Mueller - December 2021

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Halloween in Mueller 2021

Angel of Death by Marta White

Giraffe and Sloth by Marta White Copyright © 2021 Peel, Inc.

Spider after Dark by Kelly Liao

Skeleton campfire by Marta White

Candy Board by Marta White

Candy Chute by Marta White Front Porch Flyer - December 2021




Front Porch Flyer - December 2021

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Letter from the Chair FRONT PORCH FLYER

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Kathy Sokolic, Mollie Marchione EDITORIAL STAFF

Amy Adams, Cynthia Cammack, Andrew Clements, Shawn Collins, Drew Harris, Ted Herr, Bart Jacob, Judith Katzman, Woody Lauland, Mary Ann Lopez, Mollie Marchione, Dennis Mick, Susan Palombo, Sadia Tirmizi, Lila Valencia

THE FRONT PORCH FLYER is published by the Mueller Neighborhood Association and Peel, Inc. on a monthly basis. ©2021 All Rights Reserved.

Watching all the trick or treaters fill up our streets and sidewalks again, it gave me hope that we are turning the corner with this pandemic and hopefully by spring, we will be able to have even more inperson events. Mueller seemed alive with all of the festive decorations, ingenious ways to deliver the candy, and the creative costumes of the little ones and adults. Through all the trials we had to endure this past year with COVID-19, the hunt for vaccine appointments, the snowpocalypse, hybrid learning, and so many other challenges 2021 brought us, Mueller neighbors came together and supported each other. I was inspired by the generosity and kindness. I believe that is the true spirit of Mueller. This will be my last letter as Chair of the Mueller Neighborhood Association Steering Committee. It has been my honor to work alongside the past and current group of talented and inspiring neighbors who have also volunteered their time to serve on the Steering Committee. Joining the Steering Committee has allowed me to meet neighbors and community members whose paths I might not have crossed otherwise and I have learned so much about our neighborhood. I’d like to welcome the 2022 Steering Committee members. It will be exciting to see how the group evolves next year and the perspectives the new members will bring to the conversations. You can support them by volunteering for the different events the MNA sponsors and attending the general MNA meetings each month. With your help, I am confident 2022 will be an outstanding year for Mueller neighbors. Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic new year! Sincerely, Marta White

Steering Committee Members: Damaris Nicholson, Secretary Dale Cannedy Ed Dorn Jason Sears John Reese Thomas, Treasurer John Wooding, Ex-Officio Koreena Malone Marta White, Chair Pat DiSanza, Vice Chair Sarah Roper-Coleman Ted Herr

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MNA Annual Holiday Lights Contest

The Mueller Neighborhood Association is hosting the annual Holiday Lights Contest, with winners to be posted in the January edition of the Front Porch Flyer. Each year, the MNA recognizes the Mueller neighborhood block (not just an individual house) with the most holiday spirit. The contest encourages neighbors to work together to bring the biggest, brightest holiday cheer for the joy of the entire Mueller neighborhood. Secret judges are already on the prowl looking for the most festive block in Mueller. Past Mueller Holiday Block Winners, by year: 2020: South Threadgill; 2019: Upper Camacho; 2018: 1900 block of Antone; 2017: 2600 block of Zach Scott; 2016: South Threadgill; 2015: 2000 block of Emma Long; 2014: 2000 block of Antone; 2013: South Berkman; 2012: Gochman; 2011: 4100 block of Threadgill; 2010: Lawless; 2009: Lawless 2008: Cal Rodgers

Front Porch Flyer - December 2021


FRONT PORCH FLYER Birds of Mueller by Amy Adams

Do you ever take a walk in the neighborhood and hear birdsong and wonder what kind of bird it is? Do you like those weird, crazy sounds that grackles make or do they drive you insane? Did you know that we have parakeets in our neighborhood!? We’re birdy. From the Black Bellied Whistling Duck to the Great Blue Heron to the Monk Parakeet Mueller, it’s a bird’s paradise. From the Yellow-crowned Night Heron to the Black Vulture and the Whitetailed Kite, if you want birds, we’ve got 'em. I’m talking American Coot and the Killdeer and the Sandhill Crane, or what about the Red-bellied Woodpecker or the Eastern Phoebe? Then there’s the Loggerheaded Shrike,which I personally think is a great name for a bar. Other birds that drop by Mueller include nesting Purple Martins and the beloved (???) Grackle, but what about the Orange-crowned Warbler or the Yellow-rumped Warbler or the Lesser Goldfinch or the Spotted Towhee? I’ve heard that some intrepid sharp-eyed birders here have even spotted a Tennessee Warbler and the Indigo Bunting and coolest name of all: the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! We are swarmed with birds here and they are hiding in plain sight! And, we have our very own experienced birder right here in Mueller! My neighbor, Judith Bailey, has been bird watching as a hobby for decades. She moved to Mueller in 2013 and has been an active member of the MNA. Judith started being curious about birds as a child in Liberty, Texas, when she and her mother would walk around and look for what was making pretty songs in the trees. After retiring from her 18-year career as a hospice nurse, Judith spent a lot of her time training and walking her two dogs, Maddy and Reily. On those walks, she started to notice differences among birds – things like the shape of the wings, the color on the breast of the bird, the color of the beak and whether it was long and pointy or short and fat – and developed a bit of a language for observation that she would check against her bird guide books. After taking classes from the Travis Audubon Society, Judith started leading field trips for beginning birders. Judith says there’s just one thing that is needed to get started as a new birdwatcher: curiosity. “Well, and your eyes and your ears. Of course, it helps if you get some binoculars and a bird guidebook,” said Judith. I have always thought birds were very cool and kind of freaky because they're walking living dinosaurs on our planet, so I decided to find out more by interviewing Judith. I live a few doors down from her and she's always talking bird to me. Here are a few (out of over 100 kinds of birds) to look for in Mueller: House Sparrow – Supposedly this bird species came over to the U.S. from England around 1851, nested in Brooklyn, NY, and then headed West over the next century. This is a picture of a breeding male. The females are a little lighter in color. Blue Jay – Everyone knows these beautiful “cheeky guys,” but did you know they are very intelligent and have tight family bonds? Blue Jays love acorns so much that they are credited with spreading oak trees after the last glacial period. Northern Mockingbird – They seem to like to perch high in a tree or run low on the ground and are known to mimic other birds. 4

Front Porch Flyer - December 2021

Great-tailed Grackle – The unofficial mascot of Austin, hooting and screeching and being weird and stealing tacos right out of your hand. Fun fact: when they look kind of bedraggled and bald and frankly, half dead, around autumn, it’s because they just molted and are growing all new feathers. I thought those were the teenage birds but it turns out this is a yearly thing. Cooper’s Hawk – These are the kind of harsh and scary guys but also cool and fierce, that zoom down from the air and kill pigeons on your back porch. That can be annoying as a human but it’s just a day’s work for them. They are common but can be hard to spot because they are very sneaky. White Winged Dove – No not from Stevie Nicks! If you look closely, you can see their blue “eyeshadow.” Mourning Dove – This is the one you see on the top of a house across the street sadly saying “wooo wooo” in a mournful voice or walking “small-headedly” in front of you as you traverse a sidewalk. Very common with a voice like a lament. European Starling – Another pond-jumper, this one started showing up from boats heading into New York from Europe around the 1890s, first seen in Central Park. Now they are one of the most common birds in the U.S. with white spots in the winter and glossy black feathers in the summer. Tend to be loud. Monk Parakeets – Austin urban legend has it that years ago, an Austin breeder or pet owner let a few of these South American natives fly free and they bred. Now you can find them in huge groups all over the city. So far, these colonies have not had a negative effect on the local ecosystem. American Bittern – Prized among birdwatchers, this bird is very uncommon and secretive and has been seen in Mueller ponds for about a year. Many Travis County birders come to Mueller just to see this bird. Other birds you can find around our neighborhood include Rock Pigeons, House Finches (which were big pets in the 1930s), Lesser Goldfinches, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird, plus over 100 other species Judith listed for me. (All images are from Bird Classes The Travis Audubon Society Education Committee offers educational classes on bird identification and habitat awareness for all ages. For more information, contact the Travis Audubon Society at 512-300-BIRD (2473) or email them at

Red-bellied Woodpecker

House Sparrow Continued on Page 5 Copyright © 2021 Peel, Inc.


Continued from Page 4

European Starling Blue Jay

Monk Parakeet

Northern Mockingbird American Bittern

Great-tailed Grackle

White Winged Dove

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Cooper's Hawk

Mourning Dove

Front Porch Flyer - December 2021



MNA Member Spotlight By Susan Palombo

Meet your Mueller neighbor, Joanie Mercer Joanie Mercer, a highly experienced teacher of the Alexander Technique and life-skills coach, has lived in Mueller since summer 2017. Joanie says she has loved every minute of her time here. “My neighbors are kind, friendly, interesting and we watch out for each other,” she said. “The neighborhood offers beautiful parks, swimming pools, and a wonderful peaceful lake. The area is great for walks and connecting with new people.” When Joanie is not taking care of her one-year old puppy, Krishnan, she works with clients on health and healing, most frequently employing the Alexander Technique, an alternative therapy. Joanie has been a senior teacher certified by the American Society for the Alexander Technique since the 1970s. Joanie said she loves working with her clients on a health and flexibility journey. “I am constantly learning new things about my students and myself that enhance my life. There has been ongoing scientific research about the Alexander Technique for the last 100 years, and two Nobel Prize winners have cited it in their acceptance speeches. When the principles are applied, you get reliable results,” said Joanie. For those of us who are not familiar with the Alexander Technique, Joanie explains, “The Technique teaches us to be conscious of our habits that interfere with our innate freedom, ease and flexibility in movement. It improves our performance in our daily activities (brushing our teeth, doing dishes, walking, sitting at the computer, etc.) and our performance in all sports, dance, playing a musical instrument, and even singing,” she said. I asked Joanie what has kept her dedicated to this discipline. Sheresponded that she has been inspired for over 40 years because she sees people’s lives change as they let go of stressful habits and become mindful of the power they have to direct their energy themselves and experience freedom, ease and flexibility. I am so honored to watch people 'wake up'," Joanie enthused. Joanie also infuses goal setting, affirmation writing, and nutrition to complement her work. If you would like to meet Joanie to take a walk or learn more about her work, visit her website at

The Front Porch Flyer is a publication of the Mueller Neighborhood Association, produced and distributed by Peel, Inc. At no time will anyone be allowed to use the Front Porch Flyer content, or loan said content, to others in any way, shape, or form, nor in any media, web site, print, film, email, electronic copy, fax, or other means, for the purpose of solicitation, commercial use, or any other use for profit, political campaigns, or other self-amplification, under penalty of law, without written or expressed permission from the Mueller Neighborhood Association. DISCLAIMER: Articles and ads in this newsletter express the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Peel, Inc. or its employees. Peel, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any facts stated in articles submitted by others. The publisher also assumes no responsibility for the advertising content with this publication. All warranties and representations made in the advertising content are solely that of the advertiser and any such claims regarding its content should be taken up with the advertiser. * The publisher assumes no liability with regard to its advertisers for misprints or failure to place advertising in this publication except for the actual cost of such advertising. * Although every effort is taken to avoid mistakes and/or misprints, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors of information or typographical mistakes, except as limited to the cost of advertising as stated above or in the case of misinformation, a printed retraction/correction. * Under no circumstances shall the publisher be held liable for incidental or consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of business or services, or any other liabilities from failure to publish, or from failure to publish in a timely manner, except as limited to liabilities stated above.


Front Porch Flyer - December 2021

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Front Porch Flyer - December 2021


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Front Porch Flyer - December 2021

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