Saturday, May 31, 2008

I left work early on Thursday to meet my sister, my 2 nieces, and their SO's at Chuy's. They were driving back home after vacationing on the Frio River. Since some people don't like personal information about them on the internets for all to see, I won't use their real names. My sister is the oldest person and is seated on the right. I sometimes call here TOTY because a few years back she was Teacher of the Year! I am standing next to her in one of the pictures. We were both a lot smaller before we ate Mexican food that day. Next to her is my favorite niece who I'll just call Ernie, and next to her is her SO, B. I'm sure Ernie has given him a nick name because she gives everyone a nick name (sort of like our current POTUS) but I don't know what it is. He has a personality a lot like Ernie which make him as nice and wonderful as Ernie. He is leaving for Nepal soon and Ernie is leaving for Madagascar.
Next to them is my favorite niece who we sometimes refer to as Buck. She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and after many years of looking, finally found a man who is as wonderful as she is, even if he is often mistaken for a homeless person. They have been happily married for 3 years now.
We had a nice lunch and then they surprised me with a sopapilla birthday cake.
Despite rumors to the contrary, none of us had a lap dance. Chuy's is a family restaurant.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Vegan Terrorists

Moles are being solicited by the FBI to infiltrate vegan pot luck dinners in the Minneapolis area before the Republican National Convention. They are expected to show up at vegan events, schmooz, and then report back to the FBI possible terrorist activities. "The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to "investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.""

I found this information in the City Pages Newspaper in a article written by Matt Snyders. Here is the link:

Peak Season Map

Here is a link to a map that has fruits and vegetables currently available in your state:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What (TF) Happened

For anyone paying attention the last 8 years, the revelations in Scott McCellan's book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, won't be news.

In the book, the former press secretary accuses Bush of "self-deception" and of maintaining a "permanent campaign approach" to governing rather than making the best choices. He accuses bush of using propaganda to sell the war and accuses the press corp and the "liberal media" of going too easy on bush.

On Katrina: "One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term. The perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath.”

There are also revelations about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame and the role Scooter and Rove played as well as revelations about many other White House scandals and cover-ups.

None of this is news to those who care about our country. Bush and his partners in crime have gotten away with murder and will continue to get a way with murder until they are out of office. Anyone who supports him and his disastrous policies has the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on their hands.

The book will be on sale June 1. HCPL has 15 copies on order but I'm hoping we will get more including the audio book.
UPDATE: Because of the interest in the book and because some copies were already sold, the book will be on sale today.

Fourdogmom's Dogs

Here are some cute pictures of Sparky and Rosie. Sparky had just returned from getting his hair cut for the summer. Rosie wants everyone to know that she is not fat but that the camera adds 10 lbs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

I scream, you scream

Memorial Day is almost here. I can finally wear white shoes without fear of the southern fashion police reporting me, although Miss Grimm told me the other day that only old people wear white shoes. I think she was just referring to white pumps but it really doesn't matter because I am old. It's also the time for picnics, BBQ's and best of all, ICE CREAM! This afternoon we are having an ice cream party here at work. I'm trying unsuccessfully to be vegan so will indulge. At home I've been having little containers of HEB's very delicious orange sherbert.

If you have little furry animals and don't want to share your $5 a pint Haagen Dazs, there are several several companies that make ice cream for dogs. Cold Nose Creamery makes lactose free ice cream in 4 flavors: Puppernut, Puppernilla, Pup o' Latte, and Puppermint. Purina sells Frosty Paws in 2 flavors, original and with peanut butter, which is available in most grocery stores.

You can purchase the adorable ice cream cone shirt for your best friend at Just be sure not to buy them any white doggie pumps.

Finger Foods

That's what my neighborhood newspaper is calling a new development on West Dallas and Waugh Drive. The 13 acre lot is going to house a 50,000 square foot Whole Foods Market, and a new six-story, 445-unit apartment complex by Finger Apartments. This will be the 6th Whole Foods for Houston and will be the biggest, with features the other stores don't have. Construction is expected to begin next year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

California Wild Flowers

According to the person who sent me this picture, it is real and was taken just outside of Bakersfield, California.

Elizabeth Edwards

Last night I went to the Wortham Center with a friend from Rice to hear Elizabeth Edwards speak. The event was sponsored by The Progressive Forum, an organization in Houston "whose aim is to enrich our democracy and culture by presenting the great minds who we believe are moving humanity and life towards success, speakers from all the fields of human endeavor—the sciences and humanities as well as politics and public affairs. " Some of the past speakers have been Molly Ivins, Garrison Keillor, Robert Kennedy Jr., and Al Gore.

Edwards spoke for about 45 minutes about her life as a breast cancer survivor and about the support she received, and continues to receive, from her family, friends, and strangers who reached out to her after her diagnosis. She talked about her children, including her son Wade who died in a car accident when he was in high school, and about her relationship with her husband, John Edwards.

After speaking, she answered some questions from the audience including a few about politics and the 2008 presidential race.

It was a wonderful event and has made me want to read her book Saving Graces and also to attend future events sponsored by the Progressive Forum. Here is a link to their website:

I took the two picture with my brand new digital camera. This was the first time I had tried using it and I obviously need some practice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



I just found the product Mosquito Barrier on DIY Life and it sounds like the perfect way to control mosquitos and other pests without using chemicals. Here is some more info from Debra McDuffee about her experience with the product:

"It's easy to apply: just mix with water and spray onto your lawn every 3-4 weeks.
With only one gallon needed for the entire season (even less for most yards), it is very affordable at $85.00 per gallon

It won't harm the environment, or my kid, dog, or other wild animals that frequent my yard.
In addition to mosquitoes, the black flies have made themselves scarce.
We also haven't found a tick on the dog since we sprayed, and that is a small miracle in itself."

I'm convinced. Two of my neighbors have had major tick infestations so maybe this will prevent my dogs from getting them too and the mosquitos are already causing problems. Here is a link to the company

Monday, May 19, 2008

T. Boone Pickens

T. Boone Pickens, the founder of Mesa Petroleum and one of the richest people in the United States is getting into clean energy. Over the next 4 years he plans to erect 2,700 wind turbines in the Texas Panhandle, enough to power about one million homes. It's not about being green but about making money and the people of Sweetwater are already benefiting from his latest money making endeavor. The town, and neighboring counties are experiencing a boom from jobs created to build and service his wind farms. The ranchers whose land he will use for the turbines will also receive $10,000 to $20,000 a year per turbine in royalties.
While Pickens has always been a big supporter of Republicans, including W, he is frustrated by the lack of action by the government to make the US energy independent. It's too bad he wasn't open minded enough to support a presidential candidate who was open to developing alternative energy, like Gore in 2000.
Pickens isn't someone I could ever really like, especially after his 3 million contribution to the swift boaters, but I'm glad that someone with his business expertise is getting involved in alternative energy. He is also interested in developing a solar energy corridor from Texas to California and is a outspoken opponent of the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
This really beautiful picture is by Chris Crawford Photography and is entitled Clouds over Texas Panhandle.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Design Your Own...

Here's a link to a site where you can design a box, print it, and fold it. Fun if you are really bored.

If you want to make an animal to go in the box click on this link:

The picture is of an Okapi made with the pattern supplied on the web site.

There are many, many more things to make on Web Zen under the topic Paper Zen

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Natural Air Freshner

Because of my four dogs, my house could use a good air freshner. I don't ever buy the ones in the stores because of all the chemicals. I don't even buy scented candles unless I'm sure they are natural. Ginger, one of my dogs, has seizures, and one of the things I did to try and stop her seizures without resorting to drugs was to remove all the chemicals and artificial fragrances from the house. I also switched to all green cleaning products. Today on DIY Life I found a recipe for a natural air freshener that's pretty easy to make. Here is the recipe:

Easy Cinnamon and Applesauce Air Freshner

1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup cinnamon
plastic zip-type bag
waxed paper
various cookie cutters
small rolling pin
unsharpened pencil
string or ribbon
Mix the applesauce and cinnamon together inside the zip-type bag. Seal the bag and mix the ingredients together well, until they form a dough. (Note: This part is GREAT fun for kids.) Dump the dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with a second sheet, then roll out to 1/4 inch thick; too thin and it will crack, too thick and it will take too long to dry. Carefully use the cookie cutters to cut out shapes in your dough. When finished, use the pencil to poke a small hole in the top to tie in a ribbon or string for hanging. Leave your air fresheners to dry overnight or longer if necessary, then hang them in your car, kitchen, or even stick them in a dresser drawer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Golf Gate (new links added)

In an interview yesterday, Bush said that he gave up playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of the soldiers killed in the Iraq war. Here is the exact quote: "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as -- to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal. "

This may turn out to be just another one of his lies. Blue Girl Red State points out in her blog that his giving up golf probably had more to do with a muscle tear in his right calf and aching knees than out of any respect for the troops or their families.

Rolf Laub just did a cartoon about this. You can find it here:

And here is a link to Olbermann's special comment about Bush and his games:


This is the time of year that I start thinking about moving to a cooler, drier city. I do this every year, all summer long.
Yesterday a report from Forbes listed Houston as one of the top 10 recession proof cities, which make me feel a little bit better about living here. Here is the complete list: Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Charlotte, N.C., Dallas-Ft.Worth, San Jose, Raleigh, Salt Lake City and Seattle. Forbes looked at unemployment, job-growth, and home prices. All four cities in Texas have lower home prices than the rest of the country and falling unemployment rates. Now if we could just do something about the heat and humidity...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sex and the City

I hate to admit this but I really loved the HBO series Sex and the City. I just found out today that Samantha has a pet in the new movie version that opens in theatres later this month. She is a little Yorkie named Gidget and she has her own blog which has lots of pictures including the one shown here, videos, and links. You can check it out here:

Amy's Kitchen

Amy's, my favorite frozen food company, has a new product, Black Bean Tamale Verde. I tried one yesterday and it was so good I almost went back to Whole Foods to buy another one. Here is the description from their website: "Corn masa tamale filled with tender organic black beans, tomatoes, onions, zucchini and blended with a tomato salsa. Topped with an authentic verde sauce of organic tomatillos. Served with a side of Spanish rice made with organic brown rice."
There is also a cheese version which I didn't see.
I love Amy's because I don't have to read the ingredients to see if there is anything I don't want and everything they make is yummy.

Crowd Farm

Two MIT graduate students, Thaddeus Jusczyk and James Graham have come up with an idea to use human movement to generate energy. Their system, which they have named Crowd Farm involves using a sub floor made up of blocks that depress slightly when stepped on. The movement of the blocks against each other would generate power. The idea is to use this type of flooring in high foot traffic areas such as train stations or concert halls. The students demonstrated the idea at the Venice Biennale and at a train station in Torino with a stool that generates energy when people sit on it. The students won 1st prize for their proposal at the Holcim Foundation's Sustainable Construction competition this year.

Art Car Parade

On Saturday, the annual Art Car Parade was held in the Heights area of Houston. Tom Jones, the curator of the Art Car Museum drove his 1982 Monte Carlo named Swamp Mutha which is the car in the picture. After locking the museum, he and some friends were sitting outside when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Another, more somber parade was held on Sunday when his friends showed up at the museum in their art cars to pay their respects to their friend.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Myanmar Burma Satellite Photos

These before and after photos of Myanmar/Burma were taken by NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)

The latest predictions are that the death toll could reach 100,000 with over 1 million left homeless.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Daisetta Sinkhole

What started as a crack in the road yesterday has turned into a sinkhole the size of six football fields and it's not over yet. Construction equipment, tanks, trees and tractors have fallen into this massive hole located in Daisetta, Texas, a small town 50 miles northeast of Houston. The town, with a population of 1,000, was built on salt domes and experts believe the ground might have caved in because of the collapse of one of these old domes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What is this?

Any guesses as to what this is a picture of?


The latest estimates are that 60,000 people may have been killed and a million people left homeless by the cyclone Nargis, that hit Myanmar on Saturday. According to the secretary general of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the destruction of mangrove forests is partially to blame. The mangrove forests, which have been cut down because of the rise in population in the area, used to serve as a buffer from the sea and from storms, just as the Mississippi Delta wetlands used to serve as a buffer for Louisiana during hurricanes.

Laura Bush had the nerve to say this on Monday: "The response to this cyclone is just the most recent example of the junta's failures to meet its people's basic needs." Has she already forgotten our government's/her husband's failure to meet the basic needs of the people of New Orleans after Katrina?

At first, our government was offering 250,000 in aid but has now upped the amount to a whopping 3.25 million. Of course this help is conditional on the government allowing our disaster assessment teams into the country to evaluate the situation. Where were these disaster assessment teams when we needed them in New Orleans? Maybe we could send them the FEMA trailers that have toxic levels of formaldehyde too as part of our humanitarian aid package.

If you are wondering why some of the news refers to the country as Myanmar and some Burma, here is an explanation: According to the BBC it should always be called Burma. In 1989 the Junta changed the name to Myanmar but the United States and the UK do not recognise the name change even though the United Nations and countries such as France and Japan do. Burma's democracy movement also prefers the name Burma because they do not recognise the legitimacy of the unelected regime now in power.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eight Belles

I hope that the death of the 2nd place winner in the Kentucky Derby, Eight Belles, will bring attention to the cruelty in the racing industry. Many of these horses are raced when they are so young that their bones haven't had time to form and are raced on hard surfaces. They are whipped by the trainers and jockeys and when they are no longer of any use slaughtered. I'm really sick of hearing people say that these horses love to run or how much they love horses.

PETA has launched a campaign calling for the suspension of the jockey and trainer of Eight Belles and that the owner be banned from racing at the track. They are also asking that the tracks be switched to a softer surface and for a ban on the use of whips.

If you would like to send a letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority you can click on this link:

Monday, May 5, 2008

Looking For Work Joke

My friend "Kee" sent me this joke:

A Japanese doctor said, Medicine in my country is so advanced that we can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him looking for
work in six weeks. "

A German doctor said, "That's nothing, we can take a lung out of one
person , put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks."

A British doctor said, "In my country, medicine is so advanced that we can
take half of a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have them
both looking for work in two weeks."

A Texas doctor, not to be outdone said,
"You guys are way behind. We took a man with no brains out of Texas, put
him in the White House and now half the country is looking for work."

As of last week, I have lost a total of 75 lbs. I would like to lose another 30-50 lbs. but can at least fit into clothes that I haven't worn in years. Today I'm wearing a shirt that I bought at Talbots over 12 years ago. Now, what to do with all the big t-shirts I own? Over at the greenloopblog they are having the "1st Annual ReShirt Cutting Contest: Slice And Dice Your T’s To Win"

Sounds like fun.

About the car. Someone at work suggested that I name my new Versa "Visa" so it will be "Visa Versa."

Sunday, May 4, 2008

War President

This photomosaic was made by Joe Wezorek and is composed of pictures of people killed by Bush in his War on Terror. One of my co-workers found it on Flickr and sent me the link. If you want to see the larger version and read some of the comments, here is the link:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Spam

On May 3, 1978, Gary Thuerk, a marketer who worked for Digital Equipment Corporation sent an e-mail to 393 users on Arpanet, a government computer network, thus making him the world's first spammer. Spam got it's name from the Monty Python song that was sung by vikings in a restaurant where every dish included SPAM. The vikings sang the word SPAM over and over getting louder each time making conversation impossible. Hormel, the makers of the original SPAM, which was introduced in 1937, doesn't object to the use of the word but asks that the capitalized word SPAM be reserved for their product and that it be used as an adjective, as in SPAM luncheon meat. They have fought unsuccessfully however against the company SpamArrest and against the use of the term Spambuster. Hormel has this to say on their website: "Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, 'Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk email?'"

Austin, Texas

On May 1, iReport released a list of the 10 greenest cities in the U.S. and Austin was #1. Austin has a new Climate Protection Plan where all city facilities, fleets and operations will be powered by renewable energy by 2012 and carbon neutral by 2020. Berkeley was number 2 followed by Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Here is a link to the full report on all the cities in the list:
Here is a link to the Austin Climate Protection Plan which details Austin's plans to reduce greenhouse gases:


I left work early yesterday and bought my new car. I decided to get a Nissan Versa. It has 4 doors, a hatchback, and is a lot bigger inside than the Toyota Yaris. I never went to look at the Honda Fit because it was $2,000 more than both the Yaris and the Versa. It's white (fresh powder) with a black (charcoal) interior. I wanted white because it's better in the heat. I haven't had a new car in 12 years so there are some features I'm not used to like keyless entry. It has power everything and a really nice CD player so I'm pretty happy.

Next week I'm going to put my new magnetic Obama 'O8 YES WE CAN! bumper sticker on it.