Friday, April 08, 2016

Texas and California Giveaways

Found some local giveaways in California and Texas....

Texas Giveaways

(5/9) $50 Gift Certificate to Fairy Tale Threads (May 17, Austin, TX)

(5/15) Barre and Bites Tickets (May 21 - Dallas, TX)

(5/27) BOOK:  Ya'll Need this Book

California Giveaways 

(5/11) Zimmer Museum Tickets (Los Angelos, CA)

(5/30) $3000 Lodging + $2000 food in California 

If you know of any others, please share them and I'll add them too!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Guest Post by Donna Fitzgerald: My Issues With Texas Roadways

I’ve driven 1-35 East, in and around Dallas enough times that some of my experiences were as bad as a “normal” day in Los Angeles traffic. Anyone that’s been stuck in big Texan congestion (particularly during a rare morning rain storm) will agree that traffic congestion is a major danger on Texas roadways. It’s frustrating and confusing and when I’ve brought it up to native Texans, the response is always the same, “It’s always been this way!” What’s worse is that the average driver spends up to 52 hours being stuck in traffic. That’s many people’s PTO!

So, okay, it’s been this way for a long time--to be more accurate, at least 40 years. The major population boom of over 100% is a main culprit for traffic congestion;  that and the fact that extra roads couldn’t be built quickly enough to accommodate such an influx of residents. Even though TxDOT has a plan to reduce the congestion in some of the biggest cities, I don’t see Texas roadways becoming any less dangerous until other changes are made, too.

The Problem with Texting

I hate texting and driving and I’m bothered that Texas is slow to get on board with putting a texting and driving ban on the whole state.   I’m even more disturbed that it’s not illegal to text and drive in major cities like Dallas. While a number of cities have taken on this issue, currently, the only state-wide laws prohibiting texting and driving includes bus drivers (when a passenger is 17 or younger is present), drivers in school crossing zones, and intermediate license holders for the first year.  At least I don’t have to worry about my youngest daughter crossing in a school zone, right?    When I’ve voiced my opinion to some, I am simply reminded, “If you don’t like it, don’t do it”, but it’s hard to ignore.

I used to text and drive and it was a hard habit to break, but after having one too many close calls and suddenly realizing I was a role model for my soon-to-be-licensed daughter, I knew I had to change. While my husband is perfectly content to turn off his phone and put it in the glovebox, I wasn’t going to risk the temptation and had an ignition interlock device installed in our car (to each their own, right?).  Technically, we can still text and drive, especially to pass the time during gridlock (like every other driver), but as a family, we’ve pledged not to.

When my daughter got her license, we wrote up a driving contract and she signed a pledge not to text and drive, even when or if it becomes legal for her. Additionally, she downloaded a texting prevention app on her phone and surprisingly, she’s inspired many of her friends to do the same.
The Congestion Issue

I know that fixing a major congestion issue will take some time and even with the money to pay for it, I shudder at the thought of more construction and re-routing already problematic traffic. While texting and driving is a significant and noticeable issue during gridlock, I’ve also noticed many motorists engaging in a handful of distractions. One morning, I spotted my neighbor shaving his face behind the wheel:  He saw me and smiled sheepishly.

Fortunately, my daily schedule is flexible and I can often plan my trips around the worst times of congestion. In order to plan my day and know what to expect, I check out the Texas Highway Conditions map on a daily basis. My daughter makes fun of me, but without my “heads up” she wouldn’t know what to expect either.

This guest post was written by the author, 
and fellow Texifornian, Donna Fitzgerald.

Pictures by Pixabay 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Railroad Commissioner Websites Are Comedy Gold

I've been researching republican primary candidates, and oh my word, reading Railroad Commissioner candidates' websites is comedy gold...

Take Doug Jeffrey's whole paragraph and a link to his facebook page is the whole thing. No mentions of issues...just a bio with this gem to convince us he has experience in the oil industry (which is what Railroad Commissioner regulates...that and gas, but ironically, not railroads):
"Doug has continued his family's tradition of raising cattle and has active investments in the oil and gas industry." 
Like, "I invest in oil companies" is the closest thing he has to experience...all grouped in there in a sentence about his cattle experience, like that's just as relevant.  Nice.

 Or try this one by John Greytok (who's site overall isn't too least it has some content, this quote not withstanding)....
" 1994, outraged over the arrogance of the Clinton White House, Greytok filed suit against Bill Clinton in a Texas federal district court." 

And that was ALL it said about that. So, was the suit about... Clinton's arrogance? I mean really, cause he didn't  say WHY he sued him, other than that. I can just picture that day in the John Greytok stands in front of the court and in a booming voice says, "I file this suit over the egregiously pompous arrogance perpetrated by President Clinton."

Ron Hale does talk about issues a little...but someone please get this man a copy-editor.  He has a whole line of "bullet points" all formatted like this....
Conservative Principles I plan to regulate on the basis of traditional values, limited state and federal government involvement, individual liberty, and free market principles.
Wow, that's new...this is the first Republican I've heard of that wants to regulate conservative principals. Seriously Hale, advice from a former English need a dash or a colon or some bolding or something in there. Really, pay some college student $20 to edit your's worth it).*

*Yeah, yeah, I know I'm going to be creamed for that cause I probably have a few errors in this myself. Granted, I'm not expecting anyone to vote for me though.

So, who did I decide on?  Someone who doesn't have a website at all (at least not one I can find)...which usually would be a pretty swift knock against him, but nearly every article on the race I could find seemed to be endorsing him, and their reasoning seemed sound.  The Dallas News, The Eagle, Corpus Christy Caller Times and Waco Tribune all endorse the geologist and current commission employee Lance Christian (not to be confused with Wayne Christian, also running, who seemed to get some pretty hearty UN-endorsements).   The Texas Tribune also had a very detailed and mostly positive article about Lance, though it wasn't an official endorsement.  And the Houston Chronicle suggests a vote for EITHER Lance Christian OR John Greytok. 

Below are some quotes from those endorsements...

For Lance Christian
Of all the candidates, Lance Christian not only is the most knowledgeable about the commission, but wants to use that knowledge to help industry thrive responsibly. He's a geologist working for the commission — not just a geologist but one versed in hydrology. His science background and his knowledge of the inner workings of the agency would be uncommon assets to the commission. He knows better than the others which rules work and which don't.-Corpus Christy Caller Times
Unlike many of the politicians in this race, he keeps a focus on the straight and narrow duties of the commission: preserving the safety of Texans and our environment, and fostering the oil and gas industry. But maybe he doesn't go for the political pot-shots because Christian can actually talk about the policy and science that consumes most of the day-to-day duties of the commission.
- Houston Chronicle
 [Lance Christian is] likely to bring a measured, reasoned voice to difficult discussions about energy and environmental concerns. For example, Christian cited a need to review regulations to help the embattled oil and gas industry, including revamping a bond structure to allow small operators greater financial flexibility in plugging dormant wells. He also said the commission needs to carefully address harmful environmental emissions without hurting a struggling industry. This is a reasonable, balanced approach.
- Dallas News
For the record, the only candidate who stood out of the Texas Railroad Commission wannabes assembled...was Lance Christian, a low-key, 44-year-old geologist who works for the commission. He talked about things like horizontal drilling, injection wells and protecting groundwater. In short, he knew what he was talking about and didn’t feel the need to proclaim himself pro-Israel or pro-gun. 
- Waco Tribune

 For John Greytok

Greytok has legal expertise. With a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Greytok has served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of Texas and as a briefing attorney to the chief justice of the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. He understands the legal aspects of the commission's rulemaking and is also endorsed by former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.
- Houston Chronical

Anyways, also along the way I found some seemingly non-biased sources for info.  This article lists quotes from a candidate forum (which unfortunately I couldn't find the full transcript for.).   While the Dallas Morning News itself isn't un-biased, their voter's guide seems to consist of verbatim answers to questions from the candidates, so offers a good overview without their own slant to it.     There was also a Q&A session I found, but  Lance Christian wasn't included (he came into the race late, so maybe that's why).

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Years Eve (And All Year Round) Gun Safety Tips

These are compliments of my dad, who owned a plethora of guns and gave me a healthy fear of them.

  1. Lots of people like to shoot guns in the air on New Years Eve.  BAD IDEA.  Those bullets come down somewhere, and are just as deadly going down as going up.   DON'T SHOOT A GUN UP IN THE AIR, EVER.  Plus, if you plan to be drinking on New Years Eve, it's probably not the best time to take those guns out anyways.
  2. People have been killed with guns loaded with blanks, rubber bullets, or even with unloaded guns (the blast itself can kill if it's close enough).  Never aim a gun at anyone you don't intend to kill.
  3. Keep your guns where your kids can't get them.  This ones not so much from my dad, as from my own experience raising three boys.   We don't have guns in the house, but they have gotten into enough other dangerous things we've warned them about.  Even if you've taught your kids well about the dangers of guns and are SURE your kids would never touch them, you don't know that their friends will be as wise.  That's what caused a tragedy in the apartments where we used to live.  A little boy was shot and killed by his friend with his father's gun.  The boy may have known not to touch the gun, but it didn't matter, because his friend didn't.  

Have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Friday, October 09, 2015

This Is Wherever Wednesday Taking a Haitus

I am afraid This is Wherever Wednesday is taking a hiatus. I have just been to busy with homeschool, my home business, and other things to keep up with this, even though it's only once a month (sad, I know). I may re-start it again if you would like me to contact you if it starts up again you can e-mail me at with the subject "TIWW" and I will e-mail you if it's back running again.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Texifornia Quote of the Day

Around October you will become very tired of summer and wish it would go away.  Then one morning you will awaken and it will be 40 [degrees] outside.  All the leaves will have departed the trees overnight and will be sitting in the yard, demanding to be raked. 
~ Helen Bryant, from Fixin' to Be Texan

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Texas Giveaways

Found some local giveaways you might be interested in.

(8/12) On the Go Freezer Kit and Grocery Boquet Workshop - Fort Worth, TX
(8/13) Waco/Temple Area Coupons - Waco/Temple, TX
(8/20) Cirque de Solei Tickets - Austin, TX
(8/21) Hop n' Happy Birthday Package - Austin, TX
(8/24) Lego Kids Fest Tickets - Austin, TX

Know of others?   Share them in the comments and I'll add them too (family friendly only).   California giveaways welcomed too!