Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday: Beach Moon

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. To see many, many more outdoor photos or to post some of your own, please head on over to her blog.

Can you believe it's already the end of July? I sure can't. This summer is ripping by much too quickly. But at least I have our annual trip to Rehoboth Beach to look forward to, at the end of August. I can already feel that sand between my toes! Here's a shot of the moon rising over the beach on a cool evening, a couple of years back.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday: Sampling Shenandoah

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. To see many, many more outdoor photos or to post some of your own, please head on over to her blog.

M and I spent this past Fourth of July weekend at Shenandoah National Park, one of our favorite places. I'm not the greatest outdoorswoman, but I do like getting out and communing with nature occasionally. And M loves it – takes him back to his younger days as an Eagle Scout. And although I'm a flatlander at heart, M loves the mountains and seems to become more and more relaxed and happy, as the altitude increases. So for this week's Outdoor Wednesday, I thought I'd just post a handful of photos I've taken on our visits to Shenandoah over the last few years. It's a beautiful part of the country and a very pleasant place to spend a few days – especially in the early fall – with all sorts of interesting plants and wildlife to see. Just watch out for the deer ticks!

Great views of the beautiful Shenadoah Valley.

Young buck.

Looking for a picnic basket?

Gorgeous mountain laurel blooms every spring.

I think these strange-looking plants are called turkey beard.

Outside one of several gift shops, playing with my travel doll.

Waiting for the sunset.

And here it is!

Lazybones – how I usually end up after every hike!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Random Photo Monday: Henry and Lizzie

When my husband's grandmother died, she left a wonderful collection of photos behind. And as I was the only one in the family who had any interest in genealogy or family history research, I inherited most of them. And this morning when I was looking around for some photo that would be appropriate for the month of July, this one caught my eye.

This is a snapshot of M's great-grandparents, Henry and Elizabeth Horn (or "Ma & Pa Horn" as it says on the back of the photo). He was born July 6, 1866 in San Antonio, Texas. And she died on July 23, 1960, at the age of 95, also in San Antonio. The picture was probably taken around 1920, in front of their house on their farm land near the corner of San Pedro and what became Basse Road. If you know anything about San Antonio, you'll realize just how much that area has changed in almost a hundred years.

Henry Felician Horn was a member of one of the Alsatian families who settled in Bexar County around the time Texas became a part of the US. His mother and father were both born in France, and came to Texas by way of New Orleans in about 1856. Elizabeth Locke Horn (yes, "lock-horn" – you heard right) was an interesting character – I'm determined to write a book about her someday. Called "Lizzie" or "Hattie" by the family, she was the daughter of Texas pioneers from Tennessee and Illinois who came to San Antonio in one of the wagon trains of settlers sometime in the mid-19th century. She and Henry had six children, and my husband's grandfather was the next to the youngest. And although she's looking fairly serious here, in all the other photos I have of Lizzie Locke (that's how I think of her), she's always got a nice smile on her face – always looks like she was having such a wonderful time!

Blue Monday: Sunday at the Pool

Blue Monday is hosted weekly by Smiling Sally.
To see more offerings, or to participate yourself,
please head on over to her blog.

Here's one of the reasons summer is my favorite season of the year! Although I don't spend that much time at the pool these days, I still like knowing all that clear blue water is there waiting for me under the cloudless blue skies of a warm summer day.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #133

Not sure how it happened, but the first half of July just zipped right by me. Better start savoring the summer or it'll be gone before I know it. Well, I'll start slowing down right after I get this week's Friday Fill-Ins posted. So here we go:

1. A microwave oven and Trader Joe's frozen foods section make a quick and easy dinner.

2. Sacred Hearts (by Sarah Dunant) is the book I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of _____. OK – ready for this? Two things always come back to me in July. One of them a happy memory and one not so much. First of all, my father died in July when I was ten years old, and I remember that, every year when July rolls around. I know that's morbid and depressing, but there it is. However, July is also the month my cousin MLB was married back in (well, some years ago!) and I was her matron of honor, and she was a beautiful bride, and I've always thought of her as the little sister I never had. So that's a very pleasant and uplifting memory to balance out the bad. Now . . . what was the question, Dr. Freud?

4. I suppose it was obvious that I really couldn't think of anything for this one.

5. They say if you tell your dreams they won't come true. Or is it that they will come true? Guess I need to brush up on my old sayings, huh?

6. When I have a decision to make, I always hope I'll have a lot of time to think it over. It doesn't usually turn out that way, but I always hope.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to possibly finishing up that book I'm reading, tomorrow my plans include doing a little shopping and running a few errands – unless it rains, in which case I'll probably just hang around home and read blogs, and Sunday, I want to get some reading done!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday: Travels With Kayla

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. To see many, many more outdoor photos or to post some of your own, please head on over to her blog.

This is Outdoor Wednesday #27, but for me it's actually #1. And for my first offering, I'm posting a few doll shots. I've written before about my doll collecting mania, and also about my travel doll. Kayla is a member of the Barbie family and as she's a rather tiny doll (about 3 inches tall), she fits nicely inside a purse or a pocket or a suitcase – so she's perfect for taking along on excursions. She never changes outfits, so she acquires a sort of "Where's Waldo" effect in all her photos. But she's game for just about anything. She's been to the beach and the mountains, and to big cities like New York and Chicago. Since she came to live with me, she's never been out of the USA; although I suspect she originated in China or Japan. Generally, she lives in a display case in our dining room, but she does love an occasional outdoor romp. Here are a few shots from some of her adventures.

Here she is enjoying the view from a peak in Shenandoah National Park.

Cooling off in a friend's rock garden, near a bubbling water spout.

Hiding out in a leggy plant on our balcony.

Making a new friend in the forest.

On a visit to Blackwater Falls WV, a few years ago.

Checking out some views at Blackwater Falls.

And finally, relaxing in a Texas garden.
Looks like a creepy-crawly is just about to attack from the other side of that leaf!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Random Photo Monday: A Salute To Our Fathers

Well, these photos are really not exactly random. For my first Random Photo Monday post in quite a while, I'm putting up a couple of family shots. Both taken during World War II – my father in his Navy whites (with the sun in his eyes, darn it!), and M's stepdad in his Army uniform. Handsome dudes, weren't they?

The strange thing is that both were born in the month of October, and both died in the month of July – my father on July 12th and M's on July 4th (holidays tend to be rather traumatic in both our families).

[Cross-posted at Children of the Lone Star.]

Blue Monday: Shenandoah Sunset

Blue Monday is hosted weekly by Smiling Sally.
To see more offerings, or to participate yourself,
please head on over to her blog.

The hubby and I spent the July 4th weekend at Shenandoah National Park. We got there on the 3rd, and were a little disappointed to find that it was cloudy and really quite unseasonably cool up there in the mountains. Fortunately, it cleared up and turned nice and warm next day, for the Glorious Fourth. However, all the cloud cover did provide a very nice sunset. The Shenandoah Valley is always a patchwork of greens, blues, and golds, but it was especially so that evening when I snapped this photo.

For more about our visit to the Park, see my post "Checking Back In."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #132

I didn't post a Friday Fill-Ins last week, so I guess this is my first one for this month. When the 4th of July holiday is over, I always feel like the summer is half done – although I guess that's not true, technically. Anyway, time goes on its flight. So here we go for this week:

1. The last thing I ate was Honey Nut Cheerios and fresh blueberries.

2. Kleenex is something I recently bought. M and I have both been fighting colds for a week or so now.

3. When it rains, it makes me want to go to bed and stay asleep until the sun comes back.

4. My hubby was the first person I talked to today. My hubby is the first person I talk to everyday. Has been for more years than you've probably had hot dinners. Well, except for those nasty days I've spent in the hospital. (OK - the bit about the hot dinners might have been an exaggeration.)

5. Hugs are sometimes more fun for the hugger than they are for the huggee. Just ask a two-year-old.

6. _____ extra comfort. Hmmmm. All I can think of is Lindsay Wagner and those Sleep Number commercials.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the new season of "Eureka" on what is now the SyFy network, tomorrow my plans include doing some shopping, returning some library books, and watching one of our Netflix DVDs (probably "Valkyrie"), and Sunday, I want to check in on the Tour De France, finish up some book reviews, and get some reading done!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Checking Back In

I've been neglecting my Joysweb blog recently, concentrating on my book blog (and not doing a very good job with that one, either). Well, I've had this awful cold for the last week or so, and haven't been doing much of anything besides blowing my nose and sleeping. But I know that's not a very good excuse – I'm just getting lazy now that summer's here, I suppose.

M and I spent the July Fourth weekend at Shenandoah National Park – that's getting to be a tradition with us. We stayed in a cabin in the Canyon area of the Skyland region of the Park, with a great view of the Shenandoah Valley, and got to see lots of fireworks spread out across the valley on the evening of the 4th. I have to say, though, the display put on by the hundreds of fireflies outside our cabin door was almost as spectacular, if not quite as colorful.

The view from our cabin at Skyland.

I call it a cabin, but they're really more like motel rooms – not terribly rustic (ours came equipped with a big-screen TV and complimentary Starbucks coffee), although fairly secluded and very spacious.

The "Canyon" range of cabins.

Not, of course, what my hubby would prefer, but he's learned over the years that I'm just not a camper. M has fond memories of Scout camps and boyhood summers spent at his grandparents' place in the Texas Highland Lakes area. Swimming and canoeing and building campfires by rubbing sticks together. He'd love to just hike into the woods, put up a tent and spend a couple of weeks fishing and cooking his meals over an open flame.

Me, I'm a city girl – never really got the hang of the outdoor life, although I can very happily look at it for hours! But as far as I'm concerned, you're never really on vacation until you've ordered room service at least once.

So, for us, the cabins and lodges at Shenandoah are a nice compromise. Didn't get to do a lot of hiking this time because the weather wasn't terribly cooperative, but we did go on one fairly long hike that we'd never done before: the Pocosin Mission hike. If you're familiar with the Park, it's in the Central District and it's one of the easier hikes – only 1.9 miles round-trip (although it's uphill all the way on the way back!), and the trail is along a fire road which makes the walking easy. It ends up at the ruins of an old house which was part of an Episcopal Mission there, alongside more ruins from the remains of the old church.

Ruins of the old house.

The old stones steps are almost all that remain of the old church.

A little farther along is an abandoned burial ground with some very eroded tombstones. I'm including a couple of photos from that area. The graves were very interesting – almost hidden by the foliage, with only the vaguest traces of inscriptions remaining. I spent quite a while looking around and taking pictures. Of course, M waited until we were back in the cabin before telling me that the graveyard was one of the places in the Park where we were most likely to encounter snakes!

One of the graves in the abandoned burial ground.

Close-up of the gravestone - it almost looked like there was an inscription,
but it was too decayed to read.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Foggy Mountain Narcissism

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