Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"Nothin' but blue skies do I see" Blue Skies, Willie Nelson

And yet another mostly clear, blue sky.  Wow!  Two days in a row!  Still – we are supposed to have rain Saturday and Sunday so I expect our blue skies will disappear soon.

I did manage to get about four hours of work in before collapsing on the ground.  I have in my back yard a small gazebo.  Originally it had to canvas top and screens that hung down and could be closed making it a somewhat mosquito-proof place to sit outside. 

However time and weather reduced to screens and top to shreds and I removed them.  Recently – maybe 2 years ago - I planted a wisteria to climb on and over the gazebo with the thought this will give it a new top.  Slowly but surely …….

Some day it will look like this

Right now, it looks like this

So, today I pulled out the tall ladder and added more chicken wire to the top to give the vining branches something to grow upon.  I noticed all sorts of buds – yea!  It’s going to flower in the coming weeks.

Many of the seeds are coming up




I know, I know - they pretty much look the same but soon ...!!!
Busy, busy day.

Take care

Monday, February 26, 2018

Adho Mukha Svanasana, Virasana, Halasana

My preferred method of exercise is Yoga.  I’ve practiced yoga for a long number of years, by following various yoga television programs, by purchasing tapes, and now, in class.  Honestly, I’m somewhere between “I-sorta-know-what-I’m-doing” and intermediate. 

Like most of the human world, I’ve been better or worse at regular exercise.  Procrastinating    “I’m too busy” … “I get plenty of exercise chasing after children, keeping house, taking care of the yard, etc., etc.” …. “Tomorrow, I’m just too tired now.”

However, since turning 50, I’ve been mostly to very good about dedicating 45minutes to an hour for exercise several days a week.  I like yoga because it is a mind/body workout – strengthening and stretching poses with breathing and meditation exercises.

I don’t think my current yoga teacher has ever defined her teaching form as anything specific but I think it’s a combination of Hatha (basic movements and breathing) and Power (high intensity that builds muscle) with a little Ashtanga (special breathing technique) thrown in.  My sister-in-law does Ivengar Yoga (uses props).  I went with her twice when I last visited Washington.  It’s very different than what I do but interesting.  And, while I’ve never done Bikram (hot yoga), I have had class outside in August (and folks that’s HOT!). 

The good thing about yoga is there are poses that target every part of your body you want to work on. 

Strengthen your core – try a one arm, side Plank. 

How about stronger arms? – Upward Dog ... Crow.

Legs?  Downward Dog ... Bridge ... Chair

Glutes, absolutely – Squats ... Warrior

Good for the back? Yes indeededy-do. Cat/Cow ... Triangle 

These exercises make me stretch my muscles and increase my range of motion.  Important, as I grow older.  According to some, yoga is not considered aerobic.  HA!  Obviously that person has never done Sun Salutations with my teacher! 

some poses are pretty easy
some - I'll never be able to do
in this life!
You don’t need any expensive equipment or a gym membership – just a yoga mat.  Don’t need a huge amount of space – enough for you and your mat.  Give it a try.

Take care

GI Yoga Joe in Crow pose.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Happy Go Texan Day!

That’s today – Go Texan Day.  It’s the day the rodeo comes to town.  The day all the trail riders converge on Houston.  It’s the day people put on their boots, bolo ties and big hats.  It heralds the opening of the Houston Rodeo and Fat (sorry – Live) Stock Show which is the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world. 

The trail rides started in the early 1950 to reenact the trail ride of 19th century cattlemen bringing their herds to Houston.  Of course, today’s rides are not as dangerous or difficult as they would have been in the 1800’s.  Today they have use of all the newest technology and the odd camper and RV plus they are populated by doctors, lawyers, bankers, and a cowboy or two.  There are 12 or 15 different trail riders coming from north, south, east and west like:  Los Vaqueros Rio Grande Trail Ride from Reynosa, Mexico; The Salt Grass Trail Ride from Brenham; The Northeastern Trail Riders from Cheek; Mission Trail Ride from San Antonio; The Texas Independence Trail Ride from Brazoria plus others.  I remember one day, standing on the roof of the old Fluor buildings in the early 1980’s watching as riders and wagons came up the 610 Loop feeder street heading to Memorial Park.  It was fun to watch.  I would not want to do it.

In the way-back, when I first went to the Rodeo and Fat Stock Show, it was held in the Sam Houston Coliseum, an indoor arena near downtown.  Competitions included calf roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc and bareback bronc riding, bull riding, and barrel racing.  The star attractions tended to be western actors - Hugh O'Brian (Wyatt Earp), Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, James Arness (Gunsmoke) and so forth.  I have to say, I never did enjoy the Rodeo portion too much.  Well, the “calf scramble” was always fun to watch.  

That’s where they turn a bunch of 200-pound calves loose in the arena.  Then add in a group of kids age 14-18 to try to catch one, get a halter on it, and haul it to a designated area.  And do it in a specific amount of time.  Winners get a calf to raise.

I always did enjoy the Fat Stock Show.  There was (still are) a huge number of farm/ranch animals – cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, and more, all there to be seen and judged.  Interesting.  And, then there was the Carnival with rides and games.

It’s something to experience. 

Yahoo y’all

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Weird weather

We are having just the weirdest weather.  And, have been since a year ago.

February 14, 2017 – Temperatures were pretty mild.  I had my door open to let in fresh air when all of a sudden, I heard a train coming down my street.  No-no, no trains on my street – TORNADO!      Weird!  We don’t live in Tornado, Texas.  We live in Hurricane and Big Giant Rain, Texas.  And, while it was alarming, it really didn’t do huge damage.  Ripped the roofs off several buildings and turned a bunch of trees toes up, but no truly devastating damage.

Then we proceeded into a long hot dry summer.  Very long.  Very hot.  Very dry.  It was a major effort to keep the plants watered – sometimes having to water in the early morning and again late evening.

Next came Hurricane Harvey in late August and THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2017.  According to various news sources, Hurricane Harvey is tied with Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical storm on record, inflicting at least $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding. 

This did not stop summer however.  Still, very hot.  Thanksgiving last year, I was walking the beach barefoot.

Ten days later, December 8, we had snow.  Snow in south Texas in early December.  Snow.  Temperatures warmed back up and around Christmas, dropped to 20°. 

2018.  A new year!  Yea! 

Not any better weather wise.  In January the temperatures stayed in the 40-30° range with weeks of freezing temperatures and three days of 20°.  No sympathy?  I live on the Gulf Coast!

All this is leading up to today.  A little over a week ago, we were still in the grip of winter with temperatures in the 40°s (remember – Texas Gulf Coast Plains - 40° is serious winter for us).  A week later, everyone brought out the shorts and t-shirts because we had an attack of summer.  Hot and humid.  No spring – summer. 

With the coming of summer, I have started my morning strolls through the yards to see how things are doing – what’s coming back – what’s completely dead – what’s coming up (that would be weeds, mostly).  This morning I had on shorts.  Walked around the yard.  Glanced at the thermometer - 77° at 7am.  Humidity at 96%.  Yuck.  Around 10am, I got ready to run a few errands.  Went out to the car and had to turn around and come right back inside to change clothes.  The temperature must had dropped 15° because it was CHILLY. 

We are having just the weirdest weather.

Take care

Monday, February 19, 2018

Planting many things

I do not limit myself when planting things in the yard.  For instance, so far this spring (and yes, it is February and, yes, we are having spring – possibly early summer) I’ve planted seeds for sunflowers, castor bean trees, fennel, thyme, parsley, coreopsis, spaghetti squash, catnip, mint, and a couple other things that have slipped my mind right this second.  Most were seeds I got free from a friend, some were seeds I collected from my plants last fall, and a few I bought. 

In addition to planting seeds, I also washed and planted all my yard art.  Right now, it’s the most colorful and eye-catching thing in my yard.

 Found him at a garage sale.

 So I know what time it is.

 Birds and witches and happy faces
and other stuff.

Dragons hide out all over the yard.

Well – everybody needs at least one

My ever producing apple, uhh pear,
whatever fruit tree.

Old sinks are good for many things.

Also have napping dragons.

The odd pelican or so.

A frog house

My oldest granddaughters first car.

And a bunch of other unusual stuff.

I worked in the yard today.  Dug up and moved nine plants.  Nine.  Nine good sized plants.  Pulled weeds, moved chunks of cement (I use them as flowerbed edging around the biggest bed) from here to there, dug up amaryllis bulbs, put down normal flower bed edging, put all the yard art out and around, and planted seeds.  Then I crawled into the house just before collapsing in the grass weedy yard.  My arms, legs, back, and brain are all very tired.

Take care.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Unusual things ..

A couple years ago, my two middle granddaughters gave me a salt lamp.  It’s very cute.  I like it!  Usually it sits beside my computer and is plugged into a USB port.  I’d never had one before so I did some searching about salt lamps. 

WOW!  Salt Lamps are the cure-all for very nearly everything.  Just a few examples -

1. The negative ions in salt lamps can help you breathe easier.
2. The negative charge of these lamps can help balance the body’s ph and energy.
3. Salt lamps clear the air by attracting the actual debris and invisible impurities in the air to itself.
4.  A salt lamp may help improve focus needed to get tasks done.
5. A salt lamp helps lower blood pressure.

And so forth.

Very cool considering this is a lump of salt with a small light bulb inside.  Well, my general attitude toward these sort of things is – if it promises the world, it’s too good to be true.  Still, I like the little orange light, it makes me think of my granddaughters so maybe it does lighten my mood a bit.

Recently, I was looking through some files for heaven-knows-what, and I found the instruction sheet that came with my little lamp.  Mostly it tells you to not get it wet and the light has xxx-number of hours.  Hmmmmm.  Well, I’m pretty sure that when the light bulb burns out, the salt lamp is just a little round ball of salt.  No, no, no – don’t want that – want the little orange light to keep on glowing.

So, I decided to move the little lamp to the living room and add a 120v plug to the USB gizmo and plug it in/out as I thought of it. 

So, here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know about salt lamps.

They sweat.

I’d left it unplugged for a couple of days and went to plug it in and, OMIGOD, it was sitting in a puddle of oily liquid!

Straight to the internet.

“Due to the hygroscopic properties of salt, these lamps will be absorbing moisture from the air when they are in a damp environment - that's why they don't recommend it for places with a noticeable amount of humidity.  Because the salt lamp absorbs moisture, maybe you can use a Moisture Absorber to remedy this situation and lessen the humidity.” 

Hahahahahahahahahahahah!!!!!  I live on the Texas Gulf Coast.  On a good day, our humidity is 80%, INSIDE!

The fix is simple really – leave it plugged in at all times.  The tiny bit of heat it generates, keeps it from sweating. 

I guess if it burns out one day, I’ll have to see if the bulb can be replaced or I’ll have a sweaty little ball of salt.

And, here is yet another piece of information to add to your growing file of
interesting things to toss out during an exotic cocktail party to astound and amaze everyone.