Tuesday, September 19, 2017

One of My Favorite Photos

Follow the links below to participate in the Photo Fun!
I was fascinated by this goose!  He (or she?) reminds me of the sassy geese in The Aristocats which was one of my favorite movies as a little girl.  I took 4 pictures before I got this one.
(Click on the photo to enlarge it)

Link up with Image-in-ings and Wordless Wednesday and play along!

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Random Tuesday

Link up with Stacy for some randomness!

School is in full swing!  After being out for two weeks due to Hurricane Harvey, being back is a good feeling.

There was a school that contacted us during the hurricane that said they would like to help us.  Most of what we lost in our classroom was personal items that make our room warm, inviting, and comfortable.  They wrote me back saying they didn't want to replace any items like that, only school supplies.  Well, we've already received tons of school supplies. That isn't what got ruined due to flooding, either.  I was quite taken aback.  I guess you just can't please some people.

My husband and I went to Huntsville (Texas, not Alabama) to see my son on Saturday.  We did a lot of tourist-y type things.  I had always wanted to go to the Texas Prison Museum, and since my son is majoring in Criminal Justice, it was good for him, too.  We went to see some of Sam Houston's actual building and homes.  Plus we visited the 67 foot tall statue.  I had fun!

Birthday number _ _ (when you get to a certain age, you'd rather not announce the number) is coming up on Saturday.  I'm trying to decide where I want to go for dinner.  I'd like it to be somewhere we don't usually go, so not Outback, not Olive Garden, not Cajun or pizza.  If you're familiar with the Houston area, particularly south Houston, I'd love to hear your recommendations!
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Of course, if David Meade is correct, the world will end September 23.  He is a "Christian numerologist," whatever that means, who believes earthquakes, hurricanes, and the eclipse are signs of the apocalypse.  You can read about it here.

Have you ever tried Skinny Pop?  I love this popcorn!  The plain, original kind with no weird flavoring on it.  It's so good!

How 'bout them Astros?  2017 AL West Division Champs!

So, what are you up to this week?

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

Never Buried (Leigh Koslow Mystery #1)Never Buried by Edie Claire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This little mystery has some twists and turns, though it's not 100% believable. The main character is Leigh. She is moving into her cousin's Victorian house when she discovers a corpse. The history to this story dates back to 1949 to three unexpected deaths. Someone knows the truth, and they want Leigh out of Cara's house. With the help of their college friend Maura, a police officer, will the girls be able to solve the mystery and stay in the house?

For a free book, this wasn't bad. The author writes like an young adult author, but the storyline was not adolescent. The beginning was very confusing, but it all became clear in the end.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for some random thoughts.

Just got back from Arizona this evening, and I return to work tomorrow.  So, I get home, I have to clean out the cat's litter box.  She made a mess while I was gone.  Had to do laundry, do the dishes, grocery shop, and so on.  Discovered about 8 PM that my AC wasn't working.  This is Houston, folks!  We're talking 90 degrees outside with 66% humidity.  No AC is not an option.
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Unfortunately, my husband is still in Arizona on business.  Luckily, we had a window unit in the closet from last time this happened.  My brother-in-law came and put it in for me, so I will survive.  His friend is coming over to take a look at it tomorrow.  Praying it gets fixed.
No Filter Needed
I spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning at the Grand Canyon.  It was my second time to visit.  The last was in 2008.  It hasn't changed much, but I have!  LOL  This time, my husband and I stayed to catch the most gorgeous sunset.  Then we stayed to watch the stars come out.  It was incredible!  Living so close to a big city, we often don't see the stars to the degree that you can see them out in the open away from lights and pollution.  It was just amazing!  Unfortunately, our camera couldn't capture the beauty.
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Back to work with students tomorrow.  I haven't seen them in two weeks.  We had only been in school for four days when Harvey happened.  I'm glad to be getting back to a routine.
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Did you see the Miss American pageant?  I really wanted my home state to win, but I thought the young lady from North Dakota was adorable.  I was surprised at the questions they were all asked.  Every question had a liberal spin on it, in my opinion.  I agree with much of what was said, but I didn't expect the questions to be so political.  Oh well... they all answered beautifully.
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Having experienced a hurricane a few weeks ago, I'm praying for Florida.  If you consider donating, please give to UMCOR or Samaritan's Purse.
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That's all for now.  Have a great week!

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Remember 9/11

Sixteen years ago today, I was on the way to school, and the silence was deafening. Planes usually flew over our area at very regular intervals since we were 10 minutes from the airport, but absolutely nothing was in the sky. It wasn't until later that I found out why.

 I was working in my classroom preparing for the school day when the teacher next door came to get me to show me what was happening on TV. I didn't understand it. Was it a movie stunt? A joke? What? It took a while for it to really sink in what had happened... terrorists changed the face of America in a matter of minutes.

I will NEVER forget 9/11.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Live from Arizona! It's the Late Show!

Just kidding!  I'm not live, but I am in Arizona, and today my Sunday Synopsis is about a book titled The Late Show.

  The Late Show (RenĂ©e Ballard, #1)The Late Show by Michael Connelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Michael Connelly has written about 30 books, and I have read them all. He is one of my favorite authors. You've heard of The Lincoln Lawyer? Maybe even Harry Bosch? Love those books. But this one isn't about the lawyer or Bosch; it has a leading lady.

Renee Ballard is a detective in the Hollywood Division who works the Late Show, the graveyard shift. It was her punishment for accusing one of the other chief detectives of sexual harassment. She was in the right, but it's a man's world. Even her own partner didn't take her side.

Now she's working nights with a new partner, Jenkins, who is biding his time until retirement and who would rather be at home with his sick wife. He does the bare minimum, just enough to skate by. Ballard is more of a go-getter.

There are two cases Ballard is working on, even though neither case has been assigned to her. One is a transvestite who was beaten to shreds and left for dead. The other case is a multiple homicide, and the likely suspect is a cop. Ballard will get herself into situations that she may not be able to get out of.

I like that Connelly has started a new series (I assume it will be a series) with a female lead. I like that he is tackling tough subjects like hate crimes, gender identity, homelessness, and corruption in the police department. I like that he is able to write from a female perspective and do it well. I like that the reader learns some of Ballard's background, but not so much that there is nothing left to tell.

I didn't like... Well, there is really nothing I didn't like. There are some twists, turns, and surprises along the way. It's an edge-of-your-seat novel.  The writing style is compelling, and if you enjoyed any of his previous books (or movies or TV shows), then I'm certain you will like this one.

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Thursday Thirteen

A 13 line poem in honor of Thursday Thirteen and my first day back at school since August 24.

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First day back
since Harvey arrived uninvited,
10 1/2 hour day,
Flooded classroom,
Doesn't smell good,
Personal items destroyed,
but I'm Texas strong,
Students come Monday,
Can't let them down,
Can't wait to see them,
Never thought I'd say it,
I'm ready!

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Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy.
Well, here we are. Ten days after Hurricane Harvey brought rains like we've never seen before.  I really don't want to talk about it much except to say that I am so tired of reading posts from friends and friends-of-friends about how great they are because they worked on someone's house, or took meals, or did whatever.  I get it!  You are a fabulous person for volunteering.  But isn't it supposed to be for God's glory, not to toot your own horn?

And the last thing I want to say is that Texans and Louisianans are going to need help to rebuild.  The people who are still in shelters have plenty of food, formula, diapers, etc.  What is needed is money.  There are only a few people I would trust with my money.  The Red Cross is NOT one of them.  I've heard too many stories about how they are hindering more than helping down here.  And only 9 cents of every dollar goes to Harvey relief.  I also wouldn't donate via Go Fund Me.  It is too easy for anyone to set up a crowdfunding account, and you have no idea if they really even need the money or if they are just trying to supplement their income.

These are the charities that have boots-on-the-ground here in Texas, and are truly helping others.
Samaritan's Purse
Clear Creek Community Church 
Houston Flood Relief Fund organized by JJ Watt

Now, off my rant and on to my random:

I never thought I would be so happy to find milk in the grocery store until we were without it for 10 days!  Milk is certainly not my favorite beverage, but when you need it, and it's not there, it's a little sad.

I also never thought I'd be ready to go back to work after time off, but BOY!  I was wrong!  We had the best professional development prior to school starting, and I had a great first four days with my students, and I'm excited to see them and provide some normalcy to their lives and be a caring mentor to them.  I go back Thursday and the students on Monday.  Teachers will have missed 9 school days and students 11 days.

Besides, I'm getting bored just hanging around the house.  I've gone out a couple of times, but mostly, I'm at home with a very irregular sleep schedule.  I need my routine back!

Most of the house is clean and all the laundry.

And I watched a Christmas movie on the DVR left over from last year.  (Don't judge!  It's only about 16 weeks away!)

I did manage to get some crafting done!  And I colored.  Does anyone else enjoy coloring?

I've watched tons of kitten videos!  Haha!

And I've read two books.

It's time to get back to a regular routine! And hopefully, Coffee Chat will be back next week!  Have a great week!

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

Sunday Synopsis

Confessions of an Ugly StepsisterConfessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've read Gregory Maguire books before and enjoyed them, so I was really surprised when I didn't love this one. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

One reason is that it just seemed to go on and on. I felt like Maguire took too much time leading up to the main conflict. Some of the backstory was necessary, but he spent far too much time on the Master's paintings, the tulip business, the bit about changelings, and explaining why the mother and her ugly daughters left England for Holland. If I were able to abandon books, I would have, but I pushed through it despite the unusual syntax and 17th century language. It got better just over halfway through, and that's just too long.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is basically the "true" story of Cinderella. It is not the sweet story of our childhood. There is no fairy godmother or a coach made from a pumpkin. But it explains why those things are part of our beloved story. It is told from the perspective of one of the stepsisters.

Margarethe and her daughters Iris and Ruth find themselves (in 17th Holland) in the employ of a rich man, Van den meer, who has a beautiful daughter, Clara. When Van den Meer's wife, Clara's mother, dies suddenly, Margarethe is all too happy to step in to those duties, and Van den meer willingly allows her to. He is going broke due to the tulip trade. When the Dowager Queen Marie de Medici visits Haarlem, bringing her eligible nephew with her, a ball is planned.

Let me caution you, though. Things do not happen the way they do in the fairy tale. In fact, there is a surprise waiting for the reader in the epilogue. That was the best part of the book.

If you are patient and can get past the s-l-o-w parts, you will be rewarded with a good ending and a satisfying story. I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get there.

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