Thursday, January 31, 2019


I went to TEXAS!
I had the honor of working with a lovely church near Houston
that is setting up a wonderful special needs program.
They wanted some training for their church and their team,
and I was overjoyed to be able to spend some time sharing what I've learned
since 2001, when I started the first special needs team I ran.

I painted my fingernails bright red and decided to wear all black and white
(with a light blue faux-leather jacket).

The trip was planned  from a Friday through a Sunday.

Here's what I wore on Friday.
sweater, blouse: Ross
camisole, tights, shoes: Target
skirt: Rekucci (Amazon)

This was the first time I wore this blouse and it's now one of my
favorites.  I love the bow and the floppy sleeves.

I read Harry Potter (#4) on the way there and back.
I actually didn't have much time for reading while I was there,
but it was great to have a book in the airplane!

United had pretty BLUE cups, and the airline attendant
gave me a special lime in my sparkling water!

And almost before I knew it, I was landing in Houston!

Before I left the airport, I got some water, since I had a bit of a drive
to get to the city where I'd be staying.
I have a soft spot for New Zealand (after having been there!),
and I found this Kiwi water.  It was tasty!

I found the shuttle to the rental car lot.

There it is!

 Without much trouble (thanks to GPS), I found the hotel.
It was beautiful and had a perfect kitchenette.
The little fridge even had a tiny freezer!

Look how big the room is!

Look: I'm still in one piece!
Sorry it's blurry.

I headed off to dinner with the leader of the church's special needs program,
and then over to the church for the first talk.

Is nailing cowboy boots to the fence a Texas thing?

These colorful folders hold the packets for my three talks.

The first one was, "Preventing And Managing Challenging Behaviors".

Can you see the lapel mic?

Friday I stayed late at the church, getting to know the people and the church culture a bit
and answering questions, and then I headed back to bed.
I did NOT sleep well, but thanks to the radio alarm and a scheduled wake-up call (I wasn't sure my phone's alarm would be in the right time zone, so I made sure I would be informed when the time had come to wake up), I was up and at 'em right when I needed to be.

This is blurry, but it's the best photo I have of my outfit Saturday.
top: Charter Club (Macy's)
pants: 89th & Madison (Ross)
socks, camisole, slippers: Target

I wasn't very well prepared the first day food-wise, but I did just fine.
I got bananas, cranberry juice, and jam from the breakfast buffet.
I put crushed up cookies on the banana (they fell apart in transit!),
plus chia seeds and flax seeds.  Then I put jam on my gluten-free bun
and had a nice breakfast!

I was at the church right when I wanted to be - it was only
about 10 minutes from the church.

I did two talks on Saturday.
9-11: "Supporting Communication"
11:30-1:30: "Classroom Structure"

After that, I tried out Mod Pizza.
They weren't careful with gluten, so I wouldn't go back.
I was overall okay, but it's not worth the risk and I like Pieology better!

They had a nice assortment of veggies - yum!

After that, the leader of their team, whom I REALLY LIKE (!!!)
took me to the nicest close beach.

There was a warning about NOT going in the water
because bacteria levels were at unsafe levels.
This makes me sad.

In most of my photos, you can't tell, but this area has oil refineries EVERYWHERE.
The water is a sort of brown color, but that's not a surprise to me because I see lake water all the time in Minnesota, and it's often a bit muddy.

I hope the birds are okay even with the bacteria.  There were certainly plenty of them!

The seagulls were attacking this pelican.

I thought it was ADORABLE and HILARIOUS how these seagulls
lined up, one per pole.

When I got back to the hotel,
my shoes were STILL full of sand, even though
I shook them out over and over.

On Sunday, I did a quick talk-through of the Chirp Curriculum,
and then sat in the service with my new friend and her sweet family.

Before I left for the church, I was all ready to go!
(I can't get over how pretty my suitcase is!)

I decided to get to the airport early (and I'm glad I did),
but first of all I needed FOOD and a tad more OCEAN.

I was amazed on this trip how much I craved GREENS and VEGETABLES.

I still haven't filled the veg hole.  I might need to go eat a salad after I post this.

Sadly, they aren't in Arizona yet.
It was a Subway-style place, where I walked down the line and pointed to 
everything.  Okay, not everything.  But they had so many great options
that I thought the bowl might overflow.
It's huge!
I was very happy to see a restaurant that understands how BIG my salads
need to be!

Please patronize Salata if you're lucky enough to live in a place they are.
I want more restaurants like that!

 Then I had a quick visit to the ocean again before heading to the airport.

I was surprised a second time by this sign that announced "church".

There it is!  The beautiful ocean! 

There were two seagulls with only one leg.

Warning: eating fish is dangerous!

On the way to the airport in the rental car, I fell into a pothole
and got a flat tire.  Argh.

The City Of Houston has been #1 in car accidents for a long time,
so the federal government funded a program to pull people off freeways
(apparently, cars regularly crash into cars on the shoulder, causing lots of injuries and death).
The city now has cameras that alert a team when a car is in the shoulder.

The camera alerted James that I was stuck in the shoulder, and he
came along to tow me off the freeway (free of charge thanks to this program!)

He even put on the spare for me and I MADE IT TO THE AIRPORT and
didn't miss my flight!

I even had time to purchase this cute mug.
It doesn't have steer and cowboy boots all over it, because that's not my style.
Cacti are always my style!  And it says "Texas" in the corner very small.

And I made it home
(this is at the airport in Phoenix, waiting for Greg to pick me up)!

The cats were happy to see me.

I've been spending a lot of time snuggling them, because the headache I
fought from Saturday on turned out to be a virus.
I'm still feeling LOUSY and draggy, but I'll get better!

Thank you for traveling with me.
I hope you're healthy and happy on this fine day!