Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A month later..... Then 2 months later.....

Wow. I can't even believe it's been a month.

Quite a bit to catch up on. So I'll bullet point then talk about some of them:
  • Apple iPad Training
  • My solo trip to Colorado
  • My son's first cruise
  • My niece's visit
  • My cousin's visit
Well, iPad training. We're supposed to finish Apple iPad training by this Friday. I have two left: GarageBand and iMovie, the two I know NOTHING about. These badges have been averaging about 2 hours to complete. Knock on wood I get these done.

August 23, 2017


So, school has started and life happens. BUT I'm back. I'm teaching a Creative Reading and Writing Studio class this year so hopefully it will help me stay on track. I'm planning an entry a week (we've heard this before). BUT I PROMISE!!

So, back to the training. I got them finished it took a week, but I did it. Now I'll be able to share some other apps with my kids for project choices.

My trip to Colorado WAS AMAAAAAZING!!!

I got to Denver on Sunday morning, then drove around a bit. I went to The Tattered Cover bookstore, and it smelled so good! Then I drove around some more just enjoying the cooler and non-humid weather.

I made my way to Fort Collins and headed to Old Town to Old Firehouse Books. That was small but comfortable. I stopped and got groceries then made my way to my little slice of heaven.

The sunrise!! I woke up every morning, got my coffee, book, and journal, then spent the rest of the day outside. I went in for food, water, and bathroom breaks. I don't think I ever went back into the house until about 7 in the evening, unless it rained. It did rain a bit in the afternoons, which was wonderful! 

There was a nest with babies in the end of this swing set. I kept unsuccessfully trying to get a picture of the mama.

Part of the view I enjoyed every day for 7 amazing days.

Another sunrise. The colors are amazing.

Me outside the cabin.

What did I do in Colorado by myself? I read FIVE BOOKS!!! I enjoyed not having to talk to people. I enjoyed doing what I wanted when I felt like just because I could. I ate what I wanted when I wanted.  I sat outside on the deck in my swimsuit or my pajamas every day. A couple of days I had to run into town (less than 5 minutes away). One day to get bottled water, because the tap water was making me sick!! Another to eat breakfast at the cafe. It was wonderful!!

During my week in Colorado, my kid was on a cruise with our Village. It was a group of 12. They started in Orlando and went to Nassau. He had a blast and texted me to let me know he had booked next summer's cruise for the same week. SOOOOO, when I checked out on Sunday, I booked the cabin FOR THE SAME WEEK NEXT SUMMER!! SOOOO EXCITED!!!

My niece, brother, and cousin were all visiting at the same time. Surprised my niece with a a birthday shopping spree at Pink. We all (my relatives and the Village) played Cards Against Humanity, and it was HILARIOUS!! I love when we get together for a game night!

Whew! This was longer than I anticipated! I'll be back with an update on Teaching -Year 24 - Week 1.


Reluctant Writer

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Little of this; little of that


It has been busy. So, we hosted my husband's mother's side family reunion. It's been in the planning stages for a year. We booked the venue and hotel back in September, then started ordering food a month ago. All the little details started coming together the last two weeks. BUT LAST WEEK WAS A BEAR!! Coordinating food pick up, niece pick up, and room decoration and set up on Friday was crazy.

Friday was the meet and greet. It was so much fun! I love visiting with family I haven't seen in a while. It was all over by 10 (for most of us). We hit the ground running Saturday morning meeting family downstairs (we also stayed at the hotel) for breakfast, then heading over to Saturday's location to set up for the day. The kids were able to play and run around outside and explore trails, adults were able to stay inside and visit and play games. We did a raffle drawing every 15 minutes or so. Hard 8 catered, AND IT WAS FABULOUS!! Everyone loved it! We had a singer coming that evening, and he was amazing! I highly recommend him if you're in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: John Haynie. He was great! He let one of our cousins get up and sing and play his own guitar with him, and he let another get up and sing while he played the guitar. He was in our group picture at the end of the night.

Saturday was done by 1:30 am for me, since I stayed up with some cousins partaking of the adult beverages. Sunday came, and we ate breakfast, said our goodbyes, and headed home to sort through everything we had dumped in the garage an kitchen Saturday night. Our house is finally getting back to normal.

So, for Try-it Tuesday, my new thing was hosting a family reunion weekend. That is checked off my list for another several years.

I spent a few hours last night helping my son and his friend set up their excursions for the cruise next week. I'm really excited for him to do this! It will be a new experience for him! And one of the excursions they picked was PARASAILING!! What the heck?! Who is this kid? Then another day they're doing the Aquaventure Park at Atlantis. I'm really looking forward to hearing his stories when he comes back.

That's about it for this weekend. I'll be back on Friday morning. I probably won't post next week, since I'll be out of town on my own adventure and not taking my laptop.


Reluctant Writer

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Try-it Tuesday?

Not sure how clever that title is, but we'll see. So, I have a goal to try new things and then to report out about them in this blog! So, here we go:

I attempted a modified version of the yoga pose, Tree. Didn't last long, but I'll try again.

I also tried dry-brushing today. I've read it's supposed to be beneficial for people with lymphedema, because it supposedly gets the lymphatic system moving in the morning and helps get the toxins out of your system, so I thought I'd try it out. And that's also a new thing for me - telling people about that - not many people know I have lymphedema. I was diagnosed a few years ago and doing what I'm supposed to do.  Usually, people who have had some lymph nodes removed due to cancer get lymphedema, but I don't fall into that category. Just luck of the draw, so I do what I can to try to keep it under control: massages (manual lymphatic drainage - a special type), compression socks (when it's not too hot!), drinking lots of water, being active, keeping my feet up sometimes, and now dry-brushing. After the dry-brushing, my legs did feel better! I definitely had more energy. Maybe it was the 2 cups of coffee I had? I'll try it tomorrow BEFORE the coffee!

I also tried a new restaurant - not the Indian one. This one has been around a while - Gipsy Lime Taco Lounge. I had the  Rastaman: Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Caribbean Salsa, Cotija Cheese and the San Fran Avocado (Vegetarian): Fried Avocado, Roasted Corn Salsa, Cilantro Crema, Cilantro.
The Rastaman was good, but if I go back, I'll try something else. The chicken definitely had a kick once it hit the back of my throat! The salsa was mango and pineapple. I liked the salsa better than the chicken.
The San Fran. Well, I like avocado, but I don't like FRIED avocado. It was a weird texture, and I have food texture issues. The roasted corn was good, and I liked that alot!
I'll probably go back, but I'd order something different. They have an extensive menu!

The reunion? Well, let me tell you!! I can't believe it's almost here. Even though, we've really been planning for about 6 months, the bulk of everything is THIS WEEK! Ordering food trays Sunday and today, then Friday, picking up trays at Costco and Kroger to get to the Friday venue by 4:30 AND coordinating it with an airport run to pick up MY NIECE at 2:35!! I can't wait to see her! Then picking up more trays and flowers on Saturday and setting up the Saturday venue! THAT will be killer.

Enjoy the rest of your week!!


Reluctant Writer

Friday, June 16, 2017

Free Form Friday: Take 1

Wow! It's Friday, and I'm actually doing this! Please don't expect anything earth-shattering!

I spent this week in training and professional development. Monday and Tuesday I was back at Lit Camp learning about resources to use in the classroom and getting my writing fire back. I really enjoyed it last year when I did it. And like I said in a previous post, I just need to get back in the swing and set a schedule.

Wednesday and Thursday I was in Intermediate UbD training (Understanding by Design for those of you NOT in education). It's a way to sit down and plan units. All four days this week were really helpful and completely enjoyable!! I'm looking forward to my last two days of Lit Camp in August and the other training I have in July. Oh, and my writing conference in a couple of weeks. Oh, and curriculum writing next Thursday. Wow!! So much school stuff, and I'm supposed to get "summers off"!!

Today was a slow morning spent in pajamas and doing some organizing and cleaning. Then reunion prep this afternoon. Visited the venue, ordered catfish, then ate a late lunch/early dinner with my guys.

Found a new restaurant I might try. It's an Indian restaurant. I've never eaten Indian food before. Or maybe my something new will be yoga. I have a few days before I get to tell you all about it.


So between now and next Friday, I'll be writing at least one more post, finishing one book and starting another, enjoying quiet time in my house alone, and getting ready for our reunion next weekend. Might get my nails done.

Oh! And I've started using a few essential oils. I use doTerra wild orange in my water, and it's so good! I've been putting lavender and peppermint in my diffuser at night. It helps get me to sleep. STAY ASLEEP!!

If you read...thanks. I promise the next one on Tuesday will be more exciting!!


Reluctant Writer

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Few Random Thoughts

So, I'm in cisdlitcamp, and we were told to write in our journals, so I started making notes about what I could do to help me blog regularly. I really do like blogging. It's like writing a letter to a friend, only I don't know who the friend is who might be reading it. Is it an old friend I haven't seen lately? A friend I haven't met, yet? A friend I see a few times a week?

I could do a weekly check-in, or twice weekly. I'm thinking Tuesdays and Fridays. Tuesdays could be Transformation Tuesday, where I could tell about the new thing I tried during the week. Remember the butterfly tattoo? Going outside my comfort zone and trying new things is a goal. Fridays could be a looking forward to the weekend kind of thing, a review of the week, a "free-form" Friday sort of thing. I think that would work well, since I have a hard time not going off on tangents.

There may be an occasional post in between those, as well, depending on the Teachers Write 2017 that I'm signed up to do in July.

So it's Tuesday, and the new thing I did was go to a concert with my parents. That was the best! ZZ Top and Jimmy Buffett! I overheard someone saying that bands that JB opened for in the past are now opening for him. Interesting fact if it's true. So, that's my new thing for this past week. 

A little bit about me: I enjoy watching cooking shows. I think my favorite might be "Chopped". I like trying to figure out how to use all the ingredients in the baskets. I learn new food combinations, too. Now, if I had time to cook and a kitchen that was cooking friendly, that would be amazing. Our kitchen is so small that two people in there makes me crazy. Our kitchen in Kansas was probably 4 times the size of this one. 

I enjoy doing laundry and washing dishes by hand. I find those chores relaxing. I especially enjoy doing them in an empty house. I like music, and I like background noise. Even if I'm reading, I need some sound. I'm not a gardener, but I love hydrangeas and my bluebonnets. I enjoy watching basketball and sometimes football. I can watch baseball; can't stand golf. I enjoy watching NASCAR; this is a recent discovery for me.

Have a great Tuesday!


Reluctant Writer

Monday, June 12, 2017

JUNE?! And I didn't meet my goal.

Well, one of my writing goals this school year was to blog DAILY. THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN! Apparently, I was too optimistic. Weekly didn't even happen. Life happened. Grading, teaching, mothering, wifing, friending. Everything came before this. And everything came before me.

I don't even know if anyone still checks to see if I've written, but I'm writing today.

This weekend was amazing! My parents, my brother, my mom's friend since 3rd grade all came into town, and we went to THE CONCERT Saturday night. ZZ Top opening for Jimmy Buffett!! It was a great time. Notes for next year: Seats on the west side (no sun in the eyes), and consider parking somewhere else.

I got a tattoo a few years ago - a butterfly. Why a butterfly? It transforms from a caterpillar (not very pretty) into something amazing - a butterfly! That year, instead of resolutions, I chose a word - transform. I was going to transform. I made a few changes but nothing that was amazing, I guess. Every time I looked at my tattoo, it was a reminder.

In January of this year, I opened a fortune cookie that (in a nutshell) said that I'd go on a great journey this year. I laughed. I was talking to a good friend about how tired I was and how I wanted time by myself, away from responsibilities and people. Preferably, in Colorado, where I've wanted to go since I drove through in 2003 to Salt Lake City. She said, "So why don't you?" and I thought, "Well,..... I don't know." Soooo......I researched.
I reserved a car, a flight, and a cabin by a lake. I'll be in Colorado for a week by myself!! I'm way more excited than my husband or my mom.

Anyway, this is the year I go outside my comfort zone and do some things I normally wouldn't.

So far,
~I've ridden a Greyhound bus to Lafayette during spring break to see my parents.
~I joined Weight Watchers AGAIN. And, so far, this time I've been successful.
~I attended a Jimmy Buffett concert with MY PARENTS!!
~I tried a new restaurant and a new dish with my brother over spring break. Granted it was all foods I normally eat, but it had an Asian twist with a sauce I'd never tried.
~My husband and I are hosting his family reunion this year. I feel like I'm just along for the ride, since he's really done a lot of the "footwork": getting the venue, the dinner catered, etc.
~I'm letting my son grow up and trying to take more of a hands off approach. He's 19. I KNOW!! But he still lives at home! He bought his own car about a month ago. a Cadillac..... I drive a Chevy pick-up and Dad drives a Volkswagen Passat.... But he researched it, he made the down payment, and he's making the payments. He works full time and is a shift lead. He finished a couple of classes this last semester with Bs. He's a good kid, and I think we've done a pretty good job with him.

And now, hopefully, this Reluctant Writer is back, at least weekly.


Reluctant Writer

Sunday, October 2, 2016


This is a topic that resonates on a few levels.

I have a student who knows (paid attention to the fact) that one of my writing goals is to do a blog post a week. Every day this sweet girl, E, asks, "Did you do your blog, Mrs. Randall?"  I appreciate her helping me to reach this goal! And, yes, E, this is one from a few weeks ago!

Now, will my kids appreciate me for holding them accountable for doing their GoodReads updates every week and making sure it's more than just adding books to their "want to read" and "read" shelves and adding friends?  They get a grade for updating weekly: keeping a book on their "currently reading" shelf and updating pages as they read; commenting; reviewing.  I finished the check today and entered the grades for it. This is the first time I've done this, and I see I need to make some tweaks to the system.  I also have a few students who need a hard copy, so that got tweaked, as well.
I was "generous" this first time and no one got a failing grade unless they didn't update AT ALL. 

Taking care of me. That's something I need to work on now, also. So many things keep being added, it feels like. I had to make a new to-do list in a chart format that included specifics like when it's due, who assigned it, who's involved in completing it. I'm spending more time reading and need to spend more time walking, also. Right now, I'm typing this on the floor while I stretch. Yesterday, I got my hair done, and that always makes me happy! I got about 6 inches off. Didn't realize I had that much extra!!

On a different note: It's starting to feel like fall, and this makes me happy. I love the cooler weather, and the smells and feelings that go along with that, for me. It will making getting out and walking easier.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Reluctant Writer