Friday, July 29, 2011

Lunch at the Dove's Nest

Waxahachie has many wonderful local restaurants. We have several pubs, tea rooms and home style diners on the town square. Suzanne has been home visiting for the past several days. Before she headed back to Austin, she, Soo-Jin and I had lunch at the Dove's Nest, a nationally famous tea-room.

 The food was "melt-in-your-mouth" good, but the dessert, a Brownie Sundae, was totally scrumptious!! Ivy and Abby made it clear they didn't want dessert, but when the sundae showed up with three spoons.......How could they resist??

Good food and good company.......It just doesn't get any better than this!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Bard Prison Initiative

I listen to Public Radio while I'm driving. This evening I heard a program on the Bard Prison Initiative. This is a privately funded program in five New York State prisons supported through Bard College. Similar programs are now imitated by several colleges in the USA and worldwide giving an incarcerated man or woman the opportunity to go to college while in prison. Budgets for all publicly funded programs were cut in 1995, ending educational opportunities in 350 prisons. According to my research, (, to date, since 1999 when the Bard College project started one hundred fifty- seven degrees have been issued. The program enrolls approximately two hundred students across the five New York prisons. The results have been good, with the number of released convicts that find employment high and the number that re-offend low. All in all, I personally think the concept is a good one. If the incarcerated men and women are going to be released at some point, why not make the possibility that they would re-offend less? Isn't this better for society?
 Some families of victims object to the program questioning the moral value of making prison a positive place where a criminal can get a college degree. They point out that prison should be a place of punishment. I totally understand their argument. The anger and violation at being the victim of a crime is horrifically dark and ugly; the sense of evil is overwhelming.  However, while I do think that there are some crimes that are so horrible that a person should never be released, if an inmate is eventually going to be emancipated, why not attempt to lessen the possibility that he will repeat a crime?
While listening to the radio program and then reading about the program online, I was encouraged that this program exists. While I do not believe every criminal can be helped by education, I do believe that a good number can, and ultimately, isn't that better for society?
What do you think?

This Has Been a Blistering Summer!!

Our yard is completely dead......all three acres of it!! Every summer I have high hopes of a beautiful yard and wonderful flowers. The yard started off well; the first bloom of our many rose bushes was magnificent! ( check out my blog for April 8, 2011: Blooming Roses.) Then, it went downhill from there. We lost five of our beautiful palm trees due to the frost last winter. We had them removed.

This is our last palm tree!!!

 Then, no rain equals a dead yard, and with the water bill already being so high for our large family, I just don't feel justified watering. I'm feeling wistful wishing for at least green grass around the house. I'm thinking of buying some plants this weekend and potting them in containers. That should spruce the place up a bit!! Finally, hopefully, the daily one hundred plus heat will begin to slack off. I'm dreaming of cooler days .......and soon!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I'm in Retirement .......Twenty-five Years of Homeschooling Is Ending!!!!

I began homeschooling twenty-five years ago in 1986 when my son, Patrick, was just three years old. On August 31, 2011, my son, Christopher, will finish his last class in high school, and I will complete twenty-five years of teaching my children.....all twenty-one of them. Christopher is the only one I taught from kindergarten through twelfth grade. All the rest were home schooled through fourth grade to ninth grade depending on our family situation at the time. Some of our children have special needs and did not continue through high school although one graduated from technical school and one will hopefully get some technical training. The other special needs children will continue learning, but  I will not be "formally" teaching them. Of the non special needs students, five have graduated from universities, two are presently university students, and one will be a university student after high school. Their occupations are: two are graphic artists, one is a television producer, one is a certified financial planner, an aerospace engineer, professional actor/director, a professional musician, and a technician in film, radio and television. One of my daughters was a National Merit finalist.
Some of those twenty-five years were difficult years.....especially when most of the kids lived at home and I had a lot of students to teach......But, as you can see from their success, it has all turned out pretty well. In reality, I'll always be teaching. That was my initial career choice and I have a Masters degree in education. But, above the career choice, I love teaching. I can't imagine going through a single day without teaching or learning something myself. The love of learning is ingrained in me.
But, I'm looking forward to not having the responsibility of having to meet goals and the pressure of knowing that "the buck stops with me" so to speak..... Now, hopefully, I can be more relaxed and can breathe a bit easier. Twenty-five years is a big commitment....regarding any endeavor a person chooses to undertake! I'm so grateful to have had such interesting, marvelous children!! They have made the journey a blessing! Thank you to all my prodigy!  You have made the past twenty-five years of teaching spectacular!! Thank you for putting up with me and loving me through all my mistakes! I love you all!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Happy Feet

I'm delighting in a most unexpected blessing!! At the risk of sounding trite or self-serving, I have discovered a clothing accessory that has filled me with an anticipation I haven't felt in least concerning my physical appearance, that is!! I have discovered Poetic License shoes!!! And......I have purchased TWO pair already!!
Take a look!!

Aren't they magnificent? One day I googled, funky shoes, and this brand appeared on my computer screen!! Oh the joys of the internet!! I am looking forward to finishing out a classic black outfit with these wild, wild shoes!! I do believe I'm my mother's daughter after all......My mom loved to wear all sorts of attention grabbing socks and outfits! We're talking Cat-In-The-Hat socks or leopard skin skirts etc. etc. etc......You get the picture!! I must say I never pictured myself being so "interesting"!!
Do you have a clothing item or accessory that makes you stand out? Or, do you know someone that makes a fashion statement? I'd love to hear your "fashion" story!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sparring Equals A Bad Hair Day!

. Okay, every Monday and Wednesday I fight big, bad boys that are young enough to be my sons........Actually, one of them is my son, Taylor! Now, I like to think I'm holding my own against them, but in reality, they are probably holding back so they won't be accused of "creaming" the TKD Grandma!
In order to protect my delicate parts, I wear protective gear.....In my opinion, the most important piece of equipment being my helmet. However, at the end of each fifteen to twenty minute sparring session, I remove my head gear to reveal sopping, wet hair that is literally plastered to my scalp. This is so humiliating for me. There's absolutely no dignity to it.....I just have to swallow any vanity I have and try to not think about my sticky, drenched hair that is beyond any "fixing". I must really love TKD because I truly am vain when it comes to being "presentable" in public. From my vantage point I perspire more than anyone else in my class! The young girls seem to emerge from sparring, hair relatively sweat free.....and then, there's me! Thankfully, sparring comes at the end of class so I can make a quick exit and head home for the shower! One goal of the TKD journey is to learn humility.........I just never anticipated I would learn humility through being vain over my hair!

The Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame

The topic of my last post was my husband, Tim's, and my visit to the Ft. Worth Stockyards. For me, the most interesting attraction of our visit was the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. While displays showcasing the achievements of famous Texans bordered the four walls, I found the wagon displays the most amazing feature of the museum. Take a look at just a few:
Mail Delivery Wagon......circa 1775

Photography Wagon

Funeral Wagon

Milk Wagon......circa 1920

Freight Wagon.......circa 1910

Back to Back Wagon.....circa 1898

Bavarian Wagonette.....circa 1842

Standard Oil Wagon

Amish Wagon.........Modern Day

Doctor's Buggy......circa Late 1800's

Studebaker Rockaway Wagon.......circa 1830

These are just a sampling of the historic wagons on display at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame at the Ft. Worth Stockyards. If you love the old West and are in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area, a visit to this museum is definitely worth your time!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ft. Worth is Longhorn Country!

Recently, Tim and I learned that Ft. Worth, Texas, is home of the only twice daily cattle drive in the world. Tim is on vacation all this week, so we decided to spend the afternoon at the Ft. Worth Stockyards. And.....even though the event has been staged since 1993, it was our first time to witness the stately Texas longhorns and Texas cowboys/cowgirl re-enacting a historic Texas cattledrive.
FYI: Following the Civil War the Texas economy was pretty much a bust. Texas longhorns were only worth about a dollar a head here in Texas, but they garnered forty dollars a head up North. Hence, the long cattledrives north along such famous cattle trails as the Chisholm Trail.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm not Ready to be a Senior Citizen!!

Today Tim and I went to lunch.  The twenty-something hostess asked if we wanted the senior citizen's discount.
We asked, "Well, how old does a person have to be to receive the senior citizen's discount?"
She replied," Sixty-five."
"Oh," we uttered, "we aren't old enough."
I looked at Tim and said, "I guess that means we look sixty-five.........or, at least, one of us does!"