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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Harrowing

US Highway 27, south bound to Lubbock on Xmas Day
I drove on this road less than 4 days ago.  I was find with it for the most part, except when the highway would periodically disappear because the snow and the high winds would blanket the ground with white, I get petrified.  I drove the 120 miles from Amarillo on this weather.  After Lubbock, we ran out of US-27.

Along US-84 towards Highway 20
We went onto state highway 84 towards US-20.  There were ice in some places.  At first, it was scary, then I got used to it.  I still had to drive slower than usual, but on areas where the road was clear, I can go the speed limit.  We made it to Lipan from Amarillo in less than 6 hours.  I had fun watching the windmills which dotted along the way.  At night, they are lit up with blinking red lights.  They seem to cover the horizon.  In daytime, even on a slippery road, they look wonderful. 

I think I learned my lesson on winter traveling. Weather forecast can only do so much.  This much snow as not predicted.  Still, I cannot complain.  December 24 was a perfect day for exploring the canyon we drove 900+ miles round-trip to see.

When I Grow Up


All my children had taken music lessons in addition to other lessons likes martial arts, ballet, gym, etc.  However, my fifth child had always been adamant about not taking any sorts of lessons.  Except for boxing, he had not expressed interest in extra lessons.  However, after we had attended the winter concert for my older children who were in the orchestra, my baby added one more to his meager list.  He wants to be a drummer.  After the orchestra at the high school winter musical, the band also played.  My 6-year old was really impressed.  His eyes were glued to the drummers.  While he admires his older sister, the concert-master and lead violinist, he would rather play with drums.  I guess I know what I am going to get him for the new year.

Under The Weather

Palo Duro, my 4th child

While it was fun to go on vacation, I do not think my 8 years old was having as much fun as the rest of us.  You see, he had flu-like symptoms.  It was not the flu, but it was not very fun for him.  He coughed a lot.  We tried a few anti-cough syrup, but nothing is really working.  I have tried some home remedies like honey, and ginger to sooth his throat.  It would be nice to have access to makers of homeopathic products like boiron.  However, when you're traveling in unfamiliar places, it is difficult to find locations to get medicines.  He walked to this area of the canyon, about a quarter of a mile from our car, then he wanted to go back to the car and just rest.  I hope to be back at this canyon next time so that he could see how fun this place was.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

“I just want silence... Jesus, it doesn't mean I don't like you. It just means right now, I like silence more.”
― Justin Halpern, Sh*t My Dad Says
On the way to Palo Duro Canyon located in the Panhandle of Texas, we listened to Justin Halpern's book, Sh*t My Dad Says. I had read it the year before last when my kids's swimming instructor suggested it. I find it hilarious and in some part, quite elucidating.  Overall, it is one of the most entertaining books I have listened.

Yes, I let my children listened to it too.  With the title, you can probably deduce that there are going to be cuss words.  And there are.  I talked to my children, and then we listened to the book.  We all laughed so hard in some parts of it, we had to pull over.  We decided to drive the long way to Amarillo from Dallas.  There was an elevation difference of over 3000 feet.  I bet the gear puller was working over time on that climb.  I am not really sure if our van has one, but I assumed that it has gears, and gears need pulling.

Dallas to Amarillo is not known for each extreme scene changes, but the drive was wonderfully relaxing.  The book was awesome, and company was excellent.  We did have one incident.  My 11-year old up-chuck his food, but we got it cleaned out, and he was fine the rest of the trip.  he even climbed and clambered around the canyon.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Howling Dogs

They could use an earplug once they get going


The picture above was taken when my middle child, my 11-year old, had to stay home from school because of flu.  Every time we leave the house for any length of time, my dogs would howl.  Sometimes, alone, most times in duet.  I could use earplugs  when they get going.  They get so lonely. They like to sit on the couch, preferably on someone's lap.  That is how they roll.  I have to say that they have got a good pitch and howl ranges.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Palo Duro Canyon

The canyon wall adjacent to where we were climbing
It was a wonderful day at the canyon for us on the 24th. Unfortunately, my youngest two kids were not feeling so well, so they were not up to climbing and exploring parts of the canyon.  They stayed in the car most of the time waiting for my older three children and I to come back because we wanted to see how far up we can climb without falling.


Long Horns drinking water near the entrance of the park
On the way out, we stopped by the water trough where some long horns were hanging around.  My husband said they weren't that cold because they were wearing cowhide leather.  Yeah, I know. It's a morbid sense of humor.  And to top it all off, a dog from another camper came running to us acting like we were his long lost family that he must absolutely visit.  That was a lot of fun!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Getaway

Palo Duro Canyon
Got my kids and husband in a van and drove 460 miles to Canyon Texas.  I wanted us to see the grand canyon on Texas.  I wanted to see it when it's cool, and not when we are experiencing our Texas summers.

It was a good call.  We arrive late on Sunday, and early Monday, we visited the canyon.  We climb some parts of it.  We never did get to hike to the lighthouse, a moderate 6-mile hike because the water bridge leading to the beginning of the path was scary.  There were more water than I'm used to driving, so we did not dare cross.  In addition, the kids were freaking out with vision of being washed down the shallow river if we dare!

Oh yea, it was a good call because the day after we were at this perfectly-snow free canyon, the next day was snow and extremely cold weather for Texas.  We hightailed it out of town because we did have to go to by Wednesday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

City Jewelry

Patriot Fire Fighter Ring Patriot EMT RingLadies' Gold Lance Firefighter Ring
"You're city too, right?"
If you're not one to yell "I pay your salary" to Officers and the such, I'm in your corner. Rings aren't just gaudy adornments for the lavishly rich and glamorous. It's a hard balance to strike. They are also a symbol for some, perhaps a mark of passing the bar line triumphantly from a slew of running sixteenth notes in a time signature worthy of the TARDIS into a peaceful, largo, line of whole notes. For those who ascend from the fire and escape from the miles, there are firefighter rings. They can be located at firefighter rings ,at the coda of any day's work.

Coastal Homes

 
There seems to be something that draws us to the water, with population centers tiptoeing on the coastlines for sake of its economic opportunities or, perhaps more consciously, the alleviating effects on stress and responsibility that the large masses of salt have on our hard working souls. Of course, in this country anything is possible; we just need to find the starting line, or perhaps, a starting url: http://www.seacoastrealty.com/community/ocean_isle_beach.asp
I'm sure you will, as I have, come across a lovely display of real estate ocean isle beach, all situated in North Carolina, the east coast. [The west coast is too... mainstream...] These houses have a distinguishing atmosphere to them that you can't simply pick up on from glancing at these photos. You should experience them for yourself.

A Good Cause

Pier 39 Residents, San Francisco
San Francisco has become a place where I take each of my children for a quality one-on-one mommy time.  Only one child has not made it here because we ended up going to Santa Catalina that year. There was a cousin getting married in Los Angeles.  It was fun, and Santa Catalina has wildlife, too.  Thinking about wildlife reminds me that triangle direct and their wildlife run.  I think it is a worthy cause.  While I appreciate modern developments along with its extraordinary structures, it will never replace wildlife.  Can modern technology coexist with wildlife? Maybe.  There's probably a perfect balance in there somewhere. 

The Great Hunt

screen saver that I got from the internet, unfortunately, I cannot remember the site
I started my 1L last August 20.   I knew that the one thing I am going to need is a laptop.  However, there are so many recommendations for me.  One person said that since I have an apple phone, tablet and mp3 player that I should also get apple laptop.  I was not convinced.  Ever since I started using the computer over 20 years ago, I have always used windows.  I like the word processor, and I am very attached to excel.  Even though I am no longer computing copious amount of data in law school like I used to while earning my biochemistry, I like the specs of windows 8 64-bit which comes with the new laptops on the market.  After shopping around, making comparisons...it all comes down to electronic blue book, my new best friend when it comes to exam time.  I found that non-windows users end up with a lot of problems after exams.  I do not need that kind of stress hanging over my head.  Hands down, I will always be a windows girl when it comes to computer.  My great hunt ended with an HP laptop. I am satisfied.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Place to Be


I love going to Valley House Sculpture Gardens.  It is a nice and beautiful landscaped place.  They have benches, and I just love sitting on them and contemplate how nice it is to be alive.  My daughter seem to love it there, too. My eldest son does not like it as much as a trail over an interesting terrain.  He likes to climb, and he does not like concrete trails.  I am find with concrete trails.  I think it comes with with a mother and wanting to take my babies on a walk.  Stroller are much easier to navigate on a concrete trail.  On Monday, day before Xmas, we will hopefully be looking at the Grand Canyon of Texas...one of the biggest, and not so famous of the three largest Canyon in the US.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to Piano After a 4 Week Break

iPhone 5 pics - a pond at Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden
I suspended piano lessons when I had memos and final exams to prepare for.  My brother drove my kids to their piano teachers. My younger boys spent the night with grandma.  Early morning, I brought my daughter to a sculpture garden nearby.  It was a beautiful day for just hanging outside with nature, contemplating beauty of life.

Later on in the after, I brought my second oldest child and spent about an hour just checking out the sculpture. It was really nice...there was hardly anyone around.  Just perfect for spending quiet time with my kid.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unplanned Day

I was not sure how my day went. I had a nap, then my dogs went crazy when UPS guy delivered next semester's textbook. I meant to get something done, but did not. My 11 year old child was home from school. He was sick. Still, it was fun to just sit near him doing absolutely nothing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hurray for Small Business

front yard tree - taken by iPhone 4 camera


I love labels. Sometimes, I find myself buying a product just because the label is so attractive. It is pretty much like buying a book because the cover is luscious, gorgeous, and irresistible. I have a friend who was just starting to sell her home make products. I pointed her to cheap labels, so she could personalized her signature product and sell it. There are so many options she could choose. Luscious, gorgeous and irresistible does not have to cost an arm and a leg. It is just the site she needs to order in bulk. I am very sure that in a few years, her particular brand of product might go national. Here's hoping.

Tuning 88 Keys

Innards of our piano - taken with iPhone 5 camera phone
My son was thrilled that we tuned the piano today.  In fact, it was his encouragement that I finally called the piano tuner's number.  He came in today at nine in the morning.  It took him over 3 hours to tune these 88 keys.  He also raised the pitch. I guess he had to considering that was the first tuning we got for this piano since we bought it a few years back.  She likes guitars so much more than piano. She plays the violin and she's also a competent piano player.  She had a teacher she really liked, but he and his family moved to Arkansas.  I just have to say that I love the new sound of this tuned piano, so much I practiced for over 3 hours on it.  And that is how come I was not able to finish the book I planned to, today.

Going For A Walk

I think is a dried sun flower - taken with Sony T110 point and shoot

My son and I took a walk at a nature center near our house last Thursday.  It was a  day after I took my criminal law exam, and I just could not study again that day for my next exam.  It is beautiful out there. The sun was behind a could cover.   We took a walk around their 5 miles of trail.  We went off-trail for a few times.  I was almost worried about snakes...but on a nice day like that, it is hard to remember that snakes could be hiding under a bush!  A punch cigars while enjoying nature is probably not a good idea at this nature center considering said nature is quite dry and would lit up like fireworks at a sign of a fire.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane

Hunk for the Holidays by Katie Lane
This was just the book I need to read to feel like I'm really having vacation.  I read it in one setting.  Four hours and red nose later, I am satisfied.  It is one great entertaining!  I like the comedy, the romance, the hot romantic scenes.  Katie Lane will take you to a roller coaster of a ride with this book.  The hunky cover does not hurt. I like to stop reading and stare at the cover now and again.  It is an excellent 4 hours investment!

The book is a joy to read.  Every scene was just right, and progression and pace of the story is excellent. I love everything about it.  I find myself rooting for these family...as if I knew them personally.  This book is like the best of Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Philips, and Jill Barnett with a unique twist that is Ms. Lane's.  I am going to try to get hold of her older books because I like this one enough to read the other ones.

Thanks to Jessica B of Grand Central Publishing for my copy.  It is exactly what I needed after my finals. Stay tune...I might have a price pack contest for this holidays books.

Book Blurb from amazon:
Always putting business before pleasure, Cassie McPherson works hard for her family's construction business. That might explain why she doesn't have a date for the company Christmas party. But it doesn't quite explain why she's crazy enough to hire an escort for the event or - crazier still - why she's dying to unwrap him like a present . . .

With whiskey-colored eyes and a killer smile, James is one gorgeous hunk who really knows how to fill out a tuxedo. He charms everyone, including Cassie. And when the night ends, the party doesn't stop. As Cassie falls, literally, into his bed, James falls head over heels in love. Now he has to figure out a way to tell her the truth: he's not an escort. He's her family's fiercest business rival. But all he wants for Christmas is her . . .

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fall 2012 Semester is Over

My tree by the trampoline
Yay! You know that feeling when all the weight of the world seem to have lifted off your shoulders? Yeah, that one. I have that feeling. It is great.  I just took my torts law finals.  Finished it an hour ago.  Now, I have free time for 3 weeks.

I will not let a new set of research assignments bother me either. It is now almost 11 o'clock and I am hungry. I think I will eat something.  Then read a good...any book not having to do with law school. 

I enjoy law school, but I will also enjoy my time off from it. Three whole weeks!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Going Fat!

flowers from a Thai restaurant

I've been studying for torts. In fact, since school started over 14 weeks ago, I have been mostly working, studying, and making sure I get to spend time with my kids. What with my homework, too, I did not have much time to make sure my kids do theirs.  I hope they learned by example, but it did not work on all of the five kids.

As I was saying, I'm taking practice test memorizing damages and causation test when I realized I am totally going to pot.  I now weigh 146 pounds on a 5'2" small bone frame.  Needless to day, I need to squeeze gym or running in there somewhere.  I am going to be 40 years old soon...and I'd like to be 110 pounds. I think that's a good weight considering my build.

How to get there? I do not know, but my 6 years old told me to not eat lots of chocolate when I'm just sitting down.  There you have it, wisdom out of the mouth of the babes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Difference

Downtown Ft Worth - the day I took practice test


I cannot function very well in a disorganized place.  I can make do, but it would not be to the best of my abilities.  I noticed what difference it had made when one of my kids arranged and fix my room and made it look like on of those rooms in mattress stores nyc.  I should have taken a picture of it because a day later, the younger boys played in my room along with two of the puppies. Now, it is all wrinkled and disorganized again.  It does not matter that its neatness was not immortalized in pictures.  I enjoyed it. There was an added joy to all of it - that one of my children knows how to be neat.  In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I read half a book not related to my classes. Review of that book is coming right up

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sky Watch

I have more more exam and I will be done with first semester of 1L.  It's been fun, harrowing, challenging and interesting.  I should get back to studying because it matters.

my husband took this shot one morning last week

looking up and seeing this while studying outdoors