Friday, March 29, 2019

Yesterday is gone but not its memories.

Yesterday was Weed Appreciation Day.  And, yes, I know I mentioned recently that I have spent days (weeks) weeding.  That said, I don’t have a great big problem with certain weeds in the grass.  I’d be happy if my entire yard was covered with creeping wood sorrel.  It doesn’t have to be mowed, it makes a little yellow flower. 

Or, wood violets.  Cute, heart shaped leaves, pretty purple flowers.

Or even fleabane, evening primrose, and wild onions. 

All except the fleabane (according to Rohde's Old English Herbal, it has medicinal qualities - 'Fleabane bound to the forehead is a great helpe to cure one of the frensie.') are edible.  All make flowers.  None survive our hot summer but all return without any encouragement.  I’d be fine with any of those IF they would agree to stay out of my flower beds. 

So far, that has not been the case and so I continue to dig weeds from the flower beds.

Yesterday however, I did something I genuinely HATE to do.  I went clothes and shoe shopping.  Aaaarrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

So, first of all – I live in Wharton.  We don’t have too much clothes shopping here.  That meant I had to go to the closest place – Rosenberg.  It’s not far 30 miles.  The only problem – you have to get on Hwy 59.  It’s under construction.  Has been for under construction for years and will be for many more looooong years.  You know what construction and highway mean, right?  Not moving traffic.  A trip that should take 25-30 minutes, taking 45-50 minutes, mostly stopped. 

Then, have ya looked for clothes lately?  Noticed the “new” spring colors – dull orange, olive green, drab blue – all looking as though they’ve been soaked in tea making the colors even more dreary, flat, lackluster, plain, icky.  Hellllllooo – spring – bright cheery colors – noooo, none of those. 

I went looking for something to wear to my granddaughter’s pending high school graduation in May.  Something not designed for a 12-year old.  Something without 90% spandex (some of us have reached an age where bulges, bumps, and love handles are not attractive to the general public).  And you know, I’m pretty sure I had this conversation same time last year.  As I recall, last year everything reminded me of the 1970’s with psychedelic colors and paisley prints.  This year we’ve regressed further to the 1960’s.  All the dresses were sheaths (which are not bad, well except for the colors, but need a body with lifted boobs, flat belly, and tight butt - sigh, no – none of that).  Or, late 60’s with calf lengths (those make me look 4 feet tall and wide).  Fine!  I didn’t want a dress anyway.

I did find a pair of cargo shorts – one – one pair in my size – only one – lots of other sizes – one.  Sigh.  So, I guess, it wasn’t a total loss.  (Hmmmmm – wonder if I can wear cargo shorts and a t-shirt?  No, probably not.)

However, shoe shopping was a whole other deal.  No, nope, none, nada.  Nothing even close to a size I can wear.  Argh!  (OK, cargo shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes – no, probably not again.)

Then, I came home and made brownies! 

29 Mar 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019



Over the past two weeks, since the official arrival of spring, I have worked in my front and back yards.  Worked, hard work, really, really, really hard work.  Every single day for 3-5 hours.  Digging up weeds, moving plants (which included digging large holes in the earth), enlarging flower beds (that means digging out grass – ick, ick, ick), weeding, finding places for new plants, putting out all the seedlings I started over the winter, pulling weeds, and this year, repositioning all the flowerbed borders (and, yes, I use what I’ve got – it’s all about recycling).  For some reason, it seems that the dirt pushed the bordering material out of the ground - grrrrr.  And, by the end of the work time, I have to make 75 trips from one side of the yard to the other to dump everything pulled out (like weeds) or cut down onto the trash heap. 

Random Thought:  This is good exercise – walking, bending, stretching, twisting, lifting, stepping (like step on the shovel, lift out the dirt, dump, repeat).  I am building muscles.  Yes!

In my part of the universe, I have March, April, and most of May to get done outside everything I need to do, want to do, to have a yard I enjoy.  Why you ask?  That would be because come June 1, it is hot and humid and mosquito-ey, and hot and humid.

Random Thought:  Oh ugh – mosquito time is coming.  My yard is already full of fire ants and feisty spiders.

You may remember from past posts, my commenting on the large amount of rain we received in October, November, December, January, February.  Remember I said I wasn’t really complaining, just commenting?  Well, evidently, the three-year-old that controls the rain has turned it off, completely.  Digging in the yard is likened to digging in cement.  Hard and it comes up in big chunks that takes a hammer to break up.

Random Thought:  Muscles – building muscles, if I had circles to close, they’d all be done by 11AM.

Most mornings I have a little routine – put away the clean dishes from yesterday, do a 10-minute pick up around the house, wind clocks, open blinds, have breakfast, and finally sit at the computer and see what’s happening in the news.  Some days – I skip that last part.  Honestly, the world, in general, is going to hell in a hand basket. 

Random Thought:  The humans running everything are not adults they are, I swear, hormonal thirteen-year-olds – tantrums, denials, boasting, bullying, the silent treatment, door slamming, crying, ignoring the adults (that's you and me) -- drama queens.

Several months ago, I injured my foot.  As does most of the world, I went to the computer for a self-diagnosis and treatment plan.  Okay – ice (check), exercises to stretch the tendon (check), over the counter shoe insert (check).  No, it didn’t get any better.  So, off I went to see the podiatrist.  He prescribed a custom made orthotic.  A very expensive orthotic that 1. Does not fix the problem; does not even somewhat relieve the discomfort, 2. Is very uncomfortable; you try walking on a piece of hard plastic, 3. Does not fit in any shoes except my athletic shoes which I am not planning to wear 24/7.  Arrggghhh.

Random Thought:  #$@%&^%*(!!!!! 

I have read a couple of good books lately –

White Plague by James Abel
“In the remote, frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean, the high-powered and technically advanced submarine U.S.S. Montana is in peril. Adrift and in flames, the boat—and the entire crew—could be lost. The only team close enough to get to them in time is led by Marine doctor and bio-terror expert Joe Rush.”  It’s a good story – not exactly an end of the world as we know it type but could be close. 

King’s Deception by Steve Berry
The story is about a CIA operation to find the answer is a long-buried secret.  A secret that calls into question the legitimacy of the entire forty-five-year reign of Elizabeth I, the last Tudor monarch.  There are assassins, traitors, spies, and dangerous disciples of a secret society along with modern geopolitical crisis’, diplomatic showdowns, and one over-all-save-the-day hero.  Also, a good story.

Random Thought:  Hmmmmm – my current book (Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir) is calling me so I have to quit now.

26 Mar 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Adventures – Yesterday / Yesterday’s Yesterday

Yesterday, I spent four hours working in the yard.  I’d say I was “enjoying the wonderful spring sunshine” except I was doing hard, heavy lifting work.  In my shed, I have two sets of metal shelves that mostly hold – you know – crap.  And, because I like to try to grow things from seed, this time of the year I usually have many, many pots of things that need to be put somewhere until I can find someone to give them away to (anybody want 1. a Baby Plumeria, now 1 year old or 2. a Catalpa Tree almost 4 months old???).   So, I decided to move one set of shelves outside to hold plants.  This was a good idea (which I kept telling myself over and over).  It was a struggle to get the shelves off the stand, get the stand out of the shed, get the shelves back on the stand.  All the little baby plants learned a goodly number of really bad words!  But, it works well and I’m happy with it. 

Later in the evening though I discovered something I am not happy with.  At some point while working inside the shed (a haven for spiders), I got four spider bites on my neck and shoulders.  Ugh.  Now, they hurt, itch, and are the size of quarters.  Double Ugh.

Yesterday’s Yesterday – back to Independence, TX and the Antique Rose Emporium.  As I said yesterday, it is a great place to just walk around and enjoy all the gardens.  Lota pretty flowers.

From there, we drove over to Washington on the Brazos.  And, once again Siri took us on all sorts of back roads including one very curvy dirt road.  Interesting.  Pretty.  Semi-alarming.

Washington-on-the-Brazos is "the birthplace of Texas" because it was here that, on March 1, 1836, Texas delegates met to formally announce Texas' intention to separate from Mexico and to draft the constitution of the new Republic of Texas.  Now, it is a 300-acre state park along the Brazos River.  In addition to the beautiful country side, there is Independence Hall, Barrington Living History Farm, and the Star of the Republic Museum. 

All very interesting.  At Independence Hall, one of the park rangers gives a talk about what all happened there in 1836.  Okay, now, I’m from Texas.  I’ve had Texas history, I swear, since first grade.  I pretty much knew everything the ranger talked about (most of the others were foreigners – like from Colorado or the Northeast).  However, I did learn something new. 

So, Did you Know?  Sam Houston, twice president of the Republic of Texas, once governor of the state Texas and once governor of Tennessee, made a run for the presidency of the US?  Yep - Houston and John Bell were the two major contenders for the presidential nomination of the newly-formed Constitutional Union Party, which consisted largely of Southern unionists.  John Bell won the primary and ran against Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.  You know how that turned out.

Oh, and I learned something else - The name "Washington-on-the-Brazos" was used to distinguish the settlement from "Washington-on-the-Potomac.

Now, while I’m pretty sure we didn’t walk all 300-acres, I’m thinking we covered at least half of them.  And, as we were in the hill country, everything was up.

Barrington Living History Farm is located in the park at the home of the last president of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones.  Docents dress in period style clothing and answer questions about life 150 years ago.  They plant crops from that time, plow with the help of oxen, spin cotton fibers into thread and make soap.  All the farm animals are heritage breeds that would have been found on the plantation back in the day.  It’s all pretty cool.

The Star of the Republic Museum was also very interesting – time tracking from the beginning of when to statehood. 

And, then we drove back to Wharton.  Adventuring!

21 Mar 2019

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Adventures – Yesterday / Today

Today is Ostara (the Vernal Equinox).  Yea!  Spring is now officially here.  Quick while it’s sunny, go outside and enjoy all the beautiful flowers, the new “spring green” the trees are producing, mild temperatures, and blue skies.  Walk your neighborhood, work in the garden, visit a state park.  We’ve all been trapped inside with dreary, rainy, cloudy, chilly weather so go outside NOW!

Yesterday a friend and I had a day long of adventuring.  We left here early and drove to Brenham.  

Brenham is the county seat of Washington County in south central Texas and is known as the “heart of Bluebonnet country”.  It has one other major attribute.  It is the home of the Blue Bell Creamery (the-best- ice-cream-in-the-world). 

The highway between here and there tends to be bright with wild flower color from March to April.  There weren’t as many blooming as we’d hoped – probably due the late cold snap – but the ones we did see were beautiful.

We did see several large groves of Acacia trees in bloom.  I think I need one of these.  The flowers are cute little round yellow fuzzy balls.

First stop in Brenham, was, of course, the creamery. 

You can tour (sort of) the creamery and watch as containers are filled and sent along to the cold room (-40° cold).  It was interesting to watch and honest-to-god, if I worked there, I’d weigh 500 pounds.  I can remember when you could only get Blue Bell in Brenham and Houston (1960’s).  They expanded to the rest of Texas and then, by 1990


And, yes, while we were there, at 11AM, before lunch, we had ice cream.  One scoop = $1.  One scoop was huge!  My favorite – Moo-llennium Crunch.  Full of all kinds of really good stuff.

Our next stop was to be The Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, TX. 

Independence is an unincorporated community northeast of Brenham.  It was founded in 1835 and was the center of the Republic of Texas.  In 1845 it became the first site of Baylor University and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.  Unfortunately, Independence declined giving a right-of-way to the railroad, saying the Brazos River would always be transportation king and faded into obscurity.

To get there, Siri took us via all the small back roads, which was nice.  While traveling down one stretch, we came across a number of large properties with gates guarded by

Honest-to-god, these guys were the size of
real live deer!

Ooookay.  Pass on driving
in there.

Maybe they're a rock band
Guns, Bucks, and Eagles

There was one more, which I didn’t get a picture of unfortunately ---- carousel horses.  Sort of didn’t fit with the others.  Still I like merry-go-rounds so those worked ok for me.

The Antique Rose Emporium is a wonderful place to visit.  Not only do they have an amazing selection of antique roses, they also have a huge assortment of anything else you might want.  And, if you don’t want to buy anything – go for the gardens.  The grounds are massive and include several buildings – like a small church, a farm house, two or three out building all nestled among well-tended flower beds.

Just a few of the things that caught my attention

Oh, and this.  I neeeeeeeeed one of these!

It’s like a million feet tall and made from rebar.  This one is planted with roses!  How cool is this!

Ok, now I have to stop and continue with the adventure tomorrow or, I’ll miss today.

20 Mar 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019


I’ve spent the past many days moving plants outside, repotting many of those plants, plopping several in the ground (because now, they are officially too big for the biggest container I have that I can move), moving all the yard art back out and deciding on a place for it (nothing stays the same in my yard, year to year), and generally acknowledging that spring is here.  Yea!

Horta, welcoming Spring

I’d be perfectly happy if it would stay spring like (temps today range from 70 to 50 – nice, very nice, very, very nice) until June.  It could happen.  So far this year, I’ve had the AC on in January and the heat on in March – spring isn’t totally out of the question.

Did you remember yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day?  Wear green?  My father used to say that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone was Irish – except my Mother argued, she was not.  Wrong.  Little did she know that her 2nd great grandfather came from, yes … Ireland.

And, just in case you wonder about such things - Saint Patrick lived during the fifth century. He was born in Roman Britain, kidnapped at age 16, and brought to Ireland as a slave. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.  One legend has it that he drove the snakes away from Ireland.  Sounds cool but according to experts – there were no snakes in Ireland; that the snakes were a symbol for the druids, whom Patrick is said to have driven out when he established Christianity.

One of the symbols for St. Patrick’s Day is – Shamrocks (oxalis or clover, I hear you asking).  Even experts differ on which is what when it comes to that clover stuff in your yard.  But generally, the flower for clover looks like this

and oxalis, like this


 My yard if full of oxalis.  That’s fine.  It doesn’t have to be mowed and it makes flowers.  I can live with that.

The trees are blooming, well, not the pecans just yet, but



and, my Loquat, which bloomed last November

is covered with fruit.

When I look out my kitchen window, I see . . . .

Beautiful Wisteria blooms

18 Mar 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

Good Luck and Bad

I think March is best known for 1 Wind (and, yes we’ve been having that – all the damn time); 2 The Ides of March (that’s today, the 15th); and 3 St. Patrick’s Day (that’s the 17th). 

So, the wind is just something we have to deal with.  The three-year-old that controls the thermostat, is also controlling the fan.  Honestly, in the past two weeks, we’ve gone from temps in the 30’s to temps in the 80’s to temps in the 50’s – all with wind.  Well, it could certainly be worse though I’m not going to speculate as I don’t want any of those “worse” choices.

Now, for the Ides of March, I can make a few suggestions. 

Although, these days, March 15th, is considered unlucky, originally it was a day for religious observances.  Participants celebrated with food, wine and music and offered sacrifices to the Roman deity Anna Perenna for a happy and prosperous new year. 

Then, of course, came the whole Julius Caesar thing.  In February 44 (BCE) Caesar was warned by Spurinna that the next 30 days were to be fraught with peril, but the danger would end on the Ides of March. 

Beware the Ides of March

On the Ides of March, 44 BCE, Caesar was murdered, stabbed to death by the conspirators near the Theatre of Pompey where the Senate was meeting.

Since that time, March 15 has been considered unlucky – yes, well, it was certainly unlucky for Caesar but people being people, stuck with the thought that the Ides of March is unlucky or a portent of doom for everyone. 


Fighting weeds?  Well, leave the Purslane.  In ancient Greece, purslane was thought to attract good fortune.  If you found a patch of it, you would have a happy year.  In addition, purslane was used to sooth bee stings and snake bites, protect against osteoporosis, stimulate blood circulation, help with lung and mouth cancers and a number of other things.  Add it to a salad or with stir-fry dishes.  But, since we’re talking about luck – leave some around your home as it brings luck, happiness, and protection against evil.

Plant Lemon Verbena.  It is not only a wonderful herb for cooking, it has the power to change bad luck to good.  In addition to bringing good luck, lemon verbena leaves can be used in fish and poultry dishes, salad dressings, jams, puddings, sorbet, and beverages.  Medicinally, it can be used for digestive disorders (including indigestion, gas, colic, diarrhea, and constipation), for agitation, joint pain, insomnia, asthma, colds, fever, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, skin conditions, and chills.

Here’s one everyone knows and many plant – Basil.  Given as a gift, basil brings good luck to a home.  And, another – Parsley.  Never give away your parsley as you will be giving away your luck. 

How about Yarrow.  Yarrow was, for centuries, carried into battle as a lucky charm.  It was considered a strong protective herb.  In China, it is said that where yarrow grew, neither tigers nor wolves could venture and poisonous plants could not be found.  In Europe, it was grown by the front and back doors so evil could not enter.  Historically it was also a medicinal plant and chewed for toothaches, used as an infusion for earaches, as a tea for head colds, to reduce fever and aid in sleep. 

Ok, one more and then I’m done.  Lucky Bamboo (which isn’t a bamboo all but a type of Dracaena) is associated with Feng-Shui (a belief which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment).  Arrangement of this plant has a specific number of stalks, each with its own meaning: three means happiness, longevity and wealth; five stalks are for wealth; six will bring luck; seven good health, eight for growth and 10 for completion. If you’re “lucky” enough to have 21 stalks, then it’s believed to bring blessings of enduring health and great wealth.

OK, works for me!

15 Mar 2019

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Today . . . . Tomorrow

I moved plants again today.  Ugh.  It is humid (like 90%, feels like 342%), overcast threatening rain (oh goodie, we haven’t had any of that lately), and windy (being pushed around by the wind is tiresome and generally makes me grumpy) outside.  Double ugh.  So, I came back in, where I discovered that . . . . Today

It’s Barbie Day!  Who knew - Barbie has a day.  And, just because I am generally curious.  Barbie debuted on March 9, 1959 at the American International Toy Fair in New York. She was a labor of love from Ruth Handler who was the wife of the co-founder of the toy giant Mattel, Inc. After watching children playing with baby dolls and paper dolls, she thought that the toy market needed something more.  She convinced her husband and the company to make the first ever mass produced doll with adult features. (adult features, really? a real live human adult?  hmmm, maybe not, maybe alien, as from the planet Zrog, adult)

 Ok, I like this one - Get Over It Day  Letting go and moving on is a difficult, painful process. Bad relationships, bad decisions—we tend to revisit the moments when we were not-so-smart (or when others were not-so-smart), beating ourselves up for our mistakes or blaming others for the ways they've hurt us.  Good advice – hard to do but good.

And, if you can’t do that, there’s always Panic Day  Panic Day is the day to recognize how stressful life has become and see what can be done to minimize the effects. Stress is dangerous to your health.

Genealogy Day  I’m our family genealogist.  I know, for instance, our ancestors came from Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland, Germany and France – mostly.  They arrived at the new world early and, with the exception of a few, lived in Virginia and points south.  There were leaders and followers; kings and bastards; witches and workers.  It is a most frustrating hobby and only genealogy enthusiasts do the happy dance when they discover some obscure fact relative to someone living 100 years ago. 

International Fanny Pack Day  Again, who knew such a thing existed.  So, it was started by a guy that, due to an odd happening, made a connection between a fanny pack and helping the hungry.  He began to give out food while wearing the pack.  Ok, well seems to me the fanny pack would have to be the size of a back pack but whatever works.

Joe Franklin Day  Ok, I had to look this one up having never heard of Joe Franklin.  Starting in 1950, The Joe Franklin Show was one of the longest-running TV talk shows in history. The program was on the air for more than 40 years and produced more than 28,000 episodes.  Hmmmm – nope, still never heard of Joe Franklin.

and, Tomorrow . . . .

Daylight Savings Time Begins

I hate Daylight Savings Time.  I’m a morning person.  I like the sun being up at 6-ish am.  I like it getting dark by 7pm (rather than 10:15).  Blech!  

9 Mar 2019