Sunday, June 29, 2014

Menu for July

July Menu

1.  Refried bean spread and flour tortillas, Veggie tray
2.  Cutlets, GMP, and Green beans
3.  Leftovers
4.  Olive Garden
5.  Corned beef/Baby Swiss on rye sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray 
6.  Scholtzsky's 
7.  Baked fish, Carrots, Corn/Cabbage
8.  Chicken salad
9.  Beef
10. Leftovers
11. Texas Roadhouse
12. Turkey/Baby Swiss on sourdough sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
13. Schlotzsky's 
14. Black Bean Soup
15. Chicken
16. Beef
17. Leftovers
18. Luby's
19. Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
20. Schlotzsky's 
21. Shrimp Jambalaya
22. Chicken
23. Beef
24. Leftovers
25. Gringo's
26. Bacon sandwiches, Oven fries, Veggie tray
27. Schlotzsky's 
28. Tuna sandwiches 
29. Chicken
30. Spaghetti and Meatballs, Green beans
31. Leftovers

Sunday Evening Chit Chat

This is a meme from 

Watching?  I'm not watching anything right now but yesterday we went to see Jersey Boys and I loved it!! It was the soundtrack of my youth. 

Reading?  I am currently reading The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is an excellent history of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  She is an excellent historian and I have loved everything by her that I have read. 

Listening to? Barn swallows chattering on the back porch where they are nesting with 3 ravenous babies. 

Cooking/Baking? Sunday is my usual day off from cooking. 

Enjoyed over the last week? Had lunch with extended family at a wonderful seafood place right on the water--watched the shrimp boats and pelicans. 

Thankful for today? Air-conditioning--It is 93 degrees and 90% humidity. Ack!

Happy you accomplished this week? Finished quilting Block #8 on the baby quilt. One more block and then the borders. 

Thinking about financially? Tomorrow is the end of the month and the end of the quarter so lots of financial stuff tomorrow.  

Meditation July 1


The truth will make you free, but first it will piss you off. 
Gloria Steinem

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday Poetry


An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night. 
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone. 
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn. 

Paul Lawrence Dunbar, 1895

Friday, June 27, 2014

Goals for Next Week and How I Did Last Week

Last week was not one of my better weeks at actually getting things done. Here's how I did:

Goals for Week Ending Saturday, June 27, 2014

1.  Spiritual
     Daily Reading--done. 
     ABF/Church--not done. 

2. Physical
     Healthy breakfasts and Snacks--done. 
     Exercise 6 days--done only 4 days. 

3. Quilting:  Block #8--done. 

4.  Reading
     All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Finished. Excellent. 
     Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff. Finished. Excellent. 
     Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. --Not finished. Returned to library. 

 5.  Cooking
      Slow Cooker Chicken Bouillabaisse--not done. Made quick Macaroni & Cheese instead on "one of those days."
      Spaghetti and Meatballs--done. 

6.  Make reservations for trip to Yosemite. In process of getting everyone's decision on dates. Progress. 

7.  Look into making prints of door photos made in Rome. Waiting on JMM to make prints. No progress. 

8.  Make appointments to get estimates for exterior house painting. I joined Angie's list and found house painters to interview. Progress. 

OK, let's see if we can do better this week:

Goals for Week Ending Saturday, July 5, 2014

1.  Spiritual
     Daily Reading

2. Physical
     Healthy breakfasts and Snacks
     Exercise 6 days

3. Quilting:  Block #9

4.  Reading
     Fat Chance by Robert Lustig
     The Guns at Last Light by Rick Atkinson
     Symbiotic Planet by Lynn Margulis

 5.  Cooking
      Cutlets, GMP, Green beans
      Baked fish, Oven roasted carrots/thyme, corn on the cob
      Refried beans, flour tortillas, veggie tray
6.  Make reservations for trip to Yosemite. At least make a decision on dates!

7.  Look into making prints of door photos made in Rome. Waiting on JMM to make prints. Nag JMM.

8.  Make appointments to get estimates for exterior house painting.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

Here in Houston, when there is a wreck on the freeway, traffic slows down on both sides as other drivers take a look at the wreckage, wreckers, police, and ambulances; this is commonly referred to as "rubber-necking."  While reading this book, that's what I felt like I was doing--getting a long look into a real wreck. 

To an average educated, professional person the wreck that is Detroit is just incomprehensible.   It is hard to comprehend the despair, hopelessness, and outright depravity of some of the people who survive in today's Detroit.  It is hard to grasp the degree of corruption in the city structure.  It is also hard to understand why the author chose to bring his wife and daughter back to live in his hometown, Detroit. 

It is a fascinating, horrifying study in urban collapse. If it had been written by a less brilliant writer, it wouldn't have been worth reading. But it was so well written that it pulls you into the place and you feel the hurt and the fear and the frustration.  A hard book to read, a hard book to put down.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Matagorda County Birding Sanctuary

Go in the cool, early morning. Just Lovely.

Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake

         Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake


1 ½ cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup oil
1 ¾ cups applesauce
3 eggs
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 inch pan with non-stick spray.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into a large bowl.

Add applesauce, oil, and eggs beating at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in raisins and nuts.

Turn into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cool before frosting.


Cream Cheese Frosting 

½ cup butter
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 lb box powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Make your own Bible.  Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings that have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, June 20, 2014

Saturday Poetry

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.  

Let the crickets take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come. 

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn. 

Let the fox go back to her sandy den. 
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come. 

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop 
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come. 

Let it come, as it will, and don't 
be afraid. God does not leave me
comfortless, so let evening come. 

Jane Kenyon, 1990

Goals for Next Week


Goals for Week Ending Saturday, June 27, 2014

1.  Quilting
     Block #8

2.  Reading
     All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 
     Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff. 
     Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. 

 3.  Cooking
      Slow Cooker Chicken Bouillabaisse 
      Spaghetti and Meatballs

4. Make reservations for trip to Yosemite. 

5.  Look into making prints of door photos made in Rome. 

6.  Make appointments to get estimates for exterior house painting. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Can there be anyone who is surprised at the growing chaos in Iraq?  I won't even try to sort out the various Sunni versus Shia hostilities.  When the U.S. pulled out both Joe and I wondered how long it would be before there would be a sectarian civil war.  The surprise has been that it didn't start earlier. I understand that the President has ordered 300 additional troops to secure American interests, i.e., the American Embassy. Good luck to them. I wonder if we will have another rooftop evacuation from the Embassy. As far as I can think, the only possible solution would be to break Iraq into 3 independent areas: the Kurds in the north, the Sunni in the center, and the Shia in the South and East.  We shall see.  

The same thing will happen as soon as we pull out of Afghanistan. 

What a tremendous loss of time, money, and lives.  It is my opinion, we should stop with the military intervention here, there, and everywhere.  I have no objections to humanitarian aid such as medical clinics or educational programs. But we are not the military police for the globe, besides we have enough needs not being taken care of right here in the United States. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I Shall not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish

This is a difficult book to read, to think about, and to write about.  I am a well-educated professional woman and it was like a bucket of cold water being poured over my head to realize how ignorant I was concerning the Palestinians, their history, and their living conditions. 

There are so many things about Dr. Abuelaish's life that are just inconceivable. He was born in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip into grinding poverty that to the average person is just inconceivable.  Through work, luck, and determination that the only way out of the poverty and the only way to help the Palestinian people was through education. He determined early on to study medicine. Encouragement from teachers and his mother helped fuel his determination. He graduated from the University of Cairo with a medical degree. 

The book presents the daily frustrations and humiliations encountered by every Palestinian every day.  I had no idea how incredibly difficult just daily survival is for the Palestinians. He explains the circumstances leading up to the first and second intifada. I could barely contain myself as he told of the terrible day when his 3 daughters were killed by an Israeli rocket. 

The most incredible thing is that he refuses to fall into the cycle of revenge. He still insists that the government of Israel is not representative of the Israeli people and that the two people can live together side by side. 

He is now living with his remaining children in Canada. I think I would have taken my family out of Gaza long before he did.  

A difficult book to read but well worth it. 

Around Oak Meadows

I thought that today I would introduce you to the most important member of the family (at least in his own estimation.) His name is Bandit and he moved in with us about 11 years ago. I have no idea where he came from until he showed up one morning on the driveway just in front of the garage. It was like he was sitting there waiting for me to come out. He didn't run or move away as I came and picked him up. Well, it was mutual love at first purr. I often say that he is a once in a lifetime cat because he is so personable.  Loves to be around us except at night when he wants OUT.  He is a great mouser and frequently brings he catch to show us so that we can admire his mighty hunting skills. He gives new meaning to the phrase "eating fresh and local."

Monday, June 16, 2014

Beef and Bok Choy

I have made this many, many times.  The colors of the carrots and cabbage are beautiful.
Beef & Bok Choy 

1 lb. beef steak (top round, flank, or sirloin)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 head bok choy
4 carrots, sliced diagonally
2-3 teaspoons sesame seeds
¼ cup oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup water 

Prepare cooking sauce:

Stir together ¾ cup water, 4 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, & 2 tablespoons cooking sherry.  Set aside. 

Cut beef with the grain into 1 ½ inch wide strips; then cut each strip across the grain into ¼ inch wide slanting strips.  Place in bowl with soy sauce and garlic. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile separate bok choy leaves from stems. Wash both thoroughly. Slice stems diagonally into ¼ inch pieces.  Set stems and leaves aside separately. Should be about 6-8 cups total. 

Place wok over medium heat.  When wok is hot, add sesame seeds and stir until golden ( about 2 minutes); remove from wok and set aside.  Increase heat to high.  Add 2 Tablespoons oil to wok; when oil is hot add bok choy stems and carrots.  Stir fry for 2 minutes; add water, then cover and cook for 2 minutes; add bok choy leaves, cover, and steam for 2 more minutes until leaves and stems are tender to bite.  Remove from wok and set aside. 

Pour remaining 2 tablespoons oil into wok.  When oil is hot, add meat; stir fry until browned (about 3-5 minutes). Return bok choy to wok.  Stir cooking sauce and add, then add sesame seeds.  Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens.  Serve with rice. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014


We are not human beings having a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having a human experience. 

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Poetry



Pile the bodies high at Austerliz and Waterloo. 
Shovel them under and let me work---
                      I am the grass; I cover all. 
And pile them high at Gettysburg 
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. 
Shovel them under and let me work. 
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:
                      What place is this?
                      Where are we now?

                      I am the grass. 
                      Let me work. 

Carl Sandburg, 1918

Friday, June 13, 2014

Wedding Pictures

Last Saturday we attended my nephew's wedding. It was the most relaxed, fun wedding I have ever attended.  It was at a winery near San Marcos and it couldn't have been nicer, even the weather cooperated.
Here are some of the pictures.  The dress was "Western Chic."

Goals for Next Week

So how did I do last week:

Goals for Week Ending Saturday, June 14, 2014

1.  Quilting
     Block #5-- done. 
     Buy water soluble marking pen--done

2.  Reading
     The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith--Finished. Excellent. 
     Our Hidden Lives by Simon Garfield--Finished. Good
     Summer World by Bernd Heinrich.--Finished. Good
     The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg--Still in progress. 

 3.  Cooking
      Roast Chicken and Vegetables--done. 
      Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff--done. 

4.   Joe and Lauren's wedding in San Marcos--done. Lovely

5.  Birding Central Texas --Toooo HOT!

A very good week.  Now for next week's goals:

Goals for Week Ending Saturday, June 20, 2014

1.  Quilting
     Block #6

2.  Reading
     The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. 
     Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. 
     I Shall Not Hate by Izzeldin Abuelaish. 
     Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker.

 3.  Cooking
      Chicken and Snow Peas Stir Fry
      Beef and Barley Soup

4. Make reservations for trip to Yosemite. 

5. Make appointment for annual physical. 

6. Look into making prints of door photos made in Rome. 




Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon by Alexander McCall Smith


I love this series and Mma Ramotswe, Mma Makutsi, Mr. J.L.B. Matokone, and even the rascal Charlie. It may not be great literature but the whole series portrays humanity with warmth and gentleness. I especially enjoy listening to Lisette Lecat's marvelous voice as she reads the books for audio and brings the characters to life. A very good read (or listen.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Spider Lilies

Water Lilies
These photos were taken at Mercer Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Five more


I read this morning that 5 more Americans were killed in Afghanistan.  That is 5 more families who will never again see or talk with their father or son or brother.  I wonder how many children will now have no father. And if 5 were killed, most likely there were at least as many wounded. The news rarely tells us how many arms or legs were lost or how many blinded or burned.  They said it was "friendly fire" from an air strike by "coalition" forces. What on earth are we doing there?? Can we not just stop this madness??
Write your Congressmen, Senators, President, & newspaper. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsps. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F. Prepare muffin tins with liners or spray with Pam.  

2. Whisk the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until uniform. Set aside.  

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and buttermilk until smooth. Whisk in the oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the prepared flour mixture until moistened.  

4. Fill the prepared tins until 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins have lightly browned, rounded tops and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.  

5. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool for an additional 5 minutes before serving