Friday, July 28, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Pets

This is Belle, the owner of ... I mean, the pet of, my granddaughter J-Lee. Aren't they both beautiful!

posted at 6:26 PM
Comments (20)

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Happy Birthday, Guppyman!
Thirteen Reasons I'm Proud to be Guppyman's Mother

1. He is very smart, and I knew it when he was less than a day old. He was born jaundiced, and they were keeping him under the light with a bandage over his eyes to protect them. The nurses brought him to me, and all I could see was his chin and the top of his head. So while he was nursing, I stroked the blond fuzz on top of his head. Guppy stopped sucking and wrinkled up his forehead. I promise you, I could see him thinking -- what is that sensation? I have never seen another newborn do that.

2. He is funny. I know that those of you who read his blog love his humor, especially when he does his spam commentaries. He has always had that dry sense of humor. When the cordless screwdrivers first came out, his comment was "Tell me, Mom, when did you ever see a screwdriver with a cord?" Reading an article about all kinds of seagulls -- brown gulls, white gulls, California gulls -- he burst out singing, a la the Beach Boys, "Wish they all could be California gulls..." He has made me laugh for the last 34 years.

3. He is compassionate. I think the proudest I've ever been of him was when he told me this story: Our one and only homeless person in our small town, Slim, asked Guppy for money one evening when Gup was still a teenager. Guppy said "Come on, I'll buy you a meal", and took him into the hamburger joint. The workers were very upset at Slim's presence and told him to leave, but Guppy told them that Slim was his guest, and either they both stayed, or they both left. (They both stayed.)

4. He is the best father I've ever seen. His life has revolved around the Little Angel from the moment she was born. He has always been able to soothe her, to have fun with her, to teach her, to discipline her without anger, and to give her life stability.

5. Guppy floundered in the job market for several years, and was working in a convenience store when the Little Angel was conceived. He enrolled in college, continued to work full time, and went to school at night. During Christmas vacation, he worked at a Christmas tree lot. He graduated with a 3.999 grade point average. (I think I mentioned earlier that he is very smart, but he was also very determined to take care of his family.)

6. He is very easy-going. He very seldom loses his temper. One time he was building something, and he cut a piece an inch too short. He looked at the ground for 30 seconds or so, then said "Oh well, it will just be an inch shorter" and went back to work. To really put this into perspective, you have to understand that his father would have sworn a blue streak and probably thrown something, while I would have cried and carried on about how awful my mistake was. I have no idea where he got his calmness.

7. He has always gotten along easily with people. He was more or less born into a crowd, with two older sisters and a Brownie troop that met at our house every week. He was about four when he charmed all my relatives and their friends by making the rounds at a wedding reception, carrying on a conversation with every adult there. My favorite aunt always referred to him as "my sweet little Guppy".

8. He loves kids. If he sees a baby, he has to hold it. He loves to play with young children, but he doesn't patronize them. Kids love him back, on sight.

9. He is a very talented woodworker. He can build beautiful things. He takes the time to do things properly, but he gets things done in a surprisingly short time.

10. He is also very artistic. He paints designs on furniture, on walls, on pieces of wood, and I am amazed at how good they are.

11. Guppy has a talent for growing things. Frequently, he throws something on the ground, gives it a good luck wish, and before you know it, it is a thriving plant. His angel trumpets have more flowers than the ones I saw in Africa.

12. He has a good eye for color and design. He enjoys working on his house, and turning boring rooms into exciting ones.

[It occurs to me here that I am stressing the sensitive aspects of Guppyman, so I will assure you that he is a football-loving, beer-drinking, all-American male.]

13. He always brings me flowers on Mother's Day. He has a smile that could light up a city. He is thoughtful and helpful and made the world a better place just by being born into it.


posted at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Wordless Wednesday

Traffic jam on the Masai Mara, Kenya

posted at 6:14 AM
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Saturday, July 22, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Action

posted at 4:57 AM
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
1. I love needlework. I sew, I crochet, I embroider.

2. When I was pregnant with Crabgirl, I learned how to embroider. When Dolphin was born I realized I would have to make a lot of clothes, so I got a sewing machine and a how-to book and taught myself

3. Over the years, sewing was a wonderful creative outlet for me, as well as a huge money saver. I progressed from mixing pieces of different patterns to making my own pattern pieces. When the girls got to the Barbie stage, I bought a pattern for Barbie clothes. I have a niece who still talks about the Barbie clothes I made for her.

4. I made most of the girls' clothes and my own for years, until they decided they wanted store-bought clothes. I explained that they would have about a third as many clothes, but they said they didn't care; they wanted to be like their friends. Funny, I always envied the girls I knew who had homemade clothes. I guess you always want what you don't have.

5. I took the girls at their word that they didn't want me to make their clothes any more. The first Christmas after we went to store-bought clothes, they looked at me, sticken, and said "You didn't make us anything!"

6. I had saved all the leftover fabric, and eventually I used it to make a quilt for Guppyman. For the backing, I used a sheet that I had taken to college, so all it cost me was a roll of cotton batting. I think the quilt eventually fell apart, but I know Guppy loved it because he still talks about it from time to time.

7. There was also a dress I made for Kritter when she was little that consisted of the leftover lining of a vest and fabric I had left from a skirt I made for Dolphin when she was in high school. In other words, it didn't cost a penny to make, but it was one of her favorite dresses.

8. In the 70's, when crochet got popular, I bought some yarn and a how-to book and taught myself. I guess this is my favorite craft. The physical act of doing it is very satisfying; it's quick; and you can make some wonderful gifts. I've never counted up all the afghans and baby blankets I've made, but I would guess somewhere over 50. I've given away all but 3 of those.

9. I am not a person who can sit still and do nothing. Although I love to travel, the getting-there part, where you sit for hours, is torture to me. I have always brought some sort of craft project along to pass the time.

10. It used to be that if I was on a full Southwest flight, with one empty seat on the whole plane, I could guarantee that the empty seat would be next to me. I would sit next to the window, pull out my embroidery, and sweep my arm over to the middle seat with every stitch. I promise you, no man dared sit down next to that!

11. Since 9/11, it's been much harder to find acceptable projects. Security is loosening up a little from the days when they took away a plastic needle, but you can't always predict what people will do. I carry blunt-tipped, kindergarten type scissors. They confiscated them in Japan!

12. My great-grandmother was an artist. I never met her, but I have some of her paintings and I feel like I know her because of them. None of that artistic talent came to me, yet I would really like to leave something tangible behind when I am gone. That is why I make things and give them away.

13. And, anyway, it's fun!

posted at 4:55 AM
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Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Wordless Wednesday: In the Garden

posted at 9:12 PM
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Monday, July 17, 2006
Fun Weekend
The Professor and I set off early Saturday morning to go tubing in New Braunfels. We had to stop at Black's in Lockhart for some of their delicious barbecue.

Lockhart has one of my favorite courthouses in all of Texas (and with 254 counties, that's a lot of courthouses!)

By the time we got to the river, there was only time to float the horseshoe. The river is really low and slow, but that was okay. We had a cooler full of beer and were happy to kick back and enjoy the afternoon. Much to the Professor's disappointment, no one was showing off body parts. Other than the liberal use of the F-word, everyone was very well behaved. And I received cheers when I announced to the Professor, apparently a little more loudly than I realized, "You may be the Designated Driver, but I'm the Designated Drunk."

We went to Gruene, the town that advertises itself as "Gently resisting change since 1872".

We had a fabulous dinner at the Gristmill, wandered around a little, then set off for San Antonio to get a hotel room. Small problem: there were 25,000 Lutherans in town for a convention. There wasn't a room available within 100 miles. We finally stopped in Weimar and stayed at the most perfectly-named hotel I have ever found:

Unfortunately, the kolaches they advertised as breakfast turned out to be packaged cinnamon rolls,so we stopped at the Rainforest Cafe for an early lunch.

posted at 4:53 AM
Comments (5)

Friday, July 14, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Doors
The door to the dungeon in Bran Castle (Dracula's castle) in Transylvania.

The door from the secret passage into the castle. I am five foot tall and had to duck to get through. Maybe being short was the reason Dracula was so mean?

The door to the covered stairway which goes from the bottom of the hill (the old town) to the top of the hill (the church and school) in Sighisoara Romania. It was built hundreds of years ago so the students could get to school without getting wet. (Pre-umbrella?) The woman is accidentally in the picture; I don't know who she is. By the way, there is no graffiti inside.

I'm off to go tubing on the river. I'll come visit you when I get back. Have a happy weekend!

posted at 3:27 PM
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Thursday, July 13, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
1. We found the perfect all-in-one bed for the Little Angel. Last Saturday, while Guppy and Storm were playing on the river, I stayed in town and let the delivery men in with the bed. They were supposed to assemble it, but it seemed they didn't have all the pieces.

2. The furniture store was very apologetic. They refunded the delivery charge, and re-scheduled the delivery for Wednesday.

3. The delivery was to take place between 1:00 and 5:00. They were to call me on my cell phone before arrival.

4. By 4:30, with no word, I was getting very worried, and called the furniture store. They said the truck driver would call me right back.

5. At 4:55, afraid that everything would close down at 5:00 and I would have no way at all of getting information, I called again. This time I was put through to the dispatcher, who told me the driver was running 1-1/2 hours late.

6. At 6:00, the driver called me -- not on my cell phone, as I told them overandoverandoverandover, but on my office phone. He said he would be there in an hour. So I went to G&S's house to wait.

7. At 8:00, the truck showed up with 3 guys, one with some experience and 2 brand-new ones. They were whining and complaining from the beginning. The furniture store had told me they would send out a whole new bed and take back the pieces from Saturday. The truck driver refused to do that, but he did find and bring in the box with all the missing pieces.

8. The driver took one look at all the pieces and said they could not possibly assemble it. It would take 2 - 3 hours, and he had 3 more deliveries to make. They did not have the special tools required. (You need training before you can carry a screwdriver, I guess.) This bed needed a service technician to put it together. Their piece de resistance was to say that well, they could try to asemble it, but they couldn't guarantee the safety of the child who slept in it.

9. I called customer service, but of course they were closed. I called the furniture store, and gave the receptionist a pretty hard time. Every now and then I would catch myself and apologize for my tone of voice, but I could not get her to put the store manager on the phone. She finally found someone in the office to talk to me.

10. Not that this guy was any great help. He offered to send someone out to assemble the bed on another day. I asked him just how many days he thought people could take off work to wait for a delivery. He finally said he would call me first thing in the morning, and that the store manager would call me back last night, after he finished interviewing.

11. Place your bets: did the store manager call me? Of course not! But something good did happen -- Guppy came home. If he hadn't had to go back to the office, everything would have worked out so much better. Where Stormii and I were trying to look at the assembly directions and the pieces so we could counter the whining of the delivery men, Guppy took in all the pieces and how they fit together at a glance.

12. The three of us proceeded to assemble this bed that requires hours of training and/or a specialist to build. I guess we spent about an hour. Guppy still needs to tighten all the screws, and we have to lift the chest/desk assembly into its place.

13. This is one of the best furniture stores in town. I have had excellent results from them in the past. But, dammit, I want a pound of flesh for all the crap they've put me through with this bed. I just can't figure out what they could do that would satisfy me. I'm thinking along the lines of the warehouse manager dressed up as a baby, sitting in one of those dunking pools right outside the store, so every customer with a beef could have the satisfaction of dropping him in the drink. Suggestions, anyone?

posted at 5:16 AM
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Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Wordless Wednesday:Balloon Ride in Africa

posted at 4:11 AM
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Monday, July 10, 2006
Oh Deer!
Early this morning, just about daybreak, I opened my front door to see if the morning paper had arrived. What I saw, about ten feet from me, was a deer. I ran to get my camera, but by the time I got back with it, she had moved into the neighbor's yard. I tracked her stealthily, but about the time I crossed into the yard next door, I realized I was wearing a pajama top and bright red bikini panties -- and we have a lot of early-morning joggers. In fact, I could hear footsteps coming around the corner, so I beat a hasty retreat. I did NOT want anyone losing their breakfast in front of my house, or worse, breaking into uncontrollable laughter at the sight.

We have a lot of deer in the area, but they have just started coming onto our street. They are being squeezed out of the woods by construction of a massive container port a couple of miles away. I will spare you the rant I normally go into about the Port of Houston Authority, and this project.

One year we went skiing in Banff Canada, and the town was full of elk. In one town, Jasper, I think, they had to build fences around the trees because the elk were eating everything in sight. They bedded down on the courthouse lawn, and let's just say everything was well fertilized. I love deer, but if they start dining on my plants, will my admiration for them change? After all, when I lived in Waco, some adorable little wild rabbits started munching on my petunias, and overnight became "those damn rodents."

We used to feed our cats outside, until the possum starting lining up at dinnertime. Those things have some long claws, and I've never seen one play possum. They would hiss at me when I swatted them with a broom, and the cats were terrified of them. We also get racoons and armadillo on a regualar basis. So deer sound pretty good by comparison. I guess if they start feeding on my plants, I'll just have to get some corn for them.

posted at 3:20 PM
Comments (4)

Saturday, July 08, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Signs

This bridge is always lined with people fishing. The "no fishing" signs mysteriously disappear quite often. They were just replaced yesterday, and I was able to get this shot between rain showers.

posted at 8:40 AM
Comments (16)

Thursday, July 06, 2006
Thursday Thirteen
1.On Saturday, the furniture store will deliver the Little Angel's new bed to Guppy's house. They will be camping, so I will be there to supervise.

2. This bed is an all-in-one, with dresser drawers, a desk, a bed on top and a trundle bed, and storage behind the desk and drawers. When I paid for it, they knocked off another $100 because they said it's a discontinued set.

3. The extra $100 is fine with me, because I have to buy her a new mattress. The one she has is top of the line, with pillowtop on both sides, and it is too thick for a bunk bed. It comes up above the safety rail.

4. I bought canopy beds for my other three granddaughters, although I don't think any of them still have that bed. There was no room for a canopy bed in the LA's room.

5. Both my daughters had canopy beds, too. Can you guess what I always wanted and never had?

6. The Professor is hot-natured, and for years a canopy bed was out of the question because the canopy blocks air circulation. Now we have flip-flopped: at night I am kicking off the covers and he is pulling them up to his chin.

7. My headboard is the old sounding board off an upright piano. I loved that piano so much. It didn't have the best sound, but it was carved and beautiful. It fell out of the back of a truck and was destroyed (it still hurts to think about it.) I painted the carved flowers on the sounding board to match my bedspread, and hung it on the wall.

8. The Professor says he is willing to have a canopy bed now. My first thought was, no, I can't give up my piano headboard! Then I realized I can hang it on the wall anywhere.

9. When I get my new bed, which won't be until the remodeling is done, I am going to buy a crocheted canopy. I am NOT planning to crochet it myself. Trust me, this is a big sign that I am getting sensible, or maybe just getting old.

10. Twenty years ago I would have designed the pattern and made the canopy. Thirty years ago I would have crocheted a dust ruffle, too, and probably some sachets in the same pattern so my closet would coordinate with the bedroom.

11. Once, when I was married to my kids' father, I decided to give him a surprise birthday party. I made 6 or 7 batches of lasagna, and since I didn't have a freezer, I was taking them to my neighbor's when he drove up and caught me. I babbled something about being so proud of myself, I had made all this lasagna so we could have it whenever we wanted, and I was going to put them in the neighbor's freezer.

12. To my amazement, he bought that story. All my friends said, of course he believed me, it's exactly the sort of thing I would do. I remember thinking how wrong they were -- I would never have made more than 3 batches just for us!

13. Funny, nowadays it takes at least 3 batches of lasagna when the family gets together. But it makes me feel so good to see them taking second and third helpings.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

posted at 4:48 AM
Comments (7)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Wordless Wednesday


posted at 5:34 AM
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Monday, July 03, 2006
The IRS Has Morals?
I just heard this on the radio, and have to share it. You know how financial things only last 7 years: keep tax records for 7 years, for example, or bad credit information stays on your record for 7 years.

Did you ever wonder why it's 7 years?

It's from the Bible. Every 7 years is the Jubilee, when you forgive all debts.

I'm not sure what knd of conclusion to draw from this. But who knew the IRS ever thought of anything except how to wring every penny out of you?

posted at 3:20 PM
Comments (2)

Saturday, July 01, 2006
Saturday Photo Hunt: Automobiles
This week's theme is automobiles, so here are a few from my travels.
I spent one of the best weeks of my life in this Land Rover in Kenya.

This is the parking lot at Mont St. Michel in France.

A police car at the Emperor's Palace in Tokyo.

What they use instead of cars in most of rural Romania.

What I'd like to drive someday, just once!

posted at 4:20 AM
Comments (9)

Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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