Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Monday, March 31, 2008

Belated Blogging

It has been far too long since I have blogged. I am tempted to recap the last two weeks of my life but that would take far too long.

Instead I will just write about today. I got observed by my principal and it went really well. My students behaved and the lesson was good. Then my mood soured a bit because the air conditioning was not working. This made both me and the kids understandably testy. Overall, temperature aside, it was a really good day.

After school I had Young Life. We normally have it on Wednesday nights but this time we crashed another school's club. The other school's group is very different from mine. Mine is primarily lower income black and hispanic kids with a few white kids.

These other kids are very wealthy. I also feel slightly uncomfortable with preppy rich white kids. My own high school was full of well-off students but only a few who would be classified as wealthy. I don't have much experience with the truly wealthy. The girls from the other school were almost wearing a uniform. It was uncanny. They wore a specific style of NIKE running shorts, an oversized t-shirt and brown leather deck shoes.

Those of you who know me, know I must match my clothes. My friend, Britany once dared me to go unmatching for one day and I simply couldn't. My Young Life kids are meticulous matches. If they are wearing black and yellow shoes, they wear black and yellow clothes. If they wear a red shirt, red shoes. These white kids didn't match at all. Athletic shorts and deck shoes? Weird! Everytime I am with those fancy kids, I am glad that I work with the kids I do. I am sure those rich kids are great and I know I would like to swim in their pools and marvel at their mansions, but I know I am where I belong.

Our group "invaded" theirs. They hold their meetings at a local tennis club. I am sure the neighbors were a bit nervous as about 25 of our kids were walking down the street wearing all black and camo. When we got into the club, we sprayed them with silly string. Unfortunately I gave my can away. I just got showered with the stuff with no way to retaliate. It was still fun. After the spraying, we joined them for songs and games and a Jesus talk. Good times were had by all.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The streak ends at Beer Island

The 1993 Houston Rockets championship was the best sports moment of my life. The 2005 University of Texas football championship does come in a close second, though. The reason that the Rockets' championship trumps the Longhorns' is due to my absolute obsession at the time with all things basketball.

I played basketball on a regular basis, papered my wall with posters featuring my favorite players, and wore basketball jerseys. I also collected basketball cards (this accounts for my extensive knowledge of the teams and players of that year). My friends and neighbors also caught Rockets fever after the team won the first 15 games of that season.

We would get together at a neighbor's house to watch the games on Pay per View. My friends and I made voodoo dolls of the players from the other teams. We would rip them apart when necessary. The adults would drink as they got excited and made amazing comments about how one of the other team's player resembled a farmer and how one of our players must buff his head in a bowling ball buffer. And when we played the New York Knicks for the championship, we used to marvel at the enormity of Patrick Ewing's nostrils.

We made many jokes at Patrick's nose's expense. The on-going one was that we could fit a roll of quarters up each nostril. These were not the nicest comments but if you look at the guy's nose I am sure you will see where we were coming from. The great irony of this joke came when I worked at a local record store after college. Patrick was an assistant coach with the Rockets and a regular weekly patron of our store. So here I was, working a cash register with a roll of quarters within arms' reach, when Patrick Ewing- my sworn enemy comes in. God could not have set me up any better to finally determine if Patrick's nostrils could indeed house a roll of quarters. Thankfully or not thankfully- depending on how you look at it, common sense prevailed and I resisted the urge.

When the Rockets won, I was in Heaven. My friends and I celebrated by going outside and banging pots and pans. We held up signs that said, "Honk if you love the Rockets!" and people honked.

So, now that you know a bit of my history with the Rockets; let's fast-forward to today. To be honest, I haven't kept up with the Rockets in the past few years. No other NBA team has stolen my affection, though. I am always a Rockets fan at heart. I recently found out that the Rockets were on a roll again. I decided to become a real fan again. I watched them tie for the second most wins in a row.

Last night, I watched them lose for the first time in 24 games yesterday. Luckily I got to watch it with one of my favorite people and one who was just as zealous as we watched the Rockets in 93, Neha Patel. We went to this place near my house called Beer Island. It looked a lot like a frat party with a hand-painted banner in the front. It was a bar but it did not serve mixed drinks- just beer. The cliental was odd to say the least. Several people brought dogs and for a moment, it seemed that two were going to fight. There was a strange 50ish biker chick with several jump drives hanging from her neck. She was accompanied, quite naturally I must say, by a large biker-esque guy with a mullet. There were some young college-types. There was a lady who was quite loud and enthusiastic, wearing a duct-tape shirt that said 22-0. She really should have updated it to 23. She was obviously excited but strangely alone. She made a lot more sense when her friend came, also loud and also wearing a homeade shirt.

Overall, it was a fun/funny atmosphere despite the loss. And I always love to spend time with Neha. Despite the loss, I am still going to be a fan.... at least for this season.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Break has begun!

My Spring Break has officially begun! Whoohoo! I have already been very productive. I went to the post office, the bank and got a much-needed haircut. I also got a CT scan, which is like a fancy x-ray.

I have had sinus problems since high school but for the last year I seem to have a perpetual sinus problem I can't seem to shake. My doctor told me I had a really bad septum and this CT scan is supposed to show him if my sinus's will need sugery.

The CT scan experience is pretty weird. After reassuring the workers many times that there is absolutely no chance I am pregnant, I had to lay down on a table covered with sheets. Then they put some kind of lead apron on my midsection to protect the baby maker. The CT scan machine looks like a giant donut and is at the end of the table. I don't know if they do CT scans for other parts of your body but for mine, I had to have my head in the middle of the donut. The technician told me not to move. I don't know about you but when I am told I cannot move, despite being perfectly capable of being immobile before, I seem unable to stop moving. Can I breathe? Can I blink? The woman should have been more specific.

The machine flashed lights and moved and made noises while I struggled to contain my movements. I decided to close my eyes in order to no longer worry about the question of blinking. I feared I was moving too much as I breathed, though. Don't they understand that I have bad sinuses? I need to move a bit in order to breathe.

After I went through one cycle of whirring noises and strange lights, I had to do it all over again but in a much more awkward position. I was on my stomach with my head raised and facing forward. They had a little chin shelf to make the not moving thing possible. This time was shorter but definitely less comfortable. Overall, the whole thing wasn't too bad at all. I think about all the weirdly invasive medical tests Sarah has had to go through these past few months and know I have nothing to complain about.

As for complaining, I keep putting off riding my bike even though I know I need to. The MS150 is less than a month away and I have only done minimal training. I am going to try to go to Galveston this week and ride on the seawall. I just get bored when I am going long distances. Oh well. I need to end this blog entry, suck it up, and go for a ride.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cancer sucks

I am about to go take a nap between school and going bowling with the YoungLife kids. But I want to do a quick little blog first for my random faithful readers.

I hate cancer and it sucks. These things are pretty obvious but it seems that almost daily I hear of someone who is less than the cultural 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon away from me, and has cancer or has died of cancer. I am just getting so tired of it. The latest was Yoon Koller. She was a lady from my church. I didn't know her well but I went to school with her son, Andrew. He's a really nice guy. Apparently she found out that she had stomach cancer two months ago and now she's dead. She was younger than my parents and I believe several of her children are still in high school. It just doesn't make any sense.

I am thinking of doing a reprinting of my "cancer sucks" shirts. I must admit that the slogan is clever and truthful but the reason to reprint is because so many people keep getting diagnosed with various cancers. It does make a great "So I found out you have cancer and I have no idea what to say or do" gift. But I wish there was no need for these. If any of you are interested, let me know your size and color preferences. I wish I didn't know anyone to give one too but unfortunately I know far too many. Cancer sucks!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Full weekend

I had a busy weekend. I have been feeling the allergy burn again lately. It seems I am allergic to those times when Houston weather changes dramatically. That is pretty much constant in the Spring. Despite feeling slightly under the weather, I had a good time.

On Friday, I went to Sarah and John's. Sarah had her mastectomy on Thursday or as I prefer to say; she lost one of her girls. We watched a lot of Seinfeld and ate some lasagna that a nice lady made them. I was also given a quilt by Sarah's mom. I have been waiting for about 15 years for one of these babies. Sarah's mom is a quilting phenom whose work you may have seen in those quilting magazines I am sure you all have subscriptions to. Anyway, I finally got my own and it is awesome!!

Sarah is doing well. She was really sore but in good spirits. On Saturday we even ventured out of the house. We went to the mall so Sarah could buy some shoes she'd had her eye on. We figured she deserved it. The shoes ended up being named "Comfort shoes." Coincidence? I think not. I acted like an offensive lineman to protect Sarah from unwanted bumps from random passer-bys.

Then Saturday night, I watched my favorite mullet documentary and played a lot of wii with one of my friends. I am feeling sore today. I dominated at wii tennis. I am issuing a challenge to anyone who thinks they can take me on. Bring it!

Today my parents and I went to College Station to see my brother and his wife. They were in town from Colorado Springs for their nephew's christening. It was great to see them. I really miss having my brother around. We got to jump on the kids' trampoline. I love trampolines!!! So, basically I had a great weekend. Now, it's back to the land of lesson plans. Thank goodness Spring Break starts in four days!!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

TAKS and losing one of the girls

Today was the dreaded Reading TAKS test. If my kids do well, my life is good. If my kids do poorly, my life will suck. It's a lot of pressure on them and even more on me. It wasn't the most fun day because the test takes all day and they have to be quiet all day. It's hard for adults to be quiet that long, let alone 8 and 9 year olds. I am so glad it's over. We should get the results after Spring Break.

Tomorrow is Sarah's mastectomy. She is losing one of her girls. The doctors have told her many things but because she is such a small person all over, it shouldn't be too bad. Please keep her in your prayers. She still has a lot of decisions to make in the future about reconstruction and all that.

Amy's wedding continued

I realize I need to end my account of Amy's wedding weekend.

I think I left off with the wedding day. We all got into the limo and headed to the church, which was convienantly located only a few miles away. My groomsman, Frank and I lead the bridal party procession with flair. Amy's niece-3 and nephew-1, were the flower girl and ring bearer, respectively. Actually Annika, the flower girl, refused to be refered to as flower girl and instead prefered to be called the princess. She even wore a tiara to prove it. She did a fine job walking down the aisle, though her brother, Kai had some trouble. Eventually he made it down with some assistance from his father.

Amy's friend, Karen and sister bawled when she went down the aisle. I was strangely unaffected. I never seem to be able to predict when I will lose it at a wedding. Sometimes I try to make myself cry to feel like I am really getting into it. If Amy and I had just left Maui where we were spending 90% of our free time together, I am sure I would have been upset. But now I figure I will see her just as much, if not more since her husband has a good job.

Anyway, Amy looked awesome and Shawn seemed to have tears in his eyes. Amy's dad definitely did. Amy's brother, Ryan performed the ceremony. I always like it when family members do the wedding since they have a lot of insider info. It's definitely weird when you can tell the person marrying the couple doesn't really know them.

After the ceremony, we were supposed to go immediately to take bridal party pics. Unfortunately Amy and Shawn stood in the hallway too long and an unexpected receiving line began. This delayed the pictures quite a bit as they schmoozed with their guests. Finally we headed out into the wintry weather for some pics. It was freezing. The groomsmen kept lending us their jackets to cover our strapless shoulders. The pictures looked great, I am sure but I was glad to get back in the warm limo.

The reception was fun. Lindsay, Amy's sister, started a little jellybean war. She tried to throw jellybeans into our cleavage. It was a fun game, for sure. The food was excellent and there was quite the array of pastries. Amy's cousin/Bethany's brother, Graeme was the MC. Canadian weddings always seem to have a friend or family member who announces stuff and makes sure things run smoothly. Graeme made up a great song at Bethany's wedding about how there better be gluten-free in Georgia. Bethany is allergic to gluten. It was just hilarious. The song he wrote about Amy was equally entertaining. It was all about how Shawn needed to be prepared because Amy was addicted to lululemon pants. For those of you who don't know Amy, she pretty much only wears pants from lululemon, a Canadian yoga/athletic wear company. The song was very fitting.

The speeches were good- funny yet heartfelt and it's always nice to see a man cry. I was excited about the bouquet toss but was thwarted by Kristy Bartunek. She gave me a hard shove from behind and dashed my hopes of catching the bouquet. I am not superstitious. I have already caught two. I am just competitive. Later Kristy and I made our fun by taking random pics including ones where we were wearing other people's coats.

After the wedding, we helped clean up and went back to Amy's to change. Then a bunch of the former YWAMers went over to Courtney Mowat's house to hang out. It's always interesting to see where your friends live. I called it the Courtney reality tour. Courtney lives in a teenager's dream house. They have a pool, hot tub, pool table, ping pong, huge media room with leather lazy boy style theater seating. And a projection screen with a wii. There also seemed to be endless snacks. It was awesome!! We had a lot of fun. I'd like to have a house like that when I have teenagers so they will want to hang out at home and not get into trouble.

The next day, Amy's dad drove me to the airport and it was back to teaching. Hmmm...
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