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. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

September Cooking - Apple-Pecan Muffins

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced 
1 cup sugar 
½ cup canola or vegetable oil 
Nonstick spray or paper muffin cups 
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg 
½ cup milk (whole, low-fat, or nonfat) 
1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature 
1/2 cup chopped pecans 

1. Toss the diced apples with the sugar in a medium bowl. Pour the oil over the top, stir well, and set aside at room temperature for 45 minutes.
 2. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 ° F. To prepare the muffin tins,spray the indentations and the rims around them with nonstick spray, or line the indentations with paper muffin cups. If using silicon muffin tins, spray as directed, then place them on a baking sheet. 
3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a second medium bowl until uniform. Set aside. 
4. Using a wooden spoon, stir the milk and egg into the apple mixture until smooth. Then stir in the prepared flour mixture until moistened. Stir in pecans. 
5. Fill the prepared tins three-quarters full. Use additional greased tins or small, oven-safe, greased ramekins for any leftover batter, or reserve the batter for a second baking. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the muffins have rounded, slightly cracked tops. A toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin should come out with just a few moist crumbs attached. 
6. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock the muffins back and forth to release them from the tins. Remove them from the pan and cool them for minutes more on the rack before serving. If storing or freezing the muffins, cool them completely before sealing in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bags. The muffins will stay fresh for up to 48 hours at room temperature or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

September Thoughts

“Do Good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good.” 
― Benjamin Franklin

September Goals


     Exercise DVD

Quilting - Finish Quilt top

     A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger 
     John Adams by David McCullough
     Proving Ground by Peter Blauner 

     Saturday - Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon, Toast 
     Sunday - Roast, Potatoes, Carrots
     Monday - Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Coleslaw 
     Tuesday - Schwan's Chicken Lo Mein 
     Wednesday - RB Hash, Rice
      Thursday - Leftovers 
      Friday - Out

     Monday - Take van in for Safety Inspection 
     Wednesday - lawn maintenance man
     Friday- Lunch with P&W&C&B 

September Poetry

"Try to remember the kind of September  
When life was slow and oh so mellow  
Try to remember the kind of September  
When grass was green and grain so yellow  
Try to remember the kind of September  
When you were a young and a callow fellow  
Try to remember and if you remember  
Then follow--follow, oh-oh."   
-  Try to Remember, Lyrics by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen

I voted for her. I really wanted her to win. I thought Trump was a joke and the American people would never elect a reality-TV huckster POTUS. Never, it just couldn't happen. Until it did. But how did this happen? What on earth went wrong? According to Shattered, here are a few of the reasons. 
1. The campaign managers let her down. Turf wars. Too much analysis; too little on the ground. 
2. Email scandal not dealt with quickly. 
3. James Comey. 
4. Russian interference. 
5. Media. 
6. Hillary's penchant for focusing on the trees (or even the individual leaves on a particular tree) rather than the forest. 

It's a good book and I'm glad I read it even if I'm still shaking my head that it really did happen.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September Thoughts

“May we look upon our treasure, the furniture of our houses, and our garments, and try to discover whether the seeds of war have nourishment in these our possessions. ” 
― John WoolmanThe Works of John Woolman

September Poetry

"Under the harvest moon,   
When the soft silver   
Drips shimmering   
Over the garden nights,   
Death, the gray mocker,   
Comes and whispers to you   
As a beautiful friend   
Who remembers."  
-  Carl Sandburg, Under the Harvest Moon

Thursday, September 7, 2017

September Goals

     Daily Reading

     Healthy Snacks

     Start putting Quilt top together

     A Thousand Days by Arthur Schlesinger 
     John Adams by David McCullough 
     Shattered by Jonathan Allen

     Saturday- Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
     Sunday- Coney Islands
     Monday- Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Coleslaw 
     Tuesday- Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
     Wednesday- Schwan's Beef Pot Pies
     Friday- Out

     Order from LLBean

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling because 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) both check the president’s power. I urge you to support both of these. Thank you.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Sent postcards to Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I encourage you to support the bipartisan Dream Act that gives permanent legal status to DACA recipients. Please support S. 1615 / H.R. 3440.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

Sent postcard to Elaine C. Duke, Secretary of Homeland Security:
According to reports, my tax dollar is funding abuse, harassment, and malnourishment of immigrants and asylum seekers by ICE officers and detention centers. Further, ICE is also destroying records that could hold them accountable for inhumane actions. Immigrants, law-abiding or not, must be treated with basic human decency. Please initiate an effort to reign in this cruel treatment and unchecked power. America is better than this.

Sent Thank You to Gov. Bruce Rauner of Illinois:
Thank you for committing Illinois to being a sanctuary state. Immigrants deserve to be treated humanely and to live free from fear. Thank you for your leadership and advocacy.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Since President Trump has cut funding for advertising the ACA enrollment period, I shared this link on my FB page:

Sent a Thank You to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner:
Thank you for offering to personally represent for free any immigrants facing deportation after seeking help during Hurricane Harvey. Your basic goodness and humanity are a light in dark times. 

Butterflies Around OakMeadows

Lots of butterflies around OakMeadows.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Around OakMeadows

This is Mikey, one of our resident raccoons. 
Around OakMeadows

Yesterday our daughter and son-in-law came over for Labor Day BBQ. And they brought with them their new puppy. It is a little female goldendoodle. She is 10 weeks old and just darling. They named her Lucy. My little dog, Angie, was just ecstatic to have another canine around. The cats were more or less disgusted by all the attention being paid to a dog. 

That horrible man in the White House is ending the DACA program unless Congress passes legislation to make it a permanent program. Congress (Republicans) isn't exactly known for getting things done. So the DACA recipients' lives are thrown into limbo.  And the rubble pile grows.  

I've started on my next quilt top.  It will be another scrap quilt. I will post photos soon. 

I'm reading a very interesting book, Shattered by Jonathan Allen. It is about why Hillary Clinton lost the election. I was as stunned as anyone by the loss and have honestly wondered how on earth it happened. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through it and it is making more sense to me. I will write a review when I finish it.

Things are slowly returning to normal around OakMeadows. All the water is gone. Thee grocery store is open albeit on reduced hours. And best of all the Whataburger drive through is open. There are still some road closures but alternate routes are open.  My thoughts are with the people in Florida who are facing Hurricane Irma. 

September Cooking -- Chicken-Rice Bake

This is one of my standard meals. It is quick and easy to put together and makes excellent leftovers. 

Chicken-Rice Bake

1 10 1/2 ounce can cream of Mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 10 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables 
5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs

In a large bowl mix first five ingredients. Stir well. Place mixture in a 9x12 inch pan which has been sprayed with Pam. Place chicken thighs in mixture and sprinkle with Paprika. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September Thoughts

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Around OakMeadows

We had quite a few stops to make on our way to do the weekly grocery shopping. First stop, drop off a bill at the post office, next fill up the van at Buc-ee's, next breakfast biscuit at McDonald's, next drop off a big book donation at the library, final stop was supposed to be HEB. However, it was closed. JMM thinks that they probably had water in the store. So we were going to go to the Randall's about a mile away but we couldn't get to it because the bridge over the Brazos was closed. We turned around and went to the Kroger which was several miles away near Richmond. It was open and we were able to find most of what I had on the grocery list. They were in the process of restocking the mostly empty shelves. The employees were very helpful even though they were working as fast as they could to get the store restocked.  We had to go back home in a roundabout way because a section of the road had simply washed out.  Who knew grocery shopping could be such an adventure!!

I am pleased to announce that I finally finished my quilt top and the backing. And I've already started on the next top. 

The books that we took to the library this morning were my quilting and counted-cross stitch books. I will never use them again so someone else might be able to use them. I got rid of several cookbooks but most of them were such old friends that I kept them. 

JMM and I are planning next year's trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. I had been thinking of next May but we've about decided on mid-September.  We will fly to Salt Lake City and spend one night there. The next day will will drive to Grand Teton. I am not sure about accommodations so I'll have to do some research.  Maybe spend 3 days in the parks. Drive back to Salt Lake and fly home. That's the general idea. I hope DD and SIL can join us.  

That's all the news from OakMeadows where the mosquitoes are trying their best to eat us alive.  

September Poetry

"the air is different today  
the wind sings with a new tone  
sighing of changes  
the harvest gathered  
a flower, a nut  
some mead, and bread  
a candle and a prayer  
returning the fruits  
in thanksgiving  
to the grove  
and receiving  
it's blessing  
-  Rhawk, Alban Elfed