Category Archives: Killeen

I’m a Lion

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As I was growing up both of my parents were heavily involved with the Delta Lions Club in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans. Every Friday night they worked Bingo, every Tuesday was either a meeting or Mom’s Po-Ke-No night (Bingo with playing cards ;). Let’s not forget the awesome Super Bowl/Federal holiday BBQs.

The social aspect wasn’t the only reason my parents were Lions. Whether it was through church, schools, my parents’ work (Army Nat’l Guard & various bank institutions) giving back to the community was a major part of our lives. I never realized it until I was an adult. I anticipated the time when I could finally join the LEO Club like my brothers and have all those great experiences. I joined as soon as I was 13 yrs old and loved every minute of it. Granted I lost touch with my fellow LEOs but the memories I have of our meetings, our activities, our state conventions & regional meetings with other clubs will stay with me forever.

I’ve always meant to join one of the local clubs, but when I was checking out their virtual presence, which is how we all remain connected these days, the Killeen Noon Lions Club had the most information available. I emailed and received a quick response from the outgoing President Lion Maureen. Being I was still in school I couldn’t attend a meeting until summer. Now you may wonder why I didn’t join an evening club, well I just contacted this club first and I relied on the warm fuzzies. I rely heavily on my warm fuzzies, they’ve never led me astray 🙂

I was inducted Tuesday, August 13, 2013. I gotta tell ya I was a total bumbling mess. As Lion Richard talked about the start of Lions by Melvin Jones and the mission of Lions around the world I sniffled & could feel the tears run down my cheeks and my neck (I missed a few when I swiped). Then they gave me & another new Lion, well new to this club, speak a few minutes. I tried to hold it together with the first few words, but lost it once I mentioned Dad, sigh….

The commitment to helping others was strong in both my parents, no doubt, and through their service was instilled in all of us kids. I’m proud to continue carrying on the tradition my dad and mom set for me and my future and community volunteer through the Killeen Noon Lions’ Club.

Summer Obsessions

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When I’m on break lately I’ve been watching tv shows I’ve heard about, but wasn’t able to watch because my dvr was otherwise occupied with at least 2 of my current obsessions on any given night. I’ve also had 2 particular movies on rotation right now as well 🙂

What have I been watching you ask that has me so obsessed:

1. Switched at Birth – If you’re a facebook friend you already know the reason I began watching this show, Blair Redford‘s character Ty. What a cutie! But then of course as many fans know he went away for a season and during that time I feel in lurve with Sean Berdy‘s character Emmett. Besides the adorable crushworthy cast, the storyline is a familiar one. Based on true events & an already made for tv movie ages ago, it’s about 2 girls who were born on the same day & switched at the hospital. After the discovery both girls deal with identity, relationships & how to cope with 2 sets of parents with different ideas of childrearing. Oh & did I add hunky Gilles Marini stars as one of the dads, sigh…..enough for continued viewing alone. Check out the link above to read more about Bey & Daphne & their “adventures” if you can call them that.

2. Dance Academy – As many who know me well know that I lurve my Australian tv show McLeod’s Daughters. As the years have gone on a lot of the actors have shown up either in bit parts in many movies & other tv shows here in the states. So a combination of Australia & another one of my longtime loves the movie Centerstage, enter teen drama Dance Academy. I’ve watched seasons 1 & 2 on netflix. Now I’m patiently waiting for the final season, 3, to make it to the US. I’ve only been able to preview 1 one of the teasers, the others are unfortunately now viewable outside of Australia 😦 Fortunately though many faces from Dance Academy will be making their debut in the new NBC summer series Camp.

3. Dark ShadowsJohnny Depp, Tim Burton & high camp dramedy soap opera remake, yes please! Anything Depp & Burton do in collaboration is an automatic yes in my book. As HBO replays Dark Shadows this past month, I’ve signed on for each viewing in addition to my own personal dvd copy. Don’t judge me.

4. Pitch Perfect – I saw this movie when it came out, because I’m such a fan of Anna Kendrick ever since I saw her in the indie film, Camp. I’m also a lover of all things Rebel Wilson, what a riot, love her as Fat Amy. When I first saw the movie I recognized one of the film’s locations as being the Greek Amphitheater on LSU’s campus. I thought “Nah,” couldn’t be, well then during the riff off in the Huey P. Long Fieldhouse & then the shot of the Music Building it was “OMG! That’s LSU!!!!!” So that movie has an even bigger place in my heart, Geaux Tigers!

They Say That…

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February, end of winter, is the most depressing time of year. I can totally get that. Life as a single teacher is hard. I know so many of my coworkers whose families help them grade papers, clean their rooms, set up/take down their rooms. So the tasks aren’t as daunting for those of us who have no extra hands. Work is hard, but it’s always hard, I’d like to quote Tom Hanks as Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own here: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Things just keep getting harder 😦 So that thing I spoke about back in October that was making me all girly giddy happy just fell through. I had suspected as much a while ago, didn’t want to see the writing on the wall, but yeah I got the closure needed to move on. Shame when you think you’ve communicated a lot, apparently it’s still not enough for some.

 

One Year From Now

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One Year From Now. by Outside Air

Kind of sums up certain things I’ve been thinking about this year & how I want things in my life to change the next year.

Some resolutions Kari mentions in her post I’m adopting:

1. Bring my camera, not just the phone with me whenever I go anywhere.

2. Discipline over my body thing, I’m still the girl who worked her ass off to be okay with how I am physically. I’m still the girl who tried the Medifast diet early last summer & gave up 3 weeks into it, sigh….. I’m going to try & figure out some sort of balance between my love of food & being better at getting more physically active in the New Year.

3. I love the idea of going on small adventures. Doesn’t have to cost anything, but I want to take advantage of the area I live in & explore it.

4. Making time for people. I’d like to think I got better at this during 2012. Especially after my dad passed I made it a point to call my mom at least once a week. I made contact with my childhood friend again when she finally joined facebook. I’m going to be better at keeping communication up with all my family, friends (close & acquaintances).

5. Read more, I have a kindle, I need to read the books I already have on it & make room for new ones that I’ve made note of & haven’t made time for.

6. Improve my blogs. I’ve always had my personal one, but this year I began my professional one. I need to make more time in creating substantial blog posts, not just fleeting, fly by the seat of my pants entries on either blog.

7. Ooooohhhhh, financial discipline: this is a biggie. I need to do it, it’s not an option, I just need to bite the bullet & do it. I’ve seen a couple apps, online & mobile that could help in this arena, I just need to do it.

Here are the ones I’m adding:

8. Organized home. I’m going to try the 52 Week Challenge. Fingers crossed, it focuses on just one small area of the house each week to organize.

9. Build My Personal Relationship, this is still new for me, which I like, still getting to know this person better & how we work together. So that’s all I’m going to put out there for now.

10. Invest more time in becoming a better teacher. I got lucky last year. This year I’m still finding my way with my class with what works for one half & what doesn’t work. I’m committed to devoting my time to making sure these children leave me knowing that I gave them everything in my power to give them to be successful.

Here’s to a wonderful New Year

Easy Beginnings

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Some thing new has been happening the last 2 months. Something’s made me very happy, not sure I want to share all that much, but every time I think about it, I get all girly happy again. I cling to this idea, those thoughts & sweet memories when work gets a little crazy. I just close my door to my classroom when I have a free 5-10 minutes & reminisce about that something.

Work has been quite crazy this last month; with meetings, conferences, data, report cards, comments, etc stress seeps in where it can. Hence those stolen moments alone in a quiet class when the kids are at lunch or in Specials.

I love my job. I love my students this year. True, I missed my kiddos from last year, but I am growing more & more fond of my kids and their quirks. One of my current students moved this week, it was also her birthday, I miss her already & her sweet nature with her classmates, she was a doll.

One of my former students moved also, about 2 weeks ago 😦 His mom worked at our campus for the past 2-3 yrs. She’s one of those great parents, that just get it, because she was around the teachers & kids all day long. Their last few days at school were tough. The second to last day I saw my former student out at parent pick-up, which reminded me it was getting closer. I started to tear up but was able to hold it back.

The next day however, different story. They weren’t out at parent pick-up, she was finalizing last minute things in the front office. The minute my student (they’ll always be mine) hugged me goodbye I lost it. Lost it even more when she hugged me & said “Thank you for teaching my kid.” (So crying right now too) It’s those kids & moments like this that make the crazy day-in & day-out random BS endurable.

Those kiddos are having to start over at new schools, make new friends, learning the ropes in their new towns. I’m blessed to have been a part of their young lives & will use what I learned while they were mine with all my kids, because every day is a new beginning, easy or not 🙂

Til next time.

Nails

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I’ve been getting acrylic nails off & on since college. In Baton Rouge there’s was this one place next to Delchamp’s on Highland & College. Loved them, they got me hooked. Then I had them removed for a little bit. See I go through phases where I love the nails, love how they look & since I talk with my hands it’s definitely a fun look.

I lived in Marksville, LA for about 4 years before moving to Texas & let’s just say I was less than impressed with the nail salons there. My mom goes to the one I tried & I just don’t see how she does it. It’s like musical chairs, not just one person works on you, I no like that!

Enter 2005, Killeen, TX. I visited Perfection nails with my sister-in-law. I was talked into the solar nails, a new thing in nail trends. They go on just like the acrylics, but they are buffed & polished & there was no drying time, seriously!! These nails changed my life. I personally like the french white tips (ie solid white) like white out white tips & the palest pink for the nail beds. I’ve seen the “natural” tips & it just makes me think the nails are dirty.

Since then I’ve tried other salons here in town & I just don’t like the job they do. I’ve gone with friends who wanted to try new places, so I was a good friend & tagged along. Good heavens what these people did to my nails, was sooooo not happy. I always went back to Perfection. Now I’m a loyal customer. I adore Michelle who does awesome amazing pedicures & can pretty much do any toenail design you show her. I myself have been the recipient of the following designs: spider & it’s web, Frankenstein, vampires, mummies, 80’s pop color patchwork, a variety of flowers, abstract lines, etc. Michelle is da bomb.

As for the nails, I’ve had awesome nail techs & not so awesome. The ones who stay know my nails & that I’m sen-si-tive 😦 I hate it when my favorites leave or move, suuuuuuucks having to try out new ones. Or even worse when you find one you like & they are always busy when you do the walk-in. Well one guy who did my nails twice before I got my favorite one back was awful. He nagged me about getting a new set, but then would tell me I only needed one color cuz he wanted to save me money, really?!?! Gawd! So finally 2 weeks ago I went in & got my new favorite again & have succumbed to just making the appointments with him.

Today I had my first appointment, Yay! Fresh new nails & a pedicure that resulted in what’s below. How awesome are those toes, I mean really, totally ready for summer now!! On the downward slope at school, it’s time for it to be over & done, get my summer on. Til then I can rock these purty toes!!

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Summer Reflection 2011

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Whew! That went by quick. I was anticipating summer like most of those in my profession, education. But unlike others who take nice long vacations or educational type journeys, I spent my lazy days of summer doing just that, being lazy. I did spend most of June in various workshops offered by my district, that’s just because I’m a nerd & I admit it.

I do look forward to seeing my family during the summer when I can stay longer than an extended weekend like during the school year. For 10 days I went home, well my last home before I moved to Texas anyways, I’ve had 4 homes so to speak. My poor mother was suffering with incredible back pain and I tried to help her pack a few things up since they are moving into a house my sister & bro-in-law are building.

I particularly enjoyed my time with my sister, niece & family friends. Not that I didn’t enjoy my mom, but packing isn’t one of my favorite past-times. My sister is starting a non-profit group to go after grants for educational & cultural programs for native american tribes. We spent a lot of time working together & getting some things started.

After I came home I started poking around & getting ready for the upcoming year. Needlesstosay I spent most of my summer “working.” I searched off and on everyday to find those little tricks and odds & ends that will make this year easier than last year. I put things away in the mental file to be accessed later as well as the paper files, lots of professional development files 🙂

School has now started. I have a great group of kids. I work with a wonderful group of teachers. So far this year is looking like it’s going to be pretty good, in comparison to some of the former years. Now being more familiar with what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

Here’s to a great year to come!

A Night With Pop Legends

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I had heard about Vive Les Arts Legends show for the past 4 years. I was finally able to go & see for my self. The Legends  show is VLA’s annual fundraiser party/show.

The show started with a live auction, auctioneer & all. They auctioned off all sorts of goodies, but the one thing that caught my attention was the peek-a-poo. A little fluffball off of a puppy. She twirled & plopped down butt facing the audience. With a collective “awwwwww” the peek-a-poo went for $725. Oh if I didn’t have 2 already, lol.

The highlights of the show for me were those songs that hit home, the ones I’ve internalized on my own personal life time line. The show starter was a U2 Medley by Mr. Paul Q-Pek, the guy I said in my review of The Civil War that sounds like Roger from RENT. Very rousing, got the crowd ready for the rest of the show.

A little fun was had when the emcee Johnny Russell introduced the director Eric Shepard & a Robert Palmer Medley. An Amy Winehouse impersonator, Mr. Shepard’s wife Erin, cam out instead, bottle & all. Poor Ms. Winehouse had to be carried off by the stagehands, sigh…..ah celebrities.

Priscilla Pierce gave a sweet rendition of Landslide, the Stevie Nicks homage to her father, redone most famously by my fave country rebels the Dixie Chicks. But the stand out for me was Ryan Perez’s version of Walking In Memphis, originally done by Best New Artist Grammy winner ’91 Marc Cohn. The song gives me chills every time I hear it & Mr. Perez was no slouch in the goose bump delivery department.

Marcus Brown put a smile on everyone’s face when he came out with a Johnny Mathis wig & sang Chances Are, the title & theme song of a popular cult classic Robert Downey Jr. flick. Young Mr. Brown then came out with Cameron Dinkens & Jonnathan Molina for a little Motown Medley. Dinkens did great as a young Stevie Wonder on Uptight. Brown delivered again on Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. Molina had a voice as sweet as MJ’s on I’ll Be There.

I do believe that the whole place stopped breathing when Olga Pena sang as good as or even better than Alicia Keys on If I Ain’t Got You. Mrs. Donna Connell gave the Green Goddess winning performance of Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me.

After intermission Erin Shephard, accompanied by members of the Killeen High School Band, came out as Gwen Stefani singing Holla Back. Mrs. Shepard was awesome!! Just sayin’. Then when Cathie Sheridan came out for a rousing Mambo Italiano, formerly of Rosemary Clooney fame, all I can say is I want to look as good as she did in a red dress like that. Jealous much!

I was brought back to my boy band lovin’ days when a Mr. John Lohse was introduced. All the women behind me screamed like all those women did when I went to go see Rick Springfield bout 7 years ago, haha. Not gonna lie, he had the chops not to mention the looks, no wonder those ladies were screaming, can’t blame ’em at all. Hope to see him in more shows, they’ll definitely get the attendance of the female demographic up.

I enjoyed the 50 year medley by Hayley Duggar & Erin Shephard. Songs were good, but I was expecting more interplay between the two ladies during the performance. Hey that’s just me. They did ham it up for each turn though. Okay, I cannot tell a lie. The feedback was an issue for the All Cast numbers. It was painful & interrupted what I’m sure were great performances, but I was cringing the whole time waiting for it to stop. I’m sure VLA will get that fixed for next time.

Overall, it was a great feel good show. Warm fuzzies are my specialty & Legends delivered. Can’t wait to see the theme for next year’s show!

Don’t forget Of Mice And Men shows at the end of March, should be another great performance.

The Civil War

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Let me start this post by saying I was supposed to do a write up for Vive Les Arts Theater here in Killeen a few months ago. I wound up getting strep throat, then school started, etc…etc… So here’s my make-up for them 🙂

All I can say is what a better way to spend a night during President’s Day weekend than going to see a local production of The Civil War.

I’m a history nut, thank you Dad, so when I got a case of the “boreds” Saturday night I decided to buy a ticket for the show. Just so happens I found out one of my co-workers was in the show. To my happy surprise my friend Beverly, whom I had called & left a voice-mail to see if she wanted to join me, was sitting in the lobby waiting to see the show when I arrived. We were able to get seats in the same row, whoohoo, yay for customer service!!

The synopsis on the Broadway Musicals site, linked above, says characters from the time period tell the story of the war in song. The VLA decided to give us only Abraham Lincoln, the other cast members were not given specific roles other than to convey thru song & words the impact the war had on those who lived at the time.

The show began with 2 numbers by The Men: Brother My Brother & By The Sword/Sons of Dixie. With old photos in rotation on 2 screens on either side of the stage, it set the tone for the show, reverence for a time we’ll never know. While the quality of the songs & those who sang them throughout the night my attention was grabbed by the following numbers.

First Missing You (My Bill) sung by Kathryn Quirk. Not only did she sing superbly sweet, but my inner tv geek was tapped here. For those of you who know of True Blood on HBO the main vamp character is named William “Bill” Compton and was turned when coming back from fighting in the Civil War.

My emotional side was triggered during Tell My Father. Mmm mmm, yeah the tears started to trickle here. The next 2 songs that got my blood flowing right there in the middle of the show: I Never Knew His Name & River Jordan. Tonya Miller sang the h*** out of I Never Knew His Name. Her clarity of voice was beautiful, one of the best songs that night. Charles Reid had everyone clapping like they were at church during River Jordan, a rousing gospel-like number. I dare say some stood for this, but I was sitting in front & Mr. Reid had my full attention so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

After intermission a playful tune Old Gray Coat by Bill Selby & The Men got everyone smiling. Paul Q-Pek sang Sarah. As I listened to him sing I closed my eyes for a few moments and could see in my head & hear Adam Pascal, who played Roger in RENT. Hmmm, could it happen here in Killeen, a production of RENT, one can dream can’t they. If they do I’ll be front row, no question.

The show ended with For The Glory. I gotta tell ya I just went & looked up the lyrics, reading over them makes me tear up again. The words ring so true especially living in a military town where it permeates our lives, so many of us take those everyday heroes walking amongst us for granted.

I see The Civil War as a reminder that greatness doesn’t come easy. As we remember the past it’s also a celebration of those leaders, great or not, whichever your opinion may be, the groundwork & paths they laid for us in hopes that we make the most & best of them.

“For the glory
For the men who’ve gone before
For the men who will come after
We will wage this bloody war
For the glory
For the truth we hold so dear
Let us give the last full measure
Gathered here …
For the glory!”

The End Is Near

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Wow! When I was in school I always looked forward to the summers. However, as a teacher, I think I want summer more than the kids do. It’s amazing to me how much this year has taken out of me.

I went from anxious, nervous, anticipatory energy at the beginning of the year. Next I fell into a deep fear of losing everything. I became a shell of my former self. I found myself just waking up at the last possible minute, putting on my clothes, not even putting on make-up most days. Then came relief in spring. A weight was lifted off my shoulders.

These last couple months, yes I’ve had some of the same problems I had in the beginning, but a much better support system anchor in place. I’ve been able to make it thru to this last week of school. Yes, I’ve had some kiddos that still get to me from time to time, or is is every minute, lol, but I’m able to deal with them much better.

I’ve already put this year behind me so to speak, mentally that is, not technically, because I can’t yet. I’m looking forward to next year and being a better teacher than I was this year, putting into place all those things I learned first thing, instead of waiting til mid year/end of the year.