Wednesday, January 31, 2007


"A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, 'Hey, bud, why the long face?'"

Don't know about you, but I am tremendously skeptical when it comes to politicians. I'd say a burned idealist is a cynic, and that's me. Nevertheless, the following is from our beloved guv, and forwarded by Greg and Lori Bailes.

Dear Fellow Texans,

Last August, I created the Texas Task Force on Appraisal Reform to study and make recommendations on how to address Texans' continuing concerns over skyrocketing property appraisals. The members of this special commission have now presented their recommendations to the Texas Legislature and we have a chance to provide better protections for Texas taxpayers and put a stop to runaway appraisal creep.

Texas Task Force on Appraisal Reform Recommendations:

Voter approval will be required for any property tax revenue increases that exceed 5 percent.
Elected representation on appraisal review boards
Prevent future unfunded state mandates on local government
Require sales price disclosure to increase appraisal accuracy
Greater tax predictability for homebuyers
Better protections for taxpayers by giving local communities the ability to lower the appraisal cap to 5% and double the homestead exemption

Taken together, this package will improve the accuracy of appraisals, prevent future unfunded state mandates on local government and ensure taxpayers are no longer rendered powerless in stopping large tax and spending increases that often occur without even a vote of their local representatives.

While the legislature begins to debate the commission's recommendations, it is important that Texans across the state make their voice heard and let their representatives know that they want real and meaningful taxpayer protections passed this session.

I am asking you to sign the Taxpayer Protection Petition, forward it to your family and friends and encourage them to do the same. I will then forward it on to members of the Texas Legislature so they hear - loud and clear - that Texans want, deserve and demand property tax appraisal relief now.

If you agree with me, then please join me by filling out this important petition and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.

There are several ways you can send a strong message to Austin:

Sign the Taxpayer Protection Petition

If it gives you the "incorrect email format" message, it wants everything in lower case.

Forward this email to your family and friends and encourage them to sign the petition.

Print the Taxpayer Protection Petition and ask your neighbors to fill it out
Mail completed Taxpayer Protection Petitions to:
Taxpayer Protection Petition
Texans for Rick Perry
PMB 217, PO Box 2013
Austin, TX 78768

Together, we can protect Texans from skyrocketing tax bills, provide local governments the room for growth they need, and ensure that tax relief passed last year results in greater savings.
Thank you for your support,

Rick Perry

Monday, January 29, 2007


What a difference a year makes! This year's annual owners' meeting was at Rosie's on 71, with food and drinks and much more camaraderie than in '06. We are growing into a community! Donald Abrams took care of old biz in fine and fast fashion.

Even so, there were a good number of people absent. This goes on your permanent record.

Steve Yetts of Discovery gave a progress report:

They are targeting the back road to open on March 17th, the same day Fish Camp will open. The lake has been, and will continue to be stocked. Already there are catfish, minnows and brim (bluegill) - in February Tiger Bass will be added - they are aggressive and fast growers. Over the next few years there will be a continual program of stocking. Gear will be available off the pier. I plan to donate the Bob Wood Hook-From-Finger Removal Tool.

The lodge and pool will get under construction in March (across from the Fish Camp) and is expected to open approximnately March 08, with the swimming pool a little later.

The club house (Golf) is projected to be finished end of 07.

Discovery has hired a lobbyist to try to influence the legislature about the hazards of the east entrance at 71.

Design guidelines remain an ever-evolving process... if you have concerns, please communicate to Pam, Donald, or Steve. Overall driver: good architecture.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The trashcans stand like mute blue sentinels in the sun, their fermented contents a sign that decay is a part of life, or former life, or consumption.

But why, you ask?

A good question, indeed!

Are we so uncivilized that our 'team' cannot get the contracted service providers to do what they promised days ago?

This isn't the lifestyle in the brochure.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

ART EXHIBIT - Anthroposophical Art

Bob would you please post this;

The teacher of this class is my very dear friend, who is a wonderful artist. I went to one of her workshops a month or so ago with my daughter and had a magical time. I wanted to make the opportunity available to all of you as well.

Happy New Year, Teresa Duncan

Dear Friends:

My Art Workshop in January will be on Sunday the 28th at 1 pm.

For 3 hours, you and a loved one or close friend will explore a memory, or a song, or a dream for the future. This Relationship Art workshop comes out of my studies of Anthroposophical Art. The workshop will leave you more connected to each other, to yourself, and to the spirit world. So much of what is beautiful in the education that Steiner envisioned comes directly out of the experience of creating art!

Art of this nature requires only that the artist is ready to explore and inquire - no amount of "artistic experience" will enhance your journey. So please do not hesitate due to some preconceived notion about your abilities.

Here's what one participant said about the last workshop:

Susan's workshop held not a trace of work and might more aptly be titled a shop of adoration and fun. My Mom loved her birthday gift and the memories we expressed via the worldless medium of color connected us in a way we have never experienced. We held hands and went strolling through our hearts to relive the fond memories shared and we captured this nostalgia with a new layer expressed in a gift we will forever covet. Susan is an incredible guide and her presence immediately put us at ease and sparked a lively afternoon. Count me in as a regular adoration-shop participant!

The January Workshop is being held at Casa de Luz, on January 28th from 1-4pm. The price is $99 for 2 people.

You are cordially invited to attend and if you know someone who might be interested in this kind of art exploration, please forward this invitation on to them. If you have any questions, please contact me at 301-6176, or by email at

Thank you,



I am embarrassed by the obviously bad information I received about trash pickup post-ice. Ostensibly this info was from our HOA manager, Pam Chandler, but when the containers stood like sentries for days, I got to thinking... maybe it wasn't Pam at all, but Raccoons masquerading as Pam. I mean, Raccoons are pretty smart - they know how to wash food, use tools, and Windows XP is pretty easy.

What do they have to profit? Easy - they can rifle the bags and boxes while we all sleep! One man's throwaway surplus shrimp is Rocky's gourmet feast.

Or maybe it was Jihadists!

I have therefore contacted the Department of Homeland Security to apply for a grant to study this serious breach. After all, there may be dud fireworks embedded in that trash, leftovers from Jan 1. After curing, they could spontaneously ignite, making quite the political statement as if to say - your decadence of consumption is indictment against your lazy way of life.

It's a complicated world today.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


BFI says our trash should be picked up today (Thursday), but if they don't get to it, tomorrow for sure. They are on the road and doing all of the HOAs first.

Nice warning.

Don't know about you, but I'm going to have to beat the container with a sledgehammer to get through the ice.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


by Micheal Reilly

by Bob Wood phonecam

Yes, the community is ice-bound (at least we are - a trip down our ice sheeted driveway would introduce us to the neighbor's backyard instantly!) Pictures are starting to roll in... I encourage you to send your reports or pictures ( How are you holding up?

I e mailed the gate but got no response. Nice work. Or maybe there's nobody home there?

Has anyone left our community? What have you found for road conditions? Specifically SO Blvd and 71?

More stories and pictures are rolling in. (BTW: East Gate guard shack doesn't answer.)

Well, Al almost had a heart attack this morning ... he took our dogs out to see if we got a newspaper and my new little puppy, Jackson, (cute picture attached) almost slid down the ice into the sewer. He managed to scramble away, but Al's heart was pounding for quite some time!

by Linda Engelbrecht

by Tim Sabo

We just heard a dull roar. Terri and I wondered what had just happened? It was a sheet of ice rolling off our roof. (Note to parents - watch your kids don't get hit!) 35.6 degrees here on Overlook Pass at the moment.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ICE !!!

Temperatures remain in the freezing range and TXDOT cams show VERY little traffic anywhere. The 71 hills would be frightening.

In Spanish Oaks even taking the dog out beside the garage was slippery and dangerous. Stay in if you can! And... it's supposed to be worse tomorrow.

At Stately Wood Manor we see the cedars taking the worst of it so far. Fingers crossed for the Oaks.

We expect a power failure in the feed to Spanish Oaks (this could be residual Minnesota thinking)... time will tell. Charge your cell phones now. Backup your computer files as you go!

Monday, January 15, 2007


Subject: ice storm

Hello Everyone,

Due to the ice storm and unsafe driving conditions on icy roadways on
Monday January 15, 2007, Allied Waste has decided not to run the trucks.

Rescheduling will occur once the determination is made that we can
safely complete our routes.

We will be contacting each of you to notify you of the exact date
rescheduling for your area will occur.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

Arlene Simcoe
Residential Dispatch
Allied Waste Services-Austin Division
Phone: 1-512-247-5647 ext-1226
Fax :1-512-247-5115

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Lori Bailes sends this regarding Christmas Giving

Okay, this update is a little late, but better late than never….

Ten Spanish Oaks’ residents sponsored eight families through the Christmas Bureau this holiday. While one experience left a little to be desired, two were good, and five were excellent.

Please see an excerpt from an email that I received from Amanda Tennant:

It went completely awesome! Alec and I delivered everything Wednesday, the 20th and it was such a great experience for Alec—myself as well.
We stayed with them for about an hour and just chatted about life. It was really great. They were so happy and grateful and although I was sad when I left knowing what I had left and what I was going home to, I felt so good that we had made a difference in their life, even if it was only for 1 day.

It was for sure a highlight of our holiday season.

I know that we want to do it again next year—hopefully, we can think of a way to make it more of a community thing like you had said.

I took a bunch of pictures—they didn’t have any on their walls of the kids and was going to mail the prints to them (we also bought them frames).

Thank you Amanda for sharing that!

We were lucky enough to get to deliver to 3 families. I think the delivering was the hi-light for my kids. We barely got out of the door of the first house before they were asking me why their house was so small. Their family room was literally the size of our mudroom. The report from the second house was “those people aren’t poor.” So I got to explain that they were a family where both adults were trying to go back to school to better themselves, so they probably just didn’t have the funds to spend on Christmas this year. Their TV was a bit oversized for a family in need, but I had to ask myself if I’d want to sell off all of my possessions if I was in a rut financially. The kids really wanted to visit a little with the third family as they were the family we sponsored. But, there really wasn’t even room for us to sit down.

One thing that seemed to be a common factor in all three places, their lives seemed to revolve around the TV. I guess even with cable/satellite or what have you, it is still a relatively cheap form of entertainment and everyone deserves a little entertainment.

Of the sponsored families, many just wanted clothes. One young Mother wanted clothes for her children and for her Grandmother who helped her out a lot with the kids. A seven year old was ecstatic to be receiving gifts.

Some of the feedback received from Spanish Oaks residents was: let’s do it again next year, our whole family clued in on the embarrassment the recipients felt.

We had some very generous sponsors. One family provided bikes for all three children. Another reported “we can’t carpool to deliver as our car is too full of stuff.”

For the most part it was an awesome experience. Christmas was made special for many, thanks to Spanish Oaks’ residents. We enjoyed getting to deliver to the actual recipients way more than doing the usual tag off the tree at church deal. And although I still have most of the ingredients for those Christmas cookies we were “going” to bake and many of my decorations stayed in tubs this holiday, I feel like we had our priorities more in line with the reason for the season this holiday.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


FINALLY announced. January 29, 2007 – 6:30 PM

The Association will hold its Annual Meeting on Monday, January 29, 2007 at 6:30 PM at Rosie’s Tamale House, on Hwy. 71, just west of 620. We will have our business meeting, followed by a buffet dinner (including Margaritas eeeeeeeeehhhhahahhhh and other liquid refreshments) and time for socializing together.

An Annual Report will be presented, with opportunity for questions and discussion. In addition, the developer will update us on planned improvements for 2007. Please mark your calendars and make every effort to attend. This is a great time to ask questions, meet your neighbors, and stay informed about your community.

If you cannot attend and have questions, please call Pam Chandler at 533-2365, or e-mail so that Pam can make sure your issue is discussed at the meeting.



Apparently they are dropping out of the homes like the dead birds on Congress Avenue -since the trash people were supposed to pick them up LAST week. No festivus poles have been spotted. Pam Chandler says if they don't take them today she'll hide them in an unfinished home.



At least 2 horses are now home in the 'hood at the huge Chateau on lower Musket Rim.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


TexDot says the 71 project for 71 at the new mall is effectively stalled as the utilities people squabble with Opus.

Another issue is it seems the utilities to be buried will cost more than was expected.


Sorry if your Christmas tree wasn't picked up today - I was given bad information about a Thursday pickup, apparently.


Into the guard rail at the east turn-in on 71. Pictures from Tim Sabo.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Uh, it's apparently undecided. We are told January. Soon as the cat is out of the gated bag, we will post it here. Till then, study your proposed budget sheets - there will be a test.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree, How On Earth Do I Get Rid Of Thee?

Trash has been delayed a day due to the holiday, which means they'll pick up trees this THURSDAY! They ask that if the tree is over 6 ft. tall, that it be cut in half or at least into 2 pieces no longer than 6 ft. each.