Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Around OakMeadows

Around OakMeadows

It has been cloudy and rainy for so long that I am longing for some sunshine.  The temperatures have been very pleasant though. Low 50s to upper 60s. 

I am taking a class through Coursera, Introduction to Classical Music. It is taught by a Yale professor and is quite interesting. I took a Coursera course, What Plants Know, a year ago from a professor at Hebrew University in Israel. Amazing, just amazing what we can do these days!!

JMM and I got the new shingles vaccination today. We had the old vaccine about 10 years ago but the new Shingrix vaccine is supposed to be much more effective.  Dr. Bauer faxed the prescriptions to CVS and the pharmacist administered it.  The co-pay was $100 each but worth every penny to prevent shingles.  

2018 Plans — February 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. Piecing  Dutch Churn and Dash Quilt. 

4. Read 52 books — 10 books read. 

5. Trips:
     A. Big Bend National Park — Changed to summer trip to NYC. 
     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. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

March Menu

March Menu

1.  Leftovers 
2.  Out
3.  Bacon Sandwiches, Oven Fries 
4.  Slow Cooker Chicken 
5.  Oven Baked Fish, Potatoes, Coleslaw 
6.  Schwan’s 
7.  Cutlets, GMP, Peas
8.  Leftovers 
9.  Out
10. Macaroni and Cheese, Corn
11. Schwan’s 
12. Tuna Salad Sandwiches,Veggies 
13. Oven BBQ Chicken, Beans, Coleslaw 
14. Schwan’s 
15. Leftovers 
16. Out
17.  Corned Beef and Cabbage
18.  Scrambled Eggs, Canadian Bacon, Toast
19. Shrimp Jambalaya 
20. Chicken Tenders, GMP, GB
21. Schwan’s 
22. Leftovers 
23. Out
24. CBHash, CSC
25. Schwan’s 
26. Fried Shrimp, Potatoes, Coleslaw 
27. Schwan’s 
28. Spaghetti and Meatballs, Salas
29. Leftovers 
30. Out
31. St. Wieners, Corn

Friday, February 23, 2018

February Poetry

"In winter's cold and sparkling snow,
The garden in my mind does grow.
I look outside to blinding white,
And see my tulips blooming bright.
And over there a sweet carnation,
Softly scents my imagination.

On this cold and freezing day,
The Russian sage does gently sway,
And miniature roses perfume the air,
I can see them blooming there.
Though days are short, my vision's clear.
And through the snow, the buds appear.

In my mind, clematis climbs,
And morning glories do entwine.
Woodland phlox and scarlet pinks,
Replace the frost, if I just blink.
My inner eye sees past the snow.
And in my mind, my garden grows."
-  Cynthia Adams, Winter Garden.   First published in Birds and Blooms magazine, Dec/Jan 2003

February Thoughts

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” 
― J.R.R. Tolkien

Plans for the Week of February 25 - March 3, 2018

     Galveston Island State Park

     Madison Park by Eric Motley
     Grant by Ron Chernow 
     Fall from Grace by Danielle Steele
     It’s Even Worse than You Think by David C. Johnston 

Saturday— CB Hash, CSC
Sunday-- Slow Cooker Potato-Leek Soup
Monday-- Pork Tenderloin, Dressing, Corn
Tuesday -- Baked Fish, Rice Pilaf, Coleslaw 
Wednesday -- Schwan’s 
Thursday-- Leftovers 
Friday -- Out

     Continue piecing blocks

Thursday, February 22, 2018

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day. đŸ”¥

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Rep. Pete Olson:
I’m calling to express my concern about ICE’s new directive to make arrests inside of courthouses, and ICE’s their pushing the limits around officially ‘sensitive locations’ like hospitals, churches, and schools. I would like Rep Olson to co-sponsor the Protecting Sensitive Locations Act (H.R. 1815).

Thank You note to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
Thank You for your sustained effort to protect Dreamers. I appreciate you telling their stories and why they should be celebrated as part of the American family. Thank you for your leadership.
Send to: 90 Seventh Street, Suite 2-800, San Francisco, CA 94103

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY):
Thank you for guaranteeing eligibility for state-funded Medicaid for all New Yorkers. I appreciate your concern and compassion for our neighbors, regardless of immigration status. Thank you for your leadership.
Address: Governor of New York, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224

Thank You note to Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL):
Thank you for opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. I share your concern that it will lead to an inaccurate count of constituents, reducing their representation in congress. Thank you for your leadership.
Address (IRL): 4960 SW 72 Ave, Suite 208, Miami, FL 33155
Address (MDB): 8669 NW 36th Street, Suite 100, Doral, FL 33166

Thank You note to Sen. Tim Kaine 
Thank you for insisting on the release of a memo outlining the president’s legal authority to wage war. As a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, I appreciate you using your position to bring this information to light. It is vital for Congress to maintain authority over any act of war. Thank you.
        Address: 919 East Main Street, Suite 970, Richmond, VA 23219
đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Letter to General John F. Kelly, White House Chief of Staff:
I object to Stephen Miller’s advisory role to the president. His anti-immigrant and racist agenda makes him unfit to serve and that he should be removed immediately.
Address: Gen. John F. Kelly, White House Chief of Staff, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500

Thank you note to Sen Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): Thank You for leading the effort in the Senate to overhaul the system for congressional employees’ harassment claims. I am grateful for your support for survivors’ right to seek and attain justice. Thank you.
        Address: 780 Third Avenue, Suite 2601,  New York, New York 10017

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Thank you note to HHS Sec. Alex Azar: 
Thank you for backing CDC research on gun violence. I support collecting data that helps minimize gun violence and keeps our loved ones safe.
Address: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201

Called Rep. Pete Olson and Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
In light of Robert Mueller’s most recent indictments, I am calling to ask you to co-sponsor the bipartisan DETER (Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines) Act (H.R.4884/S. 2313). National security isn’t a partisan issue. Supporting this bill will protect the integrity of our next election.

đŸ”¥Resistance. Every. Day.đŸ”¥

Called Senators Cornyn and Cruz:
I am calling to express my concern about possible changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act. H.R. 620 just passed in the House and permits delayed ADA compliance, restricts litigation rights, and makes people with disabilities report non-compliance. I want you to advocate for basic civil rights and vote no when this bill comes up for a vote in the Senate.

Thank You note to Rep. Derek Kilmer:
Thank you for holding accountable the Department of Homeland Security in its new role in United States elections. The right to vote is at the core of a representational democracy. Thank you for working to protect that right.
Address: 950 Pacific Ave. Suite 1230, Tacoma, WA 98402

Thank You notes to Reps. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Steve Stivers (R-OH):
Thank for creating the Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus. I appreciate your work to build bridges between parties and help us solve the challenges of our time.
Address (JB): 471 East Broad Street, Suite 1100, Columbus, OH 43215
Address (SS): 3790 Municipal Way, Hilliard, OH 43026

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Could it be....spring???

Blooming near our oak trees:

Apple-Pecan Muffins

These are my all time favorite muffins.

Apple Muffins 

Makes 12 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 
3/4 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. 
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 a few 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, 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

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

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

     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
     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