Wednesday, July 23, 2014


A fun, hands-on time was had by all today at LIFE, where Patsy Brautigam showed us how to make our own beaded bandanas. These stylish accessories are easily made with a bandana, some beads and Patsy's step-by-step directions. There are so many different colors and styles of bandanas and beads--this is a great way to put your craft skills to work and express your own style!


  • Bandana
  • Beads
  • Tape Measure or Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Stitch Witch (or other fusible bonding tape)
  • Craft Glue

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Tour of Texas State Parks

Numerous side canyons drain into the mighty Rio Grande and the carved-out landscape is surrounded by a beautiful desert wilderness.
Photo of Seminole Canyon State Park from
Our original speaker wasn't able to make it to LIFE today, so the wonderful Cheryl LeJune stepped up to introduce us to all the amazing things our State Parks have to offer. Cheryl is the chairperson for the Academy for Lifelong Learning here at CyFair, and she frequently volunteers with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

There are over 90 State Parks across Texas that offer a wide variety of activities and programs. If you plan on visiting any parks a few times a year, Cheryl recommends getting a Texas State Parks Pass, which grants unlimited free entry to any of the State Parks for you and your guests and only costs $70 for a year. The parks offer so many activities throughout the year, including birding, camping, hiking, and geocaching, to name a few. Cheryl has had the opportunity to visit many of our State Parks, and recounted recent trips to Big Bend, Seminole Canyon, and Bastrop. Bastrop State Park is still recovering from a wildfire in 2011 and while many of the Lost Pines have been destroyed, the park is open and welcoming visitors, and it's fascinating to see how nature is rebuilding itself.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife web site is a fantastic resource to discover more about the parks and make reservations, check it out here:  Many thanks to Cheryl for stepping in on such short notice and inspiring us to get out there and discover what all our State Parks have to offer!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stronger, Healthier, Better

Jim Guillory, engineer and muscle activation specialist, amazed and astounded our LIFErs this morning. Muscle Activation Technique gets to the root of the problem whether it's pain, mobility, or strength. Every joint in the body is moved using muscle. Trauma or bad posture can cause some muscles to fail. Jim can examine the entire body and pinpoint weak or failed muscles and with gentle palpation he can reactivate those muscles. Generally he sees most patients fewer than four times depending on how long the ailment has been going on. Ideally, he would rather see healthy patients to prevent pain problems in the future, but most patients wait until they are debilitated.

Jim has been in the business for 14 years and you can visit his website:

His colleague, Travis Westfall, can be contacted by email at

Dance Salad

On Wednesday, June 25, LIFErs watched a video of Dance Salad 2013 with dancers from the Polish National Ballet (which hasn't visited the country since 1980), Italy's Spellbound Contemporary Ballet, and Barcelona's La Veronal. Every Easter weekend, Artistic Director Nancy Henderek and the Houston International Dance Coalition bring to Houston a rich mix of styles and imagination from all over the world. 

The video included choreographers Krzysztof Pastor, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Mats Ek, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Mauro Astolfi, Marcos Marou, Fernando Magadan and Uri Sands.

Jackie Alfred, publicist for Dance Salad, gave running commentary on the eclectic and avant garde pieces.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Indulge in Babycakes

Pam Panettiere, librarian and extraordinary cupcake baker, joined us today to share the history of cupcakes--as well as bringing along a delicious sampling of some of her own creations.

Did you know that we can credit the ancient Egyptians with the first cake-like creation? The earliest cakes used honey as a sweetener instead of sugar. Another important development in the history of cake was the Mayans' use of cacao to make chocolate. And, we have the Americans to thank for cupcakes, which were invented in the late 18th century when they were actually baked in cups. So much has been done with these versatile treats, and Pam has come up with many of her own ingenious recipes. Today she shared four different recipes with a very appreciative LIFE audience!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Summer Reader's Dream

Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, came to give us her recommendations for summer reading. Valerie's stories and recommendations had our crowd transfixed. Her list sounds like a super winner so enjoy your summer reading and sign up for the HCPL Adult Summer Reading Program here.  You may even win a coffee cup. Check out Valerie's list of recommended reads below!

Codename: Operation Overlord

Photo courtesy of DVIDSHUB at Wikimedia Commons
To commemorate the seventy year anniversary of D-Day when the allied forces invaded Normandy (June 6, 1944), Professor Rob Coyle gave an interesting spin on the day. It was a day of doing all the wrong things for an invasion, but it had to be done. And even some of the right things that went wrong turned out ok. Rob made this abstract day so real and so very brave and brutal. We had replicas of seven days of newspaper front pages donated by LIFEr Gene Chism. Some of the stories were priceless. One English general was demoted when he had loose lips at a cocktail party and almost divulged the secret date of the invasion.