Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Miss Kelly (Future American Beauty Queen) was an absolutely adorable baby and toddler. She is my youngest of nine grandchildren, and is now eleven years old. A couple of weeks ago she accompanied her dad, Matthew, to Grandmommy's house for the purpose of doing a little work that needed to be done around here. 

When they arrived, there was an unopened box from Amazon sitting on the floor. I asked Matthew if he would open it and put together the shower stool it contained. Imagine my surprise when he said, "Kelly, come here and open this box." She immediately plopped down on the floor as he handed her his pocket knife. From the looks of the blade when she opened it, I worriedly asked him if it was a "switchblade" -- it was pretty long. He laughed at me as Kelly set to work cutting all the tape holding the box together. When she finished and returned his knife, he then told her to take the pieces out and assemble them. I protested a little, but Kelly was excited as she emptied the box and looked at all of the pieces of the stool. She ignored my suggestion that she look at the instructions, and went right to work. 

(Future Mechanical Engineer)
In no time at all, she had put together my stool and hurried into the bathroom to place it in the tub. She said the legs were a little too high, and quickly set to work shortening them.

I said, "Kelly, I am so impressed with your skill! Why, you could be an engineer someday." She quickly responded that she intended to be one when she grows up. I said there were many types of engineers -- which would she prefer to be? Without hesitating, she replied, "I'm going to be a mechanical engineer!" 

She and Dad moved on to the next project I had lined up for them. An old lamp of my late grandmother's needed to be rewired with the kit Matthew bought at Home Depot. I hesitantly told Matthew I wasn't sure I would feel safe letting her rewire something electrical (after all, she is going to be a mechanical engineer).  He brushed aside my concerns and patiently began to teach Kelly how to take apart the lamp to begin the process. Here she is cutting the old wire. Dad did most of the work on this, but Kelly watched every step. I have no doubt she will be able to do something like this in the future. By the way, Kelly is a straight A student, creates beautiful artwork, and is as adorable as a pre-teen as she was as a baby!

Matthew later told me that when they left here after taking care of my chores, he and Kelly went geocaching all afternoon. Geocaching is something of a modern day treasure hunt. "GPS coordinates lead you to a location where a treasure, otherwise known as 'cache', is hidden. Many caches come with fun clues that help you along the way. Once found, you log your visit into the provided logbook. Many caches have trinkets to trade – think unusual coins, fast food toys, pencils, etc." If one takes a treasure, you must leave one in its place. For those interested, more information about this fun family outing is on this website Geocaching.


Another adorable baby!

Travis is Kelly's big brother. He hasn't been over recently as the warm weather has kept him on the golf course where he plays with the Vandegrift Vipers high school golf team. Last week they played their most recent tournament at the Hutto Invitational. Travis placed third on his team with a score of 79. He is a Freshman, and the two who scored lower than he did were a Junior and a Senior. Dad and Mom both were there, and I'm sure they were very proud parents. I am a proud grandmother as well.

Travis is a very good student, being on the A and B honor roll. He's also involved in volunteer work with both his church group and the Young Men's Service League, the Viper Chapter. Here he and his friend are at a recent tree planting day in Bastrop County where in 2011 wildfires destroyed 34,000 acres and killed 2 people. There was another wildfire in the same county in 2015 that didn't destroy as much acreage, but both fires wiped out most of the trees in the affected acres.

(Travis on right and friend Tucker)
Travis will turn 15 this summer, and will be getting his learner's permit to drive. Last fall, when their family was in the country for a Thanksgiving vacation, Dad let him drive a bit on the empty county road.

He certainly looks like he is enjoying this. (I accused his dad of photo shopping this picture.) I will hate to think of my youngest grandson driving on Austin's freeways!


As proud as I am of my grandchildren, I'm even prouder of all of their parents. Matthew's patience and enjoyment at spending time with both of his children is amazing. He is a super dad who wants his children to explore and learn anything that interests them. They both adore him, too. The next adventure he and Kelly have planned is to release two weather balloons they bought online. They will attach a GoPro camera and send it into the stratosphere. Supposedly, it will land within a 150 mile radius, so using a GPS locator they plan to retrieve it. Sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully, they can do it on a day Travis isn't playing golf so he can join them.

You know, my own father never wanted to do anything with me as a child. In high school I joined the Chess Club so I could learn to play the game and maybe get him to play with me. We did play dozens of games, but I only beat him one time. To his dying day he denied that ever happened, and if it did, it was only "because I let you win". He never encouraged me to be anything when I grew up other than to "be a secretary". He sure did spend a lot of time telling me the things I could not do, thereby dashing any dreams I had.

My children and grandchildren have more than fulfilled my dreams. They are living and loving their families, accomplishing much in their own lives as well as being wonderful role models, and encouraging their children to pursue and fulfill their own dreams.

In a world -- even a country like ours -- where so many children are deprived of even enough to eat or basic care, much less loving families who provide them with opportunities to explore their future... I can only say how very blessed we are in our family. And I thank God.

Love and peace,

Thursday, February 16, 2017


I have been trying my best to keep my own negative thoughts to myself about the current state of our government. I give up and give in!

The chaos surrounding our new president and his administration still tops all of the daily news headlines. It's hard to miss. Many of us have been disgusted by this man and his shameful rhetoric since before the beginning of the past election campaign. The offensive way he doggedly pursued President Obama's proof of citizenship was despicable -- and ignorant. The way he currently dismisses, condemns, or claims that any news he doesn't agree with is "fake news", as well as spouting erroneous statistics that put him in the position of being called "liar, liar, pants on fire" by many of his detractors only confirms the belief that he is ignorant.

I never watched his show The Apprentice, but a time or two at someone else's house it happened to be turned on. Only seeing and hearing a few minutes of this show, I was shocked at the tyrannical method he used with the guests on his show. He seemed to love saying the words, "You're fired!" And then, there were the words out of his own mouth on TV for all to hear about the way he chose to greet women. Ugh! The backlash he received by way of the huge women's march, thousands around the globe joining in wearing their pink "Pussy Caps", some complete with cat ears, was undeniably a show of outrage from women everywhere for this leader of the most powerful country in the world.
Some of the proposed spending cuts and/or defunding of numerous programs or agencies including National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, and nonprofits such as Planned Parenthood will be cause for more resistance not only from women. If the GOP has its way and the president goes along with proposals to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, the country may experience an uprising akin to a second American Revolution!

From the PBS website this week: "...Post-inauguration reports that the new administration was quick to clamp down on the flow of information from some federal agencies prompted additional anxiety among librarians. 

..There is no scheduled librarian march on Washington, for example, like scientists have planned for Earth Day (though librarians with library science degrees say they will be joining in)......(It is believed that) librarians will coalesce against (the) President.. in large, physical numbers if the administration threatens funding to any major library institutions, such as the Library of Congress or National Archives." ..PBS.org

Read this excellent article about what scientists, programmers, professors and digital librarians are doing. Guerrilla Archivists "Structured like all-day hackathons and organized by volunteers, the events focus on downloading federal science—especially climate-change related—data sets from government websites and uploading them to a new website, datarefuge.org,"


Second Amendment advocates are minuscule compared to the army of  volunteers who are working now and will in the future to preserve and maintain vital scientific data that should be available to the American people. Our First Amendment rights are at risk should they fail in their efforts. (Some data is already being deleted from the White House website.) The lengths these dedicated people are going to in order to keep free public access to important information that may not be in agreement with the current administration's agenda, should make us realize how scary the situation is in today's White House. 

I have started and not finished several blog posts before this one. It is difficult to keep up with the news coverage. Many articles say what I wish to say, and they often point out the latest White House events that are cause for concern. I decided to go ahead and put my two cents in anyway. After all, he has become the favorite subject of our late night comedians. 

As I began this yesterday, I still tried to keep up with news reports and opinions. I ran across this article in The Atlantic, and had to laugh. As you may have noticed, I do not mention the new president's name. I just can't bring myself to put it in writing, as I feel he represents the worst in our society. Reading this article, I discovered that I am not alone in refusing to use his name. On Not Saying His Name 

When he goes on camera to deliver a speech, it is so obvious that his speeches are written by someone else. He reads them haltingly, using grammar and language not part of his usual speech pattern. It was apparent when he appeared with Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada. He was so unconvincing in the spoken words which he read in their entirety that I almost felt sorry for him. The young Prime Minister showed so much more class and was obviously at ease with his own speech, which he delivered without having to read it.

The president is over his head in trying to govern in the manner in which he ran his business. His frustration with the massive bureaucracy is mounting the longer he is in office, and we suspect it won't be long before he blows up in public, truly being the embarrassment we all feel. I suspect the GOP, in their mostly silent support, are waiting until they wring out as much as they can that they've had on their agenda since before Obama's administration. (Then -- maybe -- impeachment? It may be sooner than we think.) The constant flak created by the administration has been a welcome distraction for them as the Republicans go about their business of trying to dismantle Obama's legacy. 

The impromptu, hour and a half long, news conference the president held today to announce his new Secretary of Labor was exhausting. His beating up on the media showed him again as the bully he is. Nothing about this man is presidential. 

When asked what we could do about him, someone said to me "All we can do now is pray for him!"

Peace and Hope,

I just made a correction about the article I read in The Atlantic. I previously said it was from The New Yorker. This was in regards to "not saying his name"!