30 April 2013

No. 52: Museum of Fine Arts Houston- Spend the Day

No. 52: Museum of Fine Arts Houston- Spend the Day
No. 52 Lite: Museum of Fine Arts Houston - Spend the Evening

Sunday night my friend Martha and I went to the  Museum of Fine Arts Houston to see the Picasso exhibit.

Picasso Black and White encompasses Pablo Picasso's works from 1904 to 1973 in painting, sculpture, and etchings - all in black, white and gray.  I tend to think of Picasso's works in vibrant primary colors so this was a side of his work that I had never really noted before. 

Martha and I had fun playing "Where's the ____?" when we got to the cubist stage of his paintings. As in "Where's the face and the baby?"  or "Where is the bottle?" We could almost always find the nipples on the women if not their noses or mouths. Picasso was big on those nipples. 
We also decided that maybe Picasso had a vision problem or was dyslexic or something. How else could he "see" the world so differently than the rest of us?  I wonder if tests were ever done on him.  Was he a synesthete? It wouldn't surprise me but I can't find any information that says he was. 

Also we discussed what it would have been like to be one of his models. He painted so many women and so few of them were what would be considered flattering pictures.
If you sat for a painting and after hours of posing discovered your nose was on your belly and your nipples were up around your ears, would you be upset?
Your lover sees you as a woman that has been in the food processor for a few go-rounds: is that reason to be concerned?
Obviously it didn't put off too many women as lovers and muses seemed to be in great supply.

Seated Woman (Jacqueline)
Would you be flattered??? 

We got a little history review to boot- I loved being able to Google facts while perusing the artwork. I will say the guards jumped to attention every time I pulled out my phone. Photographs are forbidden so don't even think about using that iPhone for a quickie snapshot. 

What Martha and I learned:
Or re-learned since I am sure we knew some of this already and just forgot:

World War I lasted from 1914-1918.

We are both rereading The Great Gatsby.  So are our daughters. That has nothing to do with the Picasso exhibit but Gatsby was set during the 1920s, the same time period as some of the paintings.

Guernica was a city in Spain that was bombed by the Germans in 1937. It is also the name of a painting that Picasso painted in response to that bombing.

Cubism was a style of painting that lasted from about 1907 to 1914.

Picasso did a great "copy" (maybe interpretation is a better word) of Velazquez's Las Meninas which was amazingly bizarre but definitely referenced the original.  Actually he did a bunch of them - like 58-but only one was here in Houston.
We wished that the museum had a photo of the original on display so that they could be compared. Instead we compared from my tiny iPhone screen- with museum guards on alert!  
I will do what the museum should have done-save you the flipping back and forth.

Las Meninas (Picasso-1957)

Las Meninas (Diego Velázquez- 1656)
Las Meninas:The Maids of Honour

This didn't qualify as "spending a day at the museum" but it was definitely a good start.

No. 52 Lite.

28 April 2013

No. 42: Do a Charity Walk

No. 42:Do a Charity Walk
Run/Walk 5K for Boston benefiting The One Fund Boston
(Boston Marathon Bombing Victims)

A charity walk was on my list but o! this is not how I wanted to find something worthy to walk for.

The total tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing leaves me incredulous.
I cannot imagine having been in the crowd that day. Would you/ could you ever go into a crowd again?  The total randomness of having your limbs blown off while standing around watching friends and family RUN !  There is an awful irony there.

Like many other clubs/cities/groups around the country, Fort Bend County where I live is sponsoring a 5K/1K Walk/Run to benefit The One Fund Boston.  This is "the one fund" that has been set up to assist the victims of this tragedy with the gazillion bills that will soon be rolling in.   Even though most of the victims were Massachusetts residents, a state which requires it residents to have health insurance, that health insurance will not be enough. I promise.

Because here is a dirty little secret. Health insurance doesn't cover what you think it should. Last fall I found out exactly how absurd health insurance can be.

The Hubs had a medical emergency. I think that's what they call it when your intestines rupture and empty into your body, making you septic which is a nice compact word for "you're gonna die".   He first went to a Doc in the Box urgent care facility (totally in denial that there might be something major wrong) and they transferred him to a real hospital.
Guess what? Ambulances aren't covered by insurance.
He didn't have a choice. They wouldn't let me transport him. I offered, even though my car was new and he was feeling more than a bit nauseous.  But I still offered and was told he HAD to go in the ambulance.  A ten mile trip cost about $1000.00.

Guess what else wasn't covered?
He had emergency surgery at a major hospital where they re-sectioned his intestines and the anesthesia wasn't covered. There wasn't a SINGLE anesthesiologist that was covered under our insurance program at that hospital.  Does Blue Cross really think people can just say "O! You know, that anesthesia isn't covered so I guess I'll do without this time"?

In the end, the things that weren't covered were negotiated down to in-network prices but we still had to pay them.  Our final outlay for expenses was more than DOUBLE our total Out Of Pocket amount. Because Out of Pocket only applies to things that are covered. And in-network.

The people who are now missing feet are going to have some expenses that won't be covered. And prosthetics run the gamut. Insurance may cover a wooden peg leg as a replacement "foot".  I'm willing to walk 3.1 miles to raise a little money if that means someone gets a chance at a nice computerized replacement foot instead.
Hey! I have feet. I think I will rejoice in that. And use them.




May 19 I will be walking to raise money for those who can't.
And I am going to shamelessly ask for donations.
Here's a little link:


Search for my last name "Bartley" to donate. (Or donate under whatever name strikes your fancy. It all goes to the same place.)

How about skipping your Starbucks latte today and donating that $5.00 to a worthy cause instead?
Or the money you saved on that pair of shoes that was on sale? Donate it.
Clean out the bottom of your purse or the bottom of the sofa and donate that amount.
Maybe get a head start on that 2013 tax deduction.

I'm not asking for much. I set a goal of $200 since I had never done this before and right off the bat a lovely (anonymous) person donated $201.   I've raised my goal to $401.00 now.  I would love to raise my goal again. And again.

Come on. It's for a good cause.

(Did you know that medical expenses are listed as the primary reason people file for bankruptcy?  And the majority of those people have health insurance.)

25 April 2013

Praise for my Kindle

Praise for my Kindle or 
No. 44 Again: Read a book a week for a month

For some reason No. 44 was a real challenge when I did it the first time.
(Possibly because I read some books with a little substance the first time??)

Now, without even trying, I seem to have done it again.

And here is why:

My baby, Bunny, has been sick.
We don't know with what.
Her lymph nodes are very swollen, particularly the right one.
All I do know is that since April 1 she has been to a doctor nine separate times.
She has had two rounds of antibiotics covering 18 days of meds. She has been tested for mono, strep and TB. She has had a camera down her throat, an ultrasound, a CT scan and, as of Wednesday, a biopsy of her right lymph node.
Results are due in two to five days.

Baby Bunny waiting for her Biopsy.
As her grandmother says,  
no one should look that darling in a hospital gown. 

Nine doctor visits means nine separate waiting room visits.

Thank goodness for the Kindle.  Small enough for a handbag yet it holds HOW MANY books??

In the past month I have read:

Widow's Tears  by Susan Wittig Albert
Albert writes a series of books covering China Bayles and her friends who live in a small fictional Hill Country town in Texas.  The area she writes about is familiar, the characters remind me of friends, and she covers history and issues of Texas. I feel bad that I read this woman's entire series produced over a ten year time period in less than a few months. Now I wait for each new book to come out. Easy reads, I can finish one book in a sitting. Widow's Tears covers the 1900 storm in Galveston.

Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann

Here's the book cover, but you can't "click to look inside".
It was just the only picture I could find. 

Cake Icing, Butt Budder and Tea Lids by Renee Andrews
Both of these were mindless reads that kept me occupied and out of trouble.

Is This All There Is? relates the midlife crisis of a mom that wants more out of her marriage. I'm not sure I liked the ending but... it is what it is.
Cake Icing, Butt Budder and Tea Lids recounts the lives of three generations of eccentric women living together in Louisiana. Funny, crazy, not a challenge at all but entertainment none-the-less. Perfect for a doctor's office waiting room.

The Death of Bees: A Novel by Lisa O'Donnell
O! I did not start out liking this one, but it turned out to be very, very good. Follow two "abandoned" teens through a year without parents.  Short chapters made it even more appealing as it was easy to pick up and put down.

And now I am reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Have you seen the previews of the newest movie version of this novel? I am in love with what I have heard of the soundtrack and it looks like visually it will be a stunner.
After seeing the preview I turned to the Prince of a Husband and asked, Do you remember how it ends?
Me, neither.
So I am reading it again before the movie comes out on May 10.

Four books in less than four weeks, all in a package measuring less than 5" by 7" and as flat as a pancake. (A fluffy pancake, maybe, but still.) And a fifth book underway.

And thanks to my amazing mom, who at 89 still runs circles around me technologically,  I have discovered BookBub.com.  Every day I get a list of books that are free (or maybe only a dollar or two) that magically can be delivered to my Kindle with the touch of a button.

In addition, my local library has Kindle editions of books that are also free for two week rentals.  I can't quite figure out the logic of it. It's an e-book, why do I only get it for two weeks? Why does it have to be checked back in so someone else can read it? I'm sure it has to do with publishing rules but it all seems a bit silly to me. However, I am NOT complaining.  I love a library book that doesn't require me driving to the library.

So here's to my Kindle or your Nook or any of the other versions of e-readers that are out there.
What wonderful inventions.
Isn't technology grand?

Not a paid endorsement for any of these books or products or services. Just praising that which makes my life better. 

22 April 2013

No. 60: Hit five restaurants in Houston that I have never been to before

No. 60: Hit five restaurants in Houston that I have never been to before.
Restaurant No. 2: El Patio

Saturday night was an adventure of a different sort. At the suggestion of some enterprising friends, we went to Worldfest-Houston, the international film and video festival.  This meant we had to actually drive into Houston.

Friends on the Red Carpet!

Our targeted movie was "Gringos at the Gate", a documentary on the rivalry between Mexico and the USA on the soccer pitch.
We were on time but the movies were running late so we also caught a short (silent and violent) film called "Mr. Smith and Mrs. Wesson".

I loved seeing movies made by people, not huge studios. There was a bit of the home-made project about them but the quality was still very high.

We have a neighbor down the street that produces movies and the daughters have appeared as extras in one short film. (Watch it here.) I was privileged  enough to watch them shoot and was amazed to see that a two minute scene required more than five hours of filming. This neighbor has another film in post-production that the girls and I are all in and we can't wait to see the final results.
(Or see if we are on the cutting room floor instead of the opening scene.)

After a movie featuring Mexico we were all craving a bit of Tex-Mex food.  Instead of a big chain Mexican restaurant we went to a Houston institution- El Patio and Club No Minor.  This is right around the corner from where I grew up and even though I have been there many times before, I certainly have not been there in 25 years. Or more.
And guess what?
I don't think it has changed one bit in the last 30 years, or even 40 years.  Decor looked pretty much the same. Exterior looked the same. The menu looked pretty much the same. Ok, I imagine the prices have changed.

Yep, pretty much the same ol', same ol'.

So it wasn't a new restaurant to me...but it was out of our 5 mile radius and a place I certainly hadn't been to in a while.
And the Tex-Mex was yummy.
So I'm willing to count it!

17 April 2013

No. 8: Make baby quilts again

No. 8: Make baby quilts again
The Twinkie Quilts, finally.

I used to make baby quilts all the time. They are small projects allowing unbridled use of color and pattern and everyone loves them. My kids have multiple quilts each. But life got in the way and my sewing machine broke and-excuses, excuses, excuses- no quilts were made at our house for a good ten to fifteen years.

Aren't these wonderful prints? 

I'd been wanting to get back to making them and goodness knows I have had plenty of great nieces and nephews to inspire me.  (Thirteen BEFORE these two were born, to be exact.)
But it took some very wanted and very hard fought for twins to finally get me motivated.

I boldly dove into Colby's fabrics first 
without really thinking things through.

April 5 brought Clara and Colby into our extended family.  The quilts weren't quite ready and really neither was Clara. She spent her first weekend in NICU but finally got sprung in time to go home with her brother.  The twins are tiny and darling and doing well and yesterday I took the finished quilts to them.

Colby, left, and Clara.
It must have been a hard night.

In retrospect, deciding to make TWO quilts at the same time that I also decided to draw every day for a month was not my smartest decision.

 I started on Clara's with a bit more of a plan.

My friend Cherrilla deserves an award for talking me through much of this, reminding me of tricks and tips and peppering me with design ideas. She makes quilts for fun and profit and hers put mine to shame.

Lots of ironing goes along with all the sewing.

In fact, I would like to put out this disclaimer right now: there are a million fiber artists who can and do out-sew, out-quilt and out-design me.  My goal has never been to the quilter's guru or win the International Quilt Festival Blue Ribbon.  Mostly I just want to make fun little quilts that embody my joy at the arrival of new little people.

The finished projects. 
Side by side. 
They both have the same trim and both have a green bird in the right hand corner.
Because, duh, they're twin quilts.

And here are the delightful new little people that got my "first time in forever" quilts.

Colby, Great Auntie Me, Clara
It was so much fun to hold two babies at once but I cannot imagine how 
overwhelming it must be to be their mama and daddy.

Clara was so impressed she fell asleep.
I think that is an appropriate response to receiving a quilt.

So No. 8 is complete but not over.    

Clara and Colby's Aunt Allison is expecting a baby in November.  

I foresee more quilts and more great nieces and/or nephews in my future.

Eek! They were starting to wiggle.

16 April 2013


We need to have a little chat.

I am sad.

As a parent there are so many things that I just assume should not/ will not/ could not happen that it just seems silly to address them.

Years ago, in our neighborhood, we had a young man try to kill his entire family-mother, father, brother. The father survived and says he has forgiven his son who now sits on death row. I remember the night this tragedy occurred. I was sitting at my computer and could hear the police helicopters practically landing in the back yard.
So did I now really have to tell my children that, along with all the other rules, you do NOT kill your parents and siblings? Even if you are really, really mad. Or really, really think that your parents favor your sibling or you really want their money or whatever.

For my daughter's sixth birthday, she took cookies to kindergarten to share with the class. Right before she passed them out, some crazy terrorists flew some planes into some buildings, killing 3000 people, more or less. Her cookies were put away, class was cancelled, kids were sent home.
So I had to explain that bad people killed lots of innocent people and, o yea, ruined her birthday.  
You aren't supposed to fly planes into buildings on purpose just to hurt others.

And movie theaters.
Not only should you not talk or text, you really shouldn't gun down unsuspecting movie goers.

In school, you should not cheat on tests, plagiarize papers or murder innocent children, teachers, and administrators.

And, when people are out running a race, don't put bombs at the finish line.  Another rule that no one should even have to think of,  but there it is.

I just want everyone to play nice. And that should not have to be said.
But I'm saying it.

14 April 2013

Something fun

No challenges, just something fun.

Last week in the local paper (Houston Chronicle) there was an article titled "Parents: Know what apps your teens are using".

Having a couple of teenagers and curious if I was up on Social Media, I read.

Huh? Well, at least it didn't mention My Space.

Facebook is passé. At least for teens. And the article does confirm that.
I knew that before the Facebook IPO, which I also could have told you would be a bust. And I pretty much know nothing about the stock market, finance or economics.
But seriously.
Once everyone and their grandmother is on a social networking site, the teens will be abandoning it like cockroaches on a sinking ship.

According to this article Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter are the three biggies. That led me to feeling a bit smug because no mention was made of the new app Vine.

(Update from Tuesday. Vine is probably already also passé as I have just discovered it and I am over the age of 21. Just sayin'. It's still fun.)

And I love Vine. I'm no good at it, but I think it's fun. And very creative.
A Vine is just a 6 second looping video.

I had Bunny make a couple of Vine videos for you, featuring my favorite canine.

and...because she felt bad being mean

I figure this has to be the new hot thing because a couple of weeks ago the girls came home saying that EVERY SINGLE class that they went to that day had a lecture on not taking any Vine videos in school.  Apparently the teachers do not like being the subject of unauthorized videos.  There was also some mention of law suits which seemed like a bit of over kill.

Anyway, one of the downsides of Vine videos is that there are zero privacy controls. Maybe that is what had the teachers upset.

The upside is they are clever and fun...

THIS is what your teenagers are up to!

And Tuesday I take the baby quilts to the babies and then I can post pictures. Finally. 

11 April 2013

Follow up Friday: The New No. 25

The new No. 25.
Go to a show. Live music. 

You might remember that I goofed and repeated a challenge on the original list. No. 25 and No. 57 were the same: See a professional hockey game.
So I have a new No. 25.
Go to a concert-as in live music-not the symphony.
Again this should be easy.
But nothing is ever as it seems.
Got to find someone to go with me. The Prince of a Husband doesn't like crowds or most of the music I like.
Maybe get a kid to go? I have a few friends that might be brave enough. My musical interests are varied.
Then I've got to get tickets.
Anyway,  I have a few concerts in mind.

Bruno Mars. He's my current crush. His Unorthodox Jukebox CD is on repeat in the car.
He was here for the rodeo and I didn't get to see him. Everyone that did see him said what a great show he put on. And he returns to Houston on August 15. So Bruno seems like a good choice.
(Well, dang, just checked and he's already sold out. But. Miracles can happen.)

Bruno Mars. Yes, please.

Next on the list is the Moving Sidewalks Reunion. This would be a blast from the past. They had a Doors vibe. The music was good then and has held up well. I have their original album, Flash, upstairs in a box (probably unplayable as my brother, Paul, had a tendency to store albums unsleeved under the bed on the tile floor). I gave Boy the reissued album for Christmas.
I remember this band from its first incarnation when I was maybe 12. Garage bands were the rage and one of the Sidewalk band members lived down the street. My older brothers knew these guys. They went to the local high schools. Two of the members got drafted, the other two went on to form ZZ Top. Fast forward 8 years. Home from Mexico, I walked the dog every morning, stopping to chat with the neighbor, home from Viet Nam. We became friends.
This guy opened for Jimi Hendrix and the Doors.
How cool is that???
Anyway, the Moving Sidewalks have had their first reunion show in New York, the second show is now in Austin.
Ummm, hello guys, y'all are from Houston. How about reuniting here?
But I could maybe make the trip to Austin.
Wonder if those tickets are still available? Guess I need to check.

The Moving Sidewalks then.

The Moving Sidewalks now. 
They are a tiny bit older.

Or... And this would probably require an Austin trip, also, although he does come to Houston some....Dax Riggs.
Boy turned me on to this musician a few years ago. We went to see him when Boy was under age and Dax Riggs was playing at a "21 and over" club. Good ol' Texas laws- mama can take you into a club as long as she stays with you. We did that more than once.
Riggs is a little guy with an amazing voice and I would LOVE to hear him again. His We Sing of Only Blood or Love  CD was/is one of my favorites. This song just rocks.
(Just checked and Dax Riggs was in Houston last month. Seems I'm a day late and a dollar short all the way around here.)

Dax Riggs

And last but not least on the list:  Mumford and Sons
I swear Bunny will scream if she gets in the car again and hears the Babel CD.  I think I played it one time too many.  
But I want to see them in the UK. Wouldn't that be too cool?  I imagine they are a fun live show.
They will be in Houston on June 12 but I will be in Colorado. That's the weekend of FIBArk in Salida and I have been informed that I am taking multiple girls.   So I won't be seeing them in Houston and I probably won't be seeing them in the UK.  They will be in Colorado at the end of June. Maybe? 

Mumford and Sons

What shall it be?
Any other suggestions?
Got to score me some tickets.

And I promise pics of the baby quilts are coming. Just got to get the babies and the quilts together.
Turns out Amanda's twin, Allison, wants a quilt, too. She has just announced that she is pregnant with No. 2. Yay! 

09 April 2013

Not No. 46: Have a dinner party

No. 46: Have a dinner party (which I'm not doing)

Tonight is bunko at my house.

April 2012
Wow. I had bangs a year ago?

If you live under a rock-or possibly just if you don't live in suburbia- bunko is a mindless dice game played by twelve people (women, in this case) requiring zero skill. This makes it the perfect game to play while spending the evening eating, visiting and, in our case, drinking.
I have heard of people playing bunko and not drinking but that doesn't sound like as much fun.

Hmmm.   BTW that is the BEST wine bottle opener ever.
It's electric!
Get it here.

Anyway, I have been playing with this same group for over 22 years. I moved from the neighborhood where the group started but I wasn't about to give up the group. When I started I had no/zero/zip children. Now those kids are 21,17 and 15.

Easter bunko 2011

All of us ladies have been through a lot together. There have been babies born and babies miscarried. We've had children healthy and sick. Children have gone off to college, gotten married and had their own babies. ( And not necessarily in that order.) We've buried spouses, nursed spouses  and in at least one instance divorced a spouse.  Parents have passed. Pretty much we have been through every life phase there is.
If there's a problem, it can be solved on the second Wednesday night of every month.

Which brings us to the dinner party part. In our group the hostess makes dinner.

So yesterday, Bruno Mars and I played in the kitchen.   (Ahhh...in my dreams. If only.)
This doesn't count as a dinner party since I have been doing it once a year for ..well...forever.
And because I have been busy, dinner will be tried and true.

Herewith my menu for a very easy dinner for twelve.

To start:
Parmesan artichoke dip with pita chips
Edamame (for those few who are pretending to be healthy for a night)
Bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers thanks to the Pioneer Woman

Yum. These are simple to make but those 
little disposable gloves are a MUST!

Dinner will be Caesar salad (can a salad be any easier??), shrimp fettuccine, and French bread.

Just pop me in the oven. 
Again, yum. 

Dessert will be iced brownies and lemon pound cake.

Recipes below and credited where and when I know who to credit.

I love a party!!

Artichoke Parmesan Spread: (no idea where this recipe originated)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 14oz can artichoke hearts drained
1 cup (plus extra for sprinkling) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 garlic clove chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place artichoke hearts in middle of a clean tea towel and twist to extract moisture
In food processor:  combine artichoke hearts, 1 cup Parmesan, and rest of ingredients.
Process until smooth.
Spread mixture in 8x8 baking dish
Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese
Bake 15 minutes until heated but not browned
Serve with pita crisps or bagel toasts.
For bunko I usually double this recipe.

Jalapeño Poppers:  (this recipe is from the Pioneer Woman blog. I love Ree Drummond.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

18 jalapeños
1 block cream cheese
regular bacon

Put on some disposable latex gloves. Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/2 slice). Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle if need be.
Bake on a pan with a rack in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. 

Romantic Shrimp Fettuccine: (Got this from the Houston Chronicle Food section courtesy of my mom. Thank you Jean mom.)

Preheat oven to 350.

1 ½ sticks butter (this is what it calls for- I used about half that much)
4 stalks celery, chopped
½ green bell pepper and ½ red bell pepper, chopped (or all one color, doesn’t    matter, whatever is prettiest)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup flour
½ cup water
2 lbs. Peeled, deveined shrimp (or crawfish)
4 Tbs parsley flakes
1 lb. Velveeta Mexican cheese
1 pint half and half
1 lb fettuccini noodles, cooked
Parmesan cheese

 Butter a 9x13 in. casserole dish

In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté celery and bell pepper until tender. Add green onions and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and mix well. Cook 5 minutes on very low heat.
Add water- mixture will become very thick. Add shrimp and parsley- mix well. Cook another 5minutes. Add Velveeta and when melted, add half and half. Put noodles in prepared dish. Pour shrimp mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly, not brown.

Dessert will be thanks to Betty Crocker!

And the quilts are done- just need to get them to the babies.
Can't put them on here until the babies see them first!

08 April 2013

No. 8 and the best laid schemes...

No. 8: Make baby quilts again...or the best laid schemes of mice and men.

I have a new great niece and a new great nephew. Their names are Colby and Clara and they are adorable as they can be.  At least that is what I can tell from their pictures.

Because, as the title suggests, no matter how much you plan or schedule, things just sometimes don't go according to plan.

Miss Clara and Master Colby came right as scheduled on Friday around lunchtime.

Clara on the left, Colby on the right.

I was at work and Bunny was at home sick for the fifth day in a row. I snuck out of work early to get Bunny a blood test. Mono is suspected although I am not convinced.  Belle had mono last year and she slept constantly. Bunny wears out easily but her throat hasn't been that sore and she isn't Exhausted with a capital E.

Anyway I knew I was going to wait until Saturday to see those babies just because they were going to have plenty of visitors on Friday.

Also, No. 8 was not done. Almost. But not quite. Quilts were assembled but I wanted to knot them and that was not finished.

The beginning of Colby's quilt.

Saturday morning Belle woke up with a sore throat.
Could not get the doctor's office to return my calls.

Clara, being the tiniest of the two babies, decided she would have a little stay in NICU.  She was having a bit of trouble getting her breath and probably didn't want to share the limelight with her brother.  She may be a bit of a diva.  So I went up and saw Colby but Clara was otherwise occupied.

And Saturday I finished Colby's quilt.

Sunday morning Belle was much worse. A trip to the Doc in a Box urgent care facility confirmed Strep. She cried most of the day between sleeping and throwing up. I made three different trips to the pharmacy, an emergency run for Popsicles and pretty much got nothing else done.

Then Bunny walked by and I noticed the entire right side of her face/neck was swollen. Last time I saw someone looking like that they had just had their wisdom teeth removed. You literally can see her glands from across the room. She seems to feel okay although she says her throat is still sore. And we still haven't gotten the official mono results.

So today both girls are home from school I still haven't finished Clara's quilt. And another doctor run is in my future.

Working on Clara's quilt.  
Love that Madvillain poster in the background. 

But Clara was released from NICU last night and has joined her brother and parents.   I am hoping for equally positive results around this house and both girls will be joining their friends tomorrow at school.

And I WILL get those quilts finished.

In the meantime, here is the complete Robert Burns' poem "To A Mouse" which is where the "best laid schemes of mice and men" line comes from.

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
I'm truly sorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave 'S a sma' request:
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
An' weary Winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley, 

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

For a lovely explanation of this poem, click here.

Happy Monday everyone.  Here's to a wonderful week with everyone in the pink.

04 April 2013

No. 8: Make baby quilts again

No. 8: Make baby quilts again

I've mentioned before that I used to quilt.  I made tons of quilts for my babies when they were babies.
But I haven't made a quilt in at least ten years.
My sewing machine was broken. Or some such excuse.
But I got the machine fixed
there are new babies coming to the family.

This is my niece Amanda:
Amanda-isn't she adorable? 
Ummm. And pregnant?

And this is a pile of fabric:

Clara's on the left, Colby's on the right. 
Cross your fingers I can get off the computer and get to sewing.

Friday, my niece Amanda (who is a twin) will have twins: Colby and Clara.

And hopefully Friday I will be able to take her two baby quilts which -as of Thursday- are still not finished.

Man, I am optimistic.

But don't tell her. It's a surprise. And I'm hoping that she will be so preoccupied getting to the hospital that she won't see this post first.

(On an interesting note, the doctor that is delivering her twins also delivered all three of my children, two of my nephews, one of my nieces and two of my great nieces.  Isn't that nice?)

Off to sew!

(O! And the quilts are the surprise that I mentioned last week....)

03 April 2013

No. 60:Hit five restaurants in Houston that I have never been to before.

No. 60: Hit five restaurants in Houston that I have never been to before.   No. One of Five!

O! This sounds like such an easy one.   I live just right outside of Houston and Houston has a MILLION GAZILLION restaurants. We eat out ALL the time. So how hard could it be to combine the two?

Turns out, harder than you might think.

I am married to a lovely man that does NOT like change. He does not like crowds. He does not like driving anywhere when close by is just as easy. And he is the pickiest eater I have ever met.


We eat out all the time but always at the same five restaurants within five miles of our house.

Enter my  friend,  Martha Anne, who knows how to party. She just had a birthday and threw herself a wonderful birthday party at a restaurant in Houston that I had never been to.   The Prince of a Husband wisely agreed to come along to this party because he realized he would be left at home alone otherwise.

Martha Anne is one of my High School friends.  Back in the day her name was Martha. Once she got to college she became Anne. It's hard to change old habits so pretty much she goes by three names now-Martha, Anne and/or Martha Anne- especially when she is with us High School friends.

Anyway, we went to  RDG+ Bar Annie which is a new incarnation of the Cafe Annie restaurant. It's owned and run by chef Robert Del Grande and family. I used to do airline travel for them back when I was a travel agent and their offices were in our same building.

RDG+Bar Annie

Mr. Del Grande was trained as a chemist and cooking came second.   Not surprisingly though, chemists make great chefs as great food requires great chemistry.  Really that's all cooking is: chemistry.

The restaurant is gorgeous. Our food was divine. Martha Anne is an aficionado of lobster. When we went to St. Kitts two years ago M. Anne ate lobster EVERY DAY for seven days.   Lobster was on the menu at the party and, in M. Anne's honor, I had some.    

St Kitts- toasting  to lobster. Or friends. Or fun. 
M. Anne knows her lobster and her wine. 

The company was delightful- many new acquaintances and a few old friends. The wine was yummy. Dessert was to die for.

The birthday girl and the female half of the party. 
Judging from the smiles, we were enjoying ourselves. 

I need to get out more.

So many wonderful experiences to be had- so close yet so far.

01 April 2013

No. 17: Draw every day for a month. The final two days!

No. 17: Draw every day for a month.

Tada! Voila! Finally!!

March 30 and March 31.
The last two days of drawing. I made it- a sketch a day- and it was much more of a challenge than I thought it would be.

Here is Saturday's sketch. This is Marley, our youngest cat.  

Don't you love how the pets color coordinate with the decor? 

Marley night night.

Marley is another one of those pets that just mysteriously showed up in the hands of my middle child. Belle has a thing for animals. I dropped her off at the movie theater one July afternoon and when I picked her up - she had a kitten in her hands.  Swore that some girl was holding it and when she asked if she could pet it, the girl said "You can have it. I just found it."   
Who finds a cat at the movie theater? 
And because I figured she couldn't just set the kitten down on the sidewalk of a busy movie theater in the July heat- he came home with us. And he's been here two years almost.
We think Marley must have been raised by pigeons. He coos instead of purrs. 
We also think mom is an idiot that can't say no....

March 31, Easter night, and the subject is Carlos with his bone. It was late, I was tired and Carlos is always at my feet. 
Therefore, he is always a convenient subject.

Carlos ...and....


On to new challenges.
Thanks for your patience with all of these silly sketches.