Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mantra ~ Sunday Scribblings

Sunday Scribblings suggested this prompt this week: Do you have a mantra? The original meaning of mantra is something that you repeat to help you concentrate while you are meditating. There are lots of people, however, who use a mantra to help them concentrate in other ways. Do you have one? Do you need one? Would you like one? Can you share yours or is it secret and private? How do you feel about mantra?

Here is my story. When visiting the convent of All Saints Sisters of the Poor in Catonsville, Maryland, of which I am a member of their fellowship, I participated in a week-long silent retreat. One thing the nuns taught us was relaxation/meditation/prayer. The above photo sort of captures the "stance". We were each asked to pick a mantra to help us achieve a state of meditation and prayer.

My mantra was then, and still is, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come". It does help me to become more relaxed and to achieve a state of meditative prayer.

I feel that the mantra is indeed helpful to me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Miracles - Haiku Bones

Sunlight, moon glow, stars
Heaven explodes in beauty
Blessings all around


Dew on wet green grass
Calling summer comes at last
Cardinals rejoice

Haiku Bones
...prompt, Dew

Friday, May 28, 2010

SkyWatch Friday


This was a beautiful day...for our youngest daughter's 40th birthday party on Lake Graham, Texas, last Saturday. Enjoy SkyWatch Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dog Day...or Cat Day...Exhaustion

This is a the cover of my 2009-2010 Datebook...I covered it because it had something on it I didn't like. I'm about to start the 2010-2011 book, so this one will go. The photo is our third oldest grandson, Tim.

Yesterday in Fort Worth was a very good day...we went to WoodCraft to get wood for a sign for the house which will say Oak Cottage. We went to JoAnn's to get fabric for me to make a purse. We went to Kings to get sherry for Raf. We ate lunch at La Madeleine's, (had a wonderful French vanilla torte with fresh berries). We went to Asel Art to get framing materials for Raf and blending pencils for me. We went to Barnes and Noble to get books. We went to Central Market to get GOOD food!

...but by the end of the day my right knee and calf was aching so bad I had to take a muscle relaxer and ice it before going to bed early...for me! I even used to between the knees pillow I got when my hip was bad! And today...yuck!

I have been out and watered the garden and fed the birds...and I did wash a load of clothes, but I didn't eve fix breakfast this morning! We just ate juice and toast. I usually make eggs and bacon or crepes or biscuits or pancakes or something. Anyway. . .

Enough about me. I have had word today of two different friends with health problems...and two others yesterday. Please pray for them.

I did make a poster for Bethy's softball team. Raf and I are each making something for their auction to benefit their Florida trip to the World Series, and they needed a brochure to tell about it. I will make a piece of jewelry, and Raf will frame one of his photos. Hopefully it will bring in about $150.

Finished a Marion Babson book called, Paws for Alarm...a cosy that was very entertaining, and as usual, had a cat in it!

My friend Donna Childree Gotlib wrote this on FaceBook. I would like to share it with help her send this message:

Occasionally I participate in The One Minute Writer. Today's writing prompt can be found at The topic is "reversal". I immediately knew what I wanted to say, however there was no way to say it sixty seconds. I've decided to share my thoughts here instead.

I'm proud of my Mother, Elizabeth. She lived her life through example.

My Mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's or Dementia in her mid seventies. In the beginning, with the knowledge that she was losing herself daily, she asked that I look out for her best interest. She called her attorney and we made arrangements. We went before the judge together and at Mother's request, I became her guardian and conservator. Over lunch at Weber's, her favorite restaurant, Mother explained to me that when making choices or decisions regarding her it was paramount for me to consider her feelings at all times. She said that I should always look and think about how she would have done something or what she would have wanted prior to her illness. Yes, I was stressed and suffering with her. She was a great Mother and a wonderful friend. It was difficult to watch her leaving us day by day, however I understood that my daily concern and responsibility was guarding her dignity and keeping her safe. There were wonderful moments along with the painful changes. Together, we celebrated life in the best ways that we could though activities, hugs, sharing stories, and sometimes just sitting silently side by side. I was blessed to be with her. In the confusion of the times we were blessed to share a different type of life with happy moments and a great amount of love.

It pains me to see caregivers who, perhaps due to stress, fatigue or maybe even anger, share personal stories through social media (not an inner circle of family or friends). I'm talking about stories that are not only demeaning, but also humiliting to those who cannot speak out to defend or protect themselves. Why not choose stories of love and kindness instead of stories that the individual might find upsetting and/or embarrassing? These stories are going out to a vast group of acquaintences, all of whom are free to pass them on at will. Why not celebrate your loved one and share with us stories that he or she would be pround to have passed around the Internet? Share things that this person would want to say if he or she was the one writing the post the world is able to access.

My heart breaks for those who have lost or are losing themselves daily to this illness. I wish that I could protect them all. I understand firsthand how a caretaker suffers, however, caretakers are in a different situation than those with the disease. Their minds are with them at night when they go to sleep and throughout the day as they go through their routine. Caretakers have options available. They make choices daily. They can choose to seek psychological help and emotional support. These are options that respect everyone.

We need to consider what we are doing with social media. I would like to see the abusive behavior reversed immediately, and replaced with stories that celebrate and lift up our friends and loved ones. I would also like to see those who encourage this type of behavior to stop and realize they are laughing at the expense of someone who is unable to defend themselves. Jokes are funny but these are stories about real people who might find these things embarrassing if they knew what was being said about them. They are still here and if they are in your care, they deserve your respect. There are other ways to support care givers who are feeling stressed or angry.

My wish is that everyone caring for a friend or loved one with Alzheimers/Dementia would remember that a human being is residing in that body. Humor is important and helps us deal with suffering, however, when the humor is at the expense of the very person who needs protection, something is seriously wrong. In my mind that is abuse. If you are unable to honor and respect the dignity of the person who is depending on you, perhaps you have hit the wall and need to seek other options.

I'm proud of my Mother for being such a strong woman. I am thankful for her example and strive to live the way that I was taught.

So...ladies and gentlemen, how has your day been. Let me hear from you!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Roger Williams and Fort Worth

Last night we attended the monthly meeting of the Republican Club of Palo Pinto County Texas. We had as our speaker, Roger Williams, who was once the Secretary of State for Texas. While a little to glib for my taste, Mr. Williams said all the right things, and I do believe he is a good Christian man who says, if he wins the seat as a U. S. Senator from Texas in 2012, he will use the Constitution and the Bible as his guides.

Today we are headed for Fort Worth for books, food, liquor, wood, art supplies, etc. I do love to go to Fort Worth. It is less than an hour, and it contains gardens, museums, restaurants, performance halls, pubs, and lots and lots of wonderful shops.

We've eaten breakfast and walked, so bathe and dress and go!!! See ya later, alligators!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ruby Tuesday...a rose for a Rose

This is my mother's grave. She lived to be 95. She was born in Rising Star, Texas, the daughter of Marvin Tilden and Lora Day (Bee) Routh Bowden. She began driving when she was 10, as her mother was chronically ill and had to be taken to the doctor a lot.

Rose grew up in Brownwood, Texas. Her father owned a furniture store there. Her maternal grandfather had been a Texas Ranger but was later a furniture store owner and, finally, the jailer at the county jail in Brownwood.

Rose was valedictorian of her senior class at the finishing school she attended, and she graduated from Oklahoma University with a degree in elementary education. She also studied piano and voice. Her first teaching job as in Milfay, Oklahoma.

Rose married my father, John McBee Ficke, and I was their only child.

Rose was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, as am I. This red rose was placed on her grave by the DAR. A rose for a Rose.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Baby Was 40!


Christi, Christina Dee Smith, was 40-years-old on May 19. Her husband, Brian, planned a surprise birthday party for her for last Saturday. Then he sent her with a good friend to see Melissa Gilbert in Little House on the Prairie at Fair Park in Dallas.

Some of their girlfriends whipped up a wonderful fajita dinner with all the trimmings, and most of the family was present. This clip shows when she first came in the door.

The music is Tom T. Hall singing Sneaky Snake, because they is what we called her when she was little. She couldn't say Christina when she was two, so she called herself Nina, and the man who ran the day care called her, Nina...meaner than a snake. Thus, Sneaky Snake! The Nina lasted until high school when she became Christi!

She had a wonderful party!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

See My Garden Grow


I surely would like your comments. These vegetables are growing in off-the-ground containers with plenty of drainage, soil, etc. I am using Miracle Grow's new spray on fertilizer every 7 days. I am also spraying for disease and bugs every 7 day. It has rained a lot. However, the tomato blossom are not turning into fruit. There is only one tomato per plant. These plants are specific to Texas. They are Celebrity and Early Girl, with one Sugar Grape. I do not understand what is happening to the blossoms to cause they to not pollinate. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

SkyWatchFriday...Evening in Texas


Check out SkyWatch Friday! We have had clouds and dreary weather for quite a while...we are thankful for the rain...but tonight the sky is clear and bright, the grass green and glowing, the birds cheerful. Welcome to an evening shot of Texas!

Swearing in, Mineral Wells City Council


Tommy Blissitte, John Upham, and Mayor Mike Allen, Mineral Wells, Texas, newly sworn in city leaders.


Here are a couple of beautiful 360˚ photographs I found on the 'net. Hope you will enjoy them:

Sulpher Creek

Double Arch


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Paper Doll Pattern...New City Councilman

Several of you have asked for my latest paper doll pattern. Here it is. It's got much more of a woman's form than the other one did. Hope you will enjoy using it to make a paper doll.

The best ones I have done are on heavy paper and backed with more heavy paper on the body and head. I don't ever articulate the head...too follopy! I suppose! You can add doll hair for a more real look and cloth rather than paper clothing. They are lots of fun to make, and people enjoy ones with their own faces added! They are a great gift!

Last night we went to the swearing in ceremony of your newest, and youngest, Mineral Wells Texas City Councilman, John Upham. John was with our John in Boy Scouts of America, and they both are Eagle Scouts, and they both came home after college as fine examples of hometown men!

In the photograph Raf took, John Upham, age 26, is in the middle. The Mayor, Mike Allen, is on the right, and the other City Councilman, Tommy Blissitte, is on the left. Mike and Tommy were already members of the Council. John is new, defeating a 16-year veteran for the position! Congratulations to all three of you.

I will post a video of the swearing in ceremony either later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ruby Tuesday: Roses of Spring and Other Bits

Today is Ruby Tuesday!

Raf took this photo at our friend, Dianne's, place on Sunday. The house she and her husband bought has had many beautiful surprises this spring...lots and lots of flowers. The pink is almost red! This is just one example. I love their new home!

The girls and the grandchildren all gave me roses and other flowers for Mothers Day. Raf took this photo yesterday of the last of the roses. See the red. Beautiful still!


We had another thunderstorm last night, at least it was around us, but, thank God, it didn't come to our house. We are always a bit frightened after the hail storm two years ago that took out 5 windows and the roof! There was a flash flood warning, too. We now receive Code Red alerts on our phones. That a marvelous service provided by the city!

Interesting Things We Don't Hear on the News!

WHO IS CROSSING OUR BORDERS? According to the Border Patrol the public is being mislead as to WHO is coming into the US from Mexico. These are THE FACTS, as reported by WSBTV in Atlanta.

Video 1

Video 2

What about that oil the government won't even listen to this, because it makes too much sense: Solution to Oil Spill

Finally, A Couple of Jokes

Two Mexicans are on a bicycle about 15 miles outside of Lafayette . One of the bike's tires goes flat and they start hitching a lift back into town.

A friendly trucker stops to see if he can help, and the Mexicans ask him for a ride. He tells them he has no room in the trailer as he is carrying 20,000 bowling balls. The Mexicans put it to the driver that if they can manage to fit into the back with their bike, will he take them back into town and he agrees. They manage to squeeze themselves and their bike into the back and the driver shuts the doors and gets on his way.

By this time he is really late and so puts the hammer down and sure enough, a blonde cop pulls him over for speeding. The lady officervasks the driver what he is carrying, to which the driver jokingly replies "Mexican eggs."

The Blonde Lady Cop obviously doesn't believe this so wants to take a look in the trailer.

She opens the back door and quickly shuts it and locks it. She gets on her radio and calls for immediate backup from as many officers asvpossible plus the Swat Team. The dispatcher asks what emergency she has that require so many officers.

"I've got a Tractor-Trailer stopped with 20,000 Mexican eggs in it. Two have hatched and they've already managed to steal a bicycle."


In a small Texas town, (Mt. Vernon). Drummond's bar began construction on a new building to increase their business.

The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening by using petitions and prayers.

Work progressed right up till the week before opening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.

The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building,
either through direct or indirect actions or means.

The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise in its reply to the court.

As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork,
we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nice Day, Yesterday! and Ketchup


We got up at our usual Sunday time yesterday at St. Luke' be at church by 10 am. Raf was a Lay Eucharistic Minister, so he had to be there a little early to vest. Sadly there was a low attendance at church, but we all stayed afterward for coffee hour and visiting with our friends.

We came home for a bit, and then we headed for Bluff Dale, Texas, to hear the live music at the Bluff Dale Vineyard. They have music each third Sunday from 1-4 pm. Yesterday was the Granbury Music Group's Pearl Street Combo, and they were very good.

The Vineyard has excellent wine. Many people bring a picnic and purchase wine or cold drinks. We decided to have the duck pot pie which they make there, and it was delicious. They also have salads and salami and cheese plates. David and Theresa Hayes are your hosts at the Vineyard.

Following our trip to the Vineyard, we went to visit my oldest, dearest friend, Dianne, and her husband Dub, who have just moved to Tolar, Texas. Had a great visit, and then we returned home.

Discovered this silly bit of business last night on the 'net. Check it out here.

By the time the H. J. Heinz Company is finished remaking its world-famous ketchup to comply with Michael Bloomberg‚s National Salt Reduction Initiative, you may not recognize the product.

As you know, Mayor Bloomberg is on a tear about excessive salt in processed foods. Heinz is, therefore, reducing the salt content in its new ketchup recipe.

For your perusal, here are the facts surrounding salt in your diet:

* About six percent of Americans suffer from hypertension.

* Of these, about half have the type of hypertension for which salt is contraindicated.

* Salt does not CAUSE hypertension, it merely aggravates an existing condition.

* For 97% of the population, therefore, the amount of salt consumed is irrelevant.

* The FDA recommends no more than 1.5 grams of salt, from all sources, per day per adult. There are NO scientific studies supporting this recommendation.

* In several, peer-reviewed, studies, volunteers have consumed up to twenty-five grams of salt per day for extended periods. Salt in excess of the body's needs is simply excreted with no deleterious effects on the consumer.

* There is NO compelling evidence that salt, in any reasonable amount, is harmful to the human body in any way. Period.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday, Sweet Saturday...with some things to do!

I completed the Rose Guardian Paper Doll yesterday. This was made with a slightly different template that I will post soon...shape was more woman-like than the others I have made. The face is that of my mother. This is what I wrote about the doll:

This is Rose Elizabeth Bowden Ficke. She was born in Brownwood, Texas, in 1910. She was a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and cousin. She was a flapper with a degree in music and another in education. She was a teacher and a Christian. Her special powers were the ability to teach others’ children, and they learned and loved her as she guided and guarded them. She is made with paper of various types and a few embellishments.


The movie clips below were taken at the Texas Frontier Trails (Facebook fan page) meeting last night. Note the first speaker is musician and playwright, Andy Wilkinson, who has written plays about the Palo Pinto County, Texas, area, especially about the Goodnight-Loving Trail. The second clip shows Barry Corbin who will be performing here on August 7 in a one-man-play called Charlie Goodnight's Last Night. The last clips show Adam Hull and the Handsome Halfbreed(s) singing original work.

If you have heard of Lonesome Dove, you have heard of Charlie Goodnight and Oliver Loving. If you are going to be in the area, or are a Barry Corbin fan, join us on August 7! This is the story of our history here in the North Texas Hill Country. Click on the Texas Frontier Trails link to order tickets!


Raf is now off to do some more work on his CD at Rough Wood Studio. Several of the songs are set in Palo Pinto County, and one in particular is an homage to the Molines of Millsap (Parker County) and to their ranch. Stay tuned...the CD should be out by summer's end.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sky Watch Friday, May 14, 2010

Decided to test the movie camera for a Sky Watch. We have been watching the sky here in the desolate, dry North Central Texas Hill Country. It has been pouring with rain for a couple of days...and on and off all winter and spring. We are thankful for the rain as we had been in a terrible drought for several years. I wanted to get the effect of the storm, but it was quiet when I filmed this clip. Now the thunder is all around and the lightening is bright.

This newest cell is developing right over us as we sit and watch outside our French windows.

Now back from eating with my has poured the whole time. I got a "red alert" on my phone that we have a flood watch in process. Hey, I just drove over the Crystal Canal...I could tell it was flooding!

My Day so Far

I'm reading a new author, Claire Matturro.  This is a great mystery set in Sarasota, Florida, with lawyers, drugs, hippies, guns, dogs, strange people, and WINE!  A really fun read.

And the rain is's after midnight right now, and about an hour ago we got a "red alert" on our phone for weather...rain, thunder, lightening, and large far, no hail, thank the Good Lord!  But the storm has lasted over an hour.  I do like the idea of signing up with the city for or what-have-you.  So I texted my in-town kids and let them know, as they have not signed up for the free service.

About noon I am meeting a couple of high school classmates at a new bistro here in M-dub.  Hope it is really good...we need more up-scale places!  And it's right downtown.  The gals, especially Sheila, and I meet together for a meal every so often.  It's a lot of fun to keep up with old friends, and I am doubly blessed because I get to meet up with friends from here and from Stephenville, which is only 42 miles south...some of those people I have known, as my mother used to say, "since before we were born."

This is my new camera, a Kodak Zi8.  I took some still photos with it yesterday, and while it is a good movie camera, I will stick with my little Nikon for still shots.  Here is the best of the photos it took:

This is a photo of one of my Mothers Day flowers that my grandson, John, gave me.  He gave me tulips and they opened!  Isn't it lovely!!

Raf just found this beautiful music performed by Ruby Jane Smith and Mike O'Connor. Listen!

PopTech's Video feed

Well, I had a great night's sleep, and as it's morning, although still raining with thunder and lightening, I guess I'd better "get on my horse" and get ready to meet my friends for lunch.  I also have that paper doll to finish today.  It's almost done.

Oh, just a few minutes ago my friend texted me that her daughter, Lauren, has been in labor for 24 hours, and the midwife it taking her to the hospital.  Please pray for Lauren!
So, you guys, take care...and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our Vegetable Garden

This year we decided to try a vegetable garden again. We live on the top of a sandstone hill, and if you dig about 4 inches all you get is ROCK. Native plants will grow, but, mostly, vegetables don't take too kindly to those rocks. We have tried, off and on, for the last 26 years to come up with a plan. This year we finally made it, I pray.

We got our lawn guy to build us a waist height garden off our deck so that we (I) can get to the plants without bending over, and so that we had use good, Home Depot bought, soil!

So far, so good. We have at least one tomato on each plant. Tomatoes were our primary goal (we have 13 plants...6 Celebrity, 6 Early Girl, and one Sugar Grape, but we also have lots of herbs, some cucumbers, zucchini, and radishes. I would have gotten Porter for the small tomatoes, but there weren't any at the time.

The Porter tomato was developed in Stephenville, Texas, by a friend of my father's. He didn't develop them on our land, but he did develop a variety of watermelon on our land.

Any is a video of our garden as it looks today...right before the, thank God, rain! In the background you can hear the birds...a lot of white winged doves, grackles, and bluejays at this time of day. Tracy Dove had mentioned the sound of birds in yesterday's video, which I hadn't really heard, but today they are loud and clear, as the wind has FINALLY died down.

Can't believe it's the middle of May in Texas, and it's rainy and cool almost every day! So, God willing, we won't have a drought this year!!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Grandma with Pink Hair

For those of you who have not seen the pink hair...or the new djembe, here we are! I am playing the djembe for the CD Raf is making, and it has been a lot of fun. Used to play percussion...timpani and the like...when I was in school.

Oak Cottage Blue


Violette, from Vancouver CA, inspired us to, when our house was needing a new coat of paint, paint it bright, happy colors rather than the staid colors it was before in a staid neighborhood of solemn greens and drab grays. To this end we painted the house a beachy light and darker blue with trims of bright white and dragon fruit pink. I must say we have gotten some comments...about the same ones as my pink hair got. Things like, "why did you do that?" and "is it, blue, etc.?" or "tell me about that blue".

My, sort of answer...although I really don't like the answer, is "bucket list"...which is what one lady asked. We will probably paint the house again in another 10 years or so, so I am not really saying "bucket list"! I hate those words...I am just middle age, really I am!!

Anyway, this is a fun project, in addition to beginning to learn how to use the new movie camera, plan a trip to Virginia and Florida, and do some art projects...while Raf does some photo projects (one of his photos was on the front page as the lead photo in the Mineral Wells Index) and cuts an album a Roughwood Studio.

So...that's the way it is!!!

Testing with Turtle

Received my new video camera yesterday, and I am working on learning how to use it. It has no (very little) memory in the camera, but I wanted to try and see if I could work it right, so last evening I recorded Turtle, but then put it down to watch Casey James on American Idol, and I just picked it back up this morning.

The camera is a Kodak Zi8, a HD movie camera. I think we are going to have a lot of fun with this one, especially since it is HD, and it will plug into external mics, so that I can record Raf singing. So....stay tuned!!! I got a 16 GB SDHC Card, so I should be able to record quite a lot. Also the camera plugs directly into the computer!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

JackFruit...whatta ya do with it?

I had never heard of a JackFruit, let alone seen one, until today when we were shopping at Central Market in Fort Worth. I put the photo on Facebook and got comments, so I decided to see what one could do with a JackFruit.

Here is a page about JackFruit Recipes. Wikipedia tells us that it is a relative of the mulberry and comes Southern and Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Portuguese, jaca, as they were the Westerners to arrive in India and discover this fruit. The fruit is evidently closely involved with mango and bananas and served with them.

I believe you can purchase these anywhere there is an up-scale market. I bet you can find them in the outdoor markets of the east coast like Vancouver's Granville Island.

The wood of the jackfruit is used to make furniture. The heartwood is also used as a dye.

What a wonderful fruit!


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