Sunday, July 1, 2018

Volunteer Deputy Registrar

One of the most important things we can do to help assure fairness and honesty in the political process is to encourage everyone to vote. When large numbers of qualified voters turn out, we get a much better representation of how the American public wants this country governed.

Last week I took Volunteer Deputy Registrar training at the Llano County Elections office. To find your local Elections Office, you can search with the term "(your county) election administrator".

 A VDR can give anyone in any county in Texas a postage-paid mail-in registration form. If assistance in filling out the form is requested, the VDR is responsible for getting the form to the County Election office within five days. You take an oath not to advocate for any political party while registering people. If you want to register voters in another county, you don't have to take the training again, but you must request a certificate for that county from its elections administrator. 

The forms are very simple and the training is designed to make sure you treat every potential voter fairly in a non-partisan way. The Texas Volunteer Deputy Registrar Guide, Training Materials (pdf) and Exam (pdf) are online to study in advance. The class and exam take about an hour, in person, at which you receive forms and your certification. Typically in Llano County, classes are given once a month, but by request the Election Administrator may be able to schedule classes to suit the needs of groups or individuals. 

This weekend I participated in a community event, the 2018 Kingsland Aquaboom as a Llano County Democrat with no partisan signage. It was a great day and I feel I've contributed my little bit to the political process.

Paula D'Orsogna, Lisa Miller

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Impromptu Art Class

Once a month, as an Active Member, I work at the Llano Art Guild and Gallery. Today these talented artists came in with their mom. As I had already brought paints and sticks to teach a neighbor how to do Dot Painting, I asked if they'd like a lesson. Well, it didn't take long for them to get the hang of it. They were dotting away in no time.

I have the best adventures!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Juice Mammas

Juice Mammas is a new juice and smoothie bar in Llano. As a Private Member Association, they serve up the most healthful, nutritious fresh organic juices, smoothies, bone broth, home-made soups, crackers and cookies. Their Lunch Specials offer a vegan and non-vegan choice at a competitive price. 

The shop is an amazing calming, inviting and invigorating space with hand crafted items, food items, supplements and spices, healing and restorative services. If this sounds like a review, I guess it is. I think a place like this is essential to a community that prides itself on caring for its people.

Today I visited and helped out, learning the ropes just in case an emergency arises and they are short an extra person in the shop. I juiced for the first time and it's fun! I settled into a Zen state making Fiber Crackers, made from the juice pulp and flax meal. Then they're dehydrated to get extra-crispy without being baked or fried. I love them!


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Collecting Leaves

I love leaves as a mulch and decomposed leaves (leaf mold) as a soil amendment. Unfortunately I have only one oak tree on my property and the flowerbed under it gets all its leaves. 

I wanted to collect leaves from my friends, but was dreading raking and finding some way to haul and mulch them to get them started decomposing. Then I found out about leaf blower/mulching vacuums. I ordered this model and this accessory that allows you to deposit  the chopped leaves right into a container. The product works as promised.

My friend Paula messaged me this morning and asked if I still wanted leaves, she was getting ready to mow hers. I said, why yes, yes I do. We put the new toy together and cleaned up her yard. Went home with three huge bags of chopped oak leaves.

This guy made a collector system way cheaper than the store-bought attachment. Gotta give credit to the handy-people! 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Going Greener

We've been looking for ways to go a little greener in our everyday lives. Here's one way. I was looking for 100% recycled bathroom tissue and found the Marcal brand. It uses only recycled paper, no new wood pulp and non-chlorine bleach. It's indistinguishable from the 2-ply HEB brand we use so I got a case of 48 rolls.

If you get some be sure to check the packaging, they have one-ply (which I don't care for) and 2-ply (sometimes called Small Steps). Available at Amazon, ebay and Office Depot that I know of, probably many other places. 

Now, to cut down a little on the plastic packaging we still use...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bubble Wrap Insulation

We're getting the first serious wintery blast here in Central Texas, and the heat sources we count on were running continuously. We have an oil-filled radiator heater and a small space heater for our 420 square foot efficiency apartment. 

I suddenly realized that we hadn't insulated the windows like we have in the past, so I got out some bubble wrap and insulated the 3 generous windows we have. Within 30 minutes the space heater was cycling off and we were toasty warm. 

Years ago, we lived in Don's mom's old house, approximately 2000 sq. ft., with leaky floors, walls and windows--single pane windows. One winter, in desperation, I insulated the windows with bubble wrap. The next month, a colder month, our electric bill went down over $70. It worked so well we left it up for the next 3 years, then peeled it off and replaced it. It works well for cooling, too.

It's easy to do. Just cut out bubble wrap to the size of the window-you can patch. Spray the window with water and press the bubble side to the glass. It will adhere on its own. If it comes loose, spray a little more water and stick it back up. Step two? There is no step two, that's it. 

Now compare the cold radiating into the room from another window to that one, then go scrambling for some more bubble wrap.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017 at Fuel

For the third year our band Turnabout provided the music for the Community Christmas Party at Fuel Coffeehouse in Llano. Our friend James Smullins conceived a wonderful idea to open Fuel to friends, friends-to-be and travelers on Christmas Day. 

The fabulous meal was provided by the extended family of Tommy Burney and numerous friends and was served with love. We are so appreciative of the many people who came in, for minutes or hours, to share the meal and enjoy the music.

The spirit of the season is the spirit of Llano. Merry Christmas to Y'all! 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cedar Fever

For only the second time since I moved to Texas in 2004 I have the dreaded "Cedar Fever". It's an allergy to cedar tree pollen, but just like the state of Texas, it's an overachiever. According to Texas Monthly;

"The signs are unmistakable: The eyes burn and turn fiery red; the nose runs; the insides of the ears itch. Incessant sneezing—up to two or three hundred times a day—leaves some victims exhausted. On top of this, an insidious malaise sets in, making it hard to do anything but stare vacantly at the wall, while at the same time a nagging little voice says, “Get up. It’s just an allergy.”

For me the most telling symptoms are when I wake up in the morning hearing my heartbeat and having no reason to live. Fortunately, the recommendation of a friend led me to a real treatment, a product called Cedar X. It comes in two formulations, one is a blend of oils that you apply to your wrists and rub in, or drops that you administer by mouth. They have no side effects and for me work really well. For fellow sufferers, check out the "Looking for Cedar X" link on the home page.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Angel Tree

Fuel Coffeehouse in Llano hosted an Angel Tree for Christmas. Customers and friends may choose an 'Angel', details of the child's gender, age, clothing sizes, requests or interests are given to the donor to purchase and gifts are delivered back to Fuel. When the gifts are ready, they are picked up, or delivered if necessary.

Lisa Davis, general manager, called out for a Gift Wrapping Party and the generous people of Llano responded. They brought paper, boxes, ribbons, scissors and tape and wrapped hundreds of gifts to give to 98 local children whose holidays may have otherwise been less than bright.

Did I ever mention how much I love Llano and Fuel Coffeehouse?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Red Wigglers

I've started Trench Composting and feel that the process can be improved by the right kind of worms, Red Wigglers. I ordered some from Texas Worm Farm in Georgetown, TX. Read their About page, these are some awesome synergistic people!

I received one pound of the worms in great wiggly shape and placed them in all the holes I've made so far. I'm pretty sure that they will migrate to the new holes or perhaps I will switch to an actual trench so they can move more freely. 

Yeah, I know. You wish you were me.