Category Archives: Texas

happy in Texas

Research finds the happiest US States match a million Americans’ own happiness states

Texas ranks 16th on the happiness scale!

The new research published in the elite journal Science on 17th December 2009 is by Professor Andrew Oswald of the UK’s University of Warwick and Stephen Wu of Hamilton College in the US.   It provides the first external validation of people’s self-reported levels of happiness.  “We would like to think this is a breakthrough.  It provides an justification for the use of subjective well-being surveys in the design of government policies, and will be of value to future economic and clinical researchers across a variety of fields in science and social science” said Professor Oswald.

The Aztec Theatre – San Antonio, Texas

Built in 1926, the Aztec Theatre is a notable example of the impressive exotic-theme motion picture palaces constructed in the United States during the economic boom of the 1920s. The Kellwood Corporation, owned by Robert Bertrum Kelly (the architect on record) and H.C. Woods, constructed the theater in 1926 with the financial backing of Commerce Reality at a cost of $1.75 million.

The Aztec Theatre was part of the Theater district that included the Empire (1914), the Texas (1926), the Majestic (1929), and the Alameda (1949).

Though the theater remained highly popular for many decades, by the 70s, it was in decline. It was cut into three auditoriums as the Aztec Triplex, but this only slowed the eventual. In 1989, the Aztec closed. Since October 1992, the theatre is listed in the National Register of Historic Places,  which helped save it from demolition.

Based on San Antonio’s Riverwalk, the second most popular tourist attraction in Texas, the new Aztec Theatre re-opened in August 2009 as a concert venue. 

San Antonio Rose Live is a two-hour live show featuring traditional country, western swing, and gospel music. Featuring the San Antonio Rose Band comprised of 10 world-class musicians from Nashville, Branson, Austin and San Antonio.

The Aztec Theatre reminds me a great deal of the Mayan Theatre in Denver, Colorado.

The Mayan Theatre is located in the heart of Central Denver amongst a bevy of art galleries, restaurants and vintage clothing stores in the Baker District. The historic Mayan, built in 1930, narrowly missed the wrecking ball in the mid-1980s, when, at the eleventh hour, it was saved by the local group “Friends of the Mayan.” In 1986, The Mayan was restored to its former glory. Renovated meticulously at a cost of nearly $2 million, it is one of the country’s three remaining theatres designed in the Art Deco Mayan Revival style. It has been converted into a three-screen palace, with one large, magnificent auditorium and two cozy theatres upstairs, featuring stadium seating. There is also an upstairs cafe and seating area.

literary landmarks in Texas

  • O. Henry House and Museum, Austin, TX, 1999
  • Menger Hotel (associated with Oscar Wilde, O. Henry, and Theodore Roosevelt), San Antonio, TX, 2000
  • Katharine Anne Porter home, Kyle, TX, 2002
  • Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building, Austin, TX. Noted Texas authors, including James Michener, Walter Prescott Webb, and Jack “Jaxon” Jackson used the state archives for research and inspiration. Former U.S. and Texas First Lady Laura Bush spoke at the building’s dedication. Dedicated Dec. 3, 2009. Partners: Friends of Libraries & Archives in Texas and Texas Center for the Book.

The Literary Landmarks Association was founded in 1986 by former FOLUSA  [Friends of the Library United States of America] president Frederick G. Ruffner to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites. The first dedication was at Slip F18 in Bahia Mar, Florida, the anchorage of the Busted Flush, the houseboat home of novelist John D. MacDonald’s protagonist Travis McGee.

In 1989, the Literary Landmark project became an official FOLUSA committee. Literary Landmarks will continue under ALTAFF, the newly formed division of ALA created by the joining of FOLUSA and ALTA [Association for Library Trustees and Advocates].

Dedications have included homes of famous writers (Tennessee Williams, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, William Faulkner), libraries and museum collections, literary scenes (such as John’s Grill in San Francisco, immortalized by Dashiell Hammett, and Willa Cather’s Prairie near Red Cloud, Nebraska), and even “Grip” the Raven, formerly the pet of Charles Dickens and inspiration to Edgar Allan Poe and now presiding (stuffed) at the Rare Books Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The list of dedicated sites continues to grow.

Local Friends groups, State Friends, Trustees, and libraries may apply to dedicate a Literary Landmark. When an appropriate landmark is identified, the sponsoring group plans a dedication ceremony and applies to ALTAFF for official recognition.

Christmas in the 1970s – Houston,Texas

Whatever else be lost among the years,

Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing:

Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears,

Let us hold close one day,

remembering its poignant meaning for the hearts of men.

Let us get back our childlike faith again.

– Grace Noll Crowell


Watched the Spurs beat Milwaukee at The Ticket.  I love basketball!  I love the Spurs!

San Antonio Spurs end Milwaukee Bucks’ winning streak

four legged volunteers

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A therapy dog is a dog  trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools,   with people with learning difficulties and stressful situations such as disaster areas.

Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, at ease in all situations, and gentle. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.

A therapy dog’s primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an invalid’s lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audiences or by playing carefully structured games.


Helping the wounded . . . Paws on Therapy

lunch in Luling, Texas

Ada Lou’s Restaurant in the historic Francis-Ainsworth Bed and Breakfast in Luling is certainly worth the trip to Luling.  Excellent food.  Excellent service.  The house is beautiful.

House History

Doctor Sidney Joseph Francis settled in Luling in 1889. He purchased this site, which included four town lots in October 1895. One month later he married Annie Davis Gregg, granddaughter of Bishop Alexander Gregg, the first Episcopal Bishop in Texas. A modest frame house was constructed and then enlarged in 1916 into a two-story home featuring a full-length two-story porch, a porte cochere, and a central projecting bay with an offset entry. This vernacular house was typical of those in railroad towns.

Dr. Francis was a World War I veteran, a prominent local businessman and a banker. Prior to his death in 1935, his youngest daughter, Annie Gregg Francis, and her husband, H. Miller Ainsworth moved into the house. H. Miller Ainsworth served in World Wars I and II, rising to the rank of General in the National Guard. He was active in the oil, gas and banking industries in Luling. After his death in 1969, his widow and son lived in the house until her death in 1986.

The house remained in the Ainsworth family until 1989 when it was deeded to the city of Luling. They in turn leased it to the Cornelius Smith Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic in 1993. In 1996 the house became a recorded Texas Historic Landmark. In 2003 we purchased the house from the City of Luling and began the yearlong renovations to restore it to its early grandeur.

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Central Texas Oil Patch Museum in Luling,Texas

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Every time we go to Luling for the delicious barbecue, we mention how interesting it would be to visit the Oil Patch Museum.  Finally did so – and it is most interesting.

Our bread and butter was related to the oil industry for so many years (paid for four college educations – three kids and me).

Oil is still being produced in the Luling area (see all of the pumps working away every time we visit).  I really didn’t know much about Edgar B. Davis until viewing the video at the museum.  Riley Froh, Luling author, briefly spoke about the largess of Davis to Luling, Texas, the arts, and the place of Davis’ birth, Brockton, Massachusetts .

An interesting and worthwhile visit!

* Riley Froh was born in Luling, Texas, a descendant of the town’s original settlers. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree as well as his Master’s Degree from Southwest Texas State University, and his doctorate from Texas A & M University. Froh’s characters reflect the people that he grew up with, his descendants being cattle drivers and Texas Rangers. Froh is the author of “Wildcatter Extraordinary,” “Edgar B. Davis and Sequences in Business Capitalism” as well as Texas themed articles.

Chewing gum good for your health??

Chew on this!

This article brought back the memory of a delightful lunch in Gruene, Texas – with a cute bubble blowing waitress!

DubbleBubbleGumIt also brought back memories of our Caldwell Ladies Retreat in Red River, New Mexico – when we had a bubble gum-blowing contest!  Although I don’t remember who was the winner (or IF there was a winner), there are a great many good memories from that retreat.


Sunday traffic in Austin

Sunday traffic in Austin

Traffic in the left-bound lane on a Sunday afternoon in Austin, Texas . . . a six-car pile-up several miles ahead of these irritated drivers – who are undoubtedly wondering what the hold-up is and wanting to get to their destination.

Fortunately, we were traveling in the opposite direction.


The number of police reported accidents in the U.S.A. for the year 2004 was an estimated 6,181,000. That figures breaks down to approx. 16,934 accidents that were reported to the police each day.