Monday, December 28, 2015

What's blooming this new year?

 
Blooms for all seasons
Two bright pink azalea flowers on a shrub greeted me Christmas day as I pulled back the curtains.
Grateful for our mild winters, Southeast Texans can look to their landscapes for a variety of blooms now. Some are even more unexpected than usual.
I visited a friend with a little bouquet featuring yellow copper canyon daisies, purple “wandering jew” blooms, a fragrant rosemary, a stalk of succulent and a tropical leaf.
She later sent a photo, proving the bright colors popped against her purple wall. That made me happy, so the gift kept on giving.
Head to the far corners of your back 40 to see what’s blooming out there just for you.

New Orleans story
I’m nearly done with an advance copy of  “The Feathered Bone,” which Julie Cantrell begins with a field trip at Mardi Gras world in New Orleans, the ferry to Algiers and Jackson Square.
That’s heaven to me, and I can picture, feel and smell all those spots. But this story is about an abduction. Amanda is in charge of some children, including her daughter and her best friend. The friend goes missing and this story covers the years after and how that day affects so many in a community. As chilling is the story of Sarah is, Amanda, a social worker, is learning how to deal with tensions in her marriage and her daughter’s coping with Sarah’s loss. Amanda hears others give her advice she has doled out all these years to others and it sounds strange to hear it back.
The title reference is to a feather that a palm reader in Jackson Square gives Sarah minutes before her abduction. A feather bends, but it is difficult to break, is the theme of a very memorable book.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Beaumont Community Players has hit in "Both"


Beaumont Community Players has a hit in “Both”

Mark Wilson played Father McKenzie in “Both,” a story he wrote that tells the story of the Nativity through the music of The Beatles.
You heard me right. It’s important to know that “All You Need is Love,” that everybody needs “Help” and “Here Comes the Sun” can imply the baby Jesus.
Beaumont Community Players presented “Both” and didn’t charge a thing for it. I teared up through most of the show. My husband went back to see it again. I communicated with some of the cast members and get the impression that they were as transformed by the production as I was. “Imagine.”

“Change Your Story, Change Your Life”
So maybe you’re not ready to take a shamanistic journey. But you may be ready to change the way you think about negativity, so you can get past it.
Carl Greer’s book is subtitled “Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation.
In one anecdote a woman shares is imagining a symbol of a silver spoon to represent healing the relationship with her parents. A spoon is kind of small and it can tarnish. That’s it, the spoon is saying. You have to work a little to find the beauty in this nurturing tool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stuff those stockings with joy



For years my good friends at Museum of the Gulf Coast have reminded me to mention that the gift shop has Port Arthur-inspired ideas for the holidays. History books on local legends, T-shirts and jewelry are some choices.
Go to town at an array of area shops and get crafty at home. I’m looking to find someone who can turn some silverware into jewelry and windchimes for me.
I’m also thinking any brand of step counter you wear on your wrist is a great idea for a good friend or spouse. Walk your way to fitness next year. How about a membership to an area museum or club?
Here are some other ideas:

Tweezerman
Despite all the ideas I share with readers, I don’t do much online business. I want to say that Tweezerman has lived up to its name with the offer of free sharpening. I sent off two very old pair and they came back good as new. The website informed me that if the tweezers could not be sharpened, I’d get a discount on a new pair. So either way, the company came through.
It’s true that now I’m on their mailing list, so I can tell you they have quite the array of holiday offerings.

For the tech/chic savvy
In the days of “A Christmas Story,” kids got all bundled up and sometimes frozen to a pole. In the south, we worry less about freezing weather, but we want to stay warm. Who would have imagined we’d risk getting colder for using our smart phones and listing to our jam. Now U|R Powered offers Touchscreen Gloves and Audio Headwear for looking oh, so cool while keeping warm and connected.
U|R Powered’s holiday looks include gloves in knit, fleece, genuine sheepskin leather and heated nylon, so “fingers are kept warm, and stay dexterous.” Lined to keep body heat in and moisture out, the insulating materials are eco-friendly and contain zero trace of metals. U|R Powered’s stylish audio headwear allows wearers to enjoy music in comfort and warmth sans pesky earbuds that never seem to stay in place, makers say. I’m going for basic black gloves that should be in style forever and rocking the pullover hat that lets you hear your tunes as you walk off those Christmas pounds on the track. I rank these as high-quality options that will look good when we tend to get our most chilly weather… perhaps around Mardi Gras parade time?
 www.urpowered.com. Prices range from $36 to $75 for audio headwear and touch screen gloves.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Can you name the 'boudin' capital?


Did you know Scott, La., is the Boudin Capital of the World? Lots of signs proclaim it, and I’m not gonna dispute it. In fact, I’d like to take a couple of days and taste them all for myself.
I did check out Don’s Specialty Meats offering the “best homemade boudin & cracklins.” See how they spelled that? “Boudin.” Now I’m not going to argue with that, either, but I put another letter in “boudain.”
Anyways, this store has some good each, and I was tickled that they have neon signs guiding the way. No matter how you spell it, I think it’s funny to see “boudin” and “cracklins” up in lights.

Sparkly holidays
What you want to know about Dermelect Cosmeceuticals have keratin protein peptide-hydrolyzed keratin extracted from New Zealand sheep’s wool that helps strengthen nails.
That news is almost as much fun as the winter color collection: of “ME.” Hold “ME”is Sparkled Midnight Noir, and I have been seeing this color in the skies of late. Thrill “ME” is frosted evergreen; Kiss “ME” is Velvet Crimson and Sleigh “ME” is Arctic Shimmer.
I’m shimmering now and it is an eye- and light-catching glow that seems a bit silver and gold at the same time. Ready for oysters and Champaign? This one will go through New Year’s Eve.
This cruelty-free product resists UV rays, chipping and splitting; restores nail flexibility and fore sure has no formaldehyde.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A pirate's life for me

I have always loved the Texas Renaissance Festival and enjoyed an adventurous, cold day there the final weekend. Lords, Ladies, jousters, barbarians and turkey leg proprietors will just have to wait another year to set up booths and camps.
My daughter asked me to go and I gave her a big, fat “Yes!”
People always ask if you went in costume. In my one-day’s notice, I did gather some “earthy” robes and some jewelry I’d purchased over past festivals. But it was too cold for costuming for us. I had a sweat shirt, rain jacket and other layers over my festive garb. We went back to the car for a minute and Jasmine found her dad’s overcoat was in the car, so we took turns with that. There were gloves in the pocket. We had been sharing my fingerless gloves, one on each hand. So then we traded off wearing one of each, so we’d have at least one warmer hand at a time.
Jasmine’s friend Meghan and her mother joined us and this girl showed up as a pirate in a red dress under a black corseted overcoat and glittery eye makeup. It was awfully fun to be with someone who would not break character because of a little drop in temperature.
Even when it was downright misting on our heads, we still rate the Texas Renaissance Festival as “aces.

Traveling with the folks
“Planes, Canes, and Automobiles: Connecting With Your Aging Parents Through Travel” is a checklist, with anecdotes plans for trips of a lifetime.
Say you want to take the parents back to the old country and now there are concerns about their medications, level of fatigue, etc. Valerie M. Grubb tells you how to get there from here.
I want her to plan my trip abroad. Let’s go to Europe. All of it, Valerie.
I loved the story about a clever child who had arranged for wheelchair transport at the airport, etc. Turns out Mom was very insulted at the notion. Wheelchairs are for “old” people, she announced. There are ways to have these talks ahead of time, and this book could save relationships. No need to “stew” for the duration of your travels. It should be a time of incredible new memories.
From simple things, like getting your parent a fanny pack and going over the contents of keys and maps and medications daily, to arranging for additional nights for layovers and medical travel insurance, this book will get you ready to go. And get back home.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Vanilla: Put it in my stocking




Thinking holidays? Think giving. Here’s a really wide array of ideas:

Rethink Vanilla
The cookbook "Vanilla a Table: The essence of exquisite cooking from the world's best chefs" is Natasha MacAller's opening of the universe of vanilla. I wish I would've thought of that comment, but it is written right on the cover. It's true that she has made me think of vanilla in a completely different way. Recipes for vanilla sugar, vanilla salt, vanilla syrup and vanilla vinegar are the bases for many a recipe.
But have you thought of Vanilla Candied a Bacon Bits? Vanilla in civiche? With cocoa nib crusted foie gras? Are you hearing this? It is revolutionary.
Try vanilla and orange juice to bring out the sweetness of lobster.
I have never before constructed a fennel flan. When I do I will be reaching for vanilla oil. There are pages of savory options before even getting to desserts. We know what vanilla will do for bread pudding, roasted pineapple and butterscotch pudding. This book has opened my eyes to the pod and what it can do for meats.
This book tells vanilla's story. Give the book to someone who loves to cook. Someone who loves to cook for you.

Brio
Okay, Brio healthy ice cream, now at Central Markets across Texas, is not for leaving under the tree, but you can surely enjoy some by your tree as you relax after shopping. It comes in the flavors you want and offers 6 grams of protein per serving, a rich dose of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D as well as 24 other vitamins and minerals, the inclusion of Omega 3-6-9 and prebiotic fiber, and a powerful boost of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E as well as selenium. The individual servings range from 160 to 170 calories and have half the fat,  75 percent  less cholesterol and 10 percent less sugar than similar flavors of super premium ice cream. I’m sweet on the coffee flavor while my husband likes Spring Strawberry. They’re smooth and do the trick without the guilt trip. Other flavors are Tropical mango, vanilla caramel and mellow dark chocolate. You can currently order Brio online at http://www.icecreamsource.com/  (MSRP $1.99) 4 oz cup.

Skin care
For the girls: Girls just want to have clear skin. Moms know this. Texas-based dermatologist Carole Aponte, M.D. and CEO Kelly Barker, developed P.R.E.P. Cosmetics (www.prepyourskin.com), the first dermatologist-founded, tested and recommended skincare line created for girls.
I’m pretty sure that if these women experience Texas weather, their products are good for these girls. I’ve been playing with the Purifying Daily Cleanser myself and it’s working for me.
The founders are encouraging young girls to take ownership of their skin and educate them on the dangers of sun exposure. See, nobody cared about that when we were young. The line includes SPF 30 Face + Body Lotion and SPF 15 Lip Gloss
.
For the women: Remember that old Saturday Night Live commercial for the product that is both a dessert topping and a floor wax? It came to mind when I heard about a serious, actual development from Grohen Technologies Ltd. Their line includes a blue vial of Intensive Facial Revitalizer Complex, made with seven natural oils including Evening of Primrose, Cucumber and Tea Tree. It feels good going on and I can’t get enough of it.
This line also includes a Feminine Wash that foams to clean the face and feminine areas. There’s a loofah and a microfiber sponge that comes from each use. The paperwork explains how the line’s renewal complex works in detail. Look it up. This is a gifting idea for someone who would not buy it for herself.
www.olgassecret.com
Darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Friday, November 20, 2015

Garth House benefit is for the children

 
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Garth House benefit is for the children

It’s not every day the Garth House is decked with lights, filled with music and couples in finery.
But it is always filled with love. Garth House is where children can feel support as they tell their story of abuse to professionals who can help. It’s a important service that everyone whishes was not needed. Listen to the statistics and know that dollars raised are being put to good use.
Pour Les Enfants observed a 25th anniversary of a well-run gala for good on Thursday. A tent goes up in the street and the auction items come out. Everything fro LSU and Aggie gift bags to huge Darth Vadar figures raised silent auction interest, then another tent with chandeliers set a magical mood as the live auction offered packages such as Up on the Rooftop, a Mildred Building wine party with a  presentation on antiques courtesy of Finders Fayre.
That would have been my pick, but the turkey hunt in Arkansas seemed popular, too.
The menu included a salad with dried cranberries, apples, walnuts and feta cheese; mayhaw-glazed pork loin and green beans with roasted garlic and orange zest Best meal I ever had in a tent.
Marion Tanner, executive director, said all these donations and bids are set in motion to help the all-too-many children the Garth House helps each year.
I thank those who work with the children, and those who bid generously to support this mission.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Goodwill toward a good book, good causes


The Christmas décor will come and go, but that wall of books at the back of the shiny, new Goodwill Industries should remain full.
“They seem to like every single thing we put out,” Gwendolyn Simon, the enthusiastic store manager, said.
Clothes and wares were sorted in colorful ways and employees dashed about, eager to serve, the day I dropped by. I attended the ground breaking as a Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and wanted to stop by to see the completed store, at 4352 FM 365.
Simon said clothes are  popular, and that back wall of books gets lots of attention.
“We have a great selection of books,” she said, and credited CEO Randy Jones for the big display, because of his love of reading.
She also mentioned Jones visits the stores and jumps in to help on the floor.
Then I called up Jones and chatted with him. Sounds like he does love a good book, and helping people in need. Everybody knows Goodwill is all about training and supporting people in our community. You can help by shopping as well as cleaning out our closets and garages to donate what can become someone else’s treasure.
“Our community supports us a great deal,” Simon said.

Give a goat, or some nice jewelry
We’re Americans. Of course we like stuff.
World Vision offers 6-year-old Chania of Burundi as a “cover girl” of their catalogue. She helps her family tend the fields and they could use a goat.
You can give that goat, or a well, for the holidays in a loved-one’s name. Or maybe, as Americans, you can browse that World Vision catalogue/website and order up some Vietnamese totes embroidered by disabled women for your bohemian niece and Capiz shell coasters made by Filipino artisans that would be just right for those pool parties your sister hosts.
Items, like the well-made and detailed bracelet I’m wearing as I type this are billed as momentos for gifts made for specific needs. It’s that word “specific” that brings additional joy to donations, because this organization looks to be getting funds to the right places. The product is weighty and classic and durable. Here’s the description:
Help where it's needed most — AND receive a gift for yourself or someone you care about! Your gift to help where most needed will address specific, urgent needs that might otherwise go unmet for a child, family, or community. As a memento of this gift, you'll receive this gorgeous, adjustable silver cuff bracelet with an intricately laced vine pattern, designed by artisans in Old Delhi, India. This stunning piece is the result of once-mistreated jewelry makers banding together to support their families through fair trade practices.”
There’s a range of very tempting goods that will make shoppers – I should say givers – very joyful this holiday season.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

McKinney is “magical” fun in North Texas


       When someone mentioned I should see the Croatian Village model while in McKinney, I was wondering if it was a tabletop LEGO model.
       I was headed to this near-Dallas area with my husband and asked a pro to point me to good times.
       Adriatica is a life-sized spread filled with beautiful homes, eateries and a lake, all designed with old-world charm. A tower and a chapel highlight the landscape. My favorite part is brick homes that have spaces for spiritual quotes built right into the outer walls. It’s beautiful.
       Here’s a funny bit. I did see a LEGO model of a church altar. Talk about detail. It was in the office of St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney. I attended morning Mass and a talk there and met some very hospitable people who loved sharing McKinney with me.
       We were treated to Spoon’s, in the town square. It was kind of crowded, so we were shown around back to the “Garage” section where coffee comes in compact and SUV sizes to go with the theme. A plate of migas later and it was time for more adventures.
       The town square is bustling with antique, clothing and gift shops. At Mom&Popcorn we tasted a Frito Pie blend. It’s hard to top the McKinney, with a sweet and spicy snap.
       Main Street Magic shop was another hot tip. We got a magic trick from David Grubbs, who offered quite a production and history talk to our party of four. Grubbs has great stories and happened to have a magic industry magazine with the store featured on the front cover.
       McKinney is a sprawling city with a long list of major employers and neighborhoods of spanking new homes spread out over the hills. Even the fast food restaurants are have designer, stony exteriors. The best part of this visit was meeting some of the people who call it home.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

'My Fat Dad' offers tasty memories, life lessons


‘My Fat Dad’ offers tasty memories, life lessons
Dawn Lerman grew up in my time frame, but in Chicago and New York, where her fat dad could visit Dr. Atkins and have him phone in dad’s lunch order at his club.
He was a successful ad exec making slogans we all know, such as  “Fly the Friendly Skies,” “Coke is It,” and “Leggo My Eggo.” He went up to 450 pounds and loved food. Her mother was happy to eat a can of tuna over the sink.
Lerman learned to cook from her grandmother, Beauty, who put love in every recipe. The book “My Fat Dad’ would have been great just hearing about Beauty, with recipes at the end of each chapter. But then readers get to head to New York city, where her new lunch buddies pull things like lobster salad out of their Partridge Family lunch boxes. Our young hero is exposed to gourmet and health food, while still hanging on to the Jewish recipes of her youth.
So Mom still likes frozen TV dinners while Lerman still likes shopping for the freshest ingredients for her carob cookie business. She loves to experiment with flavors and does not have the weight problem Dad has. He loses half his weight at a “ricer” fat farm, then struggles upon his return home.
This food journey book yields a delight on every page as we grow up with Dawn, and try some of her flavors, like the Italian Sunday Gravy story and recipe she got from a homeless angel.
I can’t stop talking about “My Fat Dad.”

‘Leading Ladies,’ The Farce is with them
Who doesn’t love a good door-slamming, mistaken identity, men-in-dresses kind of theatrical production.
Sean McBride, your favorite Port Arthur News movie critic, is directing “Leading Ladies” for Beaumont Community Players.
Saturday, Oct. 31 is the final showing if this funny show where two English actors pretend to be long-lost nieces to inherit a fortune. There’s a Shakespeare play-within-a-play and romantic get-togethers and breakups as well. You’re in for a good time. Roller skating Audrey, played by Kaasaundra Davis, just about steals the show, but every one of the cast has his or her or his-and-her moments.

Darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tabasco peppers offer a kiss of spice


         I’m such a Tabasco fan that I’ve been to Avery Island in Louisiana three times. It looks different every time I go, and I love it. It’s where they bottle the stuff that’s been to the moon.
         Remember when everybody was sporting Tabasco ties? Now there’s a fancy souvenir shop with goodies to serve your sauce in style and adorn your kitchen. The product line is over the top with sports editions and flavors including the latest, raspberry chipotle. They had to pry me away from the tasting station.        
         The best part is the factory tour where you get mini bottles as souvenirs, get to see a film that takes you through the process of checking peppers for ripeness with the red stick, or baton rouge, method and a look at the bottling and labeling.
         My family drove through the island’s Jungle Gardens, making stops at bamboo, Buddha aviary and botanical scenes. We spotted a baby gator in a mossy swamp and spied birds from a walking trail.
         I was sorely tempted to pick a pepper from one of the bushes lining the walkways near the plant entrance. They were covered with chicken wire to protect them from birds (and tourists), so I felt that would be wrong. Then someone pointed out some tiny peppers had fallen to the ground, and it would be a shame if they were wasted. So I ate one.
         My husband saw my put that fresh, red, potent pepper in my mouth and I immediately asked if I could kiss him. For some reason he was surprised at how spicy that kiss was and wasn’t pleased at all.
         The best I could offer as a remedy was to guide him back to the tasting station where and offer him some Tabasco-flavored ice cream to help him put the fire out.
         I think I have finally been forgiven.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tiny forks could help Steven the Stomach

 
Just a bite
         I’m a fan of tiny forks and spoons. Vintage pickle and cocktail forks, found tucked away on antique shelves or bargain priced at estate sales are fun finds that come with a bonus. These delicate utensils make my dining experience “bigger.”
         A tiny fork inspires tiny bites and the food tastes so much better when I savor instead of “shovel.”
         Young Life manages area estate sales that I’m loving. I picked up my first “set” of four Nobility Plate forks. It’s fun to look online and try to discover a history behind a found fork. Or maybe I’ll make up a story for all the parties they must have served.
         I just may keep one in my purse to remind me to slow down at restaurants, too.


Why is Steven so upset?
         In a new children’s book, Raymond Brain is sending cake, cola, candy and  ice cream down to Steven so quickly he can’t break it all down.
He’s thinking of sending it back up.
         That reference is about it for “gross factor” in Justin Noble’s helpful book. Ann Bonin illustrates Steven as a muscled little stomach in a yellow hard hat on a line, just trying to keep up with the incoming junk food. The taste buds are happy, but even Lyle Liver has to question the brain.
         Raymond Brain later apologizes to our hero and promises to do better. I hope I can remember this sage advice to young readers next time I’m tempted to go back for thirds and raid the pantry. I don’t want my own “Steven” to have to work so hard.
         Noble and his wife, Le-Ann, created My Body Village Series. In his asthmatic youth, the author’s parents found a book that helped him understand what was happening to his body. I think this is a great idea for families. Look up “Artie’s Party Featuring the Vita-Men!” and more, at www.MyBodyVIllage.com.

Cattle Raisers talk branding and theft in Anahuac


Branding still the deal in the ranching business ANAHUAC - Branding is still
important. We're talking cattle, not just company logos.
Jimmy Belt, whose title is "special ranger," said cattle theft is up, and
old-fashioned branding can help place recovered animals back in home pens.
He spoke at the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association ranch
gathering, Oct. 6, at White's Park in Anahuac. The day's topic included
market outlook and the economic impact of calf and reproductive management
practices. I heard of oral supplements and injections.
Belt told how a farmer recognized his stolen calf from a large pen of
recovered animals, but without that crucial brand, he was not allowed to
claim them.
Branding is old-school, but social media plays a modern role in recovery,
Belt said. A stolen hay baler made an appearance years after it was stolen
when someone sold it on Craig's List.
That's stuff many of us enjoy dining on beef "rarely" think about. The
blessing over dinner reminded us to think about those who produce our "food
and fiber." This fall is a season of harvest, so find a rancher and farmer
to thank for your bounty.
TSCRA is a 138-year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest
livestock organization based in Texas. For more information, visit
http://www.tscra.org.
darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It's not "old shoe" at Painted Porch in Groves


Shabby Chic is ruling at The Painted Porch in Groves. Charlie Schultz says this is a transitional time for Southeast Texas, going from beach mode to fall. She has lots of turquoise coloring on décor, from furniture to a moss-filled shoe.
Schutlz rings shoppers up amid aromas of scented soaps such as lavender, honey and goat milk. Go in and give her a big hello. She has one right back for you.



Sammy’s in business
Sammy Stone Atchison sent a copy of his cd of “The Early Years: 1970-1977,” with recordings such as “Night Time Baby Love” and “Hawaiian Wedding Song.”This area performer, who is looking for house band gigs, has been corresponding with me for years. He is an Elvis fan and has made many a musical tribute to The King. He can be reached through Michael Gracey, P.O. Box 886, Woodville, Texas, 75979-0886.



“Wellativity”
It’s all relative and all “wellative” when Scott A. Morofsky puts his tweak on12-step programs into daily thoughts for breathing and just getting yourself right in your world. The front of the book offers anecdotes and tips with prayers and bullet-point items. I love that the author has so many perceptions on how food, and over-indulgence in it, plays a part in our overall health.
Here’s an opening line to one of the prayers:
“I allow my words, my hands, and all that I am to channel Your healing power.”
So think on nuggets like that and go out to have a good day for yourself and make a better one for others. I’ll end with his closing graph for each daily breathing thought:
“So breathe it.”
darraghcstillo@yahoo.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fashions in a Nutshell keeps Pecan Festival stylish



The Courtyard Café was packed for Fashions in a Nutshell, the Gulf Coast Sertoma Club’s style show to promote the upcoming Pecan Festival, Nov. 5-8 in Groves.
The show included looks from Hannah Bay’s Shoogz and Oliver Maxwell’s featuring lots of splashy, long vests with a boho-chic look and fitted dresses with belts, collars and dots that put at least three women at one table in the mind of Lucille Ball. That’s timeless class, right there.
So this fashion show had tons of prizes and I walked out of there with a bowl made to look like bent spoons as well as an infinity scarf with bright colors and chevrons.
Terry Jackson announced the looks and modeled a colorful pancho-like vest in a bright pattern of florals. She is a Sertoman who also works at The Courtyard, so she was truly “representing” at the Sept. 19 show.
This group raises funds so it can give right back to the community. They raise money so they can give it right back out to groups such as Capland Hearing Center.
One of the style show perks that kept on giving was a free gift from The Collection, right across the street from the show. I got a BLT dip mix that will be on a fall menu pretty soon.
Norma Jordan and Linda Foster are two Sertoma members who are interested in the community and getting people interested in joining their group.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Selena Museum a Corpus Christi must-see

The Selena Museum in Corpus Christi includes a display of her performance costumes.

I packed a swimsuit I never used to go to Corpus Christi, but packed a bunch of memories into a few hours of fun.
I got to stay with my husband at Pax Christi Sisters, a retreat center with a lovely chapel that that made one feel secluded and reverent. Still, it was close enough into town that you could see a Whataburger sign over the treetops.
It is not an understatement to say this town loves its Whataburger, but of course they are know for seafood, and I had my fill.
In a brief exploration of the downtown area I traversed bridges, causeways and seawall for my best views of North Beach sandy walks, docks and more Whataburger restaurants.
The Selena Museum was a highlight of my visit and I actually got a glimpse of Mr. Q, Selena’s proud father who is famous for keeping her memory strong and protected. The museum features myriad photos and glass cases with her memorable performance costumes. Several displays feature Selena dolls wearing the same miniature models.
The museum may look small from the outside, but it goes deep and the short time I was there I observed many comings and goings of her fans, some of whom were emotional as they viewed the singer’s videos. My favorite was going back to the recording area with a couple who came from California. The boyfriend said he was doing most of the talking because the girl was simply overcome. He said she was about to faint when she saw Mr. Q and an employee suggested she ask to have her picture made with him. I don’t know if she would have asked, but he had been notified, so he came out of his office and graciously posed.
Many of us recall her death and I remember being with relatives in Houston on an Easter Sunday shortly after demise. Many young girls were wearing Selena T-shirts to church. Selena’s memory is going strong  in Corpus Christi and beyond.
darraghcastillo@icloud.com

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Accidental Wife, Yoga & Diabetes

 
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“The Accidental Wife”
Dal, kheer and paneer are words I already knew from “The Accidental Wife,” an Indian romance novel from Simi K. Rao. It’s no wonder, these words have to do with food: dal is a lentil I like made into a stew; kheer is a sweet rice pudding; and paneer is a cheese that melts in your mouth to calm fiery spices.
In this book a handsome, skilled and rich doctor feels family pressure to marry and arranges a wedding, but not the surprise he finds after nuptials. This book is so desi. That means means Indian, I learn from the glossary. This wife is chaloo, or very sly.
Action takes place in New York City, India and the suburban home of the doctor’s very involved family. It’s funny and very romantic. Here’s part of the promotional blurb:
“According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?”

 
“Yoga and Diabetes”
The Mountain is a yoga posture that looks like even I can do.
The Mountain” is basically standing up, or even standing. We are to notice how we are not perfectly symmetrical, focus on sensations and align our nose with our belly button… wait, is this standing beginning to sound like work?
I think most of us are up to it. A team of writers assembled this book and the American Diabetes Association has given its stamp. This book focuses on reducing stress, reminds us to reach out for emotional support, eat right, exercise, set priorities and more good stuff.
This is mostly a practical book with photos to show you how to pose and breath. A few pages go into Sanskrit interpretations and diagrams like “8 limbs of yoga.” I like that one is called Aparigraha is “non-hoarding,” a letting go. I love that.
More good stuff is on the mindful eating page. One tip: Prepare food by hand, preferably without machines, in silence. Then you should sit down, with food in front of you and appreciate each bite. Compare that method with the times we are done with a meal before we have tasted it.
Now go prepare a bite, and enjoy it.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dickie's is open and one-pot goes diabetes friendly

 
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Dickie’s is open!
         You can smell Dickey’s Barbecue Pit from pretty far away, so it’s pretty crazy once you’re inside. Despite the satisfying brisket, chicken and cheddar sausage I had sampled, I had another favorite.
         When Jeff at the door asked how everything was, I told him I liked the onions best. For a moment he thought I was talking about the raw, white onion rings barbecue lovers can help themselves to with their pick of three sauces. I told him I did appreciate access to these rings, a very necessary accoutrement to this genre of dining. I had brought some of my own in my purse, just in case.
         I was actually referring to the paper bag of fried onion tangles I’d ordered as a side dish with fried okra. Great picks for me, although Jenni at the register boasted of the mac and cheese.
         I’ve already got plan for next time: Polish sausage on a big baked potato.
         Just in case you have missed all the talk on the new Dickie’s, I’ll tell you it’s at 1629 South U.S. 69 in the mall that features The Schooner Resaurant near by, and across from Central Mall. Dickie’s is a Dallas-based company and has a franchise in Lumberton, I learned at their ribbon cutting where they were welcomed into the Nederland and Port Arthur chambers of commerce.



Just one pot
         If you remember one-pot meals as a mash-up of brown, soupy meats and limp veggies, let Linda Gassenheimer enlighten you. After her tips on shopping smart and healthy and food prep, jump into her ideas for quick and diabetes-friendly meals that will get any gourmet’s attention.
         Listen to these ideas: Pork and Caraway Scented Red Cabbage, Saag Gosht (Indian Lamb Stew) Garlic Steak and Rice, Mu Shu Pork Wrap with Bok Choy and Orange Apricot Chicken.
          I love that the one-pot idea has gone international. Even some “regulars” get spiced up here. Buffalo Sloppy Joes really calls for buffalo meat, and Tuna Casserole has Parmesan cheese, tarragon and other suprises.
         These are easy in concept and big on flavor. Get the family involved as you make something like Red Flannel Hash, which gets its color from beets. I’ve learned some tricks on a topic I already love: seeking out more healthy options and trying new flavors. Thanks, Linda.
         Oh, and the American Diabetes Association is also impressed. Their seal is on the cover.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cosmic bowling, Clifton Steamboat Museum and Indian romance

Dress up and bowl.
I had a memorable time judging this past year’s Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce Cosmic Costumed bowling tournament and now’s my chance to gather up a team and have your own blast. Companies worked together for themes that blew me away, like the Beverly Hillbillies. It’s a fundraiser that will bowl you over and the silent auction will be fabulous. To register your team for this event, Oct. 27 at MaxBowl, call Paige Snyder at 409-963-1107.

The Clifton Steamboat Museum (8727 Fannett Road, Beaumont, TX 77705) is hosting book reading and signing of Evangeline and the Mysterious Strangers, a new book by Phoebe Hambright Dishman, on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 6-8 p.m., in the Audubon Gallery of the Clifton Steamboat Museum. Evangeline and the Mysterious Strangers will be available for purchase at this event.

About the Author
Phoebe Hambright Dishman of Beaumont, Texas, is an avid birder and observer of natural life. She is also an essayist, poet, and certified lay speaker in the United Methodist Church. The cover of the book features a red-shouldered hawk, a photograph she took on Christmas Day, 2009.

About the Book
Who are the mysterious strangers that regularly visit this quiet and unassuming street in Southeast Texas? Careful now. Things may not be as they appear. And the world you live in may be more mysterious than you think. In this collection of essays, the author expresses her amusement and enchantment with the enigmatic creatures in her own back yard on Evangeline Lane. For more information contact: Sarah@cliftonsteamboatmuseum.com or (409) 842-3162.

Contact: Sarah Wells at Sarah@cliftonsteamboatmuseum.com or (409) 842-3162.

 “The Accidental Wife”
Dal, kheer and paneer are words I already knew from “The Accidental Wife,” an Indian romance novel from Simi K. Rao. It’s no wonder, these words have to do with food: dal is a lentil I like made into a stew; kheer is a sweet rice pudding; and paneer is a cheese that melts in your mouth to calm fiery spices.
In this book a handsome, skilled and rich doctor feels family pressure to marry and arranges a wedding, but not the surprise he finds after nuptials. This book is so desi. That means means Indian, I learn from the glossary. This wife is chaloo, or very sly.
Action takes place in New York City, India and the suburban home of the doctor’s very involved family. It’s funny and very romantic. Here’s part of the promotional blurb:
“According to him wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his ‘requirements’. But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?”