23 December 2016

Merry Merry

Merry Merry Christmas....

Best wishes for a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, cheery Kwanzaa or festive Festivus

I thought I would take y'all on a little Christmas home tour in honor of the holiday and the fact that this is first time in four years I've actually been home in time to decorate a tree.  And because I had the time, I decorated not one, not two but THREE trees this year. 

Sadly I am not going to pose in front of my trees wearing a dress cut down to my navel a la Beyoncé.

First up is my little woodland tree. This one needs to go the cabin. 

7.5 feet tall (but skinny!) and decorated with pine cones, birds,
nests, nuts and leaves. 

 A little bristly mouse

 Assorted pine cones

 A felt bird

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care....
That Santa on the left was made by my aunt and has been around since the 1960s. 
Everyone knows they will be killed if anything happens to the Santa.
I'm sure that's the only way he has survived.

Over the giant obnoxious TV we have a wooden fish.
He got dressed up for the holidays. 
(A little poster putty is perfect for sticking ornament "bubbles" to the wall.)

This little "milagro" tree was a birthday present from friend Cathy a couple of years ago. 
It stays up year round but gets extra glass ornaments for the holidays. 

The dining room got my icicle tree. 
There are over 600 icicles on this one tree, 
some valuable, some plastic. 
And maybe a few hanging from the chandelier.

There are a few snowflakes thrown into the mix just to keep things interesting.

 A Baccarat  angel hangs from the red ribbon.
She's allowed on there only because she's crystal and blends with the crowd. 

 Twirly icicles, beaded ones, glass and plastic. 
Love them all. 

 There's even a star or two.

Shelves on either side hold Christmas treasures and nativities.
The stained glass tree on top was given to us by the restaurant manager at Los Tios Mexican restaurant many many years ago. He loved the kids and we ate there WAYYYY too much. 
We also have stained glass angels for the girls, Boy got a stained glass window and ...
because the restaurant manager used to manage a club with live music...
Boy also got a signed poster from Ozzy Osborne. 
Like I said, we ate there wayyy too much.

This nativity set is my absolute favorite.
Painted by the kids when they were 3, 5 and 9.
I have no idea why a green monster was included in the set and I think the 
little brown things are actually poodles, not lambs.
I particularly like the red eyed devil angel. 

The Santa bank and two reindeers are also mine from the 1960s.
Amazing they are still in one piece. 
You'll notice the nativities do not have baby Jesus in them yet.
He doesn't get put out until Christmas morning because..duh..
he isn't born until then.

Up the stairs, in the "art niche",  is the tin Mexican tree.
(Why o why did builders think it was such a wonderful idea to put art niches in houses?)

The tin ornaments have been in a box in the attic for over thirty years. 
They were all purchased in San Miguel de Allende in 1974/75 and 
used on my Christmas trees when I was single. 
This is the first time they have been out of their box in ages. 

The candle and donkey might be traditional Christmas themes 
but the fish and butterfly, maybe not.

However, at my house growing up we always had the Christmas pig.
And the Easter pig.
Not sure why. 

The Christmas watermelon is another favorite. 
When did watermelon become a Christmas symbol?
O yea, it's not.
Anyway, I love this little tree and am so happy to have these 
guys out of their box and on display. 

Finally, at the bottom of the stairs in the entry, there is a little desk with
some garland. (And some fish. Lots of fish in this house.) 
The Christmas cards gather in the red bucket so everyone can see them.

Thanks for coming along on the tour. Hope it put you in a jolly frame of mind. It's the closest I'll get to "sending out a card" this year. 

A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Or good day.  Here's to lots of presents, family, food and fun. 


20 December 2016

No: 63 and No. 89: MyOhMy

No. 63: The Twelfth New Restaurant of the Year and ...
No. 89: MyOhMy  (You'll just have to read on to get THAT explanation)

Last week, in celebration of my turning older than dirt, sweet friend Martha took me out for an evening of..... fun.

Martha seems to love helping with my challenges. This time she came up with something not even on the list, not even thought of to be on the list, not even in my thoughts at all, except once she suggested it I was all in. I mean, how could I not be?

For my birthday we went to dinner.

Then we went to a show.

Dinner was in downtown Houston at MKT Bar.  In the same building as Phoenicia Specialty Foods, a cool international food market, the restaurant offers free parking and some great specials. We happened to be there on steak Thursday and since we were in a time crunch, we both went for the special.  $12.99 got us a melt-in-your-mouth rib eye, twice baked potato, a salad and some yummy yummy little onion ring something-or-others.  The crowd was lively ( we shared a table with a Christmas party group that was having all kinds of fun) and about thirty years younger than us.

The sign over our table. 
That's the best I did for pics in the restaurant.
Take my word for it, it was fun. 

And why were we in a time crunch? 
Because of the show.  MyOhMy. 

That's the show name.  At Warehouse Live, also in downtown Houston, MyOhMy is billed as "not the same ol' drag...show". So yes, we saw men dressed as women. Lip syncing and dancing. Dressed to the nines. 

Another couple, friends of Martha's, joined us and we had VIP seating right in front of the stage. Up close and personal.

Me, Martha, Barry and Victor. 
I did not get the message that the dress code was "leather".
Silly me, I wore velvet.

There were three performers: Candy Cane, Fantasha and London Something....can't remember. 
Fantasha did Tina Turner to perfection, right down to the shimmy. Candy Cane channeled Beyonce and Selena. London emulated Diana Ross? Again, after a while, all of them ran together.   They were all great but too many diva performers were covered for me to keep them all straight. I just sat back and enjoyed. 

Candy Cane. 
"She" was absolutely gorgeous.

Fantasha doing Tina Turner.

London as Diana Ross

Towards the end of the show, they decided to give out door prizes. Martha graciously volunteered me for pulling names out of the hat.  So up on the stage I went, readers in hand, standing next to the show organizer and Miss Candy Cane. Let me tell you, up close she was amazing. Not a hair on her body. Beautiful skin. Some excellent plastic surgery. Gender bending at its finest.  Standing next to her (him?) it really brought home how fluid gender can be. 

I think I'm the only female in this photo. 

The performers danced/sang/shimmied and wiggled amongst the audience through the entire show, accepting tips as they sang. Apparently that is how they make most of their money, not from ticket sales, but from tips. A hard way to earn your keep considering the amount of wigs, dresses and heels they wear in one show. Add in the surgeries and electrolysis these performers have been through and they must need a lot of dollar bills to make an evening profitable.  

After the closing act, we managed to snag a few pics with the individual performers. 

Taking their bows 

Martha, Fantasia, Me
I had on heels, Martha was in flats.We look like dwarfs. 
These are big (wo)men in high high heels. 

Here we are with London.
Again, dwarfed. 

The night was a blast. Definitely something I had never been to before. 

A gazillion thanks to Martha for coming up with the idea and treating me for the night. 

Got my twelfth (and final) restaurant for the year in and I definitely added"drag show" to the list just so I could cross it out. No. 89, also done.

13 December 2016

Magic on a Saturday Night or No. 63: Another Restaurant

Magic on a Saturday Night: No:63 Again

One of the things I did in November when I was in Colorado was go visit my friend Diana in Denver. Her house was our getaway when we needed civilization after a month or so at the little cabin in the woods. Even when she was living in China, she graciously left her house available so Bunny and I could visit and get our dose of Target, hair cuts and mani/pedis. Some things are just better in the big city.

My request to Diana for our quick weekend was a dinner out some place that required heels. Or at least a place where a little bit of a dress up wouldn't seem out of place. That's harder than you think in Denver where pretty much jeans will take you everywhere.

Diana had been craving a steak dinner and that sounded good to me so she made us reservations. But it was a surprise! She wouldn't share where we were headed, only that we were going downtown.

The November weather was lovely (and unseasonably warm) so we parked and walked to our dinner destination.

Here's where the magic came in.

Excuse the blur...I was too excited to take pics!

First: Dinosaurs!  TWO Tyrannosaurus  Rexes walking down the street. Honest. I was so tickled.
I got my picture with them but was so excited I forgot to ask just what they were doing out and about.

Dinos so large they got their heads cut off. 

A few more blocks down and we spy a Lamborghini.

Is that the sexiest thing ever? 

Okay, in Houston that is not so unusual. Lots of money, lots of flat streets, no random rocks on the road, no snow. But in Denver, Lamborghinis are kinda rare. Driving in the snow can be a problem when your car only has a five inch road clearance. Anyway.... one Lamborghini.  Then another.

Notice there are Lamborghinis on both sides of the street. 

Then....SIXTEEN of them.   All parked in front of the Ritz Carlton hotel.  So gorgeous. And exotic. Since Bunny is such a car nut I had to take pics.

Rows of Lamborghinis. 
At $200K a pop, that's a few million dollars worth of cars in one block. 
Yes, there was a policeman watching over them. 

All of these cars were part of a group, the Gia Lai Team, which does road rallies every year. Life is rough, huh?

Ok, so dinosaurs and exotic cars.  What next?

A few more blocks and there are fire works!

Serious. I asked Diana why but she had no more idea than I  did. So we both just assumed they were in honor of our dinner out.

I adore fire works. 

Obviously, by the time we got to the restaurant, expectations were running high. Denver has tons of farm to market little restaurants with yummy food.  Unfortunately, when you make plans a few days before, that's not what you get. What we did get was a good dinner at Denver Chophouse and Brewery.  Our steaks were perfect.  I had a house beer. (Full disclosure: also some not-house wine!) Mashed potatoes that were good. All in all, a decent but not exceptional meal.    What was exceptional?   The company. Diana and I caught up, visited, plotted, planned and Lord knows what else.  There is nothing better than a good friend. We could have been at McDonald's and still enjoyed the dinner.
No pics. 
Diana and I always forget to take pics together. 

And really? Could anything have matched the expectations that had been set by that walk through downtown? I don't think so.

No: 63: One more restaurant added to the list.

Also, this dinner out was my birthday treat from Diana, a little early. (Our birthdays are 2 days apart and we know how the day can get lost in the Christmas shuffle...) And TODAY is my birthday! How is that for blog post planning?!  

06 December 2016


Hi! I'm back.

Sorry. Took a little hiatus there after the election. I was in Colorado without a computer. Then I came back to Texas after the election and just haven't had the spunk to write a post. Too many things going on. Parents, friends, family, the world.  You know. Life with a capital L. 

Gorgeous Colorado Sunrise

But while I was in Colorado I packed in a ton of fun. The weather was beautiful for November in Colorado. Days in the 70s and evenings in the 30s. Perfect for closing up the cabin for the winter, which was my goal. 

Camouflaged Carlos went with me...
he was so happy to be back in the woods. 
Notice he is wearing his neon orange "Hunters please don't shoot me" collar.
One weekend was spent in Denver and I tried TWO new restaurants...although I think I may fall short on "No. 63: try 12 new restaurants in 2106" at this point. Maybe I need one last push. 

Tried a new sport: Pickleball! In the Mile High City. Granted that is a lower elevation than the cabin by a couple thousand feet, but it was still pretty high up to be running. Or panting, as I was doing. 

Visited with two friends while I was there, also, which made it super special.

And a magnificent early evening shot of the Twin Sisters with
the perfect sliver of moon hanging overhead. 

Started a fun project which has come back to Texas with me.

A really fun project....

And to top the whole fabulous trip off, I got an amazing offer while I was driving back to Texas. I had added No. 87: Go to Fiesta in San Antonio after seeing a post from a San Antonio friend last April. At the ages of 6 and 7 our family lived in San Antonio and enjoyed Fiesta. So much fun. We went back one time after moving back to Houston, but that was it. Haven't been back since.  But that sweet San Antonio friend sent me a message: Would I be interested in judging the Battle of Flowers Parade at Fiesta in 2017?   Would I?  O! Hell yes! How exciting. So Fiesta San Antonio, here I come. (Well, in April!) 

Restaurant reviews and my awesome Saturday night in Denver and a project update to come. 
And hopefully I will get back on track with posts. 

06 November 2016



I am in Colorado this week so this is a quick post. (Sadly, Blogspot on an iPad is impossible.)

BUT!   Tuesday we elect a new President whether you like it or not. 

Go out and  vote, if you haven't already.  Do NOT vote twice because you think the system is rigged. That's called voter's fraud. But please please please vote once. 

While possibly close to half the country will be disappointed on Wednesday, we will all be able to rejoice in the fact that the election is over. Done, 

(O God. Please don't let it be a tie. But even if there is a tie, our Constitution has it handled. The House and the Senate take over. We, the people, are out of the picture.)

So, in the immortal words of Nike (the shoe company not the Greek Goddess) "Just do it."

And no whining on Wednesday. If your person isn't elected, be gracious. Grace has been sorely lacking from this campaign. Let's rise above. Make the best. If you don't like the results, get involved. 
You be the change you want to see. 

But please. Be civil. And vote. 

  1. 1
    of or relating to ordinary citizens and their concerns, as distinct from military or ecclesiastical matters.
    "civil aviation"
    • 2
      courteous and polite.
      "we tried to be civil to him"

    01 November 2016

    No. 79: Graceland

    No. 79: Go to Graceland

    O my. Going to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presely,  has always been a dream of mine. OK. Not always. But for quite a long time.

    In the late 70s I worked with a woman who idolized Elvis. She wore her make-up exactly as Priscilla Presley did when she met Elvis: bubble bouffant hairdo, thick black cats-eye eyeliner.

    Priscilla Presley although
    it could be my former co-worker.

    Very popular look in the 60s (and the eyeliner is totally on point today) but we were in the 70s when the "natural" look was all the rage. Coming in from lunch on August 16, 1977, I relayed to my co- worker that Elvis had died. I had just heard it on the radio. She broke into tears then retreated to her office. A few minutes later, bag in hand, she was out the door, unable to speak. She couldn't come in to the office the next day either. Too upset. Her idol was gone. Elvis had peaked a little before my time, then came back around about the time I was in high school, but I was never a huge fan.  However her devastation intrigued me...how could a stranger have that much of a hold on someone?  

    Then in 1986 the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley came out. I gobbled up that book and anything else I could read about The King.  His voice really was beautiful. Deep and soulful.
    So my curiosity was piqued but, Memphis...I had no reason to be anywhere near Memphis.

    Fast forward to 2016. Thirty years later and Bunny is in school in Oxford, Mississippi, a mere hour away from Memphis. Funny how things work out. Bunny wanted me in Oxford last weekend and guess where I flew into? The Memphis Airport.   Know how far Graceland is from the Memphis Airport? About ten minutes.

    So I HAD to go.

    Doesn't look that big from the front. 

    Out of the airport and turn on Elvis Presley Boulevard. I'm greeted by signs and air planes. Into the ticket center and out to see Elvis's private jets. Overall the planes appeared a little tired and while I am sure they were "state of the art" at the time, I was mostly impressed by how dated they look.

    This was named after his daughter, 
    the other jet was Hound Dog II

    I'm sure this was the height of something,
    but it just looks old and tired now. 

    There was still a bit of time before my mansion tour so I went through Elvis's car collection next. He had a thing for Cadillacs, Mercedes and BMWs. Some of those cars were tanks!!! I swear most wouldn't fit in a modern day garage, they're just too long. My favorite was the 1955 pink Cadillac, probably because we are the same vintage.

    Me with Presley's 1955 Pink Caddy. 
    A very good year. 

    And then it was time to visit the mansion. Honestly from the front it didn't look that  big. The website says 17,000 square feet and I suppose with the finished basement that is accurate. Visitors are not allowed on the second floor where there are bedrooms and the bathroom that was the site of Elvis's death.

    The first floor tour starts in the living room. Peacocks on stained glass, a grand piano and a boxy cabinet TV are the highlights.  In fact, the TVs really stood out in all of the rooms.  Every room had at least one, sometimes more and they were all huge cabinets with the heavy and deep TVs inside.   Hard to believe how much they have changed since then.

    Love that the TV is the center of attention.

    Next was his parent's room and then off to the dining room. Yes, there was a TV in the corner of the formal dining room.

    Beautiful formal dining room with a 
    TV (hidden here) over in the left corner. 

    The kitchen had some of the ugliest carpet ever and again a big ol' TV. O! And some more stained glass, this time in the form of Tiffany lamps.

    That carpet is "something". 
    What? I don't know.

    Downstairs was a media room with more giant built in TVs and a stereo system. (And a bar, of course.)  

     Lots of TVs. WHAT was he watching on all those TVs?

     The billiards room followed, a dizzying mess of stained glass and 400 yards of fabric, pleated and draped.

    And then, and then.....the room we have all heard about. The Jungle Room.  Plush green carpet on the floors and wall, Tiki style designs on the furniture, a waterfall cascading down a wall of cut field stone. The height of kitsch.

    Love that furniture!

    The tour continued outside to the south wing, with rooms of trophies and Gold Records, show outfits and photos. And more TVs. Overall Elvis had a total of 90 gold, 53 platinum and 25 multi-platinum albums.  He probably had that many TVs, too.

    Televisions used to come already installed into their 
    own enormous cabinets. 

    There is a tiny Meditation Garden near the pool where Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother are buried. Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis's stillborn twin, is also memorialized here.

    Rest in peace Elvis. 

    That concluded my tour.
    It was time to drive on down from Memphis to Oxford. But for a couple of hours I had been immersed in the magic of the King of Rock n Roll.

    Graceland. I've been to Graceland.  Cross off #79.


    And for a little bit of that creep factor...
    Elvis met Priscilla in Germany when she was 14 and he was 24. They dated for a year or so, then he moved backed to the States, and they continued to communicate daily. After a couple of visits while she was still just 16, (and he was...ahem...26) she finally moved in with him at the ripe old age of 17. They married when she was a nice legal 21.  Can we say "pedophile"?