Saturday, March 31, 2012

Archie's Gardenland

Ft.Worth is chock full of garden centers -- large chain operations and little tiny side businesses.  One that we frequent is called Archie's Gardenland.  Before Hubs began the Great Re-landscaping project, we visited to pick up  a few things and get some ideas about what we wanted to do.  While he was busy doing the thinking, I was busy doing some snapping and so, welcome to Archie's Gardenland!  Notice Hubs surveying the goods!

Archie's is located on a side street which can be easily missed if you don't know where it is.  They have pretty good prices compared to the big box "plant" stores and they have a lot of unusual stuff as well, like this thing in the large pot.  It is very twisted and gnarly and I was going to remember the name but my memory is a bit gnarly too, sometimes, and theconcept of pencil and paper just eludes me on occasion. 

At the beginning of the season, their plants are striking when on display.  The colors are bright and the plants are all just beautiful.

Of course, the bluebonnets -- and red bluebonnets -- were gorgeous.  I would love to plant a whole field of them in my yard but I don't have a field!

Archie's has some lovely little areas set up to show how to create a lovely, peaceful, serene garden.

And then, there is the fun, unusual, quirky stuff -- not to mention the "Texas" stuff -- where would we be without the "Texas" stuff!

So, that was our visit to Archie's Gardenland.  It was a beautiful morning and obviously sparked the creativity (or insanity) in Hubs because shortly after he went on this wild, maniacal re-landscaping venture.  Is that what newly retired people do?  Who knew?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A View from A Window

I really wish we had had more winter, maybe even a little snow (can't believe I am saying that) so my photos of my garden  would look different.  When I asked Hubs to download the photos from my camera to the computer he even asked if these were duplicates.  I explained that "no, they just all look alike".  However, we did have some rain so there are a couple of drippy snaps that do make things look a bit different.


It looks worse than it was and we really needed the rain -- certainly made a difference in the plants!

And this is what has been going on for the past few days -- The Hubs has decided to re-landscape the landscape and I have to say that I am liking the changes -- lots less liriope!

Here are a couple of our resident critters --

We have a very strange, furry bird we like to call Stretch.

And then there is Jet --

I discovered a new, little baby chameleon in the mint today but didn't get a pic and Hubs discovered a snake that he dug up and I don't think he even thought about taking a photo! Maybe tomorrow I can catch the baby lizard for his first, official photo -- I think I will name him Geico!

So, that is the view from the window (door) for this week.  I will take more photos as the re-landscaping progresses and you can tell me what you think!

Monday, March 26, 2012


I am really having a love/hate relationship with a number of things right now.  The most predominate is beautiful spring versus vicious allergies.  Truthfully, the weather we are having now is really our summer because, come June, weather here in Texas can turn from summer to Hades in a flash which means we are housebound for weeks.  Last year we had 100+ temps almost all summer which made me sad that we didn't take advantage of the beautiful early spring we had -- who knew?  This year, remembering last year, we are trying to make the most of spring but wouldn't you know, this is the worst pollen season on record -- EVER! So, what is a person to do -- options -- take meds all the time and go outside or take meds some of the time and never go out.  We are being attacked just walking to the car or into a store -- it is pretty miserable and I am not sure that any of the options are great.

Then, there is the love/hate relationship with computers in general.  I have a little netbook as well as a desk top with enough power/memory to man another country.  However, I like the little netbook which allows me to sit and surf in front of the tv which is probably the least healthy thing in the world.  Anyway, the little netbook needed a new battery which we ordered and installed -- not rocket science -- and now it doesn't want to talk to the wireless router.  I am not such which has gone silent but it doesn't matter -- it is causing me much sadness and a little stress to not be able to do my unhealthy thing.

Then there is Facebook.  I joined FB when it was brand new, didn't know what to do with it and nobody else was on it.  Same with Twitter which I still don't understand.  I had a myspace account as well and was reasonably comfortable with that for social networking but I relied on email (and actually, the telephone) more.  The great exodus to FB commenced and myspace became a dinosaur as did my email, apparently.  Nobody emails me anymore.  I have over 3000 emails in my inbox and 99% of them are ads relating to online searches.  I rarely get emails from people anymore.  I also started blogging a long time ago, switched from blogspot to wordpress a couple of times before finally settling on blogspot, started reading other's blogs which is one of my favorite pastimes on the netbook but even that gets pushed aside for FB.  I have decided that FB is good but getting less so as time goes on  -- the most recent revelation is that of FB declaring that it owns the word "book".  Whatever.  I would get off the FB treadmill but the truth is, that is the only way I keep up with anybody anymore.  It is really sad.  I remember people saying how bad it is that with the advent of modern technology from the telephone on down, interpersonal communication has dwindled to nothing.  People don't write anymore, in cursive or otherwise, they don't even talk on the phone anymore, they text -- a phenomenon that is keeping teenagers from having face to face conversations.  People wonder what is happening to our society with everything from obesity to drug/alcohol abuse, physical abuse, depression, etc.  Could it be people are lonely?  I live in a house in a garden home community where the houses are very close together yet we could all be on islands because the houses are built for extreme privacy and honestly, we never see our neighbors.  Could it be that we really need that face to face, over the back fence, chat?  Could it be we really need the phone call or the handwritten note?  Personally, I think we do.  I just don't think we can sustain ourselves as human beings with other human beings being replaced by technology.  If you ask the younger generation I am sure you would get a completely different answer but for those of us who grew up in a different place and time, all this technology has the potential for a love/hate situation. When I first dipped my little toe into the computer/internet world, I was fascinated.  I would spend hours on the internet but over the course of time I have found that, while the instant gratification of instant information is very compelling, it is also very overwhelming.  I am finding myself going back to reading the newspaper and listening to the radio.  I have three e-readers yet I still carry a paperback in my purse and love the feel of a nice, hardback with the dust jacket in place to mark my place.  I went into the library a few days back to renew my card and was taken back to my days at the San Pedro Public Library where I had a favorite corner and my goal was to read every book in that corner -- all my favorite authors.  I have also discovered that my favorite sound is silence -- and I don't mean Simon and Garfunkel.

I guess I you could say that I am in generational limbo -- but haven't all previous generations been in the same predicament?  New technology all the time for eons, yet now, this new wave of technology, seems to be more menacing to our well-being than, let's say, the electric light bulb.  I am sure, back then, people complained about that too but I just feel like what we have now, while wonderful on so many levels, is maybe just a little too advanced.

With that said, hee hee, I just downloaded a gadget to my homepage that allows me to send texts to phones from my computer! Now all I have to worry about is how invasive that is, how dangerous to my privacy that is and how addictive that could be.  Oh dear -- I guess I am still "finding" myself.

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

And, in honor of my Irish roots I would like to share a photo of my great-great, grandfather, Henry Patrick Conn whose grandfather came from Ireland. I always had a mental picture of Henry Patrick, similar to the actor who played the wizard in "The Wizard of Oz" but I was proven incorrect when I ran across these photos.  I think he is rather handsome, myself.

I would be remiss if I excluded my husbands gggrandmother,Mary Edna McGee, whose grandfather hailed from County Tyrone, Ireland. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day, GGGrandfather Henry, GGGrandmother Mary and to all!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A View From My Window (Door) and some random stuff

I am finally posting one of my views on the day it is supposed to be posted.  Again, not much has really changed except spring has sprung! It came early this year after virtually no winter but I am ok with that -- spring and autumn are my favorite seasons, after all, with October and April being my favorite months.  That info sort of falls into the random category of my title.  So, here are the photos for this week.

The Hubs did a good deal of work in the garden a couple of days ago and I have more photos of the verbena that seems to be on steroids along with the hyperactive mint.  I will post those soon.

In other news, the girl that has been doing my hair for a long time has had a beautiful baby boy and decided to take off for a while -- can't say as I blame her.  However, it left me looking for a new person to cut my hair.  I had options and I think I took the right one.  The new girl listened carefully and did exactly as I asked and I am thrilled.  I took the plunge and I am a little closer to Judi Dench than I was before but I am so happy with the way it looks and feels -- I almost don't mind being gray.  Well, I guess I don't really mind at all because if I did I would do something about it but, you get the picture.  So, that was my big news this week.

I have been doing a bit of sewing this week as it is spring break and my teacher daughter is home with the Bean and I am left to my own devices.  I have been doing some rearranging of my sewing things and doubt I will ever , ever get the space right but I have been working toward getting some unfinished projects done, some new ones started and look forward to using up some of my stash so that I can reduce my crafting footprint!  I like sewing/quilting/stitching/crafting but my one little area for all those activities just can't hold anymore supplies so I need to use up before I buy more.

I am in the market for a new bedspread.  I have been dealing with dust ruffle/comforter/pillow sham combo for years and just have a huge dislike for pillow shams.  The Hubs HAS to have his pillow covered at all times so there is no casual stacking of multiple pillows for the cushy look so I am looking for a bedspread that will cover the pillows when made up -- really old school and not so easy to find.  I have been checking out the offerings at Bates Mill Store and even called for swatches.  I have chosen a couple of styles to pick from and narrowed the color down but for the life of me I think that they are too expensive.  Now granted, they are made in the USA which, for me, is a plus --- I like to buy domestic when I can and they are preshrunk which is another plus as I have been known to shrink things in the dryer from time to time.  My other option is to make a quilt myself which I keep thinking about but I have a king size bed and that just seems to be a lot of work and no instant gratification.  So.....decisions, decisions, decisions......

I am reading "The Red Queen" by Philippa Gregory and it is really good.  It is one that I received for my birthday and I am really enjoying it.  I am about halfway done and will review when I am finished.

So, that is about all I have been up to -- no shopping, no cooking, nothing of any excitement at all.  I will see if I can remedy that over the weekend!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Booking Through Thursday

The question on today BTT is "Which non-series book would you like most to read the sequel to?  Do you have any wishes for what might happen in it?

This is a difficult question for me as I do enjoy and regularly read series books.  The Aunt Dimity series as well as the Mitford series come readily to mind.  However, these books naturally lend themselves to the serial format.  I don't enjoy reading sequels to books that begin, progress, and end well on their own without leaving an open door.  The last few books I have read would not be good serialized, in my opinion so I probably wouldn't read a sequel to any of them.

As far as what might happen in a sequel -- well, that sort of depends on what the story decides, isn't it?  I believe that stories, good stories, write themselves -- they just evolve and I think  a sequel would be the same.  If an author has to work too hard at a sequel then maybe it isn't meant to be.

I don't think I really answered the question.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The School of Essential Ingredients

When I was about fifteen years old, I attended school in an old school in a historic part of town.  You know the sort of area, houses built with at least a 200 year lifespan by the influential leaders of the city with each house being different from the next -- no two houses alike.  I used to sit in "study hall" in the library gazing at these houses through large, multi-paned windows.  On the days when I didn't have homework to do I would pick out a house and create a story in my mind about the family that lived in it.  Now, granted, I knew some of the families that lived in some of those houses so I just skipped over those.  I chose the ones I knew nothing about.  That is what this book reminded me of -- a whole book full of little stories about individual people.

The first story is about Lillian, the owner of a restaurant who also gives cooking classes on Monday, in the evening.  It begins in  her childhood and ends with her "present".  Each chapter concerns itself with a member of her current cooking class.  Each character has a story and each is very realistic, I am sure all readers could identify with one or two, if not all of them.  As these characters participate in the cooking class, their lives become intertwined and blended just like the food they create.

Then, that brings us to the food.  The way the author approaches the food is the way almost anybody who is serious about cooking as an art form approaches the food.  She relates the food to the people, she depicts food as an essential part of relationships as much as a necessity of life.  Honestly, the way Bauermeister writes about the food makes you want to sign up for a cooking class because it is so much more than following a recipe -- it is following an instinct.

This is Bauermeister's first novel.  I don't know how she is going to out do herself.  This is a beautifully written book.  The settings are so well described that all you have to do is close yours eyes and you are there.  You can taste the food, you can feel the pain and joy and sorrow and love that all the characters exude.   It is a fantastic book. 

I recommend this book with one reservation -- don't read it unless you have already eaten!
From Jake at Junkboat Travels

and wouldn't it be fantastic to have a bookstore such as this somewhere close -- like just down the road within walking distance with a coffee/tea shop near? If only Fort Worth was supportive of independent business like Austin is -- I could see running a little shop --- with coffee and tables and maybe even a little dog.  I can see all sorts of possibilities if the environment were right which it is not.  Oh well, I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

March 6, 1836 --- Remember the Alamo!

I think I would like to go home now.