29 August 2014

Follow Up Friday

Follow Up Friday:  odds and ends

Well, goodness.
Thursday just slipped my mind. Obviously there was no post yesterday.

No excuses beyond my allergies have been horrendous and too many antihistamines will make anyone loopy.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


It's been lovely and cool here in Colorado.

Lots of rain.

My Twin Sisters after the rain-
hiding their heads in the clouds.

My garden is happy with volunteer sunflowers. Only two plants survived out of all of the ones I planted last October. Lesson learned. One week of scorching weather with no one here to water and it doesn't matter what you plant.  And inches of rain after a week of dry makes no difference. Those dead plants will not come back to life.

Lots of sunflowers that I didn't plant. 
And not much else.

So hopefully my head will clear and I will be back to my regular schedule next week.

This weekend is the Wine Festival. (If I can't clear my head I might as well enjoy it being fuzzy, no?)

Next weekend is my FORTIETH (how can that be?) High School reunion.
I confess. I graduated when I was only 8 years old.
Again. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Forty years ago.
What you can't see is the white plaster cast running from my toes to the top of my thigh-
well hidden under that gold gown.

25 August 2014

Back to School, Back to Colorado

Back to School, Back to Colorado.


Monday was Bunny's first day of school. She was registered for school in Texas. 

However, somewhere in between the High School personnel not being able to understand me because I was speaking English and the registrar asking me if Bunny had been in Special Services like "you know, Gifted and Talented or Pregnant", a decision was made.
(BTW, Yes to Gifted and Talented, No to Pregnant.)

Bunny started school in Colorado. We got here Sunday.

 Bunny in her ever important "First Day of School Outfit".
You're never dressed unless you're overdressed. 

The drive up was so easy and uneventful that I could not believe it. No lightning strikes. (Last year's drive here.) No traffic. No trauma.   We even made an unscheduled stop at the Cadillac Ranch to see the "planted" Cadillacs. 
And still got here quicker than expected. 
(Thank you, Ann, for suggesting I alter my attitude towards the drive from hateful to anticipatory.

Some strangers, some Cadillacs, Carlos, Me all at
Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Tx. 

Carlos is so happy. 

And Tuesday is Belle's first day of college classes. 
I don't have a First Day Official Outfit photo but I am hoping her first day of college goes better than her first day of preschool.

Belle, not so sure about this school idea.
A feeling she never has quite gotten over....

And me? 

Looking for a job since this time I will "do it like I mean it"

And... I find it interesting that in less than 24 hours I have chatted with 4 neighbors here, including meeting the two new goats next door, Martha and Maynard. 
That is three more neighbors than I communicated with all summer in Texas. 

20 August 2014

By Accident. No. 18:Paint a Picture

No. 18: Paint a Picture

You know how sometimes you start on something and don't really realize where it will end up?

Or is that just me?

Anyway, that's what happened with No. 18: Paint a Picture.
I had posted back in July how inspired I was by a friend and her abstract painting. And I had all kinds of plans to do my own abstract.
But this summer has flown and no painting was done. At least no large abstract acrylic paintings. Which is what I had in mind.

Instead what happened is a wonderful friend did me an ENORMOUS favor.

I needed to move my horse. The beginning of July she called me and said "let's do this" and came and picked me and the horse up and took us both out to his new digs and set us up.

Picasso at his new home inspecting the grass
while his new friends inspect him.

And then we discovered he was a bit lame.

So while I was in Colorado at the end of July, she took him to the vet to have his legs looked at. Again, a huge favor to load up this big animal, cart him off to the vet, wait while he was x-rayed and examined and then bring him back home. O! And ply him with cookies because he is such a good boy.

And since I had a little time on my hands I got the idea to do a pencil sketch of two of her horses.
She has a Facebook photo of them and I have always thought it was a great pic.

Jester and Gabriel

So I sketched.

 And added a bit of water color  pencil.

Then I added a little water to the pencil, making it a water color...

And then I got carried away and got the real water colors out.

Not sure I am happy with how red Jester (on the left)  turned out. 

But I may redo it all anyway.  Or not.

And then I realized. No. 18 is done. 

And my friend Megan is amazing.

Megan, Gabriel, Me and Picasso
Walking because Mr. P started to limp. 

18 August 2014

Bye Bye Bye

Bye, Bye, Bye....
to steal a line from N'Sync.

Well, Belle is gone.

Not in a bad way. In a "gone off to college" way.
(She just graduated from High School here.)

The hubs drove with her and her car to Florida about ten days ago. Fortunately it was an uneventful trip except that an accident on the other side of Houston had them stopped for THREE HOURS! Which means they were on the road for almost four hours before they actually got out of town.

Then the hubs flew home and she had ONE practice night all by herself. No relatives or friends within 1000 miles.  Then I flew over and stayed a few nights, making sure she actually registered for her classes.

Belle does not win the hostess with the mostest award.  Love her, but.

She likes to keep the thermostat at 80º.

I slept on the couch and the first night she went to sleep and neglected to give me a blanket. I had a throw which didn't quite cover me so every time I wiggled (which I do a lot) I came uncovered and then woke up, re-covered myself, fell back to sleep and repeated about 20 times. It was not a restful night.

I got to sleep on the couch. 
She got the King Sized Bed. 
I sure hope she gets some artwork for that wall.

Complaining got me an actual blanket.

She had a list of things for me to do FOR HER which mostly included scrubbing things she did not want to scrub.
That's okay.
Her last request was to make her some bacon.
I did.
Then I left her the dirty pan to clean.
(Sometimes revenge is sweet, even if it is against your own kid.)

The view from the kitchen window.
A storm was brewing.

She tried out her adult persona after a trip to the beach.
I was sitting on the couch with sand still between my toes (and other unmentionable parts, I'm sure) and she said:
"Mom, don't you want to rinse off before you get sand everywhere and have to clean it up?" 
And then...
"Bring your beach towel and put it in the washer, please."

Followed by....
"After your shower it is nap time. One hour. I don't want to hear a peep from you. You can watch cartoons but no louder than 12 on the volume." 

The very beautiful Jupiter beach.

After three nights we were getting on each other's nerves a bit. She was ready for me to leave so she could start her new life.
I was ready for real bedding and a thermostat lower than 78º.

It was perfect. 
Not a tear was shed when I left. (At least not by me.)

School starts this Friday.
Job hunting started today.

I am so proud of that girl. 

Belle headed to the beach...
She's convinced a panther is going to jump out of the bushes and eat her. 
Bye, chica! Be careful. 

13 August 2014

No. 60:Almost Completed But....

Instead an education.

After the Orange Show last week with the Big Guy we headed off for lunch. He wanted to go to Elevation Burger. 
Someplace I had never been in Houston. I could finally compete No. 60: Hit five different restaurants in Houston that I have never been to.

But as we entered the restaurant the Big Guy noticed a small symbol on the door. 
Have you seen this before?

It means Halal meat is served. 

The Big Guy was not happy. 

He asked if all the meat was Halal and once assured it was, he said "Hell no" and left. Not exactly knowing why, I followed. (It's kind of hard to take someone to lunch if they refuse to stay in the restaurant.)

All I wanted was a good burger. What happened? 

Halal meat refers to how it is prepared just as Kosher refers to how a food is prepared. 
The animal's throat is slit and allowed to bleed out which according to many gives the meat a better taste. This would seem like a good thing. Tasty meat. Yay.

But there's another part to Halal meat that isn't as well advertised. Slaughter is done by a Muslim while invoking the name of Allah. . And some believe that eating it means you are endorsing the religious belief behind the blessing. 

With the conviction and clarity of youth the Big Guy sees things only in Black and White. He's a Christian. He would not have any part of it. 

Beyond that, he's an animal lover. He believes a shot to the brain is quicker and more humane than being made to slowly bleed to death.  
Gotta agree with him there. If I have to go, I want to go quick. 

So off we went to find something else to eat. 

And then I spent the afternoon learning about Halal meat. 

Every day is an education. 

And No. 60 is still unfinished. 

(I'm in Florida right now getting Belle settled at school. She's getting her wish of school by the beach with dark skinned boys sporting pretty eyes as an option. Blogging from the iPad is not very efficient. Bear with me! )

11 August 2014

Honorary #62: See the Chihuly Exhibit!

Honorary #62: See the Chihuly Exhibit

Back in October 2012 my sweet friend Ann posted pics that she and friend Allison had taken at a glass exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. Not just any glass exhibit but Dale Chihuly's works of art, sprinkled across the landscape.
I was intrigued.

From the Dallas Show

I plotted how to get to Dallas but that was a particularly crazy Fall (See here for an explanation on that...) and it just didn't happen. 2012 closed and so did the show.
I didn't think much more about it.

Back in March of this year, my brother Steve posted photos on Facebook of the Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden outside of Phoenix, Arizona. I knew I wasn't going to be anywhere near Arizona,  so while I still wanted to see the exhibit, I did not pursue it.

Chihuly in Arizona

But some things are just meant to be.

Right before we left Colorado in June I got a flyer in the mail. Chihuly at the Denver Botanic Gardens from June until November.
Flat out gonna happen.

The girls and I were headed back to Colorado and just by coincidence, we were flying into Denver. Then my friend Diana sent me an email from China. She would be back in Denver the same time that we were back at the cabin. Plans started to shape up.

Same boat, different garden.
Denver Botanic Garden

Thank goodness she checked the times for the day we were headed back to Denver. The exhibit closed at 3pm instead of its usual 8pm.  That meant I had to get those girls up early, close up the cabin and get on the road in order to make it in time.

SO organic. 
Looked like plants...but no.

Where there's a will, there's a way. I figured I had been taunted by this exhibit enough. It was meant to happen. Girls were up before 9am- packing, vacuuming and cleaning.  But not complaining. They had come in plenty late past their curfew the night before. They knew better than to peep about the early (for summering teenagers, at least) hour. We were in Denver by 1:30 where I unceremoniously dumped the girls and grabbed Diana.

At first I didn't even realize these weren't lily pads. . 


I am so glad we went.

This was supposed to represent fire coming across the prairie. 
I'll go with that. 

The Denver Botanic Gardens by themselves are gorgeous. I had never been before, but I will be back.

And the Chihuly Exhibit?

Technicolor, anyone? 


Dr. Seuss joined hands with Lewis Carroll to create a fantasy Wonderland.

Dr. Seuss, right? 
I think these guys were my favorites.


Proof I was there!
I want to go back.

(I'm making this an honorary challenge because it was something I wanted to do, didn't get around to, still wanted to do and somehow ended up making it happen. And I'm so happy I did. And that is the whole point of this list. To do the things I want to do, even if a few hoops have to be jumped through to do them,  and make things happen. )

06 August 2014

A Reunion Run Through...

Practicing for the Reunion

No. 35 on my list is Go to My 40th High School Reunion.

For my next list maybe it will be go to my 70th high school reunion!
(I have one great champion who says I need to do a 90 x 90 once I'm done with 60 x 60. )

Yesterday I drove my mom and dad to her 73rd high school reunion. She was graduated from JH Reagan High School, Houston Texas in 1941. Amazingly there were 725 kids in her graduating class. That is a huge number even by today's standards. At the time it was the largest graduating class in Texas. 

Reagan was established in 1927 as an all-white high school. Wait! You could do that?? 

Ah! Here's an explanation.  It was named after John H. Reagan (not Ronald Reagan) who was the Postmaster General and then the Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States. After the Confederacy fell, he became a U.S. Senator from Texas. He died in 1905 and then had a high school named after him 22 years later. 

The reunion was held at The Golden Corral on the Northwest Freeway and there were 9 attendees (7 graduates and two spouses) plus 5 drivers. Everyone in the graduating group is aged 90 or above...except for the two youngsters who are just turning 90 this next month.  This group meets every month but not everyone shows up every time. Apparently more than a few just come once or twice a year. The Christmas reunion seems to be the big one. 

Stella, Richard, Jean, Annabelle (?), Fred, Roy,  Ilene, Margaret
Roy is the interloper- he didn't graduate with these guys.

In the next room over (still at the Golden Corral) was the Lamar H.S. Men's Club which had men from the 1940/41/42 graduating years. ( The wives are only allowed to come at Christmas.)  This group had an even bigger turn out-maybe 20 to 25 men. They also meet monthly. There was a bit of visiting back and forth between the groups...some of these  people had known each other since grade school.   Lamar High School was opened in 1937and was my high school's biggest rival.

Hedley and Jean Mom
He's from Lamar, she's from Reagan.
Lamar was Robert E. Lee's rival by the time I got to high school.

Before lunch started there was a recap of the news which pretty much was a list of who was in the hospital/rehab/ground. Then everyone ate and visited. No alcohol was served. Everyone behaved.

Delivering the news.

I'm not sure I will be able to say the same for my 40th coming in September. 

Dad and Margaret.
Mom swears she always gets a pic of them hugging.
Had to carry on the tradition.

 A note: 
Robert E. Lee High School, my high school, was built in 1962 to relieve overcrowding at Lamar HS.  It is now officially Lee Senior High School and references to General Lee have been removed from the school.  Robert E. Lee was a General in the Confederate Army. 

A little revisionist history anyone? 

04 August 2014

No. 2: Go to the Orange Show

No. 2: Go to the Orange Show

First: The Back Story

The Orange Show Monument in Houston is the creation of one man, Jeff McKissack.  His goal was to honor the orange, healthy eating and hard work. He did this by building a  "maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures. "  *  

Orange Show Entrance
It wasn't painted orange because someone told 
Mr. McKissack "orange wasn't a very good color."

McKissack was born in 1902 and had many jobs including trucking oranges, welding in a naval shipyard and delivering the mail in Houston.  He never married but did propose once to a woman. She turned him down and after that he decided he could not afford a wife and never tried again. (Poor baby.) 

A conglomeration of wheels, metal birds, and mosaic tiles (with sayings meant to encourage healthy living and the love of oranges) makes up the show.  Started in 1956, Mr. McKissack worked alone on his project until he died.  He opened his exhibit to the public in 1979 with the anticipation that 90% of the U.S. would want to come. When the crowds failed to appear, he quickly went downhill and died 7 months later. (Again, poor baby.)

 The wheels were a big theme.

Mosaic sayings, tile work, lots of welding.

The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art is the foundation in Houston that runs The Orange Show and also keeps the Beer Can House open. The Big Guy and I went to that before his 21st birthday.  One man covered his entire house and yard with beer tabs and lids.  Because, why not?
They also organize the Art Car Parade, which was No. 3 on my list to visit. Cars turned into visions of art.

Our Experience:

So anyway, last Thursday morning the Big Guy and I went exploring the mazes of the Orange Show. I was totally inspired by all the mosaic sayings tiled into the walls. I was also a little bewildered by the fact that the whole place was supposed to be honoring the orange. It didn't seem to have too many orange references....but maybe that was just me.

 The Big Guy admiring Mr. McKissack's handiwork.

 Loved these mosaic hearts.

Isn't this bit of mosaic tile work sweet? 

Afterwards we wandered down to Smither Park that is under construction at the end of the street. It is also part of the Orange Show foundation. Being built in honor of John Smither, a supporter of folk art and the Orange Show, the park has a wonderful back wall of mosaic tiles anchoring swings, a pavilion and a giant fish grotto. It's going to be magnificent once it is done.

 I found my throne! 
Can't wait until it's finished. 

 A mosaic bunny with sharp pointy hair. 
Not a park for small children!

Isn't he wonderful? 
A mosaic clam.

The Take-away:

I am always intrigued by people whose passion inspires them to create.

Jeff McKissack found a way to channel his passion and energy into an homage to the orange and healthy living..
John Milkovisch, the creator of the Beer Can House, found a way to insulate his house, recycle his beer cans and - bonus!- create a fabulous work of folk art when he started nailing beer can tops rather than tossing them.
Jim Bishop of Bishop Castle in Colorado (I visited here) took his abundance of rocks and knowledge of welding and built himself a true castle.
Passion. We could all use more of it.

(Also, welding seems to be a very useful talent if you want to create a giant work of art!)

No. 2 marked off the list.