We Are Deep In the Heart of Texas

Nomadic seasons of farming adventures with nature thrown in to include; a pinch of family, snippets of friends, counting our blessings, paying IT forward, home school, and the spicy things I decide to rant about.







Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene Impending

For those on the East coast; we have been watching to see if she is coming near.  Just remember Hurricane Katrina came ashore as a Cat 2 in 2005; 1800 souls were lost that omnious day and during the recovery so, please evacuate if your area is under mandatory notices. If the military is moving aircraft and ships please note: it's a good idea for you to take leave too.  Also, more folks die as the result of the storm surge than those of strong winds.  We are keeping ya'll in our prayers for safety.

We are also keeping watch on the next possible storm which will be named after a male; I think it will be Jose or Juan.  Did you know storm names are only retired if there has been a major impact but, may be brought back?  Here is a list of retired Atlantic storm names, year landed, and area affected.
http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/grounders/retirednames.html

Keeping ya'll in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

R.I.P. Little Banjo

Our hearts are filled with such sorrow. 
 Good-bye little buddy, we loved you so much.
May you find chickens to chase over the rainbow bridge.
And we find you there waiting for us.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reviews: Documentary and Books

This passed week; I have gone on a reading tear along with scooping up a documentary I plan to use when our boys get to the history of America's founding.

Slavery & The Making of America
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/slavery-making-of-america/

This series has four, one hour videos that taught me a few things I had never known about the start of slavery in the United States with the arrival of eleven men from different countries in the founding of the British colonies.  What I found extremely interesting was how those 11 eventually went on to become somewhat freed men as they bartered with the people that basically owned them. 


Another area I found interesting is our founding father Thomas Jefferson's stance of not allowing slaves to remain in the US.  This just blows my mind plus his relationship with the man (Jupiter) he own.  I just don't understand the hypocrisy of the whole notion of America advocating for 'equality' yet, using the lives of others to lift self up. 


Plus there was a video segment featuring one of my favorite authors from that time
by Harriet Jacobs, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl."
http://www.pagebypagebooks.com/Harriet_Jacobs/Incidents_in_the_Life_of_a_Slave_Girl/
This is the account of her life as a slave and the 7 years she spent in hiding in the roof of her mother's cabin.  Later, she moved out to the North East and met up with other women (feminists) who advocated for rights of others.  This book is also available for free on Amazon's kindle section.

This series is remarkable in the fact it showed how the Republican party was basically born and fought staunchly against bringing slaves into the political fold.  In the reconstruction era; this series explains the enactment of the 14th and 15th Admendments to include the tactics used by Republican party far back into the 1800s over the threat of losing their power and financial livelihood.  Seriously this is a great series and I will be watching it with my boys later on in the school year.

BOOKS:

I purchased some books last week so; I could use them to teach the boys about the horrible conditions in which some children grow up and are abused by parents or their society.  It is a hard fact of life not every child is brought forth in love, respect, or understanding.  I am highly recommending the following books and be warned some of the text is highly graphic in the language, concept, and visualization.

'STOLEN INNOCENCE: My Story Growing Up In a Polygamous, Becoming a Teenaged Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs' Sect by Elissa Wall and Lisa Pulitzer


'Little Prisoner: A Memoir,' by  Jane Elliot and Andrew Crofts,


'I Am Najood, Age 10 and Divorced,'  by Najood.


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Onto to home school news; we are slowly easing back into our daily lessons with primarily a focus on reading, spelling, math, and penmanship for Zephyr.  Saenz on the other hand is starting with "The Story of Us" and pre-Algebra with a smattering of science, literature, grammar, spelling, to include practice writting essays.


I am hoping all who pass here are enjoying their summer; personally I am praying for rain or even a tropical storm to come our way.  With temps hitting over 112 every afternoon; we need some relief from the blazing Fire Ball.


Thanks for stopping by,
Mal

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Steve Israel DCCC Chairman Had No Reply

Yesterday, I recieved this email solictation from the DCCC asking for a donation to help re-elect President Obama.

"From: "Rep. Steve Israel, DCCC Chairman"

To: Malissa T saenznzephyr@xxx.xxx
Sent: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 11:19 AM


Subject: Tea Party Downgrade

Malissa --

When the Tea Party tells House Republicans to jump — the only question House Republicans ask is “How high?”

First, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and the rest of the House GOP allowed the Tea Party to bring us to the brink of a catastrophic default. Now those very same extremists are trying to pin the blame on President Obama for our nation’s first ever credit downgrade.


We can’t let them get away it.


We just launched our “Accountability August” campaign to hold Republicans accountable for their extreme agenda while they are home in their districts. We’re putting Republicans on the defensive across the country but we must raise an additional $100,000 to fully fund our Rapid Response operation for next week.


Please contribute $20 or more to our Rapid Response Fund right now, and help us reach our $100,000 goal by tomorrow night.


It’s critical we stand strong and united against Republicans’ all-out assault on Democrats and President Obama.

Your dollars will be put to work immediately to hold them accountable. Our August Accountability campaign includes radio ads, billboards, phone banks, door-to-door canvasses, and grassroots organizing in key Republican districts across the country.

Stand with President Obama, and help us fight back and hold Republicans accountable while they’re home in their districts by contributing $20 or more today.


Rep. Steve Israel
DCCC Chairman"

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My Reply back to Mr. Israel surprisingly I have gotten no response in return. (sarcastic hope here)

"Sorry, we no longer have any discretionary funds to support either party. Since we are a family that depends on a military retirement check (mine, 20 yr AF, SAHM homeschooling mother) and husband's a current government employee (who may be terminated) to live and pay our bills. Personally sick of both parties and not one person to include President Obama who will share in the blame though this fiscal mess has been happening for over 30 years. So good luck in raising monies from people who are living on rice and beans, white bread bologna sandwiches, and iced tea instead of 30K+ plates for a birthday dinner.


Respectfully,
Sorely-Pissed Off Voter
M Torres"
 
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The sad thing is;
 
I know no one in my community that is any better off by electing our government officials in 2008 and 2010.
 
Not one of our leaders has inspired HOPE or CHANGE other than the need to go without and the constant threat of economic ruin. 
 
Washington leaders do not care about the people they represent anymore because frankly they don't have to -- since folks continue to vote them into office. 
 
I have a hard time believing in a system that gerry-manders to keep seats, ear-marks funding for their districts, accepts special interest funding, wants to get rid of labor unions, says 'we will read the bill after it's law and then gets an exemption (Obama-care) for their state,' and threatens to not pay for "ENTITLEMENTS" that have been rightly earned by serving our country, paying into medicare and social security for decades. 
 
Somethings I would like to see though:
 
Popular vote of US citizens on Congressional Pay, Benefits, Vacation Time, and Health Care tied to their job performance based annually.  I don't believe they should automatically earn those hefty salaries.
 
Recall rights for all  Senators and Representatives.
 
A balanced budget agreement.
 
No funding for re-election by special interest groups or  corporations.
 
Term limits on: congressional leaders, welfare and other social programs, drug testing for all of the above.
 
Jail time for congressional leaders who do not honor their oath of office much like the UCMJ.
 
Then again I am just a middle-aged mother who has two sons to raise and educate in this lopsided country.  I am fearful for their future and the future of our three older children who are struggling to make ends meet.  I am worried for my husband's career and lack of job availability if he gets laid off from a government workforce he has faithfully served the US for 22 years.
 
I see so much disparity in this country and want to know just what the working poor is supposed to do to survive?  I don't even have to leave my house just look across our property line to our neighbors plight and struggle.  No one is safe from the bread line and lack of basic human needs are no longer attainable for many.
 
So what do ya'll think?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do Ya'll Talk To Your Children

About politics, politicians, economy, and national issues affecting your family? With the start of the new school year upon us; I have been explaining the three branches of the national government to our boys.  It is a very hard thing to explain to a child why Mommie and Daddy are really paying attention to the new hot topic about the economy, national budget, and unprofessional antics of our elected leaders.

I firmly remember growing up in Southern California during the national gas crisis.  I remember when K-Mart, Wal-mart, and Target was a dirty word and only those preceived to be poor  had to shop there.  I rightly remember grocery shopping with my single-parent mom; who could not fill her cart with anything other than: rice, beans, sugar, flour, pasta, Koolaide, white bread, hamburger meat, bologna, and no fresh produce other than bananas. 

I firmly believe as a parent the reason we as a country have gotten into the economic mess we are facing now is our leaders are still using a credit card to pay another bill.  Our economy while complex is quite simple; the United States has a spending problem. 

So this week, I have been having firm discussions with our boys about the necessity of living well within our means.  However, it will be a tough go for us because we really do not spend on frivalous things like: prepared foods, eating out, entertainment, vacations, clothing, games, or other luxury items.  We also depend on our government to honor my military retirement and healthcare.  My husband is a government employee facing the possibility of being cut from his job.  The rest of this year we as a family will be looking for more ways to stretch our already limited budget. 

I am going to have a hard time though explaining why Mr. Obama just held a birthday dinner in which the plates cost 35.8K when our family's meal was rice, carne guisada, and beans for less than $3 for the entire meal..... Just saying

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Eugene & Emily: A Match Made for Texas Heaven

If wishes came true; Tropical Storms Eugene and Emily would park their amorous hineys atop the Texas drought stricken areas for about 72 hours and make serious thunderstorm babies. 

 However, I know this is just a dream.  By 10 a.m. we are forced inside to ride out the day.  Though we do check on our critters to ensure they are not baked by the heat wave.  Seriously, just walking to the mail box can cause heat stroke. Our new normal temp by 5 p.m. is or on 114; seriously dangerous heat.
I know this is a little late but, Zephyr is now an official Snaggle Toothed-Cubby Bear.  Just marking milestones and incredible rites of passage here on the farm.
Don't forget tonight begins the new season of 'Billy the Exterminator.' Billy started out with Mike Rowe on a Dirty Jobs episode and eventually A&E gave them their own show.  The boys and I love this show because we learn about animals / critters most folks consider pests.  Really, those critters are pests inside homes thus the need for exterminators.  The shows that make our skin crawl the worst are cock roach (insect) infestations.  YIKES!

So what are ya'll doing to beat the heat?  I hate cooking in this weather so; we are having lots of tortilla roll-ups (wraps) and other kinds of no cooking fare.