Sunday, April 18, 2021

Galveston, Oh Galveston

  

This past Thursday, we three – sister, brother and I, went to Galveston for the day.  And, like all tourists, we walked the Strand – the street that has some of the most interesting shops and buildings on the island.  One of the shops we went into is called “Christmas on the Strand”.  And, yes, they have half of their shop dedicated to Christmas stuff year-around.  I like looking at ornaments no matter the date.


There were many interesting and unusual things.  Some really pretty, some odd, and mostly having to do with the ocean and ocean related things.  But, by far, the most eye-catching ornaments were these - -

December Diamonds Merman


This December Diamonds Beached Whale merman has black and white glittered Shamu tail.  He is bald, brawny, wearing black shades, a whale tail necklace, and holding an ice cream cone!


Relaxing on a unicorn pool float


Anyone care for a little pup play?


That is one hot unicorn! With a drink in hand, gold belt, unicorn horn, and rainbow sparkle tail, this Rainbow Merman is ready for Gay pride! These are not your average merman ornaments.


Pet the Puss

There were a bunch more if none of these appeal to you.  Everything from Cowboys to Doctors; from  to Vampires to Hard Hat types.  Great, just great!

 18 Apr 2021

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Story

  

My brother, John, came down (from the frozen northlands of WA) for a week-long visit.  It has been very nice.  Before he got here, he suggested a few things we three (sister, brother, me) might do, plus he said he’d help me out with anything I might need to do at the new house.  And so, I made a little list.


Now, my brother is a very


handy guy.  He builds beautiful furniture, cabinets, decorative boxes, little bitty collector cars – an artist in wood.  He also has a firm knowledge of plumbing, electricity, general home repairs, and so forth. 

Last time I was in the frozen northlands of WA, for Christmas, he gave me a special bathroom faucet.  It is very cool.

And, while he was here, he’d put it in for me.

This was, I believe, a job he thought would take an hour or two. 

Not the case.

Because, as it turns out, nothing in this house is a standard size.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zero.  Zip.

Anyway, I started with a bathroom faucet that looked like this




And, after a day and a half, 837 trips to every hardware type store in a 30-mile radius, an order to Amazon, a buncha muttering and stomping out the door, a variety of curse words (my guess is the builder of this little house no longer has ears – they’ve burned off), I now have a faucet that looks like this


TOO COOL!!

A DRAGON IN THE BATHROOM!!

 

The End.

 

14 Apr 2021

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Wild

  

Today is a sort of catch-up day preparing for my brother to come for a visit.  Since I'm sort-of caught up for a minute, I thought I'd share some

W I L D  Things

I’ve seen over the past day or three . . .

Bluebonnets

Paintbrush

Bull Nettle

(just a couple of odd facts - )

Brush against Bull Nettle and you’ll immediately experience a painful burning and stinging.  Between the bull nettle’s leaves and flowers are tiny threads that contain histamine and other chemicals, including folic acid. These chemicals can cause mild to severe irritation of the skin.  There are many theories for relief from an encounter – everything from tobacco and spit to a baking soda paste.  However, there is one remedy that is most often recommended – urinating on it.  Urine contains something that reacts and soothes the pain instantly.  So, pee on yourself or get a buddy to help you out!  And so you don’t think this is a totally baaaaad plant, the seeds are edible.  I would suggest that you wear long pants, long sleeves, boots, and gloves to pick the seed pods using a pair of tongs.  Then, drop the pods into a paper sack and wait for the them to burst open and expel the seeds.  They are said to be appetizing and tasty with a nutty flavor.

Meadow Pink

Texas Groundsel

And, I’m not quite sure what this is.
  Do you know?
Well - I just found out what this is.
White-eyed Phlox

 

7 Apr 2021

Monday, April 5, 2021

Tis the Season

  

No – not the Ho-Ho-Ho season. 


Spring!

Time to get out and work like a wild woman getting the yard somewhat settled and prepared for the oncoming, dreaded, hot, humid,


SUMMER

which will be upon us by May.  At which point, it will be too hot to even think about walking outside much less working.  

So, right now days are spent trying to get weeds under control, container plants repotted and settled, grass encouraged somewhat (not really a big fan of grass but it is better than mud, of which there is still a lot), the things that need to go into the ground – planted, and so forth. 

Which means I won’t have a lot of blogging going on though I will stay in touch one way or another.

 


5 Apr 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

March – marching right along

  

Well, it is officially spring here.  Yes, I know Ostara, the Spring Equinox, the official first day of spring was last Saturday.  I did put out my decorations for Ostera (or Easter – whichever works for you). 


Then, I went out and planted my herb garden – yes, in containers (I’m not ready for full blown flower beds).  Let’s see – parsley, Mexican mint marigold (our substitute for tarragon), savory, 3 kinds of basil, borage, sage, marjoram, oregano, catnip, allspice, spearmint (can’t find peppermint yet) and something else I’m forgetting.  Oh yes – rosemary (planted by the front stairs to keep yard and house safe).  No, not all in these four little planters but also in pots all around the yard.


But, spring hadn’t actually sprung on the 21st. 

However, yesterday I noticed the true harbinger of spring.  The pecan trees are are finally budding out!  They are always the last thing to come out in the spring, waiting until the cold weather is done.  Winter is over! 


Today I planted lettuce.  Took a page from Bobby’s “How to Grow Vegetables and be a Success!” book and, hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll have some nice crunchy fresh lettuce!


Also, my tomato plants have produced future tomatoes (the little yellow flowers). 


Not claiming “Farmer” status yet but . . . .

I never seem to get any interesting mail.  You know – just bills and ads.  Nothing that makes me laugh out loud or feel terrible, annoying, irritated disgust.  While at Bobby’s house earlier this week, he shared with me a rather unusual piece of mail he received. 


It’s from something called Saint Matthew’s Church.  I mean – the envelop is eye catching all by itself!  Inside was a letter with elaborate instructions, including requests for $$$, to ensure that god will answer your prayers.  And, there are testimonials confirming it really works.  Uh huh.  There was also a paper “prayer rug” that they ask you to pray over and return to them (along with the $$$, of course).  


And, yes, this is a huge scam.  The leader is a former tent revivalist who has made millions preying on low-income and older people.  If there is such a thing, people like this belong in the 8th and 9th circle of hell from Dante’s Devine Comedy.


What else – well, today is Pecan Day.  On March 25,1775, a pecan tree was planted by George Washington at his Mount Vernon estate. That particular tree’s famous roots grow even deeper as the sapling was gifted to him by Thomas Jefferson, who had planted a few pecan trees from the southern US at his own estate in Monticello, VA.  An interesting bit of trivia though I have to wonder who wrote that down and why. 

And, since I haven’t mentioned many books lately . . .  I’ve been reading (and in some cases rereading) many of the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout.  While they are a bit (ok, a lot) noir, I really like them.  They’re good mysteries, entertaining, blood doesn’t drip off the pages.  The first book was written in 1934, Fer-de-Lance and the last one was written in 1985, Death Times Three.  Something I noticed - Neither Nero, his #1 factotum Archie Goodwin, or anyone else involved with them (Fritz Brenner, Theodore Horstmann, Saul Panzer, Inspector Cramer, Sergeant Purley Stebbins, Lon Cohen, Lily Rowan, et al) NEVER AGE.  The books are all written in current time and do show changes to landscape and society but no one ages.  It works so very well.


Nada much else going on here. . . .

ps: I wrote this Thursday and planned to get it up yesterday but I had a cat insisting he should sit on my arm, the keyboard, lap and gave it up as “not happening”.  So here it is today.

 


25 Mar 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

Stuff and Nonsense

 

Well – I finished the paint project.


There it is – a nice shiny black.


And, here it is in the kitchen.

Daylight Savings Time started this past weekend.  Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh!!  I don’t care too much for DST.  Being a morning person, I want it to be light by 6:30am, when I get up.  And, I’d like to know who, at least here in my part of Texas, goes outside to enjoy the 98+° heat during the 5 summer months we have any time after 8am!  Nope, nope, nope – should be getting dark by 7:30pm latest. 

March has, so far, lived up to its “come in like a lion” reputation.  It has been windy for the past two weeks.  And, I think the next two are supposed to be rainy.  

On another note – some of my plants are beginning to come back from THE IRON WINTER OF 2021.  The Star Jasmine is putting out new leaves, as well as the Mallows.  The Confederate Rose is coming back from the root.  Still nothing happening with the other baby trees I planted last September but, it’s early still. 

And, this little guy has bloomed – first time ever!  I’m not totally sure what this is though it may be Senecio longiformos or Paintbrush Flower.



On to the Nonsense part

This week you can celebrate . . . .

Turkey Vultures Return to the Living Sign

I had to look it up.  It seems that the Living Sign is a sign that spells out “Canisteo” (as in Canisteo, NY) using 250 trees on a ridge above the town.  And, traditionally turkey vultures return there on or around St. Patrick’s Day. 


I guess better there than downtown.

Shakespeare Week

This week take some time and read your favorite Shakespeare couplet.  Here’s mine . .

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Finally, today we can all celebrate . . .

Brutus Day

again – I had to look it up.


Brutus Day aims to promote recognition of the fact that betrayal, backstabbing and dirty politics aren’t by any means a thing of the past, and are as widespread and tactical in our modern, corporate and political lives as they were in the forums of ancient Rome. Watch your back, avoid office politics, and look out for your friends!

Ides of March

Just a bit of possibly useless information - the ancient Romans didn’t number their calendar days in order from the first of the month to the last. Instead, they counted backward in relation to three days: the calends, nones, and ides.  The Roman general and statesmen Julius Caesar was assassinated by conspiring senators, including Marcus Brutus (hence it being Brutus Day also), on March 15 in 44 BCE.  Caesar had become a dictator after causing a civil war.  His rule, and murder, ended the Roman republic—and changed the course of history.  Shakespeare (ah – Shakespeare Week also) dramatized the assassination of Julius Caesar in his play.  Early in the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar to “Beware the ides of March”.   

So, today is considered by many to be a doom day, an unlucky day, and certainly a day to take care. 

 


15 March 2021

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Certainty

  

There are few things in this world of which I am absolutely certain.  Mostly - - - I’m pretty flexible in my thinking.  However, of this there is no doubt -

I HATE TO PAINT!

I HATE TO PAINT for a number of reasons. 


1 I’m not really very good at it. 

2 The prep work takes as long to get done as the painting job itself. 

3 No matter how careful I am, I always get paint all over me AND all over other things NOT being painted. 

And, as I’ve gotten older,

4 My back always hurts about halfway through the job and it’s quit or have to crawl out of the room on hands and knees.

Recently I found a single white metal cabinet the perfect size and height to go next to my kitchen counter.  Extends the counter space (always a good thing) and gives me an extra drawer and cabinet space (another good thing).  It was rusted in a few places, paint peeling in a few more but exactly what I was looking for. 

Now, my kitchen appliances are, for god-only-knows-why, black. 

side note here:  appliances are supposed to be white.  I’m pretty sure there’s a rule about that somewhere.  They are not supposed to be black.

The counter tops are a black/white swirl.  So, I decided to paint the new cabinet a glossy black.  It should fit in with the appliances and pick up the counter top - - right?

Don’t tell me no – I don’t want to hear that.

Went to the paint store and explained to the guy what I needed, why I needed it, and how much I HATE TO PAINT.  The guy at the paint store has no sense of humor.  When I asked about what type of brush – he suggested a roller.

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha snort, giggle sighhhhhh

Using a roller - not only would I have paint all over me, there would be paint on every single thing in the room where the job would be done.  No, no roller.  Then, he picked out a glossy black paint that is oil based.  You know – the type you cannot clean up with using soap and water.  The kind you need mineral spirits to clean up with.  And, a $10 paint brush.  Did I want mineral spirits too, he asked. 

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha snort, giggle sighhhhhh

No thanks.  I’ll go to Walmart and get half a dozen $1 throw-a-way brushes. 

So, here it is – in process.  I’ll post another picture when it’s finished.  Not today.  Probably not tomorrow but hopefully in the foreseeable future.


I HATE TO PAINT.

I’ve spent much of this past week working in the yard at the “house-for-sale” in town.  Of course, everything froze.  And, since it is the “house-for-sale” I figured I needed to get the yards looking at least presentable rather than horrifying.  So, I cut back what should be cut back, left a few things I’m not certain about yet, and generally cleaned up both front and back yards.

side note:  My apple watch lies. After spending four hours cutting back things and carrying it all to a trash pile for city pick-up, the watch tried telling me I’d only walked 3 miles.  It lied!  I’m sure I walked at least 10, probably 15 miles!

Then, I started on the yard and plants at the new house.

Anyway – yard work has, once again, kept me so busy that by the time I crawl back into the house, I’m past tired and moving quickly into tired-and-unable-to-think-talk-walk.  I have been going to bed at 8:30pm because, I'm too tired to sit-up.  Honest-to-god - I think I'm getting old!

I tell you this to explain my sporadic blogging/reading but I will be caught up 

one day,

one day soon.

I hope.

 

13 Mar 2021