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Month: September, 2012

Best 20 options ~ The Plan cont.

Paradise found…times 20. Adventure. Family. Exploration. Living. http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/kits/how-to-retire-overseas-kit-2/

The Plan continued….

Costa Rica: A Tropical Paradise You Can Call Home http://internationalliving.com/2012/09/costa-rica-a-tropical-paradise-you-can-call-home/

rear window

rear window.

No more homework…for kids AND teachers?


What if?

What if we set a quality-of-life goal for all school-age kids AND teachers of “8-8-8” ?

Simply put:

8 hours of challenging, modern, and efficient education

8 hours of family time, recreation, extracurricular pursuits

8 hours of sleep

Consideration of all involved (kids, educators, and parents) in education should demand the leveraging modern tools of communication, education, and productivity for all involved.

There’s no educational Utopia, but there’s a most affordable and productive tool ready to beta test, tweak, and roll-out in our public schools. Private schools, STEM schools, and even very priviledged charter & public schools use modern technologies today. Why can’t all schools? Think tablets.

The photo here shows 1 math lesson in 1 class of 18 kids and 1 teacher. This took me 1 hour to tear, fold, sort, and stack. What about the distribution, completion, grading, and return of results energy, time, and expense for this 1 lesson? Millions of lessons, kids, parents, volunteers, and educators per week? All paper and pencil? Really? In 2012?

What if every teacher had her or his own virtual assistant distributing assignments, encouraging kids during thier work, and offerring kids, teachers, administrators, AND parents instant, real-time, and/or daily outcomes per child, per class, per school, per district, per state…you get the virtual picture. Teachers need greater efficiencies more than anyone involved in education. Greater productivity tools lead to greater free-time and happier teachers. No more working at home for hours every night. If we cannot afford to pay teachers what they are worth, then just re-allocate current funding for pencil & paper lessons to electronic lessons & secure tablets with writing stylus. Teachers really plan lessons and can teach during thier 8 hour workday. Kids work efficiently and learn in fun, modern ways…and maybe have more time available for exercise and the arts too. Parents can be as real-time connected to thier child’s daily outcomes as each wants to be or can be. Administrators have remarkable outcome measurement tools. Unreal possibilities.

It’s practically modern. It’s like being Japanese or any better, forward-thinking, cutting-edge, brilliant, modern educational system. More learning in less time with real-time feedback, encouragement, and rewarded educators, kids, and parents. More free-time for all. Less paper, energy, waste, and time demands for all. With Amazon’s kindle fire HD retailing for $199, there’s a remarkable deal to be struck for millions of units per state and with electronic content publishers. This can and should be a modern reality for all involved.

Keep our libraries. Keep the techy tablets secure at school. Send real books home to read at bedtime every night. Keep a few Rockwellian traditions of reading everday, keeping a daily journal, and frequent recess…but plug in a cloud-driven, modern, educational communication tool and it will be like a huge boost in pay (time and freedom) for educators and a real-time feedback opportunity for kids and parents.

Innovation is the key to pulling our educational systems, our economy, and our global success back up where each belong. Think tablets.


Merci, mon ami.


Damn you, dreams.


Just stumbled upon this shot. One of our annual trips to the Gulf. This shot was taken in a great little dive that is no more, thanks to Mother Nature. One hurricane. Gone. C’est la vie. Dad was in fairly good shape. Still knew everyone. Still traveled. Still laughed when he should…or just gave the usual look. Classic.

I had a wonderfully horrible dream last night. Dad was younger, trimmer, and was about to exercise around the neighborhood with Mom…dreamy stuff, huh? But….he had no clue who I was when I walked into thier living room of almost 50 years. Sad. But fair. Really fair. My dream was all too real. I would trade my existence in my Dad’s mind in a heartbeat for his return to good health and well-being for him AND for Mom. In his case, 77 years is just not enough. So cliche’ but so true. Life really is short. Too many ailments to consider. Just shut up, ignore the path most taken, and, as Frost opined…take the road less traveled.

Life is just too damn short….just like dreams.

never forget

never forget.

How about never retiring? Sounds good to me.

Listening to NPR on a Saturday morning and the chat is about 401k’s, “your number”, investment advisors, etc….and then there’s this modern family story in my inbox:

“The Roussel children are no strangers to adventure. Perhaps that’s because Jonah, 11, and Elijah, 18 months, have traveled rather more than your average Canadian youths.

Mom and Dad—Susan, 37, and Denis, 35—are self-confessed globetrotters. It helps that Denis is able to work from anywhere; he’s in marketing and online advertising. And Susan is a certified teacher who loves to teach and travel—a combo that works well, as teaching young kids (in English) is a job that’s easy to find nearly anywhere in the world.

Last year, they decided to do more than simply take a vacation. ”We just decided that we were going to make a move somewhere other than Canada,” says Susan. “We wanted to get away and experience a tropical hot climate for a year.”

The Roussels visited Costa Rica but didn’t find an area that “spoke” to them and their needs. When a family member insisted they check out Panama, Susan balked: “Isn’t Panama dangerous?We had no idea,” she laughs. “We had heard a lot about Costa Rica but it seemed no one talked as much about Panama.”

It seems Panama was meant to be. On the plane back home from Costa Rica, they found an article in the glossy airline magazine. They pored over color photos and read about Panama’s modern infrastructure and excellent residency programs. Though Panama was unknown to them, it seemed incredibly safe and stable.

Denis and Susan started to read about Panama in earnest in the pages of International Living. The Pacific coast beach communities near Panama City sounded ideal, especially the beach town of Gorgona. Adjacent to the growing town center of Coronado, Gorgona is convenient and very affordable.

“We’ve been in Gorgona for about four months,” says Denis. “We are planning on staying until June.” After that, the Roussels plan to go back to Alberta and decide whether to move to Panama permanently.

Even with the tuition fee for a private school… and $1,200 a month in rent for an ocean-view condo that is literally on the beach (the Roussels can step into the sand from the building’s pool area)…the Roussels are saving a lot of money. Their cost of living, says Denis, is about half what it was back home.

Jonah has taken time to adjust. But, says Susan, he is now starting to really enjoy it. “He’s so active here, he has lost weight and met other kids…half the time we look up to find him gone to visit some friend in the building.”

Susan says the locals in Gorgona have been very friendly and welcoming, attempting to teach her Spanish a little at a time. “We’ve also been able to spend more time as a family together,” she says. “We can have fun and not worry it’s costing a fortune.”

In addition, the excellent health care gives them peace of mind, as Jonah has a neuromuscular condition that could require medical attention at any time. “But most of all, we’re happy,” says Susan, smiling at baby Elijah as he attempts to climb everything in sight. “That’s all that counts.”

Crazy? Out of the box thinking? Just not normal?  Yes, please.

We’ll never retire. We’ll just keep on living here and eventually way over there too. Love this plan.

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