Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There are dear people in my life who are being pecked to their very core.  In the storm of the negativity my dear hearts are holding up their heads as well as possible, but it is only human to want to curl up and protect the vital parts.  If we lived in a perfect world, these nice people would be appreciated, cared for and rewarded, instead of being whittled away by the "powers that be."  It is extremely difficult to keep putting one foot in front of the other, complete the tasks set in front of them and put on their positive "everything is fine" face.  If I had the magical powers to ease their pain, I would in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, I only have the power to provide a soft shoulder, an encouraging word, and never ending hope that the future will be brighter soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Being a fortunate child, I had a mom who loved to cook and boy did she ever know how to cook a tummy pleasing meal.  My favorite meal of the whole year was the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  She would get up before dawn, stuff the turkey with homemade white bread dressing, put it into the huge blue roasting pan and by the time I got up to watch the parade on t.v. the house was filled with the warm, mouthwatering aroma of roasted turkey.  Oven door squeaking alerted me to catch a peek of the lightly browned, crunchy skin on the turkey, as my mom would quickly take the lid off and baste the bird.  Steam bubbled up from the boiling turnip and carrots' kettle.  Deviled eggs were already made and back in the fridge until lunch.  Sweet potatoes were being candied in the cast iron skillet on the back burner (no marshmallows in mom's version.)  Homemade pumpkin pie was resting on the cooling rack, near the stove.  Giblets, neck bone and other "throwaway" turkey parts were being trimmed for the giblet gravy.  No one helped my mom and yet somehow dinner was always perfect.  It was as if she had an inner schedule that she knew exactly when to stir this pot; when to check the turkey to keep it moist; when she needed to add the flour to the gravy stock and when she could take off her apron and serve the most delicious dinner of all year. 

Up until her last few years, she made the deviled eggs and dressing and I made the rest.  Now that she's been gone for too many years, it has fallen on me to pay attention to that instinct that tells me when the potatoes are done and the turkey is ready to come out of the oven.  No matter how much I try, what spices I use, what ingredients that I add, my dinner will never taste as good as the ones that my mom so lovingly created.  She knew how to cook and feed her family with love.

With this remembering, I am reminded of all the blessings that I have been given and I am grateful.

Here's wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving.  May your plates be full, your waistbands elastic, your loved ones healthy and your friendships ever lasting.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I love these boots for the following reasons:

10. They repell wetness.
  9. They are cute.
  8.  They make money for a worth-while cause (breast cancer research.)
  7.  There is nothing on them that is designed for a specific town.
  6.  They could be worn to wade through the horse hockey that our town is full of.
  5.  They haven't been endorsed by Bise, Randy Vivian or any other local-yokels.
  4.  They look "girly".
  3.  They make a positive statement.
  2.  They won't go out of style next year.

And the number one reason that I love these boots is:
 1.  They aren't part of an expensive campaign that proves what a dirt-floor town we really are!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Today is a very special day for a very special friend.  She's remarkable in many ways.  I will attempt to list a few attributes that make her such a precious person to me.  First and foremost, she has carved out time for me and mine.  Her life is very demanding and yet she finds the time and energy for me.  We talk quite frequently and during our conversations we have pretty much solved all of the world's problems. 

Her way of looking at the world and all of its difficulties can be summarized by her favorite phrase, "It'll be fine."  That phrase has gotten me through some pretty difficult times.  We've been stranded in the middle of the ocean and her phrase (along with her arrangements) got my family safely home.  "I'm fine" has been used to reassure me that she could make it to her destination without falling asleep, falling over from illness or any other mishaps that she's encountered.  "It'll be fine" has given me strength to wait out life's difficulties that have bumped into my secure plans.  Sometimes the plans I've made encounter huge snags and yet, "It'll be fine" reminds me that the end will not be as overwhelming as I have anticipated. 

When she and I talk, laughter plays a huge part of the conversation.  Sometimes what she says or her response to me is downright hilarious.  We don't drink, but if one was to eavesdrop, you'd think that we had been nipping the spirits during the verbal exchanges.  Who says giggling is only for young girls?  Sometimes, we have to repeat what we say, because the laughing muddles the words, which makes it even funnier.

Our husbands do tolerate our conversations, which is good because a lot of our conversations are about our husbands.  They both are a minefield of good conversations.  We love them dearly, but that doesn't keep us from sharing their quirks, faults and silliness.  Heck, if the husbands only knew what we have shared, they would probably would blush.  It just makes our friendship even more precious, because not many people would understand how much we love our husbands, warts and all.  (No, not literally warts, just character flaws.)

We love the written word and when I've found a book that I think might tickle her fancy, I like to share.  Her sensibilities have turned me into a censor.  I've given her some books that look weird from the distant, since I've deleted the coarse words from them with markers.  Occasionally, I've missed a word but the effort is appreciated and the written work hasn't suffered from the black marks throughout.  It's out of respect for her and her beliefs that I do this.  If authors only would understand that there is an audience out there that chooses not to read coarse words, maybe they would use other words than common curse words.  (After all, I can't use markers on the library books I check out.) 

There are many other great qualities that I could write about, but her loyalty, generosity of spirit, and giving nature are what set her apart from many in my world. 

She is my sister by heart. 

Happy Birthday, to my friend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


There are some comments on my blogs from DJ's Warriors which I find rather interesting.  I write the blog.  I publish my opinion, supported by facts.  I tell the story of the generational power trip that has been going on for a very long time in Victoria.  It seems that my blogs  have stirred up the pot a bit. 

For those of you who know me, you know that I write the truth and I am not intimated by angry outbursts. Not having much growing up and earning everything for myself has taught me that the privileged have an Achilles heel; they don't know how to handle "No."  They have been granted so much that once they hit a brick wall, they are dazed and scramble for understanding. 

The thing about my blog, I don't like to delete comments, but insulting comments can only stick around so long.  I will delete comments that are attacks against me.  If someone disagrees with me, then use common courtesy to state disagreements.  I would like to remind all, "Manners, people.  Manners."  Of course if you want to write your own viewpoint on what I've written, that is your choice, but please refrain from emptying your vile on my comment section.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I had a great laugh this week when I saw the food that was being served on board the stranded Carnival cruise ship.  SPAM, that slippery pork that was a cheap staple in many homes growing up, was airlifted to the stranded cruise ship. 

Mom would grab that release key, pull back the tin lid and tease the solid, shiny pork product out of its can. I would groan.  I hated everything about Spam.  Mom tried different ways of preparing it:  Frying it until it was crisp around the edges.  Slicing it and serving it as a cold luncheon meat.  Chopping it and adding it to scrambled eggs.  Chopping it and making ham salad out of it.  No matter how she sliced, chopped, fried or prepared it, I still hated the smell, texture and fake ham taste. 

Guess growing up through the depression, my mom appreciated the canned spiced ham from Hormel more than me.  She would never have taken a cruise, but if she did Carnival's Splendor would be her cup of tea.  Wait, they don't have hot water, so I guess that cup of tea would have to wait for a few more days.


When I have extra time on my hands, I find myself in public libraries.  Occasionally, the library is new to me, but most of the time we become fast friends very quickly.  When I walk into a library, there is a feeling of welcoming me home.  Familiar scents, sights and sounds greet me, even before I make it to the first book shelf.  Libraries have unique qualities that I could recognize with my eyes closed. 

There's the smell of printed paper,  whether it's the daily newspapers, the crisp magazines in their plastic protective cases or the books waiting to be explored.  No matter what brand, e-readers will never be able to replicate that "new book" smell. 

Running my finger over a page and experiencing the texture of the paper brings the book to life for me.  Some books have pages made of such rough paper that the words almost cut into the surface; while on the other end there are the books with the glossy pages and print to match.  Silky pages bring to mind the water and all that it hides beneath the surface.  My daughter used to only like the "soft" books, as she called them.  Her little fingers would kiss the pages as I read to her.  I got that love of texture.

People who have joined the biblio-lover club bring their own unique qualities to the library experience.  Some people groom themselves daily and come to the library with the freshly-washed scent of clean clothes and bodies; while on the other hand there are people who have already put in a full day's labor and come to the library before finding their showers.  Each person, whether dressed in business casual, beach wear, tube tops and tiaras is welcomed.  Everyone is greeted with a smile and helpful attitude by the people who work in the library.

Excited toddlers and their adult partners find their way to the glass-enclosed activity center and music starts for "mommy and me" time.  Strains of "Hot Potato" seep into the rest of the library which makes me watch the precious little ones following the librarian, who is leading the activity.  In our busy world, it is sweet to see the magic in the simple actions of following the leader in a learning activity. 

Electronic sounds serve as a background to all the workings of the library.  There are books being checked out; anti-theft electronic signals are deactivated with a muted thump; computer keyboards are clicking out hidden messages; printers are spitting out the requested pages nearby; conversations are kept low so as not to disturb other people; phone ringers are cancelled quickly; and overflows from earphones sometimes seep out to the neighbor. 

By the late afternoon, the patrons have changed.  In come the after-schoolers.  Older elementary students scramble to find the perfect book, the computer site with all the fun games or a quiet spot to challenge a friend to a board game.  Some high school students find a corner to help each other with class assignments; while at the same time sitting closer than school personnel would allow.

In the library, there is a feeling of ease; no one is in a hurry; life slows down and people can catch their breath.  It's as if when I enter the library there is a promise of more appreciation for all that is good in the world.  Words are powerful and when I immerse myself in an environment which celebrates them I feel hopeful, relaxed and energized.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


When DJ and her family move to our state capital next year, it will be interesting to keep track on their adjustment.  You see for almost sixty years, DJ has been able to get her way, because of her family.  Throughout her school years, her family's wishes were followed. Whatever she wanted as a "teacher" in the public school system, her wishes were followed, but that little journey has finally stopped.  She will now be moving to Austin, where it doesn't really matter which family is pulling the local strings, because Austin is a very large pond and DJ is just a little fish.  It should be interesting.  Her daughter might learn some manners from this reality jerk that has happened to her mother.  Cross enough people, burn enough bridges and people finally will get sick of the demands of the drama queen.


"Sanity doesn’t suffer, ever. A clear mind is beautiful and sees only its own reflection. It bows in humility to itself; it falls at its own feet. It doesn’t add anything or subtract anything; it simply knows the difference between what’s real and what’s not. And because of this, danger isn’t a possibility. A lover of what is looks forward to everything: life, death, disease, loss…anything the mind might be tempted to call 'bad.'Life will bring us everything we need, to show us what we haven’t undone yet. Nothing outside ourselves can make us suffer. Except for our unquestioned thoughts, every place is paradise. "

~Byron Katie

Lately, I have been struggling with some personal issues and today I stopped, looked around, took a deep breath and realized that I need peace.  Peace that doesn't come from money, possessions, job security, fancy environments, or anything that can be bought.  My peace comes from way deep inside.  It comes from the act of letting go of the struggles of everyday.  Magically making life easier for me and for those whom I love can't happen, so that has to be okay.  Employment opportunities aren't controlled by any force I posses, so they are out of my hands.  Health concerns are addressed and yet the outcomes are not determined by me.

Breathing, relaxing and accepting have helped me in realizing that what is important is the fact that I am blessed to have people whom I love and love me back.  Struggling in this world has taken too much energy and I have to approach this journey with more confidence, serenity and faith.

I realize that the bumps, detours and uphill climbs will still try to sway me from my goal of peace, but I am counting on the "GPS" of faith, friends and family to guide me and keep me on my path.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Houston Independent School District is in the process of developing a new teacher evalutaion tool that includes students' achievement/performance.  I wouldn't have a problem with that aspect of teacher evaluation, except that the teachers who teach the AP or GT classes have an easy-breezy time motivating their students to learn.  On the other hand, you have the middle-of-the-road and off-the-road students who just come to school for the free food, the time to socialize with their friends and catch up on the latest news from their homeboys. 

Those poor teachers can't hand-pick the motivated students; the students who care about education; the students who will try their hardest to complete the assignments; or even the students who come to school on a regular basis.  When the teacher is assigned the students, those students don't come with a money-back guarantee.  Students show up to class with factors that aren't measured by any standard that the district/state can provide.  If the student is homeless; pregnant; abused; abusing drugs/alcohol; surviving a home life that one wouldn't wish for anyone or any other negative aspect the ability to learn is affected. 

  • No where on the teacher's evaluation form does it take into consideration that the student who made a 55 last week has improved because the teacher has taken extra time to help motivate the student to care.

  • No where on the form does it take into consideration that the teacher has worked with that kid off to the side, who just arrived from out of the state, to help her catch up to the point the class is working.  She hasn't passed yet, but she has improved in the last two exams. 

  • No where on the evaluation is a place to mark that the students have improved in their school attendance, because the teacher is motivating them to achieve. 

Do you understand my point?  I think evaluations are wonderful; however, the factors that go into the evaluation should all be considered and not just students' grades.  In all my years of dealing with the educational system in Texas and the evaluations, I've yet to know of one bad teacher who was asked to leave, even when "growth plans" weren't followed.  Many good teachers on the other hand, resort to the "dog and pony shows" in order to keep their jobs.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


With all the stuff that has been happening in our little Hicktoria, lately, I almost forgot what really is important.  It took a trip to an enormous children's hospital to jar me back to my place of appreciation for all the gifts I have been given. 

Monetary gifts in my world are just a wild dream, so those aren't the gifts that I appreciate.  Aging has taken its health tolls with me, so a springy, vibrant body have long lost its possibility for me.  Fancy cars have never been a priority to me, which is great, since those would never be possible in my world.  What blessing do I value and need to be gently reminded of, you might wonder?  Well, when I found myself in an environment with critically ill children; children with heart conditions that impact longevity; children who are non-verbal because of autism; children who spend their days in darkness because they were born blind; children who are well known due to numerous hospitalizations; and of course the parents who must rely on medical advances to ensure just one more day with their loved one, then I know that I am truly blessed to have a Grandlove with manageable health concerns.  He underwent another painless test, yesterday and we were told by the Tech that it seemed to be within normal range. 

What did I take away from the long day?  I am grateful for all the gifts that I promise not to take for granted.  Family, friends, and Bentley have been given to me by a most merciful God and I truly am grateful for His Love, which is constant, even when my appreciation wanes and a wake up call is necessary.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Now that DJ has burned one too many people, we are beginning to hear from people who have been close enough to understand what really went on with drill team members and leaders.  Thanks to a former principal, there is a letter in The Victoria Advocate that is very clear about her experiences with DJ on her campus.  I appreciate her letter and her part in the reassignment, but it did leave me a bit confused.  The principal has been gone for awhile and yet the reassignment just happened.  How did what DJ do years ago have any bearing on the reassignment now?  If the accumulation was so heinous, why wasn't it dealt with years ago?  How many charges were there and how come a release of contract wasn't the result?  I have no idea of what part this principal played in the reassignment, although she claimed to have aided in this procedure.  Must have been an awful lot of stuff going on throughout the years that nobody was brave enough to deal with.  Those poor brainwashed girls and families who are still backing DJ.  It's almost like they need to go to one of those anti-cult centers to have their brains rewired.  DJ's motto is DDDR; does that stands for Damage Darlings Daily Repeatedly?  Her LEGACY is the damaged girls she left behind.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010



On my other blogs, I have gotten broadsided by some unhappy DJ fans.  Imagine that!  Their leader has finally been told "No" and they don't know how to function without her, except to strike out at anyone who tells the truth. These DJ fans have been blindly following her and her twisted reality for so long, that they are confused when their leader has been lowered from her pedestal.  Here's a hint, DJ Warriors, there actually is a world that doesn't involve line formations, high kicks, fund raisers and out-of-the world expenses for sets.  Find something for your family to do with your time and money that actually contributes to the world, not just the little universe that had DJ as the axis.