I traveled to Austin on Saturday morning to meet my sister, three of my nieces and some of their friends for the Women’s March.  If you’ve been reading this blog long, you are aware that I am not pleased with the election of Donald Trump so it only made sense to join the legions of women marching in opposition to his policies, his behavior, his words, and his plans for the country we all hold dear.

Along the road, it was foggy 3/4 of the way but by the time I arrived in Austin the day was sunny and warm.  Just perfect for a march and a rally, in fact, the weather got a little bit hot while we were out on the streets. What a glorious day we had!  50,000 of our new best friends converged on the State Capitol as we voiced our dissent, heard music and speakers, made our point that we are here, we are informed, we are not backing down, we are not afraid and we will not let the president unravel the gains we have made.

Kids “Cook”

Last week I picked up Elle and Beck after school and they were both literally jumping for joy that they were given a small paperback kids’ cookbook by their teachers that day.  It was sponsored by a local hospital and was full of “healthy snacks.”  They couldn’t wait to make some! So we told them to pick a couple they liked, pick a day, and we’d get together to prepare them.

Monday they were off school for Martin Luther King Day and Sarah asked if we could babysit in the afternoon so she and Miles could go to a movie.  Perfect timing!  The kids picked two recipes each and Sarah texted us the ingredients that she had on hand. We brought some other ingredients to their house, then Rich and Beck went to the store to get the remaining items while Elle and I began prepping.

First up, a berry smoothie, which ended up being the fave of the day.  They had fun fixing it and enjoyed the taste.  Next, a “bubble fish,” which was basically a clementine arranged in the shape of a fish with a fanned tail, finished off with a slice of grape for the mouth, a chocolate chip for the eye, and some blueberries for bubbles.  They also liked this one and ate it up.  Third, “someone” had picked a tortilla roll up containing cooked sweet potato with banana slices and some seasoning.  The kids didn’t even want to taste it and both denied picking it.  Beck even tried to blame his Daddy.  Elle said it was Beck’s pick (which I think it was).  Rich and I ate a little bit of it–it wasn’t bad.  Elle barely took a tiny taste and threw it away.  Beck wouldn’t even try it. Thumbs down! The final pick was spiced pears.  We mixed up some honey, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The kids enjoyed making the sauce and pouring it over the sliced pears.  We warmed them up in the microwave.  Nope, not a success. They didn’t like those either. Meanwhile, their friends kept coming to the door and wanting to play so I made them help clean up the kitchen and off they went.

In summary:
Smoothie:  YES!  So cool to put everything in the food processor!  And it tasted great!

Bubble Fish: YES!  Cute and delicious!

Tortilla Roll Ups: NO WAY!!  Who wanted those?? Not me!! Not me, either!! Daddy did!!  Daddy’s not even home!

Spiced Pears: NOT SO MUCH.  But it was awesome making the sauce!

Chef Grandpa:  These were lame and we could have come up with better stuff ourselves!

Still a fun time!



January 11 was my youngest daughter Susan’s 34th birthday.  She says she can’t imagine being 34 and I say I can’t imagine my YOUNGEST being 34!  I can still picture her as a tiny little curly headed girl running around in her diaper.  I’m sure that’s not what she wants to hear!  She is working as a nurse assistant at a nursing home and finished her certification class recently so she is gearing up to take her exam.  She loves her patients and I know she is kind and caring toward them. And I know they are glad to have her there! She and Corey are raising some super kids and she’s a fun, funny, and determined young woman.

Today is my mom’s 86th birthday. She might not be happy with me for stating her age but I think she should be proud to have reached this milestone.  She’s pretty amazing, lives alone and is very active and busy with family and friends. She works out with a personal trainer a couple of days a week! Go, Mom!  She’s also fun and funny (guess it runs in the family) and always interested in people, places, and new things.  I think her curiosity about life keeps her young at heart.  I hope I have inherited her genes.

And today Rich and I also celebrate our anniversary. Twelve years of marriage to this guy have been the best.  We’ve had lots of adventures and I can’t wait to see what’s next.  He’s fun and funny (fits right in with the rest of the family), smart and talented, and, of course, who doesn’t want a chef for a husband?!  We didn’t start out till we were almost 50 so I hope we still have lots of years ahead of us.

Love, love, love to these special people in my life!


Tuesday night we went to the community garden’s annual meeting. Although we have had mixed results in the garden this year, we decided to sign on for another stint.  There’s gonna be a seminar for beginning gardeners next month, so we will attend and see if we can get some more pointers!  The main problem lately has been an abundance of rats in the garden who have managed to devour plants from almost everyone’s plots.  A team of rat-catchers has been assembled and will hopefully take care of those critters. The meeting was held in one of the public library branches, which made us discuss the fact that we have not checked out our local library nor obtained a library card yet.  When we were in Unalaska, I was part of the “Friends of the Library” organization and enjoyed our very nice little library out in the Aleutians. We resolved to find our nearest branch and check it out soon.

We’ve been doing well with going to the gym; have made it 3 days out of 4 this week.  🙂  After working out today, we came home, showered, and went to visit the library branch closest to our house.  There we met a very friendly woman who signed us up and gave us the scoop.  I asked if they used volunteers or had a Friends of the Library group and she said yes to both.  So I am thinking about getting involved with those.  And since we are being more frugal in retirement, it makes sense to check out books or download from the library than to purchase those we want to read.  Our bookshelves are pretty full already, anyway!

I also finally have a task with the refugee organization. Next week, I will go shopping and set up an apartment for an individual before he arrives. I’m excited to get started.

Tonight I went to a meeting of progressive women (and a few men).  It was GREAT to see so many kindred spirits (75 people, maybe!) and to chat with some of them. We had speakers from Annie’s List, the League of Women Voters, Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety, and the local Democrats.  A staffer from our state rep’s office was also there and introduced herself.  My state rep is a young woman who beat the incumbent Republican. Wowie!  I told her staffer I’d help out where needed. And may get involved in my precinct…we’ll see.  Soon I will be overbooked!

Surprisingly, despite the mood about the national election, I am feeling positive about local action.   There were so many YOUNG women at this meeting!  Makes me hopeful. Kinda calms me from my ill will toward the Congress working on repealing the ACA in the middle of the night.  And the horrible Trump press conference. And the terrible people having confirmation hearings for jobs that they are not qualified to do.  Man,  I really need to keep thinking about those passionate young women ready to take on the world! All politics is local, right?




Weekend Update

With the inauguration approaching, I am ready to lace up my activist shoes and get back to work.  I have to admit to being a little bit complacent the last few years, a little tired of the fight, feeling a little older and isn’t it some other people’s turn?  But apparently not!

I’m getting involved in a local group that has evolved since prior to the election and we are “fired up and ready to go” as we used to say during the 2008 election. 🙂  I held my nose and signed up for updates from my US Senators (yes, THAT Ted Cruz and John Cornyn…how lucky am I?) and my Rep (Jeb Hensarling…conservative Republican).  It makes me cringe to get messages from them but I want to know what they are up to!   And then we have the Texas Legislature, which is doing its best to out-conservative NC with a bathroom bill, among other things.  SO yes, there’s work to be done and I am anxious to connect with these like minded women to work locally, state-wide and nationally on issues we’re concerned about.  There was a meeting today and I chose not to go while Bonnie and kids were still here, but I hope to make the next one.

And now that the holidays are over and we don’t have any  more guests, I am ready to begin my volunteer work with the refugee organization.

With that in mind, and more, here are a few good reads.

Proud of my professional organization.

I am making a point to finish all of these articles.  As a white person, I know I still have a lot to learn.

Thinking about signing up for this.

Yeah, it’s the new year and I need to do better.  But I love it so.  🙂

Lots of cool posters here.

Interesting challenge; might do it.

Comic relief, these crack me up every week.

Happy first week of 2017.  I hope it’s been a good one.



A quiet house

Bonnie and the kids left this morning.  Yesterday after the movie, they played with their cousins when they got home from school and ended up staying through dinner and beyond. Ada was asleep when they got home but the other two wanted to stay up and play a few rounds of Mexican Train while eating cereal.  My mom apparently saw the pix of us playing with Aidan and Ally last week, with our dominoes set in front of us on the table,  because she messaged me, “I sent you some domino racks!”  Those arrived recently so we broke them out and used them for playing, which definitely made things easier to handle.  Thanks, Mom!

We read some more books and then off to sleep.  It took awhile to get everyone fed and dressed and packed up this morning, but we wanted to try to squeeze in a trip to Target to look for throw pillows for Bonnie and earrings for Emery.  My windshield was frozen so Bonnie left to put gas in her car and I met her at the store.  She found some pillows she wanted but the earring selection was pretty slim.  Emery still chose a few she wanted but I don’t think they were exactly the kind she had her heart set on.  Tonight I found a few online and a kitty cat earring holder that I ordered for her.  I hope she will be happily surprised when they arrive in a few days.

They made it  home in good time and Bonnie said the roads were fine, thankfully.  Rich and I have had a VERY quiet and laid back day.  I did a little bit of laundry, paid some bills, wrote some emails, picked up a few things, but didn’t even take a shower and have been mostly chillin’ out.  I almost feel guilty!

Happy weekend!


Next round of visitors

Bonnie and her kids arrived the day after Susan and Corey picked up theirs (David stayed home so he could get some work done).  We’re happy to have the little Amarillo crew in town!

Thursday Sarah and Bonnie went to Midland for the funeral of my niece’s ex husband who was tragically killed in a car accident on New Year’s Eve at only age 40.  He and my niece have two precious teen daughters who are understandably devastated and my girls wanted to be there to support their cousin and her kids.  Elle and Beck were at school but we had Jack along with Bonnie’s three kids for the day.  We played at home in the morning, then drove over to Sarah’s to wait for the older two to get home from school. Stayed with them and let the cousins play till Miles got home from work, then he took over with his and we brought Bonnie’s back to the house.  Everyone was sweet and cooperative and the girls got in late that night.  Off to bed for a very exhausted group of people!

Yesterday Bonnie and I took her kids to the Perot Museum (yes, you know I am trying to get the most of my membership).  The kids had a great time!  Last night Rich cooked a fabulous dinner for everyone and we hung out at our house.  I took no pix!

Today we went to see “Moana” (second time for the person who doesn’t like Disney animated movies so much!) and when we came out, it was snowing in Dallas.  Bonnie was going to leave today but the weather forecast was not good so she decided to stay over till tomorrow.  We are not sure if it will be any better then.  I was also supposed to meet my Abilene friends in Ft. Worth for lunch tomorrow but we will see what it looks like in the morning.

Emery is reading her Ivy and Bean books really well on her own and it’s been fun listening to her.  She’s learning new vocabulary, including “tightwad.”  LOL  She’s also been learning vocabulary from Grandpa who does not dumb down his conversation for kids.  The kids have had fun trying to befriend the cats; Ajax is somewhat accommodating but Kali steers clear. We got home from the movie today and 2 year old Ada said to Ajax, “Hi, kitty cat; we are back!”  Besides reading, we’ve played with play-doh, watched movies, played games and chatted about all kinds of things.  Emery got her ears pierced for Christmas so we’ve been cleaning them three times a day and she just CAN’T WAIT till she can change them out. She told me her favorite earrings were “food” earrings, ice cream cones and hotdogs and some that even have “eyes” on them.  “They’re ADORABLE.”  She cracks me  up and I might have to buy her some.

And before you know it…

Friday we slept in a little and then hung around the house for the morning because we finally had some living room furniture delivered. Hurray! Then we’d told all the kids (except Jack who would be napping) that we’d take them to a movie in the afternoon.  The guys went to see the new Star Wars and the gals agreed on “Sing.”  It was cute, but, again, I am not that crazy about kids’ animated movies so I got caught with my eyes closed a couple of times.  🙂   After the movie, we went back to Sarah and Miles’ and ended up staying through dinner so the kids could play. They really do have a great time together and we love seeing them enjoying themselves with their cousins. Ally and Elle had been begging for a sleepover but there were reasons it wouldn’t work just about every night–Elle was going to be playing in a soccer tournament Saturday so Sarah wanted her to get enough rest.  We were consoling them over no sleepover when Sarah realized the tournament didn’t start till 10:30 rather than 8:30, so she relented and the sleepover was ON. Two happy girls!  I’d told Elle she could join us at our house but Ally thought Elle’s house was much more fun (which is admittedly true with all of the toys and activities that I am lacking).


Saturday morning, I met Sarah, Miles and kids at Elle’s first soccer game–tied 1/1 with a boys’ team and were ahead most of the game–go, girls! Afterwards,  we took Beck with us, went home, made lunch, and took off for the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for a couple of hours. The Museum is super cool and has all kinds of great exhibits, as well as interactive areas for the kids.  I bought a family membership last year so I am determined to get my money’s worth!  The kids had a great time and didn’t really want to leave so I consider it a successful outing!

Sarah and Miles had already planned to have several families of friends over for New Year’s Eve so we dropped Beck off and went to do our own thing. First we risked running out of gas because Rich likes to get his discount gasoline at participating stations once he has enough grocery store points. LOL  Our gas gauge showed 5 miles left and suddenly dropped to zero so I “made” him stop at a little convenience store near our house to get a gallon before we continued.  The things we do to save a couple of bucks!

Though it was still early, we decided we were hungry enough to stop for a New Year’s Eve fried chicken dinner at Popeye’s.  🙂  The kids deemed the chicken good enough but no one was too thrilled with the spicy Cajun gravy on the mashed potatoes.  Lesson learned.

Later, I went to the store to buy some ice cream and non-alcoholic bubbly for our NYE celebration. I also found a “party for four in a bag” and threw that in my cart.  Hats, garlands, masks, noisemakers, horns and confetti–what else could we possibly need?  And very ugly and cheaply made, to boot!

We played a messy game of “Pie Face,” Grandpa won AGAIN at Rack-o, we ate ice cream and candy, and watched the NYE festivities on TV.

We took selfies and posted our greetings on Facebook and Instagram (these photos crack me up!)  We waited it out till the ball dropped in NYC at 11 PM Texas time.  We blew our horns, yelled “Happy New Year!” and made a fuss.  We toasted with our sparkling apple-cranberry drink and the kids rated it “too sour.”  So much for that.  We stayed up till midnight in Texas, blew our horns again, yelled “Happy New Year!” some more, kissed and hugged and what do you know…it’s 2017!

Susan and Corey came to get the kids today.  The house sure is empty and quiet! We visited awhile and then went over to Sarah’s to hang out a bit and let the kids play together one last time.  Rich and I are chillin’ but it won’t be quiet for long!  Bonnie and her three will be here tomorrow till Friday!

I know 2016 wasn’t the best for many people and I am still appalled by the election, but all in all our family was  fortunate to have had a good  year.  I feel very thankful because I know that is not the case for everyone in our state, in our nation, in our world.  Maybe not even in our neighborhood.  I hope 2017 brings more peace, love and justice to all.  Let’s do our best to make things better in our own little corner of the planet, and then reach out as far as we can go.  It’s up to us.

I want this sign for my yard.  Want to join me?  You can get it here.