Guess what? The MoH has finally decided that he needs to exercise. Actually, he already knew that, but you know how that goes, right? Woo-Hoo! I’ve found another exercise buddy. And we are making some food and drink committments, too. I know you’re sick of hearing me yammer on about this and then nothing happens, so whatever. Fine. But still. We’re on it. We ARE, okay?
What happened to my VBF? She works umpteen gazillion hours a week and has decided to go to boot camp everyday at o-dark-thirty. No boot camp for me. I couldn’t do a push up if I tried. Just thinking about it pains me.
So the MoH and I went for our first walk Sunday. He didn’t even break a sweat. I, on the other hand, was sweating and huffing and puffing. It’s so annoying. But at least I was up and out. The air was still a bit smoky smelling and by the time we were done, my sinuses were stinging. I’m thinking it was probably worse to sit next to those happy smokers in Las Vegas, though. But the only jackpot I’d hit on a walk would be to find a penny someone dropped in the road. The promise of good fortune is always lovely.
We didn’t start our conscientious eating until yesterday because we were still recovering from those Bostinis I made. Jeez. But Monday, we were both on our best behavior as well. I ate so much spinach yesterday I swore I whinnied at the RT at one point. We’re packing in the veggies, and going easy on highly processed carbs. No extra servings for the MoH, one Coke a day for him, and two measly ounces of wine for me. Exercise daily. Water, vitamins, and all that rot.
I’m already looking for healthy recipes to bake. I have to cook. Have. To. But I will not be putting Splenda in anything. Ew-ah.
So yesterday was good. The MoH got home at a decent hour and then as planned, headed out the door to go work out at the gym in our development that we pay handsomely for and rarely use. As I put my shoes on to get ready for my walk, I could hear his car start up and shook my head thinking he was off to a terrific start. The gym is a four minute walk from our house. Jeez.
My walk takes me right past the gym, and I could see his persnickety car in the lot along with all the others. I was glad I wasn’t with them all and strode past, knowing the sunset would be spectacular. The air had lost its acrid smell and a pleasant breeze was blowing.
I love to walk. The problem is (and has been for years) that my shins always hurt. Or my feet. Add years to that and other aches and pains come and go. Right now, I have a serious problem with tennis elbow. And I’d love to blame it on playing tennis, but that’s not the case since I barely know what one looks like. It really kicked up when we were swimming this past summer and has only worsened. My friends chide me that it’s all the blogging I do. Fine. Why doesn’t my right had or arm hurt? Huh? It’s so tiresome.
But yesterday, NOTHING HURT! (Not counting my elbow, which I finally iced thanks to this site, so now I can officially call myself a cyberchondriac.) Totally amazing. I was able to zip along, push myself, enjoy the dark lavendar clouds tinged with peach change against the setting sun to a sooty grey in a field of deepening sapphire blue. Spectacular. Right under three miles in 25 minutes. Not bad. Stinky, but not bad at all. And I beat the MoH home.
A good way to cruise into the month of November, don’t you think?
And NaBloPoMoHo-Ho-Ho is around the corner. Blogging every day. Um, like this isn’t something I do already? I’m going to one up it, cut the length of these posts, and work on my food blog since I usually only complete two a week there. Is that cheating?
You need to sign up for NaBloMo. Come on. Click on those pink lips up there and join in. I only have two friends and the more the merrier. It will be fun. Except I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to handle the week off we have around here before Thanksgiving. Hmmm…
I’ll think about it later.
Gotta go. I’m off to a friends to cook. Not for me. For her. She’s expecting and we’re cooking and freezing dinners so she and her huzbink can take it easy after she delivers. They need to. She was having difficulty conceiving. Tried everything with no success and so decided to adopt a beautiful baby boy this past June. And guess what? Yep. She’s due in December. She’s been off her feet for some time now, and so is in the stretch. Life’s funny, isn’t it?
And if this post wasn’t the biggest load of unfocused blathering, I don’t know what is.
I love Las Vegas. The MoH and I have our trips down to an art, honed over many years of celebrating the end of tax season. The only reason we went at this point in the year is for football. Another couple was supposed to have gone with us so the guys could hang out in the sports book at Caesars and watch as many games at one time as possible. But they bailed on us in the end. But the other reason October is a good time to go is because so many people now wait until October 15 to do their taxes, it’s like there are now two tax seasons. That part is a drag. The nice part is there are more opportunities to go to Las Vegas. Do we have money to throw away? Are you kidding? We just don’t get the sprinklers fixed or the sluggish drains in the bathroom sinks unplugged. Tolerate spots on the carpet and wear clothes that are so five seasons ago. Feh.
The first time we went, we stayed at the Continental — long since torn down, thankfully. I have less than stellar memories of shag rug with cigarette burns, a buffet that rolled out in those public school looking serve yourself stainless carts, and a boozy sounding woman who sang in the late afternoon to the accompaniment of people dropping nickels and quarters into slot machines. It was off the strip, and full of people not remotely close to our age. I survived on a rationed roll of nickels slipped from my luggage each morning and evening. What is that, four bucks? No chance of that now. It isn’t that it’s not possible. I just wouldn’t bother going otherwise. There are too many other places to get away to that don’t have what Las Vegas has. Honestly, where else can you get free drinks as fast as the cheesily dressed waitresses can bring them, see a young man with his head shoved deeply in a trash can and barfing, and watch a lone high roller win over $50,000 rolling dice in less than 15 minutes. Las Vegas.
There have been great times and not so great times. We’ve taken the boys and we’ve left them at home. We’ve gone with family and friends. For a while, we were hooked on staying downtown because we swore the slots were looser and we knew the blackjack tables were cheaper.
And we’ve taken the car, but only a couple of times. Flying is much easier, even with all the security everyone has to endure now. We’ve rented cars to get around in, but have figured out that it takes longer to stand in the rental line than it does to fly there, so use a taxi now.
Like I said. Slam, bam, and we’re there. Blink, and we’re back.
Other than the non-stop construction in Las Vegas, and the increasing number of amazing restaurants, the only noticeable factor is that depending on what day of the week we’re there, and what casino we’re in, everyone seems younger than we do. How sad is that? Well, until we were returning from The Wynn and began to see men in grass skirts and women wearing leis and others with odd looking palm trees perched on their heads. Jimmy Buffett? Someone at the airport asked if that’s why we were going. Um, no. But, yes, Margaritaville was in full swing, with a barbeque going, smoke billowing, and music blaring. The usual row of crowd ooglers was lined up outside the bar actively engaged in yelling at passers by. I got the general impression that the more scantilly clad the person was, the louder the calls were. So, no. None of them yelled at the MoH, hunkster that he is. He had difficulty sleeping that night because of the dejection.
And what’s up with all the fancy evening wear now? I’ve never noticed it before. I’ve not seen so many short dresses since I wore them in high school. Hell, even shorter. Shiny, sequined, gauzy, sparkly, short, short skirts. I’m thinking there could be some problems with a dress so short and tight, from the rear, one would be taking his life in his hands if he glanced downward to notice the wearer was sans underoos. “What’s the point of the dress?” I asked no one in particular. The MoH just looked at me wondering if I really had to ask. The wearer and her friend were clearly very late to something and skittered past us in their clacking heels, barely handling the strong winds in their flight — one skirt inching up, the other tossing up and around her ample rear end.
Closer to our destination and out of the wind, a willowy blonde hurried just ahead of us in her silver metallic dress. Approaching from the opposite direction were three others not making much of an attempt to disguise their appraisal of the blonde. As the trio passed, it only took the MoH a second to whisper their conclusion about the blonde in a perfect imitation of a catty female’s voice, “Oh my god. That dress is so Las Vegas.” *sigh*
It’s good to know that women traveling in packs can be so sweet…
The shopping is quite lah-tee-dah now. It does make sense that if you should win a hefty jackpot, you can hop on over to the mall at Caesar’s and pick up some baubles at Harry Winston. But for people like me, the swanky malls serve a purpose. After I’ve lost my ration of pennies for the day, I can drool on the windows.
The show La Reve was quite entertaining, but I found myself wondering how the performers deal with being in the water for two performances a day. Wrinkly?
And dinner at Bouchon was to completely die for. The restaurant is tucked away in The Venetian in a ritzy area of the hotel where the rooms go for about $800 a night. Those lovely flagolettes and leeks with that heavenly sausage…Those slow cooked short ribs and that dreamy sauce? Mmmmm…And the French Margarita? Interesting.
Our hotel? The rooms in Paris are excellent. Tres chic or something like that. And there’s a great little French bakery that makes the most flaky pastries I’ve had. Overall? We spent more time in other casinos.
And I did win. Several times. But that doesn’t ever mean I come back with money. It just means I get to sustain my time at a machine listening to the music and sipping my ice cold Coronas.
But the smoke? It kills me. I think all the people who can’t smoke in California hang out in Las Vegas and smoke all day. You know how the smoke from a barbeque or a campfire seems to follow you? Well that’s what it’s like in Vegas. When I sit down, invariably, someone with a cigarette sits next to me. It’s actually quite funny. I don’t complain. I don’t move. I just end up looking like a vampire. It’s embarrassing.
Oh look everyone.Â Another Saturday.Â I continue to be amazed that the days on the calendar just whip by with such complete disregard for the fact that I’m on the back side of a half century and it’d be nice if things could slow down a bit.Â Not permanently, of course.Â But long enough to allow for the extended time I require to think about things that really don’t matter in the grander scheme of the universe and the survival of the species.Â I don’t know which particular species, but still.
But there are some things that matter so much, I can’t imagine what I’d do without them.Â The loss so many have experienced this past week in San Diego in the wildfires has prompted me to wonder about choosing if I had to.Â But my choices aren’t necessitated by a fire.Â They’re the result of simply taking stock, and acknowledging what keeps me anchored.Â Understood is that family and friends are not something to be considered here.Â Period.
Solitude.Â I can be around many, many people.Â But I prefer not to.Â I love the busy roar of a large city, but not as much as a winding road and low grass covered hills.Â And music?Â It can bring me to tears, cause me to dance,Â or force me to sing along whether there are words or not.Â But even music can’t compete with my need for solitude.Â The quiet I enjoy for part of every day when the only sound I can hear is the rustle of trees outside my window, or the creak of wood somewhere in the house matters.Â Plain, simple quiet.
My stove.Â I could say cooking, but not being one of those Top Chef type people, I wouldn’t want to have to cook on a hot plate, or a sterno flame.Â No.Â I’d need my stove.Â The one with the nine cheery red knobs.Â I’ve heard people say they love their cars — the purr of the engine, the handling, the acceleration.Â That’s how I feel about my stove.Â Ah…the sound it makes when those convection fans switch on.Â Vroom…vroom….It isn’t in my kitchen because its design is sleek, although it is.Â Or because its technology is a wonder.Â But it is pretty amazing. It’s in my kitchen because IÂ use it.Â Seriously use it and have fun the entire time.Â It connects me to food and family and friends.Â Creativity and learning.Â Tradition and new cuisine.Â It provides the peace of mind that diligently proceeding through a set of steps can provide, and at the end of them all, have my taste buds sing.Â Could I have all of this without my particular stove?Â Certainly.Â But it just wouldn’t be the same.Â It weighs a bit more than my Mac at about 1,000 lbs. so it isn’t exactly something I can ever take with me if I go.Â But I’d find a way to get another.Â Trust me.
My Mac.Â It has one little plug that connects it to my house.Â One.Â But it connects me to so much more than I can possibly be connected to otherwise.Â Ironically, I’m writing this on the MoH’s laptop, and it’s fine, but it’s not my Mac.Â I could make due with a different computer if I didn’t have a Mac.Â I can buy just about anything I want, read (which would be another thing I wouldn’t do without because it’s like breathing), travel, learn, listen, create…But it wouldn’t be the same.Â Iwouldn’t have my lovely screen, or sleek white lines, or easily swiveleing-thingy-ness.Â I wouldn’t be able to waste copious amounts of time with iPhoto, or click open my Finder services for the Oxford dictionary (the Webster widget doesn’t come close…).Â And photobooth, and iChat (which I’ve just learned to use).Â Pathetic, isn’t it?Â Don’t even argue with me about this.Â I’m a goner.Â And iTunes?Â Well.
Rod wants to know what’s on my playlist.Â I don’t have an iPod (solitude, remember?) but I do happen to have three whole playlists on in my iTunes library which are organized very specifically.Â And when I check the list of songs I’ve played most, the following come up.Â They’re supposed to say much about who and what I am, or what I’ve been thinking.Â But I’ve developed an odd habit at this point in my life.Â I don’t listen to the words of songs.Â I listen for the melody.Â I listen to whether it’s written in a major or minor key, whether it’s sung by an uncomplicated voice and a single instrument, or an energetic voice and a band.Â And it’s all connected to mood.Â I listen when I have to write.Â When I have to sit at the computer and am easily distracted.Â I play it loudly, singing along — whether there are words or not.Â So I’m not sure what these particular songs say about me.Â I’ll have to think about it.Â But I’ll have to figure out what the words are first.
She IsÂ Â Â Â The FrayÂ Â Â Â (40)
SnowÂ Â Â Â Red Hot Chili Peppers (37)
BettyÂ Â Â Â Kate WalshÂ (26)
Savin’ MeÂ Â Â Â Nickelback (25)
If it Makes You HappyÂ Sheryl CrowÂ (25)
In NeedÂ Sheryl CrowÂ (24)
What About NowÂ DaughtryÂ (23)
When the Lights go DownÂ Faith HillÂ (23)
PhotographÂ NickelbackÂ (23)
Over YouÂ DaughtryÂ (22)
Squeeze MeÂ Diana KrallÂ (22)
You’re Still HereÂ Faith HillÂ (22)
Slow Like HoneyÂ Fiona AppleÂ (22)
TonightÂ Kate WalshÂ (22)
Nearness of YouÂ Norah JonesÂ (22)
This post was sponsored by Robert of Miscellaneous Ramblings who inquired about “Three Things I Wouldn’t Let Go,” and Rod of Inside Rod’s Head who insisted that “Our Players Don’t Lie.”Â The links provide the directions which areÂ blissfully uncomplicated.Â Yes!Â There is a meme god in the sky.
What do you think chick, vanessa, paisley, meleah, mel, jenny, phil, rj, scott, and micki (whom I know has a “meme-free” zone, but am asking the question anyway)?Â It’s an interesting exercise combining the two…I’ll have to do some analysis on it after I figure out the words of the songs I’ve listed.
Ah, moisture in the atmosphere. Nothing like a thick blanket of fog to dampen things and cool a few tempers. A bucket of cold water would most likely work better for some.
So here’s my list of recipients of the “Bucket of Cold Water in the Face” award for a flagrant display of ego during and after a catastrophe.
In a letter to the editor of the local paper, a woman from Imperial Beach (spitting distance to the Baja California border) for suggesting that “the power be shut down in the areas of high winds until they dissipate to the point that they pose little danger to the line.” Life is just so simple to some, isn’t it?
Our city attorney for suggesting that the entire city be evacuated to Yuma. Excuse me? Could someone — anyone — please oppose him in the next election. Please? He’s completely bonkers.
To the illustrious blow hard Rush Limbaugh for asking where all the “environmentalists wackos” are when the place is burning up and asking why they aren’t helping to fight the fires. What? Was he out of material that day? Oh, I forgot. He’s been out of material since Bill Clinton left office. Stupid me.
People who know their homes weren’t destroyed, but who were vociferously complaining that they couldn’t return to their own while their neighbors whose homes are in ashes keep their chins up, smile, and sift through what’s left of their belongings. Ugly Americans, indeed. Douse ’em again for just being a**holes. Okay, one more for the road. Losers.
Dub-yah’s motorcade and entourage for keeping people who had been told they could return to their homes sitting on the freeway for over four hours until he was done touring a burn area, and eating lunch at a fire command post. Sometimes, you just have to check your routines, right? Douse ’em good and then rub some mud on their faces.
Talk radio crazies who began stirring the pot about blame before the fires are out challenging why aircraft weren’t up in winds that exceeded 70 mph in some places dropping water and fire retardant. Skip the water on this one. Drop some fire retardant on their heads instead. Or give ’em a few pills to put them out of our misery.
A woman from Rancho Bernardo who felt that “the president picked a bad time to come.” Okay, so he could have waited a week, but Arnold was here for days, so Dub-yah had to be here, too, or he would have had egg on his face. Hmmm….No. Douse ‘er anyway for being self-centered.
To the woman who applied for food stamps because the power was out and the food in her refrigerator spoiled. How much food is that? And how big is that fridge? And how long does it take meat in a freezer to thaw out if no one opens the door?
To the media and their “helpful” public service advice with regard to the ash on our driveways and sidewalks: Don’t wash it off with the hose because it will end up in the water. (Um…has anyone noticed the large body of saltwater to the west? Do you actually think that it has remained remarkably free of ash to this point and that washing ash from our driveways will create a problem?) Oh, and absolutely don’t use leaf blowers. (Okay, so I agree with this simply because the make an annoying sound and do blow crap into the air — especially if someone hasn’t picked up after their dog.) Do use a broom. But sweep gently so the ash doesn’t go back into the air. By all means, do dispose of the ash in the garbage can. (Where it will go to the dump, get rained on sometime in the next century when it finally does rain, and then wash into the ocean.) Okay, so skip the water on this one. Just dump a truck-load of ash on her head. Or feed her to Rush Limbaugh for lunch.
Yanno, I was going to have a lovely, quiet morning. Feh.
After a much needed eleven hours of sleep last night (evacuated relatives, non-stop fire coverage, no school, no work, and a busy Las Vegas weekend) I stretched, poured my coffee and began to plan my day. Fire coverage is dwindling (thankfully and finally), the Santa Ana winds have completely died, and fire fighters are focused on what’s remaining — still a concern, but nothing like it was even a day ago.
I was cozied up to the MoH’s laptop (instead of my beloved mac since the RT is home and is putting in iTunes time) getting ready to do a bit of research on a recipe I’m going to tackle and I came across this article.
Remember when I had the nuclear melt down over the Jeep Princess a week or so ago? Well, that was mild in comparison to the flare of heat I felt when I read it. The rush of anger, barage of razor sharp opinions, and flow of thoughts bottled for the better part of a year made their presence known. Matilda the Hun is alive and well in the smoke-filled skies of Paradise.
And to put the turd in that caustic punch bowl…
Dub-yah just landed in Air Force One to survey the burn areas.
I was going to go get paint for the RT’s room, which we’ve been sanitizing and organizing together. Miracles do happen. I was going to be physically constructive for the better part of the day instead of exercising my agile fingers and brain. But the article was a serious deterrent. And Dub-yah is guilty by association with NCLB.
Before I really get going, consider this: In his sophomore English class, the RT has to read whatever he wants — at least 100 pages a week. No big deal. He has to keep a list of what he reads and make a couple of entries in a notebook. No guidelines, just a note or two about each item he’s read. At the end of six-weeks, the teacher will go around the class, look at each list, “pick one of the items on the list” then expect the students to write about that item in class for a grade. Can the RT do this? Of course. The kid reads. He always has. And yes, he can write about what he reads, if the teacher is willing to subject herself to his tortuous handwriting. But what is the real point of the exercise? To catch the students who can’t, don’t, or haven’t read? Or to confirm the original assessment that their writing skills are seriously lacking, and that even though you haven’t taught them anything to begin to correct this problem, you’re going to test them? A test is supposed to be a measure of more than just a student’s learning. It’s a measure of the effectiveness of one’s teaching, also. Or the quality of the test. Or the material taught. Or the motivation of the students. Or the motivation of the teacher. Okay, so this is going no where fast. This video sums things up fairly well.
Until everyone — EVERYONE stops thinking that “things” should remain the same as in the good ol’ days, and that what and how you and I were taught should be fine because “we turned out just great…” then we’re part of the problem. Unfortunately, a very large portion of the teaching force is part of the obstacle to change. A huge number of teachers are reaching retirement, and although many have had productive careers influencing countless children in positive ways, the sheer idea of having to learn radically different techniques that involve a strong understanding of how technology works is something less than attractive for many. Not all. Many.
Those interested in learning are facing obstacles caused by the dysfunctional system, the equipment, and the often less than knowledgeable quality of support staff. I’m sure I’ll burn with the politically incorrect in hell for making these statements — another problem. The world of education is quite two-faced. Face to face, it’s all peaches and rainbows. Behind the scenes, it’s all snarking and biting. It would make a terrific reality show.
There are newer, more idealistic teachers coming into the profession, some of whom are from different professions. And yes, they have much to learn from their more experienced colleagues, and should definitely listen. But it rarely works in reverse, and that’s too bad. Why is it that as we age, we close our minds? We think those younger than us, or from outside our system, lack knowledge and ability. We forget how we felt when we were their age, and what we knew. There is a very odd culture within the educational system that is unlike that of others who understand the value of working together, and sharing ideas. Individuals in the medical profession, engineers. There seems to be a fear that prevents the development of an intellectual community within the educational system. That if you gain certain heights, you’ve forsaken the masses, and are to be questioned. What is that called?
No, not all teachers exhibit that level of closed mindedness, but many.
I’ve raised three sons who are pleasant, productive people. They’ve watched some television, played some video games, played some sports, and had to endure some chores to earn an allowance. And they’ve had quite a bit of time to learn to entertain themselves with books and hobbies. To use their imaginations. To feel boredom and develop a willingness to do something about it.
Unfortunately, they’ve also had a fairly lack-luster experience at school with primarily lecture-driven instruction supported by textbooks that are so sanitized it’s a wonder the information inspires any degree of critical thought. They’ve had county schools, city schools, Montessori schools. They’ve had experienced teachers, new teachers, engaged teachers, and people who should have been encouraged out of the profession before their second year. They’ve attended low-performing schools, mediocre schools, and extremely high performing schools. It doesn’t seem to matter. We’re good at perpetuating the notion that learning occurs in a box in this country. Extremely.
It would be so easy to launch into a diatribe on parenting at this point because parents are the primary responsibility for their children. But if society acknowledges that not all parents are capable of raising their children appropriately (and they’re not because anyone can have sex, and unfortunately children can’t choose their parents), then the educational system has got to provide. (Rush Limbaugh is probably choking right now…) And what is provided can’t be the same across a district, or a county, a state, or the country. That thinking persists because it’s easy. That thinking persists because we’ve been doing it for so many years.
That thinking will persist until the people who work in the public education system work together to change their thinking.
It’s not challenging. You just have to be willing to wrap you head around the idea that things are possible instead of not. It’s called optimism. Optimists are shot down in the educational system. Those who stand out and work to achieve different possibilites are frowned upon and talked about. Surely, innovation is suspect. Negativity and snarking about “the pendulum” swinging back again inevitably begin. How nice to be able to act in such a sanctimonious way. To think that the kids are going to hell in a hand basket and that you can’t do your job because you’re not being given the same material you used to be given.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but school is supposed to be a place where you actually learn, and not show up to show what you know. Increasingly, it needs to be a place where students learn HOW to learn — impossible if someone is standing in front of the room talking and then assigning homework. When’s the last time you had to sit in a room and just listen to someone who couldn’t possibly know all he or she should know to teach you? Fun, wasn’t it? And yet we subject our kids to that.
I’m not suggesting that educators aren’t intelligent. No one in any profession can possibly contain all the information necessary to truly teach. Things have changed. Information is available everywhere. Students need their teachers to understand what and where the sources are, teach them how to discern credible information from what is faulty, and push them to develop their own hypotheses and investigate their own theories. Publish their own findings. Constructively argue the validity of their own findings.
Teachers are the key. They have to be. They can’t continue to complain about their administrators, the parents, the students, the lack of materials, lack of technology, support staff, pay, and stress on the job. All of those issues can be part of the problem, but when has complaining accomplished anything?
This rant is far from done. But it’s all over the place today, and god forbid that someone out there correct my choice of syntax and punctuation (which is much easier to do than use the questions I’ve posed to analyze and evaluate their own part of the problem).I respect the fact that anyone can stay in a profession for their entire career. That they can look back on their accomplishments and feel good about them. That they can speak as an “expert” because of that experience and make comments about “what the problem is” without considering that they, too, could have a share in being the problem.
That it can’t possibly be only the students. That it can’t possibly just be their parents. That it can’t possibly be just the administration, or the lack of funding, or the feds. That maybe. Just maybe. They are partially to blame because their thinking, their strategies, their unwillingness to become part of a solution, take action, and let go of their negativity, could be part of “the problem.”
When you examine the lives of individuals who are successful, and listen carefully to what and whom they’ve been influenced by, rarely to they say it had anything to do with their education. And if it does, it’s a dedicated teacher here or there. A coach, a professor, a dance instructor.
Ask a writer whether he or she learned to write in school. Rarely, if ever, are they able to attribute their skill, talent, and passion to any writing teacher — unless one considers a particular author a teacher — and I do. So do they.
Ask yourself to what extent your education inspired you. And not just through the K-12 years, but beyond. And then wonder what works, for whom, and why?
Or just pat yourself on the back that you made it to the end of this.