Monday, August 14, 2017

Random Tuesday

Wow!  What a first day back!  Yesterday was the first day for returning teachers.  Not only that, but they had sixth grade orientation, too.  That made for a 10 1/2 hour day.  But it was a good day.  Our new principal (she used to be one of our APs) did some creative planning and had us doing things that were more than just sitting there listening.  That's a first.  We even had a field day of sorts and a creative activity.  Plus, I met many of my students.  I think it's going to be a great year!
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Our K-12 students return to school Monday the 21st.  My son's classes start the 23rd, and my daughter's on the 28. But me?  I'm back.  My summer is over.  It was fun while it lasted.

My daughter has a new boyfriend.  She's 21, and this is only her second actual boyfriend.  No, she's not ugly.  😛 She's particular, and she should be.  She is so good compared to me at her age.  I'm really proud of her.  My son, too.  He has taken a more proactive attitude toward school since the summer started even going so far as to sign up for a study skills class to help in college.  He finishes his summer class up in Wyoming next week where they will get to see the eclipse.  We won't be able to see it from here.

Here's some teacher humor to make you smile!
Thank you to this website for some clever puns.

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Have a great week, and link up with Stacy for some random Tuesday thoughts!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

The Prince (The Selection, #0.5)The Prince by Kiera Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Prince is a companion story to The Selection. The Selection is told from America Singer's perspective. The Prince tells some of Prince Maxon's background and his point-of-view after his first meeting with America. It also acts as a prequel to the second novel, The Elite.

I love Kiera Cass' writing. I love the details she includes. But this novella missed out on the opportunity to aquaint the reader even better with Maxon, his lifestyle, his hopes, his ambition. It also doesn't fully describe the feelings he had for America.

I read this story about two years after I read The Selection. I wish it had been available then because it was hard to go back and place myself in the proper part of the story in which it happened. And in reality, these details could have been included in the original novel.

The Guard (The Selection, #2.5)The Guard by Kiera Cass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Guard is set between books 2 and 3 of The Selection series. The guard is Aspen Leger, America's first love. He is working as a guard at the castle for a number of reasons, but first and foremost, to be near America and protect her. During this companion story, Aspen is still head over heels in love with America, so I have trouble reconciling the fact that they both choose someone else in the end.

All in all, I enjoyed this story more than The Prince because the reader gets a glimpse into parts of the castle that don't involve Maxon or America, and we also get to see a perspective from someone who is not part of the selection process.

There is a teaser for The One, the next novel in the series, toward the end. And because they are close to the end, Aspen and America's relationship does not make sense. I really wish she'd just included this story in one of the books.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Young Life Camp, Colorado, January, 2017. copyright Forgetfulone

image-in-ing weekly photo linkup.

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Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for some randomness.

I must admit... I've been watching this season of The Bachelorette.  It may (or may not) have anything to do with the fact that she's from my home state, or it may (or may not) have anything to do with the fact that I saw her on last season's Bachelor, which I may (or may not) have other reasons why I was watching that.  That season of The Bachelor was the first one I had seen in a long time.

Anyway, I don't do well with shows that I have to wait a week or two to find out the resolution of a cliff hanger, or in this case, a rose ceremony.  So I recorded them all.  I watched the first four all on the same night, then a week or so later, another four, then I watched everything that was left except the finale, which I watched the night it aired.  I was really surprised how it ended, not necessarily with who she chose, but with how it all happened.

Now, I realize that much of it is scripted, and I've seen outtakes that show what was said to them off camera in order to get them to respond a certain way to catch on camera, but I still enjoy it.  I suppose there's some romance missing in my life.

Wait, what?  Next week???? Oh, I am so not ready!  I've enjoyed having almost no obligations, being able to stay up late, being able to sleep late, having my kids home for at least part of the summer. Speaking of which, my son just returned from his study abroad trip to Australia where he learned a lot and had a great time.
 Next, he gets to go to Casper, Wyoming to see the total eclipse!  I'm excited for him.  Me?  Not so excited to go back to work in six days.  Oh well.  Such is life.

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Saturday, August 05, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

16th Seduction (Women's Murder Club, #16)16th Seduction by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a thrill ride. The only negative thing I have to say is that the coauthor tends to use more similes than Patterson, and I can always tell when she has written them and not him. The book covered two major plots with suspense and interest. It had me wondering how Lindsey would get out of this predicament.

Seargent Lindsey Boxer finally has Joe back in her life and is trying to figure out how she, Joe, and their baby daughter can go back to the normal way they lived prior to his disappearance. They are working on it when a San Francisco museum is blown up. They seem to be at the right place at the right time when a man who is acting strangely takes credit for the explosion. Joe, of course, runs in to see what he can do to save the people inside, and a few minutes later, there is another blast. While Joe is in the museum.

What seems like a simple case with the confession of the mastermind behind the blast becomes anything but simple. Following the trial, Lindsey is served with papers saying that she is being sued. This could be the end of her career.

Action, emotion, and suspense are the bedrocks of Patterson's writing, and this will not disappoint the typical fan.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Floral Centerpiece

Teleflora's Napa Valley Centerpiece

Isn't it gorgeous?

Right now, you can get 15% off any bouquet by clicking the button below.
 *Birthdays, Grandparents Day, Get Well, New Baby, Sympathy, They have it all! Teleflora

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for Random Tuesday.

Does this ever happen to you?  Your cat (or dog) sits on your legs so often that you don't even realize that he or she is there.  You're just used to the weight and pressure, so it doesn't seem like a big deal.  Then when you really need to go to the bathroom, you hold it for a long time because you don't want to disturb the cat?  Yeah, me neither!   Ha! We all know the cat is in charge!
This is so true in my house.  And, by the way, this is a real book.  The Kindle version is 99 cents if you're interested.

So... I go back to work in less than two weeks.  Bummer.   The summer has flown by!  I didn't really have any big plans except to drive my son to and from Dallas for his flight to Australia.  See, a year and a half ago, my daughter, his twin, went to Oxford for study abroad for a semester.  So when my son asked if he could do study abroad during the summer, I couldn't say no.  That's why he's in Australia.  Both of my kids have seen places I am unlikely to get ever see, and that makes me happy.
So far, this is the only photo I have from him:  The Three Sisters.  It's a famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia.

I'm looking forward to Fall.  I would love some cooler temperatures, but here along the Gulf Coast of Texas, we won't really see anything other than freakin' hot until late September.  That's about the same time the Fall shows come back on.  I'm most looking forward to How to Get Away with Murder.  What show are you anxiously awaiting?  And speaking of TV shows, both of my kids have watched Orange is the New Black (They are 21 now, so I guess it's ok.)  I finally started watching it, and I can't decide how I really feel about it.  I think my favorite character is Crazy Eyes.  Do you have a favorite?

Have a great week!

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

They Never Came BackThey Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As a reading teacher, I need to immerse myself in more young adult reading than I currently do. My students often ask me for book recommendations, and I have my list of "old faithfuls," but I want to expand it. Since I liked the series about Janie that began with The Face on the Milk Carton, also by Cooney, I decided to give another one of her books a try.

This one was much like The Face on the Milk Carton. It centers around a ten-year-old girl named Murielle (not Muriel - Muri ELLE). Her parents are embezzlers who are about to be caught. They make plans to successfully leave the country, but Murielle is not with them because her aunt, the mother's sister, refused to be part of their escape and would not take Murielle to the airport.

The book is also about 15 year old Cathy Ferris. Cathy is a foster child who is a very hard-working student. She takes a summer class, Latin, in the next town over since her own school doesn't offer it. One day at lunch, a student named Tommy runs up to her asking her where she has been. He believes she is his missing cousin. It also happens that she is taking classes with the daughter of the office manager who took the fall when Murielle's parents left the country.

I don't want to give away anything that happens as there is quite a bit more to it.  The novel is written from the perspectives of both girls and is told through some flashbacks as well. More than just a mystery, it is a book about family and forgiveness. It's a very easy read, and I believe my students will enjoy it. Despite the similarities to the Janie series, it's worth reading.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Thirteen

July 29 is International Tiger Day!  Who knew?  But tigers are beautiful and majestic!  Here are some fun facts about tigers.

1.  Tigers are the largest felines in the world.  (I always thought it was a lion, but I was wrong.)
2.  Tigers can be up to 11 feet long and weigh up to 660 pounds.
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3.  The ratio of white tigers to orange tigers is 1 in a thousand.
4.  Tigers hunt alone and at night.
5.  A tiger can run up to 40 miles per hour.
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6.  They also swim well.
7.  Ligers are real!  It's a cross between a lion and a tiger.
8.  More tigers exist as pets than are in the wild.
Isn't it cute????  Image Credit
9.  The tiger's scientific name is panthera tirgris.
10. Tigers are the largest meat-eating animals on Earth.
11. Tigers that live in humid areas are usually smaller than those that live in cold climates.
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12. A group of tigers is called either an Ambush or a Streak (not a Pride, like lions).
13. Tigers mark their territory by scratching or peeing on things, kind of like domesticated cats and dogs.

You can find more fun facts here and here.
Link up with Thursday Thirteen and play along!

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy. I missed last week!  Having the summer off has affected my knowing what day it is.  Oh, well.

So... I was taking a nap the other day, and I was lying on my stomach with my arms and legs a certain way, and I realized... I look just like the outline at a murder scene!  See for yourself!
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I can't seem to get my sleep pattern right since I don't have to work right now.  By the way, teachers don't get paid for the summer.  I get paid a daily rate for 187 school days, and my district allows me to spread it out over 24 checks, but I don't get paid for the days I don't work.

I've been spending some time thinking about what I want to do differently in my classroom this year, and stocking up on the few things I can't afford.  Someone on Facebook the other day told everyone that teachers get a $150 budget every year to buy things.  I was thinking, "In what universe?"  I can request basic supplies, but the decorations, the activities, the daily supplies... that isn't provided by the district.

However, I will not stoop to what the teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma did to get donations!  She actually stood on the corner with a sign as you can see here.  I don't think she was there for more than about ten minutes, but she said she got positive responses.  I think it was kind of a joke between her and her husband, but you can read the article.
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I wish I had big plans for a vacation this summer, but sadly, with a few college-aged kids in the family, there is no extra money for that.  My time will come, though.  My daughter studied abroad in Europe for a whole semester, and now my son is in Australia for a summer class.  My husband said to ask him if he'd seen a kangaroo yet, and he said, "No, but I've seen it on the menu in restaurants."  Hmmmm.  I don't think I could eat that.
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All I can think of is the 2003 movie Kangaroo Jack!
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Have a great week!

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

The King's Curse (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #7; The Cousins' War #6)The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. What an awesome novel! This would have taken me a lot longer to read at almost 500 pages, but it was so good it was difficult to put it down. Philippa Gregory is a master at historical fiction, and regardless of who the hero or heroine is, she makes you fall in love with the character.

Gregory herself calls it a "dark story." And in many ways it is. But it is also the story of a courageous, cultured, crafty, and careful heroine, Margaret Pole.

The book opens in 1499 while Henry VII is still on the throne. Margaret Pole, a Plantagenet by birth, granddaughter of the KingMaker Richard Neville, must live in fear of her name. Her father was the brother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III. Henry Tudor seized the crown upon killing Richard III in battle. To prevent her claim to the throne, she is married off to a Tudor supporter. Her brother Edward, however, had the clearest path to the throne, but they couldn't get rid of him by marrying him off. He was taken prisoner in the Tower and eventually beheaded for no crime except his name.

Margaret was a lady at the court and governess of Henry VII and Elizabeth's children, Arthur and Harry (who became Henry VIII). Later, she was lady of Ludlow Castle when Prince Arthur married Katherine of Aragon and became the Prince and Princess of Wales. Upon Arthur's death, she remained friends with Katherine who later married Harry. Margaret was the governess for their daughter Princess Mary (future queen). Confused yet?

Although the family lines are confusing, Gregory describes things in such a way as it makes perfect sense. The reader comes to know and love Margaret Pole and to root for her through all of her ups and downs. The reader comes to know her children as well, which was also quite interesting. At one point, she must give up one of her sons and send him to a monastery because she cannot support him. This son, Reginald, becomes a scholar, a Cardinal, and the last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury.

The life of Lady Pole, Countess of Salisbury, is fascinating. Gregory will have you on the edge of your seat wanting to find out what happens next. There are more twist and turns than a soap opera and more deaths and plot twists than a thriller. The only thing that bothered me was that the main character frequently said, "It's early days yet." That is my only complaint. And while the key word in this genre is fiction, the reader learns some history during the ride. I highly recommend this book!

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy.  Come join us!

Have you ever woken up and realized you're late?  Of course, you have.  You know that adrenaline rush?  Of course, you do.  Well, not only did that happen to me, but I had the added pleasure of waking to the damn smoke detector!  Double adrenaline rush!  I took care of it though...
That smoke alarm has got nothing on me!  WIN!

Have you seen the video of the little girl who got snatched into the water in Richmond B. C. Canada?  You can't make this stuff up!  Scary!  I think the sea lion wanted food.  Thank goodness no one was hurt.  And kudos to the guy who saved her.  Click on the link to see the video.
Video Link

So, what shows are you watching this summer?  I'm catching up on Criminal Minds.  Some people say it got too creepy for them, and it seemed like it was headed in that direction, but I think they've gotten back to "normally creepy" things.  Season 12 goes on without Morgan (such a shame) and for most of it without Hotch, but Prentiss is back for a while, and the new guy, Luke Alvez, isn't bad.

My husband and I are also watching The Office at the request of all of our grown children.  We're at the end of season 2, and we don't see what all the fuss is about yet.  It's just "OK."  For those that have seen it, does it get better?  I like Steve Carrell, but I don't like the character he plays in this, and he's just not funny.  Maybe it gets better in season 3?  Season 4?

Before I go, here's a glimpse of my current situation and a pun for you.
What did the grape say when it was crushed?
Nothing.  It just let out a little wine.
Get it?


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