Saturday, January 2, 2016

Introduction for Spring 2016: Happy New Year!

Hi, everybody! My name is Laura, and I'm writing this Introduction post on a sunny afternoon on January 2, 2015... so, yes, the New Year has begun. New Year's is one of my favorite holidays because I get so excited about all the possibilities to come. At Twitter this weekend, I saw this quote, which really expresses how I feel about the year: it's like a giant notebook with 366 blank pages (Leap Year this year!) ... and I get to fill in every page with something new and exciting. I made an Automotivator graphic for the quote with a pencil-and-notebook image from Pexels:

New Year's Day:
the first page of a blank 365-page book.

Write a good one.

This past year was both great and also really terrible. In terms of school and work and learning and growing, it was fantastic; I had a chance to pursue some really amazing professional opportunities as an online teacher, and even when some of those opportunities made me nervous (new challenges!), I said "yes" to every one of them... and they all turned out to be great experiences. For example, I went to my first face-to-face conference in years, the fabulous Digital Media and Learning Conference in LA. Here are some smiling faces from that conference (I am in the middle with my friends Alan Levine and Kim Jaxon):

Alan, Laura and Kim at DML 2015

Plus, I was the keynote speaker for an online conference (Upgrading Online), and I also got a grant from Bizzell Library to add new reading materials to the Indian Epics class: we got to buy a complete set of Amar Chitra Katha comic books — and all kinds of other beautiful books, graphic novels, audiobooks... it's like an Indian Epics dream-come-true!

The terrible part of the year was that my mother died after a long illness. It's still really hard for me to talk about that, and now my dad is on his own (they were married for over 50 years), so I worry about him a lot too. My mom was always eager to hear about my adventures online, especially anything having to do with cats (I make a lot of LOLCats...). I know she would have loved the Growth Mindset Cats, which was another project I started this year that has turned out to be so much fun. I wish my mom could have seen these cats! Here's one of the growth mindset cats at random:

And, yes, my husband and I do have two cats, real ones, stray cats that we found in the woods around our house: Possum (you can see from the picture that she is possum-colored) came to us all hungry and starving back in the summer of 2013, and Einstein (so named because he is incredibly smart) showed up in the fall of that same year, so we've had them for a couple of years now. Completely different personalities, and they don't like each other at all... but we have a lot of fun with both of them:

(Possum photo taken by my husband)

(Einstein photo taken by my husband)

I'm working right now on getting the courses ready to go for January 11 (eeeeek, so much to do!), and I'm also getting ready for an OU Twitter Bootcamp that is happening that same week. Like always, I am super-excited to get to meet all of you and learn about your interests and read your stories. Here's to a fabulous and story-filled 2016!!!

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