put on my Bogs boots that we recently bought. Now that I have them I have been seeing them everywhere and even saw them mentioned in ‘The Disappeared,’ the latest book of C.J. Box that I am pretty much unable to put down. They are amazing and allow me to put them on and take them off easily without even bending down.

My jeans were a bit damp from our foray outside but the rest of me was nicely warm and dry.

The budcases are falling off the trees like crazy. I find it a bit odd given the cold weather we have but clearly the trees know something that we do not know. The forsythia is looking closer to flowering and the daffodils have just started blooming. When I say, “Just started,” I mean one. The rest are clearly with buds, but no flowers. The grass is turning green and I am wondering if the fireplace ash that I dispersed on it before the rains has helped. I thought I had a ton of ash to place and actually ran out. I need to clean out the hearth and complete my job.

Meanwhile, I am refereeing two dogs that love each other but can get carried away in their exhilaration. They managed to knock over my coffee mug, drop my phone, crack its screen protector, and knock my laptop over. Now they are finally quiet.

Sunday, the day of rest…

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