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!

Link up with Thursday Thirteen for more fun!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Random Tuesday

Link up with Stacy to join the fun!

How is your summer going?  It's hard to believe, but mine is already coming to an end.  Next week, for four days, I am teaching a reading/writing camp.  Then I will have one more full week off before teachers report August 13th for the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.  Our students' first day is August 20th. Crazy, right?  Where did summer go? This is going to be me on Monday!

Do you have a Krispy Kreme in your area?  Those are the best doughnuts in the world!  We used to have one nearby, but now, the closest one is ten miles away, but it's in a part of town that is a little sketchy.  That may not seem far, but with lights and traffic, it's not close.  There is another one that is 16 miles away, which is about 35 minutes.

Is it worth it?  Maybe.  At least on July 27th when they are selling a dozen glazed doughnuts for $1 with the purchase of another dozen.  From July 27 to August 2, they'll also have a special glazed confetti doughnut available for purchase to celebrate 81 years in business.  Check their website to see if the locations in your area are participating. (And, no, darnit, I wasn't paid for writing about Krispy Kreme.  I just love them!)

Did you know there is actually a World's Ugliest Dog Contest?  It was held June 25 in Petaluma, CA.  The winner was Zsa Zsa, a 9 year old English bulldog with superior drooling skills!  She and her owner won $1500.  Poor, ugly, doggie.

And speaking of dogs...

And speaking of the dentist...

And speaking of sweets...
Have a great week! 

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

Lamentation (Jay Porter, #1)Lamentation by Joe Clifford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. I did not realize it was a series until I finished it. I was a little unhappy with the ending because I felt like I didn't have enough closure. It ended well, but I felt invested in the characters, so I wanted to know what happens next. I'm glad there is a "next book."

Lamentation is about a character in his late 20's, Jay Porter, who makes a living by doing estate removal - getting rid of other people's junk. It's not a steady source of income, so he barely makes ends meet. His ex-girlfriend left him and took their baby son with her. She is now living with someone else. Jay and his brother Chris lost their parents in a car accident about 20 years prior when Jay was only 8 years old. Jay is a solid, trustworthy guy, but his brother is a junkie who is full of conspiracy theories. When Chris is accused of murdering his business partner, Jay's tempted to wash his hands of the whole situation. In the end, the bonds of brotherhood compel him to help Chris, but now, Chris is missing and hasn't been seen for days. Chris also has a secret that could turn the town of Ashton upside down, if he is to be believed.

Although Clifford gets the action started right away, it just seemed so depressing at first. The characters are all down on their luck for one reason or another, and there doesn't seem to be a way out. But of course, there is. The action keeps you glued to the book despite a dreary beginning. It's very easy to read and understand, and the characters are relatable and realistic. There's a little romance, some camaraderie, but mostly suspense, which is what I like best.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Photo Day

Copyright DLA 2018
Saw this driving home from downtown the other day.
I guess they used to be the golden ARCH.
Haha!  I thought this old sign looked pretty cool.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Random Tuesday

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

My car has been at the dealership for service for six days now.  I needed a new compressor.  Actually, this is the second time they have replaced my compressor.  I knew when I drove it off the lot last time that it wasn't fixed by the way the AC sounds when the car is idling.  Also, my bluetooth hasn't worked for about six months.  You don't realize how much you miss something like that until it doesn't work.  But, I had to wait till summer when I'm not driving to work to get my car in.  Maybe it will be ready tomorrow.  I seriously dislike going to the dealership, even just for service.  They don't make anything easy!

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So here's some weird news from my city this week:  A woman started a fight with a neighbor (in the neighbor's home), and she bit part of her nose off and swallowed it.  Ewww. Gross!  Who does that?

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Two hundred miles southwest of where I live, in Corpus Christi, Texas, a group of fisherman caught a  1,000 pound 14 foot hammerhead shark yesterday.  Wow!  They said that they usually tag their catch and release it back in the water for research purposes, but this time, the shark was weak and didn't live.  They donated their catch.

What are you reading right now?  I'm reading The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver.  All this time (almost 20 years), I thought it was part of the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass and that I had likely already read it, but no.  It's not, and I haven't.  I also didn't know it was made into a movie way back in 1999, so... I'll have to watch it after I read it.  It's got Denzel Washington in it, and I think he's a great actor!

And now... some laughs!

Have a great week!

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sunday Synopsis

One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I decided that every-other book I read this summer would be a young adult book in hopes of having more variety of books to recommend to my students. This is a young adult book, but the key word is "adult." The students I teach are really too young for this one.

One of Us is Lying reminded me a little bit of The Breakfast Club. Five kids are in after school detention: A jock, a brainiac, a popular kid, a criminal, and an outsider, along with a teacher who doesn't really want to be there at all. However, that's where the similarity ends. During detention, one of the students is murdered, presumably by someone in the room.

All four students are suspects, and they all have secrets that they don't want to get out. They all have something to lose. But which one has the most to lose?

McManus does a great job characterizing each person so they are not just caricatures or stereotypes, but multi-layered and dynamic characters. The plot is well-written, and every event adds to the plot and moves it forward. It's very clever and suspenseful. You may figure out what happened, or at least part of it, but you won't be sure until almost the very end, and there are some twists that will surprise you. I was not disappointed in this book!

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Photo Day!

I took this photo on the rooftop of Coldwater Apartments where our daughter lives in Austin while we were visiting a few days ago.  The second picture is a cactus flower taken at Driftwood Winery in Dripping Springs, Tx.  No filter!

copyright DLA 2018
copyright DLA 2018

Thanks for visiting today!

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Random Tuesday

I'm linking up with Stacy!

I almost forgot today was the day to post.  We've been in Austin on a short getaway.  We went to take care of our granddogs, but we found some fun things to do while we were there.

We enjoyed a visit to Driftwood Winery in Dripping Springs, not a far drive.  It was beautiful!  And I found a wine I really liked.  I learned about muscat grapes.  The Italian word for muscat is moscato, one of my favorite wines.  The Driftwood wine I like is a sparkling muscat wine similar to prosecco called Starry Nights.  It pops like champagne when it is opened. And it is delicious!
We're staying in our daughter's apartment while she is on vacation, but we are headed home today.  It's a four hour or less drive.  Here's the grandogs we've been taking care of.
We also were able to watch the sunset from the rooftop of the building.
While in Austin, we were within walking distance of some great restaurants, the original Chuy's and Terry Black's BBQ.  The brisket at Black's will melt in your mouth!
We also walked around Zilker Park with the dogs.

And not to ignore our other daughter, we have another new granddog named Luna, and she is adorable!
Isn't she adorable?

And we are so proud of our Astros who made the All Star Team!  5 of them!
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Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and Gerrit Cole.

And now some funnies.

Have a good week!

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