Tuesday, February 27, 2007

St. Louis

I had a late start today but was just too tired last night to pack and make sure I had everything else I needed before I headed to Michigan. The hotels on the other side of St. Louis, including Effingham, IL, were already full so I'm on the west side and will deal with rush hour if necessary but wanted to make sure my car was parked in a safe part of town. And, I did complete 300 miles of the 800 mile trip so I shouldn't have any trouble getting there tomorrow - maybe even before dinner except that I have to remember I lose an hour by tomorrow afternoon. I hope to stay at least somewhat ahead of the new storm that is coming through or at least ahead enough that the roads aren't a problem. The 60 degress plus at home was just teasing me even though I'm not ready for winter to end. Now, if I could just get totally over this stuffy head . . . . BTW, it was great working with one of our teacher groups on Monday in Topeka. I'll miss them after this June.

Friday, February 23, 2007

strange maps

strange maps

I found this interesting site while I was looking for the famous New Yorker cover with a view of the rest of the country. Carol Berkin mentioned it in her talk today with teachers in Wichita as an analogy to how the British government viewed its colonies.

It was in the 60s earlier this week but winter is apparently coming back with a vengeance by tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

lemonade out of lemons

Have been busy doing grants and being sick - the combination of being around two sick people last week (who weren't yet sick when I was with them but apparently already incubating). I finally broke down and called the doctor for an antibiotic yesterday - am glad it's only a 5-day dosage. (Thanks, Teva Pharma!)

Last week I was served with papers telling me that a certian company was going to put in a methane gas well north of me within 1/2 mile. (And this week I have missed another similar delivery according to the message in my mailbox.) I had refused to sell my rights given that I did not want to give up any contro of my property - especially any that might result in irreversible damage to anything on the property - and because the money-making potential was low. Most neighbors looked at the initial sum but didn't see the part about the 3 years only applying if the company did NOT find anything.

When I headed to the farm Monday, I noticed a line of 5 gravel trucks to the west and figured something was up. Had seen driving in (on the south side) that my neighbor was putting gravel down at his pond entrance, which I found interesting, but didn't think more about it. So, I called my farmer since I knew he would know what was going on - well, house, what. . . Well, apparently the company received a big cash infusion last year and he saw them seal the deal when about 10 brand-new pick-ups with the company name on the side were parked at the steakhouse in a nearby town. The farmer had been trying to talk to the landowner to the west for me about buying a right of first refusal for when he was ready to sell - which would have been more than this company paid. But, I guess it's better than other alternatives there. The farmer was also the one who told me about how excited the southern neighbor was to have a road to his pond. I'm not sure he realizes how many more "guests" he will have now and there won't be anything left for him to fish.

So, this morning I was doing some stock research and my brokerage has a recommendation out just today on this company. So, I will make money this way given that there is a potential 50% upside. The money for the wells themselves will have a short peak and then drop-off so this will be a quick turnaround.

I also learned a great deal talking to geologists at the University of Kansas last week to find out if the drilling would cause a problem. The greatest potential for a problem is the saline water that is forced out to get to the methane and since I'm part of a rural water district and don't rely on a well, I'm good to go.

So, I can now drive by all the (at least eventually) unsightly wells and see $$$$. They only take a day to drill and apparently cost about $135,000. I'm thinking most of it is the gravel trucks from all over (every one was from a different company when I drove by the southern group yesterday)

And, to top this all off, Monday and Tuesday we had a great deal of snow melt so the gravel roads are now unpassable by some cars and I'm sure the county is not very happy about the conditions of its roads. They literally could not have picked a worse day to haul heavy trucks on gravel.

Later today I'm off to Wichita while watching the rain in Atlanta delay the connections to get my colleague here. At least we have warm weather for the next few days and I should be okay driving except for thunderstorms on Saturday.

I've taken a little bit of time this morning to have a "normal" morning since I won't really be home again until April to have a "normal day" here.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Successfully solved at least one minor crisis yesterday regarding an upcoming conference and also solved a challenge regarding the new requirements of the TAH program for the 2007 competition. I love collaborating with other people and making everything come together.

Most importantly, the crunch time to get ready to be on the road and in Michigan until late March is not on the horizon any more but staring me in the face. I've always wished I could twitch my nose like Samantha and put everything in its place just so I could actually do the work to finish my tasks. I am glad I ran across an item that said housecleaning can be good aerobic exercise. And, I can tell the small amount of yoga and pilates I'm learning to do is helping with not only my stress level but how I feel in general.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Officially Old

Confessions of a Community College Dean: " *

The Boy didn't believe me when I told him that when I was growing up, we only got four channels on the tv. Once I finally convinced him it was true, which it was, he responded: “You must have used the computer a lot, then.” I am now officially old.


Cool Tools for Managing Knowledge at A History Teacher

Cool Tools for Managing Knowledge at A History Teacher: "Cool Tools for Managing Knowledge
Published February 13th, 2007 in Cool Tools and Knowledge Management.

Last night I gave a short presentation to one of the Educational Technology classes at SDSU. I described the tools I use to try and organize the vast amounts of information I seem to so desperately need to survive. This post is going to quickly summarize the sites I shared and the role they play in my constant search for some sort of digital order in my professional life.

Educational Technology Personal Knowledge Management Project"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Confessions of a Community College Dean: Thoughts on the University of Phoenix

Confessions of a Community College Dean: Thoughts on the University of Phoenix: "Thoughts on the University of Phoenix

The New York Times had a story on Sunday (here) detailing the legal troubles the University of Phoenix is facing. In a nutshell, they included a shockingly low graduation rate, Intel's refusal to reimburse tuition there for its employees, allegations of serious overselling by its admissions reps, extreme reliance on adjuncts (about 95% of its faculty), shaky quality, and a general insistence on putting profits before anything else. The story lacks a punchline, since it's mostly a laundry list of accusations without much context. I'll try to add some nuance, to the extent I can."

The Federalist Papers

The Federalist Papers

My major professor will love this! And it will be a great resource for teachers . . .

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Google 1997 Page

Google Fans Collect Center - Google 1997 Page

This is Google a DECADE ago!!! For one thing, look at all of the technical references to actually use the site "on your server" . . .

Alphabet Meme

Since I did so well on grant writing yesterday, I get to take a bit of a break before I'm tired for the day . . .

A- Available or Single? Single

B- Best Friend? Marcia - we've been friends since we were fifteen - well more than half our lives and approaching a larger percentage . . . and through many life changes for both of us (she's the mother of 4 - one who is now going to my university . . . )

C- Cake or Pie? Pie - but ONLY with homemade crust and filling - apple or pumpkin with cool whip and doughdies (how do you spell that?)

D- Drink of Choice? Dr. Pepper, of course

E- Essential Item? hmmm. ... I have to travel with stuff . . . . now the most obvious answer is my laptop WITH my Sprint broadband card

F- Favorite Color? Purple- from well before it became the "in" color and when I was younger

G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears - and they have to not be the imitation ones; I even have a gummi bear necklace I bought in Georgetown in the 80s

H- Hometown? Missouri - the "show me" state

I- Indulgence? ice cream and HOT French fries with lots of Hunt's ketchup - but not at the same time . .

J- January or February? January - the starting over plus we usually actually get some snow

K- Kids and names? only special people get to call me "Kel" and I can still count them on one hand

L- Life is incomplete without...? other people

M- Marriage Date?

N- Number of Siblings? one

O- Oranges or Apples? oranges - primarily because it's easier to make sure you get a good one - but there's nothing like a great tart apple - the best I've ever had was touring Amish country in Pennsylvania

P- Phobias/Fears? bugs; have had to get over the snakes thing with the farm . .

Q- Favorite Quote? "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

R- Reasons to smile? my dog Shadow, a beautiful sunset, happy people

S- Season? fall - when we've had enough moisture for the leaves to turn - I actually like living where there are all 4

T- Tag 3 people? The usual suspects - you, and you, and you!

U- Unknown Fact About Me? I've had 3 concussions . . . .

V- Vegetable You Hate? I pretty much like them all - it's beans I can't stand - someone made me eat them when I was little

W-Worst Habit? worrying

X- Xrays You've Had? teeth

Y- Your Favorite Foods? a good steak and see Indulgences above

Z- Zodiac? Leo . .. as if you couldn't tell

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Incorporating Teachers into Teaching American History Grants

This article sums it up. Although I don't usually like education-speak, I do believe strongly that teachers should be stakeholders in TAH grants -including being responsible not only for planning but for active involvement and professional interaction.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Getting to the point

I was listening to a radio program in the car today and hear the standard "I'm going to get right to the point . . ."

Now, the question is, how can you get right to the point when you have to announce that that is what you are going to do before you even begin . . . . . ?

YouTube - Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

YouTube - Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

This is really about Web 2.0 and how we need to be thinking about how we can control all the information that is surrounding us and continuing to come straight for us.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The wonders of Google

I am an historian that is also in the world of evaluation in order to ensure that historical learning and not just "general" or "technology" learning was evaluated in some of our programs. One of the best things about Google is that if I run across a new term, I can simply google it. The only downside is terms with more than one meaning ( just like in history) and figuring out which one applies to the article and/or book you are reading. It also make it clear that students have no excuse not to consult the dictionary - especially now that some of them can even access it from their phone.

As the evaluation expectations are ramped up for Teaching American History grants, I have been researching even more of the history evaluation research available. It's wonderful that so many TAH projects have put their evaluation reports online - not only is it great public accountability, it's wonderful dissemination. I'm currently reading an article referenced in at least one of those reports that I discovered was also written by someone I have run across at professional conferences. The author was graciously willing to share his work and it looks like we will use it in our current grant applications. It is not only similar to what we have been doing all along, it brings us some comparison groups as well as incorporating all the work into a larger body of professional literature. Yuanlong Liu, Jianping Shen, Wilson J. Warren, and Lynne E. Cowart have authored an article in the journal, Teacher Development, entitled "Assessing the factorial structure of high school history teachers' perceptions on teaching American history." It's well worth a read for anyone interested in a topic.

I'm also finishing up my prep for a 3-day education presentation as part of a Gilder Lehrman Institute seminar in Wichita.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

it's Tuesday

Grant writing season is in full swing - all the personal interaction is great and this time I'm not trying to work 24 hours a day and set mid-point deadlines throughout so that it all gets done and I don't spend too much time obsessing over insignificant details. It's a good lesson in letting loose of some of the control that you really don't have in this process besides writing a good application.

I am glad that I don't have teaching responsibilities to balance right now.

I've developed a new tradition, I think - buy a new DVD movie for the Super Bowl. This year The Devil Wears Prada won the role. I also bought Season 1 of Boston Legal (we're taking teachers to Boston this summer and it's a fun city) and Season 1 of 24.

Shadow and I made the most of the snow at the farm. It was great seeing all the animal tracks. Too bad our mid-50s weather today melted most of it and left a muddy mess.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

February already

It's February already! We had another snow and it's just beautiful - and more enjoyable since we didn't have the ice, too. I've been having a great time walking across the frozen fields. I saw no less than 18 deer tracks going across the driveway the other day.

I'm busy working on grant writing and also took a trip to Kansas City to hear about some great history resources and their final book form.

However, this week is primarily grant writing time - especially since I only have about 2 weeks at home before going on the road and to Michigan State for a month. Sabbatical is going by sooooo fast.

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