Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why?

The question circulating amongst bloggers the last couple of days is "why do you blog".  My answer is multi-faceted.

When I was a child I was a voracious reader.  As as result I liked to write stories.  When I was in high school I did very well with creative writing and enjoyed it enough to continue as an adult.  However, as my family grew and my responsibilites became more numerous the writing went to the bottom of the list of priorities. 

One day my son mentioned that his friend, Tuesday, had a weblog.  I had no idea what that was so I started exploring.  I was fascinated and started reading blogs and then I decided I wanted one for myself.  So, in July of 2006 I wrote my first blog post.  My writing was sporadic and was broad based -- I didn't adhere to any particular theme like some bloggers do.  I just wrote about what was in my head at the moment -- that might explain some of the random posts -- there wasn't much in my head! However, it was an outlet to do a little creative writing. I enjoyed it as it wasn't a huge commitment of time.

Somewhere along the line the whole concept of blogging changed for me.  I wasn't using it as a venue for creative writing anymore.  I was using it as a place to discuss interests.  As a result I was also reading more blogs and making comments and having discussions with people that came from all over the world.  It was fascinating to find people who were interested in the same things, struggling with the same things, talking about the same things all over the globe and there was no concern about race, age, or financial circumstances.  It definitely made the world a smaller place for me!

Now, I blog for the community of it all.  I don't have a huge following probably because my posts are so varied -- and sometimes I just don't have a lot to say.   I like to do book reviews and I like to talk about cooking and crafts but what I mostly like is keeping up with my blog friends and family. I check my bloglist every morning and I love seeing what Mary, Bonnie, Gill and  Jane have been up to.  I keep up with Joy and Michael and their new life in the Hill Country. I love seeing the photos of the houses, the babies, the pets, the decluttering, the crafts.  Every morning when I sit down with my toast and tea I feel like I am having coffee with my friends.  If they haven't posted I worry about them.  I feel like I can confide in them and share my feelings without judgement. It doesn't matter where they are from, if they are younger or older or their circumstances -- they are interesting and I enjoy their company.

So, that is why I blog.  Surprised? 




Uh-oh, Sick Bean

Can't believe it has been so long since my last post but things have been busy.  Today is no different.  Hubs and I babysit full days on Tuesday and Thursday and just do after school pick-up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Well, I got a call a bit ago saying that Beanie is sick and our services are needed so off we go up north for the day.  Thankfully it isn't a repeat of the stomach virus but rather a sore throat.  Strep seems to be going around so we are hoping it isn't that but I am sure we will be visiting the doctor before too long. 

So, when I get back -- or if she falls asleep this afternoon -- I will be back to answer the question "why?".  I have been giving it some thought -- blogging that is -- and my answer will probably be surprising.

So, until later, have a wonderful day.  Back soon!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April -- The Gift that Just Keeps Giving or Gotta Love Texas Weather

We had a line of thunderstorms roll through last night about 7 p.m.  There were 80 mph winds roaring through my backyard.  It was black as pitch and the trees were blowing so hard they were almost touching the ground.  Hubs heard a thud and....well, the photos are self explanatory.














So, yeah, I got nuthin' to say.  


Friday, April 17, 2015

Ouch, Damn! and Treacherous

Look quickly because before too long it is going to be a thing of the past.  I am not a gardener.  I never said I was.  It wasn't part of the marriage contract.  And now I have gimpy knees.

My husband used to tolerate yard work but never loved it.  I think it was forced on him so much as a child that he really has no use for it.  If we could have an apartment with a woodworking shop he would be content.  I don't blame him.  So, when we moved to this house in 2005 he was thrilled that the HOA dues included mowing of both the front and the back yards.  That was especially good for us because we have one of the biggest lots in this garden home community.

Well, somewhere around 2007 we decided we needed something besides just grass.  Now, let it be said that I am fine with just grass but it was a little plain with just grass and a wood fence.  Stark is probably a better word.  So, we called in a landscaper and had a good deal of work done.  We extended the patio and had quite a bit of greenery put in.  It was lovely and it was all LITTLE.

Over time we have lost some bushes, some have been damaged in the weather and some things we just lost interest for.  We have replaced, changed and added new stuff.

  

Skullcap
 The ongoing problem involves a vine -- well, two actually.  One must be called "ouch, damn" because that is what my husband says every time he tries to pull it out because the thorns are rather big and painful, even through gloves.  We don't know the name of the other one so my husband has not so fondly nicknamed it "Treacherous".

 


"Treacherous"
Neither responds to any sort of removal technique.  They are prolific and have grown in and around and over everything.  Keeping this huge flower bed has become a complete nightmare.  Now, if we lived in a more temperate area where gardening could be more or less a three season activity it would be one thing but here it is too extreme and the gardening season is actually pretty short unless you want to completely die in 104 heat trying to wrestle with Ouch, Damn and Treacherous.  Neither of us like to do that so we are going to have to do something else.

We talked about just removing everything except for the holly trees and just planting grass again.  I am sort of up with that but I think he hates to do that so we are going to take everything out except for the hollies, crab apple, Japanese maple and hackberry and plant Asiatic jasmine as a ground cover and call it done.  We will be keeping the big rocks though.  I am done with flower pots and hanging baskets and all that sort of thing.  I want to hose the patio down, get a beverage and sit down and just enjoy green.  We will be keeping the big blue pots by the gazebo because they work well with purslane.


It looks under control but it isn't -- SO overgrown

You can't see the plants because of Ouch,Damn and Treacherous

Magic Mushrooms -- yum!

The Farmer in the Dell

This is a huge Hawthorn bush that is totally covered by that Asian something or other

Screwy Japanese Maple Tree-- part of it died and broke and now we have this -- it may turn into Japanese Maple Bush

from the backside looking back at the house


While I was out giving direction (haha!) I was looking around at the rest of the yard.  I am not an outdoor girl so I am usually surprised by what I find out there.  I heard a good deal of chirping -- like an argument -- and saw two female cardinals flying at each other.  When I walked closer each flew into a separate tree.  I think they each have a nest.  Then, I heard more chirping and looked up to see a large male cardinal.  Maybe it was him they were fighting over?  Hmm..


not a good picture but this is the male cardinal and he was pretty big


Then, there was a squirrel running amok around the yard and over the fence.  I don't see squirrels regularly as we have no pecan trees around.  If I see them they are only passing through.






Apparently as my husband was pruning and trimming he found a spot where something has dug under the fence to the property behind us.  I am thinking that is the passageway of the racoons that run through the yard.  We have had racoon, coyote, fox and rabbit in our yard.  However, since they built the apartment behind us we don't get to see those things anymore, just people coming in off the street dumping trash in the dumpster that the developers thought would be well placed right behind my house.  Yes.  Another story.

So, anyway, look closely because I think all of this is going to be history and I can't say as I mind.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Playing

Remember childhood?  Remember playing?  I loved jacks, jump ropes and playing hopscotch.  I was afraid of roller skates and couldn't keep up with that darn skate key to save my life. I loved reading and coloring and playing games. Many hours were spent building a play house with quilts and lawn chairs under the gardenia bush with my cousin.  What happened to playing?

Oh, wait! We still play, don't we?

Sure we do! My playing tends to be more of the artistic variety these days but it is still playing.  I quilt and cross stitch and I am toying with the idea of making some cards.  I have even starting collecting a few tools for the projects -- rubber stamps, paper punches and such.

And, I still color.








I love these coloring books for grownups -- they are so detailed.  And I absolutely LOVE Crayola colored pencils.

Ok, there is one other thing I do to play.  Not many people know this but I doodle.  Being the extremely untalented daughter of a pretty darn talented artist I kept my artistic endeavours to coloring and writing -- I like to write as well.  I always wished I had inherited the artistic gene but alas, it wasn't to be so I just avoided the whole situation.  Fast forward to the last couple of years.  Bean likes to draw and I think she will be a good little artist with time and a bit of training.  She likes company when she draws so I draw with her.  I have learned that doodling, even if it isn't great art, is very relaxing and theraputic.  I can easily get lost in it. I have also learned that it doesn't really matter if it is fine art -- if it is enjoyable that is all that matters.




So, I thought I would introduce you to Arlo.  I love Arlo.  He is so....well...round.  And sweet.  He has a female counterpart named Gwendolyn but I couldn't find her.  She is round as well.


There is a boat on the page behind and you can sort of see it -- not part of Arlo



I am sorry he is a bit blurry -- my hands shake a little bit and I sometimes I have a hard time holding the camera still.


This is Arlo and Gwendolyn's tree.


And a couple of their BFF's





Hee hee -- they are so bad they make me laugh! I am such a silly ol' broad!





Sunday, April 12, 2015

Good Thing or Bad?

For the last several years I have become more and more aware of our environment and our food sources and what is happening to them.  For the last three or four years I have been doing things to change my personal environment such as making household products, researching the toxicity in personal care products, looking at food sources, etc.  I have changed a lot of things in our home and I am comfortable with it. 

I do have a problem with food however as I don't really care for cooking as the Hubs and I have totally different tastes in eating.  I like the food my mother cooked and he likes the food his mother cooked and they aren't the same.  Not even close.  So, we struggle with it and eat out much more than we should. We are both gaining weight and it isn't a good thing so I will be spending some time today revisiting that.

However, in the last week while I have been under the weather with the dreaded stomach bug something was drawn to my attention.  I hadn't eaten for a couple of days so I sent Hubs to the store for soup.  I like homemade chicken soup but that wasn't going to happen.  I requested plain, ordinary Campbell's chicken and rice soup.  Now, I haven't eaten this soup in years but I am pretty sure I remember what it tasted like.  He came home with the "healthy" stuff -- less sodium which is ok but this stuff was vile.  I mean, like spoiled vile.  There was nothing wrong with the can and I ate about a half cup of the broth before I realized that it was really wretched.  It was so bad that I hoped I didn't die in the night from ingesting it.  I didn't go back for more, clearly, and I didn't open another can to see if there was a difference.  Could it be that my taste has changed that much?  Could it be that the soup I ate all through my childhood was always that bad?

I have found this with other stuff as well -- bread to be exact.  I simply do not like the taste of commercial bread.  I tried to eat a slice of toast this morning and I almost couldn't do it.  I have been making our bread for quite a while now and I guess I have changed my taste for it.

So, is it me?  Have I just changed my taste for food?  Is our commercial food really this bad?  I will be going grocery shopping today as we are out of everything but I won't be buying anymore Campbell's soup.   I will be buying chicken and re-packaging it so that if the need arises anytime soon I will be able to make my own soup.  Hmm..just as I was about to retire the crockpot and bread maker I think I will need to reconsider.

Food for thought -- literally.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April in Review

Oh, wait, you mean it isn't over yet?  I think I will just go back to bed.  Let's see, the week before Holy Week son in law down with dreaded evil virus.  Holy Week had daughter and granddaughter down with same virus.  Easter Eve mother in law fell and broke foot - 8 miserable hours in a very slow emergency room.  Wednesday I fell ill with the dreaded evil virus.  Fever finally broke this a.m.

What -- it is only the 10th?  Is there any point in hoping that my husband doesn't come down with it?  Nah.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Define "Old"


 

Yesterday my daughter was telling us of some comments one of her students made to her.  The student told my daughter that she couldn't believe she was in her mid-thirties because she didn't act like it! My daughter took that to mean that the student thought she was immature.  The student assured her that wasn't what she meant but she didn't particularly elaborate.  We went on to discuss how I saw my daughter and I told her that it was probably her physical appearance that brought the student to that decision and not her behavior because my daughter doesn't look much older than she did in high school.

So, I couldn't leave it alone, could I?  I had to take it one step further, didn't I?  I had to ask -- "do I seem old to you"?  Her answer was -- "no -- well, yes, sometimes".  Hmmmm.......I think I need further clarification from her.  Is it my appearance?  Well, I am sure I look my age -- well, maybe not QUITE my age but not far from.  Is it my clothes?  Well, we do tend to differ in clothing styles.  Is it my attitude -- ok, every once in a while I open my mouth and my mother pops out -- I will agree but my mother had those attitudes when she was far younger than my age. 

I don't think I have "old" habits or mannerisms (and I absolutely loathe the color lavender).  I read a lot of the same books as my daughter and I still listen to rock and roll music -- current stuff as well as "oldies" (there is that word again), we watch the same movies and I am pretty current on pop culture -- I mean if those Kardashian girls were mine they would be so grounded!  I will admit to complaining about my joints hurting but then, they hurt when I was younger than my daughter is now. 

So, what makes us appear a certain way to other people?  Is it just because she knows my age or maybe if she feels older then I must be much older.  I don't know.  I look at people like Stevie Nicks, who is a couple of years older than me, and yes, she has aged very well in spite of herself.  In person I am not sure what she would look like but on television she looks pretty darn good.  I can't even comment on the recent media flurry of Christie Brinkley's appearance.  So, does this mean I should cut my hair so I don't look so much like a bag lady or maybe make it blond?  More makeup?  Yuck. 

I think I need to have more conversation with my daughter.  Or should I?  Hmmm...slippery slope, there, slippery slope.

The Persian Pickle Club -- Book Review



Recently I have been trying to read down my list of books on my Nook.  I was in the mood for something different and not too long.  So, I chose "The Persian Pickle Club" by Sandra Dallas.

The setting is Kansas, the time period is the 1930's.  The main character is Queenie Bean, wife to Grover Bean and a member of the Persian Pickle Club.  The Persian Pickle Club is comprised of the women in the tiny community of Harveyville.  On the surface their main purpose is quilting but their relationship goes way beyond that of a needle and thread.  They are there to support each other in good times and bad -- to celebrate and to mourn -- and to solve a mystery.  The characters are strong, sassy and not without humor.  It is a good account of the mores of the day -- even small towns in Kansas had their standards, after all.  As I read this book I could just picture many of the characters as people I have known myself.  However, if this were a movie, Rita would have to be played by Jen Lilley of "Days of Our Lives" fame.

I have never read any of Sandra Dallas's other works but I will in the future.  This was a fun read.  It was engaging, seemingly without typos and grammatical errors I am finding in so many e-books, and it ended well.  I would definitely recommend this book for a fast, light read.  I know, mystery doesn't sound light but this isn't really a mystery book it is.......well, you just have to read it for yourself.


Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday







It is Good Friday.  To me, Good Friday is the holiest day of the year, next to Easter.  The magnitude of the day is overwhelming to me and brings me to my knees.  Even though I know that the joy of Easter Sunday is just around the corner, the sadness of this day never fades. 

It will be a quiet day for me as Good Friday always is.  My day will progress as usual but I will be ever aware of the meaning of the day and it will permeate my thoughts as I go through my usual routine.  How do you feel about Good Friday?

I think I have all the sick people just about well.  I am hoping we can go into this Easter weekend with everyone back on their feet. To me, Easter Sunday is like the New Year -- a new beginning.  But, until then, it is a quiet time for me.