Looking For A Cricket…I Guess. I Hope.



I know for sure that summer has made it’s arrival…and it is not even June 1st. Yikes! Does that mean that the 102 degree weather is just around the corner? If so, I need to leave Texas until September.  I am thinking that Alaska would be nice.


The real reason that I may leave for Alaska…I have seen my first lizard of the summer! Staring at me from it’s hiding place on a tree. Waiting to chase me across the yard. Does the lizard in the tree want to catch a cricket…or me? 


My encounter with the lizard in the tree occurred as I was getting into my car. In one of the trees close to the driveway, I saw what looked like a stick moving down the tree trunk. Slowly moving. This behavior is quite abnormal for me…I walked over and took pictures of the lizard. The lizard immediately was frozen in place. Turns out the lizard was scared of me…imagine that! That lizard will try and jump on my arm next week.




 Not close. Closer. Too close.

Way too close!



Tamale Pie & Green Chile Cornbread! Texas Style Home Cooking!

 tamale pie one

Tamales were sold on Friday afternoon at a bilingual school where I taught in Fort Worth. The school didn’t prepare the tamales...mothers of children who were students made them. Orders would be quietly taken earlier in the week.


Que tipo de tamale quieres? Cerdo? Pollo? Queso? Cuantos? Dos Docenas? Muchas Gracias!


We could hardly wait until Friday afternoon to get our tamales. One teacher (and surprisingly it was not me!) admitted that she had four tamales while driving home… just a little snack, you know! The principal of my school at that time didn’t approve AT ALL of the mothers selling tamales in the school. So…the tamales would be delivered right after the last bell rang and brought to the teachers by the children. There was usually so much chaotic talking and running after school on Friday that the principal never seemed to notice the sales transactions. Or maybe she was in her office waiting for her own tamales! Who knows?!


The tamales would be warm and wrapped in foil. The sheer anticipation of those tamales helped us to get through many a Friday! I still crave tamales on Friday afternoons!


I have never learned how to make my own tamales. One of the parents said that her church made tamales to sell at Christmas. She invited me to help out and in the long process…I could learn all the tricks of making tamales. Alas…we were going to be out of town that weekend. I really need to call the parent and invite myself to help next Christmas! Tamales take a long time to make and the following slow cooker recipe tastes close to the real thing! I found the recipe several years ago in an East Texas regional magazine!


tamale two


Tamale Pie & Green Chile Cornbread


8 oz dried pinto beans

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 lb. ground beef

1 cup diced onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 14.5 can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 recipe of Green Chile Cornbread batter (see recipe below)


Soak bean in 3 cups of water in a saucepan overnight. Add baking soda to pan and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Skim and discard any foam from top. Drain beans; reserving 1 1/4 cups liquid and place into a 4-6 quart slow cooker.

Saute ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, chili powder, salt, oregano and cayenne in oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until beef is cooked through. Drain drippings and transfer mixture to slow cooker, do not stir. Cover slow cooker and cook until beans are creamy and tender on high setting, for about 3 hours.

Add tomatoes and  corn to slow cooker, stir in tomato paste to combine. Top filling with cornbread batter (see recipe below). Cover slow cooker and cook until a toothpick inserted in center of cornbread comes out clean, about 1 hour on low setting. Top with cheese and chives, cover until cheese melts for (about 5 minutes).

Green Chile Cornbread


3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

3/4 shredded pepper jack cheese

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 4.5 oz. can green chilies

2 teaspoons fresh chives


Combine cheddar and pepper jack cheese in a small bowl. Whisk together cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of cheese mixture, buttermilk, egg, and chilies. Stir dry and wet ingredients until combined. Pour into slow cooker.

***Follow Tamale Pie directions above Cornbread recipe for adding the cornbread batter to the slow cooker. Remember to top with remaining cheese and chives after the cornbread cooks with the Tamale Pie ingredients for one hour. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.







The Blogger Recognition Award! Thank you to lifeofangela.wordpress.com!

blogger recognition award three

Thank you to Angela at…


for nominating me for…


The Blogger Recognition Award!

Angela…I so appreciate you for thinking of my blog for this award. I have been following her blog for several months and I have enjoyed hearing about her life in New Zealand. Angela writes from the heart with honesty and excitement. She is a newlywed and she posted pictures of her beautiful wedding! Her blog is growing very quickly and she is involved in several challenges. You can tell immediately that Angela loves to write and share…read her blog!


I know that you will enjoy it as much as I do!


Now for my part of the award!!


  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

  • Write a post to show your blog award.

  • Give a brief story about how your blog started

  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers

  • Select 15 bloggers you want to give this award to.

  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post that you created.

    My Answers!

    How did I start my blog? 

    I began my blog in late March, 2016. I was planning on retiring from my 18 year teaching career in June and I thought that it would be fun to begin writing again. My first degree was in Journalism and I worked at newspapers for seven years…until we had our first child and I decided to stay at home for a while and just be a Mom! I absolutely loved working at newspapers, but the hours were very long and not conducive to family life!! I really intended to go back to working at newspapers. I had worked in Editorial and also in Retail Advertising. I also was involved in the “Newspaper in Education” program and loved going out to schools to give talks about the role of the newspaper in the community! So…after our children were a bit older, I started another career…this time in teaching…first at our church Day School and then in Title I public elementary schools. These are schools for the economically disadvantaged…an unbelievably rewarding career. However, I really missed writing and that is why I decided to try blogging! So far…blogging has been a wonderful experience and I have met so many new friends from around the world!


Advice to New Bloggers!!

  1.  Be friendly to as many other bloggers as possible! Comment on their posts! Learn about their lives and customs! I have found bloggers to be thoughtful and kind… with hearts of gold. We all have different interests and different opinions, but I think that we are all dedicated to increasing as much positive communication as we can in our world.

  2.  Write about a variety of topics! Do not be afraid to talk about decisions that you need to make or about something difficult that you encountered or about the exciting things in your life! Be honest and open!

My Nominees!!!

  1. mumsthewordblog1

  2. Dr. Tina

  3. beaconsoflife

  4. houstonphotojourney

  5. peggyjoan42

  6. thechickengrandma

  7. MM

  8. Tina

  9. rabbitpatchdiary.com

  10. Jonno

  11. craftyboutiquebytam

  12. jazmynpatterson

  13. crazyloveparent

  14. susieshy45

  15. misstalkaholic

Thank you again…Angela!!


No Doubt a Ride On the Precipice of Danger…Telluride Jeep Trail!

I absolutely love Colorado.

I totally realize that I have made this statement before…no new information here! I like the beauty of the mountains, the cool mountain air, the friendly mountain people and I like the mountain jeep trails. These trails define the word “precipice” to me!!


CRAZY…Did I hear you call me crazy? There must be a lot of crazy people out there…the jeeps are rented continuously! Anyway…count us in on the jeep trail ride…again and again and again!!


The following fun, frightening, ridiculous, exciting, dangerous, exhilarating video is of the ride to Imogene Pass near Telluride, Colorado. Honestly, the views are the best… just do not look down to the side of the trail. Look to the right, to the left, straight ahead…you will see all of the natural beauty of Colorado. Amazing! I will never tire of being in the mountains! Now for the video…




Looks fun…right? Well…anyway…think about riding the jeep trails someday! All you need are your camera, your sunglasses and most assuredly a large amount of nerve!!! 



No Qualms. Why? Evidently Student Felt Entitled To Bring Python to Graduation.


A student at Texas Southern University (located in Houston, Texas) brought a three year old Ball Python to his college graduation this past Saturday. Sadly, the young man finished college before he learned how to consider the serious and quite possible ramifications of his decisions. The students does not seem to have any qualms about bringing a snake to graduation. His statement to the news media…


“I told everybody this is my graduation, so I’m going to do what I want to do. So I’m going to bring it and that’s what I ended up doing.”


Ball Python


Oh really? Your graduation? Your very own individual graduation? What about your fellow graduates? Do you actually think that you are more important and unique than them? 

Do you honestly think that you can do whatever you want to do…anywhere you go? That is how your behavior appears.


Texas Southern University included the following information on the school website regarding their graduating seniors and the importance of the event:


“Commencement is a solemn and special occasion in the lives of students, and they are expected to behave in a manner commensurate with the magnitude of the occasion. While attending commencement exercises, students and their guests are expected to maintain decorum that is reasonable and befitting of a public event of special significance. Since commencement exercises are formal events, graduates are expected to abide by the University’s policy on appropriate attire that is announced in advance of the ceremonies.”




texas southern university three


Yes…you were evidently entitled to graduate from college. You were not entitled to bring a Ball Python into an arena filled with graduates, parents, children and friends. All it would have taken to disrupt the entire graduation was one person screaming at the sight of the snake…and that easily could have happened. Just think about the results of just one person yelling!










Collaborating With Music…Success. Collaborating In Politics…?


Jon Bon Jovi and Bettye LaVette sing at “We Are One”: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial

Bettye LaVette is a soul and blues singer/songwriter…   renowned for her dramatic stage presentations. Jon Bon Jovi is best known as the founder and lead singer of the rock band, Bon Jovi as well as being successful in business as well as being a philanthropist. The two musicians have differing backgrounds, at times quite different musical styles, and differing success stories.

Yet, they collaborated singing “A Change is Gonna Come” (written by Sam Cooke) at the January 18, 2009 “We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial”. I am not particularly a political person and do not lean particulaly right or particularly left. I lean towards what seems best for my family, my state and my country.


The Statue of Liberty

However, listening to this stirring collaboration between Lavette and Bon Jovi brought me to tears and brought me to a deeper thought process regarding the extent of struggles in our country…and the world. The words are just as timely now as when they were first written. Take a minute to listen, to watch, to quietly be touched by the collaboration…the sincere vocals, the eye contact, the smiles, the pride, the honesty, the honor.




This collaboration may have taken place in Washington D.C. and there was certainly boundless hope for the future held by many at that time. My point is not to say whether I think Obama’s eight years in the White House were successful. What I think is not really important. My point is to say that collaboration appears to be coming across as blatantly absent today. Looking back, it appears that  politicians also did not work together for Obama.


Peace-Albert Einstein

There was a time during Obama’s years in office that I came very close to refusing to turn on any of the cable news reports…particularly ones that are broadcast at and after 7:00 pm. There was such negativity on both sides. He said. She said. They said. Please…someone change the channel to Fixer Upper or the Property Brothers…immediately.


I thought…can we please just hurry up and get to the new election?  I did not want to hear this constant bickering. 2009, 2010, 2011…speed ahead to 2017. Surely the political pundits can tone down their prohibitive rhetoric.


Wishful Thinking. The News Reports are Worse, If Possible. The Political Pundits are Showing Rare Form in Disturbing Ways. More Bickering. More Accusations. Nothing is Right. Really? Nothing Appeared Right Last Year…Or the Year Before Or The Years Before That.


The following quote is from part of the coursework for “Live Exchange”, the foundational course on communication for: The MBA Design Strategy Program at California College of the Arts…


“The best teams quickly build a safe environment of respect and trust where collaboration can thrive. The Methods of Communication graphic examines how real-time versus delayed communication methods map across collaborating versus coordinating tasks.”


The writer (Shawn Ardaiz) goes on to expound on the subject of communication methods that promote collaboration…

“I believe emails and other sensory-deprived methods are susceptible to misinterpretation and interpersonal communication failure. Non-visual cues and voice inflections are essential to deciphering true meaning, all of which are required for successful team collaboration”















Tyler Texas! Where Pink Azaleas and Red Roses Abound!

Tyler Azaleas one

Home on the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail

Bright colors of a multitude of flowers, a floral scent in the air and the natural beauty of East Texas describe Tyler, Texas. Known as America’s Rose Capitol, Tyler presents the annual Texas Rose Festival in October. Tyler is home to so many wonderful flowers that the city also hosts the annual Springtime…

 Azalea & Spring Flower Trail… a driving and walking tour through the historic and absolutely beautiful Azalea District. 


tyler azales fourteem

Located just 95 miles east of Dallas, Tyler is a city of over 108,000 with every cultural opportunity coupled with a strong business base. However, Tyler maintains a friendly Texas ambiance that makes a visit fun for the entire family.

I have loved Tyler for as long as I can remember…I grew up in Longview, Texas…about 37 miles east of Tyler. I even played my accordion at a Friday night variety show at a Tyler city park that just happens to have an amphitheater! Located very near the Azalea District, Bergfeld Park is still vibrant today.


tyler azaleas thirteen


Azalea Trail History

quoted from the following link…

Azalea & Spring Flower Trail


“While oil booms gave Tyler an economic head start in the 1930s, azaleas and rose blooms gave the city its beauty. Azaleas were introduced to Tyler in 1929 by Maurice Shamburger, one of the city’s early nurserymen. Pleased with the results of a test garden of azaleas, Shamburger shipped the colorful plants here by the boxcar loads from Georgia.

After completing his garden in 1929, Shamburger discussed the beautification potential of azaleas with Mrs. Sara Butler of the Tyler Courier Times Telegraph. Mrs. Butler not only encouraged Shamburger to promote azalea plantings in the city, but planted a number of bushes at her own home on Charmwood St.

That home site, along with several other gardens on Lindsey Lane, soon became springtime showplaces with their colorful azalea blooms, and Tylerites began buying the plants by the thousands. Some of the thick, towering azaleas at older homes on the Trail date back to the 30s and 40s.

By 1960, the blooming azaleas were attracting much attention and that year the Chamber of Commerce established a marked route. The first Trail featured 60 homes on a five-mile route.

The Trail was an instant success.”


Azalea & Spring Flower Trail

Tyler, Texas


tyler azaleas six