ODDS AND ENDS


Hello!  I had taken time off from blogging since I was volunteering four mornings a week through United Way of the Coastal Bend for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  My last day was April 18 (deadline for filing income taxes!) so I have stretched my hiatus a bit and just enjoyed reading other blogs without pressure to post something.  This first post is a rather jumbled collection of thoughts.

MANCHESTER ARENA
Sadly, another vile act unites us against the ineffable evilness of hate that inflicts death and harm upon the innocent.  Our hearts go out to those killed, injured and those left with the memory of a happy experience that turned dark.  In March of this year my son attended an Ariana Grande concert in California; a few years ago he attended a concert in Manchester.  Somehow it seemed very close to home as if it could happen to any of us.  Queen Elizabeth visited survivors in a hospital.  Click for a photo.

VITA EXPERIENCE
It was a rewarding experience to assist people of varied backgrounds – elderly, first time tax filers, couples, individuals, students and retirees.  We all have taxes in common as citizens.  Volunteer recognition was held at a local baseball game at Whataburger Field.

VOLUNTEERS FROM THE DIFFERENT VITA SITES WITH THE MASCOT OF THE HOOKS, THE LOCAL BASEBALL TEAM

BOOKS
Current book I am reading:
“Thunderstruck” by Erick Larson 

Last three books I have read:
“Catherine the Great” by Robert K. Massie 
“MY GRL” by John W. Howell   
“Just What I Always Wanted” by Nancy Roman 

Books on my list to read:
“Just Women Getting  By” by Linda Swain Bethea 
“A Cry from the Deep” by Diana Stevan 
Ice Ghosts” by Paul Watson 

FUTURE POSTS
My blog has never had a set schedule of posts but I did try for a time.  Perhaps if I imposed a schedule and deadlines on myself I would be more disinclined.  However, I do want to continue with a writing project so I will just see where it leads me.  Thanks to all of my readers and fellow bloggers for encouragement and support!

Below is a gargoyle with laptop that sits on a bookcase by my desk.  Perhaps he will serve as a muse.

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CHECKING IN WITH RANDOM THOUGHTS…


2016-11-25-caller-times-mural-3

MURAL ON A WALL OF THE CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES BUILDING

CHECKING IN

It would be nice to report that I have been not posting recently because I have been on a winter cruise to Cuba (we did consider it!) or that I have been working on the final draft of a new novel (I  am thinking about it!).  I regret that I have missed reading many of the entertaining blogs that I follow!

The main reason for neglecting my blog and other blogs is that I am volunteering four mornings a week through United Way of the Coastal Bend with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  I will be volunteering through April 17.

RANDOM THOUGHTS BRIEFLY INTO 2017

Our winter came compressed into two days in the early part of January when we had temperatures just below freezing for two nights.  I lost several of my herbs and will be ready to replace them soon, especially my basil.  Now the temperatures are hitting the high eighties so spring is here early as the mesquites are putting out and the live oaks are losing their leaves.

basil1

The last of my basil was used in December to make a small experimental batch of cellobasil, a liqueur, made with pure grain alcohol.  The basil leaves were soaked in the whisky for a few weeks, then the leaves were strained and a mixture of sugar and water were added.  It aged in a dark cabinet for a few more weeks before it was ready.  It turned out better than I expected but it is potent and needs to be sipped slowly.  It is green with a hint of basil and reminds me of absinthe.

The Flag

Trump has begun his administration and has not disappointed his supporters as becoming President has not changed him at all.  He tweets daily about international policy, those who dare disagree with him, Saturday Night Live, domestic policy, judges, theater and various trivia.  I never felt so close to a POTUS before!  He really wants to communicate with me on a personal level!  Seriously, I am appalled that he continues to put the media down and calls all news that does not flatter him fake news.  Scrutiny comes with the job.  He seems to want Americans to believe only what he tells them and cut out the free press and the First Amendment.  And that is a dangerous thing!

uncle-sam-taxes

Volunteering with the VITA program is a way for me to combat the negative effects of what is going on with the wide political division in my country.  I can treat each person with respect no matter their status, appearance or attitude and spread tolerance and kindness. The college student volunteers, some international, give me hope for the future.  And paying our taxes unites us all!

Husband and I have been looking at condos on North Beach located in Corpus Christi and near the Harbor Bridge.  Sometimes we think we want to downsize a bit to a life on the beach without the worry of keeping up a yard.  Could we adjust to happy hour on the balcony looking out over the bay and watching the ships come in and out and the dolphins at play?  Maybe…maybe not.   We will see if we are brave enough for change!

dolphin-clip-art-dolphins

Thanks for stopping by!  Remember that every day is a gift and we all depend on each other and this Earth we all call home.

A WEDDING ANNIVERSARY TOAST TO MY HUSBAND


40-yrs077November 1976

                                                
FORTY YEARS

We started as strangers with a dance one night,
although neither really liked to dance.
Yet we found magic as we twirled and swayed
to our own version of a country western two-step.
Now we have traveled around the sun forty times
as we flow from season to season together.
Love, laughter, dark moments, loss, joy,
surprises, fear, triumphs,
disappointments, sunshine, magic and music,
wine, travel, cats and kids.
I love you madly still!
May we embrace all the seasons of life
for every day we share.
Happy 40th anniversary!
11/26/
2016

 
2010-10-23-houston-1October 2016

anniversary-toast070CHEERS!

 

 

 

FRIDAY FOTO: El Dia de los Muertos Street Festival


Dead of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and in parts of the United States that honors the dead.  Traditions include making private ofrendas (altars) to remember and honor the dead and visiting graves with gifts for the departed.  A form of it was celebrated in Mexico prior to Spanish colonization and was gradually integrated into the Catholic church’s holidays, All Saints Day (November 1)  and All Souls Day (November 2).

On October 29 Husband and I attended El Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in downtown Corpus Christi.  Here are  photos by Husband, of course.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-35

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-54Entering the festival on a beautiful afternoon.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-1Cute couple!

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-11Ofrendas (altars) were set up in an old movie theater, the Rialto.  This was a public one where people could participate by bringing photos, gifts, chrysanthemums or remembrances of loved ones.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-7This ofrenda was not traditional but it was playfully wicked.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-21Flowers and fruit were left out for Harambe, the gorilla who was shot in a Cincinnati zoo this year to save a child.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-20This beautiful one was for Abraham Lincoln.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-9This more traditional ofrenda honored many deceased family members.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-13For a token donation for the restoration of the Rialto Theater, one could choose a paper flower and write a message in memory a loved one.  I left a message for a niece who would have appreciated the art.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-28A happy face!

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-27A handsome hombre!

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-29Not a typical festival couple.

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-44What is a festival without a car show?

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-33Nice Caddy!

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-43Ready to rock and roll!

2016-10-29-day-of-the-dead-50Mural on the tunnel from uptown to downtown Corpus Christi.

A native American Indian group performed songs accompanied by drums.  At the end the older leader reminded us that we are all brothers of this Earth and that we should care of each other as we take care of our home, Earth.  We should all be able to agree with that.

DAY OF THE DEAD OR THE DAY I DIE


A post from two years ago.

My beautiful picture

NO VISITORS

Day of the Dead –
Paths of flower petals and
burning incense guide
spirits to the house of the living.
Tables with favorite food and drink.
orange and yellow flowers,
all offered to the spirits.
Then the living go to
graves of the dead.
Custom says ill fortune, illness
death or worse
may befall
those who make no offerings.

Who will decorate my grave?
Who will bring me food?
Who will talk to me?
No one.
Cremation may be best for me.

 

For more on the traditions of the Day of the Dead check out this website.

http://www.celebrate-day-of-the-dead.com/