A New Dream: Grades, Friends, and Florida

Grades, Friends, and Florida.

Old Fashioned Grading Book

Grading is done on computers these days. Well, that’s one thing that is easier about grading.

The fall term has ended and with the conclusion of the term comes grading.

Grading is a lot of work. However, the most difficult part for me is when it’s time to actually put the grade in.

I’m troubled by those students who straddle the border of pass/fail like a circus performer on a high wire. I have an internal debate and never feel great about it when I’m done.

Anyway, I’m done grading now and am happy to leave it behind.

So, what’s been going on? Well, the frigid weather seems to be a topic which continues to dominate the news and conversations.  And not for good reason.

Most conversations go something like this:

It is cold out there.


I can’t wait till this winter is over.

Me too.

Both participants of said conversation stare off and sigh. Clearly, they are both dreaming warm weather thoughts.

As I was putting on my third layer (you know what they say about layers. So are onions warm?) of clothing one morning, a thought ran through my head.

Actually, my mind wandered to the Friends episode when Joey puts on all of Chandler’s clothes. The two friends were having an argument and Chandler took Joey’s underwear. So, in retaliation, Joey put on all of Chandler’s clothes sans underwear and starts doing lunges.


Anyway, that’s what I feel like every morning is like.

  1. Get up.
  2. Put on as much clothes as I can fit under my jacket
  3. Leave house while calculating how many days are left till Spring.
  4. Chant Sand, Sun, Beaches, Oh My while shielding face from wind.

You may remember my chant from an earlier post. I am still using this trick despite the mixed results.  Anyway, when I posted this blog entry, I asked for additions to my kind of crazy cold’ list.

A number of people gave me some great and funny response, and I recommend you check them out on the post (SandSunBeachesPost) or on my Facebook Page. My favorite came from my colleague Maria M.

Here it is: It’s so cold that politicians have their hands in their OWN pockets!

By the way, Maria also teaches English and as you can see from her snarky comment (a word that she uses to describe herself), we Brooklyn High School English teachers are witty.

So, you’ve got Grades. You’ve got Friends. What about Florida?

Calm down Fox. We’re getting to your home state.

By now, regular readers are familiar with my desire to move to Florida upon retirement. A glorious warm place is the essential criteria. Well, this desire has changed.

And I bet I am not the only one who has had a change of mind.

Check out this article I wrote that appeared in the paper recently and find out how the dream has changed: The New Dream.


photo credit:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/victoriabernal/2289482819/”>victoriabernal</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>






Have You Ever Heard of Facebook?

Social Media Logos

Social Media Logos courtesy of Flickr.com


I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Facebook. Shoot unless you just washed up out of the sea like the Madison the Mermaid Darryl Hannah character from Splash, you heard of Facebook.

There’s only about 2 billion people who have Facebook accounts.  Remember how McDonalds says over a billion served. Well, that wouldn’t be enough to serve all the people with Facebook accounts.

I’m just trying to help you get your arms around those numbers.

Anyway, there is big news here on MMK. MMK now officially has a Facebook account. I know that doesn’t quite make it up there on the news with the moon landing, or Who Shot JR, or the latest Kanye video.

However, around these parts, it’s big news. I’ve debated doing this for a while. In fact to be honest, I have had a Facebook page for a few months. I just didn’t publicize the page.

It’s time to change all of that.

Let me come clean. I have issues with social media. I am not even sure how to articulate them.

“What’s on your mind?” is perpetually located on the Facebook site. But I rarely feel a need to share. The thought often goes through my mind – who cares? In reality, I’m kind of a private person. There are times when I would like my own island.

Let me guess what you’re thinking. “Uhh, MMK you’ve been blogging for nearly 2.5 years and have nearly 300 posts (holy crap!). You’ve shared some very personal stuff that now is floating around in cyberspace.” That’s all true.

Yet, when it comes to my blog, I take snapshots of my life, thoughts, etc. and choose very carefully before pushing publish. And even then, I consult Ms. MMK to see if I have gone too far. Sometimes, we disagree about what is okay to be made public. Anyway, the point is that the blog is highly controlled and limited. Know what I mean?

On top of my wacky inconsistent privacy rules, I am incredibly conscious of time.

I’m sure we all know people who are actively engaged in Twitter, Pinterest (know anyone like that Ms. Fox) Instagram, etc. Of course that doesn’t include Facebook and LinkedIn.  One question – how the hell do people find time to make the moments that they are always sharing?

Maybe, it’s me. Somehow the world is passing me by. Shit, I’m over 40. Am I dinosaur? I hope not.

Let me back up here. I do have a personal Facebook account and actually go on it occasionally (mostly for my dad bloggers group – thanks Oren Miller). I have a LinkedIn account. And oh yeah, there’s that blog thing that I have posted to twice daily for nearly two and a half years.

I don’t have a big point here. However, I am issuing a call to action. Click here to check out my new Facebook page: www.facebook.com/Writings.of.Larry.Bernstein.  Check out the new cover page – thanks R.L.

So, I am joining 2 billion people who also have Facebook pages. I may not change the world, but I will be active and have some fun. So, make sure to like me (like me, really like me), join the conversation and let me know what you’re thinking. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Who knows – maybe Twitter is next?

Give Me Back My Darn Email

Courtesy of Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

I am not into Twitter. I am only quasi into Facebook.

However, I email regularly. I receive emails all day. It’s no exaggeration to say that I get over 100 emails a day. And that is my personal account.

Sure plenty of them, even the majority are junk emails. No, I don’t need a daily reminder of the sales at Hanes, Jos. A. Bank, and Lands End.

However, there are a number of emails that come through every day that matter. Business, personal. Whatever.

As you can gather, I have come to rely on my email very much.

And why not rely on email?

Continue reading

Becoming You

BecomeWhen my brothers and I were children, my aunt and uncle tape recorded/interviewed us. My oldest two brothers had a debate on football. My next older brother sounds listed the television shows he watched and the times and channels they were on – he sounded like a human T.V. Guide. Then it was my turn. My aunt and uncle asked me questions such as where I lived, who my best friend was, what school I went too, etc.

When they were ready to interview the next person, I asked to do it again. I said, “I can do it better.” I was no more than 6 years old.

Do you ever wonder when do you become you? When do you display the traits that stick with you for a life time? Is it when you are five and you are headed to kindergarten? Or maybe, 13 when you hit your teens and puberty? Or is it 21 when you become of legal drinking age? Or is it when you become 30 and gain perspective? Or is it when you are born?

When BR, my 9 year-old, was first born his eyes were wide open. I commented on this to the nurse who told me, “Oh that’s common. He’ll shut them soon.”  Well, we are still waiting. He is a ball of energy.

BR’s latest obsession is with baseball statistics. He carries around two statistics-filled books around the house (when he is not on the computer viewing MLB.com) as if he were Linus and the books were the blanket. His previous obsession, the presidents, seems to have faded away. Maybe, this obsession, statistics, sticks. He gets a job as a statistician, actuary, accountant – something numbers based. Maybe, he is a numbers boy who will turn into a numbers guy.

When SJ, my 6 year-old was first born, he came out plump with his eyes half closed. I commented about how he looked so sleepy. The nurse (a different one) noted that many babies come out with their eyes slightly closed. Well, SJ is a great sleeper. He is very content to watch television (though he does enjoy the park and his bike) and charges downstairs when I call out dinner time as if he were a bull exiting the gate at a rodeo.

Recently, SJ told me he wanted to be a meteorologist. He used to say Thomas the Train. When questioned as to why a meteorologist, he told me, “This way you get to be on tv and everyone watches you.” His instinct for showmanship is not something new. Every Friday night while we are eating our Sabbath meal, he shimmies on to the coffee table and introduces us to the SJ show. He will sing, tell jokes, and dance. He also bows, says “Thank you, thank you,” and insists that we clap. So, maybe he is a future entertainer of some sort. He is looking for that attention that second children see the first born get.

Then, there is me. I think about that tape my aunt and uncle made. “I can do better.” This thought often goes through my head. It both boosts me up and knocks me down. I am proud of my desire to learn, understand, and grow. Yet, the feeling that I can always do better hinders my feelings of satisfaction.  Contentment within myself is not something that comes to me easily.

Do you become you at some point and stay you? Recently, an old friend of mine contacted me – of course through Facebook. I had not spoken to her since my early 20’s – nearly 20 years ago.  I wonder if we spoke to each other or to anyone else, for that matter, to whom we had not spoken to in an extended time, would they recognize or see the same qualities?

I suppose there are a core set of qualities, values and instincts, etc. that one retains throughout life. However, maybe you are becoming you every day. Every day you are you even if you are a new you.