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Posts published in “Day: January 15, 2013

Our Holiday Break

By Kristan Hoffman and Angie Liang


While there was no snow or sleigh bells, my holiday was otherwise fairly traditional. I flew home to Houston and was greeted with lots of hugs from my parents — as well as lots of kisses from mosquitoes.

That first weekend, we battled the crowds to do our last-minute shopping. Funny enough, nowadays my parents and I tend to buy our own presents and then wrap them as a surprise to everyone else. It may sound weird, but we enjoy it. Makes Santa’s life easier too.

After Christmas, my half-sister came to visit with her granddaughter, and we showed them a few of Houston’s highlights: Moody Gardens, Kemah Boardwalk, NASA’s Space Center, the Galleria and the Waterwall. We also drove around nice neighborhoods to look at their sparkling holiday lights. Though I had done it all before, it was fun to see my hometown through a newcomer’s eyes.

For me, the new experience was babysitting my cousin’s daughter for 3 nights. She’s now 5 years old, which is a fun but exhausting age. We colored Hello Kitty activity books, read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and watched My Little Pony. I gave her a bath and brushed her teeth. She ate the ham and eggs out of my kolache. I felt like I was playing Mom for a few days, and it was… illuminating.

Now it’s 2013, and I’m back home, back to my regularly scheduled life, back to work. I don’t have any specific resolutions, but I would like to continue applying a few themes across all areas of my life: (1) Don’t try to do/have it all; (2) Don’t worry about what people think; (3) Keep It Simple, Stupid; (4) Push yourself; (5) Be more assertive/decisive; and (6) Don’t aim for perfection, just keep getting better.


My parents and I always celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way — lots of friends and a massive feast — but for whatever reason, we don’t do any of the December holidays. So after a wonderful extended stay at home in November, I decided to do something different this winter: Freeze my butt off in Canada. At –10°F to be precise!

Why give up the balmy Texas climate for arctic Canadian weather? I wanted to learn how to ski. Also, as a child I had visited Banff National Park, a World Heritage Site notorious for its scenic beauty, in the summer. Now I wanted to witness firsthand its breathtaking views in the winter.

I was not disappointed. I spent a couple days touring the towns and then three full days skiing the popular sites: Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay. Each day as I arrived on the slopes, with an instructor leading the way, I ooo-ed and ahh-ed – even falling once because I was so captivated by the view.

Needless to say, I fell quite a few more times trying to complete a green (“easy”) run on the second day. Although I picked up the basic skiing techniques quickly, gravity sometimes won. Nevertheless, I slowly but surely conquered the mountain, turning and braking my way down the steep inclines. By the third day, I felt confident on the slopes, and eager to return for more someday.

After my skiing adventures, I spent New Year’s Eve in Seattle with one of my best friends, eating and exploring the city. We even toured the old city underground and then watched the fireworks shoot off around the Space Needle.

On January 1st, I flew back to New York City, with sore legs and a clearer mind, ready for change in 2013.

Rep. Armando Walle begins third term in Texas House

Walle makes reversing Republican cuts to education and health care top priority

AUSTIN – State Representative Armando Walle (D-Houston) was sworn in to his third term in the Texas House of Representatives as the 83rd Texas Legislature convened at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, January 8.

As with every legislative session, the state budget and its main drivers of education and health care will be a focal point for legislators. “Education is always one of my top priorities, and that starts with fully funding our school finance system by undoing Gov. Perry’s education cuts. It also means ensuring that more students and their families can afford higher education.” Rep. Walle continued, “Between the Comptroller’s Biennial Revenue Estimate and the $11.8 billion in our Rainy Day Fund, I know we have the ability to make this happen.”

“While we’ll miss the experience and leadership of my veteran legislative colleagues who have moved on,” said Rep. Walle, “I look forward to getting to know and working together with our new members to make Texas better for our children.”

“Budgetary tricks like leaving $5 billion in Medicaid payments for the next legislature are among the many reasons why I did not vote in favor of that budget,” said Rep. Walle. “With nearly a quarter of Texas uninsured, including over one million people in Harris County alone, the new legislature must stop playing games like these with our neighbors’ health and well-being. Despite the Governor’s pledge to do otherwise, my colleagues and I will work hard to expand Medicaid access for Texans.”

Brown’s lack of size did not stop him from coming up big for Mustangs

By Mike Keeney

Contributing Writer

Derrick Brown wasn’t the biggest guy on the Aldine Mustangs roster, but he sure played big during the 2012 season.

Brown, a senior quarterback, rushed for 1,124 yards and passed for another 938 yards (he completed 65 of 129 passes) to account for 2,062 yards of total offense for Lionell Crawford’s team during the 2012 season. He was also a scoring machine as evidenced by the 17 rushing and seven passing touchdowns he accounted for this season.

Brown was one of a handful of Aldine ISD players who turned in strong offensive seasons. Eisenhower junior running back Donald Catalon rushed for 1,076 yards and totaled another 178 yards on receptions. He also scored eight touchdowns during the season. MacArthur running back Shaquille Rain rushed for 816 yards and added another 132 yards receiving. He also scored 14 touchdowns for the Generals. Nimitz running back Dre’Vian Young, a two-time silver medalist in the 400-meter dash at the Class 5A State Track and Field Meet, led the Cougars to the playoffs by rushing for 1,140 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns.

All three of those individuals had solid seasons, but Brown stood out among his peers and earned the Northeast News’ Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Brown arrived at Aldine High as a sophomore after spending his freshman year at Nimitz High School. Crawford played him at defensive back and wide receiver his first year, and then decided to give him a shot at quarterback heading into spring training during his sophomore year.

“I had my eye on two kids who we wanted to play quarterback and Derrick was one of them,” Crawford said. “I told them the best man would win the job and Derrick won the competition.”

The 5-8, 170-pounder was a two-year starter under center for the Mustangs and saved his best season for his last.

“Derrick started the season with a bang. It was scary how good he was,” Crawford said. “Derrick only played quarterback at a 5A program for two years and I thought he had a very good senior season. The young man had a nice senior season.”

Crawford said Brown’s biggest attributes are his speed. He runs a 4.4 40-yard-dash and thinks he has a chance to play at the next level.

“My guess would be that schools will recruit him as a wide receiver or defensive back, unless he goes the junior college route and goes to a school that runs the option. He threw the ball well for someone who was a running quarterback. I think he’s put himself in position to get a chance to play at the next level. It would be a great opportunity for him to get out and see the diversity that exists on a college campus.”

Crawford said Brown’s best game this season came against Oak Ridge when he rushed for 251 yards and scored five touchdowns in the Mustangs’ 41-34 victory.

“That performance put him in the record books,” Crawford said. “He became one of the few Mustangs to rush for more than 200 yards and score five touchdowns in one game.”

Brown’s name is also in the record books for the 100-yard kickoff he returned for a touchdown during his Aldine career.

“Derrick is a good kid. He’s respectful and coachable,” Crawford said. “He’s also a good student and that will help with recruiting. He’s set pretty well.”

Now all he needs is the chance to prove that even though he may not be the biggest guy around, he has the ability to make big plays when given the opportunity.