Thursday, October 19, 2017

After the Wildfire by Brian Alcock

After the Wildfire by Brian Alcock

I am reading a very interesting book After the Wildfire: Ten Years of Recovery after the Willow Fire by Brian Alcock. In 2004 a tremendous wildfire burned through large areas of the Mazatzal Mountains in Arizona. The author lives in Tempe, Arizona and one of his favorite hikes is along Deer Creek which was severely burned in the wildfire.  The book follows him through 10 years of recovery along Deer Creek. It is very interesting as he discusses the flowers and trees and small animals, insects, and amphibians of the area. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Around OakMeadows

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I am a planner/list maker. Several years ago I made a Plan for Travel List that I really like. It takes away the anxiety of getting ready for a trip and worry that I have forgotten something. Here's my List:

Travel Planning/Prep

Flight information 

Hotel/Lodging information 

Things to pack in suitcase

Dental floss
Dental threaders
Scooter charger
iPhone chargers
Ear buds
Extension cords
ZipLoc bag with medications 

Things to pack in purse:

Ziplock bag with HandiWipes

Take coat

Take insect repellent 

Things to do:

Get Cash
Make arrangements with Awesome Paws
Make arrangements with Lone Star Pet Lodge
Put key in ZipLoc bag 
Call Ricky about mail
Set up feeding stations for cats
Clean out litter boxes
Remove lift bar & Charge scooter
Check in and print boarding passes

Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Thoughts

     “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth KĂ¼bler-Ross

October Poetry

The harvest moon hangs round and high
It dodges clouds high in the sky,
The stars wink down their love and mirth
The Autumn season is giving birth.
Oh, it must be October
The leaves of red bright gold and brown,
To Mother Earth come tumbling down,
The breezy nights the ghostly sights,
The eerie spooky far off sounds
Are signs that it's October.
The pumpkins yellow,. big and round
Are carried by costumed clumsy clowns
It's Halloween - let's celebrate."
-   Pearl N. Sorrels, It Must be October  

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Cooking — Shrimp Jambalaya

This is a favorite around here. Makes great leftovers.

Shrimp Jambalaya 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces Andouille Sausage
1 onion, chopped fine
1 rib celery, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper,  stemmed, seeded, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes 
1 (8 ounce) can chicken broth
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined 

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the Andouille Sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. 

Add the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook, scrapping up any. Downed bits, until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. 

Stir in rice, salt, and thyme. Add the tomatoes clam juice, broth, and shrimp. Bring to a boil, lower heat to low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let stand for about 10 minutes. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Goals for Week of October 8-14; 2017

     Daily Reading

     Good food


     A Thousand Day’s by Arthur Schlesinger 
     Benjamin Rush: Patriot and Physician by Alan Brodsky
     Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim
     Earthly Remains by Donna Leon

     After the Wildfire: Ten Years of Recovery by John Alcock

     Pancakes and Canadian Bacon
     Shrimp Jambalaya 
     Schwan’s Chicken Lo Mein 
     Schwan’s Beef Stir Fry

     Get ready for trip to Washington, D.C.

October Thoughts

     “When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...” 
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October Poetry

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away."
-   Robert Frost, October

Thursday, October 5, 2017

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent emails to Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am concerned about the Republican tax plan. I want to advocate for poor, hardworking Americans who need cuts more than corporations and people earning over $200,000 per year. Advantages like pass-throughs, estate tax breaks, and write-offs for charitable giving only benefit the most affluent. I expect to see your support for an ethical, fiscally-responsible tax plan that helps our struggling neighbors, not Trump Tower cronies. Thank you.

Sent Thank You to OMB Dir. Mick Mulvaney for his memo reminding senior officials to honor their fiscal responsibility to taxpayers by choosing commercial travel over private charters—even when approved and within the law. I appreciate your respect for hardworking Americans.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling because funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program lapsed this Sunday, Oct 1 which risks leaving 9 million kids without coverage. I expect you to act quickly reauthorize CHIP funding and protect kids’ health!

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent postcards to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cruz and Cornyn:
The president’s bullying of San Juan’s mayor, Carmen YulĂ­n Cruz, on twitter is insensitive, antagonistic, and disgraceful, especially in light of the climbing death toll. I would like you to make a public statement condemning the president’s words and expressing support for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.
P.S. Can you believe he tossed rolls of paper towels to people whose homes had been destroyed?? Just incredible!!

Sent Thank You cards to Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Mark Warner (D-VA):
Thank you for holding Jared Kushner’s feet to the fire on his undisclosed email account. I appreciate your thoroughness and persistence in getting to the bottom of what happened in the 2016 elections, including the role the president’s son in law may have played.

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

I really wanted to love this book but I ended up having very mixed feelings about it.  The history of Burma from just before the Second World War was something I knew little about and today’s headlines about the persecution of the Rohingya people piqued my interest. It gets off to an interesting, well-written start so I thought it was going to be a real 5 Star. Soon, though, I was slogging my way through overthought out, over written introspective prose. Every page has endless description of every facial expression and thought and every change of thought and every thought about the thought. A second and equal problem, perhaps more irritating, is that there is no ending. After three hundred pages with these people, it just ends. No epilogue to explain what happened to this family that you've learned so much about and grew to care about. Most unsatisfactory end. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

September Life Around OakMeadows

Yes, this life form is here too. 

September Life Around OakMeadows 

     Ruby-throated Hummingbirds 
     Barn Swallows 
     Red-tailed Hawk
     Collared Doves 
     White-winged Doves
     Mourning Doves 
     Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 
     Black Vulture 
     Black Swallowtail 
     Gulf Fritillary 
     Giant Swallowtail 
     Little Sulphur 
     Red Admiral 
     Painted Lady
     American Snout 
     Eastern Pondhawk 
     Blue Darter 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017


Podcasts ( in no particular order) that I like:

Audio Dharma
An Organic Conversation 
KEXP Presents Mind over Matter
PRI: Living in EarthMSNBC Rachel Maddow 
The Book Review
Open Source
The Frontline Dispatch
Right, Left, Center
Stay Tuned
Pod Save America
Fresh Air
Climate One
TED Radio Hour
Nature Podcast
The Atheist Experience
Tara Brach 
Stuff You Missed in History
Hidden Brain
Planet Money

I can always find something interesting to listen to from this selection. I’m sure there are others that I haven’t come across. If you have a favorite, please let me know. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows 

Good news and awful news. First the awful news. 

Another mass shooting and the NRA lobbies for silencers. Maybe the next mass murder will at least be quieter. I’m so annoyed by this nation that I’ll say no more. 

Good news: I have discovered podcasts and Stitcher. Probably old news to many but new to me.  I’ve been listening to individual podcasts but since discovering the app for Stitcher, I’ve found many interesting podcasts and a simple way to keep them in one place.  If you like podcasts, give Stitcher a try. 

That’s all the news from OakMeadows where the cats have decided to let the dog live and the people are wondering when we will stop the madness. 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October Menu

October Menu

1.  Slow Cooker Beef
2.  Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
3.  Chicken-Rice Bake
4.  Steak, GMP, Peas
5.  Leftovers  
6.  Out
7.  Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
8.  Pancakes and Canadian Bacon 
9.  Shrimp Jambalaya 
10. Chicken Tenders, Beans, Coleslaw 
11. Meatloaf, GMP, GB
12. Leftovers 
13. Out
14. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
15. Slow Cooker Chicken
16. Tuna Salad Sandwiches 
17. Schwan's Chicken
18. Pizza
19. Leftovers 
20. Out
21. Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon 
22. Potato Soup
23. Baked Fish, Beans, Coleslaw 
24. Schwan's Pot Pie
25. Spaghetti and Meatballs 
26. Leftovers 
27. Out
28. CB Hash CSC
29. Schwan's Beef Stir Fry 
30. Fried Shrimp, Oven Fries, Coleslaw 
31. Stuffed Wieners, Corn

Saturday, September 30, 2017

October Thoughts

    “A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.” 
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

September Poetry

"The breezes taste  
Of apple peel.  
The air is full  
Of smells to feel-  
Ripe fruit, old footballs,  
Burning brush,  
New books, erasers,  
Chalk, and such.  
The bee, his hive,  
Well-honeyed hum,  
And Mother cuts  
Like plates washed clean  
With suds, the days  
Are polished with  
A morning haze.  "  -  John Updike, September

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Goals for the Week of October 1 - 6, 2017

     Daily Reading

     Eat good food
     Drink lots of water

Quilting - Borders on Quilt 

     A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger 
     John Adams by David McCullough 
     Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

     Saturday- Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
     Sunday- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
     Monday- Baked Fish, Potatoes, Corn
     Tuesday- Chicken Tenders, Beans, Coleslaw 
     Wednesday- Steak, GMP, Peas
     Thursday- Leftovers 

     Yard work
     Autumn door wreath & decorations 
     Quarterly Chores

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent email to Senators Cornyn and Cruz:

I was sorry to see that the House passed a pro-lobbyist bill, the EPA Reform Act, which has now been sent to the Senate. The Union of Concerned Scientists opposes this bill. Please do not empower lobbyists and let big money shape environmental policy. Vote against this bill. 

Sent Thank You to Jimmy Kimmel:
Thank you for using your position and influence to spotlight the healthcare crises so many Americans face and for challenging our elected officials to do better. Even though you didn't have to. I'm glad you did. Thank you.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling to ask you to support a clean Dream Act that gives permanent legal status to DACA recipients without attaching funding for a ridiculous border wall. Please co-sponsor S. 1615 (Senate) / H.R. 3440 (House).

Sent Thank You to Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for supporting an amendment to continue funding the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. I especially appreciate your bipartisan collaboration and advocacy for our planet and people.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called offices of Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
Please reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program before funding lapses on September 30th. Millions of children rely on this funding. This is not the time to be angling for for partisan policy riders. We need a clean reauthorization of CHIP.

Sent Thank You to Senator John McCain:
Thank You for your opposition to the Graham-Cassidy travesty. I appreciate your advocating (once again) for bipartisanship and democratic principles in deciding the fate of health care in our country. Thank you for your courageous leadership.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent emails to President Trump, Rep Pete Olson, and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
Stop the insanity. 
Get us out of Afghanistan now!
2017 not 2027 or 2037. Now!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Flowers Around OakMeadows

Over the years we have planted flowers for our butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. These don't bloom at the same so that there is usually something blooming. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Around OakMeadows

JMM and Angie change the oil in the mower. 

Around OakMeadows
     It has been hot and humid but that is only to be expected for mid-September.  The big weather news is the number and strength of hurricanes this year.  We had Harvey here on the Texas Gulf Coast and that was bad enough but Irma created havoc in Florida and now Maria is destroying Puerto Rico. And now Mexico City is digging out from a major earthquake. It's been a month of disasters. We are fortunate not to have been harmed by it so far. 

      All the hurricanes have me planning to purchase a propane generator. My thought is that if we survive the hurricane, we still have to endure a week of no electricity. With a gasoline generator, you are in need of gasoline at the very time that all the gas stations are closed because they have no electricity to run the pumps even if they have gas. Since we have a huge propane tank anyway, that seems a better solution. 
     I wish you could see all the hummingbirds we have been feeding as they migrate through. We have two feeders hanging on the back porch. With twenty or more hummingbirds at the time, some days we needed two cups of sugar water every eight hours. It has slowed down the past few days to about six birds each day. 

      I have one Quilt top and backing ready to take in for machine quilting.  In addition, I am working on another quilt top using fabric from my scrap box. I'm not sure what to do with the scrap quilts. I have plenty. I am thinking about sending them to Jon Katz's nursing home for the residents at The Mansion. Or I may give one to each of my housecleaners and one to Earlene, our mailman. Not sure. 

     This afternoon I made the October budget. Finances are going to be tight because I am paying $1100/month to get the flooring paid off, car insurance of $700 is due in October, and I need to save $1000 each month to pay the property taxes when they are due in January. In addition to that we will be going to visit DDin Washington, D.C. in October but since I have already paid the airfare and room rate, all I need is money for eating out. 

      Angie has fitted her little spirit right in with us. It is so surprising because I had no intention of getting another animal companion and certainly not a dog. But we are just crazy about her.  Even the. Cats have decided not to kill her.

    Well, the budget went to hell in a handbasket as they say. JMM broke a crown and it will cost $1200 to get it fixed. That's why I keep an emergency fund. This definitely is an emergency. He has a temporary crown now and will get the permanent one in 3 weeks. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

September Cooking -- Hummus

Hummus -- from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.  

1 can (about 16 ounces) chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid), rinsed, and patted dry 2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and chopped
 ⅓ cup well-stirred tahini 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste About ½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional) Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor and whir until smooth. With the machine running, add some of the reserved chickpea liquid a little at a time until the hummus is a nice thick, scoopable texture—you'll probably need about 4 tablespoons of liquid. Add the cumin, if you'd like, tasting to get the amount you want, then season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice, if you think it needs it. Scoop the hummus into a bowl or refrigerator container, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and chill until serving time. (The hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.) When you're ready to serve, taste again for salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

You can make your own "house hummus" by adding chopped roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, garlic (raw or roasted), spices, herbs, or the same vegetables, chopped, that you might want to use as scoops.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

September Thoughts

“If thou thinkest twice, before thou speakest once, thou wilt speak twice the better for it.”
Benjamin Franklin 

September Poetry

"Departing summer hath assumed  
An aspect tenderly illumed,  
The gentlest look of spring;  
That calls from yonder leafy shade  
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,  
A timely carolling."  
-  William Wordsworth, September

Friday, September 22, 2017

Goals for the Week of September 24 - 30, 2017

     Daily Reading
     Daily Meditation

     Cut down sugar

Quilting-- Borders for Quilt

     A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger

     John Adams by David McCullough
      Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

     Saturday -- CB Hash, CSC
Sunday-- Veggie Soup
Monday-- Schwan's Shrimp, Potatoes, Coleslaw 
Tuesday -- Schwan's Chicken Pot Pies 
Wednesday -- Spaghetti and Meatballs 
Thursday-- Leftovers 
Friday -- Out  
    Monday- JMM to dentist
    Henry - vet for immunizations
    Friday - Quarterly Chores
    Monday - make arrangements for animals during our trip next month

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Pete Olson to express my enthusiasm for weekend voting. It increases participation, allows working people to access the polls more easily, and reflects 21st century needs. I would like Congressman Olson to support H.R. 1094, the Weekend Voting Act.

Sent Thank You to Herbert Slatery, TN Attorney General for abandoning a lawsuit to sunset the DACA program. I appreciate that you see the real lives behind the labels and want to see young immigrants protected, rather than deported. Thank you for your leadership. 

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.

Sent postcards to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
We support Medicare for All Americans!! You should too!!

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent card to 60 Minutes opposing their decision to give airtime to white supremacist, Steve Bannon. 

Sent cards to President Trump, Rep. Pete Olson, and Senators Cornyn and Cruz: Stop the interminable wars in the Middle East. 16 years is enough; we don't want another 16 years. 

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz: I approve of the special counsel investigation into Russia ties, and would like you to support two pieces of legislation that protect Robert Mueller from presidential dismissal. S. 1735 (sponsored by Sen. Graham) and S. 1741 (by Sen. Tillis). Please use your influence to spark action on these stalled bills. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Proving Ground by Peter Blauner

Proving Ground by Peter Blauner

Proving Ground by Peter Blauner is a relentless thriller about an ex GI, Natty Dresden , who comes home to find his liberal father David has been murdered. He desperately wants to find the killer but he has his own problems to deal with as well. He's got terrible dreams of killing a kid in Iraq and he fades in and out of reality. Drinking doesn't help and he almost kills a firefighter in a brawl. Meanwhile, the book's second narrator Lourdes , is a female cop who is also looking for David Dresden's killer. There is another story which works into all this, David Dresden was suing the government in The Mailman Case, which has to do with terrorism. Did the FBI have him knocked off? David is in no shape to take all this on but does anyway, and we go with him on this dark ride. It's a really well written novel, with great lines, and subtle observations. A very literary thriller, which substitutes brains and insight for loud explosions. 
This is the first in a series. I look forward to the next one.