Friday, November 27, 2020

The Day After


I hope those that celebrated, had a good Thanksgiving.  My plans included

1 my SA grandkids arriving Thursday
2 meeting my daughter at Matagorda beach on Friday
3 spending the day enjoying the ocean (we’re having summer – again)
4 having a picnic at the beach
5 having my granddaughter spend the rest of the weekend (grandson was to go home with his mother).

None of which happened.  I found out Tuesday, there is a slight possibility that I have been exposed to COVID.  Emphasis on the slight – however, I did the adult, responsible thing and canceled my part of the plans and decided to isolate until test results are back.

Not that I missed the whole turkey thing – I don’t actually care too much for turkey.  Growing up, my mother did not “do” Thanksgiving so I don’t really miss it as a holiday.  Instead we spent the long weekend at the beach.  Which is why going to the beach feels more normal to me than not.  What I missed was being able to spend precious time with my grandchildren and daughter.

Small Town Goings On

Last weekend Hesed House (our community support organization) hosted a Christmas Fair.  And my sister and I went to that.  Booths were spread out a bit and people wore masks.  Crowds weren’t bad and it was easy enough to stay the recommended 6feet from other humans.

There were quite a few vendors selling all sorts of things

 Wood yard decorations

Bakery products



Wood cutouts

And metal

Our local animal rescue was there with

I spoke with two young men that make
soap and bath products

Country Q’s
Being a soap-maker, I’m always interested in
talking with others.  They had soap,
lip balm, lotions and other things.

It was very nice and even better, all the booths had customers buying.

Plans Awry

I had planned to get the above up yesterday but, things changed quickly.  In the morning, after doing the everyday morning stuff, I sat at my computer to catch up on the world.  Again, I tend to have a progress – check the weather channel, read blogs, look at the news feed, check email, etc., etc.  However yesterday, I was stopped at the weather channel.  Yesterday – temps in the 80’s; Friday (today) temps in the 80’s with rain; Saturday more rain; Sunday same; and Monday temps would drop to below freezing.  Argh!

And where, you ask, were all my tropical and subtropical plants???
  Why, sitting on the north side of the house out in the open, completely unprotected.  Argh!

So I spent three hours Thanksgiving day, moving all my plants into one of the bays of my sister’s shop.  And, there they will stay until my shed is erected and ready for habitation.  Three weeks from now.

Of course the cold front is just as likely to fizzle out around Dallas and Monday will be 80 degrees.  Still not moving plants again until the shed is here.

Well – that’s all the news for today.  Take care everyone!


27 Nov 2020

Tuesday, November 24, 2020



I have had a very stressful afternoon!


I have been letting the Demon Duo outside for short periods most days.  They go out in the early morning and come back inside within 20 or so minutes.  Then, they will go back out and come in before 11am.  They don’t like it when it’s hot or cold or wet or windy (yeah, yeah, spoiled housecats).

 Today, both went out, however only Daryl came in.  Hmmmmmmm.  This happens upon occasion.  If I go outside and call for him, Zack will jump out of whatever bushes he hiding in and come on inside.

 I must have gone outside a dozen times today calling him.  No Zack.  I walked up the street aways checking the yards and ditch.  No Zack.  It rained off and on.  No Zack.  It was windy all damn day.  No Zack.  Finally, I walked the perimeter of the entire acre and a half calling. 

 And then . . . . I heard him.  I kept calling, he kept answering.  He was in my next-door neighbor’s back yard.  My neighbor has two large very friendly dogs and I was hoping Zack was under the shed, afraid to come out.

 Knock, knock, knock.  Hi Cary – my cat is in your backyard.  Ok if I go and get him?

 And we went out.  Says Cary – he must be up the tree there.  Good call since both his dogs were sitting at the base of the tree looking up.  Yep.

 Found Zack.  Sitting in the middle of a tree limb 20-odd feet up.  I thought a variety of really bad words.


So, I called, Zack answered.  I called, Zack answered.  We did this for 30 minutes.  Zack did not move.  Since this was his first tree climbing experience, my guess was he didn’t know how to get down.

 We tried jiggling the tree branch.  No.

 Tried tempting him with treats.  No.


Finally, I said I would have to find someone with an extension ladder and see if I could get high enough to get him down.  Fortunately they had access to an extension ladder which arrived within minutes.  And, finally - it took me, three men, 2 ladders, and a really long piece of pvc pipe – he came down.  I climbed up the extension ladder (15 or so feet up) and one of the guys prodded Zack in the rear to get him to move.  Zack came down slowly and tried to jump to another branch. I made a marathon reach up and grabbed a handful of hair and skin and dragged him down to me.

 Then, I climbed off the ladder holding a squirming cat, thanked everyone profusely, and marched home.

 Zack is grounded.


I don’t think he cares.

 How was your day?


24 Nov 2020

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Days and Days – again


Earlier in the week, I got up early and because it was really chilly, I put on sweatpants and sweatshirt.  By 930, I had to change to jeans and a light weight long sleeved shirt.  By noon – shorts and tee-shirt.  And by 7pm, lightweight long pants and shirt.  Welcome to Fall in south central Texas. 


I finally decided on and ordered a shed!  Yay!  People – this is a big deal.  You don’t just, well at least I don’t, walk out and buy a shed in the same way you’d buy a hammer – (uh yep, I’ll take that one with the red handle).  And, just in case you ever plan to order a shed, here’s what I learned –


There are a number of manufacturers that deliver the shed, complete and ready to use.  They build to your specifications off-site and deliver it with a large tilt-truck.  There are several companies here in Wharton that rep at least three different manufacturers and all are pretty pricey.  The biggest negative for me?  No way can a tilt-truck get where I want the shed to be without running over a vegetable garden, peach tree and blueberry bushes.  So, no to that.


Then, you can buy sheds at Amazon!  Who knew??  There are a bunch of companies; a variety of sizes, options, prices.  The biggest negatives??  (1) you have to have a subfloor built and in place and (2) it arrives in four+ big boxes.  Yeah - - - no.  I did the math and by the time I hired someone to build the subfloor AND put the damn thing together, it would be right up there with pretty pricey.  Plus my niece confirmed that I absolutely did not want to do that (voice of experience) because there are 80 bizillion nuts, bolts, and screws you have to keep up with.


Finally I went back to my original choice – Tuffshed.  And, while they are also pricey, and it comes in pieces to be assembled on-site, it also comes with however many people necessary to build it where I want it.  The TS people called to schedule installation – December 15 - - - DECEMBER.  Ugh – I was hoping for something sooner but no.


Currently, I have a Christmas tree standing in the living room.  No lights.  No ornaments (I know . . . . we haven’t even had Thanksgiving!).  It is standing there to get the Demon Duo time to get used to the fact that there is a tree in the living room.  I was gone for three weeks last Christmas so didn’t put up a tree.  Therefore, if they are going to try to climb it or knock it over, I’d like that to happen now when there is no glass involved. 


Several weeks ago I got my hair cut.  And, a week ago, I got it cut again – shorter please.  It’s messy looking – yes – supposed to be that way as I have absolutely no skill in styling, curling, or getting it to fall back in place when windblown.  My stylist calls it a short shag and I like it! 


As far as I could see – 18-wheelers and cars all stopped.

 I drove into Rosenberg the other day.  It’s about a 25-mile drive.  Took me ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES.  Argh.  The powers-that-control-the-highways have decided to build a new highway, an interstate that will run from Canada to Mexico.  And part of it will run along Highway 59 (aka the Southwest Freeway).  Consequently, H59 has been in a state of complete and total chaos forever.  In the case of this particular day – one lane had been closed while the highwayfixit guys were moving giant pieces of cement and then, a mile or so further up, oh goodie, an 18-wheeler had a crash.  So, we had to all move to the left and then all move to the right and creep along at 3 mph.


After reading The Passage Trilogy (see Books – Good, Bad, Scary, Fun), I went completely noir.  And, read three Nero Wolfe books.  Fer-De-Lance, Not Quite Dead Enough, and Champagne for One (author – Rex Stout). 

 Nero Wolfe is, a brilliant, oversized, eccentric armchair detective created in 1934 by American mystery writer Rex Stout. Wolfe was born in Montenegro and keeps his past murky. He lives in a luxurious brownstone on West 35th Street in New York City, and he is loath to leave his home for business or anything that would keep him from reading his books, tending his orchids, or eating gourmet meals. Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's sharp-witted, dapper young confidential assistant with an eye for attractive women, narrates the cases and does the legwork for the detective genius.

 You know what the best thing about those books is?  The good guys always win and neither Nero or Archie ever age.

 I started a new exercise regime.  Well hopefully I have – good intentions and all that.  Anyway, I found a program on YouTube I really like called Fabulous50.  There are a variety of shows which include abs, cardio, balance, walking, and weights, each ranging from 15 to 30 minutes.  The one today was a 30-minute program of walking, weights and cardio.  Boy!  I was huffing and puffing at the end!  Sometimes my brain and my body are in an age warp.  My brain sez – Easy peasy! You can do this!!!!!  My body sez What! Are you nuts!


20 Nov 2020

Friday, November 13, 2020

Books – Good, Bad, Scary, Funny


Peace Talks
Jim Butcher

First of all – I have read all the Harry Dresden books (and to date there are 17 of them).  I absolutely love them.  And, while the early ones can be read as independent stand-alone books, as the popularity and character development has come along, it’s less confusing and much more enjoyable if you have an understanding of who and what Dresden is.  In other words, you need to read some of the earlier books.  After a long drought (Skin Game published in 2014), author Jim Butcher released not one but two books within a few months of one another this year.  I reread Skin Game to remind myself what was happening with Harry and then started on


Peace Talks.
When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, joins the White Council's security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed? Dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago and all Harry holds dear.

 It's good.  It is Harry Dresden in his prime. 


Battle Ground
Jim Butcher


Then, I read Battle Ground.  It came out a few months after Peace Talks and page one of the new book, literally, takes up where page 300-odd of the other, ends.  It seems to me, author Jim Butcher wrote one huge Harry Dresden story and then divided it into two books. 



Battle Ground
Harry has faced terrible odds before. He has a long history of fighting enemies - The Red Court of vampires, The fallen angels of the Order of the Blackened Denarius, The Outsiders. But this time it’s different. A being more powerful and dangerous beyond what the world has seen in a millennium is coming. And she’s bringing an army. The Last Titan has declared war on the city of Chicago, and has come to subjugate humanity, obliterating any who stand in her way. Harry’s mission is simple but impossible: Save the city by killing a Titan. And the attempt will change Harry’s life, Chicago, and the mortal world forever.

 This one was harder for me to read because, I think, it is one massive battle – for 300 pages.  It was made even harder since one of Harry’s long-time allies is lost.  I don’t know that I enjoyed this one as much as some of his other books but, it was the next in line, so . . . .  Hopefully it won’t be another six years before Harry Dresden takes on the next catastrophe.


The Passage Trilogy
Justin Cronin


This is the story of the end of the world.  I had actually read The Passage not long after it came out in 2010.  But, the second book didn’t come out until 2012 and the third not until 2016.  So, I never got around to finishing the entire trilogy.  Since being more “home-bound” these days than usual, I decided to try again.  And, FYI – if you want to read these, be aware they are huge books --- 600-700 pages each.


The Passage
An epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.


The Twelve
In the present day, as the man-made apocalypse unfolds, three strangers navigate the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, is so shattered by the spread of violence and infection that she continues to plan for her child’s arrival even as society dissolves around her. Kittridge, known to the world as “Last Stand in Denver,” has been forced to flee his stronghold and is now on the road, dodging the infected, armed but alone and well aware that a tank of gas will get him only so far. April is a teenager fighting to guide her little brother safely through a landscape of death and ruin. These three will learn that they have not been fully abandoned—and that in connection lies hope, even on the darkest of nights. One hundred years in the future, Amy and the others fight on for humankind’s salvation...unaware that the rules have changed. The enemy has evolved, and a dark new order has arisen with a vision of the future infinitely more horrifying than man’s extinction. If the Twelve are to fall, one of those united to vanquish them will have to pay the ultimate price.


City of Mirrors
The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place? The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future. But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.

 Honestly, I don’t know what to tell you.  This is certainly a “one time only read” for me.  It’s a story about monsters.  The monsters are terrible and unfortunately a bunch of the monsters are 100% human.  In my opinion, of the three books, the first one – The Passage – is the best.  Yes, terrible things happen but it was a comfortable read.  The hardest to read was The Twelve.  The cruelty, death, destruction was constant.  The third book, City of Mirrors was mostly tedious.  I was glad to be finished with it.

 And a couple for fun –


He Shall Thunder in the Sky
Elizabeth Peters


I love the Amelia Peabody books.  I was truly sad when Elizabeth Peters died, knowing there would be no more “found journals and letters” to be turned into an excellent, fun, historical mystery.


He Shall Thunder in the Sky
Egypt and her hoary secrets are no match for the indomitable archaeologist sleuth Amelia Peabody. The close of 1914 finds Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson back in Egypt for another season of archaeological excavation--despite the increasing danger of an attack on the Suez Canal and on Egypt itself. Trouble is brewing in Cairo and the defiantly pacifist stance of Amelia and Emerson's headstrong son Ramses is earning the young man the derision, and much worse, of the British expatriate community. Unknown to his family, Ramses' strange secret role as a spy could truly bring ruin down upon all their heads. However, there is more than intrigue and espionage, plots and counterplots, at work here. For an artifact uncovered at a Giza dig--an exquisite sculpture found where it ought not to be confirms Amelia's most unsettling suspicion: that the chaos consuming Cairo has masked the nefarious re-emergence of Amelia's villainous archnemesis, Sethos, the Master Criminal.

 Great, great, great.  Excellent.  Somehow I missed reading this book before now.  Great, great, great!

 And, last but not least –


Terns of Endearment
Donna Andrews


I’ve mentioned other Meg Langslow Mysteries by Donna Andrews before.  This one is just as good as all the others.  A bit more fanciful – remember, you are reading fiction that was never “ripped from the headlines”.


Terns of Endearment
Meg's grandfather has been booked to give lectures on a cruise as part of the education/entertainment itinerary, and he's arranged for a passel of family members to join him. The passengers' vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when they wake up to find themselves broken down and in need of repairs. Things get even worse when a crew member announces to all that a woman has jumped overboard. The captain decides not to investigate, saying he'll notify American authorities when they reach their destination. But Meg's father decides they need to look into whether there was possible foul play while the prime suspects are all stuck on board. It'll be a race against the clock to solve this mystery before they make the necessary repairs and return to shore.

 Need a light fluffy, entertaining read?  This is it!



13 Nov 2020

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

November 11

Happy Veterans Day, though in other countries it’s called Remembrance Day or Armistice Day.  It is the time to honor and thank all veterans and active-duty personnel for their service.  There are many in my family from the 1700’s through today that have served or are currently serving.  And, my love goes to each of them.


Like all, I have a morning routine that includes feeding the Demon Duo (and believe-you-me, they wake me up every morning at 6am demanding breakfast), doing a general 10-minute pick-up around the house, and sitting at my computer to see what’s happening in the world.  After today, I’m not reading the news any more.  Could be I won’t be reading or listening to the news until sometime after January 20.  Honest-to-god! it’s like reading about some dictator run, third world country.

 And, that’s about all I know today.  In another time I’d share some pretty blooms with you but unfortunately, the yard is still a major work in progress and all my plants are sitting, cramped and barely surviving, in pots.  I did walk out and find two worthy of sharing –


This is a groundcover rose growing in a large planter
and currently lining my walkway to the front door.

Red Bird Succulent

 One more thing to think about.  For those of us living along the Atlantic/Gulf coast, we are used to watching for storms/hurricanes from June 1 to November 30.  In my life there have never been so many storms as we’ve had this year.  (Yeah, yeah – I know 2020, after all.)  We’ve already run out of names assigned to the English alphabet and are now a third of the way into the Greek.  

And, while I don’t think we will run out of Greek letters before this season/year ends, I have to wonder ---- what alphabet might be next??  

I like this one!!


11 Nov 202

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Days and Days

 Well, hopefully everyone survived the first week of November - happily or no.  I am, myself, happy.  We’ve needed some positive change for a good long while now.  Though I suspect the next two months will be almost as hair-raising as the past 4 years. 

 For me, the past week has not only been fraught with the election results (and I tried very hard to just check the status only 2x a day rather than 84 times – I was sorta successful – more than twice less than 84), it seemed that I was on-the-go every day.

 For instance,

 Wharton has a museum – the Wharton County Historical Museum.


‘It’s our heritage.
It’s who we are.
It preserves the past and
 tells the story of how we are here today.’

 Unfortunately, during the GREAT FLOOD OF 2017, the museum


did not fare well.  It’s been closed since then and is, just now, seeing the end of a long dark tunnel of negotiation and repair.

 Obviously, the outdoor spaces suffered also.  Several long years ago, my friend Bobby was instrumental in designing and getting installed, a Cactus Garden.  It suffered also.  However, over the past many months he has been working to bring it back from a flooded, weedy, mess to a garden filled with a variety of shapes and colors and prickly things.


I’ve been “the audience” and because I haven’t been hands-on involved, I can make suggestions that would appeal to other non-cactus experts.  It’s looking really very good.

 So, it’s November.  We’re having fall here – sort of.  Last week temperatures were in the 70’s falling down to the 40’s at night.  Wonderful!  Beautiful!  Perfect! 


Our version of “Fall Color”.

 Mostly our leaves turn brown and drop off.  But this tree (a gen-u-wine weed/trash tree) does produce a few colorful leaves.  Look close – you’ll see a couple or 3 red leaves.

 I spent several days working in the yard.  There is a 10’ fence surrounding the property where stands my new house.  Over the years, the weeds completely covered the fence and my sister spent much time cutting back all the growing stuff; then had someone come out and spray the fence and ditch with “kill all growing things” stuff.  Worked fine.  With the cooler weather I’ve been working on pulling down all the dead stuff, much of which is dewberry canes.  The first two days, I looked like I’d been in a loosing fight with a prickly pear cactus!  Then, I put on long sleeves and went at it some more. 


Coming along nicely

 Bobby and I went on a short adventure, one day, to


Vacek’s Barn


Vintage Items,

Salvaged Treasures,

and Junk

 It’s in Bay City, just south of Wharton by 30 miles or so.  If you’re ever in Bay City – go.  It’s an unusual place although it has



 For instance – those trees – three sizes, 18”, 2’, 3’ – a marbled glass.  They had prices of 40 – 50 – 60 on them.  Sez I, has to be cents, not dollars.  Wrong – dollars.  Pass.


There was all kinds of rusty stuff, old doors, windows, containers, lockers, yard arty sort of things, fence parts, pipes, - STUFF!

 Inside there were many other oddities like


Uhhh – yep, those are shotgun casings in a big wooden bowl.  There were several of those.


My first response is – I don’t know.  However, my daughter says, if you dribble paint on lightbulbs and turn on the light, the bulb gives off a mosaic sort of effect.  But I’m thinking these are burned out bulbs, so I still don’t know.


Personally, I’da thought this was trash but, you know, trash/treasure.  Poor guy has truly been through the wars.

 There were many other unusual items but there was only one thing I would have actually bought.


I don’t know what it is.  It’s about 18 inches long and as big around as my wrist and tapered at one end.  Maybe a chair arm???  Don’t know what I’d do with it but the price was definitely past my $10 limit ($130).


This week we are having Indian Summer (again) with temps in the mid to high 80’s.  Ugh.

 I am currently looking at sheds for my back yard.  This is not something I am enjoying.  I’ve looked at a variety but am probably going with Tuffshed.  They can give me what I want AND most importantly, deliver and build it on site.  I can find cheaper versions but they arrive in multiple boxes as kits. 

 Well, that’s life here on the TX Gulf Plains.  How’s things there?

 10 Nov 2020