Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WOMAN? Not so equal after all.

NEW YORK (AP) - Bank of America Corp. and Merrill Lynch have made female employees "second-class citizens" by purposely giving their male counterparts opportunities to make more money, according to a gender discrimination lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The suit brought in federal court in Brooklyn by two former Bank of America financial advisers and one current Merrill Lynch broker accuses upper management of favoring men over women by giving them bigger bonuses and "plum business opportunities" that "groomed them for success."

The women also allege that the companies sought to punish them when they complained about the inequalities. One claims that after she protested, she was yelled at and ordered to seek pre-approval when expensing business lunches - something men never had to do.

"Beneath the veneer of a world-class financial institution, the defendants treat their female financial advisers as second-class citizens," the complaint says.

The suit seeks back pay and unspecified damages. It also asks the court for class-action status.

A spokeswoman for Bank America, Shirley Norton, released a statement denying allegations and said the bank will "vigorously defend against the claims."

Monday, March 29, 2010


We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face.

-- Eleanor Roosevelt

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

-- Emily Dickinson

FROM 1905 TO 2010: WOW, WHO'D THUNK?

Emancipation Day: 1905
April 3, 1905. Richmond, Virginia. "Emancipation Day."

Inauguration of Colored President Part of the Ceremony.

Richmond, Va., April 3 -- Thousands of Negroes observed Emancipation Day in Virginia to-day. The occasion resulted in an outpouring of the race never before equaled, armed with miniature United States flags and attended by brass bands.

In addition, there was a unique feature to-night, the inauguration of a colored President. At True Reformers' Hall the interior of the White House was reproduced, and all the ceremonies incident to the induction of a Chief Magistrate into office were gone through with.

To-day was also the fortieth anniversary of the evacuation of Richmond by the Confederate forces and the partial destruction of the city by fire. (Washington Post, April 4, 1905.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Over on The Victoria Advocate, there is a poster who goes by the name of TSTORM. He won't put up with anyone writing/saying/thinking anything against Bob Moore, the superintendent of Victoria Independent School District. TSTORM challenges other posters and asks them if they work for VISD. Is TSTORM really that dumb to think someone will post, "Yes, I work for VISD and I don't agree with what is happening in the schools"?

Bob Moore (through his principals) has made it very clear that if a staff member voices any negativity about anything, then it's time to find another career.

To have TSTORM act as such a staunch supporter of Bob Moore is quite strange, since he has family members who work in VISD. There have been times when his relatives have been treated very terribly. Either he is very forgetful; he doesn't care how his family members are treated; or he is trying to secure a place on a varisty team for his son.

No matter why he is Bob Moore's personal cheerleader, I am very tired of the same old cheers from TSTORM.

ZOO: What is old is new again.

There are two additions to our local zoo and some people are up in arms, because lions aren't native to Texas and they thought our zoo was only suppose to have native animals.

Many years ago, the zoo in the park had animals that weren't native to Texas and the zoo thrived. I remember one afternoon that my mom and I were there and the lion was being walked around. Getting permission, I got to pet the lion and I thought it was wonderful. Yeah, I know what a danger it was to be so close to a wild animal, but I found it quite thrilling to be able to be so close to such a powerful creature.

We also had other wild animals at the zoo, a train that carried joyful children through the shade of enormous trees, snow cone vendors and many people who relaxed with their families around homemade picnics. Young people learned to drive the meandering roads dodging the occasional wayward golf ball; children tore bits of bread to toss to hungry ducks; wooden bats cracked in hot summer air; and if we were lucky a traveling entertainment company would set up large flying swings to propel us around in dizzying circles.

So, our zoo has come full circle, with the purchase of lion cubs. Soon a new restaurant will be opening down in the park, children have cleaned up the duck pond and people are wanting the park to become active once again. I can only hope that more people will go down and put the family back into such a beautiful place.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Five years ago today, I bought the saddest card in my life. I knew that it would be the last, "Happy Birthday, Mom" card that I would ever need.

By sheer will and determination my mom postponed her last day on Earth until her birthday dawned. It's difficult to fathom how much grit that it took for her to hang on until the early morning of her birthday, but she would leave her Earthly home on her own terms. In spite of her pain and weakened condition, she made sure that those who loved her wouldn't be burdened with two milestones. Her last gift to us was to wait until her birthday to let go of the pain and thus turn her birthday into the beginning of her new life.

Thanks, Mom. Know that you will always be here in our hearts. We miss you, but don't worry, because we are doing okay. You were worried about us and we'll be fine. Remember that down here time seems forever, but before you know it, we'll be together, again.


Yesterday, my husband and I made a solemn journey to visit the grave of my mom and step-dad. It's a trip that we don't take too often for a couple of reasons.

When my mom was alive, she made me promise to visit her then and not go to her final resting place and weep for her. So, I spent much time with her when she could still wrap me in her loving arms and laugh at my silly jokes.

Now, when we make the trek to the cemetary, my heart is heavy and I am reminded about how much I miss them both.

Wiping the escaping tears away, we face the marker and talk about our lives and the void their passing has created.

Saddness envelopes both of us, until we finally break and we decide it is time to move on, away to the future, leaving the past to rest in peace. Beautiful wildflowers are secured and a final quick touch of the cold headstone, which stands at attention among the ever growing field of graves, competes our visit.

Five years ago, the grave was one of the newer ones and now it has welcomed too many more sentries of the fallen. Next time we visit the site, I will probably be amazed that the sea of graves has gone on even further.


"Over the past decade, the U.S. maternal mortality rate has nearly doubled, with about 500 women dying of pregnancy-related complications each year. That’s a tiny percentage of the 4 million American women who give birth annually. But what’s shocking is that among industrialized countries, the U.S. ranks an abysmal 41st on the World Health Organization’s list of maternal death rates, behind South Korea and Bosnia—yet we spend more money on maternity care than any other nation."

When one is thinking of babies, it is only natural to picture an exhausted, delighted mother cradling the newborn babe to her breast. Unfortunately, the stark reality of what is happening in the United States is that too many men are left to take care of funerals and nighttime feedings on their own. There are many factors that are causing this rate of death for new moms, and yet the reality is that in this country we are seeing too many pregnancies ending in devastation.

If woman are waiting later to have babies, for whatever reason, then this age factor can impact the outcome of childbearing.

Being pregnant and going through childbirth is a marathon, for which the participates should be physically, emotionally and financially prepared. Sure, for most people it is an easy task to get pregnant, but the difficult journey is sometimes overlooked as something anyone can complete easily.

Take child bearing seriously, before deciding that it is time to bring another person into this world. Many times there are horrific outcomes, so at least consider all the possibilities and how prepared would you be to carry on without the mother of your child?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

99% OF AMERICANS CAN READ: Or can they?

When I was researching where the U.S. ranked in the world for literacy, I found the ranking a bit confusing when the following information is considered. According to the report, 99% of adults can read, but when you examine the data a bit closer, the truth is somewhat disheartening. Thought that I'd add this information on here, since we are in the middle of the census process, and we will be seeing new data from this year's census collection.

National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL)
The US Dept. of Education, Institute of Education Sciences has conducted large scale assessment of adult proficiency in 1992 and 2003 using a common methodology from which trends could be measured. The study measures Prose, Document, and Quantitative skills and 19,000 subjects participated in the 2003 survey. There was no significant change in Prose or Document skills and a slight increase in Quantitative skills. As in 1992, roughly 15% of the sample could function at the highest levels in all three categories. Roughly 40% were at either basic or below basic levels of proficiency in all three categories.

Thus, if this bottom quantile of the study is equated with the functionally illiterate, and these are then removed from those classified as literate, then the resultant literacy rate for the United States would be at most 65-85% depending on where in the basic, minimal competence quantile one sets the cutoff.

The 15% figure for full literacy, equivalent to a university undergraduate level, is consistent with the notion that the "average" American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level which is also consistent with recommendations, guidelines, and norms of readability for medication directions, product information, and popular fiction.

Methodological Issues
Jonathan Kozol, in his book Illiterate America, suggests that the very high figures of literacy may be due to poor methodology [8]. The Census Bureau reported literacy rates of 99% based on personal interviews of a relatively small portion of the population and on written responses to Census Bureau mailings. They also considered individuals literate if they simply stated that they could read and write, and made the assumption that anyone with a fifth grade education had at least an 80% chance of being literate. Kozol notes that, in addition to these weaknesses, the reliance on written forms would have obviously excluded many individuals who did not have a literate family member to fill out the form for them. Finally, he suggests that because illiterate people are likely to be unemployed and may not have telephones or permanent addresses, the census bureau would have been unlikely to find them (and that if they did, these people might be especially reluctant to talk to a stranger who might be a bill collector, tax auditor, or salesperson).


When I saw this headline about Mississippi, I smiled, a bit. Then as I was reading The Victoria Advocate I really chuckled when I saw the piece about the spelling champions. Sometimes, I wonder if the people on Constitution Street are actually misspelling words on purpose. After all, there is no such thing as bad publicity, is ther? (Yes, I did do that on purpose.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


The past few days I had made plans to enjoy the company of some interesting people, both friends and family. First off, I was to meet a nice, compassionate, intelligent friend (are there any other kinds of friends worth having?) We had planned on meeting for coffee at our favorite locale, and the challenge was trying to maneuver around the detours, saw horses, missing sidewalk sections, construction workers and lack of parking spaces. Once we arrived at the coffee house, the brew and conversation were both flavorful and satisfying. It's always fun to have conversations with this friend and the list of topics is as varied the combination on the coffee menu board. Delightful time to introduce two nice people to another person who appreciates the flavors of life. Age differences shrink when conversation is open and free. Great way to start the weekend.

Next on my plans was to attend a HUGE CLOSEOUT SALE that my husband wanted to check out. As we waited for the entrance time, we watched the crowd begin to que. Chuckling, my daughter made an observation about the the people who waited for the opening time and then she even laughed harder when she realized that we were also waiting for the opening of this HUGE CLOSEOUT SALE. When the line began to move closer to the entrance, smiles soon turned to frowns as it was announced that there was a cover charge to enter the facility. We quickly decided that we would spend the cover charge money some place else; as we couldn't grasp the idea of having to pay to shop and not receive anything in return.

On our way out of the park, my daughter spotted a nearby garage sale where that cover charge money bought quite a few things for her home office. She is beginning to sell MARY KAY cosmetics , so her little office space will be dedicated to her new business venture. I am hoping that her sales will boost her family's fiances. With the help of my husband to transport the larger items home, we turned the disappointment of the CLOSEOUT SALE into a rewarding little side trip.

Saturday was to be spent with relatives in San Antonio, so we got up before the sun and prepared for the long trip. Gentle rain started the trip, but we weren't very concerned. Instead of the sky brightening as the day progressed, it became black and the rain came in torrents. Before we could even travel forty miles, the sky had opened up with lightening bolts and more rain than the wipers could clear.

Sitting in the backseat a wave of foreboding came over me. When I caught my husband's eyes in the rear view mirror, there was a question coming through those deep pools of blue. A bolt of lightening and its companion thunder woke the baby next to me and he startled.

"Pull over and turn around, I don't feel that this is safe," I pleaded with my husband. Soothing the baby and waiting for a consensus didn't take long, as our daughter agreed that considering the hazardous driving conditions our safest course was to head home.

A phone call to San Antonio relatives was made. Predictably, disappointment clouded their judgment of the situation; they didn't think we were making the right decision by turning back home. I explained that we couldn't see and the rain was coming along with the gusting wind. They pleaded with us to continue because weather conditions at their house were clear. Unfortunately, for us it was another hundred miles to that destination and the storm was a force of nature that we weren't willing to fight. Driving back home allowed us to begin to breathe again and feel comfortable with our decision to cancel our trip.

Flowers for graves and a birthday celebration can wait until another day. Precious cargo and safe traveling were not something we were willing to risk.

Some plans were pretty much the way we envisioned and others were just sand-written ideas that people and nature changed. At the end of all of the events, we were safe and that was what really mattered.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Are you kidding me? Seriously?

I found these signs that I knew I had to share. Laugh and shake your head in disbelief as I did, because isn't the world a funny place sometimes?

I think these will be popular with all the "Saggers"

All those so cool guys who insist on wearing their pants sagging down around their knees should be buying these gloves. After all they are proud of their underpants showing, so wouldn't you think they would want to combine their need to show off their underwear and this nice little tidy-whitey invention?

"Top of the Mornin' to ye...

...and the rest of the day to ye."

Just wanted to leave this little Irish greeting out here for all the Irish (whether actual or only claimed for the day.)

Myself, I am part Irish, Scottish and German, so I can celebrate with the best of them. Unfortunately, my celebrating has calmed down quite a bit, but my Irish eyes do smile with the memories kept in my heart.

Have a great day and try not to get pinched. (The pinching, I am told, is to remind you that the little folks can't see you if you wear green and if they see you there's a pinch involved.)

Your favorite ferret

Monday, March 15, 2010


"Look at everything as though you are seeing it for the first time, with eyes of a child, fresh with wonder."
~ Joseph Cornell

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It helps to have an inside source when you want to get the scoop on unpublished photos from the new schools.

Above you will find one of the many technology upgrades found in the new middle school; along with a peek inside of a fully loaded classroom. Since Cade Middle School and West High School are so close together, the staff will be sharing one outhouse. Cutting financial corners will profit the students' studies and we are all looking forward to the impact in academic growth.

When I get more inside information, I will be glad to publish them so that we can keep up with all the wonders.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I know everyone knows, but here's a cute reminder. Set those clocks forward if your state, territory, country believes in this strange practice.


Chris Cobler relishes the power he wields at The Victoria Advocate. Like all small-minded people he takes his self-proclaimed authority very seriously. So, to all the banned posters who can no longer post on The Victoria Advocate, I have no reasonable explanation of why you've been banned and others are still there, such as BigJ and Kenneth. Just remember, RUKIDDINGME, Dutch, Patient Earth, Matt Ocker, Compass Rose and others, you will always be able to post here.

Consider this your invitation to add your intelligent comments to blogs.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Texas ed board vote reflects far-right influences

By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press Writer April Castro, Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN, Texas – A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I found this quite interesting. Texas' views on education have kept public school children so far behind other states, but now Texas doesn't want to have standardized English and math classes. My thoughts, "Hey, it's gotta be better than what's going on now. What could it hurt?"

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press Writer Donna Gordon Blankinship, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE – Governors and education leaders on Wednesday proposed sweeping new school standards that could lead to students across the country using the same math and English textbooks and taking the same tests, replacing a patchwork of state and local systems in an attempt to raise student achievement nationwide.

But states must first adopt the new rigorous standards, and implementing the standards on such a large scale won't be easy.

Two states — Texas and Alaska — have already refused to join the project, and everyone from state legislatures to the nation's 10,000 local school boards and 3 million teachers could chime in with their opinions.

The public is invited to comment on the proposed new standards until April 2, and the developers hope to publish final education goals for K-12 math and English in May.

The state-led effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Experts were called in to do the writing and research, but state education officials and teachers from around the nation were actively involved.

After the standards are complete, each state will still have to decide whether to adopt them as a replacement for their existing education goals.

The stakes could be high. President Barack Obama told the nation's governors last month that he wants to make money from Title I — the federal government's biggest school aid program — contingent on adoption of college- and career-ready reading and math standards.

Already, the federal government has opened bidding for $350 million to work on new national tests that would be given to students in states that adopt the national standards.

But some critics worry the federal government, which is enthusiastically watching the project but not directing it, will force them to adopt the results.

"Texas has chosen to preserve its sovereign authority to determine what is appropriate for Texas children to learn in its public schools," Robert Scott, Texas' commissioner of education, wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "It is clear that the first step toward nationalization of our schools has been put into place."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is helping pay for the effort, believes most states will value the new national standards.

HANDS OF LOVE: A child shall lead...

Such a little hand to be so powerful.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


This is another reason that homeschooling isn't for everyone.


Being an educator scares me more each day. It's not the quality of the children who stumble onto campuses; their parents who don't pull their weight as positive influences; or even the measely combat pay that shows up in my bank account each month that frightens me. What frightens me is the fact that we now have people assigned to a committe to help reform the educational process. Committees can be effective when stocked with the correct personnal, but this committee reeks. "Good ole boy" syndromes gives off a stench that would gag a maggot and the air is swirling with the stench from some of the handpicked members. Just looking on the role sends shivers down my spine. I will highlight one, for now, and leave the final conclusions to the enlightened readers I find here.

First up is Randy Vivian. He was the CEO of a local non-profit, where he served as a figurehead. His abilities never did measure up to what he self-proclaimed as to his talents. A lot of hot air and not much in the way of actual accomplishments, unless glad handing is considered an accomplishment.

Other members of this committee meet the critera of rich, out of touch residents of Victoria.

There are a couple well-qualified, generous with donations members and for those I am thankful.

We won't really have reform in the educational sector until this good ole boy system (which now includes "good ole gals") gains insight in the real working public and their concerns and interests.

I noticed that there weren't any regular teachers on the committee (if I missed a name, I do apologize) and those are the people who show up everyday to make a difference in this often crazy educational system we have in VISD.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


As a nation we all have certain dates that bring back memories, some kind and some painful. We have December 7, 1941; July 20, 1969; September 11, 2001; and others that have remained in our hearts.

Besides these and other group dates, I have acquired some dates which have etched into my heart. I know that this isn't unique to me, as we all have our own milestones, but I wanted to share just a few of mine. Feel free to add any more that have caused you to become the person you are today.

May 1969: Graduated from the best high school that no longer exists.

May 1976: Received my Master's from the University.

March 1979: Met Mr. Right (and not just Mr. Right Now.)

July 1979: Married Mr. Right for me.

September 1981: Gave birth to our beautiful girl.

May 1982: Handed over our precious girl to the surgeon for major surgery.

May 2000: Our fantastic girl graduated from high school.

May 2004: Our stupendous girl graduated from the university.

March 2005: My incredible mom was released from her life of pain and suffering.

February 2007: Our remarkable daughter married her sweetheart.

September 2008: Our family suffered the effects of Hurricane Ike.

May 2009: Best souvenir from any cruise arrives--our grandlove.

Sure more happened before May 1969 and since May 2009, but I am not writing a book, just a memory jogging blog.

Thanks for joining me on this short jog.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Now is the time for all of us to become free of the fear that has kept us from joy, from creativity, from peace, from the courage to be honest. It is time to do the inspired thing, which is to live our life's purpose.

~ Joseph Bailey

Thursday, March 4, 2010


The ship's owner and operator, Louis Cruise Lines, said the vessel was struck Wednesday by three "abnormally high" waves more than 33 feet (10 meters) high that broke glass windshields in the forward section on deck five, which is one of 10 used by passengers. Two people died and 14 were slightly hurt, the company said.

Large waves are not rare in the Mediterranean, but ones that size occur only once or twice a year, said Marta de Alfonso, an oceanographer with the Spanish government.

This accident happened in an area of the Mediterranean called the Gulf of Leon, which is known for big waves when storms hit.

Kind of ironic that I just wrote a blog about our experience on a cruise during Hurricane Ike and now there's a cruise ship that has suffered severe damage from huge waves. Hopefully, the passengers received helped with getting home (both financially and securing transportation) from the cruise line. I know that there have been deaths and I feel so sorry for the families affected by this tragedy.

These rogue waves brought to mind that old movie, "Poseidon's Adventure." Cheesy movie, but who would have thought it would come true in a sense.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Yesterday, I had a little laugh because of The Victoria Advocate. Dicovering something in the paper that is laughable usually involves the sloppy writing skills or the lack of editing. This time, the choice of story material was the source of my amusement. Nothing was wrong with the story, as such, it's just that I read it and thought, "If they think that is a vacation negatively impacted by weather, boy do I ever have a story to tell." So, here's my vacation story.

My husband and I love to cruise and discover new cultures. In 2008, our daughter and son-in-law were able to join us. Excited phone calls between our households coordinated packing and excursion plans. Walking onto to the Carnival ship and soaking in all the lights, sounds and smells alongside these "cruise newbies" amped up the appreciation factor for both of us. We had never been on this particular ship before, but it didn't take us long to get the lay of the decks.

Dining in the fancy dining room wasn't something either of the two guys would do willingly, but to appease us, they gussied up and tolerated the fancee-smanzee eating experience. My daughter and I enjoyed the ambiance, food and vibrant personalities of the waitstaff. This birthday would be one our daughter wouldn't forget any time soon.

While we sailed peacefully across the placid water, there was a small storm forming out in the ocean. However, on board our ship the Calypso band entertained, dinners were served, towel animals greeted us in the evening and deck chairs were arranged. No sounding of alarms penetrated the security of the ship, until the morning that we were scheduled to visit the Cayman Islands.

Up since early morning, we awaited the tenders to take us into shore. The turtles' sanctuary was to be one of our destinations, along with Hell and the beach. White caps should have served as our warning that the weather was in charge of all of our plans. Because of the danger for small boats in the bay, this port of call was cancelled and off we went back into deeper water. For over a year, our daughter had waited to go to the turtle sanctuary, but Mother Nature denied her that pleasure.

Shrugging off the dissappointment and turning our attention to the next port of call, we arranged a dolphin encounter for our daughter and husband in Cozumel, Mexico. Having the day away from them, my husband and I took time to revisit favorite shopping locales. Drizzle and muggy weather didn't slow our expedition down one bit. Not only did we rediscover the familiar, but we found other interesting niches for unique purchases. Returning to the ship, we learned that the dolphin encounter far exceeded any expectations held by our daughter. Once again, our son-in-law participated and tolerated an experience that made his wife ecstatic. He was a great traveling compaion, who didn't expect anything and appreciated everything.

Electricity buzzed throughout the common areas of the ship, as people continued to check the progress of the little storm, which had matured into a deadly hurricane. Passengers were summoned into the theater for an announcement late in the afternoon. At this point in the week, Ike hadn't decided where to come ashore, so we were safer waiting an extra day in Cozumel's port. We always knew that cruising was an adventure, but an adventure with some control. At this point, we realized that we had no control over anything.

Spending another day in port, gave my husband and me time to regroup mentally. We knew that we were safe, and yet the little hairs on the back of our necks started to itch. If the storm came ashore in Texas, we probably would be looking at complete devastation of our homes, work places, etc. Reminding ourselves that we and our "kids" were safe allowed us to relax a tad. Material things can be replaced, albeit a hassel to do so; it is possible to regroup as long as the loss is material and not personal.

Waiting is always the worse and the next day we were told that we weren't able to return to Galveston, as there was no Galveston left. Plans were still be forming, so as soon as the ship's crew knew anything, we would be advised. Thinking of traveling from another port back home brought uncomfortable possiblities to mind. But never in my mind could I have imagined what we were told at the next meeting. There would be no arrangements provided by Carnival Cruise Lines for our return to our departure port. We would cruise into New Orleans and the rest of the trip home would be at our own expense and it was up to us to make the travel arrangements.

Shock was soon replaced by anger and then panic. Here we had four people to get home, vehicles left at Galveston were probably swept out to sea, and we had traveled with cash only. Through many hours on the phone and a very generous friend (see blog about guardian angel) airfare was arranged to fly from New Orleans to home.

Stumbling off the ship in a daze, we were told by Carnival Cruise personnel that they hoped we had a good trip and please travel with them, again. Filtering my words, I did let them know that this was the first and ONLY time Carnival would be in our plans. When my daughter heard, "Well, she could have been nice about it," she said to the girl, "You don't know my mom, that was nice." Laughing about this encounter brought us to the area in New Orleans where we waited for our luggage and shuttle to the airport. Soothing our stressed-out nerves was the welcome we received from people who understood what being displaced felt like. All the people in New Orleans were kind and welcoming to us and that helped us get through the rest of our day.

Different flights took us from New Orleans into Houston, Texas. By the time my husband and I arrived in Houston, exhaustion was somewhat tempered by the fact that we were so close to home. Relaxing and waiting for our out going flight to home was short lived when we discovered that our co-pilot for our "puddle-jumper" plane hadn't shown up for work and the flight was cancelled. Due to the fall-out of the storm's damage, Houston was now on curfew and we were stuck at the airport until morning.

Freezing temperatures and no place to sleep in the airport made the hours creep by until finally in the early morning we were able to get a call through to our son-in-law who willingly rescued us and drove us home. A few minutes in the car, and we passed out from exhaustion. Walking into our home was the best feeling in the world.

Hot, soothing showers relaxed us enough that we were able to recharge our batteries and begin the process of dealing with the rest of our losses. Vehicles were lost and insurances were battled for replacements. Unexpected trip expenses were repaid to our friend and our travel agent helped us file the necessary paperwork for reinbursiment.

Many losses were not recovered. However, we brought home the best tiny souvenior ever, our grandlove. Even though he was conceived in foreign lands, he is an all American little boy.

I guess that Mother Nature did have the best plan, after all.

Monday, March 1, 2010


When we went to the grocery store over the weekend, we discovered that if we would purchase beer, it would be cheaper than purchasing brand name soda pop. Something is wrong with that fact and now the price is going up in some areas to help fight obesity and other health concerns.

Health issues are increasing at an alarming rate and the focus is now on sugary drinks. Let's face facts here, though, soda pop isn't the only factor to blame. Something that is so obvious to anyone paying attention in the food stores is that if you buy products that are good for you, like whole wheat pastas and bread, you will pay a lot more than if you buy the white, unhealthy varieties.

Same for the better cuts of meat, the ones with less fat cost much more per pound. Hamburger prices increase dramatically as the fat content decreases. Want to buy healthy foods? We all know to shop for high fiber, low sugar, and fresher products. Been to Whole Food Market lately? I've been and eventually walk away realizing that to shop healthy demands a much healthier bank account than I currently own.

So, the solution to childhood obesity will be to take all the junk food off the school campus and tax the soda in the stores. But until we get the kids up and moving more on the playgrounds, instead of hooked up to something electronic, we are going to see more childhood obesity and health issues.

When the parents provide the food at home, they are working with meager budgets. Yes, it healthier to purchase whole wheat products, organic farm products, and low-fat content meat; however the dollar doesn't stretch like it used to and people have to make a choice of quantity over quality.

Taxing soda pop would be fine with me, if the healthier foods (100% juice for example) were cheaper than the juice flavored drinks. If there will be a sin tax on the "bad food" than bring down the price of the healthy foods.

Here's what some EXPERTS have to say on this issue. Feel free to leave your own experiences or advice on my blog.

Think I'll go and have some sweet tea, while I'm waiting around to hear from you all.


"Advocates of a tax note that sugared beverages are the No. 1 source of calories in the American diet, representing 7 percent of the average person’s caloric intake, according to government surveys, and up to 10 percent for children and teenagers. These calories, they point out, are worse than useless — they’re empty, and contribute to a daily total that is already too high.

“What you want,” says Kelly Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, “is to reverse the fact that healthy food is too expensive and unhealthy food is too cheap, and the soda tax is a start. Unless food marketing changes, it’s hard to believe that anything else can work.”"