Barney Bush, Long Time Pal – George W Bush

The Legacy of Barney Bush

Barney BushBarney Bush guarded the South Lawn entrance of the White House as if he were a Secret Service agent.  His favorite activity was chasing golf balls on the chipping green at Camp David.  He wandered the halls of the West Wing looking for treats from his many friends.

Barney Bush left a legacy.


George W. Bush on the passing of Barney Bush:

“Laura and I are sad to announce that our Scottish Terrier, Barney, has passed away. The little fellow had been suffering from lymphoma and after twelve and a half years of life, his body could not fight off the illness.

Barney and I enjoyed the outdoors. He loved to accompany me when I fished for bass at the ranch. He was a fierce armadillo hunter.

He starred in Barney Cam and gave the American people Christmas tours of the White House. Barney greeted Queens, Heads of State, and Prime Ministers. He was always polite and never jumped in their laps.

Barney was by my side during our eight years in the White House. He never discussed politics and was always a faithful friend. Laura and I will miss our pal.”

Barney Bush had family

Barney Bush is survived by his fellow Scottish terrier, Miss Beazley, and Bob the cat. To see a great Barney Bush photo albumplease click here.

Photos: See Barney’s adventures over the years

Barney Bush



I Lost a Friend Today. Definition of a Friend

My Friend Cathy

 Losing a friend is never easy.

Today I want to say a few words about my friend Cathy.  As far back as I can remember when growing up in Amityville, Cathy was a laid back, ‘organic’ kind of girl.  She was the big sister of one of my closest and best friends of my life, Teresa.  Cathy was never one to gossip or say malicious things about others. She never judged, she never wanted to be a bother to others.  Cathy liked to smile and she loved her family.  She was a giver.  She was a mother, a daughter, a big sister.   And how can I leave this out?! Cathy was Italian!

From early in my junior high school years I had the good fortune of meeting Terece and quickly became close lifetime friends.   Two Italian girls with unrelenting spirit- what a combo!  Teresa’s mom was so much like my own mother… kind, non-judgmental and a great cook who wasn’t afraid to use her wooden spoon on her kids bottoms!  Ha-ha. 🙂  Thanks to Facebook we have all been able to reconnect after about 30+ years.  Children grown and relocated, yet it was like we never lost touch. We picked right back up from where we left.  Except Cathy added one thing to her life that the rest of us had not, thankfully.  Cathy found out she had cancer.  They say that God will not give us more than we can handle and I’ve seen this to be true again and again.  Cathy was the one who had the fortitude to fight.  And fight she did.   And always with a positive outlook.   Even as recent as 5 days ago Cathy was ready to come out on the other side of her chemo and win again.  This time the cancer won.
I lost a friend today. On this day a mother lost her daughter, a daughter lost her mom, and sisters lost their big sister.  friend

On this Sunday morning, January 27, 2013 another Angel got her wings.

God speed Cathy.  Well done, good and faithful servant.  You will be loved and remembered forever. Fly to Jesus Cathy…. on wings like eagles.♥

‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ ~2 Timothy 4:7

Urban Dictionary’s definition of ‘Friend’
I think they used Cathy as the model for this definition.

A friend is someone you love and who loves you, someone you respect and who respects you, someone whom you trust and who trusts you. A friend is honest and makes you want to be honest, too. A friend is loyal.

A friend is someone who is happy to spend time with you doing absolutely nothing at all; someone who doesn’t mind driving you on stupid errands, who will get up at midnight just because you want to go on an adventure, and who doesn’t have to talk to communicate with you.

A friend is someone who not only doesn’t care if you’re ugly or boring, but doesn’t even think about it; someone who forgives you no matter what you do, and someone who tries to help you even when they don’t know how. A friend is someone who tells you if you’re being stupid, but who doesn’t make you feel stupid.

A friend is someone who would sacrifice their life and happiness for you. A friend is someone who will come with you when you have to do boring things like watch bad recitals, go to stuffy parties, or wait in boring lobbies. You don’t even think about who’s talking or who’s listening in a conversation with a friend.

A friend is someone for whom you’re willing to change your opinions. A friend is someone you look forward to seeing and who looks forward to seeing you: someone you like so much, it doesn’t matter if you share interests or traits. A friend is someone you like so much, you start to like the things they like.

A friend is a partner, not a leader or a follower.

Ed Koch had Chutzpah

 Rest in Peace, Mayor Ed Koch 

Ed Koch

New York City Mayor Ed Koch had Chutzpah

I’m thinking fondly of Ed Koch today.. remembering him at the NYC St. Patty’s Day parade every year.

Ed Koch died on February 1, 2013 at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital . He was 88 years young.  A spokesman said he died that Friday morning of congestive heart failure.

Sometimes said to be combative and ‘acid-tongued’,  I will always think of  this politician as a man who kept his sense of humor through it all.  He  held a three year term at City Hall and during that time he rescued the city of New York from near-financial ruin.  Ed Koch had enough New York chutzpah for the rest of the planet.  From back when I as a kid and into adulthood, Ed Koch was the Mayor of NY.  He always seemed like ‘regular guy’, but you did not want to mess with his city!

N.Y.C. Mayor Mike Bloomberg Speaks highly about Ed Koch

As written by Mariam Brillantes of the Wall Street Journal, “Ed Koch was so proud of his already-prepared tombstone at his burial site in Manhattan that he made sure I had a copy of the inscription when I interviewed him on Jan. 18 at his Midtown Manhattan law office, the day before he was hospitalized. The inscription reads, in part: “He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people.” Also inscribed on his tombstone is a quote from Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl:“My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish, I am Jewish.” (Daniel Pearl, 2002, just before he was beheaded by a Muslim terrorist.)

Ed Koch was really funny, and was always asking, “How  ‘my doing?”


Ed Koch wanted to be buried at a “bustling cemetery.”  At his burial site on 155thStreet and Amsterdam Ave you can find a stone bench and a tree. He said he hoped people will visit.  We will Mr. Mayor, we will.

Ed Koch

Salt Sugar Fat | Michael Moss_ New Book Review

Salt Sugar Fat
How the Food Giants Hook Us
salt sugar fat

A Review of Salt Sugar Fat

Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Michael Moss (at The New York Times) delivers the explosive story of the processed food industry and its connection to this country’s obesity epidemic. Moss reveals how companies use salt sugar fat to addict us and exposes the competitive nature of the corporations over their concern for health.

In 1999 the heads of the largest processed food companies—from Coca-Cola to Kellogg’s—met at Pillsbury for a secret meeting. On their roster: the rising epidemic of obesity, and what to do about it.

Time and time again, the salt sugar fat filled foods these companies produce were being linked to obesity. A troubled Kraft executive issued a warning from the podium: There would be a “day of reckoning” unless these companies made changes. He then propelled  into a fault-finding 114 slide PowerPoint presentation—illustrating that processed food companies could no longer afford to stand around and do nothing as adults and children grew sick and law suits lurked. Refusing to acknowledge the problem, he said, is to “court disaster”. Salt sugar fat was slowly killing  Americans.

The clearly annoyed CEO of General Mills—(the most powerful person there) spoke when the Kraft exec ended his talk.
And so ended the meeting.

What has the processed food industry done about Salt Sugar Fat

The situation has only declined since that day in 1999. The processed food industry has a win-no-matter-what mindset.  The average American eats 33 pounds of cheese a year and more than 70 pounds of sugar- not including the high fructose corn syrup in most all processed foods. We eat double the amount of salt daily that we need. It all comes from processed food. This is the main reason why 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 5 kids is clinically obese. No wonder 26 million Americans are diabetic. The processed food industry in the U.S. is a 1 trillion dollar a year business. This health crisis is approaching a cost $300 billion a year and thousands of lives.

In Salt Sugar Fat  Michael Moss shows how we got to this point. Giving examples from the most popular companies and favorite brands of the last 50 years—including Kraft, Coca-Cola, Lunchables, Kellogg, Nestlé, Oreos, Cargill, Capri Sun, and lots more—Moss’s bombshell  is based on detailed, staggering research.

Michael Moss brings us inside the laboratories where food scientists use state-of-the-art technology to calculate the “bliss point” of sugar laden drinks.  How they enhance the “mouthfeel” of fat by modifying its chemical structure.  Moss unveils marketing campaigns designed to lower concerns about the health risks of their ‘foods’: headlining as “fat-free” or “low-salt.” He interviews troubled executives who confess that they could never make healthy alternatives to their ‘foods’. Simply put: The industry itself would die without salt sugar fat.

The companies call their biggest customers “heavy users” and they are are addicted to this seductive trio – salt sugar fat- well…so  are the companies that solicit them.

Read this book-You will never look at a nutrition label in the same way again.

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GMO Food Controversy

WWBD? 13 Things Your Burglar Won’t Tell You



Outsmart a burglar? I am particularly interested in the part about the wasp spray…

WWBD? What would a burglar do? 

1. Of course I look familiar. I was here just last week cleaning your carpets, painting your shutters, or delivering your new refrigerator. I am next week’s burglar.

2. Hey, thanks for letting me use the bathroom when I was working in your yard last week. While I was in there, I unlatched the back window to make my return a little easier. Pretty smart for a landscaping burglar, huh?

3. Love those flowers. That tells me you have taste… and taste means there are nice things inside. Those yard toys your kids leave out always make me wonder what type of gaming system they have.

4. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway. And I might leave a pizza flyer in your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it…

A Burglar Deterrent you may not be aware of..

…a burglar  may try to unlatch your automatic garage door- from the outside!

5. If it snows while you’re out of town, get a neighbor to create car and foot tracks into the house.. Virgin drifts in the driveway are a dead giveaway to a burglar.

6. If decorative glass is part of your front entrance, don’t let your alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it’s set. That makes it too easy.

7. A good security company alarms the window over the sink. And the windows on the second floor, which often access the master bedroom – and your jewelry. It’s not a bad idea to put motion detectors up there too.

8. It’s raining, you’re fumbling with your umbrella, and you forget to lock your door – understandable. But understand this: I don’t take a day off because of bad weather.

9.  As a polite burglar, I always knock first.  🙂  If you answer, I’ll ask for directions somewhere or offer to clean your gutters. (Don’t take me up on it.)

10. Do you really think I won’t look in your sock drawer? I always check dresser drawers, the bedside table, and the medicine cabinet.

11. Here’s a helpful hint: I almost never go into kids’ rooms.

12. You’re right: I won’t have enough time to break into that safe where you keep your valuables. But if it’s not bolted down, I’ll take it with me. I am a strong burglar!

13.  A loud TV or radio can be a better deterrent than the best alarm system. If yo u’re reluctant to leave your TV on while you’re out of town, you can buy a $35 device that works on a timer and simulates the flickering glow of a real television. (Find it at


1. Sometimes, I carry a clipboard. Sometimes, I dress like a lawn guy and carry a rake. I do my best to never, ever look like a crook.

2. The two things I hate most: loud dogs and nosy neighbors.

3. I’ll break a window to get in, even if it makes a little noise. If your neighbor hears one loud sound, he’ll stop what he’s doing and wait to hear it again. If he doesn’t hear it again, he’ll just go back to what he was doing. It’s human nature.

4. I’m not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?

5. I love looking in your windows. I’m looking for signs that you’re home, and for flat screen TVs or gaming systems I’d like. I’ll drive or walk through your neighborhood at night, before you close the blinds, just to pick my targets.

6. Avoid announcing your vacation on your Facebook page. It’s easier than you think to look up your address. I this burglar does have a Facebook page!

7. To you, leaving that window open just a crack during the day is a way to let in a little fresh air. To a burglar, it’s an invitation.

8. If you don’t answer when I knock, I try the door. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and walk right in.

Protection for you and your home: If you don’t have a gun, here’s a more humane way to wreck someone’s evil plans for you.


It’s  inexpensive, easy to find, and more effective than mace or pepper spray.

A friend who is a receptionist in a church in a high risk area was concerned about someone coming into the office on Monday to rob them when they were counting the collection. She asked the local police department about using pepper spray and they recommended to her that she get a can of wasp spray instead.

The wasp spray, they told her, can shoot up to twenty feet away and is a lot more accurate, while with the pepper spray, they have to get too close to you and could overpower you. The wasp spray temporarily blinds an attacker until they get to the hospital for an antidote. She keeps a can on her desk in the office and it doesn’t attract attention from people like a can of pepper spray would. She also keeps one near by at home for home protection.. Thought this was interesting and might be of use.  The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, spray the culprit in the eyes. If you’re looking for protection, look to the spray. That’s going to give you a chance to call the police; maybe get out. Maybe even save a life.

Put your car keys beside your bed at night.
Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents, your Dr.’s office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across. Put your car keys beside your bed at night.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house, just press the panic button for your carThe alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies. This tip came from a neighborhood watch coordinator. Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away, think of this: It’s a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage. If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house, odds are the burglar/rapist won’t stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won’t want that. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime.

I am posting this because I think it is fantastic. Would also be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can’t reach a phone. It is suggested to  carry car keys in case one should fall outside, around the house. That way one can activate the car alarm to alert there’s a problem.

Please pass this on even IF you’ve read it before. It’s a reminder.

Sources: Convicted burglars in North Carolina  Oregon, California, and Kentucky. Special thanks to  Richard T. Wright, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who interviewed 105 burglars for his book Burglars on the Job.

Prejudice- Will it Ever End?


prej·u·dice  /ˈprejədəs/

Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience. 

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about prejudice today?

Prejudice can end

This morning was a thoughtful one for me.  Mornings are my ‘best’ time.  I was reminded of the prejudice in this country. January 21, 2013 was the swearing-in ceremony of the 44th President of the United States, Barak Obama. The 57th Presidential Inauguration.

Today is also Martin Luther King Day, the national holiday to recognize the birthday and life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Who by the way was born neither Martin nor Luther.  He was born Michael King in Atlanta on January 15 1929. The Rev. King changed his own name to Martin Luther King in honor of the Protestant reformer.  The rest as they say, is history.

I like to think that today was a birthday gift to MLK, Jr..  That’s how I feel.
The second presidential term for a black man in this United States of America!
And knowing the hearts of a few close dear friends who happen to be black, I hope this day gives all African Americans a feeling that none of the struggles throughout US history have been in vain, but instead that part of a dream has come true.

Grateful I Never Personally Knew Prejudice

I grew up in a small town- Amityville, Long Island, New York.  I did not grow up with prejudice.  I consider myself to be very fortunate to have been in a school district where the  ratio was about 60% black students to 40% white students.
My best friend in first grade was Sherry Hines, “a little colored girl”,  my daddy would say.  We were young and we were learning together, and we never learned how to hate. Fast forward about 35 years and my friends from High School are all on Facebook together, reminiscing the good times.  I say ‘all’… black and white friends, without prejudice. We have celebrated winning football seasons together, cried for the loss of classmates together.  And we have differed in political opinions- together, without prejudice.

I live in Texas now. The South.  Oh yeah, different world than the North.  I spent one Thanksgiving in a town where they still use the ‘N’ word like ‘please pass the salt’.  True ignorance in every sense of the word, IMHO.  Some are haters, yes. They were taught to hate from generations before them and never evolved.  (As is true for some African-Americans.)  When I hear the reality of not only slavery, but the cruelty that was happening to blacks not long ago, right down the road, I am appalled.
I never knew.

The Human Body Knows No Prejudice

Think about this-  When a patient is brought into the OR and the surgeon makes that first cut, the blood is the same color, no matter what the color of the skin.  Internal organs look and function the same.  The heart beats the same.

Will Today’s  Inauguration Bring us Closer to an End of Prejudice in America?

Today’s inauguration kicked off a year of important commemorations that propelled the struggle for equal rights forward: the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation and 50 years since the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and black activist Medgar Evers.

Are we any closer to peace within the USA?

 “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Stop prejudice today. God Bless us one and all.


Rest in Peace Common Sense.

Here Lies Common Sense

Rest In Peace

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.  RIP

No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.  Common Sense will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as ‘knowing when to come in out from the rain’; ‘Why the early bird gets the worm’; ‘Life isn’t always fair’; and ‘Maybe it was my fault’.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies, don’t spend more than you earn and adults, not children are in charge. His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 yr old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.  It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirinto a student; but could inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as churches becames businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home but the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife Discretion, his daughter Responsbility, his son Reason and his dog Morals.   He is survived by his stepbrothers; I Know My Rights; I Want It Now; Someone Else Is To Blame; and I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

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Another hot day here in Austin, Texas ☼ The Drought 2011

The drought in Texas 2011.

It’s another hot day here in Austin…We are about to pass 69 days of over 100 degree temps and one of the worst droughts in Texas history.

I am so grateful for electricity and  air conditioning!  My  days begin with keeping the bird baths full of fresh clean water,  nourishing my one and only tomato plant, and
watching the hummingbirds chase one another, dive bombing and frolicking, seeming to enjoy the heat while they partake of the red sugary hydration.
September is just around the bend, and with it will come the rains.

As I look out my office window I see one more member of my mini wild kingdom…
it’s siesta time for my little friend…

My nuts are roasting...


Hello, I must be going….

What a Monday!

A great day for sure!

Today I set up 2 RSS Feeds which I believe will automatically post to Twitter when updated. I did this through (That’s a tip for you!) Consider this my first post to test and see if it works! If you are not already, please follow me on Twitter @visitkarenville.

That’s it for today. I am leaving you with yet another little song… as this was a quick hello and now I am going…

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My intention is to make the rest of the week better as each day comes…

what is your intention for the week?