Thursday, June 23, 2011

Acadamia in Transit

A while back, I posted about and our interest in beginning a subscription, as we had decided to use our time on the road spent towards more academic measures (now that we're both done with our degrees! {Ben has only his defense left to do}). What we discovered though, through this great age of technology, is that we don't have to spend money to take advantage of academics offered in transitory status.

The iPhone we bought back in January has been so great to use for so many things, but one we never really discovered using until recently was the iPod/iTunes functions. I know, I know, welcome out of the dark ages, right? I never knew (or desired to know, to be honest) how to use an mp3 player or an iPod because I just don't pay that much attention to music, and I figured that that's all people used them for. The XM satellite radio we have offers any kind of music you'd want to listen to as well, though we keep it to Christian and Frank Sinatra. So, no need to spend the money on something that probably won't be used, right?

Enter our discovery of iTunesU. Holy mackerel has this made our purchase of the iPhone SOO worth while! Now, again as mentioned in the Audible blog post, we've had lots of audio to listen to, such as Latin, Spanish, and the New Testament Scriptures. Adding to that, we've begun to listen (or for me, re-listen) to the distance learning graduate courses for theology from Franciscan University. We started with Historical Foundations of the Church and are now in the middle of the Teachings of Vatican II. But iTunesU? This has forever changed the landscape for the remainder of our time on the road.

The courses offered range from guest lectures all the way to the entire semester's worth of lectures, from many schools across the country. So far, some of the courses we've listened to have been:

Early American Colonial History: Dr. Jack Ravoke, Stanford
Justice (Philosophy): Dr. Michael Sandel, Harvard
Political Philosophy: Dr. Steven Smith, Yale
Basic Spanish: Claudia Fernandex, DePaul University

We've also downloaded some podcasts: quick lessons in Spanish, slowly-spoken newscasts in Spanish, as well as lessons in Latin (unfortunately classically spoken, but it still works).

Ben has downloaded so many courses, lectures, podcasts on our computer that we could go years without listening to anything else on the radio, XM or CD's. This suits his nature in so many ways, as he just loves to learn and absorb as much information as possible. Me? I like to take things a little slower, but am excited of all the prospects of expanding our education (one that we DON'T have to pay for!). And let me tell you--those Ivy League students (as showcased in our Justice class at Harvard) really are the cream of the crop. Very impressive!

Present Location: Laredo, TX
Miles this week: 6300 (woohoo!)

Also to help pass the time? Our friends recently loaned us their seasons of The Office. The writing in season 2 is fantastic! We haven't laughed this hard in a while!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

"It's a good truck."

Last month we had some downtime at the World's Largest Truckstop, a TA on I-80 in Walcott, Iowa. We took advantage of our time and walked a few laps around the perimeter of the property, as well as perused the nearby Museum of Trucking. That's right folks, there's a museum, even for us truckers! No fossilized trucker remains were on exhibit---just their trucks!

Take this one, for example:

Did you read the caption? A 1958 truck with 5.2 MILLION miles on the engine without a single accident. We'll likely not break the one million mile mark in our short time on the road as team drivers, and this guy and his trusty truck drove well over five million. That's a good truck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Little Blessings

While this morning did not start out on the right foot, there have been many recent little blessings worth sharing:

Our one-year anniversary with the company was noted in our payroll with a $1000 bonus for each of us for sticking together as a team for a year. Unexpected and wonderful!

Ben was found to be a match for the man needing a bone marrow transplant. Because of the difficulty in scheduling, however, and because there were found to be other matches for the patient, we decided it best to not continue with donating at this time. Ben will be put on an unavailable list just until we're done trucking. Pretty incredible, though, that Ben's 8% chance of being a match ended up being a match!

Friendly encounter 1: we met up with Steve, Dianne and Charlie near Louisville, KY of all places as they were headed back to VA from AZ over Memorial Day weekend. We went to Mass and shared a great Cracker Barrel breakfast with them, enjoying our long-overdue visit.

Friendly encounter 2: this past Sunday evening we met up with our friend Lisa in Wichita, KS and got to meet her new little baby too! Lemonade, rocking chairs and Cracker Barrel's front porch was a great setting for our visit! (anyone sense a theme here?)

Our miles this month out have certainly picked up and we are averaging a little over 5000 miles per week. That adds up and our next loan will be paid off on Friday! (a few weeks later than "scheduled,", but that's what happens when I don't turn in the paperwork on time to get paid the current week. Oops!)

Right now we're in the tri-state area of NE, IA and MO waiting on two trailer tires to get fixed. Then we're off to Salt Lake City, Salem OR and then Bend for our hometime! It will be good to be home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone