Fresh Start

The first half of your homeschooling season is now over. How does your report card look? Did you accomplish your goals? Did you even write down any goals? Did your kids learn less than you had hoped? Did your kids learn more than you ever realized they would? Did you keep good records? Did you engage your kids in lively lessons to hold their attention? Did you bury your head in lesson plans every night and stay up late grading papers? Did you include fun learning field trips into your lesson plans? Were your lessons boring and bland or riveting and contagious? Did you skip learning too many days in a row and then have problems getting your kids back into a school routine? Did you push your kids too hard, or were you too lax? No matter what happened last semester, you have a brand new opportunity to start fresh this semester. You can celebrate your past accomplishments and set even higher goals. You can atone for your mistakes and set off on a new homeschooling journey full of promise. Mistakes are simply great learning opportunities. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Start this new semester off by making a written list of your goals. Actually writing your goals down will help go farther in accomplishing them. Think about what your kids did and didn’t master last semester. Think about their learning styles and set new goals to meet those needs. Ask your kids for input about what they would like to learn, places they would like to visit, and activities they enjoy most. Examine your teaching style to see if it matches your kids learning styles. Make adjustments as needed. Take an honest look at your homeschool curriculum. Does it meet the needs of your children? If yes, great, see where you can supplement extra bonus lessons. If no, begin researching new homeschool curriculums. Read homeschool curriculum reviews, join Yahoo groups that discuss and review curriculum choices you are interested in, and talk to other homeschooling families. Dare to make a change. Contact potential companies and ask for samples or a trail membership so you can test drive their product.

Next, take a look at your learning environment. Do your kids benefit from a traditional style learning space, or are they more productive working at the kitchen table, on the couch, or outside? Don’t be afraid to be nontraditional. Even if your children are content with the way you school now, play around with new ideas. You will never know if a simple change can make a huge difference unless you experiment. Sometimes, “leave good enough alone” is not the best answer.

Now, take a close look at your daily schedule. Do you begin lessons too early in the morning, or perhaps too late? Do you try to cram in too many lessons in a row without taking a break? Do you school too many hours a day so that the kids get cranky and you are too tired to cook dinner? Do you forget to leave time for the unexpected learning opportunities that come your way? Remember, YOU are in charge and you have the freedom to teach your child they way you see best. Don’t try to be like the brick and mortar school; dare to be better! You know your kids best, you love your kids the most, and you want only the very best for them. They are not a ticket to more state funding. Learn to be flexible.

Finally, tell your kids that the best is yet to come. Get them excited about this coming semester. Share your enthusiasm with them, after it’s contagious. A fresh start just might be what the doctor ordered.…

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Beauty and Performance: My 1998 Cadillac Seville SLS

My 1998 Cadillac Seville SLS had less than 41,000 miles and was in near mint condition when I took it for a test drive in July of 2010. The vehicle had sat on the used car lot for weeks because its age was repelling customers. Consequently, I acquired this beautiful car for a bargain price.

The Seville surpasses all of my other vehicles because of its performance in the following categories: handling, fuel efficiency, comfort, and style.


The Seville is driven frequently on winding and hilly roads. This vehicle handles these roads agilely and smoothly, even in the rain. The 279 cubic inch Northstar V8 engine provides plenty of power for climbing hills, as well as for merging into high-speed traffic. Responsive steering and powerful acceleration makes evading danger easy when necessary.

Fuel efficiency:

The car attains an impressive 26 miles per gallon on the open road, a notable performance for a luxury car sporting a V8 engine. Although my four-cylinder, 1995 Honda Civic achieved 30 MPG on the highway, it obviously lacked the power and acceleration of the Seville. Losing 4 MPG was inconsequential.

One drawback is the requirement of mid-grade fuel in the Seville. Low octane fuels cause engine knocking in this vehicle, especially in cold weather.


The luxurious black leather seats are well padded, and they prevent fatigue even on long trips. Height, tilt, lumbar support, and headrest adjustments allow the seats to be customized for nearly any driver. Although my car does not feature the optional heated seats, this is no inconvenience in Texas.

The design of the vehicle maximizes cabin space. The back seat offers sufficient legroom for tall persons, even with the front seats moved back.


Modern Cadillac sedans are sporty, angular, and compact. This appearance belies Cadillac’s reputation for large, roomy sedans and coupes. The 1998 Sevilles predate this change in design. They are not compact, but they are not unwieldy either.

The 1998 models look classic, not old. Their moderate size, refined body, attractive grille, and sleek headlamps coordinate to create a car that is conservative, yet striking, in form. The black exterior further enhances the regal appearance.

My 1998 Seville is the finest car I have ever driven. In addition to the aforementioned attributes, it has been very reliable and has only required routine maintenance. This vehicle lives up to Cadillac’s reputation for luxury, power, comfort and quality.…

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Picture I Hold

This picture I hold

Close to my heart

No matter where I go

There you are

Through thick and Thin

Through everything

When I can’t sleep at night

On my mind,

You’re the only thing

Now I know it’s late

Been so long,

And I know you hate

it, But I can’t explain

Even to myself,

Why I love you

Need you close,

After all we went through

You are my Love

You are my Heart

And I’ll love you so

Till death do us apart.

Now, I know its wrong

But this is where we’ve come to

There is no turning back

No way to undo.

Promises broken,

Tears shed

Stiffled cries

I have wept

Its unfair

Why is it true?

After all this time,

I still love you……

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Silent Solitude

by Whyte Panther (Luigi Fiorino)

Sitting in the silent sadness of my solitude 
Amidst the agonizing ache of time apart from you 
I watch as a lone candle flickers. 
Dancing shadows cast upon the walls 
Serve only to remind me of a vision I long to see. 
A vision of myself 
Gazing lovingly at your candle lit visage 
As I embrace you my angel 
In these loving arms. 
So simple a vision 
Seems once more beyond my grasp. 
Cursed indecision, stealer of dreams 
Would that I could rid my life of this hideous beast. 
It seems but moments past when I stood here 
So certain of my direction 
So completely content 
Ready, as I’ve never been ready 
For anything in my life 
Ready to take those precious first few steps 
In planning a tomorrow 
In beginning to build a history 
With the one for which I was destined. 
The beast has once more raised his head 
Casting shadows of doubt and fear beneath it. 
In quiet desperation do I cling 
To images and feelings past… 
The magical release from the sound of your laughter 
The sweet contentment that comes only 
From a smile meant just for me 
From a simple touch or a gentle whisper 
Or the spark that comes 
From your eyes meeting mine. 
The beast has managed to grasp at my heart 
And take what was so sure 
And turn it into a mere dream once again. 
Patiently now must I sit 
Perfectly still in anticipation of the beast’s departure 
When I can once more dare to live my dream. 
Quietly, unobtrusively must I wait 
For that time when I can look beyond the abyss 
The chasm safely behind me 
Untouchable by the pain of the past 
With my life renewed 
My devotion redoubled 
And I can once again express my true love for you. 
Until that time sweet angel 
Here will I wait 
In my silent solitude 
Awaiting your tender embrace…

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Why would you need an air humidifier in your house?

During the long and cold winter months and also during the summer days when you put the air conditioning on, you may feel the air in the house dry. Just as humid air can be bad for your health, the dry air may have the same unwanted effects. In this context, it is important to keep the humidity of the house at the right level which is suited for you.

Dry air can be easily solved with a humidifier. These are devices that make water vapors to maintain the humidity on a room. When they are used correctly, they can improve the air in the interior of the house.

What is an air humidifier?

When the air is too humid, it can help the forming of mold, resulting into health problems and damages for your house. When the air is too dry, the ideal environment for respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma or skin problems is created. A humidifier can be successfully used during the winter in areas with warm weather, where the heating systems are used constantly in houses. Dry air can affect not only people, but also the floor if it is made of wood, and the wooden frames of windows.

Types of humidifiers

Mainly, humidifiers classify in two categories

  • Humidifier that forces air through water pulverizing it in the room
  • The atomizer type, which ‘breaks’ water into particles to create a fog

Humidifiers are recommended for people that live in areas where houses must be heated for a long period of the year, and for people living in areas with a dry climate. These devices can help people suffering from throat pains, headaches and coughs. Generally, a humid house is more comfortable as long as humidity is kept in optimal levels.

Things to consider

All the humidifiers need cleaning. Otherwise, they will be contaminated with mold and become dangerous in the long term. Make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer to clean it and don’t use it unless you are sure it is maintained properly.

Ideal humidity

Ideal humidity level in a house must be between 30%-55%. It is why you might want to buy a humidifier which can measure this level, so you can adjust it to the one required by your family.

This level is different in office buildings, where the spaces are wider and it has to be adjusted for tens of hundreds of people’s needs. It is why a home humidifier is smaller and cheaper, but you have to check the maximum surface it can cover.

If you want to buy a humidifier for a newborn, make sure to check with his or hers doctor before buying it. Only this way, you can be sure of the ideal humidity required in the room of your new child, so you could buy the right humidifier. In case your child has health problems are requires an exact level, there are devices with adjustable level of humidity and even with a timer that could set it on and off at different times of the day or night.…

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Review of Vera Bradley’s New All in One Wristlet and Original Wristlet

Vera Bradley is a maverick in the luggage and handbag industry. The company has turned cotton print fabrics into an elite designer line. They cater to a wide audience, however. Teenagers to soccer moms love the extremely well constructed and washable bags.

In an effort to change with the times and needs of their intended buyers, Vera Bradley updates the fabrics every six months and often retires a handbag design in favor of a new one. The wristlet, a popular checkbook sized bag, has been redesigned as the Vera Bradley All-in-One Wristlet. However, the original wristlet was also redesigned as well. So some Vera enthusiasts are wondering which wristlet is the better deal.

The Vera Bradley Wristlet
The regular sized wristlet is a simple bag with one inside pocket and dimensions of 7″x 3 ½” x 1 ¼”. This bag has a 6-inch strap with a trigger clasp. The new design includes an additional hook on the opposite end of the bag so you can quickly transform your wristlet into a small handbag. The trigger clasp also allows you to easily hang it from a larger bag as well. It is big enough for me to tuck chapstick, a cell phone, my small camera and some money, ID, and credit cards.

The biggest drawback to this bag is that there is only one pocket so organization is out of the question. Money and credit cards will just be thrown together and the sole inner pocket does not have a snap or any type of closure.

The Vera Bradley All-in-One Wristlet
The new design in wristlets is an attempt to organize the original by adding pockets and ID windows. The wristlet measures 3″ x 5 ¼” ¾”. This may not seem significantly smaller, but it is. The wristlet has one outside pocket for a cell phone or digital music player and on the opposite side has a clear view ID window. Inside, there are 3 credit card slots and a zippered pocket. There is one slip in pocket for cash or other cards.

The biggest drawback to this design is the size. I used it with an Apple iPhone, my cards, a small amount of cash and coin, and one skinny size chapstick tube. It was overstuffed and I had a hard time closing the zipper. While I like the idea of the organizers, it needs to be bigger for my needs. The zipper also opens all the way around on three sides so anything you do stuff into the middle will fall out when you open it. If you are only carrying cash/cards/phone, this may be ideal. But anything larger than an Apple iPhone and the pocket will not work.

Price Comparison of the Vera Bradley Wristlets
Regular price for the Wristlet is $25. Ebay and other retailers often have sales and you can get these at a better price. Also, the retired fabrics go on sale at Vera Bradley stores and online for 25%-40% off.

Regular price on the new All-in-One Wristlet is $32. Again, go to eBay or other sellers for a better deal.

For the price, I believe you will still get a better deal with the original wristlet. Perhaps the designers will take into account the size and redesign the All-in-One larger. I’ll wait for that.…

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We Need a Book Store in Missouri City, Texas

This article I am writing for my daughter, Carrie. She is an avid reader with many books. We both are book fans. As a matter of fact, I am currently writing my first murder mystery novel. Here is our dilemma: We need a book store in Missouri City, Texas.

As far as I am aware, there are not very many book stores in Fort Bend County. There is a Borders in Stafford, a Barnes & Noble in Sugar Land and a Half Price Books in Sugar Land. What about the 80,000 people who live in Missouri City and the outskirts? We read too!

The parking lot at Barnes & Noble is always so packed that you have to park really far and walk, not to mention the traffic congestion is terrible between Missouri City to Sugar Land. I feel it’s time we start getting more good quality businesses in Missouri City. I would like to see a store of the quality of Barnes & Noble or Borders with a coffee shop. An in-store book club would be nice with authors who come and do book signings, and maybe there should be some live music in the coffee area. My daughter and I would be regulars there. Most of our extra money goes for books anyway.

Unfortunately, I am not currently in a position to do much about getting a book store in Missouri City so all I can do is write about it, but that’s something, right? Maybe this article will plant a seed in the mind of someone who can put a book store in Missouri City.

As Fort Bend County grows, it is getting more time-consuming to navigate Highway 6. If we had some of the same businesses in Missouri City that are in Sugar Land we could keep our tax dollars here instead of going out of the city to shop elsewhere, and it might also help with the traffic in Sugar Land. A book store in Missouri City would also create a few more jobs for our residents.

I have other suggestions for making our beautiful city better. I can’t run for city council because I’m too busy trying to launch a new career and get an education, but I can write about my opinion of what our needs are. People may not agree so they can write their own articles.

If there is anyone out there who wants to start a new business, please give us a bookstore in Missouri City, Texas and my daughter and I will give you our business.…

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Khan Mai Shi

Sorrow and Sadness;

What are these;

Are they nothing;

Nothing more than this;

This Tears full;

Full of Fear;

Pain of the Heart;

May it be nothing;

Nothing as this;

Why then should it be;

Be only this;

This which we call;

We call Fear;

Truly fear is this;

Is this Nothing;

Nothing but as this;

This Dream;

Dream of Sorrow;

Dream of Sadness.…

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Writing Song Lyrics

Writing song lyrics is a challenging and rewarding process. Challenging in the sense that it can take you many hours or days or possibly even weeks to write. Rewarding in the sense that you have accomplished the difficult. I won’t say that you have accomplished the impossible because you haven’t. While difficult, it is far from impossible. Writing song lyrics is a lot like writing poetry. Either you must have a way with words, or you had better have a good book on rhyming with you. Of course, not all songs have to rhyme. It is just easier to get a reaction out of the audience if you do rhyme it. If you feel confident enough to write a song that doesn’t rhyme, then go for it. Confidence is key. Just remember that it had better be a very good song if it’s meant to be successful.


If you do not yet have a talent for rhyming, then do not panic or give up. All is not yet lost. There are dozens, possibly hundreds of books out there that were written specifically for rhyming. There is no shame in it. You are not “cheating”. I used to use a rhyming book myself. It is very helpful when you are stuck on tough words. It also helps you become a better writer. I found that the more I used my rhyming guide, the less I needed. All of those hundreds upon thousands of rhymes will eventually stick to. I rarely use a book anymore. I don’t need to, but I advise any newcomers to the game to use one. It will save you a lot of trouble. Be wary though, some of these books are better than others. If you can, pick a book that rhymes sounds rather than words. It is easier to rhyme sounds than it is to rhyme words.

Never forget what I am about to tell you. You can have all the rhymes in the world in your song, but it means absolutely nothing if you do not have some sort of message or story in the songs. You can’t just run things. Every word in your song must have a purpose. If it has no purpose, it will become weak and the audience will be more inspired to reject it. It must have a meaning. It doesn’t necessarily have to have a message, but it must have a meaning. It must have a purpose. That’s really all there is to song writing. Except for the fact that you have to be creative, but I’m sure you are if you are reading this. Happy writing, colleagues.…

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