* Noom

Noom is a weight loss program using behavior changes, realistic goals, and an individualized support system. Research suggests it is an effective approach (and its stats are booming). Noom has a well-designed app, making it simpler to log weight, exercise, and food, ask questions, etc. I easily synced the Noom app with my Fitbit instead of tracking steps through my phone.

I participated in a brief trial to see how it works (my hedge-cutting adventure brought that to an abrupt end!). You can start for free or select a price you’re willing to pay. I was able to cancel instantly with no hassle. They offer a wide range of ongoing programs, including one for Noomoms. Great Noos! You can nominate a mom who’s given birth in the last two years to receive a free year-long program with Noom!

Noom starts you off with a lot of info gathering so that their support matches your needs. As a teacher, I appreciate their pre-assessment and efforts to understand how I respond to feedback. Support is a big key to this program. Two coaches immediately contacted me and I was going to be assigned to a group with similar weight goals and preferences.

Noom emphasizes the slow and steady approach to weight loss. The types of behavior they encourage include greater awareness of eating habits, a no-shame approach to missteps, accountability at a comfortable level (based on your feedback), and color-coding caloric density of foods.

Given my current weight and use of FitBit, I really don’t need Noom but I kinda wish my dearest teaching widower would show some interest in logging food and tracking his exercise. Noom makes it VERY easy to log food, dear man. If you are looking to start serious weight loss, I would definitely recommend Noom. Did you hear that?

* Tuesday writing prompt

It’s my turn to get a writing prompt after years of providing them to struggling writers. I am trying out Devereaux Frazier’s weekly challenge. His prompt is the word ‘crucified.’ I certainly never came up with this one for my students!

I imagine most people think of Jesus when ‘crucified‘ is mentioned. His was the most publicized torturous death ever. As a Jesus follower, I am forever grateful for his death and resurrection, but I hate to linger on the details of crucifixion. I won’t watch The Passion or read about being crucified. What creatures we are to devise such things!. Yuck.

I wonder what the Romans would think of millions of us wearing crosses out of gratitude. It’s not what anyone expected. I used to think it was a myth, until I met Jesus myself. Wow.

Thanks to Bob at Of Cabbages and Kings for leading me to this prompt!

* Christopher and me: changes

For those of you who haven’t followed my blog, I’ve spent a lot of time working with Christopher, my nephew on the autism spectrum (aka A Sweet Dude). When Christopher lived here a couple of years ago, he had to put something in his mouth, preferably his finger. At that time, we replaced it with a neckband and chewie.

chew.JPG

On his recent summer stay, I noticed his new replacement behavior. As Christopher has matured, and most likely in response to strong criticism, he has replaced chewing with hand movements, typically flexing his hand open and shut. He doesn’t try to hide those movements and seems unaware of them. I’ve seen a major increase in flexing when he’s anxious. However, this action could be hidden by a desk or table, which may reduce scrutiny by others.

Christopher’s cool dude look! Missing this sweetie so much!

* Sci-fi thoughts (3)

Having been typecast as a teacher for almost half a century, I understand how actors can find themselves in the same roles. I haven’t finished Another Life series but did make it through 2036: Origin Unknown. And of course, I loved Battlestar Galactica.

It was a bit disconcerting to find this determined woman again! Especially since she wasn’t ‘alive!’ Oops, spoiler alert.

Find a link to an article on her thoughts about being typecast here.

Katee Sackhoff is a great pick for all her sci-fi movies/shows because she knows her way around a spaceship and has a kick-butt attitude that serves her well. For this fan, it’s a bit of a challenge to keep her identity straight. I wouldn’t cross her, though. She’s pretty lethal. In fact, she’s shocking!

* Shocking!

I was doing yard work yesterday and decided to speed up the process. As I clipped the tops off the overgrown hedges, I’d reach for the cut portion and toss it into a neat pile.

Unfortunately, I managed to grab the branch, snip the cord to the clippers, and nearly cut off the top of a finger in the process.

After a few hours in the ER for an EKG, x rays, and stitches, I reconsidered my ‘time-saving’ plan. I have a whole new level of respect for the wallop of electricity in those cords!

* Sci-fi thoughts (2)

Yesterday’s post had to be credited to my dearest teaching widower but this one is all on me. If you haven’t seen Stranger Things, the hot Netflix series, you’ve heard about this awesome series, right? Without spoiling it for you, let’s consider another sci-fi glitch which drove me crazy.

Here’s a photo of Eleven in Season 1. Look at what you can see of her hair. Obviously hers.

Millie Bobby Brown in Season 1

Now see what a mess they made of her hair in Season 2? As a curly-haired person, I know Eleven does not go from straight (maybe wavy) and brown to curly and almost black. Yikes. I wished they’d asked me for advice. On the other hand, I have never written a story as great as this series, so I should try harder to overlook the wig. Oops, I can’t.

Season 2

* Sci-fi thoughts (1)

These are really my dearest teaching widower’s ruminations on flashlights, but he hasn’t copyrighted them, so here goes. As movie aficionados, we both see plenty of sci-fi movies where the actors venture into a scary scenario, somewhere dark and cave-like. It could be another planet or another century. What do theses scenes all have in common? Pitiful flashlights that only allow a sliver of illumination, despite having access to time machines or body shifting or whatever.

When we were at the beach, my widower pointed out the above “sci-fi” scene.

I had never even thought about it until our trip this week, but he’s right! For some reason, flashlight technology remains the same across universes and time travel and warp speeds. Crazy, right? But this tech glitch keeps us on the edge of our seats, knowing there is an alien just ready to jump out of the darkness. Perhaps it’s for the best if filmmakers don’t worry about these antique light sources….

* Lines in the sand

My Ten Things of Thankful does not include the typical “back to school” nightmares I’ve had for 49 years now, but a certain level of anxiety improves performance, right? To continue:

  • We were not t-boned as I ran a stop sign on our way back from the beach. I am SO grateful that we raced through unharmed and that my dearest teaching widower had sort of dozed off, so he didn’t shriek.
  • We had a great time on vacation, with lots of prayer walks and opportunities to admire sand sculptures.
I may use this as my profile pic somewhere!
  • We faced an ant invasion of incredible proportions upon our return. When my dearest teaching widower offered to get me some guacamole and chips, he said an ant had launched itself onto the guac, leaving me a special message!
  • Another surprise was waiting for us yesterday: a broken hot water heater. Amazingly, it was replaced today! Yay! Water is back on! Laundry is done!
  • We were greatly missed by the deer who constantly stream through our neighborhood and yard. (This squad was across the street, having finished off anything of value in our yard.)
  • Thanks to the deer, I’ve coined a new term for where we live: neighborhooF!
  • Many thanks to Eva for her tip on rolling up clothes to conserve space. Everything was fine when unrolled! Wow! (Check out her website for the fabulous books she’s written!)
  • Oh yeah, back to the sand. I noticed that many of the creative efforts were an ill-fated attempt to stop or channel waves. Kids and adults alike spent hours digging trenches and moats. I could have told them resistance was futile….
  • I’m enjoying my new iPhone 10XR a great deal, probably to the point of obsession.
  • I got to play with a student today, thoroughly enjoying our laughter and games! What a sweet family!

Thanks for dropping by! I hope to blog more regularly but we’ll see….

* SoundingBoard

SoundingBoard byAbleNet is a free IOs app designed to augment communication when paired with a switch. AbleNet provides a wide range of assistive technology devices to support communication, including speech generating devices, switches, and accessible toys. The image below shows the main menu of SoundingBoard, significantly enlarged.

It took me a while to figure out how to create a usable board, but I’m not a rocket scientist. I did not use their symbols library, although it is quite extensive. You may also select from your own photos, which is a nice option. If you want to make this switch-friendly, all text must be recorded. The font size is miniature on an iPad and non-readers would have to memorize tiny icons.

I ended up deleting all the preloaded boards, which are definitely suitable for a wide age range. My students would not create shopping lists, but the workplace board (shown below) could be used for students in a work training program if they used switches to communicate quite minimally.

The tech support is great but the boards available for purchase are similar in quality to the free boards. SIgn language symbols are included for some topics. Boards can also be linked to one another, but using a switch means that the related boards are all scanned as ‘primary sources.’

If you have students who rely on switches for communication, this app has a lot of potential, but I would suggest individualizing it with meaningful icons and photos. I am recruiting a young man to record a ‘natural’ voice for a 13-year-old user.