Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's a Double Feature!

I made this for dinner.

Mexican [Brown] Rice with Chili, topped w/ shredded cheese. Dang, I'm good!

The Best Think About A Turkey Dinner

Left-Over Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup:

It's soooooooooo delish!!! Even my brother didn't have anything negative to say about it!

Recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen.

Oh, and I had meant to post a pic the other night of our finished dinner -- turkey, dressing, homemade gravy, brussels sprouts, and sweet potato casserole -- but we got busy eating it! Maybe next time . . .

Friday, December 28, 2007

Look what Brandi & I are cooking up!

Why? Just 'cause!

I don't typically do book reviews

My dear friend, Elaine, gave me A Thousand Splendid Suns on Christmas Eve. It's the new book by Khaled Hosseini, the author of The Kite Runner, which I haven't read 'cause I've been a real slacker in keeping up with literature. Anywho, I finished the book yesterday. It was such a moving and eye-opening novel.

Even though I've traveled to the region, I've learned I don't know much about Central Asian culture and religion or the wars that have ravaged that region for generations. This book is set specifically in Afghanistan. I have friends who have traveled there; I know people who are laboring there, even now. I get their weekly or monthly emails and newsletters. But it's so different experiencing the culture from a native's perspective; hearing about what they've had to shoulder over the years.

This book broke down stereotypes that, despite my first-hand cultural knowledge and experience, I didn't realize was there. Reading of the horrors these women endured broke my heart. True, they're fictional characters, but their story is so true. There are people my age who lived through the communist take-over, then their defeat. They celebrated when they witnessed their invaders leaving their home, but then they were heart-broken when the sectarian fighting erupted, pinning them once again in the middle of war. They froze in fear at the sound of rockets and bullets exploding overhead. They lost homes, loved-ones, and the familiarity of their communities. Then the joy of the Taliban crushing the warlords was short-lived, as we all now know. All of this within the past three decades, within my lifetime, and I never fully understood it or knew of it.

A Thousand Splendid Suns has a happy ending; a hopeful ending. And I sure am a sucker for a good story with a happy ending, even though I know life doesn't always turn out that way. But it's not the typical Hollywood happy ending. It may seem like it is at first glance -- people struggling and in pain, enduring one thing after another, hope is in the horizon and then it's crushed again and again, until it finally does come and stays. That's exactly what happens, but what makes it different is it's REAL. These are real people, a real nation, who have been torn apart by war. Yet hope is still alive, as long as they are still alive, despite all the devastation over the years.

I forget how lucky we are here in America, or The West, if you will. It's easy to get pulled into the mundane, everyday life. And it's not bad that our lives here are vastly different from someone's on the other side of the world. It's easy for me to feel guilty, to think there's something I need to be doing. I suppose the best thing I can do, what we all can do, is to remember. And pray. And give thanks for what we have.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It would have been 61 years today

We miss you, Grandpa!

Santa's Elves have joined the writers

We have a pile of boxes by the door that grows a little bit each day. The only problem: none of them are wrapped! Hmm . . . the elves must be on strike. But at least I have loads of time on my hands since the writers' strike has taken all my favorite shows away. *sigh*

Anywho, I'm being called to go play Pictionary w/ the fam. I'm the only one who can draw, apparently.

Friday, December 21, 2007

No rest for the weary

I cannot believe it's almost 2008. I'm ready to put this year behind me, but there are a few things I must do before the next two weeks are over. So here is my Christmas holiday to do list:

1. CLEAN MY ROOM! That is on my list every single break, but it somehow never gets done to the extent that I need it to get done. I'm such a slacker!

2. Mail packages/letters to the UK. Things have been piling up for over a month now and it's high-time to box them up and send them off!

3. Check-in on friends and family I haven't had time to catch up with in weeks.

4. Read one or more of the many books I have lying around. I keep collecting them but don't read them. *sigh* To be in college again and have hours and hours to read, paint, and drink coffee. I'm really excited about one book a friend gave me for Christmas. There's a small problem, though -- it's in SPANISH. She thinks it will help me learn; I'm sure she's right, but still! I avoided taking a third year of Spanish in high school 'cause I didn't want to have to read novels. The crazy thing is I'm kinda up for the challenge. I'll let ya know how it goes.

5. Finish Christmas shopping. That's actually something that needs to get done in the next couple of days. Most of it is done but there are a few key gifts missing.

6. Average grades and complete Report Cards. I know, I know, it's my holiday, but I don't want to have to worry about it when we get back in January. A week after the kids return they start testing and the stress will kick into high gear.

Hmm . . . I know there's more but it eludes me at the moment. I'm thankful to have a few extra days to rest. Originally we were supposed to work today and return Jan 2, but we ended up having today off and don't return until Jan 4. Praise the Lord for that!

I'll leave you with a pic of my cool new ring my friend Blest custom made for me. I guess it's not all that new since I've already had it a month, but I'm still very exciting about it!

I survived!

Words cannot express the joy I feel in having this week over with! I'll post more later but I just wanted to let you all know I survived our Winter Program, our crazed director/principal, our classroom party madness this morning, and our company Christmas party tonight. The latter explains why I'm still awake at such a ghastly hour, but it was a nice end to a stressful week -- eating, dancing and laughing with friends; sitting outside in the middle of downtown Houston with not a care in the world (don't worry, I wasn't alone); and just taking time to enjoy life. Not to mention, being out on a SCHOOL NIGHT!
Thank you, Jesus, for carrying me through, not only this crazy week, but this difficult year . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

Typing works out the cramp in my hand after squeezing bottles of glitter glue for over an hour. Here's a snapshot of my final product (from my MacBook camera, of course, so a mirror image yet again!):

Even though all 22 stockings are not pictured, they're all drying, ready to be stuffed. I really hope the Dollar Tree glitter glue dries and stays on until Thursday. I decorated the first stocking an hour and a half ago and it's still a bit gummy. I may be crying this time tomorrow, if not. Seriously. I'm barely able to keep my emotions in check these days.

Anywho, I had to dig around in our Harry Potter closet to find the stocking stuffers. Thanks to the Marines' Toys for Tots, all my kids get an awesome book. I also stocked up on pencils and erasers for them.

Once it's divided up, I know it won't look like much but they'll love it, nonetheless. I wish I could do more, though.

"I wish I could do more." Hmm . . . that's probably been the theme for the year, if not my LIFE, but that'll just lead to an emotional vomit post that prob doesn't need to exist. Perhaps I should refrain from posting until the stress has passed . . .

Note to Self

Remember to breathe.

And eat.

And sleep.

Don't forget the words to "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" tomorrow night.

Don't forget the steps you made up and taught.

Don't fuss at the kids for responding to chaos with chaos.

Stop procrastinating and GET TO WORK!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ten years later

I can't believe it's been nearly ten years since I got my very first passport. For a year now I've been putting off renewing it, but the time is finally here. So with much anticipation and a bit of trepidation I've finally started the process of moving overseas next year. So here's step one:

Once it arrives I'll contact King's Arms and then work on obtaining a visa.


What's even scarier is how quickly ten years passes. I think I read somewhere I'll get my old passport back, but I had to take a few snapshots just in case.

Here's the first page with stamps from France and South Korea:

This is the visa for my entry into China back in '99:

And here's my way cool visa into Uzbekistan in '01:

There are also many entry and exit stamps from the UK which aren't as cool as the previous two, so I won't bother with posting a pic. But once I get my visa, rest assured that I'll be posting a pic of that one!

Wow, what a decade I've had!

It's 1 p.m.

and I've just realized I never took my thermos out of my bag, yet alone opened and poured it's contents. No wonder my head hurts -- I haven't had my coffee today!!!

And I make a ROCKIN' holiday coffee! I add enough Hazelnut creamer to make it about a shade darker than me (which is a lot of creamer, btw). But it's usually not sweet enough for my tastes so I add about 4-5 scoops of Stevia (which is super concentrated, so a scoop is really about an eighth of a teaspoon; and it's in my Starbucks thermos, not a mug). Then I add about a cap full of peppermint extract and a few dashes of fresh ground cinnamon. MMMmmmmmmm . . .

Too bad the weather is still not cold enough to feel like late fall/early winter, so I can't fully enjoy it.

Anywho, my thermos is the best $25 I've ever spent. Nearly 7 hours later my coffee is STILL hot!

Monday, December 03, 2007

I'm being stalked by Chuck Norris

Or so it seems. I keep hearing about him EVERYWHERE. It's quite spooky. This is my latest run-in:

Quote of the Week

Sure, it's only Monday, but this is a great one!

During carpet time my ESL student, Alex, said his mom has a boyfriend. I said, "But your mom is married to your dad, right?"

He thinks about it and says, "Yeah, she has a husband. What about you?"

"No, I don't have a husband. Or a boyfriend."

"Do you have a house?"


"Do you have a car?"


"Do you have a tree?"


"Do you have a t.v.?"


"Entonces,* you have a family!"

:D :D :D

*Entonces is Spanish for "then."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Quote of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition

Even though this has nothing to do w/ Turkey Day, it's funny nonetheless!

Upon me coming downstairs to join my family Friday morning as my brother, David, prepared to leave for Waco for a wedding.

Nathan, age 8: "Aunt Debbie! Uncle Sha is going to Waco to get married! He's going to pick a wife!"

Then Daniel, age 6, had to join in: "Are you going to get married when you're 30?"

Nathan: "When you turn 30 you're going to pick a husband."


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Question: How many onions will it take to fully charge my ipod?

'Cause if it's more than three I need to go stock up at Sam's before my card expires next month . . .

What are you thankful for?

"Is that a bowl?"

Smiling, "Yeah..."

"You're thankful for a bowl???"

"Yeah. 'Cause it holds my cereal and keeps it from going all over the table!"

Hmmm . . . I guess she has a point and the right to be thankful for whatever she wants!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

101 Things About Me

Why? Just 'cause.

1. I don't know how to ride a bike.
2. Or how to roller skate/roller blade/ice skate
3. I think I was traumatized as a child.
4. Or it's that I naturally don't like things that could potentially cause harm.
5. I don't mind driving (read: sitting) in traffic.
6. I live w/ my parents.
7. Well, technically, they live w/ me, according to the name on the deed.
8. I actually like it; we have fun together.
9. I try not to shop often because I tend to be a compulsive shopper.
10. Especially for shoes.
11. And accessories (bags, scarves, jewelry).
12. So I get home and then usually regret what I bought.
13. But I usually keep it anyway.
14. I'm a loyal friend.
15. But will be the first to admit that I can be flaky.
16. I can't name just one best friend.
17. I have at least half a dozen.
18. I've never been in a "real" relationship.
19. And I'm thankful not to have all the baggage that comes along w/ them.
20. I thought I would be married by the time I was 25.
21. Now I'm 27 and STILL not married.
22. And I'm ok w/ that most days.
23. Marriage scares me, anyway.
24. Or any type of commitment, for that matter.
25. I have an insatiable wanderlust.
26. If I'm on an airplane headed somewhere I know I will be for the next 2 months, I'm already sad that I'll be leaving.
27. I want to live overseas.
28. But Texas will always be home.
29. I want to go to grad school eventually.
30. But can't decide if I want to study Social Work, English Lit, or Education.
31. I love drawing and painting.
32. And am pretty darn good at it.
33. I was an Art minor.
34. I haven't painted or sculpted anything in over 3 years.
35. I miss working in a studio.
36. So art is another thing I will go back to college for.
37. I think, at the moment, I earn more money than anyone else in my family.
38. I'm thankful to have a job that allows me to pay off debt and help support the household.
39. And you'd probably think I'm crazy for wanting to walk away from it to go volunteer overseas in the near future.
40. I think I'm crazy for wanting to walk away from it to go volunteer overseas in the near future.
41. But if He says go, I have to go.
42. But I'm worried I may have missed it.
43. I'm looking into buying a new car.
44. More for my parents after I'm gone than for me now.
45. But I feel a bit guilty about it.
46. Even though we need a dependable car.
47. It's been a tough year.
48. When I heard God say it would be a year of change, I expected that to mean finally living in England.
49. I didn't expect that to mean losing both of my grandfathers w/in a month of each other.
50. Or being given more responsibilities at work that add on major stress.
51. Or a dozen other changes that I wasn't expecting.
52. So I'm a bit relieved this year is almost over.
53. I can't believe this year is almost over!
54. Time passes faster the older I get.
55. I don't think that's fair.
56. I'm a pack rat.
57. But I always end up using what I keep.
58. It's uncanny.
59. I usually never use the word "uncanny."
60. But it's a cool word.
61. I went through all of last school year never being absent because I was sick.
62. Which is ironic because when I was in school I did everything I could to miss school.
63. But this year I've already missed 4 days.
64. I feel like I've been sick since school started in August.
65. Did I mention I'm a Kindergarten teacher?
66. It's fun.
67. I just hate that they have to take a standardized test in January.
68. I'm actually quite worried about it.
69. I haven't taught them everything I need to teach them.
70. I'd love to be an English teacher.
71. But I'm not delusional.
72. I'm quite aware teenagers will probably not enjoy reading and explicating literature as much as I do.
73. Besides, I don't think I can work w/ teenagers.
74. I wouldn't know how to relate to them.
75. The little ones are more for me.
76. So I have mad respect for people who can work w/ teens.
77. God bless them!
78. I'm addicted to chapstick.
79. Actually, Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, to be exact.
80. I can't leave home w/o it.
81. And lip gloss.
82. So makeup will be another thing I compulsively buy.
83. Even though I don't always wear it.
84. Or wear a lot of it.
85. I like watching football.
86. I've only played a couple times in my life.
87. With friends in college.
88. My brothers and uncles wouldn't let me play w/ them when we were little.
89. But I'm not bitter.
90. I think I like baseball more though.
91. At least I like going to baseball games.
92. I've never been to a pro football game.
93. That's on my "Things To Do Before I Die" list.
94. I've crossed things off that list already.
95. Like see U2 in concert and go on a blind date.
96. But there's still a lot on there.
97. However, it's all mental.
98. I have yet to write it out.
99. I shall have to do that over Christmas break.
100. I still have a lot to say.
101. But I'll stop at 101.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

stress sucks!

it gives you migraines.

makes you irritable.

and impatient.

causes you to sleep restlessly.

makes you want to eat everything in sight.

gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.

turns you into a horrible person.

makes it hard to be a gracious, loving christian.

i'm fighting the urge to punch a couple people in the face. seriously. but i somehow think that's something Jesus wouldn't do.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

This is cute,

even if you don't know the language.

And as soon as I find out what El Tao means, I'll let ya know!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I confess!

I'm an internet stalker. It started off innocent enough. Just meandering through the blogosphere/facebook/myspace and checking out my friends pages. Then someone (a friend, a family member, an old college roommate) leaves them a comment and I think, "I wonder who that is..." Next thing I know I'm clicking over to their profile. Sometimes the privacy settings are activated, sometimes they're not. And I look at their page, their comments, their pics. I find it so interesting, getting this glimpse into someone's life that I wouldn't otherwise experience. It's like a reality show played out through the internet, and we all know how addicting reality shows can be!

If I were a bolder person, I would leave comments; befriend these new, interesting people. Just imagine what would be, if only . . .

Ok, am I scaring you yet? 'Cause I'm scaring myself!

I remember talking to a friend a few months ago who shares my secret addiction. When I told her about who I was internet stalking I believe her response was, "Just let me know if you need any help. I'm a professional stalker! I've stalked everyone from professional baseball players to weathermen to restaurant owners." How funny is that?! And she's one of the shyest people I know! But I was so glad to hear I'm alone in my obsession.

Ok, just had to share, 'cause I caught myself doing it again . . .

Monday, November 05, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Ms. Gayle, my brain is not thinking! It's crazy!!!"
-Gilbert, age 5

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Golabki: The End Result

I placed three on the plate and cut the biggest one open so you can see the inside.

I thought it was a bit bland, but then again I haven't been able to taste anything for nearly a week now. Mom and Dad* loved it and said it was perfectly seasoned. So, there you go.

Now, I would post the recipe, but I'd have to cook it again and figure out how much of what I used. I usually don't think about it when I cook. I just throw things together and hope it turns out ok. That's why most everything I make always tastes amazing, but not exactly like its predecessor (like my salsa, for example). Oh well.

*And Dad will be the first one to say something tastes horrible. In fact, he was rather skeptical during the cooking process. More than once he walked over to the stove and detestably stirred the sauce.

Cooking Experiment: Golabki

Ever since I got back from Bedford I've been wanting to try to make my friend Justyna's polish dish golabki -- cabbage wrapped meatballs (meatballs that have rice mixed in...mmm...). Well, I finally had the time, energy, and ingredients to give it a go tonight!

Here are two snapshots of the prep process:

Justyna puts the cabbage rolls in a double steamer, but since I don't have one I opted to bake them. I also put about 1/3 of the sauce over the top 'cause I was worried they would dry out in the oven. I searched the internet and my product is a combination of what I remember from Justyna and two of the recipes I found online. If it weren't for the 6 hour time difference, I would just call her and forget the internet search results. Oh well.

It's in the oven now, so I'll let you know how it turns out . . . after it finishes cooking for 90 freaking minutes!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

This one's for you, Brandi

I found this recipe on the back of my package of Farmland All Natural Uncured Bacon. It's kinda like a quiche minus the crust, like you were talking about on OWOA. I made it this evening and we tore it up! So yummy!!! My alterations are italicized.

Mediterranean Frittata

6 slices of Bacon, cut into 1 1/2 inches
6 large eggs
1/4 t minced garlic (I pressed 2 cloves instead; I love garlic)
1/2 C (2 oz.) crumbled feta cheese with sundried tomatoes and basil (mine was minus the tomatoes and basil)
4 C (about 5 oz.) fresh spinach (I used half a box of frozen spinach)
1/2 C chopped fresh mushrooms
2 T finely chopped red onions

1. Place oven rack in center of oven; heat broiler. Cook bacon in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until done but not crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels.

2. Whisk together eggs and garlic; stir in cheese. Set aside. (I added some salt and pepper in this step)

3. Stir-fry spinach, mushrooms and onion in bacon grease remaining in skillet over medium heat until spinach wilts (again, I added a bit of salt). Stir in bacon, egg and cheese mixture until evenly combined. Cook until eggs are done on the bottom.

4. Place skillet on center rack in oven. Broil until eggs are set and just begin to brown around the edges of pan, about 3 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Here's what it looked like when I took it out of the oven:

Notice the serano peppers I'm sauteing in the background for some homemade salsa. Mmmm . . . that turned out really nice as well.

I topped a slice of the frittata with some cheddar cheese and salsa, giving it a latin twist.

I'm TOTALLY making this recipe again and it's so easy to add different things to get different flavors. Hope you enjoy!

Thankful Thursdays!

1. Only two more days and I get to sleep an extra hour!

2. All the kiddos are resting/sleeping off the sugar high.

3. My diabetic dad is finally giving up carbs and sugar.

4. Thanksgiving (and FIVE DAYS IN A ROW off from work!) is only three weeks away!!!

5. My student, Abel, doesn't pooh on himself anymore!!!!!

6. I'm eating my leftover Mexican-flavored mangoes! (mangoes soaked in lime juice and a type of chili powder)

7. I'm making a sugar-free cheesecake tonight -- just 'cause!

8. I can't finish my mangoes, so I'll have some leftover for tomorrow, too!

9. Tomorrow's FRIDAY!!!!!

10. It's FALL!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My friend Luz bought this for me and I love it! I guess it helps that my nickname is Boo . . .

I've never been one to celebrate Halloween, but this year was good. Since it was report card day, we got out at 1, making the day shorter and a bit more stressful. But the kids had a great time, and that's all that matters. They had fun dressing up and I put our classroom dress-up clothes on those students who didn't have a costume, so they wouldn't feel left out as we all paraded around the school.

Anywho, I've been going like a madwoman for the past 14 days (how is it NOVEMBER?!?!), so I'm off to bed! I'll try to check in again tomorrow; I have lots of posts bouncing around in my head.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Poor, despondent Mr. Potato Head. He thought it was finally his year to win the annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest . . . until Charlotte had the brilliant idea to spin her web for the oblivious Wilber!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dieting Can Be Hard

When your desk looks like this everyday:

These pics are actually from a few weeks ago, but I still get at least a bag of chips, two bags of cookies, and two or three juices EVERYDAY. But thankfully, I'm not tempted to cheat. The chips are the hardest, but recently it's been Ranch flavored Doritos, my least fav. And the cookies have been the plain animal crackers (I only like the one from the cool little-circus themed box). Plus I rarely drink juice, so that's not a problem.

Besides South Beach, the other major thing going on is I'm finally an official Kindergarten lead teacher. That means I'm privileged and one of the chosen to attend special banquets, luncheons, and meetings. My first is a trip to Austin next weekend. All the ladies are going Saturday so we can stop in San Marcus and shop, and all the guys are coming Sunday after they attend the Texans game. As much as I love new shoes and accessories, I would so rather go to the football game! Oh well. So much for remaining under the radar.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Back to the Beach

South Beach that is.

I strayed away after I went to England. I tried to get back on Phase I when the school year started, but the stress of school and the breaking of the addictions gave me migraines everyday for a week and I just couldn't hang on. Thankfully I still had the SB principles and ate well 80% of the time.

But now I'm back with a vengeance! I'm not a goal-oriented person, so it's a little difficult. But I am a devoted friend, and I think that's what's going to help.

I'm doing it with my friend Melissa and she has major health problems, so compounded with being over weight, her body is basically shutting down. For her it's a matter of life and death. Thankfully, her family is being more supportive and have already started to notice an improvement in her. And, amazingly, her husband even said if it works for her he might need to do something too!

I would cringe every time I saw her wash down a bag of potato chips with a can of coke; not to mention all the fast food. Granted, I'm not one to judge, but still, I don't think I was that bad! So I told her I would make all the food for lunch if she would eat it as well as boiled eggs for breakfast.

We started Monday and she's already lost 6 pounds! I've lost about 4 (not too sure cause I forgot to weigh myself Monday so did it Tuesday). Next week we're going to start weighing in with the ladies over at One Weigh Or Another.

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


One of the first things we do in school each morning is say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Texas Pledge. So it was mandatory that we have both pledges posted on our Social Studies wall. The Texas pledge is simple enough, "Honor the Texas flag, I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one and indivisible."

Well, I was surprised when my friend Tihiti told me that the Texas Pledge was changing. And I was even more surprised when a teacher's aide came around the second week of school and handed out a poster of the new pledge. First, I was shocked that our principal actually PURCHASED us all one. Second, I was surprised with the change that was made. The new pledge now is, "Honor the Texas flag, I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas, one state under God, one and indivisible" (emphasis mine).


"One state under God."

It's nothing short of a miracle that that statement is added into our state pledge in the age that we now live in. In an age where people aim to remove "In God We Trust" from our money. In an age where people are working to take out the phrase "under God" from the American pledge. In an age where I can possibly lose my job if I even mention my faith within the hearing of the wrong ears. And especially, in an age where people have no clue what it means to come under the lordship of God.

"One state under God."


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Have you found my voice?

I seem to have lost it.

My throat felt a bit scratchy both Thursday and Friday mornings, but nothing major. However, by the time I got home from work Friday my voice kept coming in and out. But I couldn't let that stop me from getting all spruced up so I could go down to Brady's Landing, located on the Houston Ship Channel, for my friend Greta's 40th birthday party. That's right, folks. Forty. The big 4-0. It baffles me that one of my bestest friends is 40; and it baffles her that one of her bestest friends is 27! We just average our ages, making us both 33 (which explains why I so relate to Bridget Jones...minus the slightly alcoholic, chain smoking and having sex part).

Driving across town at 9 p.m., I ran into major traffic. Darn road construction! But I was able to eventually get out of it, backtrack, and take an alternate route, which I love always being able to figure out!

I got home around 1 a.m. and went straight to bed. But when I woke up this morning, I couldn't talk. At all! I was meeting my friend, Becca, for a movie and lunch at Alamo Drafthouse, but instead of being able to call to rearrange our plans, I had to email and then text her to make sure she checked her email! How sad is THAT?!

We watched The Bourne Ultimatum. I really liked it, but while I was watching it, I couldn't help but realize that the whole movie was made up by three or four major chase sequences, that usually ended in a fight. That one chase when the assassin was chasing the chick and Bourne was chasing both of them frustrated me (don't want to give away too much, just in case). I felt it went on a bit too long and I wished the guy would catch her already! Anywho, like I said, I enjoyed the movie and I especially liked that Jason Bourne didn't kill unnecessarily.

Before the movie, there were an awful lot of adverts for movies about the end of the world. Which freaked me out a bit, cause I had a very vivid dream along those lines last night. I won't go into details because it will make this post even longer than it already is. Either God was trying to tell me something, which He tends to do in my dreams, OR that's what happens when you mix being sick with watching an episode of Jericho and teaching your students about flags and symbols, plus living near West Houston Airport and seeing the sign everyday, and all the talk in the news about bringing troops home. Did I already mention it was a very vivid dream and I remember all of it?

Anywho, after the flick, we went down to Starbucks, where I had a Green Tea Latte. I thought it was pretty good, as far as dark green drinks go.

Now, I'm home, watching the Astros spank the Pirates, getting ready to eat something I shouldn't eat, which I won't mention here because my brother, Bird, will probably judge me because he'll be jealous.

So now ends my post about losing my voice and all that's happened in between. Forgive this long rambling (and any typing errors; I'm too lazy to proof read), but this is my only form of communication now. My last link to the speaking world. Hopefully all will be well soon. It sucks not being able to talk.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Is that a hurricane?!?!

So I get home from a hard day's work and see my Uncle Larry's car in the driveway. That's a bit odd, but whatev. I go inside and chat with him: hear about what he's up to and what everyone did today. The I turn to the TV. Larry's watching some type of Houston HD news talk station. There's a small box in the bottom right-hand corner of the TV. I see the familiar interstate-outlined shape of Houston so close to the Texas coast, but I'm thrown off by the circular moving mass to the southeast, obscuring Galveston.

"Is that a hurricane forming just off the coast?!?!"

I'm shocked. Practically speechless.

Larry just started laughing and switched to another station so I could see the weather.

I go to work for 10 hours and I come home and the line of thunderstorms that was sitting next to Galveston this morning magically turned into a tropical storm! And it would be a hurricane except there's not enough time for it to develop before landfall.

So apparently a hurricane can just randomly form off the coast of TX at any time . . . who knew!

UPDATE: The storm still hasn't hit. It's moving only abt 7 mph, but from what I heard it's projected to hit around 10. And I just heard a blurb that it may be a full-blown hurricane by then. Yikes! This pic and article over at Fox News gives you a good idea of what we're in for. Yikes!

FINAL UPDATE: 9/13/07 - After gaining strength in the Gulf by sitting off shore for hours, Tropical Storm Humberto became a hurricane and finally hit land around 2 a.m near High Island. Far enough away from Houston not to inflict any damage, thankfully. But we still need to pray for those in it's path and those whose lives it left behind in destruction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm in love with this song

I just discovered it this morning on my way to work. Last night I listened to it once on my ipod and made a mental note to revisit it during my morning commute. I listened to it over and over again for a good 20 min this morning, and then again the whole drive home tonight.

This video is a bit hokey, but it's the version of the song I love. Hope you like it...

There's another cool slideshow version, but the embedding was disabled. Here's the link if your interested:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Somehow It's September

How did that happen???

My car's inspection sticker has expired and I'm a bit nervous. My check engine light AND my brake light are on and won't shut off until I replace a $900 electrical part. Mama Mia! That definitely won't happen this month, mainly because my Sept 5th check is over $1000 short since school started late this year and we only worked 3 days during the first pay period. Granted, it's not like I'd have a spare $900 even if my check wasn't short. But the 3 day check doesn't help!

We also have Open House tomorrow and we haven't had any communication as to how we should run things. So that also makes me nervous and stressful.

I tried to ignore all the stressors this holiday weekend. And I was successful for the most part. But now, with the school day only 8.5 hours away, they're all creeping back on me.


But at least I had a nice relaxing evening with friends. A few braved the rainy weather to come over and hang out, despite not being able to swim because the rain cooled down the temp too much.

So I leave you with a couple of pictures of happier times. Have a great week, people!

UPDATE: I had to add this 3rd pic, even though it's not the greatest, cause i love the face Abby's making.

Friday, August 31, 2007

This Filipino prison has found a new way to torture their inmates . . .

although they call it exercise . . .

Open Letter to Houston Drivers

August 31, 2007

To my dear fellow Houston Drivers:

Where do I begin? We share a bond that shall tie us together for generations to come . . . Or at least until one of us moves out of the greater Houston area . . . but never mind that. I love you dearly, for loving the city I love and for giving your time and money to help H-town become a greater place. However, the full moon has passed. Why all the lunacy this morning?

Dude on the Honda bike, wearing the over-sized royal blue shirt with khaki shorts and long white socks peaking out of the Caterpillar boots (we shall discuss your obvious fashion ineptness later), what's with the no helmet thing? I understand you need to prove yourself as a man, but darting in front of cars trying to merge lanes on I-10 without the proper headgear is sheer stupidity. And it makes me nervous as I drive behind you. And I'm typically not a nervous driver. But I couldn't help but seeing you're life pass before my eyes. So please, for my sake, wear a helmet.

My Beltway 8 Grand Prix comrades, forgive me if it takes a minute for my little car to adjust from inching along I-10 to racing for his life down the Belt. Earl does the best he can. And since when has driving 75, almost 80, mph become a speed slow enough to merit you having to pass us? I didn't get the memo that the speeding limit changed, so my apologies.

And whoever was in that SUV that cut across three lanes of traffic to quickly get into the Westpark Tollway left exit lane, the car in front of me was gracious. Surely I would have laid on my horn. Next time, maybe think ahead, start moving over one lane at a time. That way, your fellow commuters, both young and old, won't have heart attacks on the way to work. Personally I think twenty-seven is too young for me to start having heart attacks, but you may disagree. Just a friendly suggestion.

So, my dear comrades, thank you for letting me voice my concerns. Enjoy your long weekend, drive safely, and I shall commute with you again on Tuesday.

Debbie & Earl(the little gray car)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

School Days

I'm still alive. Tired, but alive.

Man, adjusting back to a work schedule is tough! I miss the days of sleeping in and lazying around the pool. *sigh*

But my new students are a hoot. And quick as a whip. They are definitely more advanced than the group I had last year. I still see last year's bunch in the hallways. I miss those babies. Many of them run out of their lines to hug me, and I never know how their teachers will respond to that. Esp the new teachers who don't know me. But I still stop to give a hug.

I saw one little boy the second day of school, Jason Trejo. He's so grown. But he's really little. Cause he was a bit sickly. He waved at me from his line. Casting glances at his teacher from halfway down the line, he gestured for me to call him. He made a telephone with his hand, put it to his ear and mouthed, "Call me!" Then he said, "Come to my house." And he emphatically nodded and gestured while telling me to first take a right, then another right, then a left. It was hilarious! This is the same boy that gave a note to one of my Brianna's last year. It said, "Jason likes Brianna S." Then it had two little stick people holding hands, one smaller than the other. An arrow pointing to the larger stick figure was labeled "Brianna," and an arrow pointing to the smaller stick figure was labeled "Jason Trejo." (Did I mention he's really little? But so smart! He can read anything you put in front of him - English AND Spanish!) But he didn't stop there. He wrote his number on the paper. In fact, he wrote TWO numbers on the paper. And they were real phone numbers! And they were really HIS phone numbers! My friends and I were laughing about that little note for days.

So I'm looking forward to this school year. It's already majorly stressful, but the good thing is that will help the days pass quickly. Oh, and we had a first potty accident today. The boy sat and poohed on himself and didn't even say anything until the smell started filling the classroom. It was disgusting. I was not happy. But the kids walking down the hallway with wrinkled noses or hands tightly shut over their noses, helped keep me chuckling.

Here's hoping there there's no pooh tomorrow -- both literal and figural!


Just thought you'd might like to know we had more pooh Friday. Loads of pooh. Both literally and figuratively! Praise Jesus for a 3-day weekend!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I've had AT LEAST 4 migraines in the past 10 days

However, when I was picnicking here:

And saying hello to these guys:

And riding through these streets:

And walking across this river:

And getting lost and caught in the rain here:

And reading in the cafe:

And skipping down narrow streets:

And wearing a sweater and scarf in the middle of August:

And drinking wine out of mugs in the park surrounded by patriotic British people, with live classical music playing in the background:

And reading on the train:

I never ONCE had a regular headache, yet alone a migraine. What gives???

Monday, August 20, 2007

But I'd rather be here:

Doing this:

At First I Was Afraid

Thanks for the prayers! They definitely helped make today smooth and relatively stress free. It helped that only 13 of my 22 students showed up! And they were rather quiet. I know it won't last. It's all strategy. They're feeling me out, seeing how much they can get away with. Plus, I'm sure the noise level will spike once the other 9 kids show up. I'm just praying tomorrow will be just as smooth. And fast. Today flew by! I seriously don't know what happened to the time! I didn't even have enough time to show the kids the complete routine. But that's what this first week is for -- to work out our class rosters and lay the ground work (i.e., rules, consequences, routines). So let's keep praying that the whole year is as smooth as this first day! And I'll post pics of my AWESOME classroom once I revive my dead camera with new batteries.


My alarm is going off in three hours.
I'm leaving for work in four and a half hours.
I'll arrive at work in five and a half hours.
New children will begin arriving in my classroom in six hours.
I barely have anything planned.
Some of them may be crying.
Some of them may try to tear up my room.
Some of them may not even speak English.
Most of the parents probably don't speak English.
I'm not fluent in Spanish.
I've been in England for three weeks.
That makes my Spanish even rustier.
Or is it "more rusty?"
My point?
And hard.
I may not survive without it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

There & Back Again

So I've been back from England for a week and I literally had to "hit the ground running." My original flight was set for Thurs (Aug 9) but when I got to the airport the electronic check-in kiosk said there was a prob with my reservation and I needed to go to the check-in help counter (British Airways is now very high tech -- you check yourself in either online or at a kiosk, then you wait in the world's longest line so they can check your baggage; if you have probs, then you're allowed to see an employee behind a counter who will check in you and your luggage). So after waiting in line for about 40 minutes I get to the counter and the lady tells me there's a problem -- my flight has been canceled! The plane got stuck in Barbados, of all places! So I HAD to stay in England for two extra days. Boo hoo.

After I finally got everything sorted (had to wait another hour in customer service line and then decide if i wanted to travel the next day and bother w/ changing flights and airlines and moving luggage OR wait two days and catch the same non-stop flight I originally had -- that was a no brainer!) we dropped my luggage off at Jez's brother's house and explored Croyden - a community just south of London. Actually, Jez and Justyna mostly shopped and I decided to sit outside and finish reading The Goose Girl -- such an amazing book, btw!!! It was nice to relax and be on my own for a bit.

We ate lunch in a Spanish restaurant and I tried tapas for the first time. They were yummy! And their Sangria was very nice -- there were bits of fresh fruit in the glass, as you can see.

I spent my last day just hanging around Bedford; mostly in Jez and Justyna's house. I had already bid farewell to people and had my mind set to be alone on a plane for 10 hours, so I wasn't that bothered to go out or anything. I'm just sad I didn't get to see my friend Sarah again. She didn't get my messages until Saturday, when we were already heading back to London. But she called me Monday morning, as I was at work waiting for a meeting to start. It was nice talking to her, even though it made me wish I was back in England and not at work; something that's not hard to do, anyway. Being back at work -- that's a whole other post. *sigh*

So I'm going to forget that school starts tomorrow and that it's Sunday morning and I still need to go up the school and finish my classroom and leave you with a few cool photos of our time in Brighton. I definitely need to go back there. Although I could do without the rocky beach. Yes, ROCKY beach.

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