Tuesday, April 30, 2013

West Texas

I got this email earlier today and sharing it with you tonight.

Just received this from a son who has friends in West.  This needs to be shared.  FEMA wasn't needed or wanted.  My husband was in Whitney on Tuesday visiting with friends.  Hill County had already raised a lot of money for West, and within two days, Wal-Mart had filled the local community center with every kind of supply needed.

The following comes from a friend living near Abbott, TX. A group of us do business with him. The following is his account of the West, TX explosion that he sent to us. I only edited out personal information and did a couple of spell checks for him, but left the rest as written. Notice the parts about FEMA, money and guns. Nothing against the individual human beings working for FEMA, but the government control of charities??  I take issue. And what "authorities" are coming into people's homes while they are out helping their town, their families and friends, and TAKING GUNS from their homes???  Breaking and entering???  I'm sorry, what country do we live in today???  I will be out to talk to him in May in person.

Thanks to all of you that called to check on me after the West explosion. 

The blast was so strong that it sucked the doors open on the _____ barn when it happened, _____ who works for me, came out and said even the inside doors flew open.  The next day I noticed cracks in the mortar in the block walls. And the farm is about 8-9 miles from there.  I had friends from Waxahachie, FW, and Ennis tell me they felt-heard the blast.

We did not lose any family, had some with cuts and bruises, my wife's sister and her son that live next door to her lost their house, in all about 6 family members lost homes, they say about 70 houses were destroyed. They said 12 firemen are dead. I knew about half of them.

My son lives about 1 mile from there, he is behind the big hill right before you get to West that the construction for the highway has moved all the dirt, it didn't break his windows, the force from the blast opened a pair of French doors on his patio, houses next to him that were not behind the hill had windows broke.  My daughter and son in law live about 2 miles east of Abbott, about three miles from the farm, their place is on flat ground out in the open about 6 miles from West, my son in law was outside and said the blast knocked him down.

It is amazing all the help, food, water, and clothes and money that had been donated, West lost 3 of 4 fire trucks, and two of its ambulances.  A local company had a $600,000 big fire truck and donated it to the city.

M&M Mars gave $50,000 and GM gave $100,000.

FEMA came into town on Monday and said they will be in charge of everything including the money.  I heard that you have to specify where your donation is to go or FEMA takes the money.  The people of West did not ask for them nor do they want FEMA there.  The President is coming on Thursday; the feeling is they don't need him there for a photo op.

Some of the people, when they got to back to their homes, noticed their guns were missing.  Everyone thought they had been stolen, and wondered how it could of happened with all the law in the area. Turns out that they were not stolen but were taken by authorities for safekeeping.  Sure.

Westborogh Baptist Church is coming to protest at the big memorial at Baylor and they say at the funerals. People are already organizing to show them they are not welcome in Texas.

Sorry this turned into an anti-government rant, but that's how I feel and I don't think I am alone.  The people of West are good people.  Not once did anyone here say, who is going to come help me, they did not have to, it is coming from all over and from their churches, or lay blame on anyone, even the fertilizer company, they see this as a horrible accident.  Anderson Cooper was in town and could not believe what was going on, the bakeries and cafes that were open were giving out free food and all kind of businesses from all over the state set up in town to provide all kind of things.

Thank you all.

When my phone rang till 1:00 AM that night and I had numerous text message and e-mails I realized how big my business family really is.

Happy National Raisin Day

By Terry Orr

April 30, 2013 is National Raisin Day!!

At a very early age, raisin were part of my diet and enjoy many ways – at breakfast in my cereal, oatmeal, cream of wheat – snacks – raisin bread, chocolate covered raisins – raisins in pastries – and raisins in ice cream.  Yep, I still enjoy raisins after all these years and they are good for me.

Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used, and are made in a variety of sizes and colors including green, black, blue, purple and yellow. Seedless varieties include the sultana (also known as Thompson Seedless in the USA) and Flame grapes. Raisins are traditionally sun-dried, but may also be water-dipped and artificially dehydrated.

"Golden raisins" (called "sultanas" outside the USA) are made from the sultana grape, treated with sulfur dioxide to maintain their golden colour, and dried either on the vine or on special drying racks.

Black Corinth or Zante currant are miniature raisins that are much darker in colour and have a tart, tangy flavour. They are called currants outside the USA. (Source: Wikipedia)

Interesting and fun facts about raisins:

  • From the time a vine is planted to its initial yield, the first crop, takes at least three years.
  • Seventy-five percent of grapes are eaten at breakfast.
  • California produces 95 percent of all the raisins in the United States and about 50 percent of the raisins in the world!
  • The word "raisin" comes from the Latin word racemus which means a cluster of grapes or berries.

How do you like your raisins?

(All images from Google) 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Are you Honest?

By Terry Orr

April 30th is National Honesty Day in America.  The land of the free and brave - and we need to celebrate or encourage ourselves and others to be honest.

Ain't That the Truth!

I think Mark captured thing right and we should all strive to be honest in all our daily activities and relationships with others.

Excellent quote!  

It's a shame our elected officials lack the courage, strength, and character to be open and honest.

Absolutely and totally agree!

Well stated!

(All images from Google) 

Today's Pet Funnies

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Government taking care of you....

Celebrating Community Spirit

By Diane Forrest
If there was any doubt that our county has lost its community spirit, you have only to look at the events that have taken place in the last couple of weeks.   Not only was the whole world rocked by the senseless bombing at the Boston Marathon that killed three and wounded another 160, but a few days later, a plant explosion in Waco Texas leveled almost the whole town killing 15 and wounding another260 to 280 people.
Many horrific stories have come out of these events, that have cause the towns and communities to pull together to help those in need.  I have been reading some of the stories, and it warms my heart to see the actions our fellow citizens have taken.  In one story, newlyweds were nearing the finish line when the bombs went off causing each to lose a leg.  Donations from all over the country began pouring in to help with their medical expenses.  In fact a fund was set up to help all of these victims.
I read about the man whose boat was used as a hiding place for one of the suspects.  During the course of his capture, the boat, the man’s pride and joy, was riddled with bullets as the police fired upon the suspect.  As the community found out about his loss, they began to collect money for this man to replace his boat, however, he would have none of that.  He stated that I just lost a boat, many lost so much more, and he wanted to funnel the contributions to the fund to help those in need.  I just read an article where the emergency room doctors and staff sent pizzas to the ER staff at the hospitals in Waco thanking them for their hard work during their crisis.  The Waco staff responded in kind to the Boston folks by sending them some authentic Texas BBQ.
Stories like this abound during times of crisis, but also during ordinary times as well.  Anytime there is a need in my community, announcements are made in the newspaper, local radio stations, churches and schools and continued until the need is filled.

This is Community Spirit Month.  If you know of some need in your community, no matter how big or small, do what you can to help fill this need, or check needs in nearby communities.  You never know when you may be in need of some community help.
 (All images from Google) 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Is your Biological Clock ticking?

By Nurse Diane

My husband loved the movie "My Cousin Vinny".  It is the story of two young men who are mistakenly arrested for the murder of a gas station owner, can call their New York lawyer cousin to come down south to represent them.   In one of my favorite scenes of this movie, Vinny's girlfriend is worried that their relationship isn't going anywhere and her biological clock is ticking!  To watch this scene, click here:  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7jsxe_my-cousin-vinny-biological-clock_fun
The biological clock she is referring to is the chance she will have to get pregnant, as she fears she is getting to old to reproduce.

Our biological clock is also known as circadian rhythm.  Not only does it control the times for ovulation, but it also works as an internal regulator responsible for various cyclical responses in living things. Both plants and animals show yearly, monthly, daily, and other rhythmic changes that appear to be genetically programmed.  According to howstuffworks.com, most cyclical responses occur at approximately the same time as changes in such external factors as light and temperature, suggesting that they are somehow caused by these external changes. Many of the seasonal changes in animals and plants are influenced by changes in day length. For instance, the decreasing amount of daylight in the fall triggers internal changes in some species of birds, causing them to migrate. Germination and flowering of plants generally occurs in the spring and summer when there is more daylight. However, experiments have shown that external factors are not always involved. For example, fiddler crabs in their natural habitat become darker in the morning, lighter in the evening. Yet when they are placed under constant environmental conditions (such as constant light) the daily rhythm of their color changes persist.
Scientists generally believe that various circadian rhythms are controlled by different mechanisms. For instance, many cycles respond to both external and internal stimuli, some cycles respond to external stimuli only, and a small number respond to internal stimuli alone.
There are many changes such as the ebb and flow of the tides, changing of locations, and personal habits such as work hours that affect the circadian rhythm.  When I worked nights at the hospital, my body had to adjust to the change of wake and sleep.  This was particularly hard when my work schedule changed from days to nights and back to days.  This is a common problem with people who work shift work, and it normally takes about two weeks for the body to adjust.  Another type of adjustment is traveling in different time zones, this is where the term, jet lag comes in.

Today is Biological Clock day.  The site worksmartlivesmart.com suggest these tips to help celebrate the day:
Maintain a healthy sleep-wake program by:

  • Not napping if you find that it throws you off in the evening.
  • Getting up at the same time every day.
  • Being strict about your sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.

Trying light therapy. This should only be done under a doctor’s care to ensure that you are not creating additional issues.
Avoiding night-light. When possible, avoid bright and outdoor light close to bedtime and keep your surroundings as dark as possible at night. Cover the lights of your alarm clock, so that you are not tempted to look at it or have its glow disrupt your sleep.
Avoid eating or exercising too close to bedtime. Also watch out for caffeine and nicotine, both of which are stimulants.
When traveling to different time zoneslook for natural ways to align your new sleep-wake schedule with the time zone that you are in. Some strategies require you to start several days before you take off the ground, so plan ahead.
(All images from Google) 

April is National Landscape Architecture Month – but where are they?

By Terry Orr
Where have all the Landscape Architects gone?

For over six years and untold number of (wanta-be-landscape-designers) have caused me to wonder if there are real, honest to goodness Landscape Architects exist in the National Capitol Region. 

One, who really is one with nature, understands the surrounding environment, drainage concerns, what products really work well in the area, designing a plan that is in harmony with God creatures.
I should have known something was amiss when it took four different land and landscaping companies near six years to get my lawn looking green and healthy.  There are plants, flowers and trees that have been planted in both sunny, partial sun and shade areas dying. 
Having a garden and yard that is bird, butterfly, bee, and other critter friendly – has been one of the long poles in the tent from the start.  Helping our outside friends through all the seasons.
This is 2013 and all of the folks that I have interviewed over this time period simply do not want to use the automated tools available for their design efforts.  Why? 
  • Making changes becomes a chore
  • Depicting growth impacts on your landscape drawing is nearly impossible without different layers
  • Maintenance by the owner and understanding basic of those improvement to the property are challenging
  • And the list goes on and on

Is there someone out there up to the challenge of developing a master plan and help implement that plan into something that all parties can be proud of and invite others to learn from this adventure?

Have you found a good landscape architect/designer that has satisfied your needs?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Eeyore!!

By Diane Forrest

In 1963, around the same time I was getting ready to make my debut, some English department students at the University of Texas in Austin Texas decided to have a birthday party for a character in A.A. Milne's book, Winnie the Pooh.  Eeyore, a chronically depressed donkey in the story, has believed that no body remembered his birthday.  In fact, his friends had gathered together to throw him a surprise party.
According to wikepedia.com, the original event featured a trashcan full of lemonade, beer, honey sandwiches, a live, flower-draped donkey, and a may-pole (in keeping with the event's proximity to May Day). For many years the party was a UT tradition, but subsequently the annual Birthday Party became a tradition in Austin's hippie subculture.

Eeyore's Birthday Party is attended by people from a wide variety of backgrounds and ages, some of whom may have been attending for decades. Austin's hippie community still puts in a major appearance at the event, which they celebrate by forming large drum circles, which can sometimes contain hundreds of drummers and dancers in the large areas of the park not occupied by other events.

As of 2008, the event has also spread to Seattle's Cal Anderson Park as an annual celebration.
Today is Eeyore's birthday, and if your not in the Texas or Washington area where they are celebrating, you can still celebrate at home with the beating of the drums, or eating some cake, and watching some old Winnie the Pooh videos! 

Click here for the theme song, and have fun reliving your childhood!
(All images from Google) 

National Poetry Month

By Terry Orr

So who is your favorite Poet or Poets?

Follow this link to a good list of top poets http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/curiosity/topics/famous-poet-pictures.htm  with a brief bio of each.

Langston Hughes

I, Too, Sing America
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

Then. Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

E. E. Cummings

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/152)

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

I believe each of us have our favorite poems and poets – and have probably written a few along the way – perhaps you will share some of them with us? We would truly enjoy reading your comments, list of poets and poems.  Thank you.

 (All images from Google) 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

National Pretzel Day

By Chef Diane

The days before Christmas I can be found in my kitchen.   When I was growing up, the best part of Christmas was the treats my grandmother made.   My favorites were the fudge and snowball cookies that were kept in a foil lined metal tin.   As my grandmother got older, I began making the treats she couldn’t make anymore.  After she passed away I would make my favorite things, but then I thought that others in my family had their favorites too, and I wanted them to have great Christmas memories too, so I started fixing their favorites too.    Of course by the end of the holiday I wish that everyone had the same favorite!
One of my mother's favorites is chocolate covered pretzels, so every Christmas I fix her a batch.  I have learned that some others like them too, so this past Christmas, my mother's pretzels were eaten up by everyone.  So, I fixed her some just for her on Valentines, and other special occasions, such as Easter, Mother's Day and her birthday.  This past year my cousin's daughter made some chocolate cover pretzels using the rod pretzels that look like sticks.  I have seen them before, but have been wary of trying them thinking if the looked like sticks...maybe they were hard like sticks too.   Well I am happy to report they were delicious, and not hard at all! The bad news for her is now I will be expecting them every Christmas!!!

Today is National Pretzel Day.  Pretzels come in many shapes and sizes; they can also be crunchy or softly baked.  According to legend, in the late 1600s a Pennsylvania baker forgot a batch of pretzels in the oven. The over-baked treats were dark and hard, but the baker sampled one anyway. He was pleasantly surprised by the crunchy deliciousness. Hard pretzels are now one of the most popular snack foods.  According to punchbowl.com, centuries ago, Catholic monks created the first pretzels from scraps of leftover dough. The unique knot shape represented the Holy Trinity, but the significance of this symbol has evolved over the course of history. During the 17th century, pretzels symbolized the bond of marriage. This is where the phrase “tying the knot” originated.  It is also said that the pretzels were formed in the shape of a praying child.  If you are feeling adventurous today, click here to make your own soft pretzels.

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Soft-Pretzels or you can just stop by the closest mall or grocery store and pick some up to enjoy.