San Antonio Sabbatical

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  • In: Preparation
  • Comments Off on Preparing for the Return Move

One week from today I leave beautiful San Antonio.  My courses are completed and my sabbatical semester is coming to an end.  I’ve been spending this week getting ready for my move, first to New York to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day with family and then back to Pennsylvania to resume my job for the Spring 2011 semester.

On Sunday afternoon, I made my first visit to North Star Mall.  No plans to buy anything; just wanted to look around and take a picture of those awesome Texas cowboy boots (a huge colorful eye-catching sculpture that sits by the I-410 highway at the mall’s entrance).  After snapping the desired photos, I made a planned stop at Luciano Ristorante, an authentic Italian restaurant (They also have an express version of their restaurant in the mall’s food court.  I ate at the large full-service restaurant).  Italian cuisine (minus the cheese) is one of my favorites and Luciano was no exception.  I sat in their mall seating area admiring the holiday decorations and shoppers while eating my lunch.  I ordered Spaghetti Bolognese and Iced Tea.  I was given a small complimentary bruschetta-like appetizer along with the usual basket of bread and butter.  The food (large portion of seasoned spaghetti that was attractively presented) was delicious and the service was very good.  I’m so glad I got to try the highly-recommended Luciano Ristorante.  This is a place I’d like to return to if I’m ever in San Antonio again.

Later that evening I signed my holiday cards and prepared them for mailing on Monday.  They’re already late for Hanukkah which came early this year.  Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to include my annual newsletter for my college friends (whom I’ve been keeping in touch with for over 20 years), so I’ll have to send it separately at a later date.  I spent a couple of days getting my San Antonio pictures developed at CVS.  They processed several rolls of film; I had put in 13 Kodak Fun Saver cameras — love them! — and requested single prints, CD and index print for each (I’m nearing the end of my 14th camera and will develop these photos after I move).  The pictures came out really well and I gave copies of a group photo to each member of my Spanish clinic team.  I’ve been saying goodbye to people as the semester has been winding down.

I have to say that moving back to Pennsylvania is a lot easier than my August move to San Antonio.  The first move required many more decisions and preparations since I had to plan for four months away from home.  The reverse process is familiar having been through this stress before.  I’ve returned all of my library books; gave my change of address (mail forward) to the post office and also mailed a box of items (since I can’t carry it on the plane); made my last trips to the hairdresser, grocery store, and bank; made an appointment to have my Internet service disconnected next week; ordered a book to review for NACADA over the semester break; and made my car shipping arrangements via Phoenix Auto Transport Services (located in Vancouver, WA), the same company I used in August.  My 1999 Toyota was picked up at 8:00 this morning.  Knowing that I would be carless for the final week of my stay here forced me to do several errands by early this week.

My stay in San Antonio has been relatively uneventful except for a tropical storm in September and two annoying things: (1) one of the boxes I mailed from Pennsylvania to Texas was lost by the United States Postal Service — the box was insured and I have 180 days in which to file a claim for reimbursement, which I will do once I return to Pennsylvania and can gather the receipts, and (2) the inability to continue receiving my allergy shots in Texas — my health insurance company approved of the out-of-network coverage, but doctors in Texas required that I undergo the allergy testing all over again and have a new mix created based on allergens in Texas (the insurance company had not authorized this extensive procedure and retesting and remixing my serum would have taken too long and not been practical since my stay in Texas is only temporary).  Fortunately, with the exception of a couple of bad days, my allergies presented no major problems here in San Antonio.  I figure that if these are the worst things that happened to me during my semester in San Antonio, then I’ve done really well.

A surprise for me was how cold San Antonio can get, especially at night.  This is something that I underestimated and wasn’t prepared for.  I brought with me only one casual long-sleeve sweater and four casual long-sleeve shirts.  I had to buy a pair of thicker pajamas once here.  But, I didn’t want to buy too much because I won’t have room for it on the plane.  Since I have a washer and dryer in my apartment, I’ve been doing laundry more often during cold weather.  I’m glad that my furnished apartment includes heat and warm bedding.  People warned me of the heat in Texas (and it can be brutal in the summer), but not the cold.  So, if you come to Texas in the fall and winter months, bring some heavier clothes.  You’ll need them.  My winter clothes are in New York waiting for me at my Dad’s house when I arrive there next Friday.

Things are winding down and I’m using these last few days to do some leisure reading.  Soon I will need to clean my apartment and pack my things.  First, I’m giving myself a couple of days to just relax.  Then, I’ll get busy.  On Sunday evening one of my clinic team members will be hosting an end-of-semester potluck dinner party for the team and I will be going (another team member has offered to give me a ride).  Other than this event, I have no major plans.  My sightseeing is over.  I’m tired, so I’m actually looking forward to some downtime now.  And I’m really looking forward to reducing my expenses (i.e., not paying twice for rent and utilities each month) and paying down my credit card bill.  This four-month excursion to San Antonio has been wonderful, but I think I’m ready to get back to my normal life.

  • In: Diversions
  • Comments Off on Another Busy Week

Whew!  After an activity-filled few days, I finally have a little bit of time to rest.  On Tuesday afternoon I attended my afternoon practicum as usual; the clinic team was treated to “pan de muerto” (bread) in honor of El Día de Los Muertos.  Then afterward, Clinic Team Supervisor and five team members went to El Pollo Loco (the crazy chicken, in English), a fast food restaurant specializing in flame-grilled chicken, for dinner before going to campus for a special evening lecture.  This was my first time visiting El Pollo Loco — and it was a very good visit.  Their menu contains a nice selection of items.  I ordered “The Original Pollo Bowl” which consists of chicken breast, pinto beans, rice, onions, cilantro and pico de gallo.  I enjoyed my meal and plan to return to this restaurant (which will be easy to do since it’s located near the clinic where I’m doing my Spanish Team practicum).

The Tuesday evening lecture (November 2nd at 7:00 p.m.) was held at Our Lady of the Lake University‘s Thiry Auditorium and attendance was required by Classroom Professor (she canceled the previous day’s class so that students could attend this special presentation instead; I had planned to attend anyway).  The two-hour program was titled, “Immigration Reform: A Catholic Response” and featured Bishop John C. Wester (Chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Refugee Services) as the main speaker with additional perspectives by Bernadette Solórzano, Psy.D. (OLLU assistant professor of Psychology and director of the University’s Community Counseling Service) speaking about “Advocacy for Immigrants”, and Jorge Valadez, Ph.D. (OLLU professor of Philosophy) speaking about “Immigration Reform: A World View”.  OLLU‘s president, Tessa Martinez Pollack, Ph.D., gave the official welcome and Bishop Oscar Cantú introduced the main speaker.  This was an interesting and informative guest lecture.  I’m so glad I attended.  Given the big immigration debate currently happening in the U.S. and the focus on legal, economic, political, and social issues, I hadn’t really given much thought to the religious aspect of this issue until now.  OLLU is a Catholic institution so it makes sense for them to sponsor a guest lecture which addresses the issue of immigration from a Catholic perspective.  (I’m not Catholic, but I am a Christian so there is overlap between my own beliefs and values and those professed by the Catholic church).

In addition to taking a few educational handouts that were provided at the entrance, I wrote six pages of notes during the presentations.  I won’t relay all of the details here in this blog post.  The main points addressed by Bishop John C. Wester focused on why the church is involved in this immigration issue.  He mentioned that our immigration system is broken, gave a list of important principles to consider in dealing with this issue, and stated that comprehensive immigration reform is needed and what this should entail.  Bishop Wester also mentioned common objections and debunked some myths about immigrants.  The next two speakers added additional perspectives.  Dr. Bernadette Solórzano mentioned the immigration issues she sees in her clinic and how she advocates for her clients by conducting evaluations to prove extreme psychological hardship on immigrants being separated from their families.  Dr. Jorge Valadez spoke of nation states, territorial powers, and reciprocity, and suggested systematically integrating migration into the policies of countries, especially the poor countries.  He noted that we should listen to the concerns of others and not be too quick to judge the motives of others.  Following the speakers, there was a brief question-and-answer session.  OLLU President Tessa Martinez Pollack provided closing remarks and commented on the timing of this lecture which is being held on Election Day and El Día de Los Muertos on which many people have honored their immigrant families.  This was an excellent guest lecture.

On Wednesday afternoon, I observed the other Spanish Team at the clinic and plan to return for another observation in two weeks (I’ll write about it in another post).  Wednesday evening was when I had to turn the heat on in my apartment for the first time and put a quilt on my bed.  Nighttime temperatures have dropped into the 30s.  Yes, it does get cold here in Texas.  I wasn’t expecting this so I may have to do a little shopping for more fall clothes.  I didn’t bring a lot of heavy clothes with me since I was warned about the Texas heat (I arrived in San Antonio in mid-August).  This current weather reminds me of what I experienced while living in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.  San Antonio‘s recent daytime temperatures have often been in the 70s, but there is a significant drop at night (there have been freeze warnings in the northern parts of Texas).

Thursday was my monthly luncheon for Newcomers of San Antonio.  This time we dined at Silo Elevated Cuisine and Bar.  Like last month, several members attended, but this restaurant’s set-up was better (i.e., tables of 8 in a separate room with more space) and this made it easier to mingle and feel comfortable.  The group’s president (Donna Lee Conkwright) made some announcements and conducted the general meeting, then we ate lunch, and then we listened to a speaker.  The lunch was flavorful.  I selected the Wood Grilled Atlantic Salmon with roasted corn and red pepper polenta, grilled asparagus, and basil crab beurre blanc, and for dessert I had a delicious dark chocolate truffle mousse.  A house salad and bread were served prior to the entree; black currant iced tea was served as an optional beverage.  I really like this restaurant — great atmosphere and food, although our service was slow (it took almost an hour before everyone was served; my table was one of the last ones served).  During dessert we heard a 40-minute presentation by Donna Simon, a local artist (painter) and founding board member of SAY Sí.  She discussed “Contemporary Art in San Antonio” and showed slides of various types of art made by local artists.  I really enjoyed this presentation.  At the end, I took one of her flyers and business cards and contacted her to register for one of the Studio Art Tours she offers each month where she takes participants to artists’ studios and galleries in San Antonio.  I enjoy dabbling in art and viewing the artwork of others, and am excited about this opportunity.  My Studio Art Tour is scheduled to take place on the morning of Tuesday, November 9th.

Friday marked the release of Tyler Perry‘s new movie, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf“.  I went to the 11:10 a.m. showing at AMC Huebner Oaks 24 and was pleasantly surprised that tickets for showtimes before noon cost only $5.00.  What a great deal.  Anyway, “For Colored Girls…” (which is based upon a 1970s play) is intense — so many deep and troubling issues; an emotional two hours.  Despite the harsh content (which reflects these ladies’ lives), I liked the movie.

On Friday evening, I went to Elvia’s (my SEFLA Spanish teacher) house so that we could attend the SAY Sí Mueritos Fest First Friday, a special event for El Día de Los Muertos.  When I arrived at Elvia’s house around 5:30 p.m., I gave her flowers and a box of Pepperidge Farm cookies that she loves.  She thanked me and invited me inside.  We chatted briefly and she introduced me to her husband (who loves to tango dance).  Then we walked for a few blocks to the event.  SAY Sí (San Antonio Youth – Yes) is an arts organization that helps the area’s children.  For the 4th Annual Mueritos Fest there were art exhibits in various media; vendors selling jewelry, crafts, and foods; and some entertainment.  Elvia and I watched a short shadow box performance by theater students  from a local school.  Afterward, we went outside and saw a variety of regional Mexican dances being performed by dancers wearing traditional dress.  The talent and creativity on display were amazing.  Elvia then took me to the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center which is famous for its art gallery; the Blue Star Brewing Company Restaurant and Bar next door is a popular hangout spot for the locals who come listen to the live entertainment.  This neighborhood houses many artists — they live here and have their studios here.  Elvia and I went inside the gallery and looked around at some of the art exhibits; as we passed by the Blue Star restaurant we ran into one of Elvia’s neighbors and stopped and talked for a while.

As we walked along S. Alamo Street in search of a place to eat, Elvia explained that we were in the historic King William district and the Southtown area known for its history, culture, food, art, and music.  This is San Antonio‘s arts district and there are many restaurants, shops, museums, and galleries here.  At my request, we went inside of Pulquerios’ Jewelry, Art, Beads & Eclectica and I purchased a small curio display box of a Día de Los Muertos scene.  It’s cute, artsy, and small enough to carry with me when I move in six weeks.  We ate at a nearby restaurant, Liberty Bar.  Elvia had eaten here before and really liked it.  Liberty Bar is a nice sit-down restaurant with a great atmosphere and diverse menu that changes daily.  It was so busy that night that we had a 20-minute wait for a table (not bad).  When we were finally seated, we ended up at a table near more of Elvia’s neighbors.  A couple of them came over to our table and Elvia introduced me.  Everybody seems so friendly, just like Elvia.  This meal was Elvia’s gift to me.  For dinner I ordered Hummus Bi Tahini with Pita Toast, a small Mixed Green Salad with Vinaigrette, and a small Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice.  Later I got a cup of Leek and Chickpea Soup to go because it looked so good when Elvia was eating it in the restaurant.  The food was delicious (I especially loved the soup that I ate once I got home).  I really enjoyed this meal and having the chance to talk with Elvia.  We spoke in English because this was a lot easier for me and this wasn’t an official lesson, just a fun outing.  This was a really nice evening and the first time I had been to this part of San Antonio.  I thanked Elvia for sharing it with me.  We parted ways around 10:35 p.m. and I arrived home twenty minutes later.  I was tired, but satisfied.  I had my fill of art and culture for the night.  ¡Qué bueno!

Yesterday at noon I had my first private Spanish lesson at Spanish, English and Foreign Languages for America, Inc. (SEFLA)SEFLA is a fairly new (since 2006) language school that is located less than three miles from my apartment.  I observed an intermediate level lectura class last Friday and took the placement exam.  Since there are currently no SEFLA group classes at my “Advanced” level, I registered for 20 hours of private lessons.  The usual cost is $620, but I received a 10% discount.  I will have one 2-hour lesson each week for 10 weeks and the lessons will focus mainly on conversation so that I can develop more confidence and comfort with speaking and understanding Spanish.  I requested Elvia as my teacher since I really liked her teaching style and personality when I observed her class last week.  Also, her voice is clear and she speaks slowly enough for me to understand her.  I understood the entire first part of Friday’s class, which was a discussion of a theatrical drama/play — El delantal blanco (The White Apron) by Sergio Vodanovic — followed by vocabulary and an alphabet game, and most of the second part which focused on a complex adventure novel, La reina del Sur (The Queen of the South) by Auturo Pérez-Reverte.

I was very happy to learn that I had been placed with Elvia.  We met for a little more than two hours and discussed my goals and preferences for textbooks and activities.  I emphasized my need for conversation practice with little interest in grammar exercises since I’ve had lots of grammar classes in the past.  I want to be able to have better casual discussions about a variety of issues.  These private lessons will supplement the professional Spanish training I am receiving at OLLU.  Elvia understood and was very accommodating.  This flexibility and custom-made course is a huge benefit of private lessons over a group class.  I have taken several group classes in the past.

The textbook I selected and purchased from SEFLA is Revista: Conversación sin barreras (Third Edition) by José A. Blanco (published by Vista Higher Learning, 2010).  It is similar to other intermediate-level textbooks I have used in the past.  It contains a variety of interesting topics for discussion.  Each of the six lessons contains a short film (cortometraje), grammar (estructuras), readings (lecturas), a comic strip (tira cómica), writing (composición), and a lively social activity (tertulia).  I will watch the short films at home via an Internet link and be prepared to discuss them at our lessons.  I will also select several exercises within each chapter to complete and review with Elvia.  Since my goal is to engage in conversation, our weekly agenda is rather loose.  There is no rigid lesson plan.  Elvia seems willing to discuss whatever topics are of interest to me.

Our first lesson together went very well.  The discussion was casual and comfortable.  We both understood each other and I learned a few new words (which Elvia wrote on the white board).  After covering my goals and deciding on a textbook, we did an exercise in Revista: Conversación sin barreras (Third Edition).  Then, we had an open discussion about our lives and our interests.  Elvia is from Nicaragua and has lived in the United States for over forty years; she is married.  Like me, she enjoys reading (especially mysteries).  I told her about the Meetup groups I attended for Spanish Language and Book Lovers, and the book clubs offered at the San Antonio Public Library.  I shared with her my background and told her about my OLLU courses.  We discussed places visited and good restaurants in San Antonio (I asked her for suggestions).  Elvia informed me that the class I observed (military students) graduated this morning after completing four weeks of intensive Spanish study.  At the end of today’s session, we exchanged contact information (e-mail addresses and telephone numbers) and changed our lesson time to 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays.  I also expressed my pleasure with today’s session and thanked Elvia.  Overall, I felt really good about our interaction — we “clicked”.  I’m looking forward to our future meetings.  🙂

On the return home, I stopped by Las Palapas, a fast food Mexican restaurant.  Since it was raining, I went through the drive-thru and ordered the “Enchilada Plate” (two beef enchiladas without cheese, rice, refried beans, and two tortillas).  While it was not a fancy meal, it was good for quick, simple, take-out food.  I’m continuing to look for different restaurants to try.  San Antonio is known for its delicious and varied food choices.  I’d like to sample lots of them without breaking my budget or my waistline.

Summer is officially over.  Today is the first full day of fall.  Although here in Texas, I probably won’t see a huge change in the weather.  From what I’ve heard, the seasons here aren’t marked by significant climate changes.  It’s hot and humid all year.  I’m thankful that this week’s temperatures (in the high-80s) are ten degrees lower than those upon my arrival in San Antonio five weeks ago.

  • In: Diversions
  • Comments Off on Books and Meetups — and a Tropical Storm

This past Monday was Labor Day.  I spent the long weekend watching television and reading my first novel (Finger Lickin’ Fifteen) by Janet Evanovich, which I really liked.  I enjoy discovering new-to-me authors.  Last year’s finds were Jodi Picoult — I read Perfect Match after seeing a Newsweek article about her huge popularity and hearing praise for her books from one of my student workers — and Kate Jacobs, who wrote The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two.  I wasn’t disappointed by any of these authors.  In a previous post, I discussed my joy of reading.  Although I read a variety of books, my preferences for fiction are mystery (e.g., Sue Grafton and Sidney Sheldon) and popular novels, and for nonfiction are psychology, writing, and business.  These are natural draws since they coincide with my professional life.

I’m an introvert and a homebody.  I’m not a big socializer so I carefully select my mingling activities.  When younger, I participated in dance, band, school clubs, and Girl Scouts.  Now that I’m older, I choose classes, book discussions, and travel/tours as my get-out-of-the-house escapes.  Moving to a new area has forced me to be creative in making contacts in the community beyond the students and professors in my department.  I heard from a friend about online “Meetup” groups in a variety of interest areas that get together regularly in person for the purpose of networking around shared interests.  Here are some reviews of Meetup.  My usual Pennsylvania town is too small to offer a good selection of Meetups.  However, San Antonio is huge — it’s the 7th largest city in the U.S. — and has many Meetup groups on a range of topics, some of which wouldn’t readily come to mind.  So, for the first time in my life, I am trying Meetups.  During this past week, I became a member of two Meetup groups, The San Antonio Spanish Language Meetup Group and The San Antonio Book Lovers Meetup Group.  The members (based on their online profiles) are an interesting bunch and the meeting locations are restaurants/cafes about ten miles from my apartment.  I’m scheduled to attend Meetup events tomorrow and Saturday.  This is big city living and I’m still adjusting to the change.  These Meetups seem like fun!

Natural disasters seem to find me in my temporary homes.  In 1994, I experienced California’s 6.7-magnitude Northridge earthquake.  Now, in Texas, I am in the midst of tropical storm Hermine (its winds are not strong enough for it to be classified as a hurricane) that has battered Mexico and is affecting the Gulf Coast.  There have been heavy rains in San Antonio since Monday along with flooding (and several high water rescues), strong winds, power outages (mine is back on now after a five-hour loss yesterday), thunderstorms, and a tornado watch.  While we needed some rain, we certainly didn’t need this much at once.  Hopefully Hermine won’t cause too much damage.  On a positive note, weatherwise, the temperatures have cooled off a bit here; there has recently been a little less heat and humidity.  But, that is soon expected to change.

This was the big week.  I have now relocated to San Antonio.  So many preparations went into this move and it has finally taken place.  When I arrived in Texas on Tuesday — following weeks of stressful prep work, a couple of days of packing, and extreme traffic delays on the drive to New York (traffic was so bad that I drove only two miles in two hours as I was approaching the George Washington Bridge) — I was very tired.  I knew I would need some time to just relax.  After my two flights (NYC/LaGuardia to Atlanta, then Atlanta to San Antonio), I took a taxi to my apartment complex.  I picked up my keys and gate remote control at the leasing office as well as a box of non-perishable food (dry cereal, pasta, canned goods, etc.) and paper products and another box of cleaning supplies that I had shipped here.  A third box — books — is due to arrive today; the longer delivery time is due to the cheaper parcel post rate I paid to have the books shipped.  It was 1:45 p.m. (Central time zone) when I finally arrived at my small furnished apartment.  I felt so relieved to walk through the door with my belongings (including a brand new Travelpro suitcase compliments of Delta Airlines) and a fast food take-out lunch of chicken fingers, salad, and apple juice purchased at the airport after landing, and knew that I was now home.  I did it!

I’m not an avid astrology reader and believer, but my horoscope on the day of my move — Tuesday, August 17th — was particularly fitting.  According to that day’s edition of the San Antonio Express-News (page 7D), the 5-star horoscope (“dynamic” day) for Aries reads:  “A willingness to forge a new path is nothing new for you.  Still, others need to see what happens when you do just that.  Many will demonstrate interest and admiration.  Tonight:  Let your mind wander.”

On Wednesday morning the cable guy came and hooked me up to the Internet.  (All other utilities had already been activated since they are included in my monthly rent.)  Later that day I did a little cleaning and unpacking, and completed my apartment move-in inspection/list of damages (“Inventory and Condition Form”) and returned this to the leasing office as required in exchange for my mailbox key.  At 3:30 p.m., a UPS package arrived.

Before I left Pennsylvania, I ordered some dairy-free frozen meals from MagicKitchen.com (I don’t like cheese and my lactose intolerance makes milk products hard to digest).  I figured that after a stressful move and being without a car for several days — I had it shipped from my Dad’s house in New York and it’s due to arrive early next week — I wouldn’t want to worry about grocery shopping for a while.  This meal delivery service is a nice way to reward myself and it gives me some time to relax and settle in.  So far I’ve eaten three of the meals and they were delicious.

Thursday, August 19th was the day of Our Lady of the Lake’s new Graduate Student Orientation and Welcome Reception.  New students were grouped together at tables reflecting their various graduate programs.  The general orientation lasted for three hours in the morning and included several speakers representing different areas on campus.  They each welcomed us and provided valuable information about the school and its resources.  The school’s emphasis on service to others and spirituality (it’s a Catholic institution) resonated with me and reminded me of my nine years of Catholic schooling when younger.  Even though I’m not Catholic, I appreciate and follow the general Christian values advocated.  OLLU seems like a great fit for me.  The orientation was excellent and included lunch with professors from our respective programs.  In the afternoon the psychology students had a special department orientation/reception.  After this, I spoke with my department chair and met with my academic advisor to prepare my schedule of classes (one lecture and one practicum, both as an auditor) and officially register for them.  I then went to the university bookstore and purchased my one required textbook.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the textbook, Counseling Latinos and la familia:  A Practical Guide by Azara L. Santiago-Rivera, Patricia Arredondo, and Maritza Gallardo-Cooper; Sage Publications, Inc., 2002), is written in English, not Spanish, even though the course will be taught in Spanish.  The Fall semester begins on Monday, August 23rd.  I’m ready.  I’m also ready to get my car because my taxis that day were each 1/2 – 1 hour late and they were expensive.  I live about ten miles from OLLU and spent $50 on roundtrip taxi fare in order to attend the orientation/welcome reception.

The weather in Texas this past week has been hot with high humidity.  Temperatures were around 100 degrees each day and will continue to be at that level for the next several days.  I had been warned about the heat here.  Fortunately, my apartment has a ceiling fan and air conditioning so I’ve been able to stay cool indoors for much of the time.  I’m hoping that the outdoor temperatures cool down a bit with the arrival of the fall season.  I don’t like extreme climates.  Spring and fall in the northeast region of the U.S. are my favorite times of year.  Texas seasons are different and will require some adjustment.

(Slightly Off Topic) — Heard on the news:  Dora the Explorer, the popular seven-year-old Latina cartoon heroine, recently celebrated her 10th anniversary.  She has been described as a “trailblazer” and has a large devoted and engaged audience of children.  Here is a review of her TV show.  Congratulations, Dora!!!


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