Saturday, February 17, 2018

Around OakMeadows

Duffy prepares to help me piece my quilt blocks. 

Around OakMeadows 

Good news: JMM did the income tax and we are getting a refund.  Our income tax is incredibly simple to do these days: 2 Social Security statements, 2 Fidelity 1099Rs, and one Primeway 1099I. Download TurboTax and plug in the numbers, file electronically. And we get a nice refund. Yea!

I am perking right along on my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt top. I think it will look very nice. Probably going to send it to my niece, Brenda. 

Lots of good reading: Finished Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen Ambrose. It was just excellent. I especially enjoyed and learned so much about his Presidency, some good, some not so good things.  Now I am reading Madison Park by Eric Motley.  It is a memoir of his growing up in Madison Park, Alabama which was and still is an all black community founded just after the civil war by freed slaves.  Excellent.  And finally, I am reading my every other year Danielle Steele novel where the distressed damsel finds her way through difficult times. Reading D.S. is like eating chocolate covered cherries— good in moderation.  

It is unseasonably warm here.  In fact, I have the air-conditioning on. Last night, I didn’t sleep well because of the warm, humid air even with the fan on, it was just too muggy to sleep.  



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥


đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I’m calling about the US Dept. of Health and Human Services new division that condones discrimination against our own citizens. The denial of medical treatment is unconscionable and risks our neighbors’ lives. I don’t want providers who discriminate to receive governmental compensation. I oppose religion based discrimination. 

Thank You note to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) 
Thank You for your commitment to bipartisanship and dialog. I’m especially grateful for your recent efforts to gather senators of both parties and find a solution to keep 800,000 Dreamers stateside. In times of increasing polarization, your leadership is even more remarkable. Thank you.
Address: 68 Sewall Street, Room 507, Augusta, ME 04330

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥ 

Emailed Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I’m concerned about the president’s anti-immigrant agenda. People who immigrate to the U.S. from other countries bring new jobs, create new business, and enrich our communities. I want you to support the Dream Act (S.1615/H.R. 3440), family unification, and no funding for a wasteful wall or surplus border staffing. Thank you.


Thank You note to Sheriff Stacey A. Kincaid (D-VA):
Thank You for terminating an agreement with ICE to hold inmates beyond the duration of their jail sentences to enable possible deportation. I am also grateful that ICE must now produce a court-issued criminal detainer to hold any person. I appreciate your decision to respect and protect the precious few rights of undocumented people. 
Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22030

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I’m calling about The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). I can’t understand why Mick Mulvaney would dismantle an agency that has given $12 billion in restitution to 29 million consumers in 6 years. I expect my government to protect me and my neighbors from predatory and discriminatory lenders. So, I am asking you for two things. First, I would like you to hold Mr. Mulvaney accountable for this failure to protect consumers. Second, when S. 2155 goes to the floor, I would like them to oppose it. Dodd-Frank protects Americans. Thank you.

Thank you note to Senator Lindsey Graham:
Thank You for opposing Stephen Miller’s role in the negotiations over immigration and working in a bipartisan way. Thank you.
Address: 508 Hampton Street, Suite 202, Columbia, SC 29201

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Postcard to HHS Secretary Azar:
HHS Secretary, Dept. Health & Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Sec. Azar, I’m writing about Scott Lloyd, Director of Refugee Resettlement. Any person who blocks women’s access to legal abortion and legal council does not respect the law. His attempts to intervene during one woman’s abortion is outrageous and unacceptable. Please show common decency and dismiss Scott Lloyd. Thank you.

Thank you notes to:
Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 
Thank You for seeing through the RAISE Family Caregivers Act that the president recently signed into law. Thank you for addressing the needs of caregivers, along with aging people and people with disabilities who receive care and want to stay in their own homes.
Address (SC): 68 Sewall Street, Room 507, Augusta, ME 04330
Address (TB): 633 W. Wisconsin Ave, Suite 1920, Milwaukee, WI 53203

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥đŸ”¥

Email to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross:
A citizenship question on the 2020 Census is unreasonable. Your reasoning for it is a thinly-veiled re-wording of the president’s unfounded claims about fraudulent voting by undocumented people. Mr. Ross, citizenship data is already collected by the American Community Survey. Changing the Census will cost the American taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars and create measurably worse results. It will deny countless people appropriate representation in Congress. Beyond pleasing the president, no agenda could be worth spending money on duplicate work, especially while basic funding and leadership needs in the Census Bureau go unmet. Reconsider. Thank you.

Thank you note to Senators John McCain and Chris Coons:
Thank you for developing a bipartisan immigration bill that protects Dreamers without funding a wall. I appreciate your bipartisanship and standing up for our neighbors. Thank you.
Address (JM): 2201 East Camelback Road Suite 115, Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Address: (CC): 1105 North Market Street, Suite 100, Wilmington, DE 19801

Sunday, February 11, 2018

February Thoughts

"The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size."
-  Gertrude S. Wister

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February Poetry

"I stood beside a hill
Smooth with new-laid snow,
A single star looked out
From the cold evening glow.

There was no other creature
That saw what I could see--
I stood and watched the evening star
As long as it watched me."
-  Sara Teasdale, February Twilight  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Around OakMeadows

30 Blocks cut out for my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt. 

I did not sleep well last night.  Cats kept waking me up and then I couldn’t go back to sleep. Anyway, thank goodness for podcasts and books on Hoopla so that I have something to listen to during the sleepless time. I did take a nap this afternoon and that really helped. 

I started piecing the first two blocks of my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt. More accurately, I figured out the procedure for the piecing and marked the first two blocks. Doesn’t look too difficult. (Famous last words.)

I am reading Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen Ambrose.  Although Harry Truman was President until I was 5 years old, Eisenhower is the first President that I remember. And I remember feeling so secure in my childhood that I think of him with great admiration and respect.  I must admit being disappointed in two areas: his refusal to disavow McCarthy and his lack of interest in Civil Rights. I suppose he was a person of his time and that must be taken into consideration. 

It has been unusually warm the past few days. I have the bedroom windows open and am listening to frogs singing.  It has been very overcast and tomorrow there is a good chance of rain.  Fortunately, we don’t have to go anywhere.  


My new electric blanket was delivered today and it is even better than the old one. It is lighter and softer.  I have it on the bed though I won’t need it tonight.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Around OakMeadows


This morning JMM and I went in to TSO for our annual eye exams. We both needed both new lenses and new frames. The new frames are needed because the frames of both of our “back-up” pairs of glasses broke this year.  $420 for two pairs of glasses with new frames is about what I had anticipated.  We’ve been going to the same eye doctor for the last 12 years so he knows us quite well. He noted that I am developing cataracts but I do not yet need cataract surgery. Good. 

I have finished cutting out the pieces for the 30 blocks for my next quilt. Next I can start piecing the blocks. Duffy, of course, was on the table supervising.

I finished reading Saving Tarboo Creek by Scott Freeman. I thoroughly enjoyed it. In these days of environmental degradation, I found it soothing to read about a family and their dedication to restoring a piece of the earth. 


I am having a difficult time adjusting to life without my sweet Misty. She was my sleeping partner. And her usual place of residence was either on my bed or in my closet and I am still unsettled when I see that she is not there.  

Saturday, February 3, 2018

February Thoughts

"Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow."
-  R. H. Newell

Friday, February 2, 2018

February Poetry


"Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow?
'Twas sweet, but neither sun nor wind
Could raise my spirit so.

Was it some feeling of delight,
All vague and undefined?
No, 'twas a rapture deep and strong,
Expanding in the mind!"
-  Anne Bronte, In Memory of A Happy Day in February

Plans for the Week of February 4-10, 2018

Personal
     Monday - Eye Exam 
     Thursday- Haircut
     Friday - Lunch with PWCB

Reading
     Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen Ambrose
     Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell 
     Grant by Ron Chernow 
     Saving Tarboo Creek by Scott Freeman 

Cooking
     Saturday— Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries 
     Sunday-- Chicken-Sausage Casserole
     Monday-- Baked Fish, Potatoes, Coleslaw 
     Tuesday -- Schwan’s 
     Wednesday -- Steak, Rice Pilaf, GB
     Thursday-- Leftovers 
     Friday -- Out
Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake
     
Quilting
     Finish cutting out 30 blocks for my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt

Thursday, February 1, 2018

RIP, My Sweet Misty



I have left you now, but please don't be sad,
you gave me all the love you had.
You did so much for me in my time here
and I'll always hold those precious times near.

I know someday you'll find love again
and into your life will come a new friend.
Your heart will heal, though you'll never forget
memories like the first time we met.

Memories are wonderful, so keep them close
and remember all the good times the most.
Up in the Heaven for animals is where I'll be
and someday in the future, each other we'll see.

I am at PEACE now, so please don't be sad
You gave me all the love you had.


Ilene Debra Brandt

Monday, January 29, 2018

Plans for 2018 — January Update

Plans for 2018 — January Update

1. Learn to make Sourdough Bread. Nothing done. 

2. Learn to make something with Butternut Squash. (Mostly this means learning how to  get into it.) — Nothing done. 

3. Make 2 Scrap Quilts and 1 from new material. — Finished 1 Scrap Quilt. Started cutting out Dutch Churn and Dash Quilt. 

4. Read 52 books — 6 books read. 

5. Trips:
     A. Big Bend National Park
     B. National Butterfly Center 
     C. National Gallery — Planned trip canceled due to blizzard. Rescheduled for March. 
     D. Pawhuska, OK to see PW’s Merc

6. Home Improvements — Nothing done. 
     A. New Stovetop 
     B. New living room furniture 

7. Expand Butterfly garden — Nothing done. 

8. Work on Political campaigns for House and Senate — Continuing đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥ and sent contribution to Beto O’Rourke for Senate. 

9. Self Improvement — on track. 
     None. I’m fine. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Thoughts


It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” 
― Dale Carnegie

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Around OakMeadows

Bandit, King of the Kitchen

Around OakMeadows 

My electric mobility scooter (Rocinante) died. RIP dear Roci.  She was making squealing, grinding noises so we called the scooter doctor who gave us an estimate of what it would cost to have her repaired. Of course, it would cost more to fix her (replace her motor) than it would cost to buy a new scooter. So I bought a new scooter. It is nice but it just isn’t the same. Rocinante was big and comfortable and had a big basket and was high enough off the ground that I could easily go out under the oak trees to feed and water the birds. She had 4 wheels and was steady as a rock. I have forbidden JMM to discard her as a might have her repaired just because. 

I hope I am not jinxing this but so far we have escaped the flu.  So many people are down with it. Kids, parents, teens, and elders all miserably sick. Tamiflu is supposed to help if you start it with 48 hours of getting sick but I tend to be in denial for the first 48 hours when I get sick and then you have to deal with making an appointment to see the doctor, getting to the office and then the pharmacy, getting back home all the while spreading the virus everywhere. Anyway, so far, so good. 

I have begun cutting out my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt. It will be a twin size quilt — 30 blocks. I have 14 blocks cut out so far. It is blues and yellows. 

We went to see The Post. It was excellent!! Meryl Streep doesn’t just act, it is more like her body is inhabited by the character that she is playing.  

Hope everyone stays warm and well. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

January Thoughts



“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” 
― Marcel Proust

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Plans for the Week of January 21-27, 2018


Reading
     Summer for the Gods by Edward Larson
     Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen Ambrose
     Year One by Nora Roberts 
     Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass 
     Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell 

Cooking
     Saturday -- Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon, Biscuits
     Sunday-- Slow Cooker Beef
     Monday-- Baked Fish, Coleslaw, Oven Fries
     Tuesday -- Schwan’s 
     Wednesday -- Spaghetti and Meatballs 
     Thursday-- Leftovers 
     Friday -- Out
     CC Cookies

Quilting 
     Cut out 10 more blocks for my Dutch Churn and Dash quilt

Personal
     Housecleaners on Wednesday 
     Movie — The Post

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥


đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to AG Bob Ferguson
Thank You for investigating Motel 6’s practice of reporting guest names to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Companies that discriminate based on race should be held accountable. I appreciate your initiative on behalf of equality for all people. Thank you.
Address: PO Box 40100, Olympia, WA  98504-0100

Wrote to House Committee on House Administration leadership
Gregg Harper, 2227 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
Robert Brady, 2004 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515
I’m a voter from Texas writing to express my enthusiasm for weekend voting which reflects 21st-century Americans’ needs and increases participation. I would like you to use your position on the House Administration committee to bring the Weekend Voting Act (H.R.1094) to a vote. Thank you.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to Senator Susan Collins:
Thank you for your cooperation in creating The RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Families everywhere congratulate you on its passage in both houses. Thank you!!

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to Senator Tammy Baldwin:
Thank you for your cooperation in creating The RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Families everywhere congratulate you on its passage in both houses. Thank you!!

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am concerned about the president’s wasteful and unAmerican policies concerning immigrants. It’s wasteful to build a 350-mile, $18 billion wall with taxpayer dollars and entice new border agents with higher wages while lowering employment standards. People who immigrate to the U.S. from other countries bring new jobs, create new business, and enrich our communities. I want you to support a clear path to citizenship, starting with the bipartisan and clean Dream Act (S.1615/H.R. 3440). Thank you. 

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to Rep. Gregg Harper: 
Thank you for your cooperation in creating The RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Families everywhere congratulate you on its passage in both houses. Thank you!!

Emailed Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I would like for you to make a public statement opposing the president’s comments regarding Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. Some of your constituents are from or descended from these places and would appreciate knowing that you welcome them.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to Rep.Kathy Castor:
Thank you for your cooperation in creating The RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Families everywhere congratulate you on its passage in both houses. Thank you!!

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling about protecting the vote. Our democracy is a sitting duck if we don’t protect ourselves from Russia-linked groups actively hacking the Senate and seeking to control our midterm elections. Time is short. I would like you to make election security a priority, especially by co-sponsoring the bipartisan Secure Elections Act [S.2261] that allows states to assess their risks and implement proven measures that protect the integrity of our vote.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Around OakMeadows

Fabric for my next Quilt.  

Last Friday morning I got a reminder of just how fast everything can change. My husband got out of bed and slipped on a pair of socks on the floor. He tried to catch himself but fell, hitting his knee, elbow, and head. He came into the kitchen where I was and looked lost, like he knew he was supposed to be in the kitchen but couldn’t think what he was supposed to do there.  He said that he must have passed out and fell and hit his head but he had no memory of it. I thought he may have experienced orthostatic hypotension so I took his blood pressure which was essentially normal. What was not normal was his memory which was definitely impaired. His short term memory was just not functioning. He had no memory of the fall, no memory of coming into the kitchen, and would repeat the same questions over and over with no memory of asking them or my answers. Gradually, over about an hour, his short term memory returned although he still doesn’t remember anything about the fall or the following half hour. Fortunately, he didn’t break any bones or suffer any permanent brain injury. Things can change in an instant. 

Today we are having an ice storm. All the bushes and trees are covered with ice and we even have icicles on the eves of the house.  Much of Texas is simply closed down, schools, government offices, most businesses are closed and everyone is encouraged to stay off the icy roads. The people up north laugh at us but we really have no experience driving on ice.  

We had lunch yesterday with DD and DSIL at House of Pies before she had to go back to Washington, D.C.  It’s a good thing she left yesterday because so many flights have been canceled today.  It was a pleasant lunch and I am overwhelmed with how much I love them.  

Speaking of Washington, we are all wondering if the government will run out of money and shut down and if so, for how long.  There is so much that needs to be done but all they want to do is bicker.  All I can say is that the mid-term election can’t come soon enough!! 

That’s all the news from OakMeadows where the cats are firmly attached to the electric blankets and the people are just as firmly under the electric blankets. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

January Thoughts




“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.” 
― John Lennon

January Poetry

"Rain and wind, and wind and rain.
Will the Summer come again?
Rain on houses, on the street,
Wetting all the people's feet,
Though they run with might and main.
Rain and wind, and wind and rain.

Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.
Will the Winter never go?
What do beggar children do
With no fire to cuddle to,
Perhaps with nowhere warm to go?
Snow and sleet, and sleet and snow.

Hail and ice, and ice and hail,
Water frozen in the pail.
See the robins, brown and red,
They are waiting to be fed.
Poor dears, battling in the gale!
Hail and ice, and ice and hail." 
-  Katherine Mansfield, Winter Song 

Plans for the Week of January 14-20, 2018


Monday — Lunch with T&C 
Tuesday — Mani/Pedi
Friday — Lunch with P&W&C&B 
(I seem to be quite the ladyof leisure this week!!)

Reading
Summer for the Gods by Edward Larson (JMM and I are reading this aloud to each other. It is taking forever and I am more than ready to move on tosomething else!)
Eisenhower: Soldier and President by Stephen Ambrose
Day One by Nora Roberts (Just started. So far, so good)
I just finished two excellent books and I am planning to write reviews for both of them next week. 

Quilting 
I finished the top and backing for my Scrap Quilt. I must call Karen and set up a time to take it to her for machine quilting. 
I have the fabric and pattern for my next quilt which will be a Dutch Churn pattern in blues and yellows.  

Cooking
Saturday -- Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
Sunday-- King Ranch Casserole, Salad
Monday-- House of Pies
Tuesday -- Chicken Tenders, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
Wednesday -- Schwan’s 
Thursday-- Leftovers 
Friday -- Out
Brownie

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥


đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent Postcards to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am concerned about the numerous and credible allegations of sexual assault by the president. I would like the Justice Department to lead an investigation into his conduct. 

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I’m calling about the nomination of Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the US District Court. His history of defending voter suppression and targeting minority voters makes him unfit for this position. I would like the Senato to oppose Farr’s appointment. 

Sent contribution to Beto O’Rourke campaign. 

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Emails to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am concerned about the president’s demand for an $18 billion wall in exchange for protecting DACA youth. I want to be clear: his idea is wasteful, ineffective, and offensive to American values. I want you to refuse fund any aggressive immigration tactic including a wall, 10,000 new ICE agents, and more stringent asylum requirements in exchange for Dreamers’ futures.

Thank you note to Senator Dianne Feinstein:
Thank You for calling Dan Scavino for an interview about communications with Russia. I appreciate your pursuit of truth through the Senate Judiciary Committee in spite of Chairman Grassley’s lack of meaningful focus. History will look kindly on you for seeking accountability. Thank you.
Address: 11111 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 915, Los Angeles, CA 90025

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
It appears the president has renominated  Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the US District Court. His history of defending voter suppression and targeting minority voters makes him unfit for this position. I would like the Senate to conduct a second hearing and for you to  oppose Farr’s appointment. Thanks.

Thank you note to Rep. Ro Khanna:
Thank You for calling for limits on the president’s powers to initiate a nuclear attack. Requiring congressional approval can make Americans safer. Thank you for your leadership.
Address: 900 Lafayette Street, Suite 206, Santa Clara, CA 95050-4966

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham


This well researched book on the personal relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill was hard to put down. The friendship, however, did not get off to an auspicious start.  In 1918 Churchill and Roosevelt met at a dinner at Gray’s Inn. Roosevelt that thought Churchill was “a Stinker” and Churchill didn’t remember Roosevelt at all. Both men were complex, vain, thoroughly political, but motivated by love of country and early on recognized the evil of Hitler and the Nazis. 
Meacham argues that personal bonds between leaders are crucial to international politics. Using diaries and letters to describe a complicated relationship. Churchill paints a landscape for the President, sings for him, and agonizes when his notes go unanswered; Roosevelt teases him in front of Stalin, criticizes him to reporters, and eventually develops a diverging vision of the postwar world. But Churchill never gives up. Their friendship lasted throughout the war until Roosevelt’s death shortly before the victory in Europe. An excellent book to learn about this remarkable pair of two of the twentieth century’s greatest men. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year Begins



Last night the fireworks in the subdivision was the worst it has ever been.  We have learned to have all the cats safely inside well before it gets dark. My poor Bandit is very frightened by the noise and flashes.  I let him stay right with me most of the night but neither of us got much sleep until 3 am.  Needless to say, after getting the morning work done, I took a nap.  

It is unusually cold here this week.  Highs around 40 and lows 21-25.  JMM brought all the plants inside.  Of course, these temperatures can’t compare to what much of the north is encountering. I truly have begun to understand why people retire to Arizona. 

I am almost finished with Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Friendship by Jon Meacham. It is excellent. I hadn’t realized just how many times during the war that they were together.  I wish I could say I was enjoying One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as much but I am not. 

I finished putting the backing for my Scrap Quilt together. I will call Karen Shively tomorrow about having it machine quilted. That will be Quilt #1 for 2018.  I want to make one more Scrap Quilt and one Quilt Kit. 


I hope we all stay healthy and safe in 2018.