(this post was previously published on the Texas Business Blog)

In the State of Texas you are likely to encounter a sales tax called the economic development sales tax, also known as the 4A or 4B, or Type A or Type B sales tax. This is a tool that many municipalities have added to their arsenal of incentives, and one that is subject to interpretation. It has also been subject to some controversy over the years. But it is a pretty commonplace economic development tool and can be a boon for businesses locating in Texas.

We’ll give an overview in this blog post, but if you’re really into public policy (or just want detailed information) you can visit the Texas Ahead website, which is maintained by the Texas State Comptroller’s Office and contains a wealth of useful information about this incentive and many others. Please note that the sections on the Type A and Type B taxes below are quoted almost verbatim from Texas Ahead, which is quoting almost verbatim from the Local Government Code. The rules about what you can use the taxes for are pretty cut and dry, and there aren’t too many ways you can paraphrase it.

In a Nutshell

In a nutshell, the economic development sales tax is a tax of up to one half of one percent that can be used for economic development purposes. It was authorized by the Development Corporation Act of 1979, which gives cities the ability to finance new and expanded business enterprises through economic development corporations, or EDC’s.  There are two types: Type A and Type B, and cities may have one or both taxes in place. The adoption of either type of tax requires voter approval, and both types are subject to restrictions. The main requirement is that the businesses bring new money into the community.

Local Government Code

The rules governing the use of the tax can be found in sections Chapters 501, 504, and 505 of the Local Government Code, and specific legal requirements and procedures are in the Attorney General’s Economic Development Handbook (pdf), which any good economic developer should have on his or her bookshelf. The allowable use of Type A and Type B funds changes from time to time as bills are introduced and passed, so the Attorney General’s office leads seminars throughout the year at various locations in Texas so that economic developers, EDC board members, local elected officials and others can stay up-to-date on the latest news and information about how the Type A and Type B funds can and cannot be used.

Primary Jobs

The creation of primary jobs is the main sticking point for the economic development sales tax funds, particularly Type B funds. So we thought we should explain what that means, according to the Texas Comptroller’s Office. Here is their definition:

A primary job is one at a company that exports a majority of its products or services to markets outside the local region, infusing new dollars into the local economy. Primary jobs are further limited to specific industry sectors such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and scientific research and development. Those industry limitations can be found in Local Government Code, Chapter 501.

(Source: Texas Ahead)

The primary jobs definition is the subject of numerous discussions, and sometime arguments within municipal governments. There are many times when a local government would like to use Type A or Type B funds to lure a specific retail establishment or company with good name recognition to their community, only to learn to their dismay that the jobs the company provides don’t qualify as primary jobs, regardless of how badly the community wants the company there.

Type A Sales Tax

The Type A sales tax is primarily intended for manufacturing and industrial development.  EDC’s may use Type A revenue to fund land, buildings, equipment, facilities expenditures, targeted infrastructure and improvements for projects including:

  • manufacturing and industrial facilities, recycling facilities, distribution centers, and small warehouse facilities;
  • research and development facilities, regional or national corporate headquarters facilities, primary job training facilities operated by higher education institutions, job training classes, telephone call centers and career centers not located within a junior college taxing district;
  • certain infrastructure improvements that promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises;
  • aviation facilities;
  • commuter rail, light rail or commuter bus operations;
  • port-related facilities, railports, rail switching facilities, marine ports, inland ports; and maintenance and operating costs associated with projects.

(Source: Texas Ahead)

Type B Sales Tax

The Type B sales tax may be used for any project eligible under Type A rules and several other project types, including quality of life improvements. Type B corporations may pay for land, buildings, equipment, facilities, targeted infrastructure and improvements for:

  • professional and amateur sports and athletic facilities, tourism and entertainment facilities, convention facilities and public parks;
  • related store, restaurant, concession, parking and transportation facilities;
  • related street, water and sewer facilities; and
  • affordable housing.

To promote and develop new and expanded business enterprises that create or retain primary jobs, a Type B EDC may fund:

  • public safety facilities;
  • recycling facilities;
  • streets, roads, drainage and related improvements;
  • demolition of existing structures;
  • general municipally owned improvements; and
  • maintenance and operating costs associated with projects.

(Source: Texas Ahead)

If you want to bring a project into a community that meets one of the requirements above, you might enquire about whether or not the community has a Type A or Type B EDC. A map showing the communities that have Type A and Type B EDC’s is on the Texas Ahead website (see the “Resources” sidebar on the right).



# Venice: December 15-19 2016
## Innocents Abroad 2016
#europe16 #venice #italy—

/We actually got to Venice on Friday the 16th, but it was still Thursday at home. After an all-night flight to Amsterdam and a crazy sprint through the labyrinth of the airport there we landed at Marco Polo Airport in Venice, then had to figure out the bus system to our hotel (which Jamey did beautifully with no help from me). We were SO tired but we forced ourselves to stay awake all day so we could get adjusted to our new time schedule. I’m writing this at 2:30 AM on Saturday/Sunday so it obviously didn’t work so well for me. But I’ve always had a complicated relationship with sleep./

Venice is beautiful. I feel like I am on a movie set almost all the time-everything is picture perfect and just achingly beautiful. Perhaps it’s even more beautiful because you know it’s really just a whisper of what it was in its glory days–the stunning facades are fading, the water in the canals is riding and corroding many of the buildings, and so many of the glorious churches with their rich, generous architectural tributes to the glory of God are in disrepair–but they are all still magnificent, even as they crumble. There is no other city like Venice, but I find myself thinking about New Orleans a lot while I’m here–I think because both cities are so unique and so old and graceful and have so many memories hidden just under the surface of every lovely facade. Both cities always seem to be whispering something significant and profound and somewhat sad…

We’ve learned that Italian waiters want you to stay in their restaurants as long as possible, and if you make an effort to fully enjoy your meal they will eventually converse with you. Coffee here is completely different than in the states–much stronger, much smoother, and, while available at any location at any time of the day, served in much smaller containers. Limoncello is a treat that everyone seems to hold dear, and it is fantastic. The food is rich and delicious, made with obvious great care and fresh ingredients. It is winter, and very cold outside, so at every shop that sells gelato (and there are many of them) you’ll find a vat of hot chocolate (a thick, syrupy drink) and hot wine (which reminds me of very strong cranberry juice). Both drinks take a little getting used to, but they grow on you and they’re a welcome warmth when it’s so cold.


St Mark’s Square is inspirational and truly humbling and awe-inspiring, which is exactly what the doges had in mind when it was built. We went to the top of it today and looked out on the square outside and over the amazing mosaic-tiled floors and walls of the inside–I can imagine having those grand views at your disposal would make one feel quite powerful. The artwork is stunning. There’s a little museum at the top that has models of the basilica and they help us understand just what an architectural wonder it is. Jamey was especially taken my those–I had to drag him away so he could pick up his bag from the little locker where they made him stash it before entering and that closed at 5 PM.


There are shops everywhere, ranging from junky tourist traps to original boutiques to high end fashion stores (Chanel Fendi Burberry Prada, etc. ) to art galleries filled with beautiful works no doubt inspired by the city we are in. I haven’t bought anything yet, but I’ve done a great deal of drooling. Ordinarily I would be frustrated at my lack of disposable funds, but just being here is truly a gift, and I’m not about to spoil it by worrying about what I can and can’t bring home–my memories will be more precious than anything I could possibly buy.

Tomorrow we’re headed to Murano and some of the museums we stumbled on as we were walking back from San Marco tonight. I am looking forward to it…hopefully I’ll get some sleep eventually tonight.

/I’m writing this post-Murano–the last few days of our whirlwind trip through Italy have left little spare time. But I want to make sure I write things down now before we get to France./

Murano was awesome. It’s a pretty little island across the lagoon from Venice–just a 17 minute ride by vaparetto (water taxi). The main industry on the island is definitely glass making–we were guided to the only factory open the Sunday we were there immediate as we exited the vaparetto, and along the way we saw lots of vendors selling glass trinkets, all labeled “producto de Murano.” Evidently there are a lot of imposters out there.

The glass demonstration was impressive. The guy took a long, glowing red pipe out of an insanely hot oven and stuck it on the silica sand, which immediately turned into glass. Then he swung it around until it was an oblong, glowing blob of glass and blew into the other end of the pipe, blowing the glass into a little bowl. Then he twirled it around and shaped it into a lively little vase. His second demonstration involved more of the same, but this time he used pliers–and a lot of skill–to shape the glass into a little horse standing on its hind legs. I spent a fortune in the little factory shop on jewelry for all of the girls and some little figurines for mom. Jamey toured the gallery where they had the high end art and found some pieces he loved. One day maybe we can afford them 😕


We strolled through the town and checked out some of the stores and the galleries with beautiful glass pieces. The curator in the Simone Cenedese gallery took us into the artist’s workshop and let us see the massive ovens where he fires the glass. So interesting and so beautiful.

We ate lunch in a really good little restaurant right off of the square. It was a really foggy day, so it looked like the island just over the water was just appearing out of the air just as the sun was setting. It was a neat effect, and made for some amazing photo ops.


We wanted to go to a couple of museums when we got back but we took the wrong vaparetto line and ended up getting totally lost in the streets of Venice…which is always a wonderful thing to do.

The Bahama Mama Rum Shack in St Croix

The Bahama Mama Rum Shack in St Croix

Holy Mackerel! It’s been almost an entire year since I posted a top 20/bottom 10 list. I thought I should do one just so you all know that I’ve not fallen off Planet Earth. I’ve traveled to a lot places on it this past year, but I didn’t quite fall off. This past year has been amazing. I could write a long novel about it (maybe I should!) but I’ll just give you the super condensed Reader’s Digest version here so you’ll know what I’ve been up to since January of last year. Just the highlights.

Jaxon and Ella and me, at the duck pond in Huntsville

Jaxon and Ella and me, at the duck pond in Huntsville

In February my niece Ella celebrated her third birthday at the Houston Zoo, and I got to do that with her. I actually got to hang out with Ella and her brother Jaxon throughtout the year, and it was awesome. In March I presented at the Community Development Institute at Lonestar College. In April I had lunch meetings almost every single day, preparing for the launch of a new organization I co-founded in partnership with the Center for Rural Studies that we called the Central East Texas Alliance.

Jackson Square in New Orleans

Jackson Square in New Orleans

We launched the Central East Texas Alliance in May.  Also in May we took Jamey’s dad to the ZMR Music Awards show in New Orleans, where Jamey got to present one of the awards, I got to wear a pretty dress, and we all got to eat amazing food and drink mojitos. In June I had my wisdom teeth pulled. A lot of other things happened that month: I got in minor but annoying a car wreck, went to conferences in San Antonio and Waco, hosted the first CETA event in Coldspring, and made several presentations.  But I was too drugged out on painkillers for most of the month to take notice of anything else.



In July we took a Holland America cruise with a huge group of extended family members to beautiful, majestic, awe-inspiring Alaska. It was amazing. We also welcomed a new cat to our household. We named him Olaf after the snowman in the film Frozen. In August, at a routine eye exam, I learned that there was a hole in my retina. So I had to have surgery again, and it was not fun. We also hosted the first Focus Series for the Central East Texas Alliance.  In September Jamey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

Sarah at the Texas State Fair

Sarah at the Texas State Fair

In October all of my sisters and my parents came to Texas and we went to the Texas State Fair in Dallas. It was loud, hot, and very crowded but we all agreed it was something they needed to see. In November I worked at the polls on Election Day–we only had 65 people show up the entire day, which was pretty sad. But it was a good experience. Also in November we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Albuquerque–all of my sisters and their families were there and it was so nice to hang out with all of them for a few days. The day after Thanksgiving we visited the Sandia Peak Tramway and saw the City from the height of 10,378 feet. It was pretty spectacular.

One of my favorite pictures from St. Barth's

One of my favorite pictures from St. Barth’s

In December Jamey and I wrapped up the year with another cruise, this time on Celebrity Cruise Lines, to the Eastern Caribbean. Our stops included Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Barth’s, and St. Maarten. All of the port were stunning and we had a fantastic time at each one. We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale for a couple of days afterwards and flew home on Christmas day. It was a great way to end an exciting and sometimes turbulent year.

Now that you’re all caught up we can move on to the lists, which include some of my favorite (and least favorite) things from this past year’s adventures.

top 20

  1. Me with Kellie and Rich in Alaska

    Me with Kellie and Rich in Alaska

    My sister Kellie, her husband, Rich and my fantastic niece and nephew Ella and Jaxon. They’re moving back to California soon, and I have so enjoyed knowing them better this past year while they lived here in the Houston area. We will miss them so much!

  2. reliving our travels through photographs and videos
  3. experiencing the insane beauty of the glaciers and the fjords, both from the balcony of our cabin and from the air, courtesy of Taquan Air Alaska
  4. seeing whales up close and personal
  5. getting to share the Alaska experience with so many members of my family
  6. traveling all the way around the island of St. Maarten/St. Martin on a four-wheeler with Jamey
  7. touring the Cruzan Rum factory in St. Croix
  8. driving to Key West from Ft Lauderdale in a Mustang convertible on a whim
  9. Starting a new organization from the ground up. It’s been a gratifying experience
  10. Paying with ApplePay
  11. Olaf the Cat, when he’s being nice. He has learned how to fetch like a puppy and it’s ridiculously cute.
  12. Discount Tuesday at the Cinemark movie complex
  13. free popcorn
  14. Jamey, for driving me everywhere I go. I hate driving alone, and it’s so nice to have his company.
  15. the return of sunshine–it’s been missing for the past three weeks
  16. homemade limoncello
  17. Rediscovering The West Wing on Netflix. I’m not sure if today’s television viewing audience could handle the themes in that show, which says a lot.
  18. Benedict Cumberbatch
  19. talking to my family on FaceTime
  20. exploring new horizons

bottom 10

  1. He doesn't look like a terrorist. But he is.

    Olaf the Cat. He doesn’t look like a terrorist. But he definitely has those tendencies.

    Olaf the Cat, when he’s being not so nice. He has sharp claws and occasional terrorist tendencies.

  2. insomnia
  3. surgery in general, but especially on my teeth and eyes
  4. the fact that my house does not clean itself
  5. Missing two of my sisters on our Alaska cruise. Jackie and Sarah weren’t able to come with us, and our experience was the lesser for it.
  6. gloomy weather
  7. having to start over involuntarily
  8. Throwing out my back. I’ve done it twice in the past two months and it is horrible.
  9. Being allergic to something in our cabin on Celebrity Cruise lines. It was pretty much the only thing not fantastic about that trip.
  10. being on the short end of someone else’s bad Karma

photo 4

It is cold. Ordinarily that wouldn’t be something to talk about in January–it is winter, after all, and we sort of expect it to be cold, right? But here in Central East Texas we define cold differently than the rest of the country. For us, “cold” means that it’s below 60 degrees. We start to panic when it hits 40, and we start stocking up on rations when it looks like it might actually freeze. If we see a snowflake it’s an event, and ice is something we put in our drinks.photo 3

But so far this year we’ve had not one, but TWO storms (well, one and a half–the second one is moving in as I write this) that include snow, ice, and temperatures well below the freezing mark. That makes a really ugly combination. I know that all of you Northerners who have parkas and snow shovels and ice scrapers readily at hand are laughing yourselves silly at us canceling school because we might get an inch of snow, but we are seriously unprepared for freezing temperatures and subsequently icy roads. My sister who just moved here from California is equally amused by it all. But here’s a traffic map from the morning of the last storm (the one we fondly refer to as #iceoftx):

Houston on Ice

Houston on Ice

Note the number of traffic accidents. There were 200 accidents that morning because they were driving on icy roads and overpasses and bridges, which is why everyone is buckling down for this next one.

You see, we don’t have giant snow shovels and large bags of salt or whatever it is you arctic people use to make your roads drivable in this kind of weather. And to get from one place to another–especially if you live in a rural area like we do–you HAVE to travel on those roads, and go over those bridges and you have to do it in your own car because we don’t have efficient public transportation systems because this is Texas, Damn It, and we believe that freedom equals having a giant truck of your very own that you don’t have to share. So when the roads are closed or stopped up from crazy 10-car pile ups because someone slipped on the ice or have a sheet of black ice on them that make them too scary to contemplate we’re stuck at home with our substandard leftovers, a half of a bottle of vodka, and whatever we DVR-ed the night before for entertainment. It’s enough to make you crazy. Which is why we make national news when there’s a threat of freezing sleet, like tonight. We act like the world is ending because…well, it kind of is. At least for a few days.

So…I’m going to go and stock up on my groceries and DVD’s and buy some firewood for the fireplace. It may be a long two days. Y’all enjoy the lists, and stay warm!

top 20

  1. My niece Olivia, who turned NINE today (How did that happen so fast??)

    Olivia (in the middle), sitting at the park with her cousins. I can't believe she's nine already!

    Olivia (in the middle), sitting at the park with her cousins. I can’t believe she’s nine already!

  2. snow hysteria
  3. my dad calling to tell me that Huntsville made the national news because we had snow on the ground
  4. the National Weather Service
  5. a husband who builds me a warm fire on demand
  6. hot toddies
  7. my winter coat, which I’ve been able to wear regularly this winter
  8. welcoming my sister Kellie and her family to Sugar Land last October (it’s been a while since I posted–sorry!)
  9. the fabulous Pin Lim of Forest Photography, who did my new head shots and made it a relatively painless experience
  10. The Disney film Frozen. It’s a fantastic movie with a great plot, clever dialogue, strong female characters, and that damn song that won’t get out of my head (Let it Go, Let it Go!)
  11. eating out when we should be eating leftovers
  12. The Blacklist on NBC. SO good.
  13. the smell of my husband’s body wash (Bleu de Chanel)
  14. getting to watch my nephew Jaxon’s Pinewood Derby event last week–he won “Best Design” for his Batmobile
  15. planning a summer cruise to Alaska
  16. Peyton Manning
  17. cardinals (the birds, not the sports teams)
  18. lazy Sunday mornings
  19. Raven Lake at sunset
  20. this exceptionally friendly squirrel at Huntsville State Park who decided to talk a selfie with Jamey’s camera

bottom 10

  1. everything cancelled because of the weather (although I’m sure the kids love the day off)photo 5
  2. losing my favorite gloves
  3. Driving on icy roads. It really is scary.
  4. my slow computer
  5. impending allergies
  6. people who stop for no apparent reason in the middle of the road
  7. cold feet (the literal kind)
  8. abuse of political power
  9. burnt popcorn
  10. Parks and Rec sans Ann and Chris
Beautiful Puget Sound

Beautiful Puget Sound

Well isn’t this nice. The whole summer is gone and I didn’t post one blog entry in the entire three months of it. Probably better for you–while the summer as a whole went by in the blink of an eye, the individual days were kind of uneventful. We watched the birds, ate some great dinners at home, and took frequent dips in the pool…and we watched a LOT of Food Network, since that was the only thing worth watching on television. It wouldn’t have made very good reading on a regular basis. We did do a few things that made the summer fun, so I’ll give you a brief recap of the happenings since I last saw you (since we’re catching up and everything): 

Jackie and Evan at Bucee's

Jackie and Evan at Bucee’s

The ESC6 VGO robots with TEA Commissioner Williams

The ESC6 VGO robots with TEA Commissioner Williams

In June I visited with my sister Jackie and her husband Evan while they explored Austin for a possible move in the fall. They ended up deciding not to move there after all–Evan is instead going to be an awesome pilot in the Air Force–but we had a good time anyway. We went tubing on the Bastrop River (thank you Bastrop River Company!), visited the outlet mall, and introduced Jackie and Evan to the phenomenon that is Buc-ee’s. I got a terrific blister from walking around Austin all day, and had to get some new comfortable walking shoes. While in Austin, I got to accompany the ESC Region 6 Technology team and three VGO Robots at the Texas State Capitol. We gave three home-bound kids a virtual field trip, and introduced the VGO program to some pretty important people in Austin, like Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams and several of our State legislators. I also watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at the historic classic Paramount Theatre in Austin, on the same day that Wendy Davis started her historic filibuster in the Texas Senate. 

JoAn and Don in Snohomish

JoAn and Don in Snohomish

Jamey on the the whale boat. We saw three orcas, two minkes, and two bald eagles.

Jamey on the the whale boat. We saw three orcas, two minkes, and two bald eagles.

Me feeding an alpaca. Those animals crack me up for some reason.

Me feeding an alpaca. Those animals crack me up for some reason.

In July we escaped the heat for a week and went to visit my aunt and uncle JoAn and Don in Snohomish, Washington (just North of Seattle). That was SUCH a beautiful trip, and I am so glad that we went. We sat on the porch eating peanuts and solving the problems of the world, shared technology stories, toured downtown Snohomish and Seattle, drank lots of Starbucks coffee, and picked cherries and raspberries on a fantastic farm–I even got to feed an alpaca. We celebrated the Fourth of July with a marshmallow and weenie roast in my aunt and uncle’s back yard, and we went whale watching, something I highly recommend that everyone do at least once. The best part about it: the temperature didn’t get over 83 degrees the entire time we were there. The only bad part was coming home to the sauna that is Central Texas in July. Also in July: we went to a concert in Houston by pianists Michele McLaughlin and Scott D. Davis and enjoyed a really nice afternoon visiting with them the next day before they headed to Dallas. We also enjoyed visits from my cousin Troy and his fiancee Valerie, and from our friends the Geisels–we’re so glad that Nicole, Olive and Samantha stopped here on their cross-country trek, and we hope they come back again soon.

Jamey and his new toy

Jamey and his new toy

In August I co-hosted a meeting on regional economic development with Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies that proved to be a success. I think it will lead to good things in this region.  A few weeks later we went to a house concert at the lovely home of musicians Michael and Kendra Logozar in Round Rock. Stanton Lanier was the featured guest performer, and he was fabulous. As a bonus, we got to spend some quality time with Jamey’s Dad and his sister and Carly, always a good thing. Also in August: Jamey got a 3-D printer at his work, and every day he comes home with a new gadget that he printed that day. Pretty neat technology. I’ve been assured that we will have one in our home before too long. 

OK, now you’re all caught up so I will give you the lists. Hopefully in the coming months I’ll have a little bit more to say, if for no other reason than because we’ll back in prime time. In the meantime, have a great September. Enjoy!

top 20

There's nothing liked freshly-picked Washington cherries.

There’s nothing liked freshly-picked Washington cherries.

  1. The Pacific Northwest
  2. my parents, who celebrated their 41st anniversary on June 11
  3. my nephew Jaxon, who turned eight years old on July 24
  4. Jamey, who turned 51 on August 7
  5. my sister Jackie, who turned 27 on August 8
  6. my brother-in-law Craig, and his marriage to my sister Sarah–he turned 34, and they celebrated 11 years on August 9
  7. my sister Kellie, who turned 34 on August 26
  8. access to a swimming pool
  9. the sunlight shining through the forest in the morning
  10. Robert Reich. I’m nerdy enough to have a favorite economist, and he is the one.
  11. Blue jays. They crack me up.
  12. Hansen’s Tonic Water
  13. The film We’re the Millers. Ridiculous. And hilarious.
  14. Sharing Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream with Jamey–he’s informed me that he only shares it because he loves me.
  15. cold watermelon
  16. green chile chicken crepes (my own original recipe)
  17. The new HEB grocery store in Conroe. Good for my pantry, lousy for my wallet (or rather Jamey’s wallet, since mine is perpetually empty these days)
  18. John Oliver. He did a great job with The Daily Show this summer.
  19. Being able to exercise in my air conditioned living room, in front of my giant television, with my iPad. I have a short attention span and a low tolerance for discomfort, so that’s the only way calories are going to be burned.
  20. HBO’s The Newsroom. It’s been panned by journalists across the board, but I love it. I wish the news was actually like it.

bottom 10

Yeah, I lost it all. Every note that I've taken in the last eight months, gone in a flash. BACK UP YOUR iPAD!!!

Yeah, I lost it all. Every note that I’ve taken in the last eight months, gone in a flash. BACK UP YOUR iPADS, PEOPLE!!!

  1. learning the lesson…the hard way…to always back up my iPad to the Cloud
  2. bill collectors
  3. financial limbo
  4. Migraine headaches. I’ve only recently started to get them, and they are the pits.
  5. lack of cupboard space
  6. summer re-runs
  7. chemical weapons in Syria
  8. ignorance
  9. nightmares
  10. politics (and politicians) getting in the way of…pretty much everything
I love this card. You can buy it for me at the Green Grass Press store on Etsy: http://etsy.me/uOQq4O

I love this card. You can buy it for me at the Green Grass Press store on Etsy: http://etsy.me/uOQq4O

Huh. It’s already May 18. Who knew two months could fly by so fast? That seems to happen to me more and more as I get older. Speaking of which, today is the final day of my 30’s. You read correctly: tomorrow I will be the big 4-0. I was bemoaning the fact that I’ve reached this point without doing so many things I’d hoped to do, and whining about getting older. But I realized today that (a) everyone turns 40 (if they’re lucky) so it’s not just me, and (b) I’m really just getting started. I have a LOT to accomplish in the next 40 years, though, so I need to be on my game!

I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version of the busy two months since I last posted. If you don’t really care about what I’ve been up to, just skip right on down to the lists. I won’t even know. 

I have been hard at work for the past two months creating a new non-profit organization that will provide economic development and community development services for rural communities in Central-East Texas. The organization is in its toddler stages at this point, but my goal is to have it up and running by the end of June. It’s going to be a good thing for this region, I think, so I’ll keep you all posted as I get things off the ground. 

In non-business, we’ve had a really busy and fun couple of months. Here are a few of the highlights:

My dad, Race Car Driver for a Day

My dad, Race Car Driver for a Day

At the end of March we went to California to see my Dad race around the Fontana race track at 128 miles per hour. My mom got him the Andretti Racing Experience for Christmas a few years ago, and my sisters and I all went out to see him race. We all wore matching t-shirts and cheered him on for the big day. It was a lot of fun. 

In April we went to San Antonio for the dual purpose of celebrating my father-in-law’s birthday and attending a house concert by Michael Logozar, Kendra Springer, and Philip Wesley at Michael and Kendra’s house. It was a great weekend, and I’m so glad we got to go and spend some time with Jamey’s family. I especially enjoyed hanging out with my step-daughter Carly, who is a great shopping and drinking companion 🙂

We, like the rest of the country, experienced the horrific week of April 15 that included the Boston bombings, the West plant explosion, and the delivery of two letters to lawmakers containing ricin.  It was a crazy, crazy week, and a fascinating study in social media and broadcast news. I wrote a blog post about the week’s events, commenting on the concept of breaking news.

Photo 501Last weekend we  went to New Orleans for the 9th Annual ZMR Music Awards. I don’t think I’ll ever pass up a trip to New Orleans for any reason, but this one was especially fun. Because he is the host of the very popular Audiosyncracy, Jamey is a judge for the awards, and it was really fun to meet some of the musicians he plays on his show every week and to hang out with them. And of course New Orleans was an experience in and of itself, as always.

Jamey and JJ (Jamey is on the right)

Jamey and JJ (Jamey is on the right)

Also this past week, Houston Texans Defensive End JJ Watt made a young cancer patient’s day in Splendora, and ESC Region 6 (where Jamey is the Director of Technology) got a really nice plug for a program they should be very proud to call theirs. Check out the video link when you get a minute, and next time you watch JJ in action, know that he’s the Real Deal. 

So that catches you up on life in the country in Huntsville. I hope all of you are enjoying your Spring, and that you have grand plans for a wonderful summer. I’ll try to post more, and in the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy this week’s lists. Next time you hear from me I’ll be officially old and undoubtedly very wise, so enjoy my youthful exuberance while you can! 

top 20

Me, when I was young and adorable (some 38-odd years ago)

Me, when I was young and adorable (some 39-odd years ago)

  1. Being lucky enough to turn 40. Not everyone gets that chance.
  2. starting a new venture, and having the support of my husband, family and friends as I do it
  3. JJ Watt
  4. social media
  5. Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies
  6. Citronella plants. I just got one, so I don’t know for sure that they work, but I think it’s great they exist. Damn mosquitos.
  7. The Great Gatsby (the film and the book). I adore the book and I was pleasantly surprised by the film.
  8. Dropbox
  9. timely contract work
  10. leaps of faith, which can often be liberating
  11. seeing my super cute nieces and nephews in California (and my sisters and parents too)
  12. welcoming my sister Jackie to Texas in August–I’m so excited she’ll be in Austin!
  13. New Orleans
  14. having fresh herbs at my disposal
  15. reconnecting with good friends
  16. encouragement
  17. meeting new people
  18. forgiveness
  19. government employees who keep calm and carry on despite  the general incompetence of Congress
  20. Photo Stream

bottom 10

Photo by Chris Haston/NBC (originally published on http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/05/arts/television/the-office-finale.html?pagewanted=all)

Photo by Chris Haston/NBC
(originally published on nytimes.com: http://nyti.ms/135K3dw)

  1. the end of The Office
  2. leaps of faith, which can sometimes be scary
  3. the effect of humidity on my hair
  4. crafty squirrels
  5. the startup disk on my computer that is perpetually “almost full”
  6. Feeling depressed about getting older. Seriously, there’s nothing to be done about it. And yet, I mope.
  7. wildfires
  8. terrorists
  9. tornados
  10. incompetent Congress
Photo 217

Our cute little patio.

Happy Spring!

Today is the first day of Spring, and it was a beautiful beginning to the season. I’m quite fond of almost everything that comes with Spring: I love beautiful weather, spring showers, beautiful wildflowers and baby animals. I love spring planting, I get strange joy from seeing new leaves on trees, and I revel in the longer afternoons and evenings (although I hate getting up in the dark). I also love the freshness of Spring, and the feeling that everything is new and exciting and full of promise.

See that green tint? It's pollen. Nice.

See that green tint on Jamey’s car? It’s pollen. Nice.

What I really don’t like so much about Spring is spring pollen. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, where we live is covered in a thin layer of green pollen. It covers our cars, coats our porch steps, gets all over the house when you leave the door open…even the little feral kittens in our complex are walking around with green-tinged fur. But in addition to being omni-present, it’s also really tough on those of us who are allergy-prone. If I forget to take an allergy pill (and sometimes even when I take it) my head gets stuffy, my ears clog, my eyes itch, and I’m generally miserable. At least I’m not alone–there are lots of allergy sufferers in the region, and we’re all simultaneously rapturous about the weather and the flowers and miserable about their effect on our sinuses. I’m just glad I live in a time when there’s such a thing as Zyrtec. Can you imagine the poor allergy sufferers who lived at the turn of the century? They probably didn’t last very long. All hail pharmaceuticals!

On a good note, we did spend last weekend sprucing up our cute little patio, planting some fresh herbs, waterproofing our deck chairs (that were a wedding present, by the way, from my uncle and aunt), and adding some really pretty potted flowers so that now it’s a little haven where we can sit and drink our coffee and watch the birds and make plans for the Spring and Summer in between sneezes. 

I hope you all are enjoying your spring, regardless of whether you suffer from an overdose of pollen or have a nice garden project to pursue. Have a wonderful week, and enjoy the lists!

Oh, PS: I have a new blog. It’s at http://www.txbizblog.com, and it will probably be really boring to you, unless you’re into business, Economic Development, Texas, or a combination of those three things. Check it out. 

You can't tell, probably, because I'm a horrible photographer, but this is a calla lily on our back patio. It's really pretty.

You can’t tell, probably, because I’m a horrible photographer, but this is a calla lily on our back patio. It’s really pretty.

top 20

  1. spring!
  2. fresh herbs
  3. being able to work from home when I need to
  4. encouragement
  5. Target
  6. Instashare. If you have an Apple device and don’t have it, get it NOW.
  7. exploring
  8. completing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle in 12 minutes
  9. Girl Scouts
  10. transforming our tiny drab back porch into tiny colorful garden patio
  11. Easter candy
  12. calla lilies
  13. Dan Pollotta’s TED Talk about how we view charity
  14. QR codes on planting guides. Brilliant.
  15. travel planning
  16. being able to listen to my favorite Dallas radio station anytime I want, thanks to Internet Radio
  17. luring cardinals to eat out of our bird-feeders
  18. recycling
  19. weekend visits from my awesome step-daughter, Carly
  20. March Madness
I now pay attention to Pollen Forecast Levels.

I now pay attention to Pollen Forecast Levels.

bottom 10

  1. spring pollen
  2. pimples
  3. doing laundry
  4. sticky movie theater floors
  5. lack of air conditioning
  6. broken elevators
  7. megalomaniacs
  8. third world plumbing
  9. management with poor communication skills
  10. vacuuming stairs