Sunday, January 29, 2017


I've been very focused on creating word study lists, cards, and even videos lately.  Matt and I are playing at a tournament in Houston in March and I want to do better than I did last year.  I'm focusing on learning as many unfamiliar four letter words as I can as well as the five letter J, Q, X, and Z words.  I also need to review my threes but I'm still pretty confident of about 90% of them.  I'm creating videos using a web based program called Animoto to create a kind of study aide.  I've focused on adding two new J, Q, X, and Z words each day with a picture with a sentence using the word along with the definition and hooks.  (Hooks are letters that can go in front or back of the word.)  I'm also editing at least one letter of my 4 letter word lists each day along with creating lists of their front and back hooks.  After that, I'll focus on some 7 to 8 bingo stems.  Once everything is created, I'll start spending time digging in and actually studying - though I think a few things are sticking through osmosis or something.

Matt and I went to see the movie Hidden Figures this afternoon with a friend of ours.  He's a retired priest that used to volunteer in his department at the library and lived in his same apartment complex.  We enjoyed the movie and had dinner at a Greek restaurant nearby.  I've been pretty bad on my diet this weekend - kind of dreading the scale on Wednesday (my self-designated weigh-in day).  I had to estimate some of the meals since they weren't at national chain restaurants with readily available nutrition menus.  Yesterday we at at the restaurant where we had our first date.  My cousin and his family met us there after spending the day at a Harry Potter arts and crafts festival.  I think it was the chips and salsa that did me in.  But it was very good.  I only ate half my dinner of carnitas (pork) and rice.

Here's a picture of my cat, Lucy, helping me study:

Can you believe that Lucy is my 17 or 18 year old cat?  She broke her foot 2 1/2 years ago and had surgery but is still doing well.  She does like to "help" when I'm on the computer sometimes.  She also wants me to get up and feed her around 6:30 a.m. which is about 30 minutes before I normally get up.  Sometimes she'll just lay right on top of me while I try to get that extra 30 minutes of sleep.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Showing Off

Today we had a library meeting where we spent a lot of time updating our home pages for our online catalog.  I updated mine a few weeks ago so I mostly helped others with their pages.  When most people got their basics finished a few of us shared our sites.  Everyone applauded my effort and complimented me on it.  It took me a while to make all the html code to work - especially involving the calendar and its size, but I'm fairly happy how it turned out.  I'm probably going to have to offer training on websites for the librarians in the future.  

My principal came by today to tell me that his order for 3 carts of chromebooks was approved and that I would be helping with the management of them.  That is exciting news!  I won a grant for Chromebooks last year but didn't get them until the end of the year.  I asked the foundation if I'd be able to take them with me to my new school, but someone in technology said no.  I'm pretty sure most of them have just sat in an office all year.  

I've been spending time in the evenings working on Scrabble stuff - study cards for learning my 4 letter words as well as 5 letter, J, X, Q, and Z words.  I also need to focus on my 7 to 8 letter word bingo stems.  I often get tripped up when I have an unplayable bingo in my rack because I can't figure out how to play it using a letter already on the board (aside from the obvious plural 's' plays).  Matt and I are going to a tournament in Houston in March.  I didn't do very well at that tournament last year.  I hope I do better this time.  

Guess I better get back to Scrabble - starting on the 4 letter G words.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Goings on in the Library

Since the beginning of the school year, I've had a fairly open door policy in the library and I've never limited the number of students that could come in during lunch time.  Lately, however, I've had up to 50-60 students in there at once and being the only adult in the room, I felt it was getting a bit loud and overwhelming.  I decided this week I would limit the numbers to the first 30 students to come in.  It seems to have helped.  The noise level is down and it seems more manageable.  I hate turning students away but a good portion of them simply want to "relax".  I make exceptions for those who have work to complete, want to check out a book, or want to play Scrabble of course.  I'm still disappointed that my library isn't as active as it should be during the school day but taking it one step at a time.  I'm working on some ideas here and there.  I did teach a class after school on using Smore for creating online flyers and newsletters.  I'm going to start teaching more technology classes in the next few months.

In other news I'm doing pretty well with my diet but it's only 2 1/2 weeks in.  I religiously record all my food intake (except for the 5 fries I stole from Matt's dinner the other night).  I've lost 6 pounds so far.  I'm forcing myself to eat breakfast every day.  I know that eating breakfast has always been preached to me as an absolute must but I think I finally get it now.  I think it does help curb my overall hunger during the day.  I try to be more mindful of eating out.  Yesterday I limited my calories for breakfast and lunch since I knew we were going out to dinner at Olive Garden.  Even though I picked something with a high number of calories I only ate half of it to stay within my goal.  I only went over by 15 calories yesterday and that was because of that 3rd Andes Mint I got with the check.
Today I've got to work on a postcard for our upcoming anniversary band concert.  I also need to create a postcard or something promoting Scrabble to visiting 8th graders on our campus next week.

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.