Monday, August 20, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy.

School has begun!  I'm already exhausted!  I volunteered (was volunTOLD?) to teach an extra class instead of taking a conference period.  Normally that is illegal in Texas; however, my district is paying me for it - pretty good money, too - and I signed a waiver to that effect.  I'm going to be super busy since all of my planning and preparation will be done before or after school, but I can handle (almost) anything for one year.  Today is only the second day, but I think I'm going to like my students!

My son is moving back to college today.  He is close enough that he can come home on weekends.  My daughter graduated in December, and her job allows her to work from home, so she will be here until she has saved enough to feel comfortable moving out.  I like having them both here.  My daughter, on the other hand, can't wait to move out!

 Basketball season starts in 57 days!  I'm excited about that.  I have enjoyed baseball season this year, too.  We used to go to games a lot, but we stopped when they had that huge steroid scandal.  Guess we're over it now!

And since it's a school night, and I should be doing work, I'll get to some school-themed funnies.
And my personal favorite:
That's all for this week!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was pleasantly surprised at how good this book was, especially since I'd never heard of it until this summer. While it may be classified for tweens and teens, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and I felt the author was consistent and engaging enough for adults.

The book begins with protagonist Reynie Muldoon, an orphan, being taken to an audition of sorts in response to an advertisement that asks, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?". He is put through a series of tests, puzzles, mazes, and more and is selected, along with three other children, for a special mission. The other students are George "Sticky" Washington, Kate Wetherall, and Constance Contraire (who is very contrary).

Their special mission is to work for Mr. Benedict to find out what is going on at the Learning Institute of the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.) which is run by the evil genius Ledroptha Curtain, who we later learn is Mr. Benedict's long-lost twin brother. Curtain is sending out cryptic messages in preparation for "The Improvement." The Institute is located on Nomansan Island. Get it? No man's an island? I loved the puns in this book!

The Society infiltrates L.I.V.E. and learns what is happening at the school. They communicate with Mr. Benedict and his agents on the mainland via Morse Code with messages that are more like puzzles. Will the four children be able to stop Curtain's evil plan? Read and find out!

This book occasionally reminded me of A Series of Unfortunate Events, particularly the character Reynie who is similar to Krauss. It has a similar tone, although less sad, and a similar theme, with children outsmarting the evil adults. But... it is its own book. Despite the similarities, it is clearly a unique adventure that is sure to entertain any reader!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Random Tuesday

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

Well... I went back to work yesterday.  I was EXHAUSTED!  I was on my feet for most of the day as well as moving boxes and books, decorating my classroom, and running around taking care of our department.  T.I.R.E.D.  I can't believe the kids come in six days!

Nothing much has been going on other than that except my son and I toured Minute Maid Park last week.  It was both fun and interesting!  This is us sitting in the dugout.

My step-daughter set up a Go Fund Me page for her 3 year old doxie who needs surgery.  If you are so inclined to help, here is the link. Lilly's Surgery.

And because I'm so tired, I truly cannot think of anything else I want to say right now!

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

The Bone Collector (Lincoln Rhyme, #1)The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the longest time, I thought I had already read this book. I was thinking it was part of Jefferson Bass's Body Farm series, but I finally figured out that it's not. It's a different series, a different author, and only now on my "read" list.

Lincoln Rhyme is a brilliant criminalist forced into early retirement when an accident leaves him a quadriplegic. Amelia Sachs is a police officer who meets Rhyme by accident. Earlier that morning, she had stopped a train on its tracks and prevented foot traffic from walking through a crime scene, until other officers showed up and overruled her decision. Rhyme has been asked to come out of retirement to help the NYPD find a sadistic killer who is leaving clues about each of his next victims at the crime scene, and he wants Sachs on the case with him. Rhyme convinces Sachs to be his eyes, hands, and feet as she walks the "grid" according to Rhyme's directions.

This killer is smart. He knows how to avoid leaving prints and trace evidence. The team learns that the unsub has an unusual fascination with bones and the underground, and he fancies old New York. Will Rhyme, Sachs, and a slew of detectives and experts be able to find the unsub? And how will the unsub react if he can't stump them with his clues?

This is a very cleverly detailed story, and it was hard to put down. Amelia Sachs is the first character we meet. We are then introduced to Lincoln Rhyme. Both characters are difficult to like, especially in the first third of the book or so. The story is so good, though, that it's easy to get around that. At least the characters are well-developed and not caricatures.

The story was convoluted, not difficult to follow, just so many meticulous details went into the plot. There are so many twists and turns that you most likely haven't read about in every other serial murder plot. I'm not sure if that means Jeffery Deaver's mind is crazy or crafty, or maybe, a little of both. (Just kidding.) You're definitely in for a bumpy ride! The only time it got predictable was near the end.

I really couldn't put it down, which must be why I read this almost 400 page book in five days. It usually takes much longer, but I was really hooked!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2018


This is from our tour of Minute Maid Park today.

A view from the field.
Copyright 2018 DLA

Welcome to the Ball Park!
Copyright 2018 DLA

Join the Fun!
Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 06, 2018

Random Nonsense

I'm linking up with Stacy for some Random Thoughts.
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I can't believe I got sucked in again!  The Bachelorette finale was last night.  I won't ruin it for anyone who hasn't watched it, not that any of you, dear readers, let yourself get sucked in to this so-called romantic, reality tv.  You know what I wonder, though?  I wonder how it is that some of the people who end up on the show already knew each other.  It's like there is some secret society out there with Bachelor/Bachelorette contestants.  And I know that a LOT of it is scripted.  I know they pit one guy against another just for ratings.  So how do I get sucked in?  Uuggghhhh!

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And don't forget, Bachelor in Paradise premiers tonight!  Hahahaha!

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Today, my (grown) son and I are going to tour Minute Maid Park - Home of the World Series Champions, the Houston Astros!  We're so excited.  I think he is most looking forward to seeing the press box.  Me?  I'm just ready to take it all in.

"I'm so ready to go back to school next week," said NO TEACHER EVER!  But, return to work I must.  We had to pack everything up this year so they could replace the flooring, so there is a heckuva lot of unpacking to do before I can even think about having students, much less their parents, in my room during orientation next week.  Lots and lots and lots of work!

And that's all I have right now.  My brain is so NOT ready to work again!  So, here ya go!

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Have a great week!

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Saturday, August 04, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

Before He Kills (Mackenzie White Mystery, #1)Before He Kills by Blake Pierce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Mackenzie White is a young, female detective on a small police force in Nebraska made up of a bunch of chauvinistic good ole boys. They don't treat her with the respect she has earned, and to top it off, she's stuck in a dead-end relationship that is going nowhere.

She's been called to the scene of a murder. An exotic dancer has been kidnapped, tied to a pole, and flogged to death. When the second murder happens almost identical to the first, the locals call in the FBI. Mackenzie takes a lead role in the investigation. But things don't go as planned, and she ends up in a fight for her life.

This is the first Blake Pierce book that I have read. I liked that it was a quick read, slightly less than 200 pages. It was also suspenseful. Pierce did a good job of characterizing Mackenzie, but I feel like a few other characters made quick personality changes without motivation. The story had enough twists to keep the reader interested, and I will likely read the next book in the series.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy for some random fun.  Come play along!

Im teaching this week.  Its not full blown summer school, though.  It's four hours a day, four days this week.  We invited students who didn't do well on state testing, about 120 kids. Less than 30 signed up, although the others knew they could just show up.  Today, we had a grand total of 10 kids.  Very disappointing.  I still get paid though!

This is Orbit, the Astros mascot.  Earlier this month, my family and I went to a baseball game with tickets provided by a former student.  They were pretty good seats.  We were up 28 rows behind our dugout kind of between home plate and first base, but closer to home.  It was a lot of fun, and we won that game.  Can't say that now with two of our best players on the disabled list.  It will get better!

This is what I've been doing a lot of this summer... coloring.  I find it to be such a relaxing activity.  I enjoy it.  When I go back to full time teaching August 13, I probably won't have much time to color, so I'm enjoying it while I can.

And now, some funnies!

Have a great week!

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

Escape from Alcatraz (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories)Escape from Alcatraz by Eric Braun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't know too much about Alcatraz before reading this book, only that some men had tried to escape and the prison closed shortly thereafter. That was the extent of my knowledge. I originally purchased this book for my classroom thinking it would appeal to a lot of my boys. After reading it, I would also say it might be appealing to girls. It was a very interesting story.

I love how the author explained a bit of history of the three men and what led them to being in prison at Alcatraz. He didn't include so much that it was boring. It was actually necessary. This shed some light on their personalities and their abilities as it relates to their escape plan. Braun also went in to great detail about the escape plan, how they procured supplies, and how they planned for every contingency. He also discussed several scenarios that could explain what happened to the three men who escaped "The Rock."

Photographs that help the reader visualize parts of the prison and parts of the plan are also included. This was a very informative yet easy-to-read book. My son has said for a long time he would like to visit Alcatraz, and I think I do, too, now that I know more about what happened.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Thursday Thirteen

I suffer from migraines.  I've been having quite a few this summer, so I spent some time looking up information, some which I knew, and some which was enlightening.  Here we go...

1.  Alcohol contains ethanol which can cause or lengthen a headache.  One effect of alcohol is the widening of blood vessels.  Another is dehydration, both of which can cause headaches or prevent them from going away.

2.  Aspirin can be an effective pain reliever and it reduces inflammation by preventing the production of prostaglandins.  It also reduces blood platelet aggregation, meaning they can't stick together, which needs to happen in order to stop bleeding.

3.  Some people think chiropractic treatment can help migraines, but the US  Headache Guidelines Consortium does not endorse chiropractic for migraines.

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4. Caffeine can actually help a migraine which is why it is one ingredient in Excedrin Migraine.  The stimulant in the caffeine does exactly the opposite of what alcohol does; it constricts the blood vessels.  But, due to something called "caffeine rebound," headache sufferers should not consume it in excess.

5.  Beta blockers, which are often prescribed for cardiovascular disease, have helped prevent migraines.  In fact, I take a beta blocker for that exact reason.  Beta blockers reduce the tendency of blood vessels to over-dilate.  These medications take about six weeks to be effective as migraine prevention.  Lately, mine hasn't been helping much with prevention.

6.  Migraines occur more often in women than men.

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7.  Many women experience migraines around the time of their monthly cycle or at mid-cycle about the time of ovulation which indicates a relationship with hormones.

8.  Tyramine, which is found naturally in many foods, can elevate blood pressure if eaten in high amounts.  This has been linked to migraines.  Click the link to see foods that are acceptable on a reduced tyramine diet.

9.  Nitrates, which can be found in many processed meats such as hot dogs and bologna and even in some red wines, can cause blood vessels to dilate leading to headaches.
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10. About 80% of women who experience migraines will stop having them during the third trimester of a pregnancy, probably due to hormone stability.

11. Migraines can cause visual disturbances such as sensitivity to light, flashes, size distortions, jagged lines, the halo effect, tunnel vision, and even loss of vision.

12. Triptans such as Zomig, which I take once every month or so depending on the severity of my headaches, are a class of medication often used to treat acute migraines (not for prevention).  Triptans have many side effects and should be used with caution.

13. Vitamins and nutritional supplements have not been proven to help migraines.

Talk to your doctor if you are having migraines like I do.  And here is an online source for information!

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