Friday, November 20, 2015

Social Challenge

Terrorists and tyrants,
Using tactics of fear,
Vying for power
Worldwide and near.

Xenophobes, xanthocroids
Yammering hate.
Zealots defending their ziggurats of faith.

Abandoned, abolished, aborted, abhored.
Bearbaited victims and ballyhoo men
Cautious and callous
Defeated and damned.

Everyman matters?
Foreigners don't.
Gangrenous gatecrashers, gangsters, goats
Harboring hatred, wearing hajibs.

Imperiled? Inappetance!
Jingoism prevails.
Kaleidoscopic perils threaten our land.
Live in your death camps; labor in vain.

Magnanimous Americans no longer prevail -
Naive namby-pambys have no place in our land.
Obdurate obedience obscures common sense.

Palpitant vitriol, parochial paroxysm
Quashes hope, quintuples fear.
Rabelaisian rabble-rousers raging; refugees reviled.
Saints or sinners? Safety or sacrifice?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 123

Ariya and her dad went to the zoo. I can only guess how much she misses her daddy everyday. I know he misses her.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 122

The filtration system of our backyard pond failed at some point last winter and the pond had become quite alga-filled. Jim spent the morning catching koi, transferring them to a holding pool, and draining and cleaning the pond -- discovered the shop vac worked well to remove all the leaves and muck from the bottom and sides of the pond. Yay! He then set up a new, larger pump and filter and refilled the pond with water. The fish were a little skittish in their clean home but were loving the waterfall.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 121

I spent the morning working on a sundress for Daphne and managed to complete the bodice. The skirt of this dress will have two gathered layers. The top skirt takes 22 pieces of fabric, all requiring topstitching. I dread the gathering.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 120

Gardening and yard work are not among my favorite activities, so I was happy to have Marijke's assistance today in planting. Luckily I had just purchased some small gardening gloves, because Marijke did not like the feel of the damp soil on her hands. We planted coleus, impatiens and torenia. With luck, most of them will live.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 119

One of Marijke's transition goals is meal preparation. Today she made M&M cookies. She doesn't have good hand strength so using the cookie scoop was difficult, but she was persistent. I try to address at least one goal every afternoon. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 118

Voted yes for the Klein ISD bond issue. Senior citizens' property tax rates are protected so there is no reason not to vote for progress.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 117

Grateful for the man that my son has become. Thankful that he knows we are there for him when life gets tough. Hopeful for happier days.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 116

Grateful that I found this fella outdoors and not in my bed.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 115

Eight hours later ----

We have completed repairs for the power issue at or near "your address". Our crews determined that the problem involved weather damage. If you are still without service, please check your circuit breakers. If that does not resolve the problem, call us at 713-207-2222.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

See an interactive map of current electric outages:

To add or modify phone and text notifications, visit

The sender provided the following contact information.
   Sender's Name: CenterPoint Energy

A Year of Gratitude, Day 114

I have been looking for used Scrabble tile racks for several years, and Friday Ifinally found some, at the Cherry Street Antique Store in Old Town Tomball. There were eight, and I bought them all. If anyone should happen to want some antique tiles, they have those too. 

A Year of Gratitude, Day 113

I love this local family-owned restaurant just a mile or so from our house. We went there for dinner with my sister and her husband, who follows a very restrictive diet for health reasons. The cafe's menu had many items from which he was able to make acceptable food choices.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 112

My sister and brother-in-law from California are here for a visit! We have been having such fun just chatting and eating; she has told me many things about my childhood hometown that I had never heard before. And reminded me that I had been quiet a bratty little sister. I am shocked!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 111

It was  Theater under the Stars Tommy Tunes Awards night . The cast and crew of Klein High School's Les Miserables High School Edition had gathered at the Wortham Theater complex anxiously awaiting the winner announcements.

 Best Actor in a Featured Role -- Klein High School

Congratulations, Raheim!

Best Scenic Design -- Klein High School

Best Lighting Design -- Klein High School

Best Musical Direction - Klein High School

Klein High School's Marshae Morris was awarded a TUTS scholarship.

There is so much theater talent in the Houston metropolitan area. The competition for Tommy Tunes Awards is intense. To be nominated in any category is an achievement. To win in any category is a high honor. Klein High's production of Les Miserables received 15 nominations, took home the prize in four. So proud of all these students and their directors.

Well done, Klein High School.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 110

Last night's storm system brought what will, in all probability, be the last cool weather we will experience until next October or November. I've opened all the windows in the house this morning. It is a beautiful day.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 109

Thankful that last night's hailstorm caused no damage. The last time we had significant hail, we saw softball-sized ice chunks that broke windshields and pulverized roof shingles.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 108

Today I purchased the first items needed to begin "mouseworks" -- a line of Marijke-made materials which can be used in developmental classrooms. Pictures will follow. This may be fun!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 107

Having just learned in March that Marijke was eligible to graduate in June, there had not been an opportunity to order a class ring last year. After reviewing the graduation packet, she decided that she would like to have a ring.

She and her mother reviewed the options and decided that a ring from Zales was the perfect choice (she liked the engraving options better - the ASL symbol for I love you on one side of the stone and her name on the other). The order was placed, and last Monday delivery was made (see Year of Gratitude, Day 103 post).

Last night she received her ring. 

A Year of Gratitude, Day 106

Marijke and her Life 10 friends went to the movies Thursday. 
I love how much happier she seems since she has started this program.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 105

One of the secretaries at the high school called to tell us that Marijke's graduation announcements had arrived and were being held for pickup in the special education office. Preparing them for mailing will be a good vocational task for her. I am thinking that she will use her computer skills to create a mailing list and print address labels. 

If any of you would like to be on her list, let me know! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 104

One of Marijke's goals in her Life 10 transition program is to help prepare family meals.
She is making Cheddar Bay Biscuits to accompany the ham bone soup that has been simmering on the stove.

She read all the instructions and set the oven independently but had some trouble using the scissors to open the bag . Stirring the dough was also a little hard to do. 

She loves helping in the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 103

The doorbell rang yesterday afternoon and when I opened the door I was surprised to find the UPS delivery man asking me to sign for this package. This is an 8"x10"x2"-ish box and weighs almost nothing. The delivery man and I were equally puzzled about what might be in  this box, since it required a signature upon delivery.
When I opened the box, inside  there was a small padded manila envelope and a packaging invoice. Inside the envelope was a small square box, the kind of box that a circular piece of jewelry comes in.
I not going to tell you what it is until the person for whom it is intended receives it ( probably next week when an important family member makes it back home, but I will tell you that I think it is perfect.
Pictures will follow. 

A Year of Gratitude, Day 102

Yesterday at Costco we bought 2 whole organic chickens to use in preparing this recipe
( It was a dicey day to be attempting to grill because the weather has been quite rainy lately. we decided, however, that if the Noble Pig lady could do this in Oregon where, as every knows, it ALWAYS rains, we could do it here in Texas too.

We acquired this combination gas grill and smoker as a reward for Jim upon his completion of treatment for high grade prostate cancer. It was a custom design built by Pits and Spits here in Houston. We still haven't quite gotten the hang of perfect grilling and smoking, but I do have to admit that this grilled chicken was pretty dang good.

I have rarely been disappointed in recipes from the Noble Pig site. You should check it out!

A Year of Gratitude, Day 101

We finally decided that we have had enough of Sam's Club and made the  switch to Costco.
After spending over $350 there (I may never need to buy Charmin again), I think I need someone to explain to me how I am saving money.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 100

I've been working at improving my sewing skills by making outfits for my younger granddaughters. Daphne loves purple and wearing pants under her flouncy skirts and dresses so this pattern and this wild array of fabrics will be for her. 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 99

The St. Simons Island Community Page on Facebook selected my photo for its featured photo today. 

We'll be heading back to the island in July. I am eager to see how the tree, located on East Beach,  will be decorated this summer.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 98

Three friends and I got together for an afternoon of mahjongg fun. Katie, a friend with whom we have not been able to play for several months, won the first game which was followed by THREE wall games (no one was able to complete a hand for mahjongg). When no one wins, we each put a quarter into the kitty and play again. With no winner for three games, the kitty was up to $3.00.
Not wanting to end the day on a losing note, we decided to play one more hand, and I WON. Not only did I get the kitty, but each of the other players had to pay me $0.50 because I drew the last tile myself rather than picking up a discarded tile.
Next week is our regularly scheduled large group day -- I'll play with my winnings!

A Year of Gratitude, Day 97


I've been working on cleaning out the flowerbeds which are full of oak tassels, leaves, and weeds.
The butterfly iris are especially pretty this year, nestled amidst all the ferns which are spreading like wild fire.

I was pleased to see that nine  of the hostas I planted last spring are beginning to sprout -- this one is the most robust, however.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 96

This cute little snail was creeping up the side of my house yesterday. You can even see his liitle trail of snail slime. When we lived in San Diego we had escargot-size snails in the ice plants growing on our backyard hill. They weren't as cute as this little guy.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 95

Grateful to have found  a video for my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker - making lemon poppy seed ice cream!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 94

One of my favorite books for little ones is Me with You, written by Kristy Dempsey and illustrated by Christopher Denise. I was lucky enough to get a signed first edition of this book back in 2009 for my soon -to- be- born granddaughter's library.

When I learned that my friends, Mary Jane and Tom, were to be grandparents after YEARS of anticipation, I knew that I wanted to gift them with this beautiful book. Alas, Barnes and Noble no longer carries Me with You in hardback. As a matter of fact, the only format available from them was a 3"x5" folded postcard version of the book -- not at all satisfactory. After much internet searching, I  found a new hardback edition which arrived in the mail Saturday.

I can't wait to give this to Mary Jane and Tom.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 93

Jim and I headed off to downtown this morning to visit the Texas Art Asylum ( to see if there was anything we couldn't live without.
Our intention had been to grab a bite of breakfast before heading out, but the café was closed, so we arrived at the shop before opening hour. We took the opportunity to wander around the neighborhood, east of downtown. Although it was a gray, cloudy day, there were some great reflections in the skyscraper windows.
Once inside, we spent an hour or so sifting through fossilized teeth, vintage sewing patterns and other junk before deciding there was nothing we wanted to buy. If you are into recycling or hoarding, you might want to pay a visit to the store.
We were going to stop at Aunt Bea's for lunch but there was a wait for seating so we decided to head back home and check out the Willowbrook' Churrascos. They have an awesome lunch menu, available until 4:00pm  ( We chose the Friday lunch special, 6-oz centercut tenderloin steaks and house salad. The steak is served with grilled vegetables and a yucca patty. Marijke will love this place!

A Year of Gratitude, Day 92

My BFF (Kate Beizer) was off work today, so we took the opportunity to walk in the park. This is the first time in 2015 that we saw the egret hanging out by the pond. As we walked the gravel path around the pond, we almost stepped on a half-dollar-sized red-eared slider turtle  making his way to the water. I tried to get a picture, but he was just too fast. We logged 3 3/4 miles and solved the problems of the world.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 91

I finally was able to sit down and watch part 1 of the CBS adaptation of one of my favorite books, The Dove Keepers, by Alice Hoffman. I had been so excited to see that Cote de Pablo had been cast as Shira. In truth I was a  little disappointed in the adadptatoin, but then books are generally much better than the movies made of them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 90

As a team building experience, Tuesdays have been designated as bow tie days at Windy Cove. Being the introverted skeptic that he is, Jim has been a little slow to buy into this exercise. After several weeks of wearing some of his more outlandish neckties, he decided to place his personal brand on Bow Tie Tuesdays by selecting "Awareness" bow ties. Today's bow tie gives a voice to the importance of fossils in geologic history -- dinosaur awareness! I can't wait to see next week's choice.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 89

About 10 years ago my life skills students and I learned to use hand tools (hammers, saws, drills, tape measures, sand paper, paint brushes etc.) while making wren houses. We began the unit by reading The House I'll Build for the Wrens, written by Shirley Neitzel and illustrated by  Nancy Winslow Parker. This house has been hanging, empty, in my backyard for years now.

A week or so ago I thought I saw a small bird checking out the bird house and then this morning I definitely saw a black-capped chickadee on a branch near the hole. So, when it had flow away, I went to investigate. Guess what! There is a nest inside the house. I hope we actually will have baby birds after all this time.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 88

The staghorn fern is in its summer home after spending the winter in the garage.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 87

These two cats have lived in the same household since September of 1999, and this may well be the first time they have ever slept this close together. Meegs, the calico, is a tripod cat after losing her right front leg to spindle cell sarcoma. The grey cat is Dagney. She suffers from compressed disks at the base of her spine and degenerative arthritis in her hips. She receives twice daily doses of gabapentin to control pain. Since her diagnoses, she has been on a fairly restrictive diet and has lost about 8 pounds. The ability to climb (she does not jump) is a recently acquired skill.

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 86

The patio is now open!

A Year of Gratitude, Day 85

It's Tommy Tunes nomination day. I am so grateful to have been a Sweatshop Sweetie for Klein High School Drama's production of Les Miserables School Edition: