Christmas Carols in Room 23

I spent this evening singing Christmas carols.

With my siblings.

For my father.

In Room 23.

Hope the other patients didn’t mind.

Watching him slip away, cancer being overtaken by pneumonia.

Medications withdrawn.

The hours slip away while we watch and wait. Yesterday his eyes were open.

Today they are closed.

We switch to the songs he sang with us as children.


And then that single lonely tear.

He is still in there.

Breath more labored by the hour.

We have another song or two to sing.

Tomorrow starts in-patient hospice.

Pray for Cal.

(This didn’t get posted until today. The above was written the evening of December 17th. My father passed away December 18th around 1:00 in the morning. He will be HOME for Christmas.)

An Open Letter to Greg Abbott, Joe Shannon and Judge Jean Boyd in Reference to the Decriminalization of Manslaughter In the case of Ethan Couch

Photo credit:

(I emailed the following letter last night to the named recipients:)

Dear Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott; Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney, Joe Shannon; and Judge Jean Boyd:

Like the rest of the world, I am astounded at the sentence of Ethan Couch.

Rather than state the obvious, can we talk a little logic here?

Judge Boyd, although you stated Ethan Couch was indeed responsible for his actions, your acceptance of the psychiatrist’s sentence recommendations imply the contrary. Let’s face it, it sounds like the defendant’s parents did a horrible job raising him and scarred him emotionally by their overindulgence and lack of parenting. The Court has determined by its sentence that Ethan Couch did not need punishment, rather he needed treatment as a result of the parenting or lack thereof he received. Following that train of thought, the deaths of Brian Jennings, Breanna Mitchell, Shelby Boyles and Hollie Boyles were not Ethan’s fault really, they were his parents’ fault.

Stick with me here.

if the vehicular manslaughter was Ethan’s parents’ fault, CHARGE THEM with four counts of vehicular manslaughter!

While we’re at it, friends, can we add in charges of child abuse?

Mr. Abbott, as the respected Attorney General for the State of Texas, may I direct you to your own website at, which states, “According to Chapter 261 of the Family Code (recodified in 1995), child abuse is an act or omission that endangers or impairs a child’s physical, mental or emotional health and development. Child abuse may take the form of physical or emotional injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, physical neglect, medical neglect, or inadequate supervision.” See, I’m thinking you wouldn’t even have to provide much new testimony to convict the Couches of child abuse. I think all you will need is in the reports of the psychiatrists at Ethan Couch’s trial.

Judge Boyd, you are in an incredibly powerful position here. As I understand it, you have the authority to revoke the defendant’s probation and send him to jail/prison the very moment he commits the slightest violation of his probation.

Can anyone tell me what the terms of Ethan Couch’s probation are?

Also, Judge Boyd, answer me this: Your job is going to be to keep an eye on the Defendant’s adherence to the terms of his probation. Whose job is it to keep an eye on you, to make sure that you act swiftly and appropriately when Ethan Couch violates the terms of his probation?

And, Judge Boyd, could you answer just one last teensy question? When I hit the website, a well known website directory for state-, county- and city-elected officials, I clicked on the “contact via email” link under your name and the email address popped up. S. Brown? Please, please tell me there’s no relation to Ethan Couch’s attorney. Please, please tell me it’s Suzy Brown or Stephen Brown or Stacy Brown, just anything other than Scott Brown, Ethan Couch’s attorney. Please tell me you have never, ever, ever worked closer to Scott Brown than you are working right now.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope the questions I have asked will be answered very soon.

Alyson ——— (last name omitted for posting)


Heard Around the Hen House – Bella

Isabella Grace is our precious 5-year-old, and I don’t use the word “precious” lightly.

A few months ago:
Mommy: “Isabella, do you know why your middle name is Grace?”
Bella: “No.”
Mommy: “Because you are full of grace.”

Last month:
Mommy: “Isabella, do you know why your middle name is Grace?”
Isabella: (very seriously) “Because I am full of grace.”
Mommy: “That’s right Bella, you are full of grace.”

This month:
Mommy, “Isabella, do you know why your middle name is Grace?”
Bella: “Because I’m full of it.”

Yes, Bella, you certainly are; but oh how we love you anyway!

Happy Holidays, Y’all!