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October and November 2015 Classes


The Texas State Retired Faculty and Staff Association (RFSA),

In partnership with the San Marcos Parks and Recreation’s 50+ Program are offering the following courses for the Greater San Marcos Area.

Presentation Series held at the San Marcos Library
Free Attendance with Limited Seating - No Registration Required


Useful Plants of Ancient Texas

Thursday, October 1, 2015                        2:00 to 3:30 PM

The Texas plants we enjoy today have been used for food, medicine, and crafts for millennia by Native people of Texas.  Written accounts by Spanish missionaries and European explorers, Native oral traditions, and archaeological investigations provide windows into the many fascinating uses of our Texas native plants.  Dr. Leslie Bush will discuss some of our more common plants -- sumac, juniper, switchgrass, prickly well as some very important but lesser-known plants such as maygrass and camas.

Presented by Dr. Leslie Bush, a paleoethnobotantist, an archaeologist who specializes in identifying bits of plants preserved on archaeological sites.

Popular Music:  Our Good Friend as We Get Older

Thursday, October 8, 2015                      2:00 to 3:30 PM

From childhood through our teenage years and adulthood, popular music has served as the soundtrack of our lives.  As we get near to and reach retirement, popular music continues to provide meaning for life’s situations, including one’s sense of self. 

Dr. Joseph A. Kotarba will discuss his recent trip to Northern Ireland where he attended a Van Morrison concert at the Slieve Denard resort; why hearing aids are cool; birthdays, anniversaries, and music; sharing and appreciating music with grandchildren; playlists, from weddings to memorial services; and the importance of outdoor concerts to our health and happiness.  Dr. Kotarba will provide excerpts from his award-winning book (Baby Boomer Rock ‘n’ Roll Fans, Roman & Littlefield, 2013) on the first generation of Americans raised exclusively on rock ‘n’ roll music and culture.

Presented by Dr. Joseph A. Kotarba a Public Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Social Inquiry at Texas State University.

To Be Announced

Thursday, October 15, 2015                    2:00 to 3:30 PM

The Way of Tea:  Cha-do, the Japanese Tea Ceremony

Thursday, October 22, 2015                    2:00 to 3:30 PM

With roots among Zen monks in the 12th century, this ancient practice also reflects influences of Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity.  It is a moving meditation in harmony with other persons, nature, and the arts, thus having social, spiritual, as well as aesthetic aspects.  One Grand Master has said “Peace on earth can begin with a bowl of tea.”  An introduction to Cha-do with slides and a brief demonstration will be presented.

Presented by Dr. Sheila Fling who has followed this practice in both Japan and the USA since 1992.  She received her tea name and teaching certificates from the Grand Master of the Urasenke tradition.  She has published articles on Cha-do and presented the ceremony on five continents.  A Distinguished Professor Emerita of Texas State University, Sheila taught psychology from 1975 to 2005. (

Texas State’s Changing Campus

Thursday, October 29, 2015                    2:00 to 3:30 PM

The biggest construction program in the history of Texas State University has taken place over the last few years and will continue on in order to keep up with enrollment growth, the desire to become a national research institution and to accommodate new programs.  Since 1991 Texas State has spent $551 million on new construction and renovations.  There is currently $695 million in progress.  Learn about the various projects that have been completed and those currently in programming, design, and construction.

Presented by Ms. Nancy Nusbaum who is the Associate Vice President for Finance and Support Services Planning and Interim Director of Transportation Services at Texas State University.  She is the Project Manager for the Campus Master Plan for 2017-2027 which is kicking off in October.


A Man-Animal-Ecological History & Future of San Marcos

Thursday, November 5, 2015                                   2:00 to 3:30 PM

San Marcos owes its existence to a set of unique characteristics of which most of us are only vaguely aware.  Speaking in the style of “A Three-Hour History of the Universe,” Mr. Sherwood Bishop will blend science, economics, history, art & tall-tale storytelling to help us see our past, present, and some of our future, in a new light.  The presentation will include historic photographs of San Marcos, and an exhibit of early San Marcos paintings.  Time will be allowed for questions, discussion and laughter.

Presented by Sherwood Bishop, a full-time lecturer in economics at Texas State University, co-founder of the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance, chair of the San Marcos Parks & Recreation Board, past chair of the San Marcos Planning & Zoning Commission, a member of the San Marcos Main Street Economic Revitalization Committee, vice-chair of the LBJ Museum of San Marcos, a member of the Arts Advocates of San Marcos Steering Committee, and president of the New Journalism Project (Austin)."


Courses Held Through the

San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department

**Registration Required**

To register, please call the San Marcos Activity Center at 512.393.8280.

A minimum number of registrants is required for these classes to make.

Beginning Watercolor Course                      **Registration Required

The course is an introduction to the basic materials and techniques of watercolor for the beginner. Through a series of demonstrations and guided projects students will explore basic techniques of wash, graded wash and dry-brush as well as studies in value, color and composition.The course is intended to give the beginning watercolorist a foundation for continued study of the medium.

Please bring to the first class a materials packet that can be purchased from Hobby Lobby under the name “Neal Wilson Watercolor Course”.
Location:   Dunbar Recreation Center

When:         Thursdays, October 8, 15, 22, 29, November 5 and 12

Time:          1:00 to 3:00 PM

Cost:           $45.00

Presented by Neal Wilson who attended The University of Texas at Austin where he received his BFA and MFA degrees in painting.  After graduation he taught at Texas State University from 1971 until his retirement in 2009 when he received the designation of Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art and Design.  His paintings are in a number of permanent collections including The McNay Museum of Art in San Antonio, The Hallmark Collection of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, MO, The Longview Museum of Fine Art in Longview, TX, and The Texaco Collection of Art in Athens, Greece.

Learn From the River              **Registration Required

Learn what rivers do, how they work, and how they have been central to the evolution of human culture.  Then use that knowledge to better understand your own home and the places to which you travel

Location:   San Marcos Activity Center

When:         Wednesdays, October 7, 14, 21, 28, November 4 and 11

Time:          10:00 to 11:30 AM

Cost:           $30.00

Presented by Jim Kimmel a Professor Emeritus of Geography and former Jones Professor of Southwestern Studies at Texas State University, where he taught the geography of rivers for more than two decades.  He and his wife, the photographer Jerry Touchstone Kimmel, wrote The San Marcos: A River’s Story and Exploring the Brazos River, both published by the Texas A&M University Press.

iPhone/iPad Basics                 **Registration Required

This course is for new users of an iPhone or iPad covering the following topics:  WiFi and cellular connections, setting up an Apple ID and email account, using contacts, voice entry and the keyboard, sending email and messages, making phone calls, surfing the world wide web, pictures and music, making purchases on your iPhone, using maps to get directions, security and data backup, and getting help.  Individual assistance is included on a limited basis.

Location:   San Marcos Activity Center

When:         Mondays, October 5, 12, 19, 26, November 2 and 9

Time:          10:30 to Noon

Cost:           $30.00

Presented by Walt Pilcher who bought one of the first Macintosh computers off the assembly line in 1984 and has used Apple products throughout his work in psychology, education, clinical research, and medical writing.  Now retired, he enjoys sharing new technology to improve our personal communications and security.


Survival Spanish I                    **Registration Required

This is a class for those who are interested in learning Spanish fundamentals or improving the Spanish they know.  While no previous knowledge of Spanish is required for the class, those who speak some Spanish will find opportunities to improve and expand the Spanish they know.  In order to ensure that you take away the most from the class, we’ll focus on relevant vocabulary, the simplest verb construct, five essential “irregular” verbs, and a few short phrases, all that you need for a solid foundation for surviving in Spanish.

Location:   San Marcos Fish Hatchery (not actually a hatchery!)

When:         Mondays and Wednesdays: October 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, and 28

Time:          5:15 to 6:45 PM

Cost:           $40.00

Presented by Seth Worley began teaching Spanish after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Art in 1979.  For nearly 40 years, he has taught Spanish, not as a career, but because of his love for the language.  As someone who learned Spanish as an adult, he understands the unique challenges of language acquisition for adult learners.

Introduction to Standard American and Duplicate Bridge **Registration Required

Course Description:  This is a class designed to teach basic bridge to beginners, but with the added benefit to begin to understand the challenge and pleasure of competitive duplicate bridge. The appeal to social bridge enthusiasts is that there will be introductions to winning strategies for bidding and play. 

Location:   San Marcos Activity Center

When:         Fridays, October 9, 16, 23, 30, November 6 and 13

Time:          1:00 to 2:30 PM

Cost:           $30.00

Presented by Cathy Supple and Barbara Morgan, Cathy is retired and resides in San Marcos.  Barbara is a realtor from New Braunfels.  Both instructors are "life masters" with over 1,300 master points combined which are awarded by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL).  Both instructors are certified bridge teachers by the ACBL.