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:







Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 84

This secretary was the first piece of furniture Jim and I bought together after we married. When we returned to the University of Georgia after he had been discharged from the Navy, I used to study at this desk; the cat we had at the time would sneak up behind and swat at my fanny though the chair back.
This morning I decided to sit here to write checks. I had forgotten how much I like working here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 83

I finally managed to hang the agate wind chimes Daphne sent to me at Christmas. I love that the green in the agate matches the green siding on my house. There has been just enough wind to make them jingle today.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 82

My Prime Time book discussion group meets on the fourth Monday evening of each month. This month we read and discussed The Garden of Last Days, written by Andre Dubos III. WE have read an interesting assortment of books this year. I look forward to our book selection meeting next week.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 81

I guess this year I have a spring cactus.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 80

Picture to come (see red note below!)

Having just been notified that the Amazing Miss M is going to graduate in June, and surprised that she WANTS a class ring, we are pleased to have been able to order the ring she designed.

This Siladium® Designer Petite ladies' class ring is the medium version of the ladies' ArtCarved® styles and has a choice of one synthetic stone. The left side may be customized with your graduation year and one activity. The right side may be customized with one line (up to nine characters and spaces) and a mascot design. The inside of the ring may be engraved with up to 18 characters and spaces.

SPECIAL ORDER ITEM: Normal processing for this item is 4-6 Weeks before it ships and it will ship via your chosen ship method after the processing time is complete. Signature required for orders over $100.  

Stone Type Birthstone
Stone Shape Oval
Stone Size 6.0 x 4.0
Stone Class Simulated
Stone Setting Bezel
Standard Ring Size 7
Ring Band Width 6.25mm
Metal Color White
Metal Type Siladium
Stone Color Multi-Color

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 79

With John working in Chicago and Teaghan away at college, we don't get to have many evenings with the Bush family. Last night they all came over for Enchilada Casser-ole! before everyone headed back to their "real" lives.  I love this family!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 78

Another afternoon of rain was forecasted, so I headed to the park for an early morning walk. There were three small wild ducks chasing each other around the pond. This is one of the ducks splashing across the surface.
This picture was taken at the end of my 4.75 mile walk and shows the bright new foliage on one of the ash trees in my front yard.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 76

Today Marijke told the ARD committee that she would like to walk for her diploma at the June graduation ceremony. Graduation is a requirement for continued participation in the Life 10 transition program. I am proud that she has made the decision to pursue the transition program rather than stay for a last year in high school.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 75

The tubs of citrus trees are back on the patio!
Spring has sprung at last.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 74

Another cloudy day, but THIS -

A Year of Gratitude, Day 73

Jim and I had seen several references to the Black Garlic food truck (24914 State Highway 249)  on Facebook so decided to give it a try Saturday afternoon. After battling the westbound Grand Parkway construction on Highway 249, we missed the location,  had to U-turn and battle the eastbound traffic, and then U-turn into the westbound traffic AGAIN. We had already decided that if there was a long line, we would leave. Fortunately (?) there was only one couple ahead of us, so we decided to stay.

I chose The Sauced Pretzel, a Waygu burger with artisanal bacon, blue cheese, and fried kale served on a pretzel bun. Jim ordered the pulled pork sandwich.  We shared an order of chimichurri fries. I ordered the burger cooked medium, had not expected it to be SO pink; nor had I expected so much grease (saturated in a delicious, buttery cheesy sauce). Jim's sandwich was piled high with pulled pork which had a mysterious spicy aftertaste. The fries were thin-cut and I imagine would have been deliciously crispy had I not asked for the chimichurri variety -- they came floating in herby oil rather than lightly flavored with seasoning.

It was worth the traffic aggravation to get there for the tastebud experience, but I doubt we will venture through the construction again -- while delicious, certainly not Weight Watcher friendly and not really, in my opinion,  worth the calorie hit I took, even given that Saturdays are my "free" days. Also, it was an  expensive dining experience,  near-$40 cost for a burger and pulled pork.

Grateful for the opportunity to support a small business, just on the lookout for a healthier option

A Year of Gratitude, Day 72

Apologizing in advance for the quality of the photo. The reason perhaps will be apparent ;-p

Today  my friend, Kate  Beizer, and I decided to join the Gourmet group of our local AAUW (American Association of University Women) branch as they learned about small-batch distilling at the Big Thicket Distillery in Conroe, Texas. The Big Thicket Distillery produces and bottles small-batch runs of vodka, whiskey and bourbon. After examining the ingredients and equipment used in the production process, we were invited to sample some of the products -- Dog Trot vodka, Boom Town whiskey and Roughneck Reserve bourbon. The photo of the stills was taken after the tasting room adventure!
 I purchased a bottle of Dog Trot vodka (the name is commemorative of the type of houses built in the Big Thicket of Texas back in the early days). Dog Trot vodka was a silver medal winner in a recent micro-distilling competition in Austin. It is a 100-proof spirit so it doesn't take much to produce a buzz. Bottles may be purchased on-site, in all Spec's stores in Montgomery County, and Spec's Smith Street location in downtown Houston.  Boom Town whiskey can be purchased only at the distillery; unfortunately they had sold out of whiskey when we visited. Roughneck Reserve bourbon is awaiting label approval from the federal permitting office so is not for sale yet. I wasn't a big fan of the whiskey, but the bourbon was smooth.
It was an interesting field trip I heartily  recommend a Saturday outing to Big Thicket Distillery.

A Year of Gratitude, Day 71

It was ANOTHER rainy, chilly day here in Spring, Texas, so I decided to take advantage of being housebound and began spring cleaning.

I began by moving all of the living room furniture.      
I  dusted the baseboards, vacuumed the floor and then cleaned all the hardwood.
I sent a picture to my husband to show what I had been up to while he was away at work. His comment, "Damn, you killed the anteater!"
Once I got all the furniture back in place, this happened:
I think I need to kill the cat.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 70

I just finished watching the series finale of The Newsroom. Along with The West Wing, another series written by Aaron Sorkin, I thought it was some of the best tv ever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, day 69

A bit of a coincidence that my gratitude for TODAY was also a gratitude on this same day forty-six years ago. I love you, Amanda, more than the sun in the sky.
13 days
maybe 5 months?
 about 5 years


A Year of Gratitude, Day 68

Today was cool and rainy -- a perfect day for my favorite recipe.
Hopefully today was the last cool, rainy day of winter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 66

Saturday night dinners with Kate and David are among our favorite activities. David prepared the most incredible corned beef and the best vodka tonics ever!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Year of Gratitude,Day 65

I've always been intrigued by vapor trails. I found this one with the parabolic shape to be most fascinating. I imagine this plane had just taken off from George Bush Intercontinental. I wonder where it's headed?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 63

The Amazing Miss M is exiting the Developmental Program at Klein High School  and beginning
L.I.F.E. Readiness 10, a pilot pre-employment/independent living program being piloted by the Klein ISD this year. She started the school year in the L.I.F.E. 30 program, also a pilot program new to the district and has mastered all the goals established for her in that program, so it is time to move on. The coordinators have indicated that the ideal placement for her would have been L.I.F.E 20, but the district school board refused to budget the funds necessary for that program. I have heard, but as of yet have been unable to confirm, that one of the elected board members has stated, "Why would we want to spend money on THOSE kids." What a step back from the days when Dr. Grace England guided the district in establishing exemplary special education programming.
I know that this move up will be challenging for Marijke, but I am confident that this an excellent opportunity for her.
(Scroll down to learn more about L.I.F.E. 10)


 Klein Independent School District

                                                                                                  Sept. 2014

LIFE Readiness is . . . . .


-          A community-based program that utilizes the community’s natural environmental supports to facilitate young adult student’s transition to adult-life.


-          Provides students having completed academic goals needed for graduation individualized instructional in independent living skills and employment support in order to achieve IEP goals and objectives in the area of post-secondary transition.



-          To facilitate transition from campus supports to natural supports in the community.

-          To assist in acquisition and sustainability of employment.

-          To assist in student/family with connections to adult agencies and providers.

-          To assist in the college experience of the adult student.

LIFE Readiness Program Student Consideration:

-          Students aged 18 – 22 years of age receiving special education services.

-          Students who have completed course requirements for graduation. (option b3)

-          Students have been receiving instruction with a modified curriculum.

-          Students who have completed all state required assessments.

-          Students needing transition services to complete IEP goals.

LIFE Readiness. . .


-          Local Community is the classroom.


-          Student’s daily schedule is flexible and reflects the transition goals in the IEP.


-          Exit from the program occurs when student has completed IEP goals and objectives  (exit date is not determined by traditional school calendar such as end of 6 weeks or semester).


-          Student schedule may include activities centered on education/training, employment, independent living and community goals.


-          Once accepted into the program student will have comprehensive transition assessment to determine curriculum based on individual student interests, preferences, strengths and needs.


-          Transportation is not provided by the district.


-          LIFE Readiness is a program developed to meet the transition needs of the student. Teacher and job coaches provide instruction in the community.


-          Important members in the collaborative efforts to ensure students attainment of his/her IEP goal and objectives:

o   Student

o   Parent/Family

o   LIFE Readiness staff

o   Employment specialists

o   Adult agencies

For more information contact:

Theresa Cortney

(832) 314-6180

Office of Special Education

4411 Louetta Road

Spring, Texas 77388


A Year of Gratitude, Day 62

There's been some redecorating going on in my former place of employment. I love this mural recently added to the gym.
Go Bearcubs!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Year of Gratitude, Day 61

I had heard rumors of Coldwater Creek's return, and then this showed up in my mailbox. Hurray!