Happy Thanksgiving All

IN 1789, CONGRESS requested of George Washington that the young nation’s first president, as he put it, “recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer.” The grand traditions of the holiday that we all look forward to today — grotesque overeating, traffic jams and airport delays, endless sports on television, and family squabbles — had not yet developed. And the country then, having only just established the government we still enjoy, had a great deal to be thankful for, President Washington noted: “the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war,” the “great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.”

Source: Thanksgiving – washingtonpost.com

It’s early yet and the house is mostly asleep. We will be cooking in a bit, those dishes we will be taking to my mother’s house. Eldest daughter and youngest son are giving thanks elsewhere this year. The newest splinter from our family tree has discovered what all young families discover about holidays…I hope they like to eat Thanksgiving Dinner thrice. We will end up with a combination Feast as both of our moms will be at the gathering.

I just wanted to drop this note out here to say I hope each and every one of you have something or someone to be thankful for on this day. Try to take the time somewhere in the course of the day to reflect on all the good you have seen this year…don’t dwell on the might have beens, don’t look into the sadnesses… Give Thanks.

Have a blessed day.

Morning Walk – Wednesday Edition

Today’s walk wasn’t near as cold as yesterdays. It also was different in that I didn’t take my camera.

I started of at the Bayou watching the sun come up over the trees. I stood there a long while soaking up the rays and warming my face. From that meditative start I wandered sunward down the trail stopping and listening to the birds along the way. The predominate color here is still green even as some of the grasses and bushes turn the reds, yellows and browns of fall. I was struck by the flowers still blooming along the trail. Lantana and white asters are everywhere. Occasionally you come across some honeysuckle still blooming.

I mentioned earlier that I was looking forward to the flocks of Robins that hang out here in the winter. As I walked along the trail this morning a flock of about 30 flew overhead. Guess that means the winter visitors are here. Yesterday I had a small flock of Killdeers feeding on the ground out in the back yard.

When we moved out here I tried to set up birdfeeders and watering stations that first winter. Not a single bird chose to visit them. All I could ever figure out was that there was enough wild food and water around that they really just weren’t interested. Considering we don’t feed, we see an immense number of birds here each year.

I made a run down to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge yesterday afternoon. They still haven’t begun flooding the impoundments so the birdlife is a little sparse. There was a few coots which are year round and a number of different Ibises and Herons. The main attraction for me was the raptors though. My favorite thing about this time of the year is the number of hawks that call SE Texas home during the winter.

From yesterdays walk


Frost on the asters…

Free Will Astrology : Aquarius Horoscope

Do you know what I love about Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology? It puts you on a different path of thought. You don’t have to buy into anything, do anything or be anything other than you. But that little tweak he puts on his art makes you think about life from just a little be off your normal skew…

Aquarius Horoscope for week of November 23, 2006

Verticle Oracle card Aquarius (January 20-February 19)
Your assignment in the coming weeks, Aquarius, is to become a coordinator of synchronicity and director of synergy in all the environments where you hang out. To begin, remind yourself of what those terms mean. Synchronicity is the wonderfully spooky feeling that comes when two or more events occur in a way that might superficially seem to be mere coincidence, but that is actually a sign of a deeper underlying pattern that transcends rational understanding. Synergy is when two power sources collaborate on a surprisingly energetic creation in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

I like that…Coordinator of Synchronicity. I think this calls for new business cards, don’t you?

Source: Free Will Astrology

On this day in 1963…

It was about 12:30 p.m. on this day in 1963 that President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas. It was the only successful assassination of an American president carried out in the last hundred years, and the only presidential assassination ever caught on film. Almost every American alive at the time remembers where they were when they heard the news. Walter Cronkite cried when he made the announcement that the president was dead.

I was in 3rd Grade Music Class when they made the announcement on the PA. Almost everyone in the class cried. I can still remember the name of the boy who cheered. The music teacher would, down the road, become a friend when I became a Boy Scout in her husbands Scout Troop.

Where were you on that day when you heard?

It’s a good thing JFK was president in the ’60’s because in today’s world he would be in as much trouble as Bill.

Thanks Garrison, for the reminder…

Source: The Writer’s Almanac from American Public Media

Leon Hale

 I am sure once upon a time every newspaper had a Leon Hale. Now I doubt there are many like him left. He has been a columnist in the Houston papers since before I was born. He now blogs in addition to his regular writing duties. Do yourself a favor and see what I grew up reading.

In 1946 I was living in Bryan. I was 25. One pay day I walked into the New York Café downtown, sat on a stool at the long lunch counter, and ordered a bottle of Bud and a plate of beef enchiladas. This was my habit then on paydays.

I was addicted to the enchiladas in that place. They came out three to the order on a metal plate, elliptical in shape. Dark red sauce bubbled up around the plate’s edges. The enchiladas were covered in a sheet of melted rat trap cheese. They were always too hot to eat when they first came out. You had to sit there and inhale the fragrance and wait a while so the first bite wouldn’t blister your mouth.

This plate of enchiladas cost 90 cents.

When I finished them I was still hungry so I ordered another plate, and ate those. A man of maybe 65 was sitting two stools down from me. When I got up to pay he said, “Young fellow, I’d give a hundred dollar bill if I could do what you just did.”

Which puzzled me then, but not now.

Source: Leon Hale | A blog featuring Houston Chronicle columnist Leon Hale

Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Another page turns in the local history books…

It’s reputed to be the world’s first drive-through restaurant chain and the place where the onion ring was invented, the result of a cooking accident. In 82 years at the corner of Washington and Sawyer, the last remaining Houston location has been a hut, a collection of stalls served by carhops and a sit-down restaurant.

But now, the Pig Stand’s past looks rosier than its present. The city’s longest-running restaurant sat empty Monday, a victim of bankruptcy and back taxes that threaten to add it to the ever-growing list of bygone Houston institutions.

I can remember eating at the one in South Houston on a number of occasions before it closed back about the mid ’80’s.

They are the last vestiges of a chain that started in 1921 in Dallas as the first drive-through and grew into a dozens-strong regional empire that welcomed the age of fast food during a time when meals were handcrafted at home.

The stands evolved into drive-ins by the 1960s, when they dueled Prince’s in the Houston market. Both eventually became standard table-service restaurants as they ceded the fast food business to the large chains.

Over time, the Pig Stand has laid claim to a number of culinary firsts. Along with onion rings (said to have been invented in Dallas in the late 1920s when a cook accidentally dropped onions in batter and decided to fry them), chicken fried steak sandwiches and the barbecue pork mainstay known as the Pig Sandwich, owner Richard Hailey said Texas toast also was born at a Pig Stand.

Just wanted you folks to know we do make some history here in Texas. Onion Rings and Texas Toast…Culinary masterpieces.

Source: Bankruptcy closes doors of historic Pig Stands | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle

Earth Friendly ideas from Ideal Bite: Your place for green living tips made fun and easy, green consumer, organic foods, organic living, eco-friendly, ecologically sustainable lifestyle website!

OK, I don’t know how these might work out but the premise is right with me so I’ll “Bite”. I’ll let you know what I think…Or jump on over and try them yourself…

We know that you would just love to “do the right thing” for yourself and the planet if it were convenient, fun, inexpensive, and made you feel good. But until now you have lacked a good source of advice for real people leading busy lives.

Congrats. Now you have a free one. See a sample of these short & sassy eco-living tips that arrive each weekday, then…

Here’s their sample Bite:

The Bite:

Use water filters instead – tap water might contain contaminants, but (believe it or not) bottled water isn’t always cleaner. Use home water filters such as faucet-mounted or pitcher filters – the best way to ensure a clean supply of drinking water at home.

The Benefits
  • Save the 1.5 million tons of plastic expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.
  • Get rid of contaminants normally found in tap water such as chlorine, cryptosporidium, Giardia , lead and pesticide runoff.
  • Save money – check out the Bang for the Bite (left) for the juicy details.
  • Filters are a safer bet – up to 40% of all bottled water comes from a city water system, just like tap water.
Personally Speaking

We both have faucet-mounted Brita filters and are somewhat notorious for refilling and carrying hard plastic water bottles with us everywhere.

Wanna Try?
  • Brita – this is our favorite – $34.99 (refill filters are $32.99 for 2)
  • Pur – Very pretty, for you brushed chrome lovers… $49.49 (replacement filters: 4 for $37.98)
  • Top 10 home water filters , water purifiers & water treatment system brands compared by price, performance and ongoing costs
  • Nice cost comparison of various water filter options available


Source: Earth Friendly ideas from Ideal Bite: Your place for green living tips made fun and easy, green consumer, organic foods, organic living, eco-friendly, ecologically sustainable lifestyle website!

Obesity: Maybe We Share Some of the Blame – washingtonpost.com

Being weight challenged these days this article caught my eye since it says something I tend to think is probably true in a number of ways. 

The idea that we’re too fat because we eat too much and exercise too little is based largely on “circumstantial evidence,” according to a recent report in the International Journal of Obesity. Investigators from the University of Alabama point to at least 10 other possible reasons we are getting too big for our britches. Here are the top three:

  • We don’t get enough sleep.

This could be a vicious cycle. What with sleep apnia being a bigger problem among those with excess weight.

  • We have more air conditioning.

I wouldn’t count on this one going away anytime soon. If the past few summers are any indication, air conditioning will become even more prevalent right up until nobody can afford the energy cost.

  • Our hormones have been disrupted.

How well I can relate. Back in ’97 I had a bout of Pericarditis that hung on for months. It took very high dose steroids to finally kick the problem but in the process my body changed and I haven’t been able to get back to that point since. Each year it gets harder just to maintain.

This study sounds like it is headed in the right direction. Our concentration on just one cause of obesity is probably leaving many people wondering why cutting calories and exercising is not working for them. I know for me eating salads everyday and walking for an hour or better every evening and still not seeing a difference made it hard to maintain the practice (and I like salads). 

Source: Obesity: Maybe We Share Some of the Blame – washingtonpost.com

Morning Walk – Tuesday

A person could definitely get used to greeting the sun every morning. The frost was even heavier on the ground this morning before sunup. Each step had that crunch of frozen grass. Each breath was an even thicker cloud than the ones from yesterday.

Other than the “keeer-r-r” of the hawks greeting the suns warmth as it caressed the tops of the trees where they waited and the lonesome whistle of a far off train, I was alone on the edge of Mustang Bayou. The mists on the waters course was heavy this morning. The image as the suns rays started to light first just the upper tendrils was almost magical. And as the sun rose more and more of that writhing snake of fog was touched by it’s rays until the entire waterway glowed.

I stood for a long while soaking up that first warmth under the cloudless blue of the heavens before wandering back to the house and the warm coffee.

And so the day began…


On eating locally in winter | By Umbra Fisk | Grist

 Another sustainable living piece. In case anyone notices, these stories catch my interest and go into the mental filing cabinet as I plan for that move to the mountains in a few years…

Eating locally in New Hampshire, though — let’s think about the specifics of that quest. For one, you’ll need to adjust your diet (I may be presumptuous in thinking of turnips as outside your normal purview). For two, what is local to you? Is it Strafford County? Is it New England? In the winter you may need to broaden your concept of local to include not only your food’s producers, but your food’s purveyors. If none of the producer-related steps above work or entice, switch your winter focus from producers to locally owned grocers. In an era of megastores and giant corporate foods, all businesses in the local-foods chain need your allegiance.

Source: On eating locally in winter | By Umbra Fisk | Grist | Ask Umbra | 20 Nov 2006