Counting My Blessings

28 08 2007

This morning I received a love note from my husband. It was a pleasant surprise. Our anniversary is coming up Sept. 12th. We’ve been married since 1998, and together since August 1996. We are getting ready to take a weekend get-away to the beach. I look forward to doing this every year.

As I was eating breakfast, I was thinking about how blessed I am. Sure, life has had its troubles, but not like some people. Sometimes it is so easy to focus on the negative instead of the positive in life. Every now and then, I need to remind myself to count my many blessings. I like how my husband does it. He’ll just say out loud, ” Don’t we have a wonderful yard with beautiful trees and grass?” “Don’t we have a beautiful house with wood floors and beautiful glass windows?” I love how he so appreciates all that we have.

More than anything, I am thankful for the people in my life. I am thankful for my husband, who is positive and upbeat. He is energetic and fun. He has a great sense of humor and loves to play little jokes on people. He is my cheerleader and tells me “Just remember honey, you’ve got a big red sword!” I am very blessed to have him in my life.

I am blessed to have had 2 terrific boys, and then added 3 more wonderful children through my husband’s prior marriage. They are all bright, intelligent, caring adults. We are now up to 9 grandchildren, with more to come! What a huge blessing all of them are! I have proudly taken on the new name of “Nana Tina!”

It took me a very long time, but while single, God made a way for me to go to college and get my Bachelor’s degree. That was one of the single, most defining moments in my life. It was an accumulation of close to 15 years of work. Then, I was even more fortunate to get my Master’s degree. Receiving those degrees has truly been a blessing in that they opened doors for me that I never dreamed would happen in my lifetime.

I am also blessed to have a job where I am able to work in education and technology – two areas that I love. How great is that? The good Lord has richly blessed me. He has always made a way for me, even when things were difficult. He has been so faithful to me.

Some days, things don’t always go perfectly. On those days, it really does help to stop and count your blessings. Those bad things will suddenly diminish and you will be reminded of what’s really important in life – love, your health, friends and family.

Have a blessed day!


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A Day In the Life of a Technology Director

25 08 2007


I recently read Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki book “Why We Want You To Be Rich.” In the book, “The Donald” included his daily schedule for about 1 week. I found it fascinating to see how this powerful man managed his day. I thought that it would be good to document a day in my life at work, for reflection purposes.

4:40am Woke up, snuggled in bed thinking about how I can modify our tech support online work order form. Finally dozed back off to sleep.

5:30am Alarm went off and I hit the snooze button three times. FINALLY got up to face the day.

6:50am Ate breakfast, checked Twitter, and replied to Jeff Utecht’s post on “What we do when we put them in a bubble.” Hurried off to work.

7:45am Shared with our computer technician Jeff Utecht’s post, and was delighted to see one of my favorite educators, Doug Johnson, had also replied. I was so happy to see Doug’s response as he reaffirmed what I was trying say.

8:30am Meeting with staff to finalize work group goals for the year.

We are going to test VISTA in a lab, implement a new CISCO VOIP system, remodel our work area, implement ZIMBRA as our new email system, develop a maintenance schedule for our projectors in the classrooms, continue surveying our customers about our computing, media and network services, and develop a process for communicating with customers (teachers and staff) about their work orders.

9:44am Answering emails. Checking work orders and entering in work order database.

10:14am Received email asking about homebound and future homebound students who don’t have computers at home. They want me to give our old computers (that we are excessing) to those students to use at home. I stated that I was concerned about the licensing of software on those computers. Also, supporting those old computers off-site would be difficult. I don’t want to appear that I am not wanting to help the students, bu this seems sticky. Any thoughts, anyone?

10:44am TechDept staff has successfully ghosted one lab, delivered new computer, many more to go. Several teachers are up in arms because the new computers have been delivered with Microsoft Office 2007. One teacher felt like it was too much to learn at the beginning of school. I can empathize, but some resistance felt. Our industry teacher has offered to provide in-service training. She is an angel!

12:30pm Back from lunch – Taco Mayo was good, but the hot sauce was too hot! (Taco Mayo originated in Norman, OklahomaGo Sooners!)

1:23pm Just received new Polycom. We are installing 5 new Polycoms in five of our rooms. We are replacing some of them, and some of them are going to be new. In addition to installing the units, we will be upgrading the touch panels, projectors, screens, and media equipment. They will be used for H.323 distance learning video conferencing.

1:46pm Student from last year came in. Didn’t receive his diploma because a course was missing on his transcript. Teacher had accidentally left off the assignments for that course and I had to enter an override grade. We use Veracross, by Breuer and Co., as our student record system. It is really awesome.

2:10pm Loading Office 2007 and Windows/Office Updates for the first time on an old laptop for the new training session. Our trainer has the weekend and 2 days to learn as much as she can to orient new users by middle of next week! Woot!

2:51pm Getting quotes from CDWG for new HP Color LaserJet 5550dn printer for our Computer Aided Drafting program, a fuser kit for a couple of our HP 4200’s and a couple of more copies of Office Professional 2007.

3:56pm Reviewing last minute work orders, and entering into system. Showing other staff how to enter withdrawals in student records system. Deployed laptop for instructor preparing to teach Office 2007. Haven’t had time to check twitter all day!

4:30pm Helped support staff with Illustrator problem. It mysteriously worked whenever I went by her side! Also fixed printing problem simply by selecting the correct printer. Yahoo!

5:00pm Headed home after a relatively low-stress day.

7:28pm Checking Twitter. Reflecting on the day. It was the least stressful day of the week.

Bad: I actually vented some of my frustrations to someone today, when I shouldn’t have. I think why I was frustrated was because she had come after I had already received an email from her supervisor checking to see if her computer was ready. When I told her we were working on it, she asked if she could take it back and do it herself. We don’t let teachers or anyone take our media or software install CD’s out of our area. She has asked us numerous times for them, but she just won’t take “no” for an answer.

Good: Since our help-desk person is out on medical leave and we are so short-handed, I have had to have more direct contact with the teachers. I am spending more time helping them, which is good. Our remaining team members all get along well and I am having the opportunity to be the cheerleader and encourager, which I enjoy doing. During this difficult time of year and stress, it draws us closer together.

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What You Wish You Could Say…

22 08 2007

While cleaning behind a cabinet in our studio at work, our maintenance person found some rather old papers stuck behind the cabinet. They were labeled “Tech Support Tips” and the author is unknown. School has started, and it’s been rather hectic in our technology support department. These are all the things you wish you could say, but of course, you wouldn’t. So, enjoy the humor, as it is meant for anyone who has ever had to provide support.

  1. Don’t write anything down. We can play back the error messages from here.
  2. When a tech says he’s coming right over, go for coffee. It’s nothing to us to remember 2481 screen saver passwords.
  3. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and popsicle art. We don’t have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
  4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what’s keeping you from getting it. We don’t need to know that you can’t get into your mail because your computer won’t power on at all.
  5. Don’t put your phone extension in your emails to the help desk. We need to keep an eye on the address book performance.
  6. When tech support sends you an email with high importance, delete it at once. We’re just testing the public groups.
  7. When a tech is eating lunch in his cube, walk right in and spill your guts right out. He exists only to serve.
  8. When a tech is having a smoke outside, ask her a computer question. The only reason why we smoke at all is to ferret out those clients who don’t have email or a telephone line.
  9. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as as a rush delivery.
  10. When you call a tech’s direct line, press 5 to skip the bilingual greeting that says he’s out of town for a week, record your message and wait exactly 24 hours before you send an email straight to the director because no one ever returned your call. Your entitled to common courtesy.
  11. When the photocopier doesn’t work, call computer support. There’s electronics in it.
  12. When you’re getting a NO DIAL TONE message at home, call computer support. We can fix your line from here.
  13. When you have a dozen CGA monitors to get rid of, call computer support. We’re collectors.
  14. When something’s wrong with your home PC, dump it on a tech’s chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.
  15. If you hate your mouse, get some other pointing device and discard the manual. We know all the keyboard accelerators.
  16. When a tech tells you that computer monitors don’t have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.
  17. When you get a message about insufficient disk space, delete everything in the Windows directory. It’s nothing but trouble anyway.
  18. When you get a message about a hard disk controller failure, and then you reboot and it looks okay, don’t call tech support. We’d much rather troubleshoot it when it’s dead as a doornail.
  19. When you have a tech on the phone walking you through changing a setting, read the paper. We don’t actually mean for you to do anything; we just love to hear ourselves talk.
  20. When a tech tells you that he’ll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: “And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?” That’ll get us going.
  21. If you have a 14-inch monitor that says VGA on it, set the display to true color, 1024 X 768. You’ll never again have to worry about people reading confidential files over your shoulder.
  22. When we offer training on the upcoming OS upgrade, don’t bother. We’ll be there to hold your hand after it’s done.
  23. When the printer won’t print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
  24. When the printer still won’t print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the branch. One of them is bound to work.
  25. Don’t learn the proper name for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by “my thingys outta whack.”

Cool Random Photos

10 08 2007

I've always loved photography. The digital camera has made many of us amateur photographers. My husband and I bought a very nice Epson digital camera several years ago. It's bulky, but has a great zoom. I still use the auto features - don't know the first thing about the "real" photography settings. I'd like to buy a new small digital camera that I could put in my purse, but after all the technology gadgets I've bought lately, just can't do it. So, I thought I might share a few of my favorite picts. Some of these were taken by my sons Brian and Kyle, some by myself. Enjoy, and I welcome comments.

Darth Tator

Brian, Self-Portrait

OK Winter
Oklahoma Winter (By Brian)

Brian and Jayme (by Brian)

Chicago Skyscraper
Chicago Skyscraper (by Kyle)

More Chicago Skyscrapers
More Chicago Skyscrapers (by Kyle)

Classic Shamu Shot

Happy Dolphins!


DC Tulips

Vietnam War Memorial

Angels at Caesar's Palace

8 Random Facts

6 08 2007

I’ve been tagged by everd on the 8 random facts meme

First, the Rules:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts
2) List 8 random facts about yourself
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged

So here are the 8 facts:

1. My husband is 14 years older than me.

2. I teach 12 piano students as my second job.

3. I was evacuated from Tripoli, Libya, during the 6-day war in 1967 when I was a little girl.

4. My hobbies are geneology and scrapbooking, but I never have time for them.

5. I have three dogs: a walker hound, border collie, and long-haired dachshound.

long-haired dachshound small

6. The last music CD I purchased was Toby Mac’s Portable Sounds.

7. My husband and I invest in rental property of which we have 8 units right now.

8. We currently have 9 grandchildren, and 2 of our 5 grown children do not have any children!

My tags are:

1. Healthy Low-Carb Living Blog (Amy Dungan)

2. Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts

3. Moving at the Speed of Creativity (Wesley Fryer)

4. Thoughts From a Technospud (Jennifer Wagner)

5. da Vinci’s Authentic Codes (Ragon Steele)

6. ICT U Can! (Jane Nicholls)

7. Langwitches (Silvia Tolisano)

8. Connecting Through Conversation (rellis)

Electronic Records Discovery

3 08 2007

Today I sat in on a session at our Oklahoma Career Tech conference called “Electronic Records Discovery.” It was presented by Assistant Attorney General Glen Hammonds. (I wish I had the handouts electronically.) It’s a scary topic for me. I know that companies deal with it on occasion, but that schools are not immune to it either. I know that my superintendent is very concerned about this topic – therefore, I should be too.

The attorney general indicated that there are no specific laws (and this may only be for Oklahoma) for schools. There are, however, specific laws pertaining to certain types of data and how long one must retain the information. A member of the group brought up the fact that many software companies are touting that they have solutions for this issue and are using fear to promote their product. In addition, educational journals are also giving a somewhat false impression that schools must abide by the same laws that corporations do. I am not an attorney, so I do not know, but it is all very unclear.

Mr. Hammonds described “‘discovery’ as limited to documents and records that have been preserved.”

An important point is that if you fail to preserve a document once litigation is filed (or will be filed), a jury can pursue the strongest allowable sentence against an organization, whether or not the destruction of the document was intentional or not. (for example, what if you accidentally erased a hard drive?)

Things that could be considerd part of a data request during discovery include: emails, documents, databases, and documents on any kind of storage device, including palm pilots, external hard drives, flash drives, etc.

He pointed out that electronics records discovery could be something that would be needed not only if your school was being sued, but if your school was suing someone else. I asked the question about if your school policy stated that you purge your email every 90 days and followed that policy on a regular basis, was that acceptable?

His reply was that was a good way to handle things. However, he said that it would depend on the topic of the email. For example, email pertaining to finances or personnel matters might have to be kept for a longer period of time. Someone else asked who was resposible for deciding this? He first said the school board, then the superintendent, then basically the person responsible for the data, then the recipient of the email. Another example, if the finance director sent out an email to multiple people regarding something financial, the finance director could be responsible for maintaining that record rather than multiple people.

Nothing seems clear cut. Somehow, I feel like we need a specific policy for all employees. We’re getting ready to implement a new email system called Zimbra. This might be a good time to talk about the importance of this topic. Then, we have the question of what do we do with the data we have archived in our old email system. We won’t have the application software anymore once we switch over. If we have to retrieve the old data, what would we read it with. We will have to unarchive it all and upload it to the new server.

Does this topic scare anyone else? Your thoughts?