Ode to Students

Are my substitute teaching days over? That’s yet to be seen. But just in case, I leave a few great resources for my former students. Click the blue-links below to learn more.

  • Become more powerful. Girls in particular often suffer from a lack of confidence that holds them back in school and career.wonder woman You can learn to appear more bold. But the astounding thing is, you actually become physiologically more powerful in the process.
  • The sleep-deprived teen. Can’t get to sleep at 9 pm? Need dragged out of bed in the morning? Falling asleep in class? It’s not your fault! There’s a reason, and you can take this to the school board to try to get school hours changed. Good luck!
  • A Better Way to Tie Your Shoes. You’ve been tying your shoes the same way since kindergarten. Who knew there was a better way?
  • Learn to Code. Want to learn the nuts and bolts of building a website? Here’s a great, free, online resource.
  • Program with Alice. Get your third-grader started early on the STEM path with Carnegie Mellon’s free 3D programming software.
  • Jimmy the Lonely Mule. For the littlest ones, here is my multimedia class project – an online, narrated, children’s book about my largest pets, geared to the preschool set.

Posted in General, Jobs and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Where I Call Home

In case you’re not from around here, and you think that the eastern US is one giant urban sprawl, or you’ve heard central PA called Pennsyltucky (an insult to both states), behold the beauty of where I call home. This video shows Big Valley, an area about 20 miles from me.

When you’ve lived in this splendor your whole life, sometimes you take it for granted. I had a high school teacher who was well-traveled, and he brought to his students’ attention his opinion that we lived in the most beautiful place he had ever seen. Who knew?


Posted in Country Living and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Magic in a Diaper

And now, Ladies and Gentleman, I give you the greatest, most incredible, cutest, most lovable human being to ever inject a boat-load of joy into a family!

Drum roll please…

Heeeeere’s Keegan, my grandson!


A baby is the one medicine that cures whatever sadness comes into our lives.


Posted in Family and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

My Blog Sucks

suckfaceDear oh dear, I haven’t written a blog post since January. This is mostly because there is nothing going on in my life that’s both suitable for publication and of interest to anyone outside my immediate family. But that’s never stopped me before.

After studying web development for the past 19 months, I know that this is one sucky website. Let’s consult the experts at websitesthatsuck.com to learn why.

  1. A website should offer some benefit to the user, not scratch an itch for the creator. I’ve tried to impart a bit of humorwisdom, and inspiration along the way, but the well just about ran dry.
  2. It should not take longer than 4 seconds to ascertain the purpose of the site. I’m still trying to figure it out.
  3. I should present myself as a credible professional. That ship left port when I posted Top 10 Perks of Unemployment.
  4. You’re not supposed to borrow your design from another site. This is a WordPress template probably used by thousands of others. I wonder how many of them have blogs that suck.
  5. I have never conducted user testing, although I did ask my mother-in-law what she thought about it. She is very biased in my direction.

Nevertheless, I persist. And there is one subject that I am most anxious to share. Stay tuned.

Posted in Humor, Web design by with no comments yet.

Advice for Grandmas

grandma_with_kidYesterday I asked a class of first-graders for advice on being a good grandmother since I will become one in June. They had plenty to say on the subject. So without further ado…

Grandma to-do’s:

  • Be nice
  • Give them money ($100 for Christmas)
  • Take care of them
  • Make breakfast
  • Take them to the park
  • Make blankets
  • Sew clothes
  • Be nice
  • Watch kid movies
  • Buy a crib
  • Read stories

What to avoid:

  • watching scary movies
  • doing jumping jacks (my favorite)
  • running
  • yelling
  • giving them the wrong candy
  • throwing the baby onto the hard ground
  • running with the baby
  • watching news on television
  • too many cats
  • feeding people-food to the cat
  • smoking cigarettes

Good grandmother names:

  • Graham Cracker (I like that one)
  • Grammer
  • Granny
  • Butterscotch
  • Meemee /Mimi
  • Grammie
  • Gram
  • Grandma

Posted in Family, General, Humor and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

A Year of Gratitude

I watched this video, and it seems like a good idea, so here I go.

November 7 – What a joy! I suddenly realized that the lady working in the cafeteria at work had been Kimber’s babysitter when she was just a toddler. And what luck, Kimber joined me for lunch, I took her over to Gloria, and they shared a big hug!

November 3 – Thankful to live in a country where I can freely cast my vote and hope for a better tomorrow. I’ve reviewed the candidates and am excited to visit the polls tomorrow.

November 2 – Poor Marie has been so sick for so long that I keep wondering if it’s time to say goodbye. But today she laid on my shoulder as she used to do. Maybe she’s not ready to give up this life yet.

November 1 – So happy that I could spend the whole day with my little Keegan even if he wasn’t always a happy camper.

October 25 – Discovered my name on a road sign today.

Discovered my name on a road sign today. Perhaps it will help me find my way.

Glad to return to blogging again for the first time since January. The clouds are slowly clearing. Also, I had a wonderful walk with the dogs today discovering new territory.

August 25 – So very happy to start a full-time gig as a software trainer..

June 15 – Ecstatic over the arrival of my grandson. I doubt if anything will ever top this.

January 31 – Well, as you can see, my interest/time for this petered out as soon as college and work started up again. Sorry.

January 8 – I’ve been blessed with the sweetest, friendliest cat in the world for 10 years, and I hope to have Marie another 10 following her surgery tomorrow.


January 7 – I forgot to snap a picture, but I was so happy for a rare lunch with my daughter today. Many of her patients had cancelled due to the cold weather, giving her time for a bite to eat and a chance to show me the designs she has chosen for the baby’s room.

Kimber white coat

January 6 – Ozzie, who hangs out at Blaise Alexander, was just what I needed on a cold winter day while I got my oil changed. Not at all impressed by me, he patiently endured my pets and hugs before strolling on his way. We need more Ozzies – at the doctor’s office, the shoe store, the dentist, kindergarten…




January 5 – Feeling well enough to forgo the cold med and do the laundry. I’m thankful that this washer and dryer is still going strong since Kimber was a toddler some twenty-odd years ago (knock on wood).

That salesman did not steer me wrong with the Roper.

That salesman did not steer me wrong with the Roper.

January 4 – Still have the crud today, but the boys got me off the couch long enough to take them some grain. Thank you Jimmy and Skye.

the boys

January 3 – Miserably sick with a chest cold today, I am grateful for my warm bed, time to rest, Nyquil and a 6th season of Doc Martin.


January 2 – I am grateful for my only child’s friends who are like part of the family, and for the women who taught me to sew as a child.


Rox stops by for alterations.

January 1, 2014 – It’s not because he’s simply available, and I have only 45 minutes left in the day. It’s because he has stuck with me through thick and thin and thinner that I am grateful for my husband, Don.


Posted in General and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

Mrs. Wray Returns to the Classroom

IMG_0139It’s been 2 1/2 years since I was a substitute teacher, and I never thought I’d find myself back here, but you just don’t know how life is going to surprise you.

Actually, I was dreading going back to subbing because it was so stressful, but this time around, I am much more relaxed. I guess 2 years as a receptionist in a children’s mental health clinic stood me well.

Subbing is usually fairly demanding, but today was very unusual. Take a look.

Posted in General by with no comments yet.

You Don’t Sing Me Love Songs Anymore

love songsBack in the days when our love was new, my husband wrote and recorded a couple of songs about me. I felt that I should return the favor. But the thing is, I suck at songwriting. I managed to string together the lyrics with lines so long and lame that Burt Bacharach couldn’t put it to music, and neither could I. And so I put it aside.

Last night Don and I were talking about our usernames over time (which is about as romantic as we get.) I explained how I started out many years ago on the BBS as “popcorn” which I was munching on at the time. I soon saw that the guys were not talking to me with such an androgynous name, so I came up with the seductive, “msamore.” I asked Don if I was still using that when we met online. Well, yes I was, and he thought it pretentious, but decided to talk to me anyway. I was aghast and popped out of my chair, hands on hips,

“PRETENTIOUS? How is it pretentious? I thought it was actually a bit too dirty.”

And then it came to me – his go-to login name – the simple string of characters that I fell in love with.

“Did I ever show you the song I wrote about you?”

Not that he recalled.

“Let me see if I can find it.”

Sure enough, there it was in all its glory, created 2/11/2005. Oh this was exciting! I had unearthed a lost testament to our love. I began reading it to him.

“Can this wait?” he interrupted. “I need another 15 minutes to finish what I’m doing.”

He was annoyed, and I was crushed. When he eventually spoke again, I pouted,

“You know I’m not going to read this to you now? I’ll email it to you.”

Later, when I saw him playing chess on his computer, I asked how he liked his song. Um, he had not read it yet. Still later as he walked off to bed, I asked again. Um, he didn’t want to read it when he was tired…he’ll look at it in the morning.

It’s now 9:30 am, and neither of us has mentioned it. It will be another 8 years before I bring it up again. Hmph!



Up again so late at night, another lonely quest
I must connect with someone soon, before I get my rest
Bits across the monitor spell empty promises
Men advertise their qualities so I will be impressed

I’d long since given up the search for princes on white horses.
The ones left looking were the spawn of lost love and divorces.
A one-night date, a loveless tryst was all I’d come to hope for
Then letters on my puter screen would set me off my courses.

DSR one-oh-one
You took me by surprise
DSR one-oh-one
Our lives together have just begun

Was it the roses you brought along the first day our eyes met.
Was it the truth you always put into the stories I’ll never forget
Was it the call you made to your sister to tell her you wouldn’t be home.
You didn’t want her to worry that you’d been caught inside my net.

DSR one-oh-one
You took me by surprise
DSR one-oh-one
Our lives together have just begun

Sometimes life is hard to bear, sometimes we think we’re done
Sometimes we give up too soon, before the setting sun.
I’ve had my happy ending now, the rest is just the icing
I’m happy with my prince for life, DSR one-oh-one.

DSR one-oh-one
You took me by surprise
DSR one-oh-one
Our lives together have just begun


Ugh, maybe it’s best that he didn’t read it.

Posted in Family, Humor and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.

Four Steps to a Happy Christmas

holiday sad or glad

Judging by the number of advice articles concerning holiday survival, you would think a plague of locusts arrived every Thanksgiving and stayed until January 2. Can you remember a time when Christmas was all about joy and goodness? Here is my prescription for reclaiming that magic.

1. Go easy on yourself

Is it etched in stone that you have to bake 6 dozen cookies? Are you legally bound to stack presents to the ceiling. Will Santa forsake you if you don’t string a thousand synchronized lights on your house? Of course not! You are your own terrible task-master! Lighten up on yourself! Save some time to sit back and enjoy the holidays. Do you really think your family will suffer from lack of sweets this year? Will anyone starve if you serve a light buffet of cold cuts and crudites instead of roast bird? Think of how much time you’ll have to enjoy your company instead of slaving over the dishes and gathering up wrapping paper.

2. Dump the joy-suckers

It may sound harsh, but if anyone is sucking the joy out of your life, get rid of him or her by Labor Day. Joy-suckers only get worse over the winter holidays. Don’t wait until s/he has vacuumed up every last residue of Christmas joy (do I sound bitter?). Guess what – that Hoover may be better off without you. I happen to know a former joy-sucker who seems like a  happy, decent human being now.

3.  Allow yourself to be happy

The holiday season has a way of dredging up memories of lost loved ones. It’s a wound so deep that it never completely heals. But if you feel guilty about enjoying the holidays, ask yourself if Mom-Dad-John-Mary would have wanted you to be downcast. Wasn’t your happiness their greatest desire? Honor their memory with joy this Christmas!

4. Demonstrate kindness

Science confirms it, and you know it’s true. When you perform a simple act of kindness, it makes you feel good, it helps someone else, and it is often contagious. This year I pledge to let a harried young mother jump ahead of me in the Walmart line. I’m going to thank the bedraggled cashier for her hard work instead of fooling with my smartphone. I promise to drop some money in the Salvation Army bucket. The random act of kindness has become a little cliche’, but it is certainly not overused. What do you pledge this holiday season?

Posted in Family, General, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Selfies and Chasing Technology

selfieIf selfies are considered narcissistic, it says nothing good about me. I regularly post photos of myself on Facebook. Worse, I have this notion that somebody may be interested in my FB status, blog posts, and tweets. I even had the audacity to purchase the domain name paulawray.com. OMG, I must be completely self-obsessed! Or perhaps I find release in putting my thoughts on paper and organizing my life online, since my real life is frequently in disarray.

Online culture is changing so fast I can hardly keep up. Of course I post selfies on FB, and I want you to do the same. I’ve been on FB since my daughter was a teenager and I realized this was the only way to communicate with her. But I don’t entirely get it.

Twitter is even more mysterious. I’ve read the instructions and watched a YouTube video explaining it to ignoramuses such as myself. I understand that it aids social change in oppressed societies and allows low-functioning celebrities to make fools of themselves. I’ve noted that I am discouraged from tweeting myself, but rather to follow others and retweet what they say. Apparently they don’t want the likes of me cluttering the tweet stream. I barely grasp the hashtag concept, and don’t know how I can find this elusive list of tags. In short, I have the feeling that I should be on Twitter, but have no idea why or how.

social mediaREDDIT, tumblr., Linkedin, Google+,  Pinterest, flickr – how is a person to keep up? If I wave the white flag, do I finally give up any vestige of coolness? (Let’s pretend I once had some).  I’m not ready to do that just yet. In fact, at the age of 56 I am trying to break into the web development business. I have to keep up! But it’s a tough road. The more I learn, the more the field continues to grow and change. Just last month I became the last person on earth to purchase an iPhone (used and 3 years outdated).

I recently applied for a job with Upworthy, and I thought I was doing a fairly good job on the application until the final question: “What is your favorite meme?” It was clearly a ploy to separate the young folk from the oldsters. I knew I was screwed, and figuring it would not help to quickly research the subject, I gave a half-assed response and submitted it. Unsurprisingly, they have not responded.

Like my mother who has never quite figured out the answering machine, VCR, mobile phone, or DVD player, I may have hit the technology wall for my generation. She doesn’t feel that she’s missing anything, and hopefully I will eventually adopt that same outlook. In the meantime I will continue to chase the technology rabbit with a perplexed look on my selfie.

Posted in General, Humor and tagged , , , by with no comments yet.