Last week in Dallas, I had the pleasure of accompanying my “daughter” and first grandson to the local library for “Baby Time”.  At 4-months, you might expect him to be unaware of anything beyond his immediate surroundings.  However, in observing B. from the perspective of my long career in Early Childhood and Speech Pathology, I was elated, to see him attending to every book read aloud to the children and to every puppet, responding with smiles and squeals.  Following the story time, I took B. to the children’s section of the library, picked out a wonderful, interactive board book called “Woof-Woof”, and read it two times to him.  Once again, he was quite attentive!  While we were reading, B.’s mother was at the desk, obtaining B.’s first library card.  As you can see from this picture, he is very aware of the significance of his “ticket to the world of knowledge”!






Happy New Year, 2014

As another new year is upon us, it is time, once again, to jump start my fitness kick, record all of those calories, walk briskly around the boulevard, budget, and vow to make the most of our time on a slim dime!   Of course, after projecting much more time for creating for others in December than I actually had, I continue to work on a few delinquent Christmas gifts.  Hopefully, the receivers will consider them worth the wait!  I did start the new year off right by spending an entire morning in every book store in town.  My delightful excursions resulted in a boatload of  “good reads” to enjoy and prevent me from spending dollars I do not have!

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We attended a holiday party last night and made a number of new acquaintances, many of whom were McMurray professors and spouses.  I tend to enjoy the “outsider” approach from afar when attending such events, but after receiving a little help from my friends and forcing myself to “step out” a bit, I considered it a highly entertaining evening.  Actually, the first week in January is a perfect time to host a party.  Everyone is ready to escape the comfortable, yet at times tiring ” room with a view” of home, with the opportunity to listen to fresh conversation.  It was a wonderfully, cool night on the LeMaster’s beautiful, covered porch overlooking the creek.  I believe BG looks similar to this picture of Mr. Buttons, following his partying, though he is not inside of a box today.



At the party,  I was able to find out this year’s location of our previous neighborhood creek visitors , two Great Horned Owls. Apparently, they are “hooting” during this, a later time of year than usual, off of Rivercrest, where my Aunt Ginger and Uncle Hubert used to reside.  I want them to return to us very badly, as photographing them was one of my favorite creek activities!


I saw a great deal of evidence of our large fox population in my backyard yesterday afternoon.  I need to replace a light bulb, so that perhaps I can catch a photograph of them one of these evenings.

My endless project of card creation continues:      

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The Pursuit of Happiness

“Happiness consists in activity.  It is a running stream, not a stagnant pool”      John Mason Good

“50 percent of individual differences in happiness are governed by genes, 10 percent by life circumstances, and the remaining 40 percent by what we do and how we think…our intentional activities and strategies”

“The How of Happiness” —Sonja Lyubomirsky’s Research

For the Love of Letters

Letter writing is a lost art.  I still receive an occasional lovely letter from a friend or relative and they are so refreshing.  Of course, I am one of those people who loves to type, my writing is terrible, and writing hurts my hands–

(maybe that is due to the fact I still squeeze my pencil or pen like I did in First Grade, much to Mrs. Backlund’s chagrin)

Anyway, if you still love books and admire those who still write letters, you must read:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

All of the characters develop through letters.  If an event happens, it is described in a letter.  All communication is described through letters.  It is just amazing how the emotion, history, and connection comes through.  A great read!

Tax Planting Day

As  a “tax baby”, one tends to prefer the calmness of the outdoors to discussions of taxes due, taxes avoided, tax-paying refusal, tax politics, etc.  I enjoyed a wonderful special day with BG yesterday, planting perennials and other “pretties” in our yard.  Gardening is truly good for the soul.  I tried the art of dog grooming in the afternoon.  The “buzzing” clippers worked great, but the artist needs a little practice.  Maxwell looks SO MUCH BETTER, but is a little choppy on his back. 

I travelled to Italy, reading EAT, PRAY, LOVE by Elizabeth Gilbert, and today, I still have to travel through India and Indonesia by the time of my book club tonight!  Do you think I will make the deadline?  I plan to enjoy the journey, anyway.

Today, I spent the morning at Kasi’s Salon, getting my hair cut fairly short again—love it!  I was feeling rather droopy before, and now I am ready to dance Friday night, lighter on my feet-hah!

Saturday’s Class

Terry and Mary Kay working VERY hard in Julie Fair's class at Scrapbooker's Dream!
Terry and Mary Kay working VERY hard in Julie Fair's class at Scrapbooker's Dream!
Julie Teaching the Calendar Class at Scrapbooker's Dream!
Julie Teaching the Calendar Class at Scrapbooker's Dream!

I enjoyed a wonderful day with friends yesterday taking a scrapbooking class with Julie Fair.  We made a Calendar folder for keeping cards, special events, etc.  It was definitely a challenge for me because I just couldn’t seem to get it together with my cutting system yesterday!  I was the “Disaster Crafter” initially,  but with Julie’s help I finally got it together to create some beautiful pages of the project.  Some days are like that!  I was really, really tired when I got home, but after a brief nap I was able to converse with much more clarity with BG.  Last night I started reading a mystery book with an English flare on my K2– Silent from the Grave.  It sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?  The reviews caught my interest and I thought it would be an exciting  fast read mystery.  I mopped the kitchen floor at 10:30 p.m. and that was definitely the end of my day!  Hopefully, I will be inspired to write something more thought-provoking this evening.

“Caught Stealing” by Charlie Huston

I accidentally downloaded this one onto my Kindle 2.  This would not have been my pick, but the action caught me wanting to finish it.  Caught Stealing is a story about a character who is innocent of wrongdoing in the beginning of the tale, until he is given a cat and a key to take care of by a friend, transforming him into a hunted criminal.

Next, I will be finishing my library book:  The No. 1 Ladie’s Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith,

The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee, and An Irish Country Village by Patrick Taylor (sequel to An Irish Country Doctor).  Did anyone see Peter Jenning’s Person of the Week today—-Mortenson from Three Cups of Tea?  Wonderful!

An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

I finished reading An Irish Country Doctor today.  What an enjoyable read.  The author, Patrick Taylor was born and grew up in Bangor County Down in Northern Ireland.  The book is based on his journals of his life as a rural doctor in Ireland.  The Ulster dialect is quite interesting. Some examples follow:

                  both legs the same length=standing about uselessly

                  get on one’s wick=get on one’s nerves

                  grand man for the pan=one who really enjoys fried food

                  knickers in a twist=anxiously upset

                  length and breadth of it=all the details

                  pop one’s clogs=die



                  boys-a-boys=expression of amazement

                  colloguing=chatting about trivia

                  heart of corn=very good natured

                  in soul, I do=emphatic

Reading Update

READING THIS WEEK:  I finished The World in Six Songs this week (great music and the brain information) and am now focusing on An Irish Country Doctor (light-hearted and fun to read)tn_4_book as well as Love in the time of Cholera (a very good read so far).  Three Cups of Tea is still my ongoing favorite!  I recognize the beauty and endurance of REAL BOOKS, but I also love my Kindle 2!!!!  I enjoy taking notes, highlighting and easy access to the dictionary benefiting my continuous effort to improve the state of my brain.

Reading Books

I just completed The Soloist by Steve Lopez. It was a great book and unearthed many feelings and thoughts experienced by me in my teaching career, as well. We discussed the book in our book club last evening, but I welcome further discussion. Some questions to get us started:
When Steve first meets Nathaniel, he sees him as a character whose story would fill one of his articles for his newspaper, one that has the potential to bring attention to the inhabitants of Los Angeles’s Skid Row. What motivates Steve to continue to feel responsible for taking care of Nathanial after completing the articles?
I think Steve was seeking more meaningful purpose in his life and taking care of Nathanial not only filled that need, but also helped Steve grow in his ability to absorb and maintain a difficult relationship at best. The minute he met Nathanial and listened to his music, he was hooked. His relationship with Nathanial awakened his desire for finding the story that matters.

Having attended Eric Jensen’s Poverty training in the past, I am distinctly aware of the importance of instilling hope in people’s lives for their survival. In a Clinical and Research News Article by Eve Bender, Dr. Mark Ragins is referred to as the Psychiatrist who won’t accept assumptions of hopelessness. He takes the focus off of the symptoms and facilitates patients with mental illness to move through the stages of experiencing hope, empowerment, self-responsibility and the ability to achieve meaningful roles.
Recovery means regaining the purpose and meaning in life that was lost, regardless of the symptoms of the mental illness that still may exist.

Steve learned to appreciate Nathanial for who he was, instead of someone he needed to “fix”. He learned the value of being a friend in its purest form.

I welcome your comments!