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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh, arbre de Noël....

I realize it's not even December, but we put our Christmas tree up yesterday--that is to say, SGTex did. It is so pretty, as always.

We were reminiscing a little bit about what fun we had when we went tree shopping our first holiday together, here in Texas. We didn't quite shop 'til we drop, but I can honestly say we had lots of fun. I'm not going to tell you what SGTex did at the hardware store, but I honestly thought I'd die laughing. There was a bit of a discussion when it came down to the final tree selection, as we were living in an apartment and didn't have a huge space. The options were to go tall, but they tended to be rather pricey, and too large, lol. There was one particular window that would be a nice spot, so we picked one that was on the small side and not too wide. It's what I call a "forever green tree," so we can just pack it away and bring it out each year, and now it sits in the window that can be seen by those who happen to pass by our little house.

We seem to have a somewhat typical array of ornaments. Each holiday we have been together in Texas, we choose a new ornament to add to our collection. I keep meaning to bake some gingerbread men to hang, but never seem to get around to that. I like the clear lights, kind of a warm white. SGTex prefers the larger, old-fashioned colored lights, so we've done a combination, which really looks nice. This year, it is nearly the same, but instead of the clear, we have a set of quite white, bright lights that are a bit different and really look great.

I thought this picture of one made from antique jewelry was gorgeous, so wanted to share it. This may be the first of several.... Oh, oh...I feel a theme coming on, lol.

We hope your holiday season will be filled with good cheer!

photo courtesy of antique-jewelry-investor.com

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


“You know that just before that first Thanksgiving dinner there was one wise, old Native American woman saying, “Don’t feed them. If you feed them, they’ll never leave.” –Dylan Brody

I'm looking forward to getting started on our second Thanksgiving dinner at this house....which makes it my third, here in Texas.

I remember the first Thanksgiving dinner I made for my family in Washington years ago. That was the first time I had company at my new-to-me home, at the time. I had a wonderful, green monstrosity of an oven that I had fenagled from the nearby appliance center. What I didn't know about it was, there was a switch that needed to be turned on in order for the oven to heat. I had the dinner ready to go, the turkey in the oven and went off to set the table....came back and checked. Nothing was heating. That turkey was as cold as it was when I took it out of the refrigerator.....Called my parents in a panic and my father drove down the hill to my house, fooled around with the fuse box....and then I discovered this funny-looking switch. The oven heated and all was well. Best Thanksgiving dinner anybody had ever eaten, they claimed, lol. Fun times.

SGTex and I had an interesting first Texas Thanksgiving, too. Big turkey he'd had in the freezer long before I got here.......We thawed it out and went looking for that little bag of goodies that is supposed to be removed before roasting, you know.....couldn't find anything. It wasn't there. Got the flashlight..........no sign of it, anywhere. Concluded our turkey was different- it came with no extras. Oh, well. And that's what we thought until several days later when I was taking all the leftover meat off the bones for soup and salads........Oh, oh.... Man, that bag of goodies was tucked well away, LOL.

This year our dinner will be pretty traditional, with lots of trimmings, including pecans. Lots of pecans, as it appears we're having a bumper crop this year.

May you and yours have a bumper crop of blessings.....

Shawn & SGTex

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moon over, Texas....

This has been a great Saturday, all day long. Nothing especially unusual or intense going on, just being at home together, getting some much-needed R&R and doing a few things around the house.

There's something to be said for taking time out from the busy work schedule to find out what it's like (what *we're* like) when there's nothing in particular that must be done, nowhere in particular to go, no big projects or concerns that must be dealt with....
This evening SGTex suggested we take a moonlit drive, so we put the pups in the "Raspberry," headed down the road and enjoyed the full moon over Texas.
Goodnight, everybody.

photo courtesy of: "Moon over Texas" seen at the on-line gallery of WAMdesigns and artist Wilma Morrow, wilmamorrow.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Afghanistan-American sweetheart named Target....

This beauty, along with her canine friends Rufus and Sasha intercepted a suicide bomber in Afghanistan, saving the lives of many US soldiers. One of them brought her home to live in Arizona with her new family. She was America's hero. She even got to be on Oprah.

I guess it wasn't too surprising when she got out of the yard and spent some time at large, running loose in her town.

At least in America she didn't have to fear being shot (again) by Taliban, nor did she risk being caught by explosives.

But, the helpful neighbor who took her off the street and sent her to the animal shelter couldn't have known she wouldn't live to see home again. She was euthanized, much to the shock and dismay of her family and all of America.

Go hug your dogs and cats. This makes a good case for ID collars, microchipping and strong, secure fences.

Take care of your animal friends, for they will take care of you.

We're so sorry for what happened to you. Bless your beautiful heart, Target.



Friday, November 12, 2010

Thoughts of thanksgiving....

This is the beautiful ceiling dome of the Thanks-Giving Square Chapel in Dallas. I absolutely must get to see it sometime soon....

I'm beginning to notice, as life goes on, that those things for which I am thankful aren't necessarily the same as when I was a child. "Come, ye thankful people come," isn't necessarily a song directed toward those who've had no difficulties or issues to resolve in their lives. I don't know what you were thinking as an American school child (were you one of us, lol) when it was time to get out the crayons and paste and draw around your hand and turn that into a turkey picture, but I was pretty well focused on being grateful for the nice things in my life. I didn't necessarily take everything good for granted, nor was I one who went around with a grateful look on my face and waking up each morning with, "Boy, am I lucky!!" As an adult living in Ireland, I found out that what I'd considered to be positive and good about my life in the burbs wasn't necessarily as well thought of by those living outside the USA.

As time has gone on, in fact, I'm less and less impressed by the "God is good" sayers. It seems that every time a distaster is averted in somebody's life, all the glory is given to God. Well, fine. Who gets the glory when the disaster lands smack dab on top of someone, or 10s of 1000s of someones???

Okay, never mind about that. I guess what I'm discovering is quite a "cornucopia" (lame, huh, lol?) of things for which to give thanks: Waking up in splendid Texas with a splendid man and finding another opportunity to get it right. Puppies that smile, no matter what. Mockingbirds. The love of a good man. My cute little margarine-colored bungalow. Good friends here and there. The soft colors of Texas and Black Angus cattle, just like in the movies, but just across town. Pictures of Washington, so beautiful as to remind me of my childhood. Getting to live in Astoria, Oregon.

Okay, okay.



Saturday, November 6, 2010


Yeah, you, dammit...
Okay, that wasn't very ladylike of me, was it?! I know, but geewhiz. Last evening an old friend posted on Facebook that she had noticed that some of her more liberal friends were being cranky (after the midterm elections where the more conservative types prevailed and will be sitting in Congress, now). I made a comment to the effect that some of us aren't as cranky, as we are skeptical these days, watching to see what the Republicans are going to do about everything they want changed....and of course, a couple of conservatives hopped on the thread and started in with their remarks. I chimed in with my guess that there are those who dislike Pres. Obama and family because they're not white folks, and it doesn't set well with them. So, I got told that liberals are always crying "racism" when they disagree with the conservatives.....blah, blah, blah.

Well, anyway, I find it all rather tiresome, this hash-slinging and accusatory mentality, and wish everybody would just settle down and identify the real problems we have in our country, put our heads together (as opposed to knocking them) and come up with some solutions. Maybe even just start with one thing and then resolve it, then move on to the next...and so on.
I think the first thing we might do is remember that we all are Americans, yet we don't have to all think and live the same way. It's actually okay to believe differently than our neighbors and have different lifestyles, different philosophies. There's something called "diversity" that makes life more interesting and rewarding--but the deal is, we need to actually pay attention to others and appreciate them for being who they are, and get to know about them, if not get to know them personally, well enough to like them and respect them, be grateful for what they bring to this country. I remember someone who was absolutely mean and hateful about the Vietnamese people who came to our small town in the PNW and worked hard, proving that they could contribute to our community and were given loans so they could buy a small business and make something of it. Boyhowdy, they did, and they did all right by themselves and helped each other and their extended families. They were successful. The hateful person? Well, she and her husband have gone on to be dishonest and fail at their business and are both pretty dismal and angry people, without their medication... lol. Hatred and mistrust and bigotry seems to take a toll on a person's health. I know I can't stand to be around them... I wish they were a fraction as nice as the Vietnamese people they hate so much, lol. Oh, well...
I know we're exceedingly blessed here in America. We're lucky as all get-out and some of us don't even know it. Other people from other places dislike us, mainly because we come off as being uppity and arrogant and we take so much for granted. I remember when I lived in Ireland, there were people who would come up to me and ask me if families really all had cars, or more than one car, and did our houses really have garages that were filled with all of our extra stuff so we had to park our car(s) outside...and then when I answered yes, yes, yes, they shook their heads--not so much in amazement, but in a sort of pitying, tongue-clucking way. We do take a lot for granted. We've been given a lot, here in the US of A, and the least we could do is to be grateful, take better care of it all and see if we might redistribute some of it amongst ourselves, so as to help those less fortunate.
I know, a girl can dream.....