Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Friend's Loss

I was very saddened to hear that my friend Andrew's mother passed away unexpectedly.  Andrew is one my oldest blogging friends who I've known since I started blogging in 2004.  He has been the most avid blogger I've ever known and although we have never gotten to meet in person, I consider him a friend.  I started blogging just a few months after my own mother passed away.  She died of lung cancer in November 2003.  I started blogging in May of 2004 thanks to a guy I started dating around that time.  So many things have changed in that time but I'm happy where life has lead me.  I'm also happy for Andrew who seems to have come a long way and is generally doing well though I know that the next several days, weeks, and months will be painful.  I feel like I've gotten to know his mother over the years with all the wonderful stories he has written about her.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned my mom in this blog.  Maybe I'll try to come up with a few stories to tell.

I don't know if Andrew still reads since my blog has been dormant for so long, but I'm thinking of him and his family and pray that they get through this difficult time.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Back again?

So if I write a blog post after a fairly long hiatus (only 3 posts last year) - will anyone still be around to read it?  Who knows.  I used to love blogging.  It was rather cathartic when I needed it to be.  Life seems to have gotten in the way but it's really no excuse.  I can find time for other things - why can't I write.  I do miss it in some ways.  It's nice to be able to go back and look at posts to remember certain events and such.  I tried doing that with facebook but I didn't post much there either.  Well, let's give it another try, shall we?  What do you want to know?

I've decided I really have to do something about my weight.  Yeah, I know you've heard that one before.  I finally exceeded my all time high and I can't afford to keep buying clothes in bigger sizes and I have closets full of clothes I can no longer wear.  I still hate exercise so I'm focusing on diet right now.  I know I'll eventually have to add exercise but I'm hoping that can wait until our pool opens in March.  I'm tracking my food intake using the My Fitness app on my phone.  I've been pretty good about about.  I've gone over a few times, but I've been under a few times as well.  Last week the scale said I lost 4.4 pounds but it might have been a fluke.  We'll see on the next weigh-in.

I moved up to a high school campus at the beginning of the school year.  It has been great - I feel like I have time to actually BE a librarian most of the time.  At least I'm not constantly dealing with textbooks or fixing everyone's computer problems.  (Of course word has gotten out that I know how to fix things..)  I started a Scrabble club but it hasn't taken off yet.  I only have two active players right now but I'm hoping for a push soon.  I need to come up with some ideas to get more students interested.

I've done a lot of reading.  Last year I read 40 new books as part of my Good Reads goal.  This year the goal is 46.

I didn't play in very many Scrabble tournaments this year.  I played in New Orleans a year ago last January and did pretty well but tanked at a Houston tournament last March.  I need to decide if I want to invest in improving by studying or not.  I'm going to try to write a Scrabble curriculum as part of my Tall Texans project but I haven't made much progress on it.

Well, I guess this is as good of a start as any.  If I have any readers left, let me know if there's something you want to know.   I guess at least you know that I'm alive and well.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year in Review

So I've pretty much given up on blogging.  I'm not sure why really - just haven't felt the need to write.  I sometimes wish I did blog more.  It helps me to be able to go back and look at previous posts to remember things that happened.  Maybe I'll make an effort in 2017.  If not, I may just archive my blog and let it go wherever blogs go to die or something like that.

I did feel the need, however, to post my annual year in review so if you're not my facebook friend, you can at least get a general idea of how my year went.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Worked as a high school librarian

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I met my Goodread’s goal of reading 40 books this year.  I am really going to have to start losing weight this year.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope – we’re all getting old but my cousin is pregnant at the age of 43.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.  

5. What countries did you visit?
Still pretty much land locked.  I only got out of Texas a few times this year – went to New Orleans in January for a Scrabble tournament, drove to Atlanta for vacation this summer, and went to Albuquerque for Thanksgiving.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
More energy to get more things done and to lose weight. 

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Going to the Tall Texans Leadership Institute in June - it was an incredible experience and I made a lot of great friends and connections.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being accepted into the Tall Texans Class of 2016 which is a Texas Library Association Leadership group.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not losing any weight this year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Had a bout with asthma for over a month at the beginning of school.  Sprained my ankle at school in March – had to wear a walking boot for a week and another brace for a week.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new car – Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid.  It’s the fanciest car I’ve owned and I love driving it!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Not sure – Matt has still been a good husband and Josh is doing well with his job in Houston.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The students at my former middle school (aside from my Scrabble club kids).  Most behaved badly and having moved to high school – it’s like a breath of fresh air.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills, Scrabble tournaments, eating out.  

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Making it into Tall Texans

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Can't think of any.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? About the same as last year – generally happy.
- richer or poorer? About the same – got a standard raise, but lost some stipends when I went to a new campus.
- thinner or fatter? Fatter – really, really need to work on that.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Losing weight, organizing the house.  

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Procrastinating

20. How did you spend the holidays?
New Years (2016) – at home with Matt
Valentine’s Day – with Matt – had dinner at Maggiano’s 
Easter – with Matt - can't even remember what church we went to this year.
4th of July – with Matt – didn’t really do much – listened to Josh’s live radio interviews.
Thanksgiving – With Matt and Josh in Albuquerque visiting my aunt and uncle.
Christmas – stayed home.  Josh came in on the 23rd.  Matt grilled steaks on the 24th and we went to see a movie (La La Land) and opened presents on Christmas morning.  Josh left by 11:00 to spend Christmas with his girlfriend’s family. 
New Year's Eve (today) - went to ta Scrabble part at a friend's house north of Austin.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Still in love with Matt.

22. How many one-night stands?
Do I have to answer this question every year?  I'm a married woman!

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Big Bang Theory is still a favorite.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope - still like everyone I know.

25. What was the best book you read?
Notable books: Ready Player One andThe Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.  You can see my list of books here:  https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/15978192

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
Didn’t really go out to the movies much.  Did enjoy Sully and Arrival

27. Whom did you miss?
Some of the staff at my former school.  It was harder to get to know a bigger staff at the high school.  

27. Who was the best new person you met?
All of my Tall Texan colleagues.  

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Go with your instinct when considering a new job. 


Thursday, June 02, 2016

A Time for Change


So I bought a new car on Monday.  I've been planning on buying a Rav4 Hybrid for a while now.  I thought I was going to wait until mid-summer but I found what I wanted with 0% financing on Memorial Day.  I wanted to trade in my Prius while it still had some value though I did have to negotiate with the dealer some.  I first took my Prius to Car Max to get a quote from them and they offered me $5000 which I thought was pretty reasonable given the fact that it has scratches on the door and a back panel.  When I was negotiating at the Toyota dealership, they only offered me $3500 for it.  I told them they could meet it or I'd take the Prius to Car Max and get a check for the down payment.  They eventually gave in and I got full amount.  I really love this car.  It's the fanciest one I've ever owned.  I can even do hands free calling.  It has satellite radio, a back up camera, and other cool features.  I also love the color. 

In other news I may be moving up to high school.  I interviewed for a job at a local high school last week.  The librarian there seems to really want me to take her place.  I am waiting to hear from HR to see if I got the job.  I think it's promising, but I'm concerned about HR being behind.  If they don't come through quickly, I won't get to take my new Chromebooks with me.  That will have to happen before my principal leaves on the 15th so she can sign the transfer form.  Then again, I may be stuck where I am another year.  While I do love my Scrabble kids, I've had enough of the other ones that refuse to listen to anything anyone has to say.  They never go to class and all they want to do is goof off in the hallways.  I figure that if you're going to skip class, you should at least leave the campus.  What's the point otherwise?  

I have another week of work and then I'll be starting my summer vacation.  I'm heading immediately to Dallas next Friday as I will be participating in a librarian leadership institute starting the 12th.  Matt and I are going up early so we can go to Six Flags.  I'll get back on the 16th and then I'll probably sleep for about a week.  Josh and I are planning a road trip for sometime in July.  We've decided to drive to Atlanta.  We can go to yet another Six Flags park there and there will be several other things we can do as well.  

I can't play at Scrabble Nationals this year because of the date.  Matt is going to go and car pool with some other friends from Texas.  I guess I'll just play every other year if I can.  Well, I guess that's all the excitement here for now.  I'll try to update more this summer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Time to Catch Up

I know I'm still a very bad blogger.  This is my first post for 2016 and it's almost April.  I guess at least it's better than not posting at all, huh?  So to catch up a bit:

In January, Matt and I headed to New Orleans for a Scrabble tournament.  I played in a lite open division (players rated 1300 and less) and I did fairly well.  I ended up 8th overall and won $115 for being the 2nd highest of those who started out in the lower half of the division.  My rating had a nice large jump and briefly I was in the top 10 in the nation for ratings gain.

In February I headed to Austin for the TCEA convention.  My cousin who works at a hotel there was able to give me a great discount at a Hampton in for the week.  It was an interesting conference to attend and this year I had someone to each lunch with a few times.

Matt did a great job on my Valentine's day flowers this year.  He got me a bouquet of purple flowers.  We went to dinner at Maggiano's which was delicious as always.

I've had to step up as a leader among our district librarians as we are making an effort to make some changes for us within the district.  I helped draft a letter that we presented at a board meeting in February.  We are planning a meeting with the superintendent and plan to attend the next board meeting on Monday.

I applied for a Leadership Institute that is part of the Texas Library Association as well.  Matt has pushed me to apply for some time now, but I wasn't eligible to do so until this year.  I found out at the beginning of March that I was accepted as a TALL Texan.  I'll be going to training for five days in Dallas this summer.  I was one out of 24 librarians accepted from across the state.

Matt and I went to another Scrabble tournament at the end of February - this time in Houston.  We both didn't do very well.  I was in division 3 and he was in division 1 but we both ended up in 9th place out of 12.  He actually moved up some and I moved down about 4 places from our beginning rankings.  I lost some rating points at this tournament.  On the bright side, we did get to have lunch with Josh while in town.

Spring break was last week and I was a slug for the first half of it.  I slept late, read, and watched t.v.  I finally got productive on Thursday when I started cleaning the house.  Matt took me to dinner on Sunday night since we didn't get a chance to do anything fun.  I told him that I earned dinner and a margarita after cleaning the toilets.

Yesterday Matt found out that his collection of African American Funeral Programs has won an award.  It's the Texas Digital Libraries Trailblazer Award.  We are going to an awards ceremony in May.

Which brings us to today - it started out ok.  I've had two full days of catching up on work since the library has been closed.  I've been taking Scrabble boards into the cafeteria so my students can play as we have a tournament coming up in a little over a week.  I was heading to the cafeteria with my cart of stuff when the wind caught a folder I had on top and sent the signed student permission slips flying.  I panicked and jumped down from the sidewalk to retrieve them when I twisted my ankle.  It hurt like a #$!!*^&$^.  I sat down for a bit and then forced myself to get up and get to the cafeteria.  When, the pain got worse and it started swelling up.  I couldn't walk on it very well so I decided to go to the clinic and have it examined.  I had to fill out workman's comp paperwork first.  Thankfully I didn't break anything, but it's a pretty bad sprain.  The doctor gave me a boot to wear which helps.  I also got a prescription for some high dose ibuprofen.  So now I'm in bed taking it easy.  Thankfully Matt has been a great husband.  He picked up my prescription and dinner for me.  I missed giving a presentation that I was supposed to this afternoon.  I was trying to get through the visit at the clinic but it took longer than expected.

So for your viewing pleasure here's a picture of my foot now that it's bruising nicely.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Year in Review

Even though I've been a bad blogger, I'm trying to at least keep my year in review going.

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Placed 7th at a National Scrabble tournament and won $300

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I won’t kid myself.  I’ll continue to set a book reading goal on Goodreads – that’s about as much as I can do. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope – we’re all getting old.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.  

5. What countries did you visit?
Once again, I’m a homebody who never gets away.  I *might* try to go on a cruise sometime so maybe I’ll get out of the country someday.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2015?
More time.  There’s never enough hours in the day it seems.  I’d also really like a maid.  I really need someone to clean up my messes because I procrastinate too much.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No specific dates really – other than last week’s Snowpocalypse that happened while visiting family in Amarillo.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Receiving the Inspire Award from the SAISD foundation and placing 7th at Scrabble Nationals.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Nothing major – still haven’t cleaned out the garage. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major – same old colds and stuff. 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably my new iPhone – not that it’s fantastic or anything, but it is faster and works better than my previous phone.  I also gave my old phone to my dad which was a major upgrade for him so it was a win all around. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My students did well at the state Scrabble tournament that I took them to. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Nobody in particular.  Matt’s mother is still being mostly silent. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying bills and groceries. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Making it to the top eight at Nationals.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?


17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? About the same as last year – generally happy.
- richer or poorer? Slightly richer now that Josh is paying me for his car and insurance.
- thinner or fatter? Slightly fatter – really need to do something about that.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Keeping the house clean. 

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Worrying – about my job, the new principal, bills, etc.

20. How did you spend the holidays?
New Years (2015) – at home with Matt who grilled steaks.
Valentine’s Day – with Matt – got him tickets to a concert and we went to dinner beforehand. 
Easter – with Matt - can't even remember what church we went to this year.
4th of July – with Matt – cooked out on the grill and then just hung out at home.
Thanksgiving – With Matt and my cousins – cooked a big dinner here and then watched Harry Potter.
Christmas – went to New Mexico to visit my aunt and uncle and then headed to Amarillo to see my dad and brother.  Got snowed in while there. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Still in love with Matt.

22. How many one-night stands?
Do I have to answer this question every year?  I'm a married woman!

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Big Bang Theory is still a favorite.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nope - still like everyone I know.

25. What was the best book you read?
I actually exceeded my Goodreads goal but I did cut it in half this year.  Some notable books were The Martian, X by Sue Grafton, Dead Wake (about the sinking of the Lusitania), and As You Wish (about the making of the movie The Princess Bride).

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
Spotlight was probably one of my favorites this year.  Surprisingly, I liked Mockingjay part 2 even though I didn’t care much for the book.   Star Wars and The Martian were also great.

27. Whom did you miss?
Friends and family back in Amarillo/New Mexico.  I haven’t seen my sister in a few years now. 

27. Who was the best new person you met?
My new principal.  I really like her. 

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
To be successful in Scrabble, you really have to learn more words.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It's about damn time you posted something....

I don't know if I should give up blogging or keep at it.  I still like reading other people's blogs.  I just have a hard time keeping up with my own.  I do wish I blogged more because it helps me remember things from year to year when I forget things like what Matt got me for my birthday and such.  So since I last blogged, Josh and I had a birthday.  Mine was fairly uneventful.  Matt got me a Kohl's gift card and my aunt sent me some cash.  Josh gave me an Amazon gift card.  Matt also took me out to dinner at a really nice steakhouse the weekend after my birthday.  Food was good, but fairly expensive - even with a $40 coupon.

Work has been busy as always.  Scrabble club is still going strong.  My new principal is great.  I got to be her secret Santa the week before school was out.  When I revealed that I was her secret Santa, she got very excited and gave me a hug.  She said she enjoyed all the gifts and especially the notes I put with them.  My secret Santa gave me a 3D puzzle and Marvin the Martian cup with a lid along with other goodies during the week.

I've done all my shopping - a good portion of it online and have all the presents wrapped.  We are heading to New Mexico tomorrow evening.  We'll stop for the night along the way and then get into the mountains where my aunt lives sometime the afternoon of Christmas eve.  We'll spend Christmas day there and the day after - hopefully.  We are planning to come back through Amarillo in order to stop and see my dad and brother, but they are expecting to get 8-12 inches of snow on Sunday when were planning on heading that way.  We may have to leave early or go late... not sure which at this point. Josh is going with us as he has a week off from work.

We haven't seen the new Star Wars movie yet.  We may see it in ABQ or Amarillo if we get the chance.  We were going to go on Monday but I had shopping to do in the morning and then Matt and ran errands the rest of the day.  I headed out for final shopping this morning and got back around 1:00.  I've been working on cleaning the house some but what's a better way to procrastinate than to blog!

I'll certainly be posting my annual year in review either on the 31st or the 1st.  So now you can get TWO posts in the same month!  Well, I guess I should get busy on the kitchen again.  There's so much STUFF.  I also need to start packing soon.  I've got a load in the washer and when that's done, I'll get the suitcase out and get started.  Hope you're all having a nice holiday.  If I don't blog again by Friday, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 26, 2015

I know, I know

Yes, I've been a very bad blogger lately.  Things have been crazy busy for a while.  Let's see - I got the Inspire award and it was a very nice evening.  I shook hands with John Quinones and Matt took a blurry picture of he and I together.  (Note to self: Do not let Matt take pictures with my phone any more.)  School has been busy with just about everything.  My Scrabble club is now HUGE.  I have over 50 students that I'm recording scores on.  One lunch alone has 28 students in it.  Another lunch has about 18 and the last lunch has only 4.  Still - it stays active and the kids are having fun I think.  My Scrabble class is also keeping me busy as I'm constantly working on the curriculum that I'm creating as I go.

I played in a Scrabble tournament this weekend and did fairly well placing 4th overall.  I won my entry fee of $50 back.  It was up and down for a while, but I had some good wins and some lousy losses.  We always host people from out of town for tournaments so I had to work on cleaning the house a few days before.

Josh is coming home this weekend.  He's going to speak at our career day at school on Friday.  On Saturday, he and I are going to go see the Rocky Horror Picture show.  Matt is going to the Stevie Wonder concert by himself.  I feel kind of bad that I'm not going with Matt, but he says that he is ok with going by himself.  I've been in the stage version of Rocky Horror and watched the movie on tv with a group of friends, but haven't had the full theater experience.  I think it will be fun.

On Friday night, Matt and I are going to the Spurs opening home game.  It's going to the a busy weekend.

Matt is planning on hosting a Scrabble tournament in San Antonio in December.  I'm going to try to bring my students to it.  I don't know if I'll be able to play in it though.  I will need another sponsor to help watch the students while I play.  I should start playing in more Scrabble tournaments.  I don't know if I'll steadily move up the ladder, but I need to force myself to study more in order to do so.  I really need to learn my four letter words.

Well, I'm going to go have some leftover pizza for dinner and probably call it an early night.  I'm still tired from all the thinking I did this weekend.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Being Recognized

So last week I received a surprise visit during school.  The assistant principal came into the library and told me that something was going on and that I needed to stand up.  In walked the director of the SAISD foundation that has funded my Scrabble club and other projects the past few years.  She told me that I was going to be recognized as an honoree at their annual Inspire Awards banquet as an Innovative educator.  Only two teachers in the district were being recognized - myself and an elementary teacher.  It's kind of a big deal.  The dinner is a major fundraising event for the foundation and there will be some celebrities like John Quinones there.  Matt will be going with me.  I went shopping this weekend for a dress to wear.  The ceremony is next week on Wednesday.  I was told that I'll be able to say a few words so now I have to figure out what I want to say.



School has been busy as always.  Last week I had a nasty cold that made work more difficult.  I'm finally getting better but not at 100% yet.  Hope to be there by Friday.  I'm presenting at a workshop on Friday.  I haven't even gotten a real start on the presentation.  I have a general idea of what I'm doing, but need to start actively working on it.  I've spent the last few weeks working on my book order.  The district facilitator is coming tomorrow and she is going to approve my final list.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Starting another year

So school has been in session (with students) a little over a week.  I spent most of last week getting textbooks out to teachers.  I'm hoping to open the library for book checkouts later this week.  I'm (im)patiently waiting for a bunch of equipment to be picked up before students can freely roam.  So last year I was a bit worried about getting a new principal.  So far I really like her.  I was worried about her need for tidiness, but so far it hasn't been an issue since she knows I'm trying to get the library opened and have had to deal with a bunch of stuff.  I like the fact that she gets stuff done, she is visible, and is tough but fair.  I think I've impressed her with my technological skills so far.

Tomorrow I should be finished with all the textbook deliveries.  Next I have to pack up a bunch of books to get rid of.  Then I have to update out fixed assets.  I'm also in the middle of working on my book order which has to be turned in two weeks from now.  I'm pretty close to spending all the money I have - it's harder than it seems - especially when you have to be careful about the titles you choose.  We can't purchase anything that has to do with drugs, sex, gangs, bullying, or violence.

So there's big news in Josh's world.  He is finally a fully employed adult.  He graduated in May with his Master's in music composition.  He has been working as an intern at the local classical music station in Houston.  An opening came up at the station and he was offered the job after interviewing for it.  He will have health insurance and an pretty good salary.  I'll be able to take him off my insurance and he will start paying me back for his car payment and car insurance.  He is airing his first two hour show on Friday. You can listen to it online if you're interested.