New Year’s Eve FW-style

Fort Worth, Texas, Sundance Square, is the place to be as we celebrate the end of 2015 and welcome in the new year of 2016. New beginnings for us all as we count down near midnight the seconds together. Starting at 10:30 PM, people begin to gather in the Plaza between 3rd. and 4th. Streets. Parking is free on the streets after 6:00 PM. Maybe you’d like to carpool with friends or take a taxi to and from downtown.

There will be a short fireworks show at midnight. Better come a little early to get a place as it’s usually standing room only at this free celebration. Support the local merchants by enjoying a hot beverage and a snack. Learned last night that the Toll House is now open; perhaps you’d like to be supportive of this new shop.

Annie Ambles to Sundance Square to start her new year


Texas Two Step for Your Vehicle

Kick Up Your Heels For The New Texas Two Step

Things they are a changing, at least as far as your vehicle inspection and annual registration are concerned.

It’s easy, and here’s how it works.  The first step is that your vehicle passes its inspection. Be sure to keep your vehicle inspection report.

The second step involves renewing your annual registration by mail, online, or in person. Your inspection status will be electronically verified. Yes, a passing inspection is required for registration.

You’ll be issued one sticker as proof of both the inspection and the registration.

Transitioning to the one sticker system requires that every vehicle’s inspection and registration dates expire at the same time. In order to do this, during the first year, you may register your vehicle as long as your vehicle inspection is valid the day you register. However, if your inspection and registration stickers both expire in the same month, your vehicle will need to pass its inspection prior to the registration renewal.

Never fear, beginning in March 1, 2016, you’ll have a convenient 90-day window to complete the process. In order to register on time, you must have your vehicle inspected within 90 days before your sticker expires.

If your vehicle passed inspection, but the system is unable to electronically verify it, simply present your valid, passing vehicle inspection report, and you’ll be able to register.

The inspection fees have not changed, but where you pay them has. You will now pay the inspection station its portion of the fee at the time of inspection and the state’s portion of the fee will now be collected at the time of registration.   You may want to visit the state’s website <>, too.

So happy that we Texans will now have only one sticker. It’ll be on the left side/driver’s side at the bottom of the windshield. Now we’ll only have to scrape off one sticker. Life is getting easier, isn’t it?

Annie Ambles scrapes off two stickers and puts a new one in their place

Your YMCA Membership May Be Free

Annie is being more than a little lazy this cold December morning by copying and pasting information from the Downtown YMCA web site. After all the feasting she enjoyed, she needs to get some exercise at the Y. Maybe you do, too.

“Active older adults can gain strength and energy while enjoying a variety of social events at the YMCA. Activities range from group exercise classes designed especially for seniors to pot-luck lunches or special trips. Becoming an active older adult at the YMCA means staying connected to your community and offers the opportunity to volunteer through YMCA programs or in committee positions.”

Some insurance plans will pay for your YMCA membership through the Silver Sneakers Program. This is true for the Texas Blue Cross/Blue Shield Program, but not the Federal BCBS. Check before you go by your branch to enroll.

“The Downtown YMCA offers specially designed group exercise classes that can help senior adults gain flexibility, strength and mobility, while enjoying the camaraderie of a group.

Active Older Adults Classes Include:

SilverSneakers Classic

Have fun and move to the music through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement and activities for daily living.  Hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles and a SilverSneakers ball are offered for resistance.  A chair is available if needed  for seated or standing support.

SilverSneakers Yoga

SilverSneakers Yoga will move your whole body through a complete series of seated and standing yoga poses.  Chair support is offered to safely perform a variety of seated and standing postures designed to increase flexibility, balance and range of movement.  Restorative breathing exercises and final relaxation will promote stress reduction and mental clarity.

SilverSneakers Splash

Activate your urge for variety!  Splash offers fun, shallow-water movement to improve agility and flexibility while addressing cardiovascular, strength and endurance conditioning.  No swimming ability is required and a SilverSneakers kickboard or other aquatic equipment is used to improve strength, balance and coordination.”

Annie Ambles to the Downtown YMCA for exercise and camaraderie


Show Us the Money

Photo of Bureau of Engraving and Printing

You can find billions of dollars at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 9000 Blue Mound Road in Fort Worth, Texas 76131. You’ll learn about the production and history of United States paper currency.

Visit the Tour and Visitor Center that includes two floors of exhibits and displays. You can take a self-guided tour on an elevated walkway, then later watch a high-definition movie before visiting the Moneyfactory Gift Shop. Look for the shreded money and uncut bills.

Admission is free any time Tuesday through Friday, 8:30 AM until 5:30 PM. The facility is closed on Federal holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Otherwise, go on out and enjoy watching money being printed. For tour information, call 817-231-4000 or toll-free 866-865-1194 and press 2. The Bureau’s web site is <>.

Annie Ambles to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing early in 2016


Genealogy Workshop

... Clip Art | Family Tree Clipart #1115561 by Johnny Sajem | Royalty-Free
Ever think of doing some research into your family's origins? If so, 
you may want to make a New Year's resolution to get started.
There is going to be a January 8, 2016, lunchtime learning program
that will prove very useful. Meet at 12:00 PM/noon at the National
Archives in Fort Worth, 1400 John Burgess Drive for "An Introduction
to Genealogy." It's all free.

It would be nice of you to RSVP to let the group know you'll be there.
Just call 817-551-2051 or send an email to

Annie Ambles to the National Archives to learn more about genealogy

Standing Guard

A high school classmate who served in the Air Force sent me the following poem this morning. I don’t know who wrote it, but I appreciate its message and hope you do, too.  As we all rush around on this beautiful Christmas Eve making final holiday purchases or baking those traditional treats, let us not forget our troops who are far from home and doing their best to keep us and our country safe. God Bless Them and America!
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So slumbered I, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Trooper, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment. It’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.”
“It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Father died in Viet Nam on a day in December,”
Then he said,
“That’s a Christmas ‘Mom always remembers.”
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures. He’s sure got her smile.Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and Blue American Flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
Annie gives thanks for our American guardians