Writing Group Helps You Tap Into Your Creative Side

     There are rumors that Fort Worth has several creative writing groups which regularly meet at city locations. Annie wants to let you know about the one that meets at Fort Worth Library’s Northwest Branch. The next scheduled meeting is December 18, at 6:00 PM.
     For your first visit, you may want to just come and observe to get the lay of the land, or if you’re working on a poem, manuscript, or short story, think about bringing a copy of your masterpiece with you. Annie is told that you’ll be welcome–with or without your work.
      Can’t make it to this month’s meeting? Never fear. Gilbert assures Annie that the group meets on the third Monday of every month. So, you could save January 19, 2018, for your jaunt to the Northwest Library, 6228 Crystal Lake Drive.  Crystal Lake Drive is off of Cromwell-Marine Creek Road, which intersects with Marine Creek Parkway just north of the Tarrant County College Northwest Campus.
     From Loop 820, go north on Marine Creek Parkway. Turn left at Cromwell-Marine Creek Road. The library will be on your left in approximately one mile, next to Parkview Elementary School. Call 817-392-5420, if you get turned around. Writers never get lost. Right?
     There is no charge for membership, and parking is free. If you love writing and hanker for feedback and encouragement from fellow writers, you’ll enjoy being a part of this group.

Annie Ambles to the creative writing group meeting, if not this month, next month



Furry Friends


It seems to Annie that many people decide to add a furry friend to their families at this time of year. Hearts open to animals that need places to live, but before you make that longtime commitment, please think of what caring for an animal entails. In addition to the economics (vet visits, food, grooming, kitty litter, leashes, collars, harnesses, coats, toys, and more), there is the emotional commitment to another living creature.

Caring for and loving a four-legged ball of fluff takes time and energy. Yes, you’ll get a big return on your investment with unlimited, unconditional love from your new family member, so it’s worth the effort and the time it takes to train your pet. Maintain a big supply of patience, persistence, and planning as you walk through life with your newest best ever buddy. And, do walk, not crate, your pet.

The City of Fort Worth is sponsoring several adoption events where you can get a dog or cat for a small fee–$10 on specific days in December. This includes a vet’s health exam, rabies vaccination, spading/neutering, micro-chipping, and city license. Check out the City’s Animal Care and Control Center at 4900 Martin Street, 76119. Call 817 392-1234 to find out dates for the reduced adoption fee. The Center is open Monday through Sunday, 12 noon until 6 PM. If you’re not ready to adopt, you may be able to foster a pet.

The Hulen PetSmart Charities Adoption Center can be found at 4800 SW Loop 820, 76109, or by phone at 817 731-4353, extension 7. Its hours are Monday through Friday, 11 AM until 8:30 P, Saturday, 9 AM through 8:30 PM, and even on Sunday from 9 AM until 6:30 PM. A third adoption location is at 2901 Texas Sage Trail, 76177, at the Alliance PetSmart Charities Adoption Center. Call this center at 817 3927117 or 817 741-7923. It has the same hours as the Hulen PetSmart Center.

If you are renting your home, you’ll want to check with your landlord to ensure that you can keep a pet. You’ll probably need to pay a pet deposit and follow the landlord’s guide rules. Some breeds are not allowed, and size may also be a factor. Good luck; be of good cheer.

Annie Ambles to Pet Smart to get some furry animal interaction

Early Voting

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It’s an exciting time for us Tarrant County registered voters. The polls open today, Monday, April 25, for early voting that runs through May 3. We can cast our ballots in local city and town councils, school boards, library and water districts, and city charter elections. If you don’t do early voting, please be sure to vote in the May 7 election. Yes, dear heart, your vote does count and your voice needs to be heard.

There are 11 amendment changes to the 1924 Fort Worth city charter. To make Fort Worth’s charter current with state law, there are seven propositions we need to consider. The other four will affect the pay, term lengths, and council size of our Fort Worth City Council.

If you can’t make it to a polling place, you can download an application for a ballot by mail from the elections website. This must be submitted by tomorrow/Tuesday, April 26. As Annie often remarks, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Well, you know that we can always complain, but voting makes it legitimate, doesn’t it?

Annie Ambles to the Tarrant County Plaza Building to cast her ballot

Keeping Your Kitchen Safe

Annie never would have thought that the kitchen is more dangerous than a bathroom, but maybe it’s so. According to the April AARP Bulletin, here are some strategies that you can use to keep your kitchen a safer place.

Pay close attention to your pots and pans. In 2014 more than 32,00 people were hurt while cooking. They suffered burns as well as cuts from shattering glass pans. Please use kitchen mitts and remember that you don’t take glass dishes directly from the freezer and put them in the over. Never ever add liquid when a glass pan is piping hot. More than likely it will shatter. Talk about having a meal destroyed. That will do it. If you’re frying, keep a lid nearby to smother any grease fire.

Enjoy those bagels? Annie does, too, and is careful not to cut her hand or fingers when trying to slice one. Buy them pre-sliced, or, better yet, buy a bagel slicer. They are relatively inexpensive.

Harmful germs in marinade or food can multiply quickly at room temperature. Keep your marinating food in the refrigerator, not out on the counter.

You’d think using a dishwasher would be pretty safe, but people forget to place utensils with the sharp ends down. Don’t rush to put things away; wait for the machine to cool before emptying it.

You may be tempted to save energy costs by setting the refrigerator and freezer at slightly higher temps, but you’ll be welcoming bacteria if you do. The best temperature for the fridge is 40 degrees, while the freezer needs to be set at 0 degrees.

Mother always told us to rinse our fruits and vegetables. She’s right. We can use a brush to get the dirt off and rinse them under running water. This cleaning method is even more effective than using a commercial produce wash. Who knew?

One last hint on how best to deal with three germ magnets is to zap moist sponges for two minutes in the microwave, soak facet screens in bleach solutions, and remove and wash stove knobs in hot soapy water.

If you adopt these ideas, you’ll have a much safer kitchen.

Annie Ambles strives to make her kitchen safe

Book Sale

Book lovers, heed this call. The Friends of the Fort Worth Public Library is having its Biannual Book Sale on three weekends in April and May. Guess it means that we have three fantastic opportunities to add some fine books to our libraries. Choose from thousands of books, CDs, and DVDs with most items priced 50 cents to a dollar fifty.

There is a “Members Only Tax-Free Sale Day” this coming Saturday, April 16, 9 am until 4 pm at the Book Store, 5332 Trail Lake Drive, Wedgewood Village, just south of Loop 820 and Trail Lake. You’ll pay only 1/2 price in the book store. Not a member? It’s easy to join or renew your membership at the door. Seniors pay $20, if Annie is not mistaken.

Sale days to the public in the Chapter 2 Annexes, 5314 and 5318 Trail Drive, are April 22-24 and Saturday May 7. If you’re not a member, there is a $1 admission charge per day.

There’ll be a  Garage Sale at the Book Store Annexes on Saturday, May 7, 9 am through 4 pm. Fixtures and gift items from the warehouse will be sold plus another $15 a box day on remaining books. Sunday, April 24, noon until 4 pm is the first $15 a box day with boxes provided.

If your bookshelves are already packed to overflowing, go through your books and donate some to make room for your new purchases. You’ll get a tax deduction slip for the IRS at the Main Desk, and the Friends will have more books to sell.

Annie Ambles renews her membership and fills a box with books

Property Fraud Alert

With the 2016 Property Value Notice Annie received this week from the Tarrant Appraisal District came a dire warning. In bold print it warned her to “Protect your most valuable investment.”  Seems there are crooks out there who may illegally use our property for financial gain. How can this possibly happen?

Well, someone may try to record a document in the County Clerk’s Office attempting to make it look like he or she owns your home or property. This is a serious matter because, according to the FBI, property and mortgage fraud is the fastest growing white-collar crime.

Never fear. You can do something about it. Subscribe to the free notification service provided by the Tarrant County Clerk’s Office to get a heads up if someone tries to file documents on your property. Check out this web site–<www.propertyfraudalent.com/tarranttx>

The Tarrant County’s program is called Property Fraud Alert and it alerts individuals to potentially fraudulent activity involving their personal information.

“When something is filed in the county clerk’s office and it has your name in it, it will send you an e-mail or give you a phone call and let you know,” explains County Clerk Mary Louise Garcia.

If you prefer, you may call the Property Fraud Alert Hotline at 1-800-728-3848. Someone will be happy to help you.

Our Tarrant County County Clerk and her staff want us to… Be informed…Be alert…Be notified. At least that’s the message her office is sending to us.

Annie Ambles learns about Property Fraud


Three Cheers for Red Oak Foundation

The Red Oak Foundation based right here in Fort Worth is an organization with a mission: To spread the pleasures and benefits of books to all young children. Since its creation in 1997, Red Oak has distributed 523,817 books to young children and their families.

Annie came to know and admire Red Oak after she started reading to elementary children in the Fort Worth Independent School District at I. M. Terrill Elementary as part of Bass Hall’s Children’s Education Program (CEP). She is what is known as a book bearer. This is how it works for her and can, too, for you–Volunteer to be a reader. Pick up the books. Drive to the school. Check in at the office. Take the books to a classroom. Give a book to each student. Leave a book for each absent child. Read sections of the book. Wave good-bye. Give yourself a treat for having fun and doing good!

Cutting out the middle man, Red Oak purchases the books directly from their publishers. In addition to the book bearers who represent 168 non-profit organizations, books are distributed through 26 clinics (336,865), 42 book clubs (2,362), and at 408 events (21,704).

Events for children five years of age and under and their parents or caregivers are held at non-profit centers in targeted neighborhoods. These have story times where books are read aloud by site representatives, followed by book selections where every child can take home two quality, hardback books for free.

Hats off to Red Oak.

Annie Ambles reads to first graders to encourage a love of books