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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 😦

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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!

Not Your Average Summer Job June 14, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves, Teacher Stuff.
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Although I’ve heard rumors that teachers have the summer off, I have yet to experience such pleasure this year.  I spent my first week of summer vacation at Volunteer Houston as part of the Houston A+ Challenge externship program.  My fellow externs and I visited many different non-profit organization throughout the week.  Overall the experience was amazing and I am very excited to bring all that I learned about volunteering back to my students in August. 

The best day was when we spent Tuesday at the Houston Zoo; we were tag-alongs with the Shell Summer Intern Program.  We were allowed behind-the-scenes access to a few of the most popular exhibits (giraffes and elephants) and then set to work painting a huge construction fence.  I was able to talk to many different college students from across the country and I was amazed by their drive to be successful and their commitment to non-profit work.  My fellow externs and I left with a renewed sense of hope for the future of America.

 

 

Dude, She’ll Pop Like a Can of Pilsbury Biscuits! April 19, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves.
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This was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a looooooong time.  After months of “separation”, BJ and I have reestablished our friendship.  We have been casually communicating since early March, and I was secretly hoping that we would work our way back around to being close friends again.  My patience paid off.  Friday night I had the pleasure of hanging out with LH and MJ; BJ also showed up and we ended up closing down the bar despite the fact that L and M left at midnight.  Saturday evening B and I watched game 2 of Wings/Blue Jackets series (Go Wings!!) then went to his fave neighborhood bar.  We drank beer, made fun of the drunks singing karaoke, caught up with the key events in each other’s lives, and laughed until our sides hurt.  It was just like old times and I can’t put into words how happy I am to have on of my best friends back in my life 😀

[To all of you wondering if I’ve lost my mind:  Rest assured there are no romantic feeling are involved on either side.  We both recognize we are much better off friends than lovers.  I may be a little slow at time but I’m not a complete idiot.  This is never going beyond friendship.]

Music to Reflect Moods March 5, 2009

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves.
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Too much going on both inside and outside my head for me to even attempt to write a coherent post.   Instead I present you with 2 music videos;  I’ll let you read into them what you will.

I fucking love Disturbed.  Sorry about the language but when you talk about that band the word fuckjust seems to trip off your lips so easily…weird.  Anyway, the video is some stupid anime bullshit but it’s the only unedited version on You Tube, and a censored version of this song is akin to a censored version of Eddie Murphy’s Rawor one of Sam Kinison’s stand-up routine… fucking pointless (see, there’s that word again)!

So now that you’re worried about my sanity and questioning if I have an anger problem (which I do but I control very well thank you — I haven’t hit anyone in years!) here’s the video to my newest favorite song.  I am sooooo in love with this Caleb Followill’s voice!

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!”

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Our Good Friend Ike September 22, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves.
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Now that I (finally) have power I can reminisce about the ups and downs of the past 11 days.

THE GOOD (otherwise known as “things I’m thankful for”)

1.  Twitter — I had dabbled with this mini-blogging site but had no idea how helpful it could be in a time of limited phone and Internet access.  I was able to stay in touch with friends and co-workers despite having no power.

2.  Unlimited Text Messages — Yeah, I’m soooooo glad I changed my cellphone plan a few months ago.  Voice calls were unreliable to say the least but all my text messages went through.  I was able to stay in contact with family and friends until regular phone service was operational. 

3.  Cool Weather — Since I was forced to live with open doors and windows for (too) many days, the cool front that moved in immediately after Ike was a blessing.  My apartment never got hot, only a little sticky during the night.  Sitting outside on the patio or lying on the couch in front of the open window was actually very nice :o)

4.  Friends — S.B. was lucky enough to have power several days before mine was restored.  She invited Sarah and me to her house for a hot meal and even let the girls watch Camp Rock.  The adult interaction was a god-send and I know Sarah enjoyed having the opportunity to gush over the JoBros with someone her age.   I was also lucky to be in contact with J throughout the week.  He evacuated to San Antonio and kept me updated on new via text messages.  He also helped me pass the time in those hours bewtween nightfall and bed time :o)

5.  No Damage — My apartment complex was spared any serious damage.  Several small trees fell and one covered parking area was destroyed but that was the extent of the damage.  The complex across the street had serious problems (trees through windows and roofs) and the neighborhood behind us was hit very hard; many homes lost a majority of the shingles and all the yard suffered major tree loss.  Overall we were incredibly fortunate that none of the buildings were damaged.   

6.  Family — In the days following the storm, Sarah and I were able to count on a hot shower and a hot meal thanks to Mom and Aunt M.  They didn’t have power but have gas appliacnces.  Aunt M cooked us dinner twice and let us take really long showers, too!  They had power restored on Thursday and Sarah and I were able to crash there all weekend.  I joke about the fact that I could never live there but I am so thankful that in this situation I was able to do just that.

THE BAD (otherwise known as “why Ike pissed me off”)

1.  Cancelled Party — Mikey’s party was originally scheduled for the 13th.  Obviously that didn’t happen.  I was looking forward to meeting lots of new people and seeing J again.  I was majorly disappointed.  The good news is that the party is back on — Saturday the 27th…whoo hoo!

2.  Cancelled School — I can’t even think about how I’m going to finish out this term.  Due to our schedule we have basically lost 16 days of class time.  Aghhhhhh!!!!

3.  Missed Football Games — An entire weekend of college and professional games missed! 

4.  Peanut Butter and Jelly — Seriously, I don’t want another PB&J for a very long time.  My apartment has an electric stove so that mean Sarah and I were eating sandwhichs and chips for 5 days.  I love PB&J sammiches and now they are ruined for me.  Dammit!!

The Ugly (otherwise know as “why the hell can’t people behave better”)

1.  Stoplights — We all had to sit through at least 8 jillion downed stoplights.  The law says these are to be treated as four-way stops.  Many people on the roads were courteous and followed the rules, but I saw too many assclowns barrel right through the intersections without care for the safety of others.

2.  Idiots — I can’t think of a better heading for this story.  Friday night I was lucky enough to spend time with friends at a bar in Katy.   L went to the ladies room and found another patron in the midst of a seizure.  The woman stopped breathing and L had to preform CPR.  The waitress at the bar didn’t want to call 911 because the bar was open past curfew and she was afraid they would get a citation.  L had the good sense to place the call herself once the woman regained consciouness.  How dumb can you be!?!?

When Education Works September 2, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves, Teacher Stuff.
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Tonight was Open House at my school.  Generally I do not look forward to this event; poor parent turn out highlights one of the greatest frustrations faced by teachers.  Although I was at this same school last year, I have no memory of Open House so I walked in tonight with no expectations.  I could not have been any more surprised than I was by the end of the night. 

Parent attendance was low; I teach 35 students and only had the pleasure of meeting 2 sets of parents/guardians.  What took me by surprise were the number of STUDENTS on campus.  Our school services the enitre district yet we are located on the far southern end of the attendance zone.  Some of the kiddos there tonight had to drive at least 25 minutes to get to campus, and they weren’t even required to be there!!

I’ve said it before and after tonight I’ll say even louder.  I work at the best school in Houston!  For some of our students, for the first time in their lives they have found a place where they are loved and accepted.  Those kids showed up tonight because they love our building, they love our staff, and they are learning to appreciate and love themselves; they may not be able to articulate what they are feeling but they know that being at school makes them happy.   We are more than teachers and principals…we are parents. mentors, friends, and on some levels their equals.  Every single person in our building, regardless of role, title, age, or experience, is a part of the school family and I mean that with all the sincerity in my heart.  Our school is a beautiful example of public education can and schould be.

I walked out the school doors with my heart overflowing with happiness and pride.  I am so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to work with an amazing team of people and I know that as a family we are making a difference in the lives of these children.

I just wanted to share :o)       

Shizz Work – The Best WoW Quest?!? July 2, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Rants/ Raves.
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In the course of my Warcraft marathon last night I completed the following quest:

Level 61 Hellfire Peninsula
Obtained at level 58 HordeAlliance
Use the Felhound Whistle to summon a Fel Guard Hound. Take the Fel Guard Hound for a walk and kill some Deranged Helboars. Search for the Shredder Keys in the Fel Guard Hound’s “leavings.” Return the Shredder Keys to Foreman Razelcraz by the mine northwest of Thrallmar.
Shredder Keys: 0/1
Felhound Whistle: 0/1
I finally got my shredder working but I seem to have lost the keys. I keep a pack of felhounds to protect my camp. They don’t do a very good job and they like to bite me a lot. They also like shiny things. I think this one felhound I have may have eaten my shredder keys. I’ll pay you if you’ll take my felhound on a walk. Kill some helboars and let him eat. He’ll do his business. When he’s done, see if you can’t find the keys in his “leavings.”

For you non-WoW players (and shame on you for not being one of the 10 million people worldwide who play!) I basically had to get this “dog” to follow me as I killed a few demon hogs.  The dog then ate the corpse of the hog and shat on the ground.  I was then required to dig through the pile of Fel Gaurd Hound ‘Leavings’ which looks like this:

 

Okay, so by this point I am cracking up laughing.  The programmers at Blizzard are freakin’ hilarious, and I love it when they add crazy things like this to the game.   Digging through hog shit for a key…genius!!

Now here’s the best part — you have to dig through several piles of poo before you find the key.  Each time you dig, your character emanates a green wavy aura and you are cursed.  The name of the curse?  STANKY!!  See below for details:

 

 I LOVE IT!!  The best WoW quest I’ve done by far 🙂

 

Magic On Ice April 11, 2008

Posted by reddlissa in Hockey, Rants/ Raves.
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I was bored tonight and wasting time on YouTube…found a kick-ass highlight video of Pavel Datsyuk (my future husband).  Even non-hockey fans can appreciate his amazing skills on the ice.  Enjoy!