Sunday, March 17, 2013

I like to bask in the sun :)

I'm not even going to address the fact that I'm the worst blogger ever; instead I will just show you some highlights from the past few weeks:)

I'm a happy lady:)  These past few months have been full!  Full of family, friends, birthdays, school Valentine's Day parties...let's just say I'm not sure what happened to February and I cannot believe it is already St. Patrick's Day!

Here is my sweet sister visiting a sculpture garden in Houston.  My beautiful family came to visit over their spring break, and I soaked up every single minute of them, they are my favorite!!

 A birthday party full of scarves, beautiful sentiments, and a cross necklace from my dad- what a sweet man :)
 Sangam took me out to a restaurant called 'The Americas' with its picasso enthused decor and AMAZING south american food- I swooned over these empanadas...
 I introduced my family to the gas station craze in Texas, called Bucees.  This large beaver is the mascot, and yes, you too can have a wardrobe themed around this large rodent!
 Sangam and I whisked the Sapa's away to San Antonio, just a short 3 hour drive to the Riverwalk :)  We came, we conquered some mexican food, were serenaded by some saucy mariachi men and experienced the Alamo.

 Here is my dad meeting 'Davy Crockett.'  I think we could have gone home after this, he was set!

 Where's Davy when you need him :)

 There is no explanation for this one- just some wild and crazy guys!!!

I took my sister to see some puppies, chicks, bunnies etc...  We almost left with one of these sweet, scruffy pups.  They were so mellow, and just wanted someone to love on them :)  I love how tender Caitlin's heart is.

 Ingrid and Nathan, friends from MN also came to visit!  We had so much fun traipsing around with them.
 Here is the beautiful couple, sitting underneath a canopy of beer can tops- how romantic :)  The beer can house is a relic in Houston, a place where even the quirkiest of hobbies, like a man who sat in his driveway and artistically covered his entire house in beer can parts, can be witnessed.  There's no place like Texas!
 These Minnesotan natives were so excited about our 65 degree weather, that we braved a windy day at Surfside Beach.  What is frigid for Houstonians, was balmy for us :)

For my birthday, my students all brought in a flower to make a beautiful bouquet.  Each kid brought in a flower until it was complete- very sweet!

Katie- the best thing to happen to Austin Texas period, came to hang out over my spring break- so fun!

I love friends that fit like an old shoe.  We hit up the Houston Rodeo, had dance parties in the living room, watched good movies and caught up- much needed!!

Yes, I missed a lot of details, but I figure the highlights are the most fun anyways!  Happy St. Patrick's Day!! :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Car Wash...Crazy Town!

I am officially on summer break and loving it!  I don't ever wake up before 8, and can eat lunch whenever I want- yippee!!  One of my student's parents gave me a gift card at the end of the year to get my car's interior and exterior washed and cleaned- I have never been so excited.  My car has seen better days, and there is some kind of sticky syrup in my cup holders that now has sprouted mold.

So, on my first Monday of summer, I made my way to this lovely place called 'Mister Car Wash', where the nicest people explain my different cleaning options, where I can get a nice cup of coffee while I wait, and even give me a hug when I tell them how much my car needs this.  I hand over my keys and find a spot to wait while I watch the cars going through the wash just outside.

Everything is going just fine until I see all of the workers start to leave the cars they are working on and run over to where the cars are going through the wash machines/assembly line.  Ooohhhh, no.  My first thought:  Maybe a child has wandered where he/she shouldn't be and people are running to make sure everything is alright.

Next, I see a parade of police cars come racing right towards the parking lot, and the workers are now shutting down the gates to the washing section so that no cars can enter or exit. second thought is:  Maybe I should have stayed home today!

A mother with her three young kids, who was also waiting for her car to be cleaned, starts to become 'mama bear' in every sense of the word.  She tells us all to get down behind the couches, and I listen!  I am so confused at this point, but still have my complimentary popcorn from earlier, so I have that on my side :).

The saga continues as the manager breathlessly comes through and says that a bank robber has chosen this car wash to park his 'get-away' car in, and has been ambushed by the police in the front of the carwash line.  Ok, my third thought is: how far can I squeeze myself underneath the couch so that nobody can get me- to hell with the popcorn- it was too salty anyways!!

The next part happened so quickly, I didn't even have time to process it.  The 'robber' came running through the waiting room, fired two shots into the air, and then left as quickly as he came, shouting swear words over his back.  He jumped the fence just next to the lot, and was gone.  The policemen came racing after him, yelling at everyone to stay down- and then it was over!

Everyone went back to work, the guy shining shoes in the corner went back to shining, and the mom with three kids got into her clean car and drove off.

My fourth thought- WHAT WAS THAT!!!  I may be a little midwestern transplant in the big, southern city, but holy moley!!  Ah, the term 'we aren't in Kansas anymore' took on a whole new meaning.

The nice man who had cleaned my car so that it looked better than I bought it gave me a hug, probably seeing the look of being stunned on my face.  I took my beautiful car, and went to Dairy Queen.  One brownie blizzard later,  I decided it was time to go home- and watch the local news channel to see if the story made it.

Summer sure is starting off with some excitement!  Whew!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Hormones in the workplace...

My lovely 10 year olds from earlier in the year have now arrived at springtime, and I can actually see their hormones taking over their minds.

1.  Their new favorite words are 'annoying' and 'ugh'!!
2.  They cannot remember where they put ANYTHING, and insist to me that I must have lost their cell phone, because where else could it be!!!
3.  They will literally zone out mid-sentence and look at me with a look that says, 'where am I right now?!'
4.  I have at least 2 criers a day, sometimes they know why, and sometimes not.
5.  They remember every detail of what happened in the latest lunchroom 'drama' incident, but can't recall any algebra for the math test.
6.  They have lost all body control, and upon standing up to sharpen their pencil, manage to trip over nothing, and fall down, really hard! Also, the rest of the class doesn't even notice anymore!!
7.  4 of my students are taller than I am, and 2 of the boys have a budding mustache.
8.  I sadly know more about the gossip of who likes who in 5th grade than what is happening on the daily is constantly changing and the center of all our universes :)

I come home to sweatpants, a husband that listens to my stories, makes me tea and brings me back to reality- All in all, I can't imagine doing anything else.  I would gouge my eyeballs out staring at a computer each day, or dealing with customer service situations.  I can easily forgive the actions of 10 year olds, and they listen to advice and love you even though you just told them they have 30 math problems.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Musings from a busy lady...

1. The AC in my car is starting to make funny a Houston summer that equals death!
2. Yesterday I put pink nail polish on my toenails and it was enough to really brighten my day.
3. Talking with my family on the phone gives me peace with the world.
4. 5th graders are some of my favorite people to be around- especially when they play tether ball at recess and yell "NO MERCY!"
5. I am teaching about the Holocaust right now, and need many more trips to get ice cream after school than usual!
6. When I get older, I wonder if my hair will turn gray in a sophisticated way...probably not!
7. What am I going to wear tomorrow- ugh!

I hope you are musing about upcoming vacations, or which type of dessert to eat after dinner :)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Festivals? Why yes please!

There is something about large crowds, fried food and middle aged men with fanny packs that embodies a good festival experience. I don't know if it is festival season here in Houston or what, but there have been some cool gatherings and such lately.

Here we are at the Bayou City Art Festival in Memorial Park. It was HUGE, with over 300 vendors spread out within the park.

It was amazing to see all the different mediums of artwork. The experience confirmed how unartistic I am, but inspired me to try and be a craftier person...hmm...maybe knitting would be safer than welding metals like this!

These beautiful sculptures were made out of coiled and wrapped wire. If only I had $450 to spend on one- it takes some serious commitment. Someday when I grow up, I'll get a couple to put in our parlour :)
Instead of buying a painting or sculpture, I went for a pretty green bracelet.

This guy was incredible. He slowly meandered through the streets, and had the persona of a tree, very regal and poised.

Our next endeavor was BINGO! Granted, it's not a festival, but it should be! We met up with some friends to experience the lure. The church parking lot was packed, mostly with buicks and cadillacs...perfect! It's not legit bingo if the median age of the players aren't 75 years plus. Once in the church basement, it was on! We purchased our packet of game sheets, our very own dobbers (those who aren't aware, they're basically ink blotters), and some cokes to keep up with the professionals. People were READY!

Each game had different ways to win- four corners, crazy kite, blackout, postage stamp, and the list goes on! There were 'specials' with different colored boards, 2 bingo callers, a projection of the ball and number, and a lit up spread at the front of the room with all the numbers and letters called thus far.

Man, we had walked into an underground, serious, gambling ring masked beneath a catholic church facade!! We knew it was serious as soon as the first game started. Everyone immediately stopped talking, and all you could hear was the sound of dobbers dobbing, and a few oxygen tanks clicking. If someone did call bingo, everyone in the room gripped out 'NO' and 'Uggghhh!!"

If you did win, the cash prizes were pretty good! The smallest amount of money you could win was $70, and the grand prize that night was $750!!! Man, we were not messing around on that one! I ended up winning one of the small prizes, and turned three sheets of red. I did not anticipate actually winning, and when I did, I wanted to make sure I had dobbed correctly! Our friends informed us that if you call out bingo, and didn't really get one, that people get pretty mad...eeek! Luckily, I did everything correctly, and could take everyone out for frozen yogurt. Yep, that's right- I was the sugar momma, bingo winning, frozen yogurt buying winner of the night!

Bingo turned out to be pretty amazing, and lucrative for out grandma's, Chelsea needs a new pair of shoes!!!

The most recent festival we attended was just today, a Palestinian Festival. It was really fun! The music was so very cool to hear live, with families dancing and singing along. The handicrafts and goods being sold were so unique and beautiful, and all the vendors were focused on projecting information about the culture of Palestine.

Going to this festival really made me want to travel. I love to be immersed in another culture, and experience something new for the first time. I'm hoping there is a Hawaiian festival next- because I could really use a mai tai and a beach... :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break Compilation

The rest of the spring break week passed in a lovely blur! Here are some of the highlights from the rest of the week...

One of my favorite things in the world, is to take nature walks. We live right next to the Buffalo Bayou, with awesome trails for hiking and biking.

I always feel like there are such interesting bird houses by where we live. Houston is actually in the migratory path of a lot of birds, so we will see all kinds of interesting bird houses that people put up to accommodate them.

Sangam and I watched the movie 'My Idiot Brother'. It was pretty good! Sangam makes popcorn on the stovetop, heating up the kernels- one of my favorite things:)

On St. Patrick's Day, we decided we needed to see the Houston Parade. In Minnesota, we would go to the St. Paul parade, which was awesome! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but was pleasantly surprised...

Dancing clovers, very clever!!

Sangam and I made sure to wear green :)

The roller derby is huge in Austin and Houston. Here are some of the ladies showing off their skills :)

Irish wolfhounds. These were the biggest dogs I had ever seen. They had very intense, yellow eyes, but were very friendly and let us pet them.

Later that day, we tried a new place to eat, called CoCo's. Definately the best crepes I have EVER had!! There were so many international people eating al fresco; Sangam and I felt like we were abroad listening to people speak Italian, Portuguese, Russian (I think) and others I couldn't recognize.

To finish out the week, Sangam and I met up with our friend Katie and some friends on a camping excursion to the Brazos Bend State Park. It takes courage to set up a tent next to these big guys!!

Camping is fabulous, because there is nothing to distract you from just being with people and enjoying each other's company! We took a walk around dusk, which happened to be when the gators were on the move, we saw a lot of them!

On Sunday, we decided we just weren't quite ready for the fun to be over, so we went mini-golfing. Here are some 'action shots' of our stellar skills :)
I hope you all have a happy start to spring!