* Another winner from Josie Two Shoes

If you appreciate wisdom with brevity, check out Josie Two Shoes‘ latest post: Shake It Off.  Josie is following Zoe at Uncharted for the Six Sentence Stories‘ blogging challenge.   I might try my hand at those sentences, but I can hear my dearest blogging widower saying, “Katharine, have you finished that other online course?”

Be adventurous and click those two little links.  You won’t be disappointed!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank:  “I can shake off everything as I write, my worries disappear, my courage is reborn.”  You can purchase this treasure from the Literary Fox on Etsy.

What a life quote from such a brave young woman.  G-d help us remember what happened to millions during those years.

* TToT again!

It’s bad news, good news this week.

#1.  Bad news: After a loooong week, I have been working on paperwork most of the day and my eyes are swimming.  Good news:  I finished a lot of it!

#2.  Bad news:  I lost October 2016.  I mean I lost my lesson plans for a student.  I have the digital version but no notes.  Good news:  I found October!  It was just incorrectly stapled.  More good news:  I threw away some clutter in the hunting process.

#3.  Bad news:  I have not been able to wean my foot from the compression boot.  Good news:  I said, “Whatever!” and tossed the heavy thing aside.  More good news: My foot has been fine all day.

#4.  Bad news:  I did waste a little time playing Mahjong today.   Good news:  I beat an expert level that had defied me for weeks.  Yes, the game was taunting me.

#5.  Bad news:  I did not get much accomplished with my online classes today.  Good news:  Tomorrow is another day.

#6.  Bad news:  My dearest teaching widower had to work all day, too.  Good news:  I was able to help him on a project without getting snappy.  Oh, right, I never get snappy.

#7.  Bad news:  I lied in #6.  Good news:  I only lied about never getting snappy.  I really did help him without getting snappy TODAY.  And I am running out of news, folks.

#8.  Bad news:  There is no sequel to the sequel of The Dying and the Dead.  Good news:  Sequel #1 was great and featured a brave young boy.

#9.  Bad news:  I may not finish the Color Your World blogging challenge.  Good news:  I can try again next year.  More good news:  I have a whole year to take more colorful photos!

#10:  Bad news:  I have nothing else to add.  Good news:  I did not gripe about the clutter in the house, the laundry that needs to be washed, or the pile of mulch in our driveway that needs to be spread somewhere, anywhere.  More good news:  I am reading a cool detective thriller called The Murderer’s Son by Joy Ellis.  A terrific read about a guy who thinks he is a serial killer.  Is he?  I don’t know yet but it will be fun to find out.  Mama was the Blonde Butcher.  Oh dear, what a legacy.

Have a great week, dear readers!

The Murderer's Son

* The Breaking Light

I hate romances.  Within a couple of pages of reading The Breaking Light, my romance detector was buzzing with alarm.  On the other hand, the book is also science fiction.  What a dilemma.  I kept reading and couldn’t stop.  After all, didn’t I fall in love with my dearest teaching widower at first sight, when we were teenagers?  That’s exactly what happens to the characters who star in this romantic sci fi adventure written by Heather Hansen.  Arden lives in the underbelly of a dark world, a city without sunlight.  Its inhabitants die from vitamin D deficiency.  She is a member of a gang whose reputation for brutality is well known.  Dade lives in the sun, the scion of a powerful ruler of the exclusive Towers, whose residents are determined to stay at the top.  The tipping point occurs when Dade’s father brokers a marriage for his son, who has just fallen in love with Arden.  The Breaking Light explores their Romeo-and-Juliet type of romance, where the stakes are equally high.

Breaking Light

The setting of this book is fascinating.  It’s a terraformed planet which was mined to supply the Old Planet, but no longer has any contact with that forgotten world.  The atmosphere is literally and figuratively toxic.  The author creates a believable city of intricate levels, built upon the foundation of old mines.  She also creates a futuristic technology of phasers, hovercraft, and synthetic skins.  The doomed inhabitants are kept prisoner by implants and “govies” who kill and torture without a qualm.

Heather Hansen skillfully explores the corrosion of lives, of both those who live in the sun and those destined to perish without it.  Arden and Dade are threatened on all sides, they kiss a lot, and I kept reading!  The book is a terrific read BUT the sequel won’t be available until next December.  I wonder if I could send Heather some chocolate or other bribe to speed up the process.

Definitely a 5-star read, with many twists and turns, lots of thrills and heartache, and above all, sacrificial love.

 

* TToT and A-Z: the letter D

In case you’re wondering what that odd title means, this is my Ten Things of Thankful post and I am using the letter D from the A-Z blogging challenge (yes, I have skipped C temporarily).  Be sure to check out Josie Two Shoes’ post and links to others who have posted their own Ten Things!

  1. Delightful, deer-proof flowers, waiting to replace the not-so-deer-proof stubs.sage
  2. Dearest teaching widower shoveling a place to plant the new flowers!                                      shoveling.JPG
  3. Dirt all ready!                                                                                                                                            dirt.JPG
  4. aDorable sage meadow that smells pungent and hopefully unattractive to Deer.
  5. Detritus from our neighbor’s huge sweetgum tree.  Love the tree but can live without the pods!                                                                                          detritus
  6. Don’t Break the Ice Game, perfect for Fun Friday with a special student!   Don't break the Ice
  7. Doodads in my hair for Wacky Hair Day at school this week!                                                         wacky hair day 1
  8. Delicious and nutritious snacks- yum!                                                                                               nuts 
  9. Disney movie that satisfied all the kiddos at our movie night: G Force.  And finally,
  10. DUH!  My son had to help me with Algebra 2.  Thank goodness for a math-savvy family!

* Sharing my world

Cee’s weekly Share Your World challenge comes courtesy of Ribbonr.com this week.  So glad I don’t have to think of these every week!  Here are the fun questions.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?  Stay married and faithful.  I don’t take any credit for this.  When my dearest teaching widower met me, I was a total basket case.  I suffered from severe depression and anxiety, not to mention serious character flaws.  Instead of social skills, I had social anxiety and the mouth of a sailor. Without my husband’s tender love and the grace of God, we would not be together.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?  I have been reading lawyer and criminal thrillers for the past year.  I have a bunch to review!  I also love science fiction, but that genre seems more difficult to write; I often ditch a book after a few chapters.

How often do you people watch?  Not so much.  I guess it goes back to my social weaknesses.  I bird watch, tree watch, flower watch. cloud watch, and deer watch (grrrr).

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?  Algebra!  I’m sharpening my skills as I prepare to teach middle school next year.  I’m much better than I thought, which is a relief (and which isn’t saying toooo much).  However, knowing a subject is not the same as teaching it.  I really need more tools in my math repertoire.  I’m taking an excellent online course to help in that arena:  Teaching Mathematics With Technology.  It’s not too late to join!

Friday Institute

* Ten Things of Thankful

I haven’t tackled the challenge to write Ten Things of Thankful in months, so I reread Lizzi’s Christmas list of 50 things, which amazes me (but not enough to copy).  Let’s see how far I can get….

  1.  I am feeling a bit better today!  Still shaky but this round of steroid withdrawal is losing its power to flatten me.
  2. My dearest steroid withdrawal widower has been tending to me so carefully, encouraging me that this will pass.  What would I do without his love?
  3. Rationally, I know that the flattening and disgusting side effects of withdrawal are far better than something like chemo.  I do not have cancer; I’m not facing that dreadful siege.  My heart aches for those who are in that battle.
  4.  My broken foot, still encased in a boot, no longer objects to an occasional free step.  In 2 weeks, I’ll know whether it can fly out of its cocoon.
  5. The local (pricey) swimming pool is sending out teasers suggesting that we may be able to swim there again, after months of locked doors.  Aquatics.JPG
  6. Vance, the Venus fly trap, continues to sprout new traps, ever hopeful that the spring will bring a random gnat into the house.  Of course, I am just boarding Vance for his student-owner, whose house must be kept like a refrigerator.                                                 Vance 2.JPG
  7. I’ve just started a MOOC course on Mathematics and Technology through The Friday Institute.  After reading through the profiles of all the participants, I can see that I am on the lowest percentile regarding middle school math skills.  I do love a challenge.  It’s not too late for you to sign up, either, no matter where you live!  Cool!TMT
  8. We are hosting a Korean zombie movie night this evening.  Train to Busan, with Korean food and sweet guests.  I HOPE I can rouse myself out of bed!                                    Train to Busan 2.jpg
  9.  A dear friend (who now lives far away) has a birthday today.  I owe her more than I could ever express.
  10.  I have read about 20 books in the past few days.  It’s been a wonderful way to escape from bleh and blah and worse.  iphone books.PNG
  11.  My faith rests in the confidence that I am being held, not that I can hold on.
  12. I’ve been able to eat chocolate throughout this temporary ordeal.  I assume that is related to #11.

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience as I’ve fallen away from my regular posting once again.  Who knew??  Oh yes, the One who loves me knew.  I’m in good hands and

* Color Your World MONEY, er, caribbean green

caribbean greencaribbean green 2.JPG

I’d love to say I took this photo while snorkeling in the Caribbean, but unfortunately, I was at an oral surgeon’s office.  My dearest teaching widower is spending too much time there.  But I think we’re helping that surgeon buy a yacht for his cruises through the caribbean green Bahamas.

Thanks, Jennifer Nichole Wells, for the Color Your World challenge!

* My husband, the gnome

One of Cee’s Share Your World questions this week asked if I would choose to relax at a ski resort.  HA!  Years ago, my dearest teaching widower and I agreed to chaperone a church youth group to a “mountain” resort in North Carolina.  As a California mountain snob, I have always regarded the worn-out hills around here as “less than.”

With that attitude in mind, we boarded a bus full of kiddos bragging about skiing down diamond level slopes.  I kept asking, “When is it going to snow?”  The youth group leader told me that some snow had fallen and the resort would make the rest.  Huh?

I was impressed with the snowy white “mountain” but before we could chaperone, my husband, son, and I were required to take skiing lessons.  Seriously?  How hard could this be?   We clambered to a narrow, icy plateau, where multiple lines of about 30 people each waited patiently for their turn with the youthful instructors.  By that time, I had discovered that my boots were too small to wiggle my frozen toes.  I asked an instructor about taking off my boots since we had a looong wait, and she was horrified.  Of course, I ignored her and massaged my toes back to life.

Our turn finally came.  Easy, right?  My husband was trying hard but moving nowhere fast, so the teenaged girl grabbed his arms and pulled him forward.  He fell on top of her, also knocking down a few folks who were waiting in an adjacent line.  I stifled hysterical laughter as my sweetheart was sent away to practice on his own.  Then our son was up.  This time, the instructor thought better of grabbing the arms of a 6 foot+ guy, so she pulled on his skis.  He also fell down, flattening her and 30 people lined up behind her!  Human dominoes!  I was laughing so hard that we were dismissed.

Our son and I took then tackled the bunny trail, where I learned that man-made ice is a great substitute for ball bearings.  My recess voice screeched at all the kids who came swooping down behind me, “Don’t you get near me!”  As I rounded the last corner, I discovered that our son had fallen about 15 feet into the base of the ski lift.  The rescue team arrived promptly.

In the meantime, all the kids from the youth group were gone, except for one unfortunate guy who had fallen into the trees.  I managed to grapple my way back to the icy training plateau, where I saw this little man, gnome-like in his pointed cap, hunched over and obviously trapped in a cycle of tight circles.  I nearly wet my pants when I realized it was my husband!  To spare him further humiliation, I laughed my way to a flat stretch of “snow” alongside the resort.  I quickly lost control and barely managed to scream, “Look out!” before taking down a fifth grader.  Bless his heart, an old woman had knocked him off his skis and was draped across his back.  I helped him stand and cried, “I am SO sorry!  Are you OK?”  He was speechless and escaped with amazing speed.

skiing-2042683_960_720

As we sat in the resort, drinking hot chocolate (sans boots), my dearest widower said that next year, we would watch skiing episodes from James Bond movies.  “Don’t ever volunteer us for this again,” he warned.  Amen to that.

* What did one elevator say to the other?*

Cee’s Share Your World Challenge is a cool way to start your blogging week.  Here are this week’s questions and my responses.  Feel free to join in the fun!

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator doors work faster?  As kids, my sister and I were in perpetual competition over who could get to the elevator button first.  Now, she and I find ourselves redirecting kids who are similarly obsessed.  It DOES matter who pushes the button first!  I am still intrigued by elevator buttons, but have been depressed to discover (pun intended) that jabbing the button repeatedly doesn’t make the doors open or close any faster.  Maybe your elevators are better than mine.  Now I’m stuck on elevator memories….

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneously (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)  Our daughter-in-law does all the heavy lifting on family trips, partly so that we will actually DO something.  When my dearest teaching widower and I go alone, we veg out.  Sure, for a trip to a major city, we want to see some highlights, like the Smithsonian or Holocaust Museum, but otherwise, we drift along.

Golden Gate bridge

My copilot makes sure we keep moving!

Describe yourself in at least four uplifting words.  Um.  (That doesn’t count.)  Patient, positive, funny (see answer to joke below), & divergent.

If you had a choice, which would be your preference: salt water beaches, freshwater lakes, ocean cruise, hot tub, ski resort or desert?   My dearest widower always says he wants to get to heaven before me so he can stake out a place at the beach or mountains.  He’s afraid we’ll get stuck in the middle.  And sometime I should blog about our ski trip, which was insane.  OK, back to the question.   I love deserts, but if I want company, I’d better take the beach.

Thank you, Cee, for your fun challenges!

*  I think I’m coming down with something. 

* Blue bells, cockle shells….

Blue bell is the 12th color in Jennifer Nichole Wells’ Color Your World challenge.  Since today isn’t January 12, you can tell I’m a wee bit behind.  And that jump rope rhyme doesn’t do this color justice, either.   Blue bell is one of my favorite colors and happens to be a favorite with the Sun Precautions clothing company, apparently.  My dearest teaching widower and I went for a stroll last month and I’m a walking advertisement for their shirts and hats.  Trust me, I need several feet of space around me so that brim doesn’t whack my husband.  Now I know how dogs and cats feel when they wear those plastic cones.

blue bell 2.JPG