Saturday, December 30, 2017

December Thoughts

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” 
― Albert Einstein

December Poetry

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne."
-   Robert Burns

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Plans for 2018

Plans for 2018

1. Learn to make Sourdough Bread. 

2. Learn to make something with Butternut Squash. (Mostly this means learning how to  get into it.)

3. Make 2 Scrap Quilts and 1 from new material. 

4. Read 52 books

5. Trips:
     A. Big Bend National Park
     B. National Butterfly Center 
     C. National Gallery
     D. Pawhuska, OK to see PW’s Merc

6. Home Improvements 
     A. New Stovetop 
     B. New living room furniture 

7. Expand Butterfly garden 

8. Work on Political campaigns for House and Senate

9. Self Improvement 
     None. I’m fine. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The 2017 Political Emotional Rollercoaster

2017 Political Emotional Rollercoaster

I know there are many fine people who are not interested in politics or current events and that is fine with me but I am not one of them. As a rabid environmentalist, it is impossible for me to ignore current events and politics.  So if you are in the not interested group, you might want to skip this blog post.  

The year started off in shocked, numbed, utter disbelief.  A reality show host couldn’t possibly be elected POTUS. Yet, there it was. I tried not thinking about it, I read the book A Year of Living Danishly and tried to pretend I really lived in Denmark, I kept asking Why? Why? Why? 

Shock and disbelief gave way to hopelessness and depression.  I was so down about a side of my country that I had always assumed was a tiny, minority was actually much larger than I had ever thought. Listening to rallies where crowds of people shouted and screamed supporting positions that I naively thought could only have occurred in 1930s Germany.  When I got over the shock and sadness, I thought, “This isn’t going to happen again, not here, not now, not while I can do anything about it.”  So I got mad. 

I was angry, so very angry.  Oddly, I wasn’t so angry at BLOTUS (Biggest Liar of the United States) because he is who he is.  No, I was furious with the people who voted for him. As we moved into February and March, my fury grew to include Congress and the people who voted for them. But you know what? I can stay furious  for only so long. 

About that time I found Indivisible with a group right here in my Congressional District and I also found Americans of Conscience and the Fort Bend County Democratic Party. I can’t begin to express how much better it made me feel to know that there were so many other people who had gone through the same emotional  responses that I had and that there were concrete things that I can do to fight back, to resist, to not be the country that BLOTUS and his base represent. 

So right now I am focused. Focused on 2 things: Getting Beto O’Rourke elected as Senator and Sri Preston Kulkarni elected as TX-22 Congressman. I am guardedly hopeful. I am not certain that either can oust the incumbent. If they are able to do it, it will only be after a long hard fight. That’s where I am now, determined and focused. 2018 is going to be one interesting year. 

The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017

10 Best Books I read in 2017

Ha! You didn’t really think I could get it down to just 10, did you???

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell (I want to move to Denmark!)
America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray (Historical fiction about Thomas
Jefferson’s daughter.)
Climate and the Health of Nations by Anthony J. McMichael
In This Grave Hour (Maisie Dobbs #13) by Jacqueline Winspear 
The Death of Expertise by Tom Nichols (Makes the alt-right more comprehensible.)
The Serengeti Rules by Sean Carroll
The Town House by Nora Lofts
Option B by Sheryl Sandburg 
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman 
Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck 
I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong 
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
The American Spirit by David McCullough 
John Adams by David McCullough 
After the Wildfire by John Alcock
Without You, There Is No Us by Suki Kim (A teacher of English to North Korean elite students.)
Glass Houses by Louise Penny (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #13)
The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

December Thoughts

“You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth.” 
― William W. Purkey

December Poetry

"Every year at just this time,
In cold and dark December,
Families around the world
All gather to remember,
With presents and with parties,
With feasting and with fun,
Customs and traditions
for people old and young."
-   Helen H. Moore  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Around OakMeadows

JMM with Henry and Angie

Around OakMeadows 

It has been unusually warm (highs in the mid 70’s) for this time of year and very humid. We even had to run the air conditioning one night because it was so humid. But that is supposed to change overnight and get to more seasonal temperatures (40/60). 

Monday I made an appointment for an eye exam since it had been 2 years since my last eye exam. Tuesday one of the lenses fell out of my glasses. Not a problem because I have a spare pair.  Wednesday one of the lenses fell out of my spare pair.  Obviously, the eye gremlins were after me. JMM took both pairs in to TSO. They were able to get the lens back in one pair but the spare pair were beyond help. The technician said the frame looked really old. It is — 20+ years. 

I finished my quilt top and now I need to make the backing.  I’m not in any hurry but I would like to get it ready to have machine quilted.  I’m not sure what my next quilt will be but I have several ideas rumbling around my head. 

I am reading the most interesting book, The Newcomers by Helen Thorpe.  It is about a classroom of new immigrants at South High School in Denver. It follows the teenagers as they navigate through learning English, learning how to use the Denver public transportation system, adjusting to high school and just being teens.  Fascinating. 

Looks like the wolves have had their way with the sheep.  Congress has passed the tax bill and the Orange Disgrace has signed it. I wonder if anyone actually thinks it will make anything better for them. The really sad thing is that the very people who are the strongest supporters are the ones who will be hurt the most by it. Oh well, you just do what you can to help locally and work like mad to throw the bastards out of Congress and keep your fingers crossed for Robert Mueller.  

We are going to Washington, D.C. early in January.  I love visiting with my daughter because everything is so relaxed and simple.  We are going to see the Vermeer exhibit and play with Lucy and eat Costco Chicken Pot Pie while watching British Baking shows.  Hope the weather cooperates.  

All animals are well. Misty is my 12 year old paranoid cat who has always been frightened of everything. (She was a feral kitten that JMM plucked out of a tree.) Well, she has actually been standing her ground when Bandit or Duffy comes around. She has never had a problem with Angie which is surprising. Anyway, it’s nice to see her not so frightened all the time. 

That’s about all for now.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

January Menu

January Menu

1.  Ham, Black-eyed Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Fruit Salad 
2. Baked Fish, Carrots/Thyme, Corn
3. Chicken-Rice Bake
4. Cutlets, GMP, GB
5. Leftovers 
6. Out
7. Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries
8. Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff 
9. Shrimp Jambalaya
10. Chicken Tenders, Beans, Coleslaw 
11. Meatloaf, GMP, GB
12. Leftovers 
13. Out
14. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
15. Pancakes and Sausage 
16. Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Tray
17. KFC
18. Pizza
19. Leftovers 
20. Out
21. Scrambled Eggs, Ham, Toast 
22. Slow Cooker Chicken
23. Seafood Pasta
24. Leftovers 
25. Spaghetti and Meatballs 
26. Leftovers 
27. Out
28. CB Hash, Cream Style Corn
29. Potato Soup
30. Beans and Rice and Sausage, Cornbread 
31. Stuffed Wieners, Corn

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

December Poetry

"All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I went for a walk
On a winter's day
I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A.
California dreamin'
On such a winter's day."
-  Mammas and Pappas, California Dreamin

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Plans for Next Week

Saturday -- Stuffed Wieners, Corn
Sunday-- Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries 
Monday-- Tuna Salad Sandwiches, Veggie Tray
Tuesday -- Chicken and Spaghetti Casserole 
Wednesday -- Pork Roast, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach
Thursday-- Leftovers
Friday -- Out
Bake Apple-Pecan Muffins for Dental Office
Bake Banana Nut Bread

Summer for the Gods by Edward Larson
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

Dental Cleaning Appointment 

Finally Finish Quilt Top

January Menu and Budget

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Around OakMeadows

JMM staying warm under the cat and the dog. 

Marianna Scheffer has died of lung cancer. She faced it with grace, courage, and realism. She was a dear blogging friend and I can hardly believe that I will never again read her lively and insightful blog or see photos of her gorgeous orchids and her unique ceramics.  I am making a contribution to Planned Parenthood in her memory. I just can’t yet bring myself to take Hattie’s Web off my blog roll. 

When my daughter was a baby, she was prone to ear and throat infections. There is nothing so worrying to a young mother than a baby who is sick. We were very fortunate that we had insurance to give us access to good medical care.  We were able to take her to the doctor and to get prescriptions filled.  I always knew that medical help was there for her.  I cannot imagine the stress it must be to have a child and not be able to get needed medical treatment because there is no insurance for my baby.  Because our despicable Congress will not fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program and instead chose to pass tax cuts for their billionaire donors, this is exactly where many, many low income families find themselves. I am shamed that my country lacks the decency to provide insurance for our babies and children.  Shame on us all.

We are planning a trip to Washington, DC right after the first of the year in order to see the Vermeer exhibit at the National Gallery. I am very much looking forward to it and to seeing my daughter and her golden doodle puppy.  I hope the weather will cooperate. There is also a plan in progress for a trip to Rome next November.  But before that we are going to Pawhuska, OK to see Pioneer Woman’s Merc. 

I’ve just about finished my next quilt top. I won’t have it quilted until after the New Year though. Lots of good reading. I love a good history book and the one I have going right now is excellent, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham.  

That’s all the news from OakMeadows where the dog gets a new bed and the cats sleep on the electric blanket and the people love them dearly. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December Thoughts

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” 
― Allen Saunders

Plans for Next Week

Saturday -- Stuffed Wieners, Corn
Sunday-- Pancakes, Canadian Bacon
Monday-- Baked Fish, Coleslaw, Potatoes
Tuesday -- Chicken Tenders, GMP, Corn
Wednesday -- Pork Roast, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach
Thursday-- Leftovers
Friday -- Out

     Summer for the Gods by Edward Larson
     Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham
     One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

Quilting — Finish Quilt top 

     January Budget and Menu
     Lunch with P&W&C&B 

December Poetry

"Come, come thou bleak December wind,
And blow the dry leaves from the tree!
Flash, like a Love-thought, thro'me, Death
And take a Life that wearies me."
-   Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834, Fragment 3

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

🔥Resistance. Every. Day.🔥

🔥Resistance. Every. Day.🔥

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz
I am calling about the Dream Act. We need to ensure that Dreamers can go to school, work, and serve in the military—but not in exchange for an unnecessary border wall or increased threat to other immigrants. Please support a clean Dream Act. 

Thank You note to Senator Bob Corker:
Thank You for questioning a president’s role in a nuclear strike. I’m concerned about the unpresidential saber-rattling toward North Korea, and grateful for your decision to openly discuss this serious issue. I appreciate your leadership, bipartisanship, and openness to legislative solutions to avoid nuclear war.

🔥Resistance. Every. Day.🔥

Email to Rep. Pete Olson:
I strongly oppose the Republican tax plan which hurts low- and average-income Americans while helping the richest. Not only is it ill-conceived, I am angry that my tax dollar is paying for Rep. Olson to cater to his donors while shirking his obligation to observe regular order. He needs to show respect for the taxpayers who fund his salary. My future vote depends on Rep. Olson voting against this slapdash bill and returning to regular order.

Thank You note to Senator Elizabeth Warren:
Thank You for holding Steve Mnuchin accountable for his overstated tax claims. Asking the Treasury Department’s inspector general to investigate whether there’s a secret analysis--or none at all--will shed light. In the chaos of the tax plan process, your tenacity, clear thinking, and analysis are very much appreciated. Thank you. 
P.S. Liz! 2020!

🔥Resistance. Every. Day.🔥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I’m calling about funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. The Senate is dragging its feet and putting the health of 9 million kids at risk. Could you please tell me what he doing to reauthorize CHIP funding?
Cornyn’s Washington phone mailbox is full but you can get a real live person at 713 572 3337. 

Thank you note to Senator Bob Corker:
Thank You for being the only Republican senator interested in math. Your ‘no’ vote on the GOP tax bill was courageous and consistent with the party’s traditional concern for fiscal responsibility. Thank you for standing your ground. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December Thoughts

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. —MARCUS AURELIUS

Life at OakMeadows in November

No, not really at OakMeadows. (Brazos Bend State Park several months ago.)

Life at OakMeadows in November 

     White-winged Doves
     Collared Doves
     Tufted Titmouse 
     Eastern Phoebe 
     Giant Swallowtail 
     Gulf Fritillary 
     White-Checkered Skipper 
     Cloudless Sulphur 
     Ceraunus Blue
     White-tipped Black Moth
     Little Sulphur 
     Large Orange Sulphur 
     Painted Lady 
     Common Buckeyes 
     Longtailed Skipper 
     Ocola Skipper 
     Fiery Skipper

December Poetry

"Timeless thoughts of a winter’s stare;
eyes gazing over a landscape bare.
Memories drift on a blustery breeze;
dying light ushers in the freeze.
Reaching out for a grasp on the present;
stillness sets in, alone, and desolate.
Future unknown, outcome uncertain;
brilliance shadowed by a drawn curtain.
Path now set, laid before me known;
closing light now emanating from home.
Enter my homestead, heart filled with glee;
two eyes of the future peering upward at me.
Trusting in him to forge forward until fulfilled;
Basis of strength, values I have instilled.
A wary mind at last permitted to rest;
reflecting on the realization of how I am blessed.
-  Michael A. Barron, Winter's Epiphany