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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two

Dog and Sea Lion, San Diego Seaport Village
Happy New Year, everyone! May the year 2012 bring all of us wonderful blessings, and may we all learn from 2011 to make each year better.

I can't believe how time flies, 2011 is over in most part of the world now, and in less than 3 hours, it would be over also for me here in the US West Coast. I had been enjoying my Christmas staycation, and to think I only have two days vacation left and then back to work makes me a little bit fidgety because it seems always hard to transition from vacation days to working days :) But nevertheless, I am excited to be back to school, and work with my students. For two weeks, it feels like I have not seen my students for ages, and I do miss them a lot.

One thing that haunts my thoughts this two weeks vacation though is that I am not so sure if I have secured the lock of my small locker at school. Though I pretty much brought with me all my important items, but I forgot to bring the gifts I got from school home, and I believe I put them in my locker. Our lockers at school are very secure, however, it is my forgetfulness sometimes that gets in the way. I am just hoping that I locked mine completely and that the giver of the gifts will not see the gifts they gave me and will not think I did not take care of their gifts. I really had the full intention of bringing them home, but was too excited to go home on our last day before vacation started that I realized I have left all my gifts at school. I sure do hope they are securely kept inside my locker. I love the design of my school locker and I am thinking of getting another one. I hope my request will be approved, especially that the item is inexpensive from morelockers.com. There are so many choices to choose from, and what is best is that they guarantee the lowest prices. Time for me to make some requests now, before the two days vacation is over. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beluga

Photographing the Beluga Statue @ Beluga Point, Cook Inlet, Alaska

Our Beluga :)
And here is my swimming Beluga! :)
An Up Close Swimming Beluga 
Smiling Beluga
How I wish I can say that the last three pictures were taken at Beluga Point, Cook Inlet Alaska :( That would have been so awesome if we had seen beluga in the wild. However, these last 3 pictures of beluga were taken from Sea World, San Diego :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Salary is More Livable



Content by Donny Vinson

There’s nothing like working with your job to make your salary more livable, you know what I mean? I talked to my boss when I bought my house about how I was going to need a little extra cash and he agreed to put me on a new project where I’d be working about 10 extra hours a week but to bump up my salary. I think the way to do it in this terrible economy is to make things work for you so I’ve been doing what I can to cut my expenses on everything but the mortgage. I got a lot of my furniture secondhand and I’ve been looking on http://www.giveadish.com/and other sites to get some of my utilities down a little bit. There’s something to be said for having a grasp on your personal finances so that’s what I’m trying to do. I hate being house poor but with a little work it will only be a few months until I’m able to get back on track.

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Perfect Birthday Gift

Last March 2008, I had my share of job security scare. Despite my hubby's constant assurance that life would continue to be good even if I lose my job, I still could not help but  be scared. Deep inside, I knew I would not be comfortable to ask from hubby for money to send to my father who at that time was undergoing series of medical procedures and treatment. I knew hubby would not mind, but it was something I was not used to.

How did I end up getting a career scare? Let me recall.....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Starting the Class with Happiness :)

Let me take this time to share my other joy that I very seldom talk about. A joy that is not being outside of the doors, but being inside the classroom!
One of the joys in teaching is that, I get to share to my students the love for the Earth......and more.....

To start the class with happiness, I wait outside of the classroom to greet my students as they come inside. While I was outside greeting the students, the "greeting" slide projected on the screen inside our classroom greets and tells the students what they will be learning or doing in class.
An example of my greeting slide
Aside from the greeting, the slide has some questions which relate to the lesson that we will be learning. I provide this to the students so that they get to do something while waiting for the class starts. Because this has been a routine, students no longer ask me what they will be learning or doing because they know our class objectives are projected on screen. When the tardy bell (or second bell as we describe it in the Philippines) rings, the slide above disappears to give way to their warm-up exercises.
The students who paid attention to the questions in the greeting slide shows me their answers and they get some rewards. Sometimes, the reward is as simple as, "you do not need to do the warm-up", or "I give you one extra credit point added to your warm-up", and guess what? Students are usually happy with that one extra point or not having to do the warm-up! One of the reasons why I love teaching so much, is that I am so touched with how simple are the joys and happiness of the students. My students are my daily reminders that to be happy in life we do not need to have everything, for there is joy in our every accomplishments, even how little they may appear to us sometimes. Also, the joy of hearing the students say, " I love you, Mrs. L_ _", whenever they understand a concept and feel smarter, is just priceless!!
Another thing joyful about teaching is that I get to incorporate most things that I love in my work. I incorporate my nature photos in my slides, relating lessons to our natural world. I use technology in helping me keep my students motivated and on task. :) I love blogging which I use to help me extend my classroom outside of school where students can get access of whatever notes they have missed in class.
 Snipped Image of my Class Website
The moment students see me with IPAD on hand, they would react by working even harder because they know it's about their grades. And they know I told their parents that they can check the grades everyday to see how their students are doing.
Also, the Promethean slides help me a lot get my class start with happiness by putting all the smileys in addition to my smiles. I had never believed to never smile to your students until after Christmas. There is no specific formula to the challenging world of teaching, but somehow, I find modeling firmness (firm but not unreasonably strict), love and respect in the classroom helps a lot set the tone for a happy learning.When one's joys are simple, it is easy to give away a lot of smileys :) which generates really priceless ROI.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Nopalea

Nopalea or Prickly Pear Cactus
I am always drawn to the beauty of cactus blossoms, their soft petals shine like satin and the way the petals softly fold contrast their thorn filled stems.
Here in Southern California, they are probably the most common cactus that can be seen from the coast to the inland valleys
Prickly Pears Along the Coast
 to the mountains.
Prickly Pears on Mountain Slopes
Whenever I come closer to check the inner glow of prickly pear, I always find company who enjoys sucking the sweet nectar out of nopalea blossom.
Busy Bee Enjoying the Sweet Nectar of Nopalea
Happy Bee
Here in Southern California, you will see this cacti not only in wild, but also in the supermarket. Nopalea is a popular Mexican vegetable that is present in a variety of Mexican cuisine dishes. It is made from the young segments of prickly pear where spines were carefully peeled. Lately, I came across some interesting information about Nopalea. The nopal cactus, particularly the Nopal cactus juice, 

image from Trivita
has been shown to have some amazing health benefits. Nopalea contains rare and potent antioxidants that are scientifically proven to help the body reduce inflammation. When taken daily, it can help the body reduce inflammation, cleanse itself of daily toxins and promote optimal health. 
Do you or someone you know suffer from inflammation and its related health problems such as muscle, joint and body pain, respiratory, arterial, digestive tract widespread body cell inflammation? Nopalea is known to be an anti-inflammatory wellness drink and helps relieve pain since inflammation is a leading cause of chronic aches and pain.  If you want to learn more about Nopalea wellness drink, you can check the site of Trivita, a 12-year old company that helps people pursue physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Disclaimer: Pay Per Post is not affiliated with Trivita/Nopalea. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blogging Happiness :)

Blogging happine$$ - what started as a plain hobby a few years ago, now has become a very self-supporting hobby. Let me backtrack to what I wrote in my very first post in my very first blog outside of friendster five years ago:
"I love hiking. It is my most favorite form of exercise. I also love to take pictures of the places I hike. It is my wish to share the wonderful joys of hiking, of places one may not be able to enjoy unless they leave the main road, get to their feet to get more out of life. Come, let us hike……..while our legs are still strong…and while nature’s beauty are still there for us to enjoy…..for soon, we may lose them, unless we all contribute to take care of our wonderful world."
I started blogging for the purpose of sharing the simple joys in life that I found in our beautiful natural world. Each walk with nature for me is a prayer, feeling God's loving presence through the gentle whispers of the wind, the swaying of the trees and the weeds, the heavenly scent and sights of the flowers, the majestic artistry in exposed layers of the Earth, and just simply in anything there is around us that sometimes we fail to see in the middle of our busyness or lack of. Blogging has been my outlet to share the joy and sense of peacefulness and serenity that I find when I am out in nature. Joy that is independent of others and by no means no one can steal. 
After maybe three years of blogging, I opened myself to monetizing my blog inspired from the example of some blogging friends. At first, I was hesitant to monetize my blog because of many fears, such as fear of being misunderstood of blogging for money, etc. But then, in the deeper silence of my heart, that fear was very contrary to what I felt whenever I took a walk with nature, which was, "I have nothing to prove to others but myself and God". Thus, I took a stand, of monetizing my blog so I can use the extra income to:
1. have no worries where I will get my adopted scholar's tuition and school related expenses if and when I will lose my job since I will have a buffer from my blogging income.
2. be able to help others more.
3. save more for the rainy days.
and lastly, and maybe at that time really was the strongest force in making me decide to monetize my blog was:
4. to create an awareness that there are many ways to earn extra income if we know how to spend our free time more purposefully. That internet, is not only a means to chat away on our free time in social networks, but is also a means of sharing our joys, of gaining new knowledge from reading relevant sites, of gaining new friends, at the same time gaining extra income.
Never had I thought that my blog would generate enough traffic from various search engines to bring in monetized traffic.  Last month, I was sad to see two of "The Joys of Simple Life" (TJOSL) 2-year long sponsors go because my PR went down to 3. I looked at my search engine traffic, and it puzzled me what brought down the PR ,since the seo traffic was in fact increasing. Lost, I browsed online for search engine optimization to learn more about SEO strategies. I know most business owners employ seo consulting services to put their business website on track and get rank. However, I am no business owner, and do not know if I can afford to hire seo consulting services to gain back my old rank. Thus, I spent more time reading about search engine optimization instead of getting busy updating my status updates.
However, when one door closes, several windows open. An ad-publishing company from London contacted me through my blog's contact form, telling me they are very impressed with TJOSL's unique contents and invites TJOSL to join them. They gave me 2 options: write paid travel posts, or run signature ads at the bottom of my posts. I chose "write paid travel posts". I had no idea how much they will pay me for the first post I wrote for them- Home Sweet San Diego For The Holidays- since I would really be writing about it anyways. But I got a shock and little tears of joy after I saw how much I was paid. It was my very first time to be paid that much for a paid post. It's not that money is the motivation, but it just feels so joyful when someone contacts you personally, giving you praises for your work, believing in what you do, and compensates you for it. Joys of Simple Life, it is. I thank the Lord, always, for all these simple blessings that come my way. I hope to be able to grow in the technical area of blogging where I still have so much to learn, that is, optimizing search engine traffic. And who knows, someday, I may be able to offer sound seo consulting services  in addition to blogging happine$$ :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Joy of High Speed Internet :)

Have you been enjoying the benefits of having internet services? I do! I believe most of us do! These days, my bus rides never get boring anymore, as I can enjoy world wide web even in the bus :)
The Benefits of Technology these days, we have it on the go!
Also, it is now easier to find cheaper deals when we travel on line. Planning for a trip is a lot easier with the help of internet. Most home these days for convenience have internet. Because of the competitive internet service providers these days, the pricing has been competitive that benefits a lot of families. When I was new here in US, how surprised I was at how much cheaper the cost of dial-up was, I actually in my first few months availed of the free dial up! There was just no free dial-up in the country where I came from. From dial up, I progressed to dsl, and we keep on hopping always welcoming better service, the best value for the bucks, faster and cheaper.
Cabrillo National Monument
Whenever we have friends or family visiting, they always were amazed at how much do I know about San Diego everytime we tour them to places around town. My response always is: "thanks to internet!"
Also, whenever we travel these days, we do not go to places with blind expectations. Instead, I have my set expectations basing from my online research. I would search a lot of information about the place and then I would know if I still want to explore it or not. Shopping had also been a lot wiser with internet. Before wasting gas if which store has the best deal, we can find for prices on line first, and actually, sometimes, even shop online. Teaching also is now a lot easier with internet. I can make inter-active homework and practice tests for my students to do at home and they get automatic feedback if they get things right! But imagine doing all these at a very slow pace, that would be very tough. I probably would lose my patience. Thankfully, these days, the internet also has evolved and now offers a lot of high speed, such as Copper.net.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Life's a Beach...or a Bizz?

If life's a beach.....do I need a vacation?
But life's not all about beach, right? Especially now that winter is coming, and even if it is yet coming on the 21st of December, a lot of places already have been in horrible cold. For us, thankfully, it does not really get extremely cold. The morning may be in the 30s ( close to freezing point or even in freezing point), but our afternoon warms up to high 50s or 60s. To be out in the beach is still possible, those who gets into the water wears wet suit
Dolphins and Surfer (photo by ktl)
while for us, it means just simply enjoying the ocean from the sandstone cliffs, watching the dolphins interact with surfers, paddle boarders or kayakers.
Dolphin Meets Surfer (photo by ktl)
Right now, life has been so busy in my side, that I can say, "beach applies only on weekends :( " . Life has been a bizz for me. I had been swamped by assignments, and since "procrastinating" is the other me, I had been cramming for the past few days trying to beat deadline. For a while, I had not been updating nor even visiting my 2 sites. Thankfully, when I checked my stats just now, I am glad to see some traffic still coming in from various search engines, from people who are searching probably for more information on places they wanted to visit or hike. Sometimes, I wonder if I should avail of advertising campaign, to help increase monetize traffic. That maybe, even at times where I cannot update my site, traffic continues to come in with the help of BizzClick which offers their clients an opportunity to advertise within their network. Wish Santa would give me a gift of advertising for a never ending gift of traffic monetization. :)

Anyway, am simply taking a quick breather here, trying to say I am still here, and hopefully, will get back to the blogging mode when workload finally lessens. ONE MORE WEEK, and well, I probably enjoy "life'a s beach" everyday again.