Blog

NINETY-SIX YEARS?

I saw a piece on television about a gentleman who had recently passed away at the age of one hundred eight. Until shortly before his death, he had worked as a barber for ninety-six years. Eight hours a day, five days a week. Clip...Clip…Clip… This feat totally amazed...

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PHOTOMANIA

My recent trip to Europe highlighted how personal photography has evolved. I’m from a time when taking pictures was expensive. You bought film and had it processed. And, at one point, cameras used flashbulbs good for only one image. Therefore, you carefully chose what...

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CURSIVE R.I.P ?

      I recently heard that cursive, aka script or longhand, was no longer being taught in schools. Promptly I dismissed the suggestion as a wild conspiracy theory. Now, I've learned otherwise.  Several students attending the eighth-grade presentation I...

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PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE

My motto as a long-term Girl Scout is to “Be Prepared.” However, sometimes stuff happens. I belong to a group that preserves the N.W. Faison House in La Grange, Texas. One of our recent schemes has been to increase visitation to the house by developing children’s...

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EEK! A BABY!

One of my Facebook buddies recently lamented that she has had conversations with others who were anxious or upset. Worry appears to be going around these days. I, myself, have seemed adrift, unable to move forward, just wanting to sit around and do nothing. I...

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pər-ˈfek-shən

Are you someone who expects to perform in a flawless fashion?  I’ve been fighting that tendency my entire life.  Unfortunately, I’ve passed that gene to my offspring.  I’m probably the only one who, upon entering college, had her mother say “don’t work too hard” and...

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WHIRLING DERVISH DELIVERIES

   Never forget the old adage, be careful what you ask for because you might  get it. I talked my husband into getting the RV, and now he has taken to the life wholeheartedly.  The only problem is that he had to buy a few things in order to travel in style....

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HOME IS WHERE THE STRESS IS

I spent the majority of my adult life in Houston doing jobs that involved working with people--hurt people, angry people, wronged people—seldom happy people. I was so stressed that sad movies were off-limits. Watching films like Steel Magnolias would throw me over the...

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TICK…TOCK…TICK…TOCK

Part of the American dream is working hard, saving money, and doing what you want in your golden years. Lately, angst settled over me as I realized I hadn’t really started working on my bucket list in earnest.   The fact that my husband had polio as a child and...

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A NEW LOVE IN TOWN?

The new Jeep Cherokee sat in my driveway for several days before I got around to reading the manual. This mainly happened because we were out of town but, I must admit, I was still mourning the Renegade and in no hurry to get involved with my new suitor.  Eventually,...

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ODE TO MY JEEP RENEGADE

 Tuesday, July 30, 2019, I said goodbye to the love of my life, my 2016 fully loaded fire-engine- red Jeep Renegade.    Of all the cars I’ve ever owned, this is the only one I dreamed about, researched, and planned for.   It’s been a crazy ride. I’ve never...

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TUNNELING IN HOUSTON

I was in charge of my grandsons in Houston the other day and was wracking my brain for ways to entertain them.  The usual suspects for a scorching summer day were a possibility:  swimming pool, movies, bowling, roller-skating, arcade games, etc.  (All terribly...

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SKETCHES OF COURAGE: LBJSKETCHES OF COURAGE: LBJ

While wandering through a museum at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park & Historic Site, I came across a story about LBJ of which I was unaware.  A congressman since 1937, he won election to the Senate in 1948, but only by a slim margin of 87 votes, earning the...

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TAKING AIR CONDITIONING FOR GRANTED

Every once and a while, it’s a good idea to look around and see what you take for granted and give thanks.  Today I’m really happy for air conditioning.  Almost every place you go in Texas is cooled:  houses, schools, stores, government buildings, and cars.  Why? ...

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OUTWITTING THE TYRANT

Earlier this year a bought a Galaxy, and I love it.  However, I have become annoyed with its “tools for betterment.”  What’s that, you ask?  It’s the personal trainer who has become a tyrant.  The watch can track over thirty-nine types of exercise activities and is...

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MORE MOUSECAPADES

Alas, the mice did not get the message after their comrade was flushed down the toilet that our house was a dangerous place to live.  Soon, we began to find more evidence that the rodents were busy invading our space.  I declared war; removing food from the counters...

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MOUSECAPADES

I have some real trepidation about telling this story because it’s a bit embarrassing…Well, here goes. I live in the country and have only had one other instance where mice got into the house, and that was some years ago when my husband replaced the floor registers...

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ABOLITION IN TEXAS

                                  ABOLITION AND FAYETTE COUNTY Pre-Civil War Fayette County, Texas counted on slave labor to assist with the production of corn, tobacco, wool, and cotton.  The region was home to 3,786 slaves out of a total population of 11,604.  These...

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ROBO IMMIGRANT SCAMS

Mandarin-language robocalls are back!  They first appeared in 2018, but now have become a staple on my personal cell phone.  I have a Houston area code, and their sizeable Chinese population is apparently fertile ground for the scam.  According to the FBI, the...

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MEASLES INDUCED ENCEPHALITIS REMEMBERED

Measles does have consequences.  I should know.  It happened to me.  The memories of my childhood are faded but some things you never forget.  The year was 1960 and I was in the third grade. I remember my mother being on the telephone and me crying; I had a headache...

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LOVE THAT BÚN!

Recently I made a quick trip to Houston for a doctor’s appointment.  And, while I much prefer country living, I miss the food diversity of the Bayou City.  After a little arm twisting, my husband took me to a Vietnamese noodle house. I relished in spring rolls and my...

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HOW COMPASSIONATE ARE YOU?

Compassion, according to Merriam-Webster, refers to both an understanding of another’s pain and the desire to somehow mitigate that pain.A recent review of medical research determined that doctors who treated patients compassionately improved the patients’ outcome. ...

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SCAN SCAM

Over the last several months, I have watched our local Walmart expand its self-checkout units exponentially. These days, only a few of the checkout lines are manned by humans during the busiest shopping hours. Because our community tends to be older, the queues are...

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ENTITLED TO MY TABLE?

 For the last fifteen years, my husband and I have had weekly breakfast outings to our preferred taqueria.  Most mornings our favorite table is available, but recently someone was occupying it.  I found myself with a strong compulsion to scream “Get out.  That’s...

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IS SWEATWORKING FOR YOU?

“Sweatworking”, networking while working out, is in; golf and happy hour are out.   Apparently, golf doesn’t burn enough calories and takes too long while happy hour makes you fat and susceptible to saying things you shouldn’t.  This latest craze is even pushing out...

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HITTING ON WOMEN IN CYBERSPACE

  Ladies, thought you were safe from men hitting on you if you stayed out of the bars?  Think again. I have now had five men hit on me through Facebook.  At my age, I guess I should be flattered, but I found myself more flustered than anything.  My personal...

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ALMOST ESCAPED WITH GEN Z

I recently took my 13-year-old grandson to an Escape Room for his birthday, my husband and daughter in tow.  This one had a classroom theme, and, to go the kickball game, you had to do all your homework.  Only then could escape before the hour expired. Honestly, my...

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SPIDER INVASION A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

I’ve lived in the country for fifteen years. And, yes, spiders are always with us. However, this year they have invaded my space! I can’t walk in my yard or to my car without running into several tightly woven webs. I even drove to town the other day only to open the...

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THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR BEHAVIOR

 Many times, when we have a problem, we latch onto the first solution we uncover.  I found myself in that situation recently when icy weather hit.  I had gone up the steps of my office, which are Austin limestone, with no problem but later, when I was ready to leave,...

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GOTTA HAVE IT!

Do you have something you’ve just gotta have this holiday season?  I had fun thinking about my obsessions from the past.  The first one I remember is a Shetland pony.  Fortunately, my parents were in control and the equine never materialized.  We lived in the suburbs...

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BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

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PROCRASTINATION

Lately I’ve been dealing with procrastination when it comes to writing my novel.  I’ve found the perfect excuse to delay—working online jigsaw puzzles! I allow myself one puzzle of 150 mosaic pieces in the morning along with one online sudoku.  Then, I turn to the...

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MR. RICKITY’S RE-DO

After three shows at the Round Top/Warrenton Antique Festival, Mr. Rickety, the table, had not been sold.  The problem was he had a hole in the top and he was, well, rickety.  My friend told me it wouldn’t hurt her feelings if Mr. Rickety found his way to my burn...

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STUFF!

STUFF!  A tribute to mankind’s creativity and imagination.       Round Top – Warrenton Antiques Weekend, Texas fall 2017

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STEREOTYPING SCORPIONS

One morning while fixing coffee, I felt something crawling on my leg.  A scorpion!  Panicked, I flipped it off and spent several minutes hunting it down and smashing it mercilessly with a paper towel until I was sure it was dead. Then, I got to thinking.  This...

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MARIJUANA BROWNIES

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 was that I would learn new things.  Marijuana was on my bucket list when I visited my brother in Fort Collins, Colorado.  I must say I learned a lot!  Fort Collins, home to over 24 breweries, also offers pot at over 24...

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HOW TO BE MORE LIKE ANTS

When the rains of Hurricane Harvey flooded my pasture, the ants adapted, building mounds as high as 18 inches.  Unlike ants, we humans have a hard time with change. What can we do to cope? Know when to hold ‘em: If you feel the change would truly be bad, take action...

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FEELING OVERWHELMED?

FEELING OVERWHELMED?  I must admit I am feeling a bit overwhelmed these days.  Between all the hate and violence in the U.S., threats from North Korea, and a government that appears to be dysfunctional, I was already anxious. Then Harvey hit.  Just driving through the...

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WORK IS DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH

Worried about being killed in an ISIS-inspired attack? Think again. You are more likely to be killed on the job.  An average of 700 employees are killed in the United States workplace annually. Additionally, over two million employees are affected by some form of...

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ARE WE GOING TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET?

Dr. David Seabury, psychologist, recently told a Boston audience that civilization is facing a crisis, for a 30 per cent increase in insanity has been noted in the last ten years, and a probable increase of 60 per cent in neurosis. He contrasted the crime waves of the...

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ON BEING A NEANDERTHAL

Recently I had my ancestral DNA processed.  The big surprise was that I am 4% Neanderthal!  Of all the individuals tested by 23andme, I am in the 96% percentile; the average American is 2%.  One of the characteristics of Neanderthals is full and straight hair, of...

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CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS: ANALYZING TALKING HEADS

We all have biases no matter how hard we try to be objective.  Our points of view evolve from our life experiences as well as lifelong learning.  So, when evaluating the “talking heads” or experts many radio and television shows present to expound on or argue points...

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FACT VERSUS OPINION– CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS

A key component to critical thinking determining the difference between fact and opinion.  A fact is a thing that is known to be true, to exist, or to have occurred.  A view about a particular issue is an opinion, which is not always true. Sounds easy to distinguish,...

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30 YEARS UP IN FLAMES

Early Thursday morning my husband and I watched 30 years of my life go up in flames.  It took me several days to amass the huge pile of investigative files, training materials, client documents, tax returns, and other papers I was reluctant to recycle.  As I cleaned,...

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DEATH AND CHANGE

Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  However, in today’s fast-paced environment, change is a given, and it is happening at an increasingly rapid rate. Dorothy Vaughan, acting supervisor of a group of...

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DIVERSITY IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY

On Martin Luther King Day it is fitting that we reflect on the power diversity has to make America a force to be reckoned with.  When we limit the participation of any group we don’t have the best and brightest working on our pressing problems.  The movie, Hidden...

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WHAT CUBANS KNOW ABOUT THE OUTSIDE WORLD

  Cubans know quite a bit!    According to Havana University professor Dr. Jorge G. Arocha, 31% of the population is online at Wi-Fi hot spots set up by the government in 2015. Seeing Cubans huddled in parks or outside government-run buildings staring at smart phones...

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2017 RESOLUTIONS

Experts say that for you to be more successful at keeping your new year’s resolutions you should be realistic and talk about them.  So this year I’m taking losing weight off the table. Instead I’ve chosen the following: Be positive. Give back. Learn new things. Write...

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BORED AT WORK? TRY A LITTLE CREATIVITY!

Work does not have to be boring.  Just use your imagination and create your own fun.  The housekeeping staff on the Celestyal Crystal cruise ship has figured out how to put a little spice in their daily routine.  Towel Animals! Every day a new creation would appear in...

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Castro’s Funeral Procession December 3, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016   Santiago de Cuba, Cuba Click the link below to view the sights and sounds: The Sights and Sounds of Castro's Funeral Procession Trepidation and excitement mounted as I looked out over the harbor from the cruise ship deck.  A rust bucket of...

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CREATIVITY PART III

IMPROVING YOUR CREATIVITY Part III   Hopefully you have now mastered Part 2 of improving your creativity.  I will now explore the last suggestions from Human Relations 4th Ed. By Dalton, Hoyle, and Watts. 10. Have a sense of humor and learn to laugh easily. Humor...

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CREATIVITY PART II

Hopefully you have now mastered Part I of improving your creativity.  I’ll forge ahead with a big lesson, steps 5 through 9 from Human Relations 4th Ed. By Dalton, Hoyle, and Watts. 5. Avoid rigid patterns of doing things. Change your rhythms.  Draw your problems...

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CREATIVITY PART 1

Creativity, a thinking process that solves a problem or achieves a goal in an original and useful way, is becoming an increasingly important skill for employees, entrepreneurs, and volunteers.   We all have the potential for creativity and, with a little focus, we can...

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Seeking The Truth

As a student at the University of Texas I often gazed at the verse from John 8:32 that is carved into the front wall of the tower: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." I figured that getting a good education would help me get to the truth.  And...

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THE STEREOTYPING CONUNDRUM

Just before Christmas I decided to dump my Iphone for a Galaxy Note 4. A new AT&T store just happened to be opening in my small town and I was one of the first customers through the door. I was determined to learn all I could about the Galaxy before making the...

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TIME FOR AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE CHECK UP

Are you looking to move up in the company or find a better job? If so, it’s time to check out your emotional intelligence quotient and see whether there is room for improvement. A strong emotional intelligence improves your ability to lead, work in a team, and provide...

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EMPATHY, THE ESSENTIAL SKILL

Occasionally I run into individuals who do not have the ability to empathize. They are unable to walk a mile in another person’s moccasins. To them, the problem is the other person; they’re perfectly fine. Recently I interacted with two men who had been asked to stop...

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