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September 6

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Yeah, I know this says September 7th. It is 12:02 AM on my computer clock. With the exception of about 45 minutes for dinner, I have been doing schoolwork since 6:30 PM. The teacher gave us an extension on the first week's assignments because some people did not have the books.

Each week we have reading to do. We have to post a comment on a thread on Monday and then comment on other people's posts during the week. This is the 'classroom' portion of the week. We also have a written assignment that has to be submitted by Friday. Last week's assignments were due today instead of Friday. This week's assignments also had to be started today. Due to all the time I spent setting up my computer (and then cleaning up all the mess I made moving stuff out of the way and reconfiguring my desk) I did not do this work over the weekend.

This afternoon I got an email from my professor titled "Everything OK?" which reminded me that the assignments for Week 1 were due today. Way to make a good first impression, right? After I emailed back, she did say that my comments during the introductory discussion were "right on target" and she figured something must have happened.

I have huge anxiety about this participation. In a classroom (or meeting) setting, I usually do not offer my opinion first. I like to hear what others have to say before I speak. CHICKEN! This class will hopefully help me get over that.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DYNAMICDEB53 9/7/2011 3:23PM

    Great that you have a teacher who checks in with you and is giving you such good feedback. Once you get into your rhymth you will be fine. Starting a new and challenging project can be daunting, but I know you can do this. I agree sometimes speaking up online is much easier than in person, a great way to start.
Hugs and smiles

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BAM0827 9/7/2011 8:52AM

    Online may be just your way of starting to speak first. The slight bit of anonymity may help push you out of that comfort zone.

I just know you'll do great in your class - enjoy it!!!

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TEDYBEAR2838 9/7/2011 8:13AM

    emoticon, you are smart and resourceful and dedicated. What more could
you ask for... ?

Happy Wednesday

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TRAVELNISTA 9/7/2011 7:08AM

    emoticon You will be fine. It can be scary but I know you have it in you! emoticon emoticon

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LYNNANN43 9/7/2011 12:35AM

    Sounds like you are really pushing your box! Good for you!

Best of luck with school, Miss Debbie! emoticon

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SMILEYBEE 9/7/2011 12:16AM

    Listening before you speak makes a lot of sense to me. Hang in there! You can do this!

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"Spring Cleaning"

Monday, September 05, 2011

I spent today cleaning/reorganizing my home office. I am trying to make it more user-friendly for doing my classwork. I am happy to report that today I was able to access a class document that would not open on my old computer!

I found some things I forgot had - a couple of keepers but mostly in the trash or donation pile. I filled 4 kitchen-size trash bags and several boxes for the Vets.

I have one thing that I want to give to someone who will use it - a FitBit. Send me a SparkMail if you want it, with your mailing address. It will go to the first person who emails me.

Now to bed, as I am nodding off here...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWME0519 9/6/2011 9:51PM

    It awesome to start a new season off by getting some cleaning done!

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TRAVELNISTA 9/6/2011 9:48PM

    emoticon Fall is around the corner. Glad you got organized. emoticon emoticon

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DEBLYNN323 9/6/2011 4:33PM

    Gotta love that feeling you get when you clean and reorganize!!


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BILLALEX70 9/6/2011 9:02AM

    Yay for cleaning house!

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TEDYBEAR2838 9/6/2011 7:55AM

    Well you had a very good day. Getting rid of stuff no longer needed and giving to someone else is emoticon

I'm sure you really slept well!

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    Looks like we were BOTH in the spring cleaning mode yesterday. Even if it is FALL cleaning! Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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STRINGS58 9/6/2011 6:39AM

    I don't know what a fit bit is, so I guess I'm not a candidate. If it is something like a body bugg, then I'd be REALLY interested but that would be a big giveaway.

Enjoy the organization!!! Feels gooooooooood.

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New Computer

Sunday, September 04, 2011

We have been talking about getting me a computer for a long time. We debated between laptop and desktop and although I am still not positive it was the right decision, we decided to replace my desktop with a new desktop.

At first I resisted - I could work around the little glitches. So what if it froze up, lost posts, took forever to download... I hate change. But the more we talked about getting a new computer, the more I noticed how long it took to do things and how often I was rebooting to try to solve problems.

This week was the kicker. I started class this week and was having trouble accessing some of the information. Not only was my computer old and slow but my Office software was outdated too. When I got my book order from school there was an insert that said I could get Office 2010 for under $100 using my student email account. That was great, but I really didn't think it would work on my computer. Then yesterday I decided to attend a SparkLive meeting at the last minute since my DH had to work. This was the first time I accessed a meeting at home (the other times were in my office with a faster, more up-to-date computer). It was terrible. I could not get the microphone to work at all and once I got the sound working, it kept breaking up and stuttering. THAT was when I decided I needed to get the new computer.

Today we found a great sale and got me this wonderful new computer. Of course I have spent the entire day getting things set up and transferring my data from one computer to the other. I just finished putting my desk back together and right now I am a happy camper.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LKEITHO 9/5/2011 10:36PM

    Sounds great! Have fun with it!

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FITGRL124 9/5/2011 9:53PM


I hope it makes things easier for you.

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DYNAMICDEB53 9/5/2011 6:49PM

    How nice and now you will be able to do what you need to do with confidence that it will not get lost or take forever. Have lots of fun with it.

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TEDYBEAR2838 9/5/2011 5:52PM

    I am so happy for you. Enjoy

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SCRAPPY_RN 9/5/2011 5:32PM

    I'm very happy for you. I know you are going to be much happier :)

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    So glad that you got a good computer and were able to make sure that it was affordable at the same time. I know that it will be a big help with school. Sorry that I haven't been posting on your blogs. Somehow I got "UNSUBSCRIBED" to a bunch of the regular blogs that I post to. WEIRD. Oh well... sorry. Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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    Good for you! I'm all about saving some coin when you can but that thing was more problems than saving the money was worth.

BTW, what an AWESOME mousepad! emoticon

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FITMRSKAYTE 9/5/2011 9:24AM

    Nice! I need to bite the bullet and get a new computer as well- also for classes. Enjoy the new set up, I'll bet it is a lot less stressful to use!

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STRINGS58 9/5/2011 8:25AM

    Enjoy it!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STEVENGO2 9/5/2011 12:59AM


Enjoy your new toy. I know it will be so very useful to you. It will get you sparking a lot faster! My computer is a Dell and is seven years old. Most of the time it works great but some days I want to smash it to pieces because of it being so slow or not working correctly. Two weeks ago I started to look for a new computer and I guess I scared this one because it has been humming along fine with hardly any glitches!

Here is to great computing,

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NEWME0519 9/5/2011 12:19AM

    Awesome! Enjoy your new toy!

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DRB13_1 9/5/2011 12:15AM

    emoticon on the new computer! It's amazing how fast the technology changes - 3 years and we are outdated! Enjoy! And thanks for the information on the Live Spark events. emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 9/5/2011 12:13AM

    Good luck with the new computer. I like desktops better but laptops are more convenient because you can use them anywhere. My desktop is real slow too and I will need a new one. I am not going to look into it unless I start contract processing again.

Last year I had too buy a new laptop and I still don't like it. My old one was so much better. Too late now. I wish they gave you a free 10 day trial, heck a few days would have been sufficient. I hated it from the getgo.

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SHYGRRL 9/5/2011 12:09AM

  Ooohhhh.. Congrats on your new computer.. I just LOOOOVVVVEEE getting new stuff.. especially computers! :) Lucky woman! :) Enjoy it!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Last year I enrolled in a Dietetics program at the local community college. When I signed up I was told that the entire program could be done online but that proved to be untrue. I had to drop one class that required onsite visits at three different types of food service establishments for a several-hour visit and analysis of their system. I could not spare that much time from my 'real job' so I had to drop the class. I also learned that there was a summer practicum which required working many hours in a health care facility under the direction of a dietician. I am not quite sure why no one explained this to me upfront - they knew I had a full-time job - but at any rate, I decided that this was not going to be possible and so I dropped out of the program.

I haven't been happy about that decision. I really wanted to learn something new, expand my horizons, and feel like I could still accomplish something meaningful. A few months ago, on the spur of the moment, I applied for graduate school, not realizing what I was getting into! It wasn't nearly as easy as applying to the community college.

I had to fill out an application and send them my college transcript. Been there, done that, no problem. Then I had a call from the admissions counselor. I also needed to write an essay as to why I wanted to pursue this program (nonprofit management). I needed two letters of recommendation. AND I needed to take an entrance exam - the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Now I was sweating a bit.

I got the essay done relatively quickly because this is something I am very interested in. My DD is pursuing her MSW and her long range goal is to open a shelter for kids who have been kicked out of their homes due to their sexual orientation. She wants me to help her get it set up and run it, so this degree would tie in perfectly.

The recommendations proved to be a little trickier, because one of the people I asked had several things come up and she never got around to doing the letter. I finally offered to ask someone else to write the letter which she gratefully took me up on, but time was running out. I wanted one of the two letters to be from someone I had worked with in the nonprofit area. The next person I asked said yes, but first she also questioned me on exactly why I wanted to pursue this and what my goals were. OK, got that done.

The final items was the MAT. I have a huge problem taking tests. I really get myself worked up about them and usually do OK in the end, but not without really stressing myself first. This time was no different. I am good at analogies, but this was a little different. Some of the questions had a historical, scientific or mathematical background to them. I bought a book, I paid for an online practice exam, and then found out that the score on that practice test had no correlation to the actual scoring the school would see. Finally I bite the bullet and just schedule the exam, even though I don't feel like I am ready. My score was 426 out of 600, which I didn't think was very good, but turned out to be great on the percentile basis.

I found out the day before our trip to NY that I was accepted into the program! I had some initial heart failure over the cost (what I thought was the price of a course was actually the price of one credit and each course is 3 credits). I thought I was going to have to postpone this for a while. But I applied for a student loan and got that as well. This entire program is online (for sure). Each semester is split into 2 online sessions and I will take one course per session or two per semester. They accepted my undergrad work for all the prerequisites so I have 30 credits to take to complete the program.

I am excited and scared at the same time. This is something I NEVER would have done pre-Spark. Class starts on Monday, so this gives me just under a week to get the rest of my life in order and on some sort of a schedule. I just need to have as much faith in me as my daughter has!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    WOW I am so proud of you and really excited!

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KAYWEB555 9/1/2011 8:28PM

    Praying for your sanity ! You will do fantastic ! where there is a will there is a way and your DD is giving you the way and you have the will !

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/25/2011 7:13AM

    Amazing story. Yup, grad school is exciting and challenging and you will looooooove it. I am so proud of for your determination to find what is right for you and just go for it!!

Go rock star!! Work it!!


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CINDYKC2000 8/24/2011 8:25PM

    Welcome my fellow graduate student. emoticon

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LOOZINITNOW 8/24/2011 11:16AM

    Congrats and good luck with this new chapter of your life! emoticon

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DARK_CINDERELLA 8/24/2011 8:01AM

    I start (restart) today in my MSN bridge program. Good luck with your program! Don't forget our support is right here for the asking!

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LKEITHO 8/23/2011 10:45PM

    Congratulations on getting accepted!

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TEDYBEAR2838 8/23/2011 9:39PM

    emoticon now we ALL KNOW emoticon


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NOTGIVINGUP49 8/23/2011 8:59PM

    I have faith in you! New and EXCITING opportunities are coming your way! Believe in yourself and ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE! emoticon

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MACMOM57 8/23/2011 7:55PM

    Debbie what an awesome thing I know you will do great.

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DYNAMICDEB53 8/23/2011 6:30PM

    How awesome!!!! You are so much braver than I. I know you will get it all worked and do just great. You should believe in YOU, you are so wonderful and this will be a great challenge for you.
You go girl!!
Smiles and hugs

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TRAVELNISTA 8/23/2011 1:47PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon I am so glad that everything did finally work out. I know it can be a scary undertaking but I know emoticon. As far as the other course you should pursue them them for not disclosing the truth as to what was required.

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 8/23/2011 12:45PM

    YAY! I'm so excited for you!! emoticon

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Batman Filming

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It has been pretty cool here in Pittsburgh these past few weeks with the filming of the latest movie in the Dark Knight series. I know some people have been complaining about the traffic tie-ups, but this is great publicity for our city as well as lots of tax dollars and we got to see snow in August!

Angie and I had to be at the designated parking area at 5:45 AM on that Saturday morning, so she stayed at our house the night before. We had no problem getting up and ready and arrived on time with no traffic issues. They had things pretty well organized and we were on a school bus over to Heinz Field in no time. We then had to check in with our internet passes and we got 'official' movie set passes for the day. On the way in to the stadium we got a bag containing a bottle of water, a granola bar, a cookie, sunscreen and earplugs.

I was surprised at how comparatively few people were there. The stadium can hold over 70,000 and there were about 10,000 people there. They moved sections of the crowd from place to place in the stands to make it look full. I can't wait to see how it looks on the big screen. For one part of the filming, we were just two rows from the field so maybe we will actually be visible during the movie.

We weren't told where our part of filming comes in the movie but it is supposed to be the home opener for the Gotham Rogues football team, whose colors just happen to be black and gold. Several Steelers made cameo appearances and Hines Ward has a slightly larger role. Most of the guys were there for pictures and then gone but Hines was there for a good part of the day. He really seemed to be enjoying watching the filming as much as the rest of us.

We sat through several renditions of the national anthem and even had to sing for filming too. Then it is time for the kickoff and the kicker for the opposition team was none other than Luke Ravenstahl, the (young) mayor of Pittsburgh. He missed one of the kicks and was roundly booed by the crowd! There were several more takes of the opening kick and return of the ball and this took pretty much all morning into the afternoon. Then it was time for them to set up the explosions.

This took a while and we were entertained by a guy named Dante, who is an impressionist. He does a really good takeoff on the Wizard of Oz - I have been meaning to look it up on YouTube because it was really on target. They also gave out a lot of prizes - tshirts, ipods, comic books, a trip to the premiere and even a car. As I noted before, all we got was a sunburn but that was just fine with us. We weren't there for the goodies anyway.

On to the explosions at this point...I am not going to say much but I understand someone smuggled a camera into the stadium and you can find this on YouTube as well. I have to say I found this part slightly disappointing. They made a big deal about the earplugs and the noise, but the explosions weren't really that loud and we did not wear the earplugs. I have to think they are digitally enhanced in the movie - again, I can't wait to see this on the screen. After the explosions, 'bad guys' came out and held the fans hostage. We had to do some 'acting' at this point but when it was done the guy said we did a good job.

After this, Bane (the bad guy) made his entrance. This was the first time he had been filmed, so we got to see him first. Several short takes again but this time they explained that they were filming the movie in IMAX and those cameras don't hold as much film as 'regular' ones. The last scene we saw was Bane and the bad guys holding someone captive, but they deliberately shut off his mike during the filming and they were on the opposite side of the field from us, so we really couldn't tell who it was. Most people in the crowd thought it was Commissioner Gordon.

The day ended at around 6:30 for us. We were in the first group of people that were taken back to the buses. They were still filming with a small group of people when we left so hopefully we didn't miss too much. All in all, Angie and I had a great day. It was long but we were both very happy that we went.

I am hoping they have some sort of premiere here in Pittsburgh when the movie comes out and that we get to go to it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUN2MYDREAMS 8/22/2011 10:54AM

    That is SO cool Debbie! I will have to let DH know as he loves those kinds of movies! emoticon

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TINYDANCER 8/21/2011 8:26PM

    that is so cool you were a part of the movie. I did not even manage to get downtown during the time. work got in the way. It is exciting that movieland find our city perfect for so many films.

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MRDPOLING 8/21/2011 3:22PM

    How very exciting!

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DYNAMICDEB53 8/20/2011 5:50PM

    Sounds like you had a great time, what an experience.

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BESTMEICANBE51 8/19/2011 11:28AM


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CINDYKC2000 8/19/2011 12:26AM

    What a fun day and an awesome experience!!

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KAYWEB555 8/18/2011 11:28PM


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CALIDREAMER76 8/18/2011 9:28PM

    Didn't even know about them needing the crowd, I'd of changed my plans and drove into the burgh for that experience - thanks for sharing - told my daughter and her bf to get me some snow!

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DAVISSTEVIE69 8/18/2011 9:11PM

    So wanted to be there and just couldn't because of other commitments! Glad you could be a part of it. I try to get out at lunch each day to check on what they are doing next. I can't wait to see the movie!

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TRAVELNISTA 8/18/2011 7:43PM

    That sounds like the experience of a lifetime. Who knows, you may be "discovered" They should have a special premier for all of you extras. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LYNNANN43 8/18/2011 7:20PM

    WHOA! Sounds like a blast!

I wonder if a lot of people stayed home with all the coverage of how bad the traffic would be that day? We left really early for the Pirate game that night. Not too much traffic then either.

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    Ooooooo... sounds like a lot of fun & a great experience. Glad that you packed some food & water. Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEMPERANCE88 8/18/2011 5:31PM

    Sounds awesome! What an amazing experience.

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