Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 59

Today was the 5th Annual Outstanding Women of North Harris County Luncheon presented by the North Harris County Branch of the American Association of University Women. I had the honor of introducing the Outstanding Woman in Education honoree, Dr. Grace Davis England.


In 1955 Grace England graduated magna cum laude from Lamar University with degrees in English, elementary education and physical education. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in Port Neches, Texas. While she had always wanted to be a teacher, it was not until 1965 that she found her true calling in life as a special educator in a small class of students with neurological impairments. She went on to earn her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from North Texas University and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Child Development and Special Education from Texas Women’s University.
After passage of the federal Education of Handicapped Children Act in 1975, Dr. England was chosen to be the Director of Special Education in the Klein Independent School District. Under her guidance, the Klein District gained national and international recognition for its services to children with disabilities, from birth through age 21.
Among her many honors, Dr. England has been recognized as Outstanding Professional of the Year by the International Council for Learning Disabilities,  Director of the Year by the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education, and Distinguished Alumna of Lamar University. She was named one of 75 individuals who had made a significant impact on the Klein Independent School District. The district’s first Early Childhood and Prekindergarten Center was dedicated in her honor. Dr. England also has been the recipient of commendations and proclamations from the United States House of Representatives and the Texas Senate.
When asked what advice she would give young women as they choose and pursue future careers, Dr. England said, “Choose you career not only with your head, but with your heart.”
When I first met Dr. England, I was 46-years-old and struggling to make sense of the death of my first grandchild who, had she lived, would have been severely, profoundly disabled. Dr. England observed me working with young children with disabilities and suggested that I consider seeking certification to teach special education, a suggestion that I believe changed my life. The path to certification was long and circuitous, interrupted by a move overseas and the premature birth of my second granddaughter who was fortunate to receive services through the KEEP Pace and Early Childhood Education programs established by Dr. England. In just a few weeks that same granddaughter will begin a new Life 10 transition program being piloted in Klein.
The impact Dr. England has had on my personal life and the lives of my family has been profound; and so it is with deepest gratitude and honor that I introduce to you North Harris County’s Outstanding Education Honoree, the Amazing Grace of at-risk children, Dr. Grace Davis England.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 58

Finally found a new hairstylist!

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 57

After asking a fitness department employee at my neighborhood Academy if they carried Nike+ iPod sensors and being told no, I was pleased to find them hanging in a check-out line display. It took a while for me to figure out how to get my iPhone to recognize the new sensor, but everything is working perfectly now.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 53

I've been feeling a bit under the weather today - congestion, headache, fatigue - and have spent the afternoon in my recliner watching British TV on HuluPlus. I love our Apple TV box. Thank you, Ashley.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 52


it could have been.

On his way to Wal-Mart with his three-year-old daughter, my son hit a patch of black ice on the highway. He skidded forward along the roadway, narrowly missing the guardrail on the right side of the road before spinning across the on-coming traffic lane and coming to a stop just inches from a telephone pole. While frightened, both he and my granddaughter were uninjured.

I know they, too, are grateful.

AND, they finally have both hot and cold running water into the kitchen after a week of frozen pipes; the elbow joint connecting the horizontal and vertical cold water pipe in the crawl space under the kitchen had separated after the water in the pipes froze. It turned out to be an easy fix, but I know this winter is getting old, really fast.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 51
Today my gratitude post links to one of my favorite food blogs. I frequently access the recipe file when I am planning meals for dinner guests.

Last night our friend Stan came to dinner and I served this entrée - Pork Chops Marsala.

The picture was taken by Cathy, the Noble Pig blogger and accompanies the recipe.

I hope you'll check out her blog. I think you'll love it as much as I do.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 50

Today was Jim's 71st birthday, and we are celebrating with lunch out at Lynn's Steakhouse ( The green salads were crisp and fresh, the house dressing was creamy and tangy and awesome. Shortly after the salads were served, the waiter brought a plate of steak au poivre bruschetta as an amuse bouche. For his entrée Jim chose beef medallions au poivre, while I chose grilled salmon. Both plates were served with steamed broccoli.

When our plates were cleared, the server brought slices of chocolate birthday cake and a birthday card signed by the entire staff.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 49

Thanks to the generosity of the parents of one of the developmental students with whom I subbed, I am able to print the classes' portfolio dividers for free.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 48

My special friends from the developmental classroom brought Mardi Gras beads to the classroom in which I was subbing today. They were so excited to find me in a different place.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 47

As a fundraiser the neighborhood high school choir places flags in the yard of subscribers for 15 U.S. holidays. President's Day happens to be one of those holidays.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 46

Over the weekend Jim read about a customer review about Black Garlic, a food truck operating not far from us. Intrigued by the name, he googled "black garlic" and discovered that black garlic is a low-temperature, slow-roasted condiment in which the natural sugars found in garlic are crystallized until they are black in color. Being the adventurer that he is, he decided we needed to try to make some black garlic. we found this small rice cooker at HEB in The Vintage. It is packed with  bulbs of garlic wrapped in an aluminum foil package. The rice cooker is set on warm. Supposedly in 10 days we'll have a potful of garlic deliciousness. In the meantime, my house is filled with the aroma of garlic. I guess we will be  well-protected in case of  a vampire invasion.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 45

Peaceful start to a beautiful day

A Year of Gratitude, Day 44

Yesterday the life skills students with whom I have been subbing made valentine cut out cookies, from scratch. The students did all the measuring, mixing and cutting. These are the ones left over after they each decorated and ate one and packaged one to take home to share. This is a great group of kids. I will miss them when my assignment is over on Tuesday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 43

A year ago this old kitty would not have been able to climb onto this chair let alone perch herself on the arm. Thanks to rigorous monitoring of her diet (she know weighs closer to 14 pounds, rather than 20) and the wonders of pharmaceuticals, she has regained some mobility.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 41

Because it's been that kind of day

A Year of Gratitude, Day 40

State-mandated testing for students with cognitive disabilities began today. I am doubly grateful today, first that I am retired and not involved with this charade and second that the brand new teacher of my former class has discovered that the testing procedure is not as scary as she feared.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 39

We made a trek to the Hong Kong Kong Market this morning and stocked up on some fresh produce.

These Creamy Durian Biscuits are without a doubt the worst cookies in the world. After sampling one, we decided the rest will go to the local landfill, or maybe the school bake sale. Shouldn't everyone have the experience of trying new and exotic foods?
We did pass on the package of duck heads.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 38

Excited that Marijke is being fast-tracked for participation in the LIFE Readiness 10 Program but heartsick that it has taken the school district so long to get this program started.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 37

We're coming in to Mardi Gras fever time here in Houston. I've never been a big fan of King Cake; but, man, this Voodoo cake from Rao's Bakery is da bomb -- cream cheese filling, coconut, chocolate. And the hidden baby is still to be found!

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 36

FOUND -  my favorite fleece jacket, missing since before Christmas. I purchased this jacket YEARS ago when my neighborhood Target still was located on FM1960 near Stuebner Airline.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 34

I'm subbing in my old classroom for the next several days. Since I have retired, the classroom has acquired a  touch-interactive Starboard. The kids love using technology.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 33

Nothing beats a cup of hot tea on a chilly day. I am loving the variety of teas in my cabinet.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 32

Last week when my husband went to the Hong Kong Market to get pork for the sausage-making adventure, he came home with a bunch of red bananas that have finally ripened to be peeled and eaten.

The "flesh" of these red bananas is a bit pinkish-yellowish and deliciously sweet.
Breakfast tomorrow will be a peanut butter banana smoothie.