There’s a little something for everyone at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Shopping, games, the garden and even a bite to eat. The Market itself is staged and set up with one goal in mind: to inspire you to own the space you’re in. We hope that you’ll come to visit and leave excited about your home. It’s with a grateful heart that I welcome you to magnolia.com. Chip and I run a few businesses here in Waco, Texas, but Magnolia Market holds a special place in my heart. This entire business idea was born completely out of a dream I didn’t know could ever come to life. It’s truly only because a fiercely faithful, brave and bold husband pushed me to pursue my dream that it ever came to be.

In 2003, we bought our “Little Shop on Bosque” and opened the first Magnolia Market. In that store, I developed and sharpened my design style and skills, grew as a business owner, and gained much needed confidence in Magnolia Market and myself.”

Those words were uttered Joanna Gains of Waco, Texas. Magnolia Market at the Silos is a thriving business with very upscale merchandise for the home.  Chip and Joanna are shown in the digital below.

While visiting our son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Dallas this past week, my wife, our third granddaughter (shown below) and I traveled to Waco to take a look at the “Silos”.  The trip from Dallas is a little over an hour and thirty minutes.  Not bad with great interstate roads.

You know you are here by the sign on the gift shop.

I think Chip and Joanna selected a perfect location for their facility.  The vacant silos give a very distinct appearance to the location and can be seen from several blocks away.

A very nice and usable map of the Silo District locates everything within the grounds.  Everything is within walking distance and no motorized vehicles are permitted on the grounds.  They would be absolutely unnecessary anyway.

The entrance way runs just to the left of the silos.  Their size and height relative to people visiting the facility shows how massive they actually are.

When taking a left turn after the silos, you see an open “game” area.  There are bins located to the left of the game area where balls, Frisbees, and other toys are located for the benefit of anyone wishing to spend time while the family is shopping.

If you visit Magnolia at the Silos you are interested in shopping, eating and visiting the newly opened bakery.

There is food and a great variety, BUT it all comes from food trucks located just behind the game area. There is a Magnolia Restaurant but that facility is off-site.  We did not visit the restaurant.

The next three digital photographs show the shopping area.  It is a huge area and the pictures really do not do the size justice.   The merchandise is top quality and not cheap.   No Walmart here.  You get what you pay for and people were lined up at the cash registers.  People were definitely buying.

I thought it was interesting that Chip had his own small space and I do mean small.  You get the picture from below.  The overwhelming number of items available for sale relate to decorating home interiors.

“We can’t wait to welcome you to Silos Baking Co., our on-site bakery filled with Joanna’s personal recipes and hand-picked favorites—like “The Silos Cookie”, “The Prize Pig” bacon and cheddar biscuit, and the “Nuts & Bolts” cupcake. We don’t want you to miss this little corner of the Silos—it’s definitely the sweetest!”

Once again, the words of Chip and Joanna.  The bakery is truly a must-see.  Be prepared to wait in line about twenty to thirty minutes.  The bakery goods are top quality, fresh, made that day and very well displayed.

My wife and our granddaughter indicate shopping was good.  Hopefully you can see the menu from the picture below.

CONCLUSIONS:

I think Magnolia at the Silos is a marvelous success story and a wonderful place to visit.  It’s truly a fun place.  You can spend all day or as much time as you wish.  Parking in their lot is ten dollars with the lot definitely in walking distance of the facility.

 

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CENTRAL MARKET—DALLAS

July 14, 2018


When we visit our family in Dallas, Texas we ALWAYS make at least one stop at the Central Market on 5750 East Lovers Lane.  The digital below gives you some idea as to the size of the facility—its is HUGE.  Everything from soup to nuts, all fresh daily, with an amazing verity of choices for every want and need including ethnic.   In this case, a picture or pictures, are better than a thousand words so this post will be pictorial in nature.  I do not think you will regret the digital visit.  Here we go.

The outside is not very dramatic. Pretty much “plain Jane” as it were but wait until you see the inside.

No way we start shopping without taking our grandson.  As you can see, he is driving the bus.

VEGGIES:

If variety is the spice of life you are in “tall cotton” when you first visit the vegetable section. This is the very first area you come to when you enter.  The picture below does not do the area justice.  There are three additional long tables and one shorter table loaded with anything you might want or need including vegetables I have never heard of much less eaten.  The citizens of Dallas represent a very diverse culture so Central Market caters to those cultures.

FRUITS:

Same way with fruits. You name it—they have it.  Again, four tables of fruits neatly arranged and labeled to provide any customer with a superb selection.

FISH DEPARTMENT:

All fresh although there is a frozen fish section in coolers located within the department.


 

$26.99 per pound for lobster tails.  You might also notice the size of the bay scallops.  They are absolutely huge.

MEAT DEPARTMENT:

Two sixty (60) foot counters of meat for consideration.  If they don’t have it, you done need it.  There are even “exotic” meats such as ostrich, buffalo, snake, etc etc.

GRAINS:

This is one of the most intriguing displays in the store.  Each container carries a different consumable.  As you can see, there are well over fifty (50) to consider.  Again, Dallas is a diverse city and many shop here because they know they can find foods and ingredients common to their upbringing.

COFFEE:

The various coffees displayed cover the field and come from many many different countries.  You can buy the bean or grind in the store.

BREAD SELECTION:

To me, the most impressive section of the Central Market is the great variety of bread they offer.  ALL bread, including muffins and pastries are baked at the store on a daily basis.

CHEESES:

The second most-impressive displays are in the Cheese Department.  Again, if they don’t have it you don’t need it.

WINE:

With bread and cheese, you have to have wine and of course they do.  Take a look.

PASTERIES:

We may as well finish with dessert.  Take a look at the selection below.

CONCLUSIONS:

I obviously do not know if you ever travel to Dallas but if you do, here are several places you need to visit:

  • The Central Market
  • AT&T Stadium (Home of the Cowboys)
  • The George W. Bush Presidential Library
  • The Perot Museum of Natural History
  • The Dallas Arboretum
  • Pecan Lodge (Best brisket in Dallas)

Just a thought.

DISCRIMINATION

June 20, 2018


When I think of discrimination I automatically think of whites discriminating against blacks. I’m sure that’s because I’m from the southeastern part of the United States although there is ample evidence that discrimination occurs in all states of the United States.   There are other manners in which discrimination can occur.

From the New York Times we read the following:

“A group that is suing Harvard University is demanding that it publicly release admissions data on hundreds of thousands of applicants, saying the records show a pattern of discrimination against Asian-Americans going back decades.

The group was able to view the documents through its lawsuit, which was filed in 2014 and challenges Harvard’s admissions policies. The plaintiffs said in a letter to the court last week that the documents were so compelling that there was no need for a trial, and that they would ask the judge to rule summarily in their favor based on the documents alone.

The plaintiffs also say that the public — which provides more than half a billion dollars a year in federal funding to Harvard — has a right to see the evidence that the judge will consider in her decision.

Harvard counters that the documents are tantamount to trade secrets, and that even in the unlikely event that the judge agrees to decide the case without a trial, she is likely to use only a fraction of the evidence in her decision. Only that portion, the university says, should be released.”

There is no doubt that Harvard University makes considerable efforts to be “all-inclusive”.  They discriminate against whites and Asian-Americans in favor of African-Americans, Hispanics and the LGBT community.  That is a fact and a form of discrimination.

The EEOC tells us the following are methods of discrimination:

I recently read a horrible story about a young man in the country of India.  This guy had completed a course of study at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi with a Masters Degree in computer science.  He came to know a fellow classmate.  They fell in love.  He asked her father for her hand in marriage.  He said absolutely not.  “My daughter will not marry an untouchable, a Dalit.”  Now, Article 17 of the Indian Constitution abolishes untouchability and makes it punishable by law, and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 spells out the safeguards against caste discrimination and violence. His daughter honored her father and they did not get married.  The young man moved to the United States and now is a citizen working for an aerospace company in New England. He is happily married with three children—all citizens.

The term caste was first used by Portuguese travelers who came to India in the 16th century. Caste comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word “casta” which means “race”, “breed”, or “lineage”. Many Indians use the term “jati”. There are 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes in India, each related to a specific occupation. A caste system is a class structure determined by birth. Loosely, it means that in some societies, if your parents are poor, you’re going to be poor, also. Same goes for being rich, if you’re parents were rich, you would be rich.   According to one long-held theory about the origins of South Asia’s caste system, Aryans from central Asia invaded South Asia and introduced the caste system as a means of controlling the local populations. The Aryans defined key roles in society, then assigned groups of people to them.

If a Hindu were asked to explain the nature of the caste system, he or she might tell the story of Brahma — the four-headed, four-handed deity worshipped as the creator of the universe. According to an ancient text known as the Rigveda, the division of Indian society was based on Brahma’s divine manifestation of four groups. Priests and teachers were cast from his mouth, rulers and warriors from his arms, merchants and traders from his thighs, and workers and peasants from his feet.  Others might present a biological explanation of India’s stratification system, based on the notion that all living things inherit a particular set of qualities. Some inherit wisdom and intelligence, some get pride and passion, and others are stuck with less fortunate traits. Proponents of this theory attribute all aspects of one’s lifestyle — social status, occupation, and even diet — to these inherent qualities and thus use them to explain the foundation of the caste system.

The caste structure may be seen by the digital below.

India’s caste system has four main classes (also called varnas) based originally on personality, profession, and birth. In descending order, the classes are as follows:

  • Brahmana (now more commonly spelled Brahmin): Consist of those engaged in scriptural education and teaching, essential for the continuation of knowledge.
  • Kshatriya: Take on all forms of public service, including administration, maintenance of law and order, and defense.
  • Vaishya: Engage in commercial activity as businessmen.
  • Shudra: Work as semi-skilled and unskilled laborers.

You will notice the “untouchables” and not even considered as a class of Indian society. Traditionally, the groups characterized as untouchable were those whose occupations and habits of life involved ritually polluting activities, of which the most important were (1) taking life for a living, a category that included, for example, fishermen, (2) killing or disposing of dead cattle or working with their hides for a living, (3) pursuing activities that brought the participant into contact with emissions of the human body, such as feces, urine, sweat, and spittle, a category that included such occupational groups as sweepers and washermen, and (4) eating the flesh of cattle or of domestic pigs and chickens, a category into which most of the indigenous tribes of India fell.

As mentioned earlier, Article 17 of the Indian Constitution was introduced to eliminate the caste system.  Do you really think that happened?  Of course not.  Indians of the Dalit classification, and there are thousands, still face rejection and discrimination on a daily basis.  Maybe we here in “los estados unidos” have it better than we think.

CAN YOU RETIRE

May 29, 2018


At some time in our working future we all hope to retire, but one burning question lingers—can you retire on what you have or will save at that point?  We are told that:

At some point in your life, you’ll be using this money to support your lifestyle. By the time you reach sixty (60), you should have six times your salary saved – that’s $360,000 if you make $60,000 per year. Unfortunately, the average sixty-something has an estimated median of $172,000 in the bank.  That is an estimate as of December 8, 2016.  Nearly half of American families have no retirement account savings at all.  This really blows my mind but this fact is what we are told by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in a new report entitled, “The State of American Retirement”.  Please take a look at the graphic below and you can see age groups vs retirement account savings.

Whereas the average savings of a family with members in the 32-to-37 age range is $31,644, the median savings is a bleak $480. At the other end, the average savings of families 56 to 61 — those nearest to retirement — is $163,557. The median is $17,000.

I think there are very specific reasons for the lack of savings, especially for younger citizens of our country.  Student loans, cost of living, pay scales, credit card debt, living above ones means, etc. all contribute to the inability to save or at least save enough for retirement.

The web site called MoneyWise.com has a very interesting solution to this problem or possible solution.  If you go to this web site and look up the following post: “Places You can Retire to for Less Than $200K” you will see a list of twenty (20) countries that can supply most if not all of your needs if your retirement is less than $200 K.  Let’s take a look at the list in order of favorability.

Thailand

Costa Rica

Nicaragua

Malaysia

Mexico

Malta

Ecuador

Spain

Portugal

Panama

Australia

Austria

Czech Republic

Slovenia

Chile

Uruguay

Vietnam

Guam

Indonesia

South Africa

MoneyWise.com completed a study comparing housing availability, cost of living, health care, crime, government and several other indicators to compile this list.  It is a very interesting study and I encourage you to take a look even if you are not considering being an expatriate. You just might change your mind.

There are two other web sites I definitely recommend you check out as follows: 1.)  The CIA Fact Book and 2.) Lonely Planet.  From these two you will find very valuable information relative to any country you wish to research.  Look before you leap might just be in order here. Another option might be spending time and not completely relocating.  Two, three, six or even nine months during one year might get you beyond worry relative to being able to afford retirement on what you have saved.  The most important thing is to DO THE RESEARCH.  Make a list, then a short list of the countries that represent the leading candidates. THEN MAKE A VISIT. Wade—don’t jump.  Several other considerations I would list are as follows:

  • Make sure you consider your family, friends and support group before you make the move. Will they be willing and able to visit on a regular basis if needed?
  • A huge factor for me would be availability of good if not excellent medical facilities.
  • Cost of transportation.
  • Language considerations. If English is an issue, how difficult would learning their language be?
  • Power supplied. (I know this is off the wall.) Does the country provide 120-volt AC, 60 cycles per second or do they provide another voltage and frequency?  In other words, will your electronics work?  Will you have to buy new equipment or can a converter do the job?
  • How difficult and costly is communication “back home”? This includes Internet services.
  • Viability of local banking institutions
  • Stability of government
  • Weather factors

This is where good research is a MUST.

HOMELESS

April 2, 2018


The month of March was a very active month for my wife and me.. Four weeks ago, we were in Dallas helping our family recover from the flu. Two weeks ago, we took our second granddaughter to Nashville for her birthday to see the Nashville Predators.  (She loves the Preds.)  Last week we were in Atlanta helping our oldest two granddaughters.  Tell me—what do these three cities and our hometown have in common?  Can you guess? Tragically, the answer is homeless people living on the streets and camping out on any available vacant lot.  In the greatest country on the planet, we have people living hand-to-mouth trying to scrape and fend for food.  In mid-March my wife and I were coming back from downtown traveling on eleventh street.  The waiting line into the Chattanooga Community Kitchen was at least a block long.  The Community Kitchen does a marvelous job and that service comes with great expense.  All funds come from donations and the United Way.

We are told in Matthew 26:11 the following:

Jesus Anointed at Bethany
10Aware of this, Jesus asked, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful deed to Me. 11The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have Me. 12By pouring this perfume on Me, she has prepared My body for burial.

Today that seems to be more prevalent than ever. Let’s take a look.

  • An individual may be considered homeless when they lack permanent housing and have to stay in shelters, abandoned buildings or vehicles, on the streets, or in other forms of unstable situations. They may also be considered homeless if they have to “double up” with friends or extended family members because they are unable to maintain their own housing situation.
  • More than 500,000 people are homeless in the United States: reports (Reuters) – More than 500,000 people – a quarter of them children – were homeless in the United States in 2016 amid scarce affordable housing across much of the nation, according to a study released on Thursday, Nov 19, 2015.

 

  • Staggering 2.5 million children are now homeless each year in America. This historic high represents one in every thirty (30) childrenin the United States.

 

  • The highest rates of homelessness among states are in Hawaii (465 per 100,000), followed by New York(399) and California (367). The lowest homeless counts per capita come in Mississippi (81 per 100,000), Indiana (94) and Kansas (94). Aug 8, 2014

 

  • Frequently, references indicate that homelessness, as we know it today, is rooted in severe HUD cuts during the early 1980’s. While policy changes did have a large impact exacerbating the problem, homelessness has been documented in America since 1640. In the 1640’s homelessness was seen as a moral deficiency, a character flaw. Nov 16, 2011

 

  • For women in particular, domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness.  In our country the primary causes of homelessness among families are: (1) lack off affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, and (4) low wages, in that order.

 

  • The Treatment Advocacy Center’s newly updated backgrounder, “How many individuals with a serious mental illness are homeless” examines the percentage of homeless individuals with serious mental illness and their abysmal quality of life. Approximately thirty-three (33) percent of the homeless are individuals with serious mental illnesses that are untreated.  Many of these people suffer from schizophrenia, schizo-effective disorder, bipolar disorder or major depression.

 

  • In Massachusetts and Ohio, twenty-seven (27) and thirty-six (36) percent of people released from mental institutions became homeless within six (6) months.

 

  • Previously hospitalized people were three times more likely to obtain food from garbage.

 

  • Studies show that psychotic individuals are much more likely to get assaulted or threatened while homeless.

 

  • Though officials believe that they are saving money by releasing patients from mental hospitals, there is a significant cost to the patient and to society at large.  “In 2001, a University of Pennsylvania study that examined 5,000 homeless people with mental illnesses in New York City found that they cost taxpayers an average of $40,500 a year for their use of emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, shelters and prisons.”

 

  • The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated one hundred (100) million people were homeless worldwide. As many as 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing (Habitat, 2015).

 

The U.S. map below just about says it all.  Take a look.

CONCLUSIONS: 

Obviously, I do not know the answer, but surely there IS an acceptable answer to those who live on the streets.  I think about all of the children and the future they have while being homeless.  Wasted potential.  Hopefully we all can think about this and put those thoughts into action.  THERE MUST BE AN ANSWER.

PINK

January 28, 2018


On Saturday January 27, 2018 the City of Chattanooga held the thirteenth annual Pink Gala.  This remarkable event is held to benefit the MaryEllen Locher Breast Cancer Center at Chattanooga Memorial Hospital.  Pink, honors the legacy of Mary Ellen, and remembers all of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and celebrates those survivors that continue after their illness is cured.   This event provides additional funding to maintain the most comprehensive breast cancer center in the region and in the state of Tennessee.

Breast cancer has affected each of us in some manner.  The American Cancer Society estimates that breast cancer in men in the United States for 2018 estimates are:  approximately 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.  About 480 men will die from breast cancer.  The lifetime risk for women:   Women in the U.S. have a “1 in 8” (or about 12 percent) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means for every eight (8) women in the U.S., one (1) will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.  HUGE NUMBERS.  The diagnosis of cancer affects not only the individual’s health but every aspect of family life.  As a comprehensive breast cancer center, the MaryEllen Center receives patients and provides state-of-the-art treatment while supporting then with nurse navigators, social workers, genetic counselors, and dieticians.  The Pink event has raised over $3.4 million dollars since its inception in 2006.  All money raised is used locally and directly affects impacted families in the Chattanooga Community.

We are going to take a pictorial visit to the event last night starting with the program.  As you can see, the theme for this year’s event was “A Night in Old Havana”.  I have to believe the day after the 2017 Pink Gala the organizers started working on the 2018 event.  The planning was absolutely flawless with every detail covered.  There were one hundred and thirty-seven (137) tables with ten (10) chairs per table.  Every chair was filled.  Each table had a “captain” responsible for inviting guests.  There were no empty chairs that I could see.

The program for the evening is given below.   As you can see, included was a remarkably great dinner including a delicious Cuban sandwich offered as appetizer.  It was GOOD.

As we entered the Chattanooga Convention Center we heard the Cuban band playing loud and clear.  No mistaken the origin of the music.  Accomplished musicians doing what they do best—warming up the attendees.

You can see from the digital picture below, the auditorium was decorated remarkably well with table cloths and napkins, obviously, PINK.  The size of the auditorium easily accommodated the fourteen hundred (1400) people in attendance.

The two best words any party-goer can hear, “open bar”.  There were no fewer that four bars open for business that night with no charge to the party-goers.

After a GREAT dinner, a silent auction was held to raise additional funds for the Center.

I want to give you an idea as to what items were offered for the auction.

  • A painting of the auditorium by noted Chattanooga painter Liz Lindstrom. The value of that painting was set at $3,500. Lindstrom was painting when we arrived so the finished work is not shown below but you can get some idea as to the quality of the piece.

  • QUARK Sculpture—Value, $30,000. (NOTE:  The final bid was approximately $38,000.)
  • Diamond necklace valued at $6,500.00
  • Hammerstein Highland Lodge in Jamaica. Six nights–$15,500.00. This is a gated community with every amenity you can think of.  Great place to escape—but with a price.
  • EPB (Electric Power Board) of Chattanooga Small Business Advertising Package—Valued at $9,000.00
  • Custom Men’s Suit by Bruce Baird—Valued at $1,000.00
  • Whirlpool Stainless Steel Refrigerator—Valued at $2,200.00
  • Porsche Driving Experience—Valued at $500.00.
  • Black Cashmere Cape with Fox Trim—Valued at $3,000.00
  • BMW Baby Racer—Valued at $129.00
  • Wine Cellar with Cooler—Valued at $1,550.00
  • Alabama Football Tickets—Valued at $600.00
  • Destin Condo at Breakers East—Valued at $3,400.00
  • Personal Jet Experience—Valued at $3,700.00

There were eighty items auctioned off that night during the benefit.  All items were sold. Nothing left.

After the auction, a terrific band called dancing to Party on the Moon.  I have no idea as to where this band came from but they were not local.  Eight members banging it out.

All-in-all, great event for a GREAT cause.  Everyone had a marvelous time.  We left at 10:45 which is later than I stay up 364 days each year but that’s ok.  None the worse for the wear.

WORST POSSIBLE

January 26, 2018


There is an expression you have heard time and time again: “You have to bloom where you are planted”.  I think this means you are encouraged to flourish where you are and try to make the best of any situation until you can change that situation.

One of the best books I have read recently is “Hillbilly Elegy” by J.D. Vance.  It details the story of a family having to move from Appalachian Kentucky to Ohio.  In his words, their family was “dirt-poor” and when jobs vanished they had to move just to survive.  Mr. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister and most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life.  It’s a very insightful book and one I can highly recommend to you.

Let’s face it, there are good places to live and not-so-good-places to live in the United States.  A recent Gallup survey basically tells the tale.

If you live in Illinois, Connecticut or Rhode Island, the chances are you know someone who is not happy. Not happy at all. Around a quarter of the population living in these regions have described them each as the ‘worst possible state to live in’, according to a Gallup survey. The map data doesn’t explain the nature of the residents’ grievances but that map, according to the Gallup Survey, is given below.

While twenty-one to twenty-five (21-25) per cent of people ranked these three states as the ‘worst’, Louisiana and Mississippi also featured prominently – with seventeen to twenty (17-20) per cent describing the two southern states as the worst.

On a positive note, ten states had only one to two (1-2) per cent of their population who weren’t happy: Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Maine. Apparently weather was not a significant factor in their happiness.  If you look at individual cities, we find the following, again according to Gallup in the list below.

If you want to lead a happy life, Boulder, Colorado, it seems, is the place to be – because it was named as the happiest city in the U.S. last October.  It topped a list of twenty-five (25) of America’s happiest cities, revealed in the book The Blue Zones of Happiness, by National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner.

Along with National Geographic and Gallup, he developed an index to measure a population’s happiness based on fifteen (15) metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthful food options.  Boulder tops the list with walkability, access to nature and sense of community being contributing factors to its residents’ happiness.  The metro area of Santa Cruz-Watsonville California came second in the list, followed by Charlottesville, Virginia, Fort Collins, Colorado, and San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande in California. California is clearly a dreamy place to live, as eight of its cities, including the metro areas of San Diego-Carlsbad and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, make the happiness list.  Let’s now take a look at that list.

If we look at population densities by city, we find the top ten (10) as follows:

You will notice that number seventeen (17) on our most popular list is also on the most-dense list. San Fran must be a great place to live. I know, having repeated experience with Atlanta traffic, LOVE TO VISIT, but would not want to live there.  Great place with lots to do but the traffic is a real bummer.

As always, I welcome your comments.

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