Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You've Come a Long Way, Baby!

"How many homemakers are neglecting their duties as patriotic citizens of our great America? Most of us are so preoccupied with tasks of being good wives and mothers that we have let our duties as citizens slip into obscurity.

Do you, wife and mother, know the difference between 'conservative' and 'liberal'? do you know what the Civil Rights Bill consists of? Do you really understand what 'disarmament' means? You ask, 'who am I to worry about our Foreign Aid Program? I have trouble enough balancing my monthly budget!'

I say all of these things are more vitally important to our domestic roles than most women know. It's time we wake up and realize that we do have just as much say-so in our government and its policies as the men! Our votes count, too!

You say you would like to do your part, but you don't have a college degree with a background in political science. All of this campaigning is a lot of mumbo-jumbo to you?

Well, open your ears and listen. Instead of spending this summer faithfully tuning into your favorite soap operas, make it a point to listen carefully to the news and the many commentators available. Know what's going on -- and where. Who's saying what -- and why.

Most important, though, open your eyes and read! Instead of glancing at the headlines and devouring the society pages,  read -- really read the news, and carefully study the editorials in your newspapers. Let your ladies' magazines and love stories stack up this summer. There will be plenty of time to read them after the elections in November. Instead, take advantage of the libraries and the numerous bookstores in our area to furnish you with your reading material for the next four months.

There are many excellent books on American history and government in case your knowledge is a little rusty. Ask your librarian to recommend some -- or better still, talk to some of our local officials and school authorities and ask their advice as to what to read. Read the literature you receive in the mail from the candidates for public office before you toss them in the trash. Many of them have written books on their own beliefs and opinions. It would be wise to read them as well if at all possible.

While you are being educated in history and government, talk about it. Discuss with your husband, friends, and neighbors what you read. Ask questions, get opinions, and gradually you will begin to form your own opinions.

I am speaking as one of the many housewives who say, 'I am too busy. Politics bore me.' Or even worse, the ones who trust others ('more informed') to make decisions for them at the polls. This is my first year to vote, I am ashamed to say. I have run through all the old and familiar excuses. However, my oldest child is starting to school this year. There is something about entrusting the molding of my child's personality to a handful of strangers that arouses parental suspicion. In my case, I want to know who decides what my child shall learn. 

As I searched for information on the subject, I began to realize that there was more to it than just scrutinizing teachers and school officials at the local level. So much depends upon how much authority the Federal Government has or will have in the future. What type of government we have will determine what my children will learn. Thus, my long trek towards enlightenment and becoming a better citizen as well as a wife and mother.

For the many wives in the same situation as I am, I offer my plan. I am struggling through this plan now. It's not easy, but if you are determined as I am, you will find time in your daily household routine for these methods:
  1. Determine the important issues in this year's election. This is easy enough to do by reading the front page of your newspaper. A few this year are Civil Rights Legislation, Disarmament, and Federal Aid.
  2. Open your ears and listen! (TV and radio news and commentaries.) This won't even interfere with housework, as you can iron, wash dishes, etc. while you learn. Know what's going on and where. Who's saying what - and why.
  3. Read. Books on American History and Government. If in doubt about what to read, don't be embarrassed to ask the librarian for help - or even call the school authorities for their recommendations. Carefully read literature written or sent by mail from the candidates to learn their beliefs and opinions.
  4. Talk, talk, talk! Discuss what you've learned with family, friends, and neighbors. Ask questions, get their opinions, and compare the answers you come up with.
  5. Form your own opinions.
This is my plan. I intend to go to the polls in November knowing who and for what I am voting. Whether you follow it or have your own method of gaining political knowledge, I pray that we can intelligently make the right decisions.

And Lord help us if you forgot to pay your poll tax again this year!"

The year was 1964. My how things have changed since then. There was no cable TV or Internet. Few women were in the workplace. And I was a politically naive young 24-year-old mother of two. I recently ran across this piece I wrote by hand while continuing my efforts to cull out unnecessary "stuff" I've hung onto all these many years. I decided to print it word for word. It will be a good laugh for many... but it might make a few young women of today realize how fortunate they are to have had concerned mothers and grandmothers during those tumultuous times nearly 50 years ago! 

The issues today are every bit as important, if not more so, than those we faced in 1964. It is every bit as important for each of us to get out and vote!

Peace and love,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little treasures...

As I've mentioned before, I am facing a move in the near future. Since I will be "downsizing", I am forced to cull excesses that I do not need to hang onto. This necessitated going through not only my own files, paperwork, photos, etc., but also many of my mother's I have been left with, and now my dad's. Mother had scores of scrapbooks filled with mementos from all her family and friends. These are some I salvaged from those books:

The above paper was one I must have sent to my mother. Today I brag about my children and grandchildren on this blog. However, during their early childhood years, I sent school papers, photos, and memorabilia to grandparents and even great-grandparents. Little did I realize at the time I would someday be in possession of some of these "little treasures" in my own senior years. The above school paper was one written by my oldest, Craig, in 1969. He was 11-years-old at the time, with a five-month-old baby brother! Now how does one part with such a treasure? Or the one below:

This was written by my daughter, Carajean. It must have been during one of the summers she visited my mother's home. If you look closely, you can see the straight pin my mother left in that Carrie used to pin it to the dress. Judging from the printing, she was very young. The following was written a few years later:

Carajean was 12-years-old when she wrote this about her three-year-old brother and the family's Siamese cat, Prissy, going fishing in her aquarium. Carrie saved her money to buy her own aquarium, plants for it, and of course, she paid for her fish! Matthew used the net she cleaned it with to catch the fish, then tossed them to the waiting, hungry Prissy! I'm not sure if Carajean ever forgave me for not punishing Matthew more severely. This story will never die.
The Innocents - Matthew and Prissy - 1972
At this rate, I may never "downsize" enough to move anytime soon. There are at least two trunks full of such little treasures as these.

Peace, and more space, please,

Sunday, August 19, 2012


As I deal with an ailing, elderly father (93), and all of the facilities and people involved in his care, I am reminded of our aging population and the inadequacy of the healthcare system to accommodate the ever-increasing load. People are living longer, but that does not mean they are necessarily healthier or financially or physically able to take care of themselves. Families are not in positions to care for their elderly as they were in the past, when the nuclear family consisted of more than just one or two relatives in a home. Couples are choosing to have smaller and smaller families as well, so there will not be many children to rely upon when they grow old and infirm. Most of the time we are now having to depend upon nursing homes and long-care facilities.

Jarvis Moragne and Firstborn Grandchild

As a single person, with health issues of my own, I am dismayed at the quality of care that is available -- especially in small towns. As I sought a  place for my dad to live out his years with good, affordable medical care, I could not help but wonder where the baby boomers will spend their "golden years". We all must join in the vision of a future where there are adequate facilities for the elderly to approach their deaths with dignity and comfort. So many today are financially unable to afford such care.

"Today a federal judge in Galveston declined to allow the State of Texas to continue to suppress voters through restrictive voter registration laws that are the subject of a pending lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the laws violate the National Voter Registration Act of 1993."   


"...despite evidence that the law (Pennsylvania's Voter ID law) - which demands that citizens present strict, state-issued photo identification before voting - disenfranchises many voters, it was upheld."... (from Huffington Post)


I have recently felt extremely isolated and more than a little depressed by my dad's situation and all I am attempting to do. Added to that is the recent announcement that the people who own the house I rent want to either double my rent (which they know I am unable to afford) or have me move so they will be able to sell the house. As a result, and hours I am spending alone doing necessary culling out of both my dad's and my own accumulated "stuff", I have kept the television set on more than I ever do. This is just for "noise" to make me feel a part of the world at large. As it is difficult to put on anything I might wish to "watch", I've turned to the cable news channels for company. I can listen and still accomplish my clearing out.
(by Bryant Arnold)
Oh, boy! This is the wrong time to be listening to what comes over the airwaves! Soundbites, political ads, commentators on both sides of the political spectrum, general gloom and doom on the economy, the violence taking place at home and in the world at large, and the election itself. One of the things I take issue with is the view that this is one of the dirtiest election campaigns ever! At least this morning I heard one newscaster give a rundown of "dirty" campaigns harking back to Thomas Jefferson in 1776 in the race between him and President John Adams. The following was written in a piece by Kerwin Swint, titled "Founding Fathers' dirty campaign" in 2008:

"Jefferson's camp accused President Adams of having a 'hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.'

In return, Adams' men called Vice-President Jefferson 'a mean-spirited, low-lived fellow, the son of a half-breed Indian squaw, sired by a Virginia mulatto father." 

Now that's what I call dirty campaigning!!

All of which takes me back to the fall of 1952, and my introduction to political campaigns. For a few months that year my sister and I were staying with my grandparents who lived in Mt. Shasta, California. I was in the 8th grade in that tiny town. Our class was very excited when we found out we were to be taken by bus to a nearby town to hear our President, Harry Truman, speak from the rear of the Presidential Train. (I wonder if there is still such a train??) 

Now, mind you, my dad had just been mustered out of his third tour of duty with the U.S. Army, having served this time during the Korean "conflict". As an army brat, there was no one more of a hero in my eyes than General Dwight Eisenhower! When President Truman opened his mouth and began to speak what I thought were outright lies and slander of my hero, I was shocked and let my outrage be known. Thus was my introduction to politics! And what today is called "dirty tricks campaigns". Of course, years later I realized that Truman was stumping for Adlai Stevenson, who was the Democratic candidate running for the office of President. Who, as we know, lost to Eisenhower. Goes to show some people cannot be fooled by negative campaigns.

Years later, I also switched my political party allegiance, when I thought the Republican Party was veering far from the platform of my then hero, Dwight Eisenhower.
This morning I tried to compensate for all the negativity I had been hearing by watching three religious church services. I have to say it helped tremendously. One sermon was even on the subject of "celebrating the diversity" in our humanity. We truly can agree to disagree. And disagree with more civility than has been shown by so many of our politicians of late.

We are all a part of the family of man. Even families have dissension from time to time, but we still love each other.. Don't we?

Peace and love,

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Cameron Oliver Young. Age 5 years and 22 years. A precious memory of Kindergarten graduation and then a proud moment of college graduation -- Louisiana State University, Class of 2012. Cameron missed graduating Cum Laude by only .015 points! 

Since graduating in May, Cameron volunteered to help with the Special Olympics in Dallas, Texas. He was the MC for the events. Cameron's delightful sense of humor surely added to the joy of the day. As part of his graduation gift, Cameron will be making a trip in August to visit many of his friends in Europe. 

Audrey Marlena Archer. Graduation Day from Kindergarten, age (almost) 5 years, and Graduation Day from Southern Methodist University, Class of 2012, age (almost) 22 years. 

As part of her graduation gift, Audrey and her good friend Hannah are trekking across the United States, arriving today in Delaware, stopping at many points of interest between Amarillo and her destination. Audrey will be working this summer with the Delaware State Park system as an Environmental Tour Guide, discussing with and educating the public regarding the flora and fauna of the State Park. She has applied, and will learn in August if she has been hired, to work with a group in North Carolina in the rescue and rehabilitation of Sea Turtles. 

These cousins, born four months apart, have been close all of their short lives. Their parents threw a wonderful celebratory party for them in Dallas a few weeks back. Friends and family (with the exception of this sad grandmama, who had an ailing parent to tend to) gathered to send them off into the world. Having grown up in Dallas, Cameron had many of his childhood friends in attendance.

Beautiful, talented, and bright. These two are going to make special marks in our world. I intend to hang around and report their accomplishments for all the world to hear about!

I salute you two! With all my love and pride,
Fancy Grandmama

Friday, June 1, 2012


As most of you know, I have been away from home for the past two and a half weeks assisting my ailing dad. During this time, we had a good deal of rain here in Burnet. This is a portion of my back yard as it appeared, overgrown with weeds, when I returned home. In the rear by the tree, one of my outdoor shoes known as "Crocs", is ensconced in a nearly dry birdbath. The yellow, concrete one had been overturned. Upon examination, I saw that the shoe had been nearly destroyed by "something" chewing on it! The mate has disappeared completely!
There is a wide hole going into the crawlspace beneath my house that I have had chicken wire stapled over several times. A creature of some kind keeps working the chicken wire loose to access this space. I called our local animal control officer and explained what I had found. She appeared shortly, accompanied by a police officer who has an interest in the wildlife around here. I told them that my neighbor had seen a raccoon in my yard a couple of years ago. (See MORE MUSINGS, August 2010) We even set a trap when said raccoon began to raid their tomato plants. At that time, we netted a feral cat, and the raccoon ceased its nighttime forays. The policeman, who had 15 pet raccoons at one time, said he never knew them to chew up anything. When I told him I had found some leftover suet in the birdbath earlier this year, he said that did sound like a raccoon. They are often able to open doors to cages such as the one that held the suet.
Looking at the destruction of this hard rubber shoe, I am reminded of puppies who chew anything and everything when they are cutting teeth. I looked up some of the behavior of raccoons on the internet, and much to my dismay I discovered they can have litters of up to seven little ones!! 

We set a trap with cat food, hung a piece of bread with peanut butter and jelly (the officer said they have a sweet tooth) in the suet basket, and I awaited daylight. I was up at 5:30 with my flashlight trying to see what we had captured. It was a very large house cat! Probably someone's pet. The animal control officer came and reset the trap while I was gone this morning. I wonder what we will capture tonight.

My property is across a busy highway from a wooded, hilly area. In the winter, my former neighbor (a night owl who awakens easily) has seen deer in my back yard. Unfortunately, due to the droughts we have suffered in this part of Texas, the deer migrate to neighborhoods to feed and many of their fawns are hit by cars and killed.

Day 2 -- We have one smart raccoon, if that's what it is. This morning the peanut butter and jelly had been removed from the suet cage, the trap door was still set but the can of cat food was empty and turned upside down in the birdbath, and the second Croc was now missing, too! I have a call into animal control. Maybe we will try another tactic. I'll keep you posted.


Friday, May 4, 2012


Joe Btfsplk by Al Capp
Remember the old L'il Abner comic strip by Al Capp? There was one character that walked around with a dark raincloud over his head. We were made to think that trouble followed him around because he was a "gloomy gus". Lately I feel like that little guy. The past few months there have been things happening to objects in my life that make me think that I might be causing them.

I remember reading articles and even seeing some television programs throughout the years about poltergeist phenomena. Maybe the occurrences I have noticed have been due to my mental or emotional state. I haven't recognized any overt hostility in my personality, but then, I may not be the best person to recognize that. It's hard to be objective.

Now, don't get me wrong, there haven't been any flying objects or furniture moving around or things going bump in the night. It's just that things mechanical, electrical, and electronic that belong to me or are contained in my environment are breaking down! A few of them are major, and some are only minor. 

This is an old photo of my Jeep taken in a rare Texas snowfall. It was old then, even older now! Since the first of the year I have had to call AAA twice (thank you, son-in-law, Branch), having it towed once. It was in and out of the repair shop, and then at my son Matthew's (thank you, Matt) for his expert care and repair. I was without wheels for the better part of two months. I jokingly said that my Jeep is wearing out and beginning to show its age -- like me!

The day after I got my car back, I lost my cable internet service completely. That affected my telephone, which is an internet phone I have used for years, television service, Roku (which allows me to watch Netflix on my TV), and worst of all -- my computer was down for days!

Luckily, I have a little Tracfone that I carry with me in my car in case of car trouble. I called my son about the internet, and as he advised, I called my cable internet provider. To no avail. This second call gave me an error message and told me to call Tracfone's Customer Service Line. Of course, it went through. After talking to two different people somewhere in Asia (I could not understand the name of their country due to their heavy accents), I was so angry I was breathing fire into the phone!

You see, when you purchase a Tracfone you buy so many minutes and so many of what they call "service days". When the service days run out, they send you a message that you need to buy more days (and minutes). So I did. For several years I did - at $20 a pop. I had over 1,800 minutes accrued when son Matthew told me I didn't need to keep buying more. To just use the minutes already on the phone. I still had over 1,800 minutes, as I had rarely used it. However, the service reps in Asia kept telling me I needed to buy another phone (they had a special on at the time) or purchase more days. I yelled at them (shame on me). The young male supervisor said there must be something wrong with the phone and they could not check it out while I was using it. To "please call back on another phone". ("I don't have another telephone, that's why I'm using this blankety-blank phone!") He said if I would purchase a new Tracfone they would credit me with the minutes I have left on this one. I yelled again that I DO NOT WANT A NEW PHONE! At this point, he finally told me to take out the battery in my phone and reinsert it in 5 minutes. No easy feat, but I finally got it out, and the telephone now works fine. I don't know how long I have before I have to go through this whole scenario again.

I was finally able to call the cable company, but had to wait two days for someone to come, and he still didn't get everything connected. I'm still having to use the dratted cell phone, but at least I now have internet and my beloved (seriously) computer. And I can again watch movies on Netflix if I get bored.

Also in the past two months, my coffeemaker and my hair dryer both went kaput! That's not important unless you have just got out of the shower with a wet head and have an appointment in an hour -- and are on your way to the kitchen for that first cup of coffee only to discover cold water and no coffee! I guess there is something to be said for keeping instant coffee on hand.. ugh.


I don't know where each of you lives, but here in the Hill Country of Texas we have been having a particularly warm spring. Temperatures have already climbed into the 90s during the day, and at night it's frequently in the 80s until the wee hours of the morning. Last night was one of those hot nights. I kept looking at the thermostat, checking the weather on the internet, and wondering if I were suffering some kind of late-in-life hot flashes. I could not get the temperature down below 79 degrees by the time I went to bed. It was still 79 degrees when I woke at 3:30 am, tossing and turning from the heat. I am now waiting on the a/c repairman.


I have searched my memory, and as a matter of fact, maybe my mental and emotional state does have something to do with all of the occurrences around here. I guess I have been a little angry or upset with a couple of folks in the last few months... Maybe I have been holding onto some resentment for real or imagined wrongs I've suffered... Whew! Right now, let me state to the Universe, "I FORGIVE EVERYONE OF EVERYTHING! AND I ASK YOUR FORGIVENESS AS WELL!" There! Now enough already of the breakdown of all things mechanical, electrical, electronic, and oh yes, physical in my life! 

And if the a/c repairman doesn't hurry up ... oh well, I'll just have to forgive him, too!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another memory jogged...

I received an email from Mary, a long-time friend from Denton, shaman, herbalist extra-ordinaire, and sometime FEMA employee, who has her own memories of the days of segregation. She shared a few of them with me.

Texas Cotton Field
"There was a black family who worked for my mom and dad on the farm. Sadie, aka 'Nigger Sadie', helped my mom around the house and with my brother and sister when she (and sometimes my mom) wasn't out picking cotton or corn or tending the animals. These two women worked side by side. Pappy, Sadie's man, helped my dad. I never knew his given name, and I knew him throughout my childhood and into my early twenties.

Later, when I was born, Sadie helped take care of me while my mom would be tending to some of the older members of the family. Then, when I was about 4 years old, my dad sold his farm. Of course, we all moved to town, and Sadie and Pappy moved to the side of town across from the tracks. They continued to work for us and other people as well.

I remember when Sadie and I rode the bus, she could sit anywhere she wanted when I was with her. I always wanted to sit at the back because that was where a lot of her friends were, and I knew them.  

Growing up in a smallish town was a blessing for me. I knew a lot of black people and had no fear of them. When I married Stephen, who was originally from Illinois and Indiana, he thought it weird that I knew so many blacks and had no fear. I thought of them as friends and felt welcome in their homes. It took years for me to break down those walls he had built up around himself concerning black people.

I went to TWU the first year it was integrated, and I thought it strange that such a to-do was made of it -- even though I had never gone to school at home with a black person. It was during that time that TWU also was letting an occasional male take classes there!"

Editor: Maybe that was true integration, Mary!


On another note, grandson Travis is doing well at pitching in Little League this year. Sure makes his dad proud. And this Grandmommy as well! He not only plays baseball, but is making the Honor Roll in school as well. That's what I call a well-rounded boy!


My two oldest grandchildren will both graduate from college in May. Audrey and Cameron are going to be treated to a big celebration in Dallas. Lots of family and friends. I plan to take plenty of photos, and get some first-hand information about their plans for the coming year. I already have an inkling about both, but want to hear it from their own mouths! Two beautiful, talented young people I expect to make a mark in the world.

Peace and love,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Post Script to "I remember.."

A long-time friend of mine from Albuquerque, Ruth (an American physician), spent her childhood in India -- with a missionary minister father and physician mother.  She had this to say about an experience she had as a child:
"Hard to believe you were around then.  I was too, but half way around the world. I remember an incident on the drive to Mobile, Alabama from Indiana to catch the ship [freighter] back to India after the war.   We were already crowded into a small jeep, but Dad stopped and offered an old gentleman [negro as we called them in those days] a ride.   He tipped his hat, thanked us kindly and said he was fine walking.  He would have been lynched or beaten if he had taken us up on the ride.   

When we got to town we stopped at the bus depot to use their toilets. Instead of going to the white section, my folks went thru the black waiting room to the toilets.   Someone [a black] kindly pointed out that the white section was 'over there’.   And my mother replied we were just fine where we were [or some such]!  I’m sure we [those damn northerners] were followed out of town by the sheriff, to make sure we were just passing thru and not there to make trouble.   I’m not sure how my parents explained it to us re the bathrooms other than to say the blacks were made to use their 'own toilets', but they did say the old gentleman would have been in trouble if he had accepted our offer for the ride.   Since we were usually the only whites for several miles around, among all those Indians, I never thought anything re being with colored folk. 

And I even remember offering a man [German] my candy bar on a train, and he declined as the person spoke up who was escorting them to some camp.   I surely didn’t think my mother’s explanation indicated the necessity of them having to go to special camps, and nor did she.  And that he couldn’t accept my candy bar was the height of stupidity on the part of Americans!!"

Her story reminds me of a friend I had in Waco back in the 50s telling me that her family lived in East Texas, and that during WWII there was a German POW camp near their home. She said that the German prisoners frequently escaped and came through their country property. Once, one knocked on the door and her mother gave him some food. He was so young, her mothering instincts kicked in. Kindness knows no color or nationality.

Mea culpa! I reported in my last blog that yesterday was Earth Day. I wondered why I saw nothing on the news of people celebrating the Earth yesterday! It's because it's today! This morning I read one of my favorite blogs by a minister in the Appalachians.  She happens to be on vacation in Scotland at this time, but manages to get a brief blog post out every day. This one is such a unique thought that I want to share it with you.  The name of her blog is "If Beth had a blog..": http://ifbethhadablog.blogspot.com/ I think she pleases God with her poetry, her sense of humor, and her keen understanding of what it is to be human on this planet.

The little wren and her mate are busy, as they have a nest going in my wren house on the front porch. Put some birdseed out for the birds.. or catch a bug and feed a wren! It's not too late..  Happy Earth Day!

Peace and love,

Friday, April 20, 2012

I remember it well..

President Obama in Famous Rosa Parks Bus April '12
I saw this online this morning and wondered what the President must be thinking. He wasn't even born when Rosa Parks made her stand and refused to give up her seat on this bus to a white man. I remember it well, though. I was in high school. At the time of her famous ride, it brought to my mind the many years growing up in San Antonio, Texas that I rode the city buses. If there were a seat available, I would sit at the very back of the "white" section in order to listen to the African -Americans talk. I was fascinated by them individually and as a culture. As part of the time I spent doing this was in the late forties, a lot of the conversations were sprinkled with what was probably the "jive talk" of the day. To me it sounded like a foreign language. I thought they were an exotic race of people. And I loved the fact that most of the time they were laughing and enjoying each other's company. Looking back, I suspect their laughter might have been to keep from crying at such unfair, humiliating treatment.

I was very curious about the "special" treatment I thought that blacks were receiving -- I often would sneak a drink out of their water fountains that were labeled "Colored Only". Surely it must taste different than ours at the "Whites Only" fountain. Of course it didn't. As a young child I never ever thought of the real meaning behind segregation. Prejudice is not inherent in children.  We know that they must be taught to hate.

Rosa Parks 1913-2005
What a courageous, great lady Rosa Parks was. She is known as the "First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement".

I have known a few African-Americans personally in my lifetime. Most of them were just like me in their beliefs and dreams, and many were higher achievers than I. The first time I was in a school class with one was in California in the eighth grade. I tried to make friends with the young girl, but she rebuffed my offer of friendship. Looking back, I remember she seemed scared to even talk to me. What a shame that the treatment of parents of children during that time caused them so much suffering and fear. It took the likes of Rosa Parks, the brave Freedom Riders, and the first young teenagers who ventured into the white schools in Arkansas and Alabama during the early years of the civil rights movement to bring about the society of today when we are witnessing the first black President. How proud Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King (in the background of her photo) would be!

March 31, 2012
We recently observed Earth Hour. Every year more and more countries "turn out the lights" to encourage environmental consciousness. For one hour the lights went out! I read my library book for that hour by the light of my great-grandmother's kerosene lamp. The flash of my camera makes it appear to be much brighter than it was in reality. It is not easy on aging eyes! As I squinted at times, I remembered the tale of how young Abraham Lincoln often studied his law books by light from the fireplace. I don't know if that is just another legend, but I resisted the urge to stop reading and continued to do so for the whole hour. If he could, I could!

Tomorrow, April 21st, is Earth Day. If nothing else, why not go to your local nursery, if you haven't already, and pick up a few veggie or flower plants and stick them in our Mother Earth? One good thing that has happened in our small community just in time for Earth Day is the institution of a recycling program! Now that's a great way to honor the earth!


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Sitting by my breakfast area window, eating blueberry muffins fresh from the oven, and watching the gentle April shower fall on my resident Robin, who was ready to pounce on the earthworms that the rain surely would bring to the surface, I mused on the effects of a mild winter, good rains that soaked our drought-ridden Texas landscape, and the arrival of an early spring as a result. Flowers that bloom in my yard in April, May or June, started blooming profusely in March. The honeysuckle vine that normally doesn't bloom much at all because it is at the far side of my back yard and doesn't get watered very often, is full of fragrant blossoms. The star jasmine vines in my front yard have never bloomed earlier than June, and are heavy laden with the tiny "Confederate" stars. Their fragrance wafts over anyone who ventures past the vines.

I have always loved Vincent Van Gogh's painting, Blue Irises, and after several years of nurturing, and even transplanting them from my last home, I finally have a decent start to having my own living replica of that famous work of art. They, too, bloomed early and I was sad to see the last blossoms die last week.

The birds came early also, and have delighted me with their antics at the bird feeder and birdbaths in the back yard. I had flocks of goldfinches and cedar waxwings again, and even a few beautiful red wing blackbirds. A tiny wren is nesting in the small birdhouse beside my living room window. Unfortunately, I get caught up in spring fever, and I'm slow to reach for my camera. I even missed seeing the bald eagles feeding their young this year. My cranky auto, an aging Jeep, kept me from venturing along the back roads in the county, and I missed out seeing what I hear was an abundance of wildflowers as well. I was satisfied with the marching buttercups in my backyard, the tiny purple henbits and oxalis that bloomed all over my and my neighbor's yards. I would like to plant bluebonnets, however, the birds would love that I'm sure! They would eat the scattered seeds before they ever had a chance to take root.
The Abominable Snow Cat
The bird feeder and the water I put out for them happen to be a magnet for neighborhood and stray cats alike. I usually just watch the cats sneak into the yard for a drink. If I see one who seems to be lurking and ready to pounce on an unsuspecting bird, I will rap on the window and most will quickly vacate the yard. Except for the one above, whom I call "Yeti Kitty", due to the fact that he is so huge and so illusive when I try to take his photo. I say "he" because the one time I saw him up close through the chain link fence, I noticed his jowls are wide and scarred from many fights. I think he is a stray because his beautiful coat is matted and dirty. Yeti Kitty only shows himself occasionally at dusk. Sometimes I think he might be sleeping days under my house and ventures out to drink the water before going hunting at night. This photo was taken through my kitchen window with the zoom feature. If I make a noise, he will look my way, then mosey out of the yard at his own pace.
I'm sure you wonder why on earth I'm talking about a "fat angel". Lately, a funny story popped into my head I wanted to share with you. Years ago, a good friend of mine was working at a health club in Houston. Part of her job was to show new people around the club and let them try its equipment. The first visit was free. Then, the employees were expected to "sell" the customer a membership. There was a small room set aside for this consultation, complete with a two-way mirror, so the supervisors could check in from time to time to see how the employee performed. Now Jane was a dynamic little blond with a gift of gab. She went through the whole spiel, and was taken aback by the chubby young woman's response. It seems the woman was a member of a particular religious sect whose members believed the "end of the world" was imminent and, therefore, she wouldn't be here to take advantage of even a six month membership. Ever resourceful, Jane hesitated only a minute, then came back with, "Well, now, you don't want to be a fat angel, do you?"  Gales of laughter could be heard through the walls as Jane's superiors collapsed. (She obviously didn't make the sale!)

May your spring put more than a spring in your step!

Peace and love,

Friday, April 13, 2012


This was on a Russian online news site recently... The way the world views us?

Glocked and loaded?  It is more than a little scary to me that my 93-year-old father who is starting to have serious lapses of memory, told me recently that he keeps his loaded pistol right by him, and will shoot any "intruder" who comes into his home.  When I said to him that he didn't want to end up in jail at his age, he responded, "I won't go to jail - it's not illegal to shoot an intruder."  I might add that he is an avid fan of FOXNews.


  • To the Special Prosecutor in Sanford, Florida for arresting George Zimmerman for shooting the unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

  • To the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey for rushing into a burning house and rescuing a neighbor woman.
More Peace and heroism!

Monday, April 2, 2012


The training wheels come off!

The next Danica Patrick?

Kelly is not all tomboy, even though she loves to do much the same things as big brother Travis. For instance, she did a little "rock" climbing with him recently. (She is very brave indeed!) She still loves to play all the girly things, such as Barbie dolls. Besides being so adorable to look at, and making excellent grades in kindergarten, Kelly loves to sing along with some of the latest pop songs. I keep hoping for a good video of her doing this. I heard her sing along with her iPod in the car once, and it was adorable. Her mom told me that she is getting a little camera shy in her "old" age, so it's a little harder now to get her to perform. 
Speaking of big brother Travis, the last time I visited their home I noticed two colorful paintings. When I discovered that Travis had done them, I was thrilled! We have singers, a dancer, and musicians galore in our family. Now we have a budding artist. The large parrot painting is done in watercolor.

By Travis

This poinsettia was done on foil with paint markers. I think he may have a terrific talent for a nine year old. I'm just sayin'.... as a proud grandmother.

What did we mothers and grandmothers do before the Internet? Why, we pulled out our billfolds or small photo albums whenever we could capture someone's attention. No matter how tight money was, we had copies made of all our Kodak moments to send to relatives. I cannot tell you how many of these I am getting returned to me as the older members of my family are "giving up the ghost"! Even if all the members on my blog email list do not open the blog and see these photos, I have the satisfaction of knowing (from my statistics counter provided by Blogger) that someone out there somewhere sees them.. and often reads my "bragging" accounts as well.

I would love to hear about your grandchildren's latest exploits. I might even put them on the blog!

Lights, camera, and Peace,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Many of us are concerned with the things that are happening here in our country such as the "reproductive rights" laws being passed that are trying to skirt around abortion issues as well as challenging the new federal health care law; the new photo I.D. laws being passed to try to eliminate the minority votes; and the "stand your ground" laws being passed or considered in so many states. 

I have to remind myself that as with dis-ease in the body, the unhealthy climate being spotlighted by these recent issues must first be exposed before it can be treated or eliminated just as an illness or a tumor must first be diagnosed before it can be dosed with medicine or surgically removed.

Christians Honor Trayvon Martin with Hoodies
(Public Domain)
I hear many say they were not aware of the "stand your ground" laws until the recent killing of the young unarmed man in Florida. The seeming vigilantism this law seems to have encouraged has outraged most of us. Even the author of the Florida state law admitted the use of this law in this case was not what he intended for its use. The neighborhood watch volunteer responsible has exposed the law to the light, and now it should be overturned or at the very least, rewritten so that a tragedy such as the killing of an innocent, unarmed young person can never happen again. A 250-pound man with a handgun against a 140-pound kid in a hoodie, armed with a can of iced tea and a package of Skittles? Hardly a threat! 

Hutaree Christian Militia Group (Photo from USA Today/AP U.S.Marshalls file)

The Hutaree members pictured above are anti-government rebels operating in Michigan state. They were recently charged with training and planning to kill a law enforcement officer, thus drawing in the feds, but the charges were dismissed as not being proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Two still face weapons charges. This is an armed group in a "stand your ground" state. What if they felt "threatened" by the government, as the charges against them suggested they might? Here's a link to a related article:


Remember these "Stand Your Ground" states? Well, a little research turned up the fact that the Ku Klux Klan has active groups in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, N. Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

Out of the 21 states with active KKK groups, only seven (7) states (AR, CA, NJ, NC, OH, PA, and VA) have not passed the same legislation permitting "stand your ground" responses. Some of those 7 states have some type of castle defense law on the books, and some are still trying to pass Stand Your Ground. I don't know about you, but the thought that a KKK member is armed and out there with this law behind him is scary indeed. Burning crosses is one thing, but shooting someone you perceive as a "threat" is quite another. 

The only time I actively joined in a protest was back in the mid-nineties in Denton, Texas. My good friend Carol, her gentleman friend at the time, and I spent an afternoon making up our protest signs to take to the Ku Klux Klan rally being held the next day in the City Park. We joined other protesters, and were successful in getting many to join in with us singing, "Love is the only power. Love is the only way. Love, love, love, love. Watch our circle grow." And it did. We sang loudly, and the Klan speakers who were there to gain recruits finally gave up and let the police escort them from the park, our song ringing all the way. The expression, "if looks could kill" was utmost in my mind that afternoon, as the KKK members threatened us the only way they could!  

I am almost afraid now to research other active extremist groups such as the White Supremacists and the Aryan Brothers. We people of reason must pay attention to what is going on in our country. Only by exposing evil can we overcome it. We have many good examples of such overcoming in our past.

The photo I.D. voter laws? Will it take "Freedom Riders" such as we had in the south during the Civil Rights movement coming again to bus the seniors and underprivileged that these laws will affect to places where they might obtain such I.D.s? What about fees if any? This harks back to the discriminatory poll taxes of our past! Texas has already implemented redistricting and has had it challenged in Federal Court as discriminatory, resulting in changing the primary election date to May 29, 2012. It has been bouncing around since the U.S. Supreme Court recently threw out the redistricting maps drawn up by a San Antonio court, which actually favored the Democrats. I don't know what the latest is on the status of the new districts - it's very confusing to me, but I received my new Voter Registration card in the mail last week. I heard that we might have to vote without them in this next election. Of course, we would have to show our photo I.D.

The Supreme Court is still hearing arguments in the Health Care Law case. I think it is pretty obvious that I support the law -- even without knowing very much about it. I do think it is time for the U.S. to join the ranks of other industrialized nations in the world in providing health care for all its citizens. The law may not be perfect, but it paves the way and can always be amended or changed. As an uninsured person for many, many years, I know how much medical care I did without -- and the consequences. I am paying for a lot of it today. Both literally and physically.

A lot is happening today. It prohibits my going back on another "news fast". None of us can afford to be uninformed.

Peace, love, and understanding,