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Books I Wish She Had Read January 26, 2011

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs, Literary Journal, Rants/ Raves, Uncategorized.
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While browsing the web, I found a post about missed reading opportunities and started thinking about my rich reading background.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a voracious reader.  My mom has a tremendous love of reading and literature and shared that love with my brother and me.  Some of my earliest (and happiest) memories are of Momma reading The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins   and Are You My Mother? , and the greatest Christmas present I received as a kid was the Little House on the Prairie box set which I read at least a dozen times.  Books have always been an integral part of my daily routine and I shudder to imagine a life in which I couldn’t indulge in a quick trip to ancient Rome, King Henry’s Hampton Court, or the dark alleys of crime-ridden Los Angeles.   With this in mind, I offer a quick list of the most influential or memorable books from my childhood:

1.  Little House of the Prairie (Wilder) — I cannot express how much I loved this series.  I still own that box set I got over 25 years ago;  each book is tattered and worn from being read so many times.  I even had my mom make a “Laura Ingalls dress” that I wore until I couldn’t squeeze into it any longer. 

2. Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery) — Contrary to what my students believe, I was not a troublemaker as a child.   I relied on this book to vicariously experience tight scraps, wild adventures, and fierce independence.

3.  Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? (Blume) — This book was so taboo in my 5th grade world!  What I remember most about this book is having to put my name on a waiting list at the school library just to check it out…..and the exercise to grow your boobs.  Surprisingly those of us lucky enough to have a chance to read the book never spilled any of its secrets to those poor souls still waiting their turn.

4.  Little Women (Alcott) — I had an illustrated version of this classic that was passed down from my mom and aunts.  I loved Jo and was devastated when she cut off her beautiful hair.  This was one of the first books that I can remember pulling various emotions from me as I read.

5.  Where the Sidewalk Ends (Silverstein) — Every student at my elementary school was required to participate in an annual elocution contest.  Without fail my brother and I always chose to recite a poem from this collection.  This is one of the few books that he and I both loved; we wrote and drew on the pages of our favorite poems 🙂

I’m happy to be able to say that I have passed this love of reading on to my daughter; she would willing spend my entire paycheck at Barnes and Noble.  Sadly I realize that my daughter, for all her reading, has not experienced any of these amazing works 😦

Good Grief, Another Decision?! September 15, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs.
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Sarah and I spent 3 hours at the Ryland Design Center today. We were both a bit overwhelmed by all the work that new home buyers have to go through. Today we had to choose all the kitchen options (countertops, floors, cabinetry, and appliances), bathroom options (floors, shower doors, cabinets, sinks, and fixtures), carpet, front door, fireplace options and electricity options.  We will return next week to finish by choosing paint colors, lighting fixtures, and a few other odds and ends.  I have to admit that by the time we left, Sarah and I were both a bit frazzled. I just hope that none of our decisions looking crappy when added to our house!

By the way, if you are interested in seeing the floorplan or taking a virtual tour of our new home click here.

Lose to Cruise August 23, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs, Weight Loss/Fitness.
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I know I just said good-bye to summer 2009 but my family is already looking forward to summer 2010.  Margie received information this week about a Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruise offered to McNeese State University alumni.  After a bit of discussion and research, we have decided we want to make this our 2010 family vacation.

The four of us (Margie, Mom, Sarah and myself) know that we have to lose weight and get in better shape before next summer.  The trip to London and Paris this summer was great fun but there were several days that ended in pain and discomfort due to extra weight and out-of-shape muscles. In an effort to jump start our weight loss the four of us signed the following pact:

I promise to lose 10 pounds and exercise 3 days per week (at least). Final weigh-in is set for October 8th.  All parties MUST fulfill agreement or cruise plans WILL be canceled.

Sarah and I hit the gym tomorrow afternoon.  Wish us luck!!

Farewell to Summer 2009 August 23, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs, Rants/ Raves.
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As tonight is the last night of summer break, I thought perhaps a recap of the summer of 2009 is in order.  Overall I rate this summer a strong 8 😀

  • Houston A+ Challenge externship with Volunteer Houston.  I spent 5 days working with the phenomal staff of Volunteer Houston and visiting several non-profit organizations in the Houston area. I left with great plans and ideas to introduce volunteerism to my students. 
  • Family vacation to London and Paris. Mom, Margie, Sarah, Katie and I had a fabulous time on our 11-day trip.  We made hilarious memories that will  last a lifetime.  Highlights of our trip include Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, Notre Dame, and Versailles.
  • A couple of trips to Galveston to enjoy the sun and surf.   Thanks Lisa and Brad for making the trip and riding the waves with Sarah and me!
  • An Astros game to celebrate Brad’s birthday. Our seats were in right field and we had a great time.  The ‘Stros actually managed to win the game 🙂
  • Lots of time spent hanging out with good friends like Susan, BJ, Lisa and Mikey. Much beer was consumed, much laughter was shared, and perhaps even an ass was grabbed…whoo hoo!
  • A few concerts (CrueFest and Poison/Def Leppard) and a Texans/Saints game.  Despite the horrible Houston heat and the outrageous concession prices, all of these events were fun especially since they were shared with friends and loved ones.

Farewell Summer….I hope the remainder of 2009 brings as much happiness. laughter, love and fun!

MASH Revisited March 30, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs.
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S came home today eager to play a “new” game she had learned at school: MASH.  I’m sure you all remember the game that predicted every middle-school girl’s future.  Who will I marry? How many kids will we have? What kind of car will I drive? Where will we live?  Here are MY results:

I am married to Justin Timberlake but we have zero children and *only* live in a house.  I drive a Corvette and work as an astronaut.  My job pays me $0 a year.  I am having an affair with Chris Osgood and will eventually get a divorce.

Did you read that carefully?  I having an AFFAIR???  I’m getting a DIVORCE???  These 2 “Categories” were never part of the MASH game that I played in elementary and middle school.  What a sad commentary on today’s society that young girls see these 2 events are predictable outcomes in life 😦

(By the way, S married Bozo the Clown…LOL!!)

Senior Citizens Home Now Open March 16, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs.
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I learned last week that I should be running at “retirement home.”  According to the knowledgeable people at PetCo (and my own suberb reading skills), my cats are SENIORS.  I had no clue!!  I had to purchase a new type of food for them which looks, smells, and thankfully costs exactly like their old food.  I wasn’t convinced I needed to make the upgrade but the professionals at PetCo assured it this was necessary for the health and happiness of my babies old farts.  I just hope dementia doesn’t set in any time soon 😕

Activity Day at the old folks home is always fun :o)

Activity Day at the old folks home is always fun 😀


The exercise program here is very strenuous!

The exercise program here is very strenuous!

The Girls Are Together Again March 10, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs.
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This weekend S and I traveled to Lafayette in order to attend my college roommate’s baby shower.  Darla and I were as close as sisters during our time together at Northeast Louisiana University and in the years that followed; I think some people considered us one person because where one went the other was sure to follow :).  In fact, she was in the delivery room when S was born and had the bruises on her hand to show for it!  After I graduated from McNeese State University in 1999, S and I  moved to Lafayette and it was a given that we would share an apartment with Darla.  Despite our many difference, I was happy in Lafayette and happy with our living arrangements. 

Eventually S and I moved to Houston and life presented circumstances that pulled Darla and me apart.  We spoke once or twice a year and exchange cards on birthdays and Christmas but the close relationship faded.   Before last weekend, she hadn’t seen S in at least 5 years. 

This visit was one of the best we’ve had in many years.  After the shower, S and I visited Darla at her home.  We sat in her living and talked for hours.  It was very much a repeat of the past but different –better — becasue S was an active part of the conversation.  She was able to connect with Aunt Darla and form her own opinions about a shadowy figure in her memory.  Darla was amazing in her ability to pull S into the conversation; if that’s any indication of the future I know she will be a wonderful and caring mom.

There was a taste of bittersweetness to the trip.  I saw Darla interacting with her “new” friends and it was clear to me that she has found new  close friends to fill my place.  I don’t know why it stung my heart — I have made close friends here in Houston, too.  I guess I just always referred to her as “my best friend” and now I see that isn’t the case.  I know we will always have a connection, but I suppose a part of me misses the way things used to be.  I have hope that this visit is the first step in reconnecting our separate lives.


A Reason for Thanks and a Call for Prayers December 16, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs.

HOUSTON — A middle school student from the Cy-Fair ISD was rushed to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after she was hit by a car.

The Bleyl Middle School student had just gotten off the bus at East Cypress Forest and Lynn Drive in Northwest Harris County.

Witnesses said the driver of the white Lexus ran a stop sign, hit the school bus and then hit the girl. It happened right in front of her home.

Read the rest of the story here

This is Sarah’s bus. She felt the car hit the bus but mercifully did not witness her schoolmate being struck by the car. She did see the girl lying motionless on the ground as everyone waited for help to arrive. She and the other students were “trapped” on the bus for over an hour and had to watch the girl being transported, the police start their investigation, and the media descend on the scene. Before boarding another bus in order to get home, Sarah was asked to fill out a witness statement.

Meanwhile I was at home completely freaking out. My cellphone died which caused me to miss her phone call informing me of the situation. I arrived home to an empty apartment and flipped out. I plugged in the phone and listened to the voice mail which caused me to panic even more (I could hear the fear in her voice and there were kids sobbing and yelling in the background). I called my Terror Twin who had the good sense to advise me to call the school and the district transportation center. While I was on the phone with the school, Sarah called again to tell me she was on her way home. I was a wreck until she walked in my front door.

We snuggled when she got home and talked about the accident several times during the evening. I treated her to dinner at Del Pueblo and gave in to her request for a can of cake frosting while we shopped at the grocery store. After dinner we watched Mary Poppins, our favorite movie when Sarah was younger. She is now tucked into my bed; we will cuddle lots throughout the night. 

Please send your prayers and positive thoughts to the girl and her family. She is in critical condition at Texas Children’s Hospital. I cannot even imagine the worry and pain her parents are feeling. I know I will hold Sarah a little tighter when I crawl into bed and offer up a prayer that she is safe.

UPDATE:  I awoke to the heart-breaking news that Nicole L. did not survive the night.  I broke the news to Sarah before she got out of bed because I knew it would be plastered all over the news.  She wanted to see the news story; we sat on the couch and I held her as she wept.  I managed to hold back the tears until I got in the shower.  I cried tears of relief and sorrow and asked for God to wrap His loving arms around the family in this horrible time.  Sarah is devastated that Nicole’s family has to face this so close to Christmas and she decided to wear black to school to show her sorrow.  We hugged and cried before she walked out the door.

I Have a Feeling This Is Going To Totally Suck! November 2, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs, Single Life.
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While chatting with a friend, I realized that this holiday season has huge potential to totally suck.  This is going to be my first holiday season “alone” since 2000.  Although B and I were officially broken up last year, we were still together all the time and spent time with each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Unless something drastic happens soon I don’t foresee any romance to make my holidays special.  Yeah, this is gonna suck 😦

If You See Smoke Don’t Panic…I’ve Probably Erupted Into a Ball of Flames October 14, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Family Affairs, Rants/ Raves, Single Life, Teacher Stuff, Weight Loss/Fitness.
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Okay so my stress level is almost through the freakin’ roof.  Issues with J, crazy technology problems at work, a demon-possessed middle school daughter, and a sudden desperate need to lose 5 pounds before Saturday are making life INSANE right now.  What sucks even more is that I am no longer in touch with the one person who can talk me down off the ledge.  I think I am beginning to understand the phrase “Going postal!”