Monday, December 24, 2012

What Can You Find in Translation?


Speak up!
“Found in Translation” made me realize how emergency operators, space station mechanics, doctors and love letter writers need to be understood. Natally Kelly and Jost Zetzsche have written a fascinating book that explains how nuances in language can change so much in life and death matters and how one enjoys an episode of “The Simpsons.” I read it from cover to cover, in English. I feel like I’ve been around the world and even to outer space.  

Decorate the men
Tamba, aquatin and horizon as colors are still some concepts I’m trying to define. When you are as creative as the Gawdy Bobbles people, you can come up with whole catalogues full of creative  beauty that looks great without a definition. Artists make limited production chic, natural, modern goods including a delicate  white dear skin leather wrap with silver or gold chains weaved in; bar and buckle closure and bracelets in colors from pearl, and juniper to fern and marigold. You just want to reach in photographs and touch these works. See their web site for an extensive line that includes men’s braided leather bolo wraps and metal, magnet closures that are as tough as they are stylish. Guys, women really do like to see a touch of jewelry on men, and these natural pieces are gateway pieces. Investigate.

Lint Lizard
I’m all for getting trapped lint out of the dryer to prevent a fire, so I got a Lint Lizard to try. The test dryer was relatively new, but I’m guessing dryers that have been worked hard would yield the results this As Seen On TV product shows. The long, clear, tube attaches to your vacuum to reach way down in the vent gap and you can use it to clean that taunting, narrow gap between your washer and dryer. I held a flashlight so my daughter could see where the hose was headed and we got the job done fast. You can also or der a Dust Lizard brush attachment so you can clean up crumbs from your keyboard and dust from your air vents. Here’s to a clean sweep of the new year.

Money belt goes chic
Dad’s money belt stuffed with traveler’s checks accompanied us on trips across the south in the ‘70s. Now The Clever Travel Companion travel gear features secret pockets stitched into shirts, undies and long johns. Ditch your fanny pack, belt or purse and stash your passport and cash.
Did you ever have to sleep in an airport? Are you worried you’ll lose your papers while snowboarding? The Clever Travel Companion has you covered. You don’t have to wait for an international journey. My tank top pocket is good for holding a phone and ID. Love it.

The Edge of Glory
The video explaining how to use Edge of Glory knife sharpener actually comes up above the Lady Gaga song by the same name. I didn’t try to sharpen a credit card into a knife so that I could slice a tomato, but I certainly did jazz up several knives from my kitchen drawer. I’m cooking spiced apples as I write this as a reward for my kitchen upkeep diligence. Telebrands says this tiny fist-sized sharpener with dual hardened tungsten carbide teeth is quick and easy. Yes, it is. My favorite feature is a tiny arm use to create a suction on your counter. Once the sharpener is in place, pull your blade to you and you’re sharp. The price is right on this one.

Cut to it by visting

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Party Animals steal the show

Party Animal
Ok, we have to admit it, Party Animal Dancing Pet Speaker is cute, cute, cute. Cobra Digital’s “toys” have adjustable arms so Tom or Cleo the Cats can jive with Sandy the dog. I played with Spike, a black dog with a white belly who made everyone smile when he swayed hips and tilted his head to music from the laptop. My daughter chose “Cabaret” for his debut. Spike goes from Broadway to pop and beyond with style. A portion of Party Animal proceeds benefit animal support groups, so the smiles keep spreading. We brought this to a party and it stopped traffic.

The Yogurt experiments
My friend Brenda stumbled upon my yogurt experiments and now she wants a T-Fal Balanced Living Yogurt Maker, too. It seems young people in her household are consuming flavored store-bought cups of the stuff at an alarming rate. Sure, it’s a better snack/dessert than many other options, but the costs can stack up. Making your own is a budget buster and allows you to control ingredients. You make it with your milk and starter, add fruit, honey, etc. if you like, but leave out a host of artificial gunk that you read about on some labels.
I’ve enjoyed several batches of thick, creamy yogurt from the T-Fal and love the jars with a dial-a-date lid you can pack for work. I heat milk, mix it with starter, fill the jars and set the maker for at least 8 hours. The next morning, the jars are ready to refrigerate. My preference is plain yogurt with honey, nuts, chocolate shavings and such added upon serving. I’ll bet my friend will play around with the cooked fruit versions. For the holidays, I’m going to strain some into yogurt cheese and serve it with olive oil and herbs. Imagine, an addictive hobby like this can help you keep up with New Year’s Resolutions.

The bamboo business
Core Bamboo has a catalogue with the most tempting bamboo kitchen creations. It’s easy to visualize chip and dip bowls, cake pedestals, serving and cutting boards, and serving utensils created in smooth natural, or brightly colored wood. The look is simple and clean and classic and modern. Here’s the thing that amazed me, the knives. I tried a vegetable dicer that’s both soft and sharp, and I even shredded red cabbage with it. I carried it around in my purse for a week just to show people and let them feel it. They were as impressed as I was. The line includes serrated slices for bread. Of course, your cheese tray would be graced by such a well-bread tool.

What you need to know about men
“Men Don’t Pee Straight: And Other Things You Should Know About Us” is Mr. Rick Dean’s little book that reveals much. It’s apparently well documented that men think about food, sex and sleep, and will even on occasion buck the notorious trend for not asking directions if it is for something like sex, sleep or food. Men need attention, the author asserts, and they do so by doing things like yelling, driving fast cars and drinking. Under the fragile ego category, he suggests that asking “Can you lift that” constitutes fighting words. The mode of this book reminds me of ‘70s printings read in the “grown-up” section of gag stores. Of course, it’s meant to be funny and the notions don’t sum up all of mankind, but I’ve got to admit, from my own experience, that I snickered under the cleaning dishes section that men find more than one spoon confusing.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Find the holiday frog


Find the Frog at Holiday Inn Park Central
As many years as I’ve been writing about owner Kathie Rachwal’s holiday fantasy display, I didn’t know she hid a frog in there every year for guests to find. I’ve been by a couple of times, but haven’t found it yet.
Judy Schoolfield, sales manager, took me aside at the Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce new member showcase to show me the “Man Tree” at the Manhattan Lounge. She slipped and called the club Triangles, which was its name in the ‘80s. Everybody standing around Judy remembered Triangles, including me and some fun college nights of dancing. The Man Tree boasts elves playing poker around a tree decorated with pizza, beer and pool ornaments. Everybody has their own Christmas memories. Make more with these PA highlights:

·         Pompeiian Villa will display 500 Santas through Jan. 18. Call 983-5977 for your personal tour.
·         Plan ahead for Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas! Love and Legends is the theme for an early festival, set for Feb. 7-10 of 2013.

Shop the Museum of the Gulf Coast
The gift shop volunteers are always pointing out the holiday bling at the store. It’s a way to spend locally and support the museum. I wouldn’t mind a Janis Joplin magnet or T-shirt in my stocking.
The Museum had a packed house with the UGK induction recently. The ceremony was mentioned in a lot of music industry media and the New York times.  Visit  for more on “Lights! Camera! Action!”


Monday, December 3, 2012

Wagner's cd and Hipster Chanukah

Wagner planning cd release party
Dwight Wagner says he mentions Jesus in a lot of his songs, but not all of them. Even so, he’s hoping to have a release party for a new recording he hopes will appear in January or February.
He says it’s some gospel, some inspirational and all positive.
Wagner sings City by the Sea, called the Port Arthur Song, and says he’s been invited to write a song to honor Jefferson County. This longtime Port Arthur principal is retired from the Port Arthur Independent School District.
And now, in other holiday news:

Hipster Chanukah
Sweaters can spark faith sharing this holiday season. The “ugly holiday sweater” trend is still hot. Most of these themes trend toward snowmen, Santas and tree bling. Carin Agimand was invited to one and hadn’t a stitch to wear. She created and came up with a line that’s far from ugly. This season I’ll be sporting a fine-quality acrylic/spandex blend adorned with driedles in blue and ivory. The gold model with the Star of David and menorahs in gold tones really rock. If you’ve seen me visiting Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Port Arthur, you know I’m Catholic, but I’m loving the discussions my sweater are turning up. Look up the Hassidic Snowmen, you’ll want your own. I also love the festive postcards that came with, with lines such as “Too Thin? Try some Channukah, fattening Jews up since 165 BCE. Happy Holidays to everyone, and I mean everyone.

It’s all about “hue”
I wish I’d heard of Dermelect’s new Moon Kissed “shimmy off white with silver accents” nail polish before the Triangle Aids Network Paint the Town Silver benefit, but it’s a shoe-in for the rest of the sparkly holiday season. All th Envy, a metallic chartreuse and lust Struck, a coral cream opaque, are others in the Me Resort 2013 Collection with signature peptide technology. They fit into the season’s grend forecast and address fragile and weak nails. The peptide comes from New Zealand sheep’s wool and I’m telling you, this brand goes on smooth. There’s a real difference when you compare this formula to what other brands sold years ago. Even when you remove the product, you can tell Dermelect leaves nails in a better condition.

“Celebrating Home” by Christy Rost
An evening lighting ceremony of switching on small lamps makes the long winter evenings glow for Rost, who must make that myth that Texans and Coloradoans don’t mix dissolve. Her “Handbook for Gracious Living” shares how she sets tables, cooks and entertains in Dallas and Breckenridge. It’s both cozy and lavish and I’m sure every guest leaves with a lasting memory. Her husband is in on this welcoming attitude as they serve dishes such as Sea Scallops iwht tripel Sec-Orange Sauce and Mango Ponzu Salsa. Here’s the chutney she serves with Jumbo Prawns with Feather-Light Crust.
Spicy Mango Chutney
3 ripe mangos, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 –inch cubes
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups sweet onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons tart apple cider
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon dry ginger
¼ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes or until it begins to soften; stir in the chile flakes.
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of the apple cider to form a  smooth slurry; set it aside. Stir in the remaining cider into the onion mixture and add brown sugar, granulated sugar, vinegar, curry powder, ginger and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil, stir in the mango and reserved cornstarch slurry and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently and the mixture thickens and reduces by one fourth.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Booster Buddies collects for a cause

Barbara and M.L. McMahon offer a drive-through donation station for those who like to clean up and thrift shop bargains for those who like to collect. “We Support PN-G and Nederland Booster Clubs,” reads the card for their shop at 3417 Nederland Avenue. I had a great chat with this couple. They say they have lots of family in the area and they support both teams.

Gala for TAM 40th
At $40 a couple with dinner and drinks, The Texas Artists Museum’s 40th anniversary gala is a hot ticket. The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Museum, Cultural Center Drive.
This month’s show features fall foliage from Tex Norwood. He grows Plumeria in pinks and yellows and transforms them into bright, detailed canvases. You can buy this art on notecards, too.
TAM favorite Shirley McGraw Peel is also showing a range of her talents from fruit still life works to portraits. Call 983-4881 to get to the party.

The Rev. Roberts retires
The Brandenton Herald of Florida featured retirement news of the Rev. Don Roberts, who attended school with Janis Joplin and Jimmy Johnson. Roberts and his wife, Peggy, were honored at Goodwill’s 30th anniversary tribute luncheon there and they spoke about his serving as a Methodist Minister for 48 years and retiring after 30-plus years with Goodwill Manasota. He was the chief executive officer and president and Peggy, its president of housing. She’s retiring, too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Oyster hummus is one holiday temptation

Get cooking for the holidays with ideas from these books:

“Taste of Treme: Creole, Cajun and Soul Food from New Orleans’s Famous Neighborhood of Jazz,” By Todd-Michael St. Pierre — Some folks still aren’t familiar with Treme, the New Orleans neighborhood bording North Rampart to North Claiborne and Orleans Avenue to St. Bernard Avenue. This is a beautiful book with photos and recipes that will put you in NOLA with some strong coffee, andouille, muffuletta, oysters and whatever else you crave. I love every page. Here’s a blend that goes with just about anything in the book:

Suck da Heads and Pinch da Tails Creole Spice
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons oregano
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon white pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
5 tablespoons smoked paprika
3 tablespoons salt
Combine all the ingredients in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place for an extended shelf life for up to 1 year.

The Blississippi (Frosty Mochas)
1 cup hot coffee
6 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup cold coffee
Combine hot coffee and chocolate syrup in a blender, and blend until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature, then add the ice crem and the cold coffee. Blend until smooth. Pour into tall glasses and serve immediately.

“Duncan Hines Complete Cake Mix Magic: 300 Easy Desserts Good as Homemade,” by Jill Snider – Peachy Angel Dessert has you whip up an angel food cake and get layers of cream cheese, icing, whipping cream, peach schnapps and pie filling on top. What a stunning display in stemmed glasses. Devil’s food cake becomes chocolate banana muffins and white cake mix becomes cookies. Make pudding cream frosting by beating flavored instant pudding mix and milk, and folding in whipped cream. Go banana, vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, lemon or butterscotch.
Lemon Zucchini Cake
1 package lemon cake mix
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
4 eggs
2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, zucchini oil and water. Beat on low speed for one minute to blend, then on medium speed two minutes. Spread batter in prepared 13- by 9-inch pan, greased. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. For a variation, add dried cranberries or raisins to the batter.

“250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes,” a Robert Rose book of Healthy, Wholesome Foods – My mother was skeptical when I invited her for lentil stew. She left a believer. Cool weather is the season for a book like this of hearty fare, and I love that beans and lentils are so good for you and so inexpensive. Make them a staple in your pantry, because they look so beautiful in glass jars. Recipes in this book include Lentil Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pistachios, Cheater’s Cassoulet, Not Too-Corny Turkey Chili with Sausage and Beer-Braised Chili. I love smoked oysters for the holidays, and I made a pate with them and cream cheese. The following version will be much more calorie-friendly:

Smoked Oyster Hummus
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large roasted red pepper
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
1 can smoked oysters, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, roasted pepper, garlic and salt until smooth, stopping and scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add oysters and pulse just to chop and combine, about 5 times. Season with pepper to taste. Serve with pita bread, pita toasts or crudités.

“Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds” by Denise Vivaldo is a Robert Rose title with more than 1,000 photos for guidance. I’m thinking young teens would love to get this hardback spiral as gift to inspire years of future hosting. Clamshell, Elf Boot and Luna Moth are in the advanced section. I think I can master a trifold, tray roll and rosebud in no time. Ample photos make it easy to adapt the offered ideas and to make them your own. Some holiday tips: add a flower or seasonal twig for extra flair. This book is a great way to get the whole family involved in entertaining family and friends.

Monday, November 12, 2012

County Home & Ranch can fill a stocking

If all those gardening pots haven’t attracted you from U.S. 69, pull over and visit County Home & Ranch in Nederland. Years ago a hardware store that smells like candles would have sounded odd, but it makes sense that you can buy items to repair and maintain the home you love as well as adorn it with garden art and décor. I saw a can of Steen’s Pure Cane Syrup like my daddy used to love, a canteen that could decorate a camp wall and some jeans and western shirts that would be best served on the dance floor over baling hay. It’s a natural mix of Texas country needs.

On the boardwalk in Anahuac

I’ll bet you’ve seen the signs on Interstate 10 for the turn to Anahuac Wildlife Refuge. Take the turn. I saw a hummingbird, frog, banana spider and other creatures on a boardwalk through cypress knees. A huge lake was a surprise at the end. Bring the family to the visitors center for a film where the seating is in a mock airboat. Learn a lot and visit the gift shop. For more information, call (409) 267-3337.

A bully book

An educator told Sheridan G. Doyle, Ph.D. that a book was in her. She wrote “There’s a Pint-Sized Bully in Our School” a long time before an illustrator came into the picture. I met Doyle, an educational consultant with ties to Humble and Vinton, La., this weekend and she told me an amazing story about her book, featuring Trussie, who needs some positive influence in her life to develop her assets. Doyle wanted a child to illustrate the book, and told how she was close a couple of times. In one instance her young artist was homeless, and cleaned up at a gas station before school each morning. This child’s family disappeared from the radar before the project was complete. Doyle then made contact with a woman who was so in tune with the project, she said she’d dreamed these pictures years before. To lean more, visit

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jackie Simien says “Boujour, Tee Belle”

Jackie Simien of local news anchor fame has written a book. I know her just a tiny bit from Press Club of Southeast Texas and I think she is lovely inside and out, so I’m excited that this Lake Charles, La., native has written her first children’s book, “Boujour, Tee Belle.” It’s a tribute to the culture and Simien’s mother, Annabelle Simien Amos.
She will sign copies from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Port Arthur Public Library, 4615 Ninth Ave. Follow Simien on Facebook on any of three pages under her name.

Here are some more books to indulge in on a cool, fall evening:

 “The Power of Focus”  The Ta-Da Formula stands for Think, Ask, Decide and Act. It’s one of a bunch of little peppy positive success tips from this revised 10th anniversary edition book by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt. It’s designed to help readers hit personal and financial targets with certainty.

“The Power and Grace Between Nasty or Nice” You can be too nice, there is power knowing how to act and life is an experiment, so trying new things is okay. Those are some take aways I got from this book by John C. Friel and Linda D. Olund Friel, who want readers to replace entitlement, narcissism and incivility with knowledge, caring and genuine self esteem.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bling helps moms; fills stockings

Bling that helps moms can stuff your stockings
Her are some ideas for holiday shopping, and the gifts could be for yourself:
A purple-beaded lanyard can hold your work ID by day and your funky charms by night. I’m a sucker for purple beads like Kimberly Martinez is a champion for helping people. A Mother’s Promise is a fair trade product of BooJee Beads, part of Bonitas International. After a trip to South Africa, she thought of promises she’d made her children about safety and food. Some mothers live in places where these concepts are sketchy at best. Now she’s working with Guatemalan artists who now have wages that can be applied to food and education for children. Think of that when you’re wearing your bling at work. By the way, there are other colors besides purple.

The skinny
It couldn’t have been a coincidence I got two compliments on my skin after using Envy Medical Inc. Skin Clarifying Acne Treatment Pads with aloe vera and witch hazel. Makers say SilkPeel gives a quick glowing complexion to celebs like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. It’s the salicylic acid formula designed to exfoliate and cleanse the skin of excess sebum and acne-causing bacteria.
Here’s another site: is proud of its Elemental Mineral Mist and I’m a fan of a spritz that feels good and offers a chemistry lesson in beauty. Copper reduces wrinkles; potassium is restorative and anti-aging; and silver is an antibacterial mineral. Their Anti-Oxidant Infusion Balm has Omega-3, Argan oil and Vitamin B-5 to do its cellular restoration thing. All this info comes just in time to prepare for drying winter winds.

Get the power
So it’s not so much trouble to keep your phone charged, right? Have you ever been to a conference where grown people were hunched in corners on the floor vying for the last outlet? PowerBar 4200 holds enough battery power to charge any mobile phone, smartphone or iPod device twice. Twice? That’s cool.  Well, just the one time I tried it sold me. When you need it, you need it. Keep PowerBar 4200 in your purse or pocket and you’re ready to go. If I could figure it out, you can. You re-charge your re-charger at your computer. Fatcat sells this pre-charged for your convenience. Can’t beat that.

Gaiam Living
I confess I used to have a drawer full of shabby “weekend” clothes, subscribing to the very common notion that a few holes and tears are good enough for around the house. Men in particular seem to have entire wardrobes of back-up clothes, should they feel the need to paint the house, work on the car, etc. Oddly, the gear stacks up but those projects never develop. It’s not just good marketing that has made me realize after-work togs should feel, fit and look good. It gives you energy for those odious tasks. Gaiam Living’s latest catalogue features a blast of color in high-performance movement clothes that fit the bill. Years ago I wondered how those young things on TV could work out in tank tops without a visible bra. As I began to work out myself, I discovered the secret: the oh-so-necessary shelf bra, built into Gaiam’s new Streamline Tank, with moisture-wicking fabric made from, get this, 90 percent recycled polyester and 10 percent Spandex. I don’t know what life this polyester had before, but it is reincarnated into something better and bright violet and we are having the times of its life. The line’s movement pants are equally motivating and good from the yoga studio (which in my case is sit-ups on the living room floor) to the market and mall. Making the commitment to move more is a step toward better health. If you’re moving in the saggy pants and old T-shirts you wore sizes ago, go to for ideas that will race your heart.

Games night
With clues like Graceland and two-ply, we easily guessed the answers were Elvis and toilet paper. It turns out my guest was reading the clues from the opposite order of difficulty. When she read the 10 clues on Kwizniac cards in the right order, the game got a bit more challenging. . .  and funny. This is the perfect kind of game for me, because the clue cards fit in a nice small box and you don’t have to do a lot of dice throwing and token moving. In fact, you don’t really have to keep any kind of score, except for the tally of laughs from all your guests. Visit

Monday, October 22, 2012

Barbara Lynn's a show stopper

If someone gives you free tickets, try to take advantage. I got to spread a beach towel on the hill at Ford Park for the Salute to Industry concert. The stars in the sky put on a show even before the stars hit the stage, and it was fun to watch kids roll down the hill. My big treat was to catch local legend Barbara Lynn singing on stage. It was my first time to hear her and she ruled the stage.

Playing games
The best way to play Encore is with a group representing a wide range of ages. Then you can laugh and learn some new songs. The cards give you a word and you have to sing a song with that word in the title. Amazingly easy and very fun. What would you sing for the words “Walk,” “Fine,” Plane,” Pray” and “Rhythm?”
Anger Management is a game that’s kind of like confession. The very first card challenged players to tell a story about hurting themselves during a tantrum. I told one on myself. I was complaining about how much something cost and my mood made my passenger yank down the visor so that it broke, costing even more money to repair. Characters on the board include Heather Hissy-Fit and Road Rage Ronnie. And the whiner is. . .

What’s new with Poo-Pourri
She will remain nameless, but I’ll never forget the woman who first announced the product Poo-Pourri, essential oil scents to freshen the bathroom. What’s new with them? Shoe-Pourri, which boasts “Just a spray takes the stink away.” It destroys, not masks odors. Scented toilet paper unrolls to spread a little joy each time you unroll it. Because “even Santa has to go,” there’s a holiday scented spray. Good stuff.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lights! Camera! Action!

Lights! Camera! Action!
They had me at free popcorn, but Museum of the Gulf Coast has so much more to offer. “Lights! Camera! Action!” shares roles Southeast Texans have played in the film industry. Over the years the museum has hosted cool former locals who have made their mark through acting, animation and costuming. See their stories through posters, memorabilia, photographs, costumes and films. It will be on view in the Museum’s Dunn Gallery Oct. 13 – Dec. 30, 2012.
View free movies with popcorn at 1 p.m. Saturdays and get admission to the Museum’s permanent exhibits. The schedule is:

Oct. 20 – Back to the Future (1985) in which Port Arthur native Leanne Moore worked as a production accountant
Oct. 27 – Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981) directed by Beaumont native J.D. Feigelson
Nov. 3 – Gone with the Wind (1939) starring actress and Port Arthur native Evelyn Keyes
Nov. 10 – Silkwood (1983) based on the mysterious life and death of union whistleblower and Nederland native Karen Silkwood
Nov. 17 – The Adventures of Don Juan (1948) featuring the Oscar-winning costumes of Port Arthur native Leah Rhodes
Nov. 24 – Gnomeo & Juliet (2011) directed by animator, illustrator and Beaumont native Kelly Asbury
Dec. 1 – The Rose (1979) loosely based on the life of Port Arthur native Janis Joplin
Dec. 8 – The Nightmare before Christmas (1993) featuring the animation of Beaumont native Kelly Asbury
Dec. 15 – Arizona Days (1937) starring singing cowboy and Nederland native Tex Ritter
Dec. 22 – Police Academy (1984) starring Port Arthur native G.W. Bailey and Beaumont native Bubba Smith
Dec. 29 – Titanic (1997) starring Orange native Frances Fisher
For information or to schedule a tour, call 409.982.7000 or visit

“The Diaries of Adam and Eve”
Adam calls Eve “the new creature.” She’s appealing, though he has to make adjustments in his man’s world. She has her thoughts about this Adam guy, too. Apples and a “serpent” adorn tables at “The Diaries of Adam and Eve,” the Act1 Scene 1 production. Catch the final show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at First Christian Church. I love that John and Ann Holland are husband and wife in real life and playing Adam and Eve. Their characters mesh, and disagree, as much as any couple throughout history. Call 790-6782 to get your tickets to this two-person show. Mark Twain wrote it, so there’s lots of seemingly “current” references. I wonder, if written now, they’d be Tweeting their diary thoughts to future generations.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Will work out for pancakes

Temptation or payoff? Whoever left info on about a pancake breakfast all over YMCA of Port Arthur tables must think like I do: I work out to stay fit, and have extra calories to enjoy. United Methodist Men of the Temple’s fall pancake breakfast will be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the temple, off Texas 73. Love offering proceeds will benefit Relay for Life. They’d love to have you.

Dessert report
Pam Trosclair of CavOILcade said Beau Reve desserts at the festival style show were a hit.
Not only were the desserts fabulously presented, they tasted wonderful,” she said. “Individual red velvet cakes, banana split cake, bite sizes pecan tarts, crepes and so many more, it was hard to pick just a few!  Of course the chocolate cake was the first to go, and the fresh fruits tasted like they had just been picked.  Beau Reve definitely outdid themselves” Trosclair said.

Holiday Dinner Conversation Landmines
Debra Fine, the author of “The Fine Art of the Big Talk,” has a few conversations to avoid this season. Here are a few:

 "Are you two ever going to get married?" Most of us mothers along with the rest of the planet presume that long-time dating results in marriage. It ain’t necessarily so! And for those young people at the table already blissfully wed: "When are you two going to make me a grandmother?" is another conversation landmine. Back off! If they wanted you to know their intimate intentions, they would be sure to send you a press release.

"Aren't you full yet?" or "Why aren't you eating anything?" Leave us alone about what we eat or don’t eat, and worry about what you put in your own mouth. Just because eating at the holiday dinner table is a marathon of gorging for some, it may be an Olympic feat of discipline for others. Also, just because you slaved over the pumpkin pie or prepared grandma’s traditional stuffing does not mean we are required to consume it. Eating is a personal decision!

"Did you cook this yourself, or did you just thaw it out?" You may be asking because you sincerely wish to know how you can create this dish yourself, but you are putting the host/hostess on the spot. Instead, ask for the recipe after the meal. If it was not homemade, she will let you know at that time, or maybe she’ll be coy and say that the recipe is a family tradition that is not shared outside the family!
Visit for information on: “The Fine Art of Small Talk:
How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills - and Leave a Positive Impression (Hyperion).”

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Singing and walking in PA

Singing and walking . . .

David Joel and Band
I just met Carolyn Horn Motl, who has taken up a new career, promoting the Texas country music of David Joel and Band. They’ve been playing  at The Grill, Starvin’ Marvin’s, Goodfella’s and Tequila’s, though Joel still keeps his International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker’s card and puts in a hard day’s work in a hard hat.
She pointed anyone who wants to hear their music to a YouTube search for David Joel Band Demo that proves what she says is right on: He’s talented, seems personable, and cuts a fine figure on stage.

Alzheimer’s Walk along the seawall
This walk falls at a great time. You can walk off some Thanksgiving abundance and prep yourself for the rest of the holidays. Join the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s at 8 a.m., Dec. 1, along the seawall. Start or join a team at
The past two times I’ve run into Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince, she has been talking up this walk as a good thing in Port Arthur. Sharon DeJohn, with Order of Eastern Star, is a Port Arthur contact.

Best season of the year
What have you done with our precious days of just-about-perfect-weather? Walk in it, garden in it or take a walk along the seawall. It’s just too glorious to spend inside.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Texans still speculating on their Yellow Rose

Talk about your tough Texans. “Women and the Texas Revolution” shares stories of history makers who stood by their state. Mary L. Scheer edited this University of North Texas Press release with stories from around the Lone Star. Jeffery D. Dunn includes theories of The Yellow Rose of Texas, a woman who could have been with Santa Anna at The Battle of San Jacinto. This chapter is called “To the Devil with Your Glorious History,” a quote from a woman who wanted the losers bodies collected from her property, pronto.
A gem of an evening
Brian R. Alter of Alter’s Gem Jewelry gave a fascinating talk at the McFaddin-Ward Home regarding the myths and lore of gems. My mother and I had a memorable time learning tidbits how ancient cultures used gems for healing. Ground turquoise was ingested to calm the stomach, because of its mineral makeup. Gems pressed to the eye area were used to heal, as the stones were cold. Alter shared how jewelers date jewelry with clues from the clasps, settings, etc. He also had one of those great anecdotes about a woman who brought an old ring in to clean before she gave it to her housekeeper. An appraisal made her look for the matching pieces, which all sold for a huge amount.
I’m heading back to the McFaddin to see “The Birds,” 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Your phone's Halloween costume

Does your smart phone have its Halloween costume yet? Dress it up with a Bubble Buttons monster, which has no calories at all. Or those of us “into food” can stick on a fried egg, doughnut or pizza image to help us navigate our phone world better. The resin-coated bubble really does feel good on that home button you push all day. I’d never have guessed a cute little bit of texture could feel so good. Phone fans into sports, music, mustaches, etc. can also turn their concave iPhone, iPad and iTouch button into a bubblicious experience. Visit or head to Urban Outfitters.

And now, a word

LIVE is the message on the front of my just-right pink v-neck long-sleeved shirt. Live, Imagine, Value and Embrace (LIVE) is spelled out on the back. Chewy Loud Designs has some inspirational words to wear. Positive thought can heal, believes Alyssa Dinowitz, who created a line after supporting her mother through chemotherapy sessions for breast cancer. Chemo Companions are designed to promote physical and spiritual strength. I don’t think you can have a bad day while wearing such good thoughts. I love the way Dinowitz thinks.

How about your own word?

Some people already romance license plates. can help you personalize your plates like never before. I spoke to representatives who showed me some cool ideas about branding your ride. They are a Texas Department of Motor Vehicles vendor you might want to check out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spoon and steam get the laundry done

Did you know a spoon could help you iron around buttons? Rowenta offers laundry tips. This company sells high-end steam irons and other tools that look like kind of space age when placed by my iron. They sure look like they’d get the job done, and therefore be worth the investment. I’ve never used a Rowenta product, but I encourage you to look at their site and they’ve encouraged me to share these:

DIY Ironing and Garment Care Tips


· Do not put on the garment immediately after ironing. This can actually cause new wrinkles to form. Instead, let it sit for 5 minutes, which enables the press to set.

· Many people like the extra crispness that spray starch can provide, particularly with shirts. The correct way to obtain that look is to spray the starch on the shirt, roll the shirt into a ball, and wait about 30 seconds before pressing. This allows the fabric to absorb the starch.

· Large items should be ironed at the wide end of the ironing board. To help keep the item clean, lay a plastic table cloth or old sheet on the floor beneath the board.

· To reduce shine caused by over-pressing or wear, soak a press cloth in water, and then ring it out. Place the damp cloth on top of the shiny surface and press. Repeat several times until the area is almost dry, then, using a soft brush raise the nap of the fabric.

· For razor sharp creases, iron the crease and then set it with a burst of steam.

· When ironing over delicate buttons, cover them with the bowl of spoon and press the surrounding fabric.


· Pleats should be ironed from the bottom, starting with the inside of the pleat, and then moving to the outside of the pleat. If necessary, pin pleats to the ironing board at top and bottom; avoid ironing over the pins. To set pleats, use a burst of steam.

Gee, your hair smells like lemon verbena

Remember the TasselAire I just wrote about? Dip the center of a decorative tassel into a sent and you get the double pleasure of viewing and inhaling. Agraria has a whole line of candles, perfumed burning sheets, bath salts, etc. I just treated myself to a lemon verbena shampoo that has layers of scents. I keep finding reasons to need another shower. Here’s the description from the site: Bright & brisk, Lemon Verbena evokes the fresh, clear exuberance of lemon-scented verbena leaves, enhanced with a touch of Caribbean lime & hints of rose & jasmine.

I want to make this bottle last as long as possible, but there are other shampoos and bath gels to try: Lavender and Rosemary, Balsam and Bitter Orange, which sounds delightful as we head into fall.