November 2007

27 Nov 2007 01:32 am

This Thanksgiving was a very happy occasion. We all rejoiced to have our son and brother safely home from Iraq. There is so much for which to be thankful. Grandson number two is on the way and my niece is expecting her second child.


Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when you can starch your clothes from the inside out.

This year my husband actually liked my cornbread dressing. The finger rolls turned out well and my daughter, Charlotte’s boyfriend liked them. We spent Thursday and Friday close by the Thanksgiving table. The pies were great. (if I do say so myself) I made Kentucky Derby Pie and Mincemeat Pie with Hard Sauce. Charlotte made pumpkin cookies and Kate made some delicious pies, (apple, pumpkin and pecan) and sweet potatoes. It’s fun to see one’s daughters turn out to be excellent cooks.

We didn’t go out at the crack of dawn on Black Friday to shop but did later. (and all day Saturday) The crowds were massive and cheerful. Or maybe it was just my mood. Seeing all the shops dressed up for Christmas and the lines of people purchasing their gifts was a pleasant thing. America celebrates at the table and the store.

22 Nov 2007 10:04 am


I overslept. The finger rolls have to be made. More later.

17 Nov 2007 03:39 pm


Sabby’s been busy lately. He’s imbibed in a little too much catnip in the above photo.


Sabby loves having the run of the house and seems to be adjusting to life as a single cat. We tried letting Asta and Amos out of the Charlotte Wing to meet Sabby but so far, it hasn’t worked out well, at all. Amos loves to be held and Sabby got so jealous he started to pant. Then Asta jumped Sabby and he screamed like a woman. We will try to merge the cats later on, when our law student is home for the holidays.

Sabby has warmed up to our grandson and likes to watch him play. He lowers his head to him so they can share a head bonk but being a nervous type kitty has to assert his authority every once in a while.


This photo looks worse than it really was. Pajama boy was talking to Sabby and Sabby answered back.

15 Nov 2007 06:58 pm


It’s Christmas Card time. One of my elementary art students created this beautiful pen and ink drawing for the annual Fort Smith Art Center Christmas Card Competition. The National Art Education Association believes that art competitions aren’t appropriate for children but I totally disagree.

I teach at a school that is in a lower economic neighborhood and yet I have some very gifted students. Art competitions are a way for them to discover that through their talent they have a way out of their neighborhood. I enter as many students in competitions that I can and just being entered is reward enough in many cases. (whether they win or not) Many of the competions exhibit the students’ art and their families go to see them.

When I was an elementary student we had no art, music or Physical Education teachers. I knew I had an ability to draw but there was no one in school to mentor me. Luckily, my own father is an artist so everything I learned when I was young I learned from him.

13 Nov 2007 01:01 pm

Hillary, Hillary, Quite Contrillary

How does your garden grow?

With Silver Bells, and Cockle Shells

And planted questions, all in a row.

The college student who was told what question to ask at one of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign events says “voters have the right to know what happened” and she wasn’t the only one who was planted.

In an exclusive on-camera interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old sophomore at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, said that giving anyone specific questions to ask is “dishonest,” and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics.

Gallo-Chasanoff, whose story was first reported in the campus newspaper, said what happened was really pretty simple: She says a senior Clinton staffer asked if she’d like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech the Democratic presidential hopeful gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6.

“I sort of thought about it, and I said ‘Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates’ energy plans?’” Gallo-Chasanoff said Monday night.

There’s more…

UPDATE: Wolf Blitzer is being warned not to gang up on Hillary at the next debate. Hillary must really have her back against the wall if she is afraid of the gentle Wolf. The Anchoress has more.

10 Nov 2007 12:10 pm



Richard Hammond, commander of VFW Post 8855, replaces one of the desks that eighth-grade social studies teacher Nicole Williams had removed from her classroom earlier in the day at Alma Middle School on Wednesday. Williams had students in her four classes sit on the floor and tell her why they had earned the right to sit at a desk before she introduced a group of local veterans who, she explained, had earned that and other rights for them.

ALMA — Eighth-grade students at Alma Middle School on Wednesday sacrificed comfort in a class as part of one teacher’s effort to demonstrate freedom earned by area veterans.

As students walked into a class taught by social studies teacher Nicole Williams, they noticed something unusual — the room was mostly empty. All the desks had been removed.

Expressions and emotions ranged from guilt to worry to irritation and eventually just plain puzzlement. Williams instructed the students to sit up straight as they took seats on the floor. No leaning back or lying down, she said.

In each class period, Williams asked students what they had done to earn the right to have a desk. They offered all kinds of answers.

Judah Scott, 14, clad in a red shirt with “Fear the tusk” in white lettering and light blue jeans, offered his theory.

“I know why we earned the right,” he said. “Our parents pay taxes for them.”

Read the rest of the article.

True, Judah, taxes are being paid by your parents to educate you but that is not the reason why you have “earned” the right to sit at a desk at school.

Our veterans have paid it all throughout our history for our freedom to live, work, go to school, speak our minds and worship according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Remember to thank a veteran this weekend.

05 Nov 2007 03:20 pm

A Minnesota woman shot an Albino deer on the opening weekend of Deer Season in Minnesota.

On this season’s deer opener, a Minnesota woman shot one of the rarest kinds around; an albino deer. Mary Rakotz of Avon got the 6-point buck on Saturday in Mille Lacs County.

She said it was thrilling to see the rare animal, but 100 times more exciting to be able to actually take it home.

“I had heard that it might be in the area, so I thought that here was my chance of a lifetime. So I had to creep a little bit, probably about 40 yards, to get a good place where I could steady myself a little bit. But then I did that and shot and it went right down,” said Rakotz.

Back in my sentimental days I loved it when I saw a deer in the woods. But that was usually a rare occasion and before a deer almost destroyed my family.

Back in late October, 1997, my youngest daughter and I traveled up to Pennsylvania and New York to see my son, who was a cadet at West Point and my oldest daughter, who was attending Washington and Jefferson in Pennsylvania. We went to see an Army football game in the afternoon and after the game went out to dinner. On the way back to West Point, it was dusk. We were staying at the Thayer Hotel so we could be near our cadet, and were driving on Route 17, when out of nowhere, to the right of the car, a big deer was heading right for us.

This is one reason why I am glad I learned to shoot pool.

I had only enough time to put a little English on my car and turned the car a little to the left, hitting the deer squarely on the right front end of my car. It bounced under the right side mirror. I didn’t stop the car because there was a lot of traffic. I continued on my way to West Point, angry and determined to get us back. I was worried that some damage was done to our car and in shock about what had happened. I had a feeling that the car was in bad shape and I was hoping it would make ten more miles.

When we arrived at West Point, I pulled over at the West Point Museum, just outside the gates. We got out of the car to inspect the damage and there was quite a bit. Plus, I could tell that the radiator was busted.

We got the attention of a local policeman and told him about the accident. I was concerned about leaving the deer on the side of the road. The policeman told me that I had done the right thing. When I called our insurance adjuster she mentioned to me that had I swerved to avoid the deer instead of hitting it, our insurance would not have covered the accident completely. (we would have had to pay the five hundred dollar deductable.) Hitting a deer is considered an act of God.

My daughter and I had to fly home because the car had to be left for repairs. As it happened, we had originally planned to leave the car with my son and take a rental car home anyway. He had to wait a few months before it was repaired.

I was very careful driving down interstate 40 last week because I knew it was near deer season. I saw several of the deer on the side of the road.

The worst thing happened this weekend. A family at my husband’s school (K through 12th grade) traveled up to Farmington, Arkansas to see the school’s football team play Farmington and on the way home, in an attempt to avoid hitting a deer, the father crashed their truck. Even though the kids had on their seatbelts, the ten year old son, Matt was thrown out of the truck and killed. His twin sister, Katelyn is in critical condition at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The Dad was treated and released. The family is devastated. Please pray for the Russell family.

So when I read that a hunter has killed a deer, whether it’s a rare albino deer or not, I know that at the very least, the deer has been kept out of the road. I’m convinced that had I not turned my car just a little, the deer would have come through the windshield. It was so close that there was no way I could have avoided it.

02 Nov 2007 02:24 pm


It’s Art Conference time. I went down to Little Rock this week for the Annual AAE Fall Conference. This year my oldest daughter had legal business to do in Little Rock so we went together and instead of staying in the hotel with my fellow art teachers, my daughter and I stayed at The Rosemont Inn, an elegant bed and breakfast in the Quapaw Quarter Historic District of Little Rock.


We shared a cozy room with a sleeping porch. There are pets on the premises. Figaro meowed at the door in the morning and we invited him in. Fig visited for a while as we were getting ready to leave and seemed regretful that we had to go.


Figaro followed us down to the dining room and lingered as we said our farewells.


What might have been a hectic stay in Little Rock was comforting, relaxing and fun. The Rosemont is full of antiques and every room has a library full of books. We loved seeing The Cat Who books on the shelves. The breakfast was delicious, served in the dining room on gleaming antique china with genteel silver. Susan, our hostess, made us feel welcome and comfortable with her warm, Southern accent.

The house reminded me of our visits with my husband’s late grandmother, Mama Wera.

Not surprisingly, Bill and Hillary Clinton were visitors to the house back in the bad old days but I won’t hold it against The Rosemont. The place is immaculate.

Speaking of Hillary, I’ve been busy with life, art, my grandson and family so I didn’t watch the debate the other night which revealed Hillary to be nothing more than a Chatty Kathy doll, with a string pull in her back, programmed with seven or so responses. Something went haywire during the debate and Tim Russert actually asked some probing questions. Chatty Hillary went all-jello, and we saw the harridan (who presumedly expected much more softball questions from the former Democrat operative) melt down. She didn’t want to reveal that she supports New York Governor Elliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants but was put in a tight little corner by Tim Russert. (with a little bit of anemic help from Dodd, Edwards and Obama) Her clumsy attempt to escape the trap made her look like Bill Clinton without the charm.

Now her campaign is crying like a bunch of Baby Rays, accusing the other guys at the debate of being mean. Criminy, how will she respond to our nations’ enemies when she can’t even get through an actual debate?

Hillary really must not like men very much. She quickly retreated into the arms of her sisterhood at Wellesley. I suspect that move won’t play well with the electorate at large.

I’m glad my line of work is art, and not trying to fool the American people, which is what Hillary Clinton has been doing all of her adult life.

Peggy Noonan muses, People who’ve studied Mrs. Clinton often ask why her ethical corner cutting and scandals have not caught up with her, why the whole history of financial and fund-raising scandals doesn’t slow her rise.

Scandals and corruption aside, what else would you expect from a woman who could give her cat away?

UPDATE: Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard has the Quote of the Day regarding cats:

You do not want to mess with a cat lover. You will lose.

Lots of cats can be found at the 189th Carnival of the Cats hosted by