Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm done...

...or maybe "done in" does a better job of describing the feeling I had at the end of the day. I am a former classroom teacher who moved to a job in the curriculum and instruction department of the district. My contract is year-round so my summertime involves providing required professional development to all K-12 teachers in my content area. 

Let me tell you, they are just pleased as punch to be there and can't wait to use the strategies in the classroom in the fall. They are so grateful that the Texas Education Agency has determined that teachers need to make sure that all learners are entitled to the best instruction possible, and they are lining up to volunteer to implement any new mandates that come down the road. This attitude just makes my job sooooo pleasureable and I've looked forward to the past. eight. days. in. a. row that I've got to experience this joy.

I've learned so much from some of the teachers that I've worked with. Did you know that you can take notes on a cell phone? Silly me...I thought that was called texting. Another thing that I learned is that a Texas Monthly magazine fits easily between the pages of a notebook and if you glance up at the appropriate time, it might actually look like you're paying attention. (The morning newspaper is a little harder to hide, but what the heck, it is a great way to make absolutely sure that the presenter understands that you're here under duress.)  I've learned that classroom rules don't apply when teachers make up the class. But today I learned the most important lesson of all...it doesn't matter how you teach government if your football team is in the playoffs.

Seriously, I am proud to be a teacher and to work with many fine and dedicated individuals who are proud of their profession and are always looking for ways to better meet the needs of their students. But there are those few who exhibit behavior that they would. not. tolerate at all from their students. I ran into those today. Kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sago Saga

Our Sago Palm saga started back in April, a week after Easter. Our two puppies ate the bark of one or more of the huge Sago Palms we had planted in our flower bed between the house and the pool. We have since become experts on poisonous plants, but back then we didn't know that the sago is a devil plant. We had about 5 big plants in our yard at the time that the puppies were poisoned. They all came from pups from a sago in my mom's yard from about 35 years ago, so they were big suckers.

Our vet told us that the puppies (particularly the male, Charlie) would probably not live because there was so much damage to their livers. In fact, he stopped their treatment because the treatment didn't seem to be making a difference in their conditions. (Dan had been taking them to the vet on a daily basis to receive subcutaneous fluids.) We were heartbroken. But, we did research on the web on herbs, vitamins, and home-made dog food and began to follow a strict regimen. We gave them mega doses of milk thistle, vitamin C, and dandelion. We baked chicken breasts with garlic and combined that with brown rice and fed this "chicken pilaf" to them everyday. Erin said the dogs ate better than we did. She was probably right. Ha! We also gave them liquid yogurt after every meal. Instead of tap water, we gave them pedialyte and distilled water to drink. All of this was in addition to the Denamarin prescribed by the vet. And, yes, we prayed for our puppies.

Not only did we undertake this massive effort to help them live, every weekend in Houston's hot and humid summer we have been working on removing every toxic plant from our yard. This is how the flower bed by the pool now looks.

Not very attractive... We even bought edging to keep the dogs out of the flower beds. You can see where the stumps of the Sagos were. 

Today we have finally been able to start replanting.

Knock-out roses, bulbine, and liriope...none of which are toxic.


We're pleased with how things are looking, but have a ways to go.

And...just in case you were wondering...the puppies went back to the vet yesterday for a liver enzyme test. It has been a month since the vet has seen them. When we walked in the door everyone came out to look at the puppies. Each of their faces broke out into a huge grin. The technician said "Oh my gosh, Lucy, Charlie, I just can't believe it! The doctor didn't think Charlie had a chance." The receptionist told another customer who was wondering what all the commotion was about, "You just don't understand, these dogs are miracles! They're supposed to be dead." We got the results of the blood work this morning and, although it is not normal yet, it is much, much improved. In fact, we can finally give them their vaccinations.



Friday, June 18, 2010

My Dad

IMG_1663Tuesday morning as I was driving to a school for professional development, I was listening to Chuck Swindoll’s “Insight for Living” on the radio. His sermon was on a father’s role in the family. He said that we revere our mothers on Mother’s Day (and rightly so), but sometimes fathers get short shrift. A father’s influence in the family is critical, even after the children are grown. Fathers should continue to have a godly influence on grandchildren and great-grandchildren to come.

Chuck said that first of all fathers are the providers for the family, next they are maintainers of boundaries for their children, and they are, throughout their whole lives, instructors…hence the number of times in Proverbs it says “my son.” I wish I had all the scripture references, but I was driving, after all.

Sometimes when I do workshops for teachers, we talk about student motivation. Many are quick to say that students today are not motivated to learn. (I could do a whole post about this comment…) I tell them that I wasn’t especially excited about geometry, algebra, etc. either. My motivation was that my dad told me to go to class and pay attention. I had a healthy respect for my dad because I knew that if I got in trouble at school, I was in for a great deal more at home. My dad had high expectations for his daughters and we did our best to meet them.

My dad also had us in church nearly every time the doors were opened. I can picture my dad right now sitting in his Lazy Boy on a Saturday afternoon with his Bible opened on the end table beside him preparing his Sunday School lesson for the next morning. His favorite Bible verse was: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16  Dad was not ashamed to tell others about Jesus.

Dad went to be with his Lord and Savior in 2001 when he was 83. For the last three years of his life he was in an assisted living facility. He couldn’t drive for those last years, so I had his car. I found this in the driver’s side pocket. It had been well-used.




Dad’s name is on the cornerstone of First Baptist Church in Houston, but his real legacy is he has two daughters, two granddaughters, and two grandsons who love the Lord. He also has three great-grandchildren who are being raised to know and love Jesus.

A righteous man who walks in his integrity…How blessed are his sons (daughters) after him. Proverbs 20:7

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mini Family Reunion

Since the girls and my nephews have grown and married, we cherish the times that we all get together which, as people move away, seem fewer. Amy will be the only child still left in the Houston area…she’s got a lot of people to watch out for – her grandmother and grandfather, mom and dad, and aunt and uncle (ha!).

Anyway, we all met at a  barbecue restaurant for dinner on Memorial Day.

Hannah’s not so sure about this.


And she’s really not liking that bow that Grammy insisted she wear.


Judy’s family minus Josh and Jamie…



Sawyer smiling at his Lolly…


Jeremy and Meagan


Sisters, sisters…


Grammy and her babies…we couldn’t get Katie to close her mouth!


Katie loving the attention from her aunt!IMG_1639

MeMaw, PePaw and Chris




Hi, Sawyer!



Grandpa and one of the apples of his eye…



After we ate, we drove over to visit a little more at Amy’s new house.



Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. James 1:17

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

There’s More to Brenham than Blue Bell

…although there’s lots to be said for Blue Bell, the best ice cream in the country…

Sunday afternoon Erin and I decided to drive up to Brenham and check out Beadboard Upcountry based on recommendations on numerous blogs.  We drive through Brenham a zillion times a year (give or take) on our way to Austin, but seldom stop to drive through the downtown area. It seems like the number of stores has really grown since I was last there and there was a lot of activity for a Sunday afternoon. The only issue we had was it seemed as if every shop had a different opening and closing time.

I loved the flag and the mailbox in front of the courthouse.



I bet the 4th of July celebration starts right here…


We had a late lunch at Must Be Heaven before we visited the shops. We started out at Herman’s and spent a lot of time and some money inside (could have spent a lot more money!)




I did buy one of those round thingies on the floor. Erin bought 4th of July placemats and Round Top Collection napkin rings.


Since Erin is such a good, sweet daughter, she is also going to make this wreath for her dear mama. I hope she gets it done soon because my front door is looking pretty blah. Ha!


Next, we went to Today and Yesterday antique store. Erin was looking for an antique window to hang over her mantle. She was lucky enough to find two. I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture. I was probably too sweaty to hold onto the camera by this time. (See yesterday’s post…Hot…Hot…Hot)

At around 3:00 we came to Beadboard Upcountry and it was closed. Oh well, I’ve got a good excuse to go back.

On the way home we drove through Chapel Hill. I love small town churches.


Of course, lest you think we forgot…

Blue bell3

we bought not one or two, but four pints of Blue Bell to have for dessert. Let’s see…there was Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Summer Berries, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Someone who shall remain nameless (I want to make sure I get that wreath) might have eaten their whole pint! It was vacation, after all!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


It's almost time to say goodbye to Erin for a few months. She's upstairs right now lying on the sofa underneath the fan with the shades closed reading the latest Thoene book. When you move off to cooler climes, it's hard to get used to the heat of Houston in the summer. Heck, It's hard for us to get used to these temperatures this early! It is hot and dry with no relief in sight.

Our weekend started with brunch Saturday at Shade, a restaurant in the Heights. It was mmm…mmm…good.

IMG_1596 Afterwards, we walked down 19th Street to several antique stores and a shop called Jubilee. The pictures below were taken at Antiques on Nineteenth. I bought a little hand-painted tole tray there to hang on my dining room wall.




After that we were too hot to do much more shopping where we had to go in and out of the heat, so we decided to go to the Galleria. Oh my, it looked like the day after Christmas sales there were so many people. We couldn’t even find a place to park. I guess everyone decided to escape the heat by going to the mall.

There were also several quinceaneras taking place in the hotels. I couldn’t resist taking this quick picture of the little girls in their fancy dresses. They went up the escalator in front of us.


Can you tell Erin was anxious to leave? She’s making a beeline for the door to Neiman’s and the crosswalk to Dillards where we parked.


Probably the best part of the day was dinner at Lupe Tortilla’s. It finally started to cool off and there was a little breeze. It’s always fun to watch Katie eat chili con queso. She delicately dips the chip in the cheese and then licks the cheese off of the chip. In the process she smears it all over her face.




It won’t be long and Hannah will be getting in on the action, as well.


Family and Mexican food…that’s a hot combination!