The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fedex truck slides down icy interstate I-80 during snowstorm

a beautifully written (by a high end trucker) story which touches on hazards like this among other thingsTo get his disabled truck out of traffic A Federal Express truck driver masterfully handled his truck while carefully sliding it down a very slick interstate incline near Truckee California.

Monday, November 6, 2017

recent Colorado and New Mexico pics from my phone camera -

Best seat on the train!

Fall color was already blown to the four corners ...
We awoke to a very blustery day and missed the leaves.
This train ride is in Georgetown, Colorado.

L and D

how grey my hair is becoming
easy to see the inspiration for a lot of the Santa Fe art

sunrise painting the mountains purple and orange

North of Taos after the mountains gave way to the plains.
That dark line below the mountains in the middle of the fields is a tree covered
homestead/ranch buildings
we saw lots of places in the middle of nowhere

Southbound - Colorado sunrise
I am surprised to find that I didn't take very many pictures with my phone while in Colorado - checking the real camera later today to see what we captured!  Maybe more to come.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

 Sunday morning and I'm missing church today because I said I'd take my son to the airport.  He has vacation days which must be used (or lost) and he wants to powwow about which trails we loved, the downlow on what to do & what to miss in the Boulder area.  I really love visiting in Boulder.  The pictures from our most recent trip up there to share some time with III have not been transferred from my phone to the laptop yet - maybe today.

These are the last few pictures I found already on PHOTOS.

The first one, a collage, was taken at Austin's Stiles Switch BBQ.  Texas Monthly puts together a TOP 50 BBQ list and reposts as they see fit to.  Remember in 2014 L and I started collecting TOP 50 stops?  Well, this year (2017) they updated their list, dropping a few, adding a few, and to make serious matters even more amusing, they have collaborated with YETI offering BBQ games with serious party favors.  For example, when you collect a "sticker" from each of the four corners of Texas (Pecos, Amarillo, Jefferson, Brownsville (the one with the cow eyeballs)), you qualify to win a YETI Hopper, which having been to all four of those places I'll assert, you need the Hopper before  making that jaunt. Anyway, we are revisiting to collect our passport stamps/stickers and enjoying some fine brisket along the way.  Next - same deal - 'kept, Tyler and Stanley's (also has about 50 different Bourbon's, but that for a different day).

The trees in our back yard. The trees are absolutely a gift.  This is the smallest lot we have lived on.  It's been so long since I heard traffic noise that it still grabs my ear when I'm outside ... but the trees, scare over much of Texas, the trees make the backyard wonderful.  Filter - PRISMA/mosiac.  

The sanctuary at our church.  This year we are visiting Sunday school classes - yeah, there are that many!  I know I'd already be plugged in some where, but my husband likes to make well informed and duly considered choices.  

We'll skip that next one and move on to those solid bronze doors.  $6,500.00 for the pair.  They are beautiful and you can pick them up at Southern Accents in Cullman, Alabama.  They are amazingly well crafted.  

One of the great things about our new house is it has a pass through room from the garage to the main house.  There's also an outside side entrance to the side yard. The room measures about 20'x12'.  The washer and dryer are in there but the rest is shelving and counter space.  I think it's the coolest room ever missing from our other homes.  So that picture is of the stemware racks I just installed in a repurposed IKEA wardrobe/armoire.  There are three in there and I love them for organizing my kitchen things.  I have recently noticed that knowing where stuff belongs/can be found is a huge deal to me.  It makes me feel like I am home which to me feels awesome.  (I almost never use that word.)

That chair.  I hesitate to say it because it's so much money, but that chair is the exact "right" chair that I really really want.  We need four.  I sure would love to find good "generously" sized chairs for much less! (Can you believe it's just setting outside in the boneyard at the outlet warehouse/showroom for Southern Classics ?!)

Next up - the crumbs and jagged pieces from the bottom of a couple of cracker boxes and a bunch of yummy stuff = a quick dinner.

That last pic is layers and layers of paint on doors again at Southern Accents.  L was giving a professional talk and I went along to just play in and around B'ham.  We rented a car and put around five thousand miles on in driving from Austin to B'ham and back, then down to Edinburg where a friend needed a little emotional support as she tends to her aging parents ... it was actually tamale therapy ... back up to Austin then over to Santa Fe via Pecos (BBQ) on to Boulder for  a few days then home again (with two rock strikes from 18 wheelers - replacement cost added to our total bill).  We finish a book on tape (Michener's TEXAS) and started another one (BIG RICH - about Texas Oilmen).  I love books on tape.

Did I mention that all five of our kids will be in for Christmas this year?  I am so happy about that.  Today we decided to cook really amazing Mexican food from our two new cookbooks for the big Christmas feast.  Today we, Five and I, cooked an amarillo mole, three salsas and a big batch of tamales.  The house smells so good that I don't want to open the doors!

Colorado pics asap... .

I think I mentioned a doctor's visit ... maybe something about my thyroid which turns out to be fine.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

It’s blacker out than a Halloween cat as I sit shotgun on the road that leads to Pecos, Texas. That’s the destination for the first stop on our way to Boulder via Sante Fe. The Pecos stop is all about clicking off Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ joints. We started that for fun back in 2014 but “it” got real this year when TM magazine, partnering with Yeti, created a passport booklet to be stamped at each stop. The list has been updated since we began our little BBQ adventure too. I have noticed that two of our memorably least favorite places didn’t make the 2017 list while a place way down in Brownsville that serves cow eyeballs 😳 with their Barbacoa has been added. Sunday and Monday of this week found us in South Texas tending to some important stuff and we intended to eat at at least one of the three places sprinkled with Top 50 marketing magic but by 3:00pm on Sunday both places within striking distance were cerado. Instead, we made it to Delia’s for her amazing tamales (I declined the menudo). It must be a Rio Grande Valley thing, even they were mopping the floors in anticipation of closing before we had finished dinner. “Why do y’all think they close at six?” My husbanded wondered. And other than because they can I thought maybe everyone wants to make it to Sunday Mass before starting it all over again on Monday morning. Delia began by peddling tamales door to door and now has several locations and a flourishing shipping business to boot. deliastamales Every good thing you may want to know about tamales can be discovered at that link.

We have put over 2000 miles on this little rental car in the 9 days we have been driving it. While in the Valley we loaded up with three palms, a lovely dark stemmed elephant ear, a banana tree that’s about three foot tall right now, and probably ten cockroaches or more. We are gathering plants for our landscaping project at our home. Next week we’ll be busy getting things into the ground and tweaking the drainage (which presented an unexpected challenge).

I’m excited about spending tomorrow walking around Sante Fe before traveling on to visit our son in Colorado. He said it is absolutely beautiful up there right now.  Pictures to follow.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


When I was still in High School I participated in a class at the local University which was an intro to oil painting.  A friend's mom wanted me to join her errant daughter and her for that time of "bonding" presumably because I was considered a "good influence". The family I grew up in couldn't have spared oil paint supply money from the grocery budget so I never made it past intro to oil/ bring your own canvas everything else provided.  

Canvases were fifty off at Hobby Lobby last week and after painting almost the entire house flat pure white I was yearning to dip a brush in to some color.  I picked out a large canvas and a box full of tubes of paint so neatly lined up in assorted colors.  It was exciting and I opened the packaging as soon as I got in the car.  Oils.  My husband must have seen my joy cloud over a bit because he asked,"Do we need to go back in for something else?"  And I, remembering my earlier regret, said no.  "No, I think this may be exactly the right thing."

What a treat to come to a day in one's life when a box full of every color to make every other color finds it's way to your lap.

So, I painted the Milky Way.  The way I see it.

It was really amazing to lay on a cot in a net topped tent at the beach of my childhood memories and see the stars spilling out across the vast unknown.  I love it.  Their light travels to me devouring time and distance and I think I see them as they are ... but what I see is the manifestation of a thousand ... countless yesterdays.  Exactly as we are.  I am that high school kid who accepted  we can't as a matter of fact never once wishing that someday a serendipitous we can would land in my very fortunate lap.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

crepuscular rays
Fuzzy, I know, the car was moving @80mph.  The sliver of moon didn't fare well either, but
sunsets on an open horizon are spectacular.
It's so good to be home.
I playfully speculate that the "crown" is over Albuquerque, New Mexico.

These two pictures are from the first good walk I've made time for in a while.  Walking some makes me want to walk more. I'm missing those two hour walks!  The little bird house, placed along the trail by a child I imagined, has attracted many tokens.  You can walk for miles and see no sign of mankind, well, excepting the trail itself which at times seems nothing more than a bunny trail. And the rock totems which arise out in the nowhere, just like a surprise.

Last night at choir practice the conductor said,  "let your voice lead you".  I thought that was interesting.  He was offering encouragement as we "picked through", sightread, an unfamiliar piece ... Bach ... lotsa little 16th note runs.  I made a mental note to take his precise words out of context later because I like the idea of voice, as in unique to you, your voice.  And not your singing or speaking voice exactly, more the idea of voice as uniquely yours, or more so - you.  So ... in the way I am thinking about it, one might manifest their "voice" by the way they fly an airplane (if they are have flown enough to have developed their way (and you can really only see that if you also have a flying voice I think).  Sure you can hear their actual voice as they speak, or sing, but I'm talking about how one expresses qualities that are subtle, and uniquely their own.  I think when you are able to "hear" someone very well who is expressing themselves at a higher level you may extrapolate "their voice" across a spectrum of activities.

I have one kid who also paints.  She could walk in to a room and select my five very different canvas out of 95 others because she understands me. Maybe it's how I hold the brush, the knife, whatever implement, maybe it is the color choices I most prefer, or the way I move around the canvas.  Whatever it is, it's telling.  I don't think my other four kids could do that particular thing, because none of them paint.  They haven't developed "an ear" for those "voices".

Back to that - "let your voice lead you" - 
I think we can and do develop observable and predictable "ways" of approaching life.  If you know me, you will accurately imagine what my kitchen drawers look like.  I bet.

I think that's the crux of why moving is such an interesting challenge for me.  I am, at my core, an everything has a place sort of person.  I'm like that.  

When the kids were at home, during their growing up years, I shifted to accommodate them ... towels weren't folded just so, canned goods weren't exactly where I would put them, mating all those socks became an impossible chore ... lol (sock therapy probably is a thing).  All that was no big deal.  Honestly, I think my husband is more comfortable in what I think of as  chaos.  His interpersonal boundaries are a lot more rigid and plentiful than mine but he seems unfazed by chaos.  I am his opposite.  He has a room that I simply don't enter.  It is his room.  Most of the time I don't even think about what he might be doing in there. 

Guess what?  This house is big enough for me to have a room of my own.  I hadn't thought of that until just now.  I wonder what I will make of it.

~ change of subject ~ 

I have gained an average of two pounds a month these past twelve months.  That sounds a lot better (to me) than saying, this year I gained 25 pounds.  It sounds better than saying I am no longer an 8-10.  I can think of worse ways to say it, but I will spare myself.

Earlier this year my internist referred me to an endocrinologist.  I didn't prioritize the visit because I wasn't feeling sick.  Getting on the scale has recently made me feel sickish so I made the appointment.  Yesterday a lab tech imperviously (I think it's the gloves that make them seem so disconnected) drew three big vials of blood.  Even as I thought I could spare it, it seemed a little creepy to watch it flow into glass tubes that were then barcoded and casually laid aside.  I left the lab with two plastic jugs and instructions on what to write with a Sharpie on their sides ... and what to put in them over the next 24 hours.  The lab tech asked me if I need one or two jugs and I said I have no idea what volume of peepee (I should have said urine, but I didn't) I might be able to produce during a 24 hour period. Anyway.  
Now it's time to deliver my results back to the lab.  I'll hear back in October.  I think my thyroid has glitched.  

As we (especially I *see above) sort through and settle in to our new home, many trips are being made to Salvation Army (etc.) with good items no longer needed here.  My husband has said several times (as he sees me filling boxes to go), don't get rid of your cute (smaller) clothing just yet.  He thinks I will lose the weight and want to wear some of my things again.  I think he is right about that.

All right - off to deliver my, the urine.  (I think it's kinda funny.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


One Amazon order too late this last box of "where's my..." was found.
Moving has been (and continues to be) a challenge. When we moved back to Texas after a 22 year absence we moved in stages. By that I mean, several trips over from Auburn, with unpacking (and organizing) in between.  I thought this move would be lots easier.  There is a 15 minute drive time between the houses.  I was wrong. It has been "trying".

I didn't know this, but I iron for comfort.  I thought I just didn't like wrinkles.  The iron had been missing since mid July.  Wrinkles were the least of my worries though.

The house we bought was what I would euphemistically call a mid flip.  There are several things to fix in the house, for example, none of the bathroom electrical outlets works.  The little reset lights are green, but there's not enough juice flowing to power a water pic much less a blow dryer.

My biggest concern about the house was it was painted the exact shade of rotten meat.  That disgusting grayish brown.  Every wall and ceiling in the house was that color.  It takes a lot of white paint to cover putrid brown.  I'm actually still working at it and while I paint, little else gets done!  That's not really fair to myself.  While it is true that the kitchen is the only room in the house that is functioning up to par, it is also true that we are making excellent progress.  It's also true that we've made several small vacation type trips since dumping, piling boxes everywhere.

Today I will completely finish painting the living room.  I have about a ten foot section of that ceiling beam to do.  That's it!  Then the air vent and electrical covers can go on.  It is my goal to get the living room "comfortable" this week.  I would also like to get the foyer painted and the light fixtures in there situated.  The door bell doesn't work ... all the weather stripping around the current door has to be replaced (not my job, and neither is the door bell ... yesterday we discovered that the wiring for the doorbell was pulled out and that became a bigger project than I can do) ... my job is to patch, and paint.  I'm glad I can paint.  I'm grateful that we can afford to paint over new paint that is unappealing.  That paint was never going to show wear because it was the very color of dirty.

(this is a picture of a door exactly
 like the one we are getting ready to install -
I haven't settled on a color yet -
soon though because it is bare wood right now)

This side of the living room is completed now.  We might have left the beam unpainted, but there was no removing the paint to make that choice.  The caulking up there is super hanky too.  Pure flat white covers a multitude of sins. 
part of today's to do

The kitchen cabinets are still that unfortunate color, but they will have to wait for their new paint.  I'm going to do them with Annie Sloan's light grey chalk paint.  The hinges, which were also painted by the flipper will have to be replaced and they're on order.  I really do love having a home to work in.

I am "guest" posting on my blog today.  I don't have the access figured out, but via my phone which was still connected to Blogger, I have invited myself.  It's not a complete work around because I'm limited to posting only with no dashboard access.

All of this house stuff has gotten me to wondering ... if I were a house, what would I look like.  I asked my husband that ... what would he look like ... he said he would be a massive concrete structure, contemporary, but like Wright's Falling Water.  I've toured some of the Wright structures and they are indeed quirky.  I think L intuitively chose a perfect representation.  I would be a tiny white house, with soft wooden floors and a wrap around porch with a swing.  I would have lots of windows which could be flung open ... and the house of me would smell like sunshine and mowed grass and gardenias. 

well - work time 

Btw - another thing I'd been looking for was that ice cream maker
we had a dessert of

piping hot apple pie
cinnamon ice cream
bubbly rum butter

while we were in Birmingham recently and it was the bomb!
It's on my list to perfect for Thanksgiving and I hope it takes plenty of tries!

Friday, September 15, 2017

When my brother was spending a lot of time in the hospital, I loaned him an iPad.  I deleted its "memory", set up his google email account on it for him, set up his Facebook etc., and just did what ever he needed me to do to make the device function for him. After he passed that iPad set unused for sometime before we wanted to use it again. I can't remember now if I forgot the password or what, but it took some effort to unlock the device. Apple was helpful and I did have to provide collaborating info to back up what had happen to make a device I owned "come on" for me. For one thing, I had "wiped" its memory again. Tedious story shorter - the google account on this blog somehow became associated with his name, my maiden name. I recently noticed that his name showed up as sender of emails sent from my google account. This is like two years later - so idk. Anyway, one of my kids wanted to use my laptop to sign in to their google account so they could send an email and I said, sure.
When I tried to sign back in - I can sign in to my google account but not his - and his is they one blogger thinks the account belongs to. My blog account.
I don't know how to solve this problem.
My phone is still signed in. That's how I'm noting this now. But I don't like to type blog stuff  from my phone.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Last week

At 25 of the 60/70 some odd miles in on the National Seashore (Padre Island near Corpus) I didn't expect to see so many tire prints.  While vehicles didn't hum by continuously, there was a fair amount of traffic.  Mostly trucks with customized fishing rod holders and kayak racks.  The wind wasn't blowing sand (even into my sealed Yeti tumbler) so it was a perfect day at the coast.  Except for one unfortunate turn of events.  My dog.  My dog Max cheats at Bocce Ball.  And to make matters worse, he doesn't "play" for my team.  He is a blatant and unrepentant scoundrel.  He attached my balls with glee costing me several rounds!

He's two full months short of his first birthday and shows every indication of maturing in to a fine dog.

See what I mean about fish in the water ...
 I don't like the idea of fish everywhere as much as sharks do (like the idea of fish everywhere).

Thursday, August 31, 2017

We fished there a lot, the family of little me, during the years while I grew up.

They fished there.  I never liked the idea of catching a fish.  I didn't even like the idea that fish were in the water close enough to nibble on the baited hooks they threw.  
I did love to cast though.  My line ended with an iron "sinker" that hit the water just like a period ends a sentence.  Plop.  Sometimes my dad would attach a "bob float".  That little red white ball was one of my favorite things in the tackle box.  When you pushed down a little top button, oh so very carefully, a tiny golden candy cane arose to nab your line and disappear.  I thought they were the smartest design ever and wondered why the Christmas tree baubles weren't made the same way.

I loved to stand with my family and cast my line (while sometimes dodging my brothers' shenanigans).  

I loved to sit very still and listen to the waves and the birds and watch my family fish. 

*HBDT my older brother who would have been 61 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

National Seashore - Camping out with some of the family -

Now that I'm back where iced drinks and hot showers may be taken for granted, I'd like to save some of the pictures taken on the recent campout.  A couple of our adult children, L and I spent several days at the National Seashore (near Corpus Christi, Texas).
This was the first time I have seen deer at the beach.  They were huge, like elk sized huge, and not shy at all.  They were grazing at dusk atop the dunes behind were we selected to set up camp.  I hoped they would return while we were there but they didn't.

Our campsite was 3.5 miles South of where the pavement stops.  I'm a happier camper when I can shower ... fortunately the Parks Service provides a pretty nice facility in support of that!  We did see a bit of traffic, mostly day fishermen who came and went.  Some traffic moved further South on the 67 mile stretch (too far from the bath house for me).  Here we are looking back up the way, Northward.
Four captured this shot and dressed it up with some filter app.

This pic is of the first day's sunset.  It was dark when we stopped (near the deer).

Both of these are around "sunrise" over the Gulf and are without filter or manipulation of any kind.

Surprisingly, both the kids were great at sleeping in.  My coffee bell rings pretty early!

Sometimes we would cover the tents hoping to keep sand out but it was so blowy that it was a losing battle.  After a few days even the towels were covered in sand and salt brine.

Fire building was a favorite pastime.  We collected wood there - some of it big, some small, all in various stages of still damp.  The kids liked the fire work a lot.  All I did was enjoy.

C, aka Four

Bocce Ball was a new game for me and lots of fun.
I basically rocked it.  

This kite has been with us for sometime.  Flying a kite at the beach is a tradition for us.
I really wanted to buy a new kite at a super cool kite store up in Boulder, but this one is still in great shape.  We did lose it's little spinning corkscrew tail on this trip.

This was taken from my cot.  The ability to watch the moon rise and arc across the night sky ... the Milky Way and all those stars ... probably my favorite part.  Not sure ... everything except the blowing sand was really cool.

It took three solid hours and 12 bucks worth of quarters to get the sand out of the car.  Yesterday we power washed all the gear.

 I'm actually almost ready to head down there again!  Next time I'm going to pack my change of clothes in ziplock bags!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Traveling a bit - last weekend was the annual girlfriend's weekend.  We hung out in San Antonio.  There is something precious about sharing time with people who have known you ever since when.

I came home wishing  Four and Five could see the long lasting  effects of hurtful words.  It's way too easy to see everyone's baggage when you were there when they first began to carry it along through life.  I can't see mine, but routine readers likely can.  Obviously, for me, there is the pain of being the only living member of the family of my birth.  My younger brother came up in one small conversation - someone said he was just epic back in the day.  He was outstanding at everything a boy becoming a man is measured by.  I didn't see it then but it's obvious now.  Back then I just liked him because he was funny and because he was my little brother.  It was good to remember the high school kid of him.  I remembered walking by the bathroom we shared and seeing him shaving his arms in the sink.  "What are you doing T-ray?" I asked taking it in stride, I mean, I didn't even raise an eyebrow even though he was using my newly acquired "Flicker" razor, I was used to him.  He was curious and able to focus, he was pretty intense.  I guess we all were.  Anyway, he hadn't begun shaving yet, but he wanted to see what it felt like so he shaved his arms from the elbow down to the wrist - both arms.  Why both arms I remember asking and he said because he liked it and because he thought both arms shaved would be less noticeable than having just one bare arm.  I said why didn't you shave your legs like I do and he said that would be weird and every kid in the locker room would find it troubling.  I laughed at that, but he probably wasn't kidding.

We have a trip over to Two's big event - Southern Maker's planned. Leaving early tomorrow for the rest of the week.  Next week we will be camping at the National Seashore in tents ... the cicadas seem to be singing about the shoreline right now.  Max delights in capturing then releasing only to snag again and again the locust who frequent these back yard trees.  I'm sitting outside (alone) while I write this tonight.  Larry is out with one of our daughters and the other (home from school for a few more days) is going through "her boxes" in her room.  I think she has enjoyed looking at the mementos of her earlier life.

I have been careful to keep their treasures safe but it seems to be time for the adult kids to take their boxes to their homes.  I had wondered why my mother didn't save "my things" and have decided that she got rid of them when she moved.  To say she wasn't sentimental would be an understatement.  I wish I had understood her rather than just know her.  It's good when your kids get you.

Well, here's Four now.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Tommy's bell

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Yeah the wars they will
Be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold
And bought again
The dove is never free

Ring the bells 
(ring the bells)
 that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything 
(there is a crack in everything)
That's how the light gets in

Yesterday this picture was received in cell phone video format - I "screen shot" it, ran it through an app (PRISMA) to render this which I think captures the spirit of the bell as well as any image might.  It was sent to me from the best man at my brother's wedding to his last wife - Tommy inherited the grandchildren, so dearly cherished, after a time during that last union.  I think those little relationships were valued as truly precious and appreciated by him.  He was estranged from his own daughter for reasons beyond my understanding, tangled as they were by the hasty shotgun wedding followed by a nasty divorce some several years later.  He wasn't to meet his grandson ... or the granddaughter who arrived after his death.  I think time would have restored that relationship ... but time ran out.  The absent father of a step-daughter found in what turned out to be his last years, or maybe it was grace, provided happy faced grandchildren to ring this bell in remembrance of their Papa Tom as they called him. His friend, the kids other granddad, hung Tommy's bell.  Very sweet.