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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


  1. Right now that condo sounds inviting. We are enjoying a bit of spring here in the northeast. Temps bumping close to 70. Not complaining. Today I saw 2 frogs and bunch of chipmunks came out of hibernation! It was very nice to see a post from you and sunny Corpus Christi!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Volunteering is always good therapy for me and is a little something that I can do to help others. How wonderful to see the sea from your door! Right now we live about a block from the bay but have to walk down to see it but North Beach keeps calling us! Thanks for coming by!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good to hear from you again! Of course, I’m consumed with jealousy after reading that weather report. The volunteering is wonderful – bless you. Today is George Washington’s birthday. Allow me to quote John Howell on this happy event… “George, look the other way.” Wish we could.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Super post, Jo. I think it is so great you are helping others with their taxes. About the freeze. It really wiped out some nice stuff. We lost a cardboard palm and not sure yet about other plants. You would love the beach. So calming.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good to hear from you again. Downsizing will probably seem more attractive in five years’ time! I even briefly thought about it the other day; we built this house in the middle of a neglected rice field 26 years ago and the 500 sq. m. is beginning to feel more than we need.
    Every morning at 6:30-ish we sit by our little goldfish pond to drink a first cup of coffee, so still and peaceful, watching the early sun striking the tall fronds of the cocos down the path a ways. Fathers carrying their children to school on motorcycles pass our gate from time to time, there are not many cars in this city, I’m happy to say!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Delightful to see your blog name crop up. I can’t wait for my basil to crop up! Though that will be still several months away. I used to just like having a sprig of basil in my kitchen because of the wonderful scent it gives out. But a basil liqueur? Sounds divine. And in these political times, I’d probably not water it down one iota.
    I applaud you for your volunteer work. CHEERS – I highly respect this type of activism. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I just read your post to my husband and he liked it as much as I did. Being brave enough to change, I don’t know that I am brave enough. We’ll see! With all the rain, wind, falling trees and our political situation I am ready to hide under the blanket for a while. Good for you for volunteering.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have always thought that the best way to deal with the negative stuff going on around us is to do something positive to counteract it. Good for you for volunteering with tax assistance. If enough people do good, it will overcome eventually. (Although there are days when I think maybe twitter could help out by just shutting down for a month or so….)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely post, Jo. We have a basil plant on our kitchen window sill. Enjoy it in our salads and pasta. Did not know about the liqueur you can make from it. I bet it’s wonderful. And how generous of you to devote time helping others with their taxes.

    As a Canadian, I’m appalled that your president has bragged about not paying any taxes, thinking he’s so smart. What if every American followed his lead? Where would the money come from for education, health, social services, infrastructure, etc. etc? I guess from the backs of the poor and middle class.

    Good luck with your decision about moving. I’ve never been to that part of Texas, though we have travelled a lot through the USA. Seems like you have a desirable spot either way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Diana! Yes, it is not a bad spot either way. Portland is a small town and the bay is just a half block down the street from our house on a bluff so I see the bay every day. I should be more grateful for what I have!

      Basil is versatile and easy to grow. How nice to have some right there in your kitchen window! The liqueur is a bit of a novelty but I enjoyed experimenting. I have also made basil jelly. I discovered basilcello through this blog –

      Mr. T. has still not released his income taxes and I doubt that we ever will! He gets worse every day and he is an embarrassment to America! Oh, well, I should pace myself as we may have four years of this man.

      Nice to hear from you. Trying to catch up on blog reading today and then will plant some herbs that I bought yesterday (basil, cilantro and bell pepper). It is spring here.


  9. Cheers to your volunteer efforts!!!!!! … I was in Alabama during that cold blast in January. But it was still warmer than Cincinnati. You are the only person (other than myself) who has made basilcello. Woo hoo! For the holidays I made cranberry-orangecello.

    Cellos may be sipped from small glasses, but small glasses are also easily refillable.


    • I think I learned of basilcello from one of your posts – should have mentioned you!!! Oh, yes, it needs to be sipped from small glasses. I did have a couple of liqueur glasses stuck back so we could drink it properly. The cranberry-orangecello sounds good too. May spring weather come your way soon! Thanks for visiting – will try to visit you this weekend. I am still trying to manage my time but I am enjoying the volunteering.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awesome! You mentioned using whiskey in the recipe … not pure grain alcohol or vodka?

        Regarding cranberry-orange, you can only make this one when cranberries are in the store … so think November to January? I’m not sure stores have cranberries now. Meanwhile … Enjoy the basilcello.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Basilcello, Cellobasil? either way Magnifico! you’ve captured my imagination so now I want to try making it…what’s the best whisky to use?
    Here in Canada and all across the world so many share the embarrassment, disbelief and uncertainty you must be feeling about your new government. Hang in there brothers and sisters of America…Illegitimi non carborundum!
    We have experienced an unusually cold and snowy winter in Vancouver but snowdrops are now up and in full bloom and spring bulbs are pushing through. I find Nature’s annual promise of the seasons reassuring, especially when human politics are not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Credit should go to as I learned about basilcello from one of his blogs, sometime during the holidays, and should have mentioned him in my post. As he corrected me in a comment, I should have said pure grain alcohol instead of whiskey. And I used Everclear but that is probably not the best but Frank hinted that vodka could also be used. Will check with him as he makes different flavors such as cranberry-orange.

      Thanks for the support from another Canadian! Truly we are horrified by this man’s behavior and he gets worse every day as he is not bent on attacking the media and wants only his voice to be heard. Very dangerous! I had to look up the Latin quote and we surely will not let him grind us down!!

      Spring is my favorite times of the year as it brings hope and renewal.. This afternoon I will be planting some herbs and flowers. The mesquites are putting out so it is spring in South Texas. Thanks for taking time to comment! Always a pleasure to have you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Very nice to see a post from coastal Texas! I often wonder about the folks I follow when I do not see new posts for a while, but then, I just finally made my second post of the month today, so who am I to talk. I am reminded of Aunt Molly Jackson’s “Hard time in old Coleman’s mine.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Volunteering for the VITA program is time well spent, Jo! I am familiar with this program, as I used to publicize it when working in our city offices. I wrote a proclamation for our Mayor when he honored the volunteers at city council meeting. Hats off to you! As for Trump, I have no words for him….like you, it is best to focus on ways to help others and maybe lessen the impact of negative actions and thoughts. I also tend to think of downsizing, if I had the opportunity to watch dolphins and live close to the sea, I’d probably embrace it…but of course, there are always many things to consider. Hope your year is off to a great start, and here’s to an early spring! 😀


  13. The VITA program does help many people. I volunteered a couple of years ago and then decided to do it again this year. Downsizing would be a big step for us so we will have to consider many things but it is good to explore options. 2017 is going well so far but we have four more years to go! But we will survive! Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.


  14. Hmmm… what an interesting post you’ve shared with us. From concerns about your government to thoughts about whether to downsize and where to go! I wish you the best with both. And if all else fails, drink some of that liqueur and say a prayer, in whatever order works best!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I certainly wouldn’t call anything that’s as well-written as your blog, “fluff”! I haven’t read as much of it as I want to yet, but it strikes me so far as light-hearted, yet engaging. And I especially appreciate light-hearted in these troubled times. Thank you for that!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. It is wonderful that you are volunteering to help others.. And such a worthwhile enterprise too
    The world is begging to speak to many of us as we ‘See’ others for what they are.. 🙂 And you are so right Every day is a gift….. May we each learn the gift of this present reality so that we create a brighter one for tomorrow..
    Love and Blessings and thank you so much for you own wonderful visits.. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Sorry I had to revisit your blog to see this reply.. So many not getting back to my notifications… I came to check if I had missed a post from you.. Sending MORE love your way .. Big Hugs .. Sue xxx ❤


  16. Welcome back to your blog and thanks for volunteering to help with taxes. AARP volunteers help during tax season at the public library where I work. It’s very much appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you can see from where you work that it does help! VITA used to have a site at the local library for seniors but stopped. This year we had many seniors (like me!) who came to our site for assistance and it did make a difference in their budget. Thanks for stopping by! I am trying to get inspired for a post. Perhaps I’ll do something about the experience. I always enjoy your posts! All the best to you!


  17. Hi jo, I can see you enjoying cellobasil on the balcony near the beach, whilst writing down your thoughts for your next spontaneous blog post… or your novel? We live a great retired life by the Mediterranean Sea and love it. Much love x barbara


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