Thursday, April 30, 2020

Bye bye April

Last day of April.  I would say – The days are just flying by – but in the current circumstances, they’re not.  Still, today is the last day of April so some final facts -

Today is …………

Bugs Bunny Day  April 30 is the day Bugs appeared in his first short file in 1938, A Wild Hare.

National Bubble Tea Day  So, in case you’re not familiar with Bubble Tea, it is a beverage combining the “refreshing goodness of tea, the wholesome creaminess of milk, and the fun, delicious surprise of bubbles”.  The bubbles, (aka boba or pearls) are made from tapioca.  No - not my cup of tea.

National Raisin Day  When it comes to raisins, there are generally two groups of people:  those that love them and those that believe they ruin a perfectly good cinnamon roll.  I am one of the latter – pass on the raisins.  However, I did wonder Why is a raisin not called a dried grape?  I mean, blueberries are called dried blueberries; cranberries – dried cranberries.  WHY??  This is what I found:  The word raisin dates back to Middle English and is a loanword from Old French; in Old French and French, raisin means "grape," while, in French, a dried grape is referred to as a raisin sec, or "dry grape." The Old French word in turn developed from the Latin word racemus, "a bunch of grapes."  Hm!  Not sure that answered my question.  Okay, then why do we call grapes – grapes and not raisins?

Poem In Your Pocket Day  To celebrate today, you can select a poem that brings you solace during this time of distance and solitude and share it on social media along with the reason you like it.  I like this poem because it makes me smile.  And, in our world of weirdness these days, something that makes you smile is good!

The Slithergadee has crawled out of the sea
He may catch all the others, but he won’t catch me.
No you won’t catch me, ol Slithergadee,
You may catch all the others, but you wo………..
Shel Silverstein

And, most importantly, today is

My Baby Sister’s Birthday.  She turned 70 today – yes, a big number but she is taking it in her stride.  Personally, I’m just happy that someone else in my family is now 7-0.  I feel less old!

So rather than do a post entirely on book’s I’ve recently read, I thought I’d just toss in the occasional book review. 

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic  (The Dowser #1)
by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Title notwithstanding (cutesy), on the surface, this book has all the things I like – witches, necromancers, werewolves, vampires, and other “adepts” living anonymously in Vancouver.  The primary character, Jade Godfrey, owns a bakery specializing in cupcakes.  She is half witch and half something else (not specified).  Jade, who has lived always with her very powerful grandmother, has been sheltered, protected, and minimally trained in her witch craft.  And, she talks about cupcakes and/or chocolate until I thought I’d scream at the mention of one more Love, Lust, Bliss, Rapture (etc) in a Cup (her names for the different cupcakes).  The story is pretty good (though I’d have liked it better if every single person in the book didn’t “smirk” all the time). 

Dead werewolves, drained of blood, are showing up (no not dead by vampires).  The one thing they have in common is, each is wearing a trinket (a necklace, suncatcher, wind twirler) Jade has made.  She is pressed into finding the killer by an investigating vampire and the alpha of the NA pack. 

The thing I didn’t like about this book?  The primary character, Jade Godfrey.  She isn’t very smart, not interested in learning about her craft (witchery), frightened of everything, and in general, unable to stand up to anyone right or wrong.  There are several other books in this series but, right this minute, I don’t plan reading any of them.

Our governor announced that tomorrow May 1, the state of Texas will reopen.  All businesses, restaurants, theatres, etc may open except for hands-on places like hair, nail, massage salons.  All are supposed to limit the quantity of people inside to 25% of occupancy.  Masks are not required.  The scary world just got scarier.  I think I’ll stay in just a bit longer.

30 Apr 2020

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Days and Days

So yesterday I was working on a project when all of a sudden, I thought – I have to put the car in the garage ---- now.  We’d been having rain showers for an hour or so.  Ten minutes later –

 Oh goodie – hail.

Fortunately it lasted only a short time.  Ten minutes after that – the clouds cleared up and we had a brilliant blue sky.  It clouded up again because …

This morning, a little after 5am, I heard the pitter-patter of rain.  Well, fine – I knew it was going to rain today.  Then the pitter-patter turned into huge-storm-pouring-down-rain with constant sheet lightening, the occasional bolt accompanied by a big blast of thunder.  Whoa.  The constant lightening was so impressive, I thought to take a picture.  Hard to do while in sleepware, surrounded by 2 uneasy cats, in the pouring down rain.  But, one minute it was dark.

Hard to tell but it is pouring rain.

The next, the world lit up.

When it finally got light enough to see, I noted that “Lake Wharton” was back across the street.

It passed us by 9:30 or so and I went out to check the yard.  No big branches down (thank the gods).  No squashed plants (also good).  Only one plant knocked over.  Rain gauge – 4 inches of rain.  Good, we needed the rain. 

Too wet to work outside.  A good day for a story -
In ancient times a young Papago (Tohono O’odham) woman met and married a Yaqui, and went to live with his family far away. The young woman’s mother, called Old White-Haired Woman, missed her daughter, and would go every night to the foothills to talk with her daughter’s spirit.

When her daughter’s spirit did not speak one night, Old White-Haired Woman knew her daughter needed her urgently. Old White-Haired Woman was very bent but she traveled quickly, helped by the “Little People” or animal spirits, who brought her food and sustained her along the way. When she finally reached her daughter, sadly she saw that her daughter was dying. The daughter in her last wish asked Old White-Haired Woman to take her son back to the Tohono O’odham, so he could grow into a gentle man instead of a fighting warrior in the Yaqui nation.

The old woman was tired but she knew she needed to help her daughter. She quietly placed her grandson in her daughter’s burden basket. Shouldering the basket, Old White-Haired Woman snuck out of the village that night, and began the long journey back to the Tohono O’odham.

But Yaqui warriors followed her. She struggled, falling and running as fast as she could with her grandchild. She was so old. The Little People or animal spirits of the coyote tried to help but it was not enough. Old White-Haired Woman called out to the Indian god I’itoi, as she struggled with her last breaths. The Indian god came and sent birds to blind the warriors. Old White-Haired Woman could not go on, and asked I’itoi to take the grandson back to her village. He granted her request saying “You stay here. I will carry the baby back to your people but while you sit here resting, you will be changed. Because of your bravery, your feet will become roots. Your tired old body will turn into branches. Each year, for one night only, you will become the most beautiful plant on the earth, a flower the Milgahn call the night blooming cereus, the Queen of the night.”

And, it happened just that way. Old White-Haired Woman turned into a plant the people call ho’ok-wah’o and one night in the summer, a beautiful scent fills the desert air and the Tohono O’odham know they are breathing in kok’oi’uw, Ghost Scent, and they remember a brave old woman who saved her grandson and brought him home.

29 Apr 2020

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Yesterday I cooked all day.  After my husband died, I tried to change my eating habits to include store-bought frozen meals.  After all, it’s hard to cook for one.  Ugh – they all taste the same.  Then, a single friend told me she fixed a big meal on Sunday and ate the leftovers the following week – all week long.  Ugh – I believe I’d stop eating.  Finally I decided to cook regular size meals and freeze them myself.  Works well.  I have a variety of meals to chose from and have something different every day.

So, I fixed Skillet Chicken with Mushrooms and Parmesan; Baked Cranberry Pork Chops and Strawberries and Cream Bread.  Just a quick taste of the first two confirms they are going to be good.  Right into the freezer.  Unfortunately the bread is a big N-O.  First – odd consistency – not really bread; not cake but worse – no real flavor.  Oh well.  That is heading for the trash.

In the late hours of last night, I was awakened by a strange noise.  I lay quietly listening trying to identify said noise.  Finally I decided it was one the Demon Duo playing with something in my bedroom.  Fine! – now I was awake.  I got up to find Daryl stretched across my bedroom door.  Stepped over him heading for the bathroom.  Coming back to bed – he was slapping something around the floor, jumping/pouncing on it and slapping it again.  So I turned on the hall light. 

Oh well just GREAT!  He brought in another small snake and was playing with it.  Argh!  So, I picked up the little snake (which I assumed was dead) and carried it to the front door with Daryl making flying leaps after it.  Tossed it outside and went back to bed.

You will have to take my word for it as picture taking during the dark-thirty hours of the night is/was beyond me.  I did look outside where I threw it to see if it was still there this morning but no.  Either it wasn’t actually dead or something else decided to feast on a snaky snack.

This makes the third snake he’s brought inside the house.  Not bad for a HOUSE cat.  The closest he gets to “outside” is the attached garage.  I still haven’t figured out how, why, where these little snakes are getting into the garage.

 This was snake #2.  
Snake #3 seemed about the same size.

Today I was out early and walked a mile and a half walk around the neighborhood.  Didn’t see any humans but I did see some pretty flowers.

Orchid Tree Flower

April 22 is Earth Day.  The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action because climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity.  The first Earth Day in 1970 launched a wave of action, including the passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created in response to the first Earth Day in 1970, as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  (And if you get bored, here’s a coloring picture for you!)

It’s also National Jelly Bean Day. 

Jelly beans are thought to be a hybrid of two candies, Turkish delights, and Jordan almonds, both of which date back hundreds of years. Turkish delights are a sweet, chewy candy that has a powdery, sugar coating. Jordan almonds are almonds that are simply coated in a crunchy sugar shell. Combine the chewy center of Turkish delight with the crunchy coating of a Jordan almond and you have what we now know as a jelly bean.  The first known reference to jelly beans was in the 1860s when William Schrafft, a Boston confectioner, encouraged Americans to send jelly beans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.  By the early 1900s, jelly beans were a common penny candy enjoyed by children and adults alike.

For the rest of today – well, I have several ongoing projects I can work on; 3 or 4 new books awaiting me; I can hear the seductive call of my genealogy stuff.  So much to do! 

Tomorrow isn’t here yet so I’m not certain just what excitement will come along – here in rural, small town, still self-isolating Texas.  I’ll be happy if it doesn’t include another midnight snake adventure. 

ps: that first picture? Yes, that a Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

22 Apr 2020

Monday, April 20, 2020


We are having really weird weather here in south central Texas.  Normally, our four seasons are – Early Summer 70°-80° (Feb-Mar); Summer 90°-100° (Apr-Sept); Indian Summer 90°-70° (Oct-Dec); and Hunting Season (Jan). 

2019 through December held true to the seasons, as did 2020’s January and February, up to the last few days.  Then the weather turned weird.  We had a very chilly cold snap toward the end of February and since then, we’ve had Spring.  Like, really-truly SPRING.  This being April, we should be into summer, however the days are still quite cool.  

The COVID-19 virus is still a scary thing here.  In my county (pop 41,000) there are some 30-odd cases reported and confirmed.  And while this may not sound like a lot Wharton County is a very rural area with no big city locations.  We still are having problems finding certain items . . .

I spoke with my San Antonio granddaughter yesterday.  She tells me the city of SA has said people must wear face masks when leaving their home with a $1000 fine penalty if not. 

Our Governor  has reopened state government offices and state parks (with a strict requirement for people to wear face coverings and observe physical distancing) as of today.  And, he anticipates opening non-essential business on a “retail to go” basis by the end of this week. 

Much of last week I spent working in one yard or another. 

Okay – no.  However everything on my chubby little body hurt at the end of each day.

You, know – I have a grand plan for how I want my front yard to look . . . .

and, back yard herb garden . . . .

And, I also want 12 hunky guys to do all the hard work – like dig, weed, mulch, carry HEAVY anything, mow, edge, and such.  I’ll do the planting and enjoying.  

Last Wednesday, Bobby figured out a way we could go wildflowering and still do the whole social distancing thing.  We went in separate cars and stayed 6’ apart.  Last year he found a deserted place where the wildflowers were many and beautiful.  So, this year we went to the same place and

 Social distancing

A few things seen -

Bull Nettle

Meadow Pinks


Texas Groundsel

After this, I know nada.  One final thing to think about . . .

Do you know what this is?

I had to ask.

It’s so trucks can see where the
electric lines are.

20 Apr 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

Books in Review

I always enjoy Books in Review when others list books they’ve read and enjoyed (or not).  With the stay-home order still in place, I’ve been catching up on my reading – after all, I can only do so much yard work; then everything hurts – a lot!  Fortunately, I can download library books to my Kindle so ……..

This one was reviewed and recommended by my sister Ellen.

An Easy Death
By Charlaine Harris

The story is about a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose.  (Backstory - In the 1930’s, FDR was assassinated and the US collapsed.  During this time the UK, Canada, Mexico and Russia grabbed up and annexed different areas.  The southwestern states are now known as Texoma and that’s where the story begins.)  Gunnie Rose has been hired by a pair of Russian sorcerers as both their local guide and muscle through the small towns of East Texas as they search for a distant relative of an infamous sorcerer whose bloodline can help save their tsar-in-exile as an ever-increasing number of assassins tries to stop them.    It's well written and good.  You have to not think about things today but to a "might have happened" alternative world.

Die Like an Eagle
By Donna Andrews

This is another of the Meg Langslow mysteries featuring Meg and all the unusual characters of Caerphilly, VA.  This time, Meg is Team Mom and husband Michael is coach of their twin sons' Summerball baseball team, the Caerphilly Eagles.  On Opening Day, the brother of Biff Brown the (petty, vindictive) local league president, is found murdered and stuffed into a porta-potty.  And so follow the surprises and fun found in all these books.    I truly enjoy all the Meg Langslow books (there are 26 books so far in this series).  And, while they are stand-a-lone books, if you can, read them in order.  Meg’s life in Caerphilly changes and grows with the passage of time.

Acts of Mercy
By Ciara Graves

Mercy Temple lives in a world where mages, sirens, demons, witches, dragons, and gryphons are a thing.  Humans know of their existence, but the two species don’t interact.  Or so it is thought.  Mercy works for a bounty hunter, doing any job he needs done.  From killing someone, to finding someone, to bringing them in.  She has a love/hate relationship with her boss (he knows her secret).  Then there’s Rafael, a demon, working for the Federal Paranormal Unit Undercover.  And, they are hunting the same person.    OK – I like books like this – full to brim of paranormals, action, and mystery.  It’s light and fluffy but very readable and enjoyable. 

Murder One: A Colby Tate Mystery
By Allen Kent

Rookie sheriff Colby Tate's first murder case draws the ex-Marine interpreter into the murky world of property disputes, family jealousy, hidden treasure, and an old woman smothered in her favorite easy chair.  Two thieving neighbors are hungry to gain control of her land. A home service provider is named as her sole heir. And, she seems to have a mysterious source of income that ties her to the Mexican cartels.    Another really good, well written book. 

Kings Deception
By Steve Barry

(This is one of the Cotton Malone books – Cotton is a retired Justice Department agent.)  Cotton Malone and his fifteen-year-old son, Gary, are headed to Europe.  As a favor to his former boss at the Justice Department, Malone agrees to escort a teenage fugitive back to England.  But after he is greeted at gunpoint in London, both the fugitive and Gary disappear, and Malone learns that he’s stumbled into a high-stakes diplomatic showdown—an international incident fueled by geopolitical gamesmanship and shocking Tudor secrets.  OK – Steve Barry’s books are well researched and he offers alternate “what-if’s”.  In this book, the Tudor secret concerns Elizabeth I and questions the legitimacy of her entire forty-five-year reign.  The problem being that it was Elizabeth who completed the conquest of Ireland and seized much of its land.  Very good!

Smoke Bitten
By Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson Hauptman has “superpowers” 1 she can turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and 2 she fixes Volkswagens.  She also has a variety of unusual friends and is wife to the alpha of the Columbian Basin Werewolf Pack.  Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until they were locked out by Underhill herself.  They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts.  They abandoned their prisoners and their pets.  Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc.  Now one of those prisoners has escaped and is in the Tri-Cities area.  I’ve read all the Mercy Thompson books and I love them!  They have all the things I like – magic, fae, werewolves, vampires.  Plus, they are well written and great stories!

One more …….

The Romanov Prophecy
By Steve Barry

After the fall of Communism and a succession of weak governments, the Russian people have voted to bring back the monarchy.  The new tsar will be chosen from the distant relatives of Nicholas II by a specially appointed commission.  Atlanta lawyer Miles Lord, fluent in Russian and well versed in the country’s history, is assisting the commission with research.  And the problem is – the research leads him to the conclusion that Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna  and Tsarevich Alexei of Russia may have escaped the murder of the royal family after all.  Oh – very good!

Well, that’s some of the books I’ve read lately.  How about you?

13 Apr 2020

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Day 807 of self-isolation. 

Okay, maybe not.  What with the necessity of self-isolation and lack of intelligent support from Washington DC, 807 days might be a too-few-days guess.

And, other than obey the directives of health care professionals and our Governor to stay home and obey social distancing, there’s nothing else I can do about COVID-19.  As for those in WA DC, I must wait until November.  Ranting does nothing but raise my blood pressure.

I feel like there are others that find the news and other information forms depressing.  Myself, I am watching and reading less.  My magic wand is not equipped for fixing world-wide emergencies.  (Really, doesn’t everyone have one of these – mine hangs on the wall for easy access.)

Therefore, the rest of today's post is filled with my back yard!  TA DA!  Not very exciting but pretty and not alarming or depressing.

 The False Indigo has started blooming.

 As well as the Nun’s Cap Orchid.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
The flowers bloom first as purple (yesterday).
The next day that same bloom is pale lavender (today)
 and the next day it is white (tomorrow).

The Pinks (Dianthus) are looking nice.

Lookie!!  I have baby tomatoes!!

And, volunteers that have come up 
in my compost pile.

The Lantana is covered with tiny bouquets of 
pink and yellow flowers.

The begonias are beautiful.

Even the Elephant Ears are blooming.

Ugh!  Where did this come from?
Spiderwort – an invasive weed.

Purple Iris

 As well as the Louisianan Walking Iris.
So named because each flower forms
a new plant and they multiply all over the yard.

The Barbados Cherry hedge is
starting to bloom.  After this it will
make red berries.

The White Climbing Rose on my fence.

And, the Red Shrub Rose.

Damn, damn, damn!
Ants in my herb garden.

Something is digging in among the 
Ground Orchids – maybe a possum looking for grubs
or gods forbid, an armadillo.

End of tour.

And there goes the oven buzzer

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.
Stay positive.

8 Apr 2020