~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beware, my lord, of jealousy....

...It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.... (Iago to Othello, III, 3, lines 169-171)

"Green with envy"
You've heard the expression.  Apparently, we can thank Shakespeare for its origin. 

These gorgeous Echinacea purpura are named "Green Envy," and I do believe that's the color I'd turn if my neighbors had these pop up in their garden.  (They're not apt to, however.) Wow. 

One of my favorite things to do is drive around, (or be driven, rather) to see the gorgeous yards surrounding the gorgeous homes nearby, in our town.  My goodness.  I may have said it before here, but whoever did the landscaping during the years when these homes (mostly mansions) were built must have been Somebody...boyhowdy.  I'm constantly amazed at how lovely it all is.  I'm not sure I'd want to actually be the homeowner of one of those places, but I wouldn't mind living out back, IYKWIM :+).  Anyway, aren't these flowers incredible?!! 

Speaking of flowers, the Gulf Frittilaries are still around, even though they've TOTALLY STRIPPED every. single. leaf. off our Passiflora.  LOL!  It's almost funny.  Now we have to figure out if we should just cut it all back and see if it comes up again, or start over.  Ahem.  :+)  Hah.  It sure was a busy nursery while it was happening out there on the porch, so we had fun watching the action, up close and personal.  Right now our bouganvillea is spectacular, and I'm happy with that.  I had no idea there could be so much garden color happening in August, let alone in Texas.

Today is my day "off," and I should be working.  I'll get back to it in a few, after I go marinade the steaks and see about a few things in the kitchen.  The puppies have been in there nosing a pie pan around on the floor- it is so cute to all-of-a-sudden hear that sound and know they're treating it like a hockey puck.  It's good they entertain each other so well, the little joy bundles that they are.  We (I) must get them brushed out and civilized-looking before the wedding time is upon us.  It's a work in progress, and the progress has barely started.

So, with that self-admonition I'd better get busy and see what I can accomplish.  So far, it's been a great Monday for us.  Hope it has for you, as well.

photo courtesy of : Spring Hill Nursery

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

It's your story....

...Make it beautiful.  Fill it up with what you love.  Remember what matters.  Forget what doesn't.  Have a happy life together.

That's what our very first wedding card had to say today.  Thanks, Mary and Lora.  It's quite fitting that yours should be the first, since it was in your virtual living room that we first met.  Wow...

So, what do you think of our pom poms?  Aren't they absolutely scrumptious?  We plan on hanging them in a tree at the park for our wedding ceremony....I absolutely fell for them and had to have them, when I saw them on Etsy!  Hmmm....I wonder how long it's going to take to "floof" them up and get them looking so snazzy....

I've been cutting out blue petals to make some flowers for our urns.  A very, very long blue tissue paper streamer came floating in to our front yard the other day.  SGTex rescued and gathered it up, and now it's slowly turning into some lovely blossoms :+).  We're pretty sure it was sent as a mystic gift, and we're very grateful to the sender. (You know who you are).

Other than that, everything has been coming along.  The garden is slowing down.  The pecan trees are absolutely bowed down, laden with nuts.  We're hoping they won't start to drop until after the wedding and honeymoon, lol.  SGTex has chosen his groom's cake recipe.  Nobody better light a match anywhere near it, as it's going to be Extremely Enhanced, as in ETOH, (and that doesn't necessarily have to mean "extremely trashed or hammered," but we suggest waiting until you get out of the car, at home, to try it, IYKWIM!!!)

It's just after midnight here, which means it's already tomorrow.  The weather has cooled off considerably, and I've decided that I must have acclimated pretty well, since it feels cool to me when it's still in the 80s.  Last night when I was having chills it must've been the last of the Washington wearing off completely. 

I'm thinking that's a good thing.

picture courtesy of:  PomLove on Etsy....Verse courtesy of Hallmark Connections.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Here's a love note from America....

The beloved son of a dear friend came home, and she's letting us give the world a glimpse into the heart of America on a very good day.

Here's Stefan with Ken (the one with the grin and the flag), who represents the American Legion Riders. 

Stefan, thanks for protecting us, for doing such a great job serving your country.  Please pass our little message on to those who have served along side you...

We're extremely proud of you.

Y'all make us really, really glad we got to be Americans.

Shawn & SGTex

photos courtesy of:  Pam, The American Legion Riders and Angel, Stefan's mom, who said it would be okay to publish...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Consider the lilies....

....how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Luke 12:27 KJV

I was amazed when I came across this picture of calla lilies.  I've never seen any so beautiful, really, and was especially impressed that they came in all my favorite colors.  I guess that's obvious, if you look around here on this blog. 

It turns out these just happen to be our accent wedding colors:  blues, lavenders and soft greens...Awhile back, I came across a beautiful length of ribbon that I've had for a very long time, and I'll be tying my bouquet with that.  I don't even remember where I found it years ago, but its package included a wise saying:

"Life is a ribbon.  Are you tying yours in knots, or in bows?" 

Lately I've been thinking about life, the busyness of our days, how we're spending our time, what consumes our energy and mind-power.  Sometimes fatigue sets in so heavily that we can barely think straight....work days are too long and nights are too short... Yet, there's a good feeling when we've accomplished even some of what we set out to do (all tied up in bows).  Then, on other days, the frustration is right there jeering at us when we come to the end of the day, not having accomplished one single item of what we set out to do (all tied up in knots)..... Have you been there, too?

Never mind.  The gospel storyteller reminds us that lilies make out just fine, without going to a lot of fuss. 

And apparently, if we can go by this picture, the less we worry, toil and spin, the better our lives will end up looking!!

I'll have an extra-long one of those, please...and tie it up in a big, pretty bow.


Monday, August 16, 2010

If I were to ask you when's the last time you had a terrific Monday morning....

Look at this!  Isn't it absolutely fab?

Well, I love all things glass, and anything by Dale Chihuly is going to captivate my attention. 

I think I could stare at this for hours and come up with at least 40 different interpretations....and my answer, if you were to ask me how it's going, might look something like this picture, LOL.  But it's all good, right?  :+)

We had a fabulous Saturday/Sunday, and a great Monday morning, doing the wedding things we didn't have time to do before.  That's a great way to start off the week.  I'm thinking if we repeat this for the next couple of months of Mondays, we can save our weekends...We shall see. 

Our Passiflora is being methodically stripped by the Gulf Frittilary butterflies.  It's too funny!  I go outside in the morning and look at the plant.  It has leaves.  I step out there at nightfall and--yes, you guessed it.  Bare vines!  And big, orange caterpillars looking pleased with themselves, lol.  That's okay, though.  The butterflies are so beautiful and happy.  This world can use all of that we can provide....

photo courtesy of:  Mille Fiori Exhibit, Dale Chihuly Tacoma Art Museum

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Le parfum de la mémoire....

I asked what fragrances trigger memories, and here's what some very special people had to say:

Kathy: It's the smells for me. My Dad's cologne. The Sunday Roast after church. Burning leaves meant school and football season.

Tabitha: I have a lot of smells as well. My maternal grandmother's walls were made from knotted pine, thus her cabinets were also pine. I remember the smell of her linens from those drawers, the smell of her fried chicken. I remember my dad's Old Spice cologne, my paternal grandmother cooking collard greens (yuck!) LOL! The smell of her dried apples when she would bring them inside. Gosh, I could go on and on. Smells trigger a lot of memories for me.

Carol: A long time ago, my Dad used Old Spice. I was a toddler and managed to get into their bedroom and cover the room with it! Mom never let him buy it again, ever! LOL

Patsy: Gardenia and Magnolia. Good old southern fragrances.

Melissa: Sweet Honesty, by Avon, I think...

Marla: Okay White Linen that my mom wore. Mimosa blooms remind me of being a kid, climbing those trees when I was little and pretending I was a princess. And yes, the bayberry candle!! My mom has one she puts out every Christmas and I have to sniff it every time. Christmas!

Jackie: Evergreen and cinnamon... brings back memories of the holidays at my parents' house.

Yvonne: Hollyhocks, four o'clocks and pink climbing roses take me straight back to my Grandma's back yard in a little bitty Kansas town when I was a kid. She had the best house!

Ada: Bayberry candles! My mom had this Christmas candleholder my gramma gave her, and every year she burned the bayberry candles in it on Christmas Eve. My mom always made all kinds of good food, so all the baking smells (must try Armenian katah!) and the bayberry candles.

Frankie: Sandalwood. Barnes & Noble had that going a few weeks back. Sandalwood inspires spirituality--love it. Definitely my favorite scent, and I use it a lot in my rituals.

Michelle: Grease, exhaust, transmission fluid, brake fluid, rubber tire smell: All meant Daddy was home from work (he was a mechanic and service manager the automotive part of a car dealership). To this day I can walk into a repair shop and relax because it smells like Dad. :-)

Robert: One particular Texas wildflower, unidentified... Very sweet, generally detected when it's 95+ outside and there is little or no breeze. Very strong memory trigger for summers spent in Valera with my grandparents... unfortunately, it is associated with a strong scent of Calamine lotion, for during said summers, chiggers made up about 3% of my body weight....

Noel: Stearic acid. Like millions of others, the smell of fresh elementary school supplies, namely boxes of Benny & Smith Crayola crayons, their fragrance an ingredient that livens the colors and makes them stick to paper. The olfactory bulb is connected to simpler states of mind, native and abiding.

Ada: Anyone besides me old enough to remember the old mimeograph machines schools used? with the papers with the purple print? my mom was a teacher and were definitely school smells like that and those remind me of her too. :) Frankie: I remember those Adabee! Love those smells, too! Shawn: Those mimeo smells--yeah. I remember that smell coming down the hallway at school, leading us right to where Mona B (our fav lady sect'y) would be standing cranking away on that thing and we’d hang out and chat. Nice memories.

And then I added a couple of my own : Fresh raspberries. Reminds me of summer days as a tween and teen in Puyallup picking raspberries. And later, pulling up to the fruit stands to select flats of them to take home, usually spilling some in the car and then attempting to find a spot for them in the frig. Fresh dill. Mama making pickles at 908 13th St. NW, and then years later the fragrance of her dill bread rolls wafting up the stairs in Astoria… ;+)

Thanks for sharing, everybody!  These are beautiful, as are you.... :+)

photos courtesy of:  Okay, so I didn't keep track, but they're on the I'net...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tolerating intolerance (and just barely) .....

It's a wonder that I just don't walk around with an absolutely shocked look on my face half the time....Oh, wait!!  Maybe I do.....Oh, probably not.

Anyway, this morning I have been reading e-mails (thank you!), Facebooking and just getting the day underway, and I was thinking about the past week or two and all that has happened to make it somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster.  The best of it has been due to the goodness of people.  The worst of it has been due to people's badness...

For instance, if I pull back, looking through a wide angle lens, I could cite the incident in Afghanistan.  The people who took it upon themselves to kill perfectly nice folks who were there to serve others were not exercising their goodness, were they?!  I have a video on my Facebook page of a young girl being stoned to death...and it's horrible.  Then, there's the woman whose life is being threatened in the same way, and that's on the news.  What's to become of her?  Coming a little closer to home, how about that young man in Minnesota who was battered and had his laptop and bike stolen?  Who would do something like that, and why?   We here in America should know better than to treat each other like that. 

Bringing it on home, what if I were to tell you how it feels to have someone get right in your face and tell you, out loud, that they love you, but that doesn't mean they have to like you.  That they want "God's best" for you, but it turns out you've been a bad aunt...and that your choice of love and lifestyle isn't very ______-like (insert surname here)...Of course, that's all done long distance over the telephone, so it's not really very brave of them, is it!?  Surely a brother wouldn't do that to his sister.  (But hey, he did).  What is it with some people?

Anyway, I didn't really plan on saying all of that, so just ignore the above part there...

On the other hand, thankfully there are good things happening here in the Republic of Texas.  Really, really nice people just drop out of the sky and do loving, sweet things, just because...and sometimes someone just pops up and says something pleasant to you, and it feels good.  (You know who you are)  IOW, it's been a terrific weekend, absolutely sweet. 

Yes, life is still good, better than I could have ever imagined, and it's mine, all mine....LOL!!!

I guess the gods know that we're gonna need the yin when it yangs....



photo courtesy of:  Well, I'm not actually sure...lol

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweet faces....

~The Bear~

The bear puts both arms around the tree above her

And draws it down as if it were a lover
And its chokecherries lips to kiss good-by,
Then lets it snap back upright in the sky.

Her next step rocks a boulder on the wall
(She's making her cross-country in the fall).
Her great weight creaks the barbed wire in its staples
As she flings over and off down through the maples,
Leaving on one wire tooth a lock of hair.
Such is the uncaged progress of the bear.
The world has room to make a bear feel free;
The universe seems cramped to you and me.

Man acts more like the poor bear in a cage,
That all day fights a nervous inward rage,
His mood rejecting all his mind suggests.
He paces back and forth and never rests
The me-nail click and shuffle of his feet,
The telescope at one end of his beat,
And at the other end the microscope,
Two instruments of nearly equal hope,
And in conjunction giving quite a spread.
Or if he rests from scientific tread,
'Tis only to sit back and sway his head
Through ninety-odd degrees of arc, it seems,
Between two metaphysical extremes.
He sits back on his fundamental butt
With lifted snout and eyes (if any) shut
(He almost looks religious but he's not),
And back and forth he sways from cheek to cheek,
At one extreme agreeing with one Greek
At the other agreeing with another Greek
Which may be thought, but only so to speak.
A baggy figure, equally pathetic
When sedentary and when peripatetic.

~Robert Frost

These pictures reminded me of the time my father was driving home through the countryside up in Washington.  He'd had a pretty rotten day and felt weary and a bit low, when all of a sudden a black bear came "barrelling" (his word) out of the woods and cut across the road in front of him, slowed and looked right at him, which made him smile. 

Well, I wanted to share some sweet pictures of other bears in the Big Woods, RC and her cub, and here's Lucky snacking on sunflowers. 

This has been an interesting day, to say the least.  Got some good news in the morning, got some bad news in the evening.  Fortunately, the good news far outweighs the bad news, so it's a matter of Shawn making an attitude adjustment, lol.

SGTex made the most fabu Swedish meatballs, low carb style, on a bed of our garden zucchini.  They were the best ever (thank you, Chef Hottie) !!!! 
And it was a beautiful day.  Come to think of it, I should have been in a much better mood.....
photos courtesy of: Lily the Black Bear page on Facebook

Monday, August 2, 2010

Squeaky doorknobs and....

Do you ever get homesick for certain sounds?

All of a sudden I miss the sound of the A/C downstairs next door at our old apartment, the squeaky sound of the glass doorknobs at my grandparents from childhood, and my all-time fav, lawnmowers in our neighborhood on summer evenings (thankfully, we have that here).  From way back it would be glass windchimes... Come October, I'll be missing the chickadees in my brambles in WA ;+) But I love the mockingbirds singing in the night, and that's right here in Texas. 

On Facebook today I posted the above, and some of our friends there shared their memories and thoughts, so I thought it might be nice to post them here, with their permission.  I didn't ask Dawn yet, and I see that she mentioned some sounds she enjoys now, too.  I forgot to mention crickets as something we have here in Texas that I love to hear.  In fact, my "first" cricket was in a dresser drawer where we were staying in Fredericksburg for Oktoberfest.  I didn't want to leave it behind when we packed up to go home, lol.

Here goes, and thanks, peeps!Frankie:  My grandmother lived in the mill village in Experiment, Georgia. I remember the sounds of the trains at night, and I do miss them. I remember the cold sheets on the bed we slept in, too. My grandparents only had a coal fireplace for heating their entire apartment. So cozy..."

Marla:  Definitely trains. My first apt. that I lived in by myself was this old, reformed Army barrack with cinderblock walls and tile floors in San Marcos. The train track was w/i 50 feet with a road crossover that demanded a hoooonnnkk. It was hard to sleep at first, but it became my comfort… walls shaking and all.”

Tabitha:  I miss hearing Monday night football and baseball that my dad would watch while I was upstairs trying to sleep. I really, really miss that. 

(I do too, Tabitha!)

Laura:  Yes, the sound of my grandma's laugh. :)

Marla:  I miss my grandpa's wood desk and the sounds that would come from his telegraph. He tittered and tattered to everyone all over the world.

Tabitha:  Oh! The sounds of the bull frogs in my grandpa's ponds when I would spend the night at their house.

Ada:  Oh, yes! My mom's ankles used to make this little creaking sound when she would be walking around the house doing her housework or what have you. When I think of that sound I can picture her pink slippers with the embroidery on them. :+)

Dawn:  Yes. The sound of money flowing into my bank account : ). One of my favorite sounds is Lucky's hrmpfy sigh, and to hear the rain on the metal carport roof. I love to nap listening to the rain : ).

I hope you enjoyed reading about sounds remembered.  Maybe this might have stirred up some of your own.... ;+) 

Shawn and friends
pictures courtesy of:  http:www.swankydigs.blogspot.com and http://4.bp.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 1, 2010

There goes the bride....

Well, I've been enjoying the picture of the foxgloves in my last blog post so much, I almost hate to start a new post, but since I am, it might as well be this lovely shot of Chelsea and Pres. Clinton as they walk down the aisle on her wedding day.  Do you *looove* the dress?  Totally foofoo, and so elegant.   And it turns out she incorporated some of our colors in her decor, which is fun, too.  I'm glad they had such a lovely day and that everyone had such a nice time.  Looks like Ted Danson had some cute quips.  I didn't know he had such a good sense of humor- for real, I mean. 
Something else that I find notable is that Marc and Chelsea had an interfaith ceremony.   I know there was some speculation about that, so there you have it.  Good for them!
We're working on some of our wedding plans today, and a friend gifted us with some excellent music, which we're adding to the reception list.  Thanks, Marla!  You rock (and so will we....)

photo courtesy of : Genevieve de Manio via Getty Images