Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We couldn't get enough of Sunnye Pruden's beaded jewelry-making classes, so she was back teaching us how to make bracelet and earrings from strikingly beautiful glass beads.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beef Stew Cook-Off

Today at LIFE we had Patrick Gunnels, Claire's son, and Huyen Doan and Jill Vu face off for a mulitcultural beef stew cookoff. Patrick, who has Irish heritage, made a rockin' Irish Stew and Huyen and Jill did a nuanced and flavorful Vietnamese stew. A cornucopia of spices and herbs made this Vietnamese concoction delightful. Patrick added a rich cabernet wine and some extra stout Guinness beer to give his stew its Irish twist. Everyone had a taste of each recipe and both were so good, we had a statistical dead heat.

Patrick also has French roots, but once he looked at Julia Child's intricate recipe, he said, heck no, I'm making Irish stew, a recipe taught to him by his best friend, Kashan, a Pakistani.

Recipes for Irish & Vietnamese Stews (pdf)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lincoln, Lincoln, I’ve Been Thinkin’

Professor Thomas Kelly, Lone Star College professor and historian, provided thought-provoking insights into Abraham Lincoln, the president and the man. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's first sentence tells it all: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Lincoln reminded our nation that the founding fathers really did mean that the United States of America is different and that our entire foundation is based on liberty and freedom for all.  In this succinct and pithy speech, Lincoln did not mention victory or the power of the Union army. He dedicated it to the brave men both living and dead who fought so their nation would survive.

Professor Kelly spoke of the Presidents who came before and after Lincoln. Lincoln was the product of many historical influences and changed his mind on occasion (such as freeing of the slaves). His assassination will forever influence history in how we perceive this great man. If he hadn’t died so suddenly and brutally, our perceptions of him might be quite different.

Visit the library’s exhibition, Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, December 28, 2011 – February 17, 2012.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Think Tie Dye Is Just for Hippies?

Professor Jason Moulenbelt, former Marine and philosophy instructor, helped everyone tap into their inner hippy with a tye-dye experience. “There are no mistakes in tie dye,” Jason remonstrated.

Ready to brave the tye dyed waters yourself, view a supply list and how-to instructions at FunRoom,

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Juneteenth was another excellent LIFE program as part of the Lincoln Exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War, December 28, 2011 – February 17, 2012.

Professor Dorris Ellis is a true believer in Houston's Emanicpation Park as a strong symbol of freedom. All ten park acres were purchased back in 1872 by four freed slaves for $800. Just like Dorris Ellis, they believed they could raise the necessary funds to accomplish their goals. They wanted a place for Houston to celebrate freedom. As president of the Friends of Emacipation Park, Dorris Ellis has big plans for major new facilities such as new buildings, meeting rooms, and trails. Everything from weddings and proms to classrooms and libraries are possible for Emancipation Park (located here in Houston at Dowdin and Elgin). It was acquired by the city in 1916 and is the oldest collectively owned land in Texas.

Celebrate Juneteenth (June 19) and freedom. On this one day only, the gates are open for all to enter symbolizing how freedom feels when all other 364 days of the year we are prohibited entrance to a special place in the park.