Friday, July 22, 2016

OLD FORT PARKER - Step into the 1800's with Indian Raids and Abductions


Exactly 180 years ago, Fort Parker was raided by Native Americans and several of the inhabitants were killed. Some of the women and children were roped and dragged off, including 9-year-old Cynthia Parker. Her father was one of the men killed and she never saw her immediate family again, until many years later when the Texas Rangers rescued her as a grown woman and forced her to reunite with relatives in East Texas. So imagine as a young child abducted, and dragged off for miles from everything you knew. Cynthia found herself immersed into the strange languages and customs of the Comanches and eventually married the Chief in her teens. She later bore him three children, one whom became the great warrior chief, Quanah.  

As you stand in the exact spot of the fort, you can get a glimmer of insight on the security and lack of, due to the size of the cabins, height and depth of the walls --- and the fact that the only thing that separated your bed from the outside was a cedar log. Not to mention, the vulnerability of fire.

But what compromised their safety that morning on May 19, 1836, was the opening of the gate for a "white flag" bearing group of Native Americans and a pale faced man who was requesting assistance for food and water. Just so happened that the bulk of the settlers were not at the fort, but were working the fields, leaving the remaining women, children, and the senior Parker clan vulnerable.

This fort is a great way to capture the grand scope of things and to get your family talking about Texas History, not to mention, to gather a higher respect for the dangers that our ancestors has faced.

If you would like to learn more about the old fort, you can read from their website as well as learn about future events - parties, history reenactments, and for reunions.

Don't forget to BRING CASH. They do NOT accept debit/credit cards. $2 admission for adults

Shooting range outside of fort for events

Inside the visitor center are history books, some local crafts for sale, artifacts, photos, as well as bathrooms, and guest desk to ask questions.

Don't forget to visit the FORT PARKER STATE PARK  just down the road! Admission for the State Park is separate.


Thursday, July 7, 2016


AT&T outage map of July 7, 2016

Two weeks ago, I realized I was ill prepared. First our Internet went down at home. Then our cable.
After awhile, I wondered if I had forgotten to pay the bill. Thankfully our cell service was still working, and I asked on social media (via my smartphone) if anyone else in the neighborhood were having the same problems?

No response

Maybe they weren't online either.

Through my phone, I managed to discover it was a widespread outage from the AT&T website 

Sure enough, people were posting that their services were down. Some said they were having difficulty with AT&T answering the phones, and for those who made a connection, they were informed it was an "accidental cutting of the line" that caused the widespread issue and that we could ask for a $10 credit on our next bill.

As I looked at the comments, people were reporting outages from Los Angeles to NYC.
July 7, 2016 between 2pm - 3

This brought to mind just a few days earlier when friends on social media were reporting unusual outages in Missouri, and they were informed it was a "fire" that was to blame.

Of course a few technical folks logged on and said that was a bunch of bologna.

That day, we lost all connection from 2pm, until sometime into the wee hours. After I logged into the computer the following morning, I posted on the site that our services were recovered sometime after 12 or so hours ---
BUT, I noticed that MANY in our area were still without services. All through the weekend, families were without Internet, cable, AND cell service. Some had no connections for more than 4 days.

Can you imagine what would happen if EVERYONE was cut off from communication?

How would we check our banks? Talk to extended family? Do our jobs? Make a purchase?

I had thought about those issues before, but as usual, figured I'd get to it someday later.

Well, someday later has arrived.. As I type this, I am waiting for the Internet to connect again. All day long today we have had rolling outages. Over the past few weeks, we have had sporadic Internet.

An interesting incident happened last night that I will talk about at the end of this post. An AT&T rep came to our door....


RIGHT AFTER our day off the communication grid, I went on Amazon and decided my procrastinating days were OVER.  After much research, youtube videos, and discussions, I have settled for the Baofeng Pofung GT-3TP Mark III Tri-Power 2-way HAM radio.

If you are needing convincing on WHY and HOW the HAM radio is the single best purchase for a communication back-up plan, visit LONE WOLF SURVIVAL for his well written article on HAM RADIO. He comments:

Ham radio is the go-to communication system for pretty much every emergency response system and is what MARS (the Military Auxiliary Radio System) and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) both use, as well as many search and rescue and other emergency groups.
One of the nice things is that a lot of ham radios can reach the national weather system (NOAA) frequencies. That means that if you have a radio, you can find out what’s going on in the area. If you have a radio scanner, you can listen to what’s going on with emergency frequencies as well as any other that the scanner can reach, and you don’t have to know which one they’re transmitting on. That’s why they call it a scanner. It goes in a loop up through whatever frequencies you tell it to and it stops if it hears someone transmitting.

So imagine. No electricity. No cable. No Internet. No cell service. No running water... well, you get the picture. BUT, with a HAM radio, one can easily connect with others in an off grid emergency situation. Just have that back-up battery!

To keep things legal, I had purchased and am studying the Ham Radio AARL manual for my Technician License. I'll be blogging more on my experience, as I'm learning that this is easier to do than I had thought, not to mention, you don't have to break the bank to make this your back-up plan.

Now for the AT&T rep that came to our door...


(REP) I'm here to offer you a chance to lower your bill!
(SPOUSE) Okay, well lower my bill
(REP) Did you experience the outages that we had recently?
(REP) Well, we had lost a lot of customers due to that, so now we're offering a new package where you can lower your bill.
(SPOUSE) Well, if you're wanting to lower my bill, JUST lower my numbers
(REP) It's hot outside! I'm from Virginia and I'm not used to the heat!
(Spouse) Well, you're interrupting my dinner, but if you want to lower my bill, just do it!
(REP) I can show you our package deals
(SPOUSE) Look, just lower the number on my bill. PROBLEM SOLVED!


Ever noticed the planes playing tic tac toe? I sit on my front porch and watch them crisscross in the sky day and night. Of course, many will point out it's a natural phenomenon - aka contrails. I beg to differ.

 It is a good thing when we can hear it from the horse's mouth!

John Brennan of the Council on Foreign Relations