Sunday, January 31, 2010

Earlier Valentine Memories: Join in the journey

When I was in grade school, I remember being given red construction paper, lace doilies, glue and a shoe box. No specific instructions, except to have fun making a valentine's mailbox for my desk. Cutting that stiff red paper and shaping it around the lid and box was not as much fun as gluing on those paper, heart-shaped doilies. By the end of the activity, our class was abuzz with the excitement of the upcoming silly holiday.

Everyone would get a card and so that meant you had to sign your name over twenty times. Pacing yourself during this activity was the wise way to go. Write a few cards and nibble on a candy. By the end of the time, cards would be finished and your supply of "sharing candy" sampled for quality.

Candy message hearts tasted like hard toothpaste, but it was fun sharing them with friends. Back then, the messages were simple, not like now with technology finding its way onto those sugary messages with things like LOL, JK and BFF.

Finally, on the fourteenth, cards were distributed into the fancy shoe boxes on our desks and party food was served. Opening cards, while eating cupcakes and drinking punch always seemed to work, until someone would spill their punch and make a huge mess. It wouldn't be an elementary party without someone spilling their drink, now would it?

Going home with the card-stuffed box, was always double fun, because my mom would read each card and I would tell her about the person. I got to enjoy the holiday a little longer with the person who loved me first.

Happy Valentines' Day to everyone and all you love.

FUN FERRET FACTS: When considering a ferret for a pet, it's best to get two ferrets. They need the company. Before you settle on the gender, know that it doesn't matter if you get male or female, but make sure that they are neutered first. Leave the reproduction to the experts.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine's Day: Cupid's Memoirs

A few days ago there was an article in the local paper for stories concerning Valentine's Day. I won't write for that paper for free and probably even if they paid me. So here's a little Valentine's story to share.

It was this time of year three years ago that I was frantically making plans, changing plans, drawing plans and pretty much trying to stay sane with all the planning that was going on in my head. You see on that special day, it was a Wednesday that year, would be the next chapter in our daughter's life. She was getting married and beginning to start a whole new life, leaving behind the memories of some very cruel, heartless people. Each decoration I designed and made put more distance between NOW and THEN. All in our family had traveled a very rough couple of years and these creations helped to turn the corner from hurt to hope.

On Tuesday, we decorated the hall as much as time allowed, knowing that we had time to tie up the loose ends the next morning. Plastic bin, after bin were hauled into the hall and the fun began. Talented, helpful hands turned the spools of tulle and ribbon into beautiful, lush bows. Valentine-themed decorations were placed throughout the hall and soon the wedding venue went from County chic into a Valentine Wonderland. All doubts that my daughter had about the place looking special and not "cheesy" went away as the afternoon sunlight shone on the place settings and the effect was just how we had dreamed it would be.

Wednesday morning blew in a cold front and as we hurried about in the hall, a call came that the pastor had come down with the flu. My friend said not to worry and somehow she and the church's secretary found a replacement pastor who wound up doing a very nice job on such a short notice.

When my daughter had picked out her wedding dress, it was the middle of the summer and the dress was long sleeved. I thought that she was taking a chance with such a warm gown, but guess who was perfectly comfortable in the freezing, airy hall that night. Yep, the blushing bride looked beautiful. Her gown and her husband's Western style tux were so perfect for the occasion and the couple. We sure do love the photos of the couple and the guests in the Cupid's Paradise we created with a small budget, large amount of planning and talented relatives who helped.

I have to say that three years ago tops my list of my favorite Valentine Days.

Fun Ferret Fact: Just because ferrets are considered "cute" don't call someone "Ferret Face" as that will cause hurt feelings. "Weasel Face" isn't much better, by the way.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WHAT'S IMPORTANT: Life can change your mind

This week my family has had to deal with some serious information concerning some friends who are closer in our hearts than our birth relatives. These friends are in a fierce battle against a vicious killer. Chemo and radiation have tried their hardest to eliminate the out of control mutant cells. Our friend has been in this battle for over four years and throughout this time there have been encouraging news and just as many set-backs. Now, the latest reports have come in and the medical treatment is so difficult and painful with no guarantee of positive outcomes. We stand ready to aid in whatever small way that could be needed by either of our friends. They promise to let us know if there comes anything that could we could do to ease their difficult time. Prayers are said and we hug each other while we wait out this storm.

You might wonder why I posted this picture of my sweet little joy, on a blog about a friend's struggle for her life. The answer is simple. Our friends' journey has made us appreciate all of life's joys and diminish life's daily struggles.

Not enough money and too many bills? Oh, well, it'll work out.
Not enough support at work and more conflicts daily? Oh, well, it'll work out.
Roof leaks and needs to be replaced and not enough available funds? Oh, well, it'll work out.

We kiss the baby's sweet feet and realize that this day, this moment is a most precious gift and monetary concerns are not as important as this day with the people we love so very much. I truly am not Pollyanna and I am not playing "The Glad Game" here. I have just been given the gift of clarity of what is important to me and mine. Our family is well and therefore every hurdle we encounter can be managed, some how, some way.

Credibility: Has the definiton been changed?

I usually leave the blogs about The Victoria Advocate to Edith Ann, but this time I found an editorial that really got my goat. And I was quite fond of that little kid. So I am putting a quote from this editorial and letting you all have a laugh. The phrase, "Are you kidding me?" comes to my mind. Read on and enjoy the fantasy world of the Cobbler Crew.

"We respectfully remind the governor that newspaper companies have embraced the digital world and have layered the same hard-won credibility onto their online news coverage that distinguishes print journalism."

Fun Ferret Fact: A male ferret is called a hob and may be twenty four inches long and weigh as much as five pounds. While a female ferret, a jill, will measure at the most eighteen inches and weigh no more than three pounds.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Survivors' Guilt: Leaving friends behind in VISD

I spoke with a friend today about the current situation in the public school system in Victoria, Texas and a wash of guilt overtook me. The guilt which bore down on me was guilt for making it out of the soul-sucking school system with a bit of my sense of humor and self-esteem still in place. Recently, the teachers were told that a large amount of the teachers would have to leave their campus starting next year and go to another campus. Cuts would not be entirely voluntarily, however. Some teachers would like to move to be on the same campus as their own children, but too many teachers in certain subjects want to move and all won't be able to choose.

Other teachers' positions will be eliminated and the campuses will be picked by administration staff; no choices allowed there. Special Education teachers were not given any choice in what campus they would prefer to be assigned, because Mr. Moore considers them "fluff". According to the "Oklahoma" allies, Special Education teachers aren't necessary and special education students should just "catch up" with the other students.

It's difficult to get excited with new buildings in VISD, when the teachers (the true heart and soul of education) are shuffled about, much like toy soldiers on fake battlefields in some maniac's basement.

One final note. There is a poster on The Victoria Advocate website who is so pro-VISD, and everything West High School that it turns my stomach. You see, I have nothing against people supporting school systems. However, when I know for a fact that this poster's wife has suffered much through VISD and he still is rabid in his support for everything VISD I question his motives and his loyalty to his own family. Maybe he is just working to secure places on sport teams for his sons, but he makes my lunch come up in my throat with his rants.

Fun Ferret Facts:Tame ferrets can be litter box trained, just like a cat.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Girl Scout Cookies: Good Cause, Great Cookies

Just a friendly reminder that it's time to stock up with those wonderful cookies. Sorry, the cookie patch isn't available in our area, so just put the second dozen boxes of cookies deep in your freezer. Buy cookies, seriously. As a former scout, I do know what a wonderful program scouting can be for the kids.

Fun Ferret Fact:The black-footed ferret, the rarest of the mustelids, makes its home in prairie-dog burrows on the North American Plains.

Patient Earth: We Knew Her Well

Last night was the end of a poster on The Victoria Advocate, Patient Earth. I would like to say a fond farewell to this intelligent poster. She was brave in her battle against ignorance and denial. She took on the battles against acceptance of less-than stellar educational practices in Victoria; excusing racial/culture slurs as blog titles; slanderous remarks against people from Goliad; and other hot-button topics. Alas, she didn't have enough power to survive the dynamic delete button pusher, however. Puzzlement surrounds her final blow from the powers that be at the paper, as other posters racked up multiple deletions in one thread and yet remain on the site.

Reminds me of having professors/bosses who were less than knowledgeable and yet they held the power of success to my education/career. The Victoria Advocate throws out the Constitution and continues their tyranny in the building that is ironically located on CONSTITUTION STREET. Goodbye, Patient Earth. We will miss your intelligent/questioning posts. Come over to blogspot and settle in here, where the delete button gathers dust and rust. We appreciate everyone's unique views and ability to express them.

Fun Ferret Fact: "Ferret out" is a common expression. It means to hunt or search for. Centuries ago, people used tame ferrets to drive rabbits and rodents out from hiding places.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

VISD: Ferrets aren't the only stinkers here

The more that I read about Victoria Independent School District the more that I am glad that there is a place like blogspot, where people can express their concerns about the fiasco from the administration on Profit Drive. I am putting this blog here so people can write what they feel like, because all the delete button pushers are all over on The Victoria Advocate staff.

First of all, there are people in charge who really don't care about the children and the people who teach them. It's all a matter of what looks good. Too bad if the children with learning difficulties are shoved aside and basically told to catch up with their peers. Wouldn't that be great, if all it took was putting a slow learner in a resource class and poof intelligence was increased? Until that becomes a reality, we need to provide the students and their teachers all the possible help they need to become the very best student possible and not just some fantasy.

Fun Ferret Fact: Ferrets are not related to rats and mice. Ferrets' closest cousins are weasels, minks, otters, badgers and skunks.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Delusional People: Believing their own Lies

This blog is dedicated to the delusional people who have grandiose ideas of their own abilities and achievements. Actually, I am putting this blog out there for one specific person, so he can keep his lies off of Edith's blogs. He can put all his lies and anger here and it won't pollute her blogs.

Kind of like giving the knuckleheads their own blank walls to spray paint their "markings" that make them feel like real men. So, here it is BJ, you can rant and brag all you want here. No one will be convinced that you have a college education, unless you have someone else write your comments. Your education hasn't had any positive effect on your IQ score since about the second grade.

Studies have proven that not using effective communication skills demonstrate the lack of intelligence. You are, and will always be, an angry, slightly below average, black guy with an axe to grind and not enough intelligence to figure out how to support your viewpoints.

Here's your blank wall. So leave all your messages about how smart you are and how it's not my business where you went to school and where you live. Hope it's not too cold for you in North Texas.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ENGLISH RULES: it's never too late to learn them

You know what is wonderful about the English language and all of its weird rules and exceptions? When a person learns all the rules and the weird exceptions, there is a sense of power for both the writer and reader. No confusion on the part of the reader, because the writer has expressed ideas clearly and precisely. No wasted effort trying to figure out the sentence structures or subject/verb agreement; all effort can be devoted to decoding the meaning that the author has put on paper. For true pleasure, diagram a sentence or two and I promise you will feel an incredible sense of accomplishment. Either you will feel a glow or a way of bringing on sleep without counting sheep. No matter the outcome, English rules should be honored by us all.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

GREEN THUMBS: sometimes they just mold

I saw this cartoon and was reminded of my love/hate relationship of everything green. From my earliest days, I remember my mom and her ability to make anything she stuck in dirt develop into the best example of its kind. It didn't matter if it was a tree destined to become a beautiful display of lilac blooms or a delicate, pole-supported orchid. She could take a plant, that most people would discard and nurse it back to health. Before you knew it, that scrawny, limp-leaved, dried-out plant was on the window sill and showing off its new blooms and leaves. You could almost see the smiles on the plants that had been rescued and revived by my mom. In her latter years, I think that she took it on as a challenge. "How much is that pitiful plant? It probably will die." Securing the African Violet for a pittance, she would take it home, where she would repot it, feed it, and give it a good drink of vitamin water. Then within a short time, that plant would join its new siblings who decorated the shelves near the window, having forgotten its near death experience.

When my mom finally went to her Heavenly Garden, I gave away some of her plants and took home just a few. I don't know how the other ones did, but I am here to tell you that even though I have inherited many things from my mom, unfortunately her green thumb wasn't one of them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I found this compass rose and I thought it only appropriate to include the picture with this blog concerning the two directions that SEEM so important in Victoria, now. Those two directions are WEST and EAST. Very clever people have decided to name the two new high schools: WEST and EAST. Absolutely boggles my mind. Where or where did they come up with these names?

Okay, let's move on from that and focus on the posters who have already began a rivalry: West High School against East High School. So being the athletic supporter I am, I have been thinking about all things WEST and EAST. Feel free to add more to the very incomplete offering below. By the way, I didn't think that the usual readers/posters on the Advocate website would even start to appreciate my weak attempt at humor


WEST Hollywood
WEST Highland Terriers (WESTies)
Adam WEST (Batman)
Go WEST, young man
Wicked witch of the WEST
Mae WEST (star and flotation device)
WESTminister Abbey
WEST Berlin (was that the good or bad one?)
WESTern Union
Dottie WEST (country WESTern singer)
"Wagons WEST" hopefully said on the trips across the wilderness.
WEST Virginia
the sun sets in the WEST


EASTern Religion
EASTer Bunny
Clint EASTwood
The Witches of EASTwick
EAST Berlin (so it's either the good or the bad Berlin)
"Going back EAST" what the people would say when the trip out West was too much.
the sun rises in the EAST

So there's a start. I can't wait to read what y'all add to my list. Knock yourselves out. The best ones could go to the school board for nominations and votes for school spirit posters, or something.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Scary Driving: Even Scarier Newspaper Practices

Today in the local paper there is an article, along with a photo about an accident that occurred because a driver broke one of the first rules of driving safely: Traffic Lights need to be obeyed. The young lady ran a red light and slammed into another vehicle. Minor injuries were sustained by the two involved in the collision, which was a miracle that the injuries weren't that serious.

The actual scariest part of this accident is the way that the moderator of the web-site took it upon themselves (himself or herself) to delete any comments that were thought to be offensive and break policy rules. A warning (more like a threat) was added that if the posters didn't follow the rules, the thread would be shut down. Let me just add here, that before the comments were deleted I got a chance to read them. There was some discussion that the girl should have paid attention to the traffic light and another poster stated that the girl driver was concentrating on other matters. You get my drift.

Then for a teeny-weeny minute a poster came back and asked for an apology and to have the previously deleted comment put back up, or a reasonable explanation as to why the comment was deleted. I said "teeny-weeny minute" because before I could say Jack Robinson, that comment was gone and not a trace left behind. It seems that the posters on The Advocate have found themselves walking in a desert of quicksand, because the ground can disappear right from under their feet. Hope they have life lines that will rescue them from that unstable situation.

Monday, January 11, 2010

MANNERS: Using them doesn't hurt, honest.

My mom taught me that when someone helped you out, in whatever form, it is polite to recognize the act and say, "Thank you".

It seems that the lesson in manners has been lost on some in charge at the local newspaper. When they used the wrong word and a poster let them know, the comment section was closed. A simple reply from the staff and a small, "Thanks for spotting the goof. Too bad, the paper is already printed. We will fix the online copy, though and keep letting us know when you catch another snafu" would have given the paper what it continuously cries for, credibility. Closing the comment section and deleting all the comments under the related pictures came across as a tantrum. This left the rest of us out of the comments for Kenneth's article.

Thanks alot, Patient Earth, now no one else gets to comment on that story or pictures. And just so you know, that last sentence wasn't a real sign of appreciation. Patient Earth, play nice, because there are others who had thoughts they wanted to post, too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


We want to make sure that the young people don't use the local paper as a guide of proper English usage. In an article today, the first line of the article had a perfect example of "Homophones Gone Wild". The writer substituted the word queue for the word cue. He really wasn't writing about a Chinese man's hairstyle or people waiting in line; what he meant was cue. A commenter pointed out the error and within five minutes the online article was corrected and the comment section was closed (with the correction eliminated.) Such fragile egos of some writers. When a mistake is made, instead of correcting the error and learning a lesson, the writers get their dander up and take revenge. I am surprised that the poor commenter was allowed to stay on the website after writing a comment that pointed out the error. Oh, the print edition has the same mistake. Wonder how many subscribers are shaking their heads about the quality control that is lacking at the paper's office.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Life's Nudges: From God and my Other Friends

Throughout my life's journey there have been times when the pathway was changed by a nudge; sometimes just a subtle one or a quite distinct push. Funny thing is that without those nudges, I wouldn't be who I am with the life I lead. Would I have more worldly goods, a different life, or am I better off where I find myself now? Interesting thoughts that have come to the foreground of my thinking, lately.

When I was in high school, there weren't many opportunities locally for me to attend a four year university, so a large nudge landed me in Missouri. Before I even started classes I began working full-time in an exclusive children's clothing store. There I realized that attending to people and their demands was something in which I excelled. Rich, picky people can be pretty demanding in their requests, which only stretched my abilities to become flexible in dealing with people. Up until that time, I was actually quite shy around people I didn't know well.

By the time I was a Senior at the university, I had a close group of friends with the same major. One day in class a friend turned to me and asked if I was going to attend graduate school. I didn't even have a clue what that meant, so I asked her what that would entail. She assured me that I would be just taking more classes in my major and most of the classes were taught by the professors I already knew. So, I didn't see much of a challenge and right after graduation, I started in on my Master's. Classes and assignments in my graduate classes didn't seem much more difficult than my senior level classes and in a short while I finished my post-graduate work. If I hadn't received that nudge about graduate school, I suppose that my Bachelor's degree would have sufficed, but my upper degree provided more income once I began working in my field.

Another time that I received a nudge that changed my life, was when a friend wanted to meet someone she thought might be nice to date. Well, that nudge netted me my husband of over thirty years. Hate to even think what my life would have been like if I had resisted that invitation to meet him; not as colorful or packed with precious moments as it is now, I am sure

Once when I was unsure whether I should give into a nudge, a friend gave me this advice, which helped decide my acceptance, "Hey, it's only for four and a half months. You could stand on your head in the corner for that long. Try it. After that time, you can always do something else." She gave me enough of a nudge to take a chance and it landed me in a career that lasted for twenty-five years. Those twenty-five years garnered many priceless memories of people and events.

There have been many other times when I have felt that nudge as I stood at a crossroads. Whether I have given into the push in one direction or chosen to go the other way, the outcome has been my choice. Nudges just help me make the decision as a conscience choice, rather than haphazardly going through life. Stopping to smell the flowers and watch the butterflies allows me to make sure that I have taken the time to appreciate the choices I have been presented.