Monday, April 27, 2015

Random Tuesday and Coffee Chat

Time for some random Tuesday thoughts with Stacy Uncorked.

I finally caught up on my email.  I look at it every day, but I don’t necessarily open them every day. They sit there for a few days, a week, and I end up deleting most of them.  I get so much advertising!  Some of it is from merchants I actually want to communicate with, but a lot of it is just junk.  I wonder where they got my email.  I unsubscribe, but it doesn't seem to stop the emails.  

I've had more "walking" dreams in the last week.  I'm walking and/or running down the same streets, and I never actually get where I'm going.  I wake up so tired.

Sad news... Buddha, our magic Betta, finally went to that big fishbowl in the sky.  We've had him four years, and they usually don't sell them until they're a year old when their colors and fins are fully developed, so I guess he was five.  We called him magic because we only expected him to live about a year.  But every time I went to feed him or change his water, there he was, swimming around his little pineapple under the sea.

And now... Time Out for... Coffee Chat with Time Out for Mom

“Finish the Sentence:  Right now is the perfect time to _________.” 

It is the perfect time of year to do some spring cleaning.  Take down the curtains and wash them (maybe even iron them).  Wash the windows.  Have hubby do some tending to the house and yard outside.  Time to clean out the closets, catch up on filing, purge all items that are no longer useful or necessary, and maybe add or change a few items on the walls.  Will I get all this done?  Maybe.  Probably not.  Maybe!  

Read This Roundup #32

20150427_081118_HDR_resizedPhoto courtesy of KissinBlueKaren

Find me, Forgetfulone, under Thrillers to read my review of Trial.

Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.






















Sunday, April 26, 2015


Nothing.  I hated that word.

“There is nothing we can do,” we heard countless times from a variety of specialists.

When I first showed up at the hospital, I asked if he was awake yet.  Nothing.  That was what I got.  No response.  “Why isn’t he awake?  When will he wake up?”  Again, nothing.  No response.

Nothing.  That’s what they knew.

We transferred to a different hospital with supposedly better doctors.  At least they gave us a response.  But there was that word again.  Nothing.  There is nothing that can be done.  There is no activity in the brain.  The machine is making his heart beat and making his lungs fill with oxygen, but there is nothing going on in the brain.  Callous.  Hurtful.

I held my dad’s hand when they unplugged all of the machines.  His heart beat its last, and his lungs refused to inflate, and then there was… nothing.  Nothing but tears.

The prompt at Sunday Scribblings this week was... nothing.

Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Just My Opinion

TRIAL - A Legal ThrillerTRIAL - A Legal Thriller by Clifford Irving
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book! John Grisham has a rival! Trial brings two cases together in a clever way. The setting is Houston, Texas, and I always enjoy reading something in a familiar setting. The characters are well-developed, and the plot is so intense, I didn't want to put it down. No spoilers because you should read it! If you love a good courtroom drama, intrigue, mystery, a little bit of a love story that isn't too mushy gushy, and some surprises, you will enjoy this book.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Standardized Testing Woes

Observations from a teacher's point-of-view about state-mandated, high-stakes, standardized testing.

1.  Being required to teach to the test.
2.  Not having  my own students in my testing group.
3.  Children sitting for four hours or more without moving, talking, interacting.  Teachers unable to look at computer, read, grade, or do anything productive during testing time.
4.  Field questions on tests (questions that don't count that are put on the test to determine if they should be "real" questions on the next test).
5.  Eating lunch at 1:40 instead of our normal time.  Crazy schedule!
6.  Students thinking the standardized test is the end of the school year although we have six weeks of instruction left.

7.  The company that profits from generating the test itself.
8.  Companies that profit from creating practice testing materials.  (millions)
9.  Non-educators creating and scoring the test.
10. The stress both teachers and students feel.
11.  Paperwork nightmare - keeping up with over 1,300 test booklets and answer sheets and keeping them in order.
12. Kids are all different, but they have to take the same test.
13.  A four hour test is only a snapshot of a student's ability.  It could be a good day, bad day, indifferent day.

There's got to be a better way!
Link up with the new Thursday Thirteen!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Read This Roundup #31 -Find Me Under Fiction

20150321_093022_resizedPhoto courtesy of KissinBlueKaren
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.

















Monday, April 20, 2015

Random Tuesday and Coffee Chat

Today is really random! Random Tuesday Rebel is hosted by Stacy Uncorked.

I would be happy if I never saw the names Kylie Jenner, Bruce Jenner, or Kim Kardashian ever again.  Every time Yahoo sends me a daily update on "news," at least one of those names appears.

Did you see the flak Michael Buble got for that picture his wife took with a girl whose butt was hanging out of her shorts?  Why is he getting hassled about this?  It was funny!  And if you don't want anyone to look, don't let your butt hang out of your clothes.

I've been searching for some new books to read, and two of the descriptions I've read this past week used this phrase:  "In a tiny, seaside town..."  Just something else I noticed that has no real consequence in the grand scheme of life.

Lately, I have been dreaming about walking... a lot.  Long distances, going places I would normally drive, on roads that cars normally drive on, around obstacles, sometimes with other people, sometimes alone, never reaching my destination.  I am having these walking dreams all the time, and when I do, I feel like I am actually walking those long distances.  But I never get to my destination before I wake up.  Too bad the walking I'm doing in my dreams doesn't burn real calories or I'd be skinny!

Tuesday Coffee Chat, hosted at Time Out for Mom, asks us to tell about a recent fear we've faced.  About a month ago, I took my mom to the hospital for a colonoscopy.  This wasn't her first rodeo, as we say in Texas.  She has been through the wringer a number of times:  survived removal of part of her lung from cancer, mastectomy due to breast cancer, knee replacement, shoulder surgery, back surgery, you name it, she's probably had it.  She had some pre-cancerous polyps removed a few years ago, but this time, I'm happy to say, there was nothing abnormal!  My fear is losing her.  I've lost my dad, and it's the hardest thing I've ever gone through, and I don't know what I will do when the time finally comes.  I don't like to think about it, but sometimes, we must.  I'm just thankful that it's not right now.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekly Roundup

The Chicest Desk Decor on the Lauren Conrad blog.
Love the mint-colored ruler, the desk chair, the notepad, pens, etc.!

Found this wonderful post at So Dam* Domestic!  3 Morning Routine Mistakes.  I make two of these mistakes almost every single day.  I knew I was doing something wrong!  Ha!

I love to feel organized, although I am much less so lately.  This post on Real Simple offers 7 Smart Organizing Tricks.  Number 1 makes so much sense!

Last, but definitely not least is a post titled Saturday Art : Water Fairy on Time Out for Mom.  She shows off some amazing photos and clever ideas.  You really must see it to appreciate it.

The Weekly Round-Up

It's Just My Opinion

Never Preach Past Noon (Leigh Koslow Mystery #3)Never Preach Past Noon by Edie Claire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute story. It's the third in the series about Leigh Koslow. This time, it's her aunt that draws her into the mystery surrounding the preacher in her church who apparently is a con man. When he ends up dead, there are a number of possible suspects. Let me just say, it's not as predictable as you might think at first. The plot is clever, sometimes humorous, and fun. The authors wraps everything up neatly in the end. There's a concept! The author's style is somewhat like Janet Evanovich, which I enjoy. I liked this book.

View all my reviews

It's Just My Opinion

Everything to LoseEverything to Lose by Andrew Gross
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As I was reading this book, I thought maybe it was one of Andrew Gross's first independent writing attempts, but as it turns out, it wasn't. I usually like his style of writing. He's sharp, clever, creates dynamic characters, but not in this novel.

Having the 7 year old calling his mother "Mommy" in every. single. sentence... got old quickly. The characters were underdeveloped. The dialogue was unnatural. The flashbacks were a little confusing. It was never explained to my satisfaction how a child who is inherently evil would turn into a man of the people, a senator, a public figure. It just didn't make sense. Nor did the way the protagonist managed to throw the money from the car without being seen by the other witness and how she came back for it later.  Surely the firefighters and rescue personnel would have canvassed the area.  The NYPD officer working with the "Ukranian" mob was just ridiculous. Last, the punishment of a few months in jail was completely unbelievable as was the main character getting a fabulous job after serving time. I'm also pretty sure that a boat hook through your car window would create enough havoc to either kill or disable you, not to mention your car.

I was not impressed with this particular novel, although I have enjoyed others by this author.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

April is National Stress Awareness Month

We use the term so frequently.  "I am so stressed!"  But what, exactly, is stress, how do we know our stress level is too high, and what can we do about it?  I found a great article that answers some questions about stress.

1.  Stress is your body's normal reaction when it senses danger or a threat of some kind.  Stress is what helps us stay focused and alert.  It's how we meet challenges, real or perceived.
2.  When your body is under stress, it releases adrenaline and cortisol.
3.  It is important to know how  your body tolerates stress and when you have too much.  If your body is constantly under stress, you may not realize the effects that stress is having on you.
4.  Too much stress can cause changes in mood, health, and life in general.
5.  Stress can cause memory loss, poor judgment, excessive worry, and leave you unable to concentrate.
6.  Stress can cause you to feel anxious, moody, overwhelmed, or lonely, all of which can lead to depression.
7.  Some unpleasant signs of physical symptoms of stress include chest pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and susceptibility to colds and other viruses.
8.  It may affect your sleeping and eating habits.  Stress may cause you to seek self-medication through alcohol or drugs.  You may also develop other nervous habits.
9.  How do you know if you're under too much stress?  Some people are just aware of their bodies, and they recognize it.  If you are unsure, there are a number of free "stress tests" available online.  (Here is one, here's two, here's three.)
10.  Common stressors include major life changes, major work changes, financial or relationship difficulties, being too busy, negative self-talk, and chronic worry.
11.  One way to to manage stress is to avoid it, if at all possible.  Sometimes that means saying, "No," and staying away from people we know cause us stress.
12.  Sometimes we have to learn to adapt to the stress so we can better deal with it.  Look at the big picture to decide if something is worth getting upset about it.  Let go of the things you can't change. Try to focus on the positive aspects of your job, relationship, or whatever is causing stress.
13.  Here are some tips for dealing with stress:

  • Set aside time each day to rest, relax, and re-energize whether it's through quiet time, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, reading for pleasure, or something else.
  • Develop an exercise routine whether it's walking, running, lifting weights, yoga.
  • Eat regular, nutritious meals.  Avoid too much caffeine and sugar.
  • Establish a regular sleep routine.
There are plenty of great tips out there to help us avoid or deal with stress, but we have to take charge and DO something about it.
I'm linking up with the new Thursday Thirteen.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Random Tuesday

Random Tuesday with Stacy Uncorked.

I attended a visitation and a funeral this weekend.  The father of one of my daughter's best friends passed away at age 58.  Cancer.  Five years ago, his daughter, my daughter's friend, died in a 4-wheeler accident.  I can't imagine how the mom has the strength to deal with all of this loss.  I would crumple.  At least, I think I would.

This week, I had a student  who wore a shirt that said "Love is in the Air," so I thought I would treat you with the 1978 song of that name by John Paul Young.  I hadn't heard it in years until I looked it up on YouTube.

 A couple of weeks ago, my husband, daughter, and I attempted to go to the Arts Festival.  This used to be a free event about 30 years ago.  It isn't anymore, but we decided to go anyway.  Well, there was no parking onsite, so we had about a mile walk from the parking to the entrance to the festival. The line to get tickets wrapped around and around and around as though people were waiting for a ride at DisneyWorld!  We found out tickets were $45 each.  After buying tickets, you had to get in a different line to enter.  We couldn't even see the end of that line!  It just kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny, so we decided to hike back to the car and leave.  I think it was a good choice!

How's that for randomness?!  Oh, and if you have a chance, please visit my Weekly Roundup post.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Roundup

6 Things You Should Never Do on Facebook
This post should be required reading for ALL young people, and some of them even apply to friends I know who are not young and should know better (numbers 3,5, and 6 especially).

5 Ways to Deal with Sentimental Clutter
We all have those items that take up space that have no monetary value.  I certainly do!  This post offers some options about what to do with those items so you can have your space back!
The Secret of Happiness?  Stop Feeling Bad About Being Unhappy (by Tim Lott)
This is my favorite blog post this week.  I am a realist, not a pessimist.  Just because I'm not happy all the time doesn't mean I'm unhappy, mad, or sad all the time, either.  Sometimes I just AM.

Read This Roundup

20150312_155041_resizedPhoto courtesy of Karen Blue
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.
Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.


















Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Mother's Job

Why am I always so tired?  Because moms have lots of jobs!

Finder of Lost Items - Mom can always find it.
"Mom, I can't find my (fill in the blank)."
"Did you look for it/them on your bed, under your bed, in your closet, in your desk?"
"Of course!"
Mom goes and looks and finds the item in two minutes or less.
"Where was it?"
"On your bed!"

Nurse - Don't feel well?  Just being in mom's presence will make you feel better.

"I can't do it!"
"Yes, you can.  I know you can!"
"No, I can't."
"Mom, I did it!"

Troubleshooter - Mom can figure it out.
Whether the printer won't print, the computer dropped off the network, the TV has no picture - mom will persevere until she gets it right, or at least call someone who can tell her how to fix it.

Cook - When and what is for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.

"Mom, I need help on my social studies assignment."
No problem.  Mom likes to color maps.

"Mom, I have to type my research paper, but it will take me hours."
Half an hour later, Mom is finished.

"Mom, she hit me!"
"Did you hit her first?"

Maid - No explanation necessary

Meanie-head - Sometimes you just have to say, "No."

Chauffer - At least until they learn to drive

"Mom, I need money for (fill in the blank with lunch, clothes, lab fee, school supplies, headphones, etc.)

Personal Shopper
"I'm out of deodorant!"
"I need a poster board for a project."
"Will you buy me some new jeans?"
"We're out of shampoo!"

Event Planner - Have a birthday coming up?  Mom has it under control.

I must have used the "new" math, because I think that's 14, and this is Thursday Thirteen!  Oh, well.  You know there are so many other job duties moms have, and we love it!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Random Tuesday

Welcome back for another random Tuesday!  I'm linking up with Stacy Uncorked.  Come play along!

One day last week as I was driving home from work, all of a sudden, there were bikes all around me! The two-wheeled racing variety.  I don't know if this happens where you live, but there are lots of Lance Armstrong wanna-bes (hopefully minus the cancer and steroids), and they take over the road. They ride in lanes with regular traffic, right in the lane with a traffic light, just as thought they were a car, and they will not get out of your way!  They ignore perfectly good sidewalks and prefer to use major thoroughfares in our little city.  This annoys me to no end!
But THIS takes the cake!  Same day... still frustrated by the bike enthusiasts (and why aren't they driving home from work like I am, anyway?)... I get in the neighborhood across the way from mine, almost home.  There is a jogger IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!  This is not just a little side-street, either, but  one of the wider streets that has speed humps.  She, too, is ignoring a perfectly good sidewalk, and chances are, she hears my car approaching, but she will not move.  I had to go around HER.  I gave her a good honk, too, which is something I don't usually do.  I hope it gave her a good adrenaline rush!

And I know yesterday was baseball opening day, but I'm just not a baseball fan.  I prefer basketball, the Houston Rockets in particular! It's time for some playoffs!

Now, I'm all calmed down.  Did you have a nice Easter?  It's not the same since the kids are grown.  No egg hunts or visits from the Easter bunny.  But I know it's not about the rabbit.  It's about the resurrection, and it makes me feel like, even though I've complained about the bikes and the jogger, I can have a new beginning.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Weekly Roundup

Here are some posts I found this week that grabbed my interest.

Create an organized command center for your home.  Sometimes keeping everyone on track is difficult.  I think I'm an Organizing Junkie makes everything simple to do.

What has society come to?  Cell phones and social media during worship?  Based on personal experience, this can be quite frustrating.  Take a minute to weigh in on this topic.

I have often dreamed of getting paid for writing.  The task seems so daunting with the possibility of failure a real threat.  This site gives 54 companies that accept freelance writing.

Do you ever try DIY projects?  I found this great post showing how to repurpose thrift store items.  I would like to spruce up my home decor, but of course, I'm on a budget.  Some of these ideas will really work for me.

Join High-heeled Love and My So-called Chaos for the Weekly Roundup.


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