Saturday, December 26, 2015

I Suck at Holidailies plus a Saturday Snap

OK, it's official now: I just can't handle Holidailies. I think this is the third year in a row that I've completely bombed out at trying to "regularly update" this blog during the Christmas season. I did have some pretty good excuses this year (two rounds of oral surgery, lots of pain meds which kept me comatose a good deal of the time), but still.... Three years in a row?

Actually, the whole month of December has been kind of weird around here. In addition to the fore-mentioned dental adventures, the weather here in central Texas just hasn't been very cooperative lately. Which is OK with me -- I love the sun and warmth and blue skies. But it did sort of keep me from getting into a festive, Christmas-y mood. It shouldn't really bother me that much, having grown up in San Antonio where Christmas Eve was usually 90-degrees and humid. When we'd gather at our grandparents' house for the family get-together, my grandmother would spend the entire evening yelling at people to "close the door and stop letting all the air conditioning out!"

But now the day has come and gone, I'm (sort of) on the mend (we won't discuss the reaction to the antibiotic at this time -- luckily for ya'll), and I think I'm finally getting into the spirit of the season. Also getting the urge to blog again. Maybe there's life after tooth-removal after all.

So I'm going to try to post to this blog a little more often during the rest of December. Maybe not daily (I think the hubby has planned a few out-and-abouts), but enough to keep me from feeling like such a slacker. Because I know you're all on the edge of your comfy chairs, waiting for my next bit of bloggy trivia.

Well, here's today's. On Christmas Eve, I generally try to take a photo of Michael and me together. Nothing formal -- just a snapshot of the two of us, for my own personal album. Usually with the tree or some of our toys. Neither of us is really great at posing, and even though we both love photography, we both also dislike having our own pictures taken. So it's usually a bit of a struggle. But this year it turned out to be pretty impossible. All of the photos were generally disastrous -- trouble with the lighting, camera timer doing strange stuff, but mostly because in every one of them I looked like I was being tortured. This was one of the worst of the lot, but at least I don't look like I'm ready to punch somebody.
Total Fail: Attempting to Take the Annual Christmas Snap

And just one more tidbit. See that skirt? Red-and-green plaid, pleated, rayon-silk blend. I bought that item at Talbot's in downtown Washington DC around 1989. It's older than most of you are, Dear Readers! I've worn it on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (or sometimes both!) every year for the last 25 years. One of these days, I'm going to take it out of the closet, and it's just going to crumble into dusty bits and blow away in a poof. It'll give me something to write about for Holidailies!

Linking up with Saturday Snapshot, too. I know that's a terrible snap, so here's a better one. I call this one Michael, the Mail, and the Blue Skies of Christmas:

Christmas just the way I like it

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Festivus!

Let the airing of grievances begin!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Under the Tree (Part 1)

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

Michael has this thing for model trains. He loved them as a little boy, and he still loves them now that he's a bigger boy. But for most of our married life we've lived in very small spaces, that really weren't roomy enough for even a small model train set-up. He always wanted a train around the Christmas tree, but we generally had a table-top size tree -- again, not spacious enough for a train.

But now that we're living in a bigger place, and have a bigger tree with lots of room around it, he's started accumulating train stuff to play with. A couple of years ago, he got a Polar Express train set, I think (at first) mostly because that's one of my favorite Christmas movies (he's learned to like it too, I believe, after some resistance at first). And last year, he acquired the house to go with the train. (You'll notice that the train is a lovely shade of blue.)

The convertible is one of this year's additions, and just slightly out of place in the snowy landscape -- the driver must be a real outdoor enthusiast.

Also this year, he's added some figures -- including Santa -- and a little Santa's workshop structure. Very cute. And (I think because I'm such a fan of the Back to the Future movies) a time machine in a DeLorean! I'm not sure how that fits in with the Christmas theme, but it's one of my favorite parts of the set-up. Now we just need tiny Marty and Doc Brown figures to make it complete.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Time is Here!

Every year I sign up for Holidailies in December, fully intending to update the blog regularly with a bunch of fascinating holiday posts. Of course, it never works out that way. And this year, here we are already five days into the month and I've posted exactly... nothing. It's not that I'm lazy.... Well, actually it is that I'm lazy. Mostly, anyway. But busy, too.

But I didn't want to let another day go by without putting up some sort of holiday post. So, here's a shot of the hubby putting the Christmas wreath on the front door...

...and another of said wreath after he got it all adjusted.

So there we are -- holiday post numero uno.  Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Season's Greetings! And more to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Fairy Garden

(Click on photo to enlarge)

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Bastrop Fires

If you don't live in Texas, you might not know about the fires that have been raging in Bastrop County, just east of Austin this last week. Around 4600 acres have been burned, and nearly 50 "home-like structures" destroyed. So far, it hasn't been as bad as the 2011 fire which lasted two months and destroyed over a thousand homes -- and I guess that's something to be thankful for. But it's still been a terrible time for the folks who live over there. The fire was extensive enough to send smoke billowing into Austin earlier this week, and we could see it in the distance, even though we live pretty far west of the city. This was the view from our front porch on Wednesday afternoon:

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Those aren't ordinary clouds on the horizon -- it's smoke over Austin in the distance. And it hung around all evening:

The fire-fighters say they think the fires are about 40% under control now, but a lot of people are still displaced and wondering if they'll have homes to return to. And with the extra-dry conditions we're having this fall, more fires are still a possibility.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but -- pray for rain.

Saturday Snapshot is now hosted by Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads.
To see more snaps or participate yourself, just head on over to her blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Foxy Visitor

Since we moved out here to the sticks (sorry!) this semi-rural area, we've seen several foxes around our neighborhood. It's always a thrill to see them out running around, since mostly they stay hidden. But lately we've had one napping in our backyard patio area.

I guess it's a good place for a siesta -- very secluded, and this time of year we're not out in the garden as much as we would have been a few weeks ago. At least, not in the middle of the day.

He comes mostly in the late morning and afternoon. I suppose all the rest of the time he's out hunting.

He's really a gorgeous creature and lots of fun to watch. (From a distance and through a window, of course! Which is why the shots are all a little fuzzy.) He looks sort of like a terrier, but he's also very cat-like -- especially when he seems to be sleeping with his eyes just a teensy bit open.

I'm pretty sure he knows we're here, and occasionally he'll glance up at the window while we're watching him. But he's really very nonchalant about the whole business -- a pretty cool customer.

Saturday Snapshot is now hosted by Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads.
To see more snaps or participate yourself, just head on over to her blog.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Blue Monday: Floored

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

I'm not really sure how it got to be the second week in September already. That just doesn't seem possible, does it? I think my confusion has something to do with the fact that I spent much of last week helping the Hubby put a vinyl tile floor (and some new shelving) in the garage. Not really my idea of fun, but the new stuff does look better than the stained concrete underneath.

Actually, the tiles themselves weren't hard to install. They just snap together -- sort of like LEGO blocks for adults. We just put them where we wanted them and then tapped them down with our toes. Easy-peasy.

The hard part was emptying everything out of the garage, and then putting it all back. The project took several days, and was completely exhausting.

Oh, and you might ask: where's the blue? Well, the tiles are black and silver, but I was wearing bright blue work gloves the whole time.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Time Flies

OK, I know retailers need to think ahead, but seriously folks -- it's just too soon for the Halloween theme, isn't it? This is the display that greeted me at the supermarket entrance today.

Are we really ready for this? What about the whole month of September?

Actually, these were pottery pumpkins, and meant to be planters (I think). So I guess they're not just for Halloween. But still....

Monday, August 3, 2015

Blue Monday: Here Comes August

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

So....First Monday in August! How can that be? Where are those long, lazy days of summer that I look forward to all year? Somehow they managed to whiz right by while I was still coming out of my winter/springtime doldrums. I just looked at a newspaper this morning (remember those?) and one of the article headings was something like "Say Goodbye to Summer and Get Back to School" !!!!???? Come on -- it's just now August, folks! We still have at least another month of summer, and I'm not ready to say goodbye just yet.

Oops -- sorry about that. Didn't really mean to get so carried away. But I'm one of those people who would be perfectly happy to skip all those other seasons and just have perpetual summer. A year without coats, sweaters, boots or blankets -- that would be my ideal year. No snow, no ice. Just 365 days of sunshine -- is that really too much to ask?

OK. Enough bellyaching. I was going to say.... First Monday in August, and first Blue Monday of the month. Today's photo is one I snapped last week during a shopping trip at a local HEB store. It's one of those huge Texas-sized supermarkets, with hundreds of aisles to meander along. All right -- maybe not hundreds, but lots and lots of aisles. And also lots of little kiosks and counters with free samples. Actually, on a Saturday you could probably eat a pretty good lunch there, just from all the samples. They also tend to put up some interesting promotional displays. This is one I loved -- a golfer built from beer cartons!

It was a little hard to get a good shot -- they had him sort of hidden away between the cheese counters and the wine aisle. I thought it was pretty nifty (nifty? just how old are you, lady?), and wished they'd put it out where it was a little more visible. Apparently the Michelob company puts their name on golf bags and other golfing paraphernalia, so I guess it makes sense. And it had some lovely shades of blue.

And since I know you're wondering -- no, they weren't giving away free samples of Michelob.

Please note: I am in no way affiliated with the people who make or sell Michelob -- although I have drunk their beer now and then. I am also not connected with the HEB stores, I just shop there. I was not compensated monetarily for posting this photo. But I did get a bit of a giggle from it. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

National Coloring Book Day!

So, after National Hot Dog Day, now we've got National Coloring Book Day.

August 2nd is one of those "who knew?" holidays. But apparently this has been going on for several years now. I'm pretty sure it's mostly promoted by Dover Publications, since they produce so many wonderful coloring books -- including the "Creative Haven" line intended specifically for adults who like to color.

I've always loved to color. When I was a child, it was one of my favorite pastimes. And I continued to love it after I got to be old enough to be embarrassed about buying those enormous boxes of crayons ("Are those for your grandchildren, ma'am?" No -- they're for me.)  And long before it became a national craze. Over the years I've amassed a huge collection of coloring books. Unfortunately, they're all in a box stored somewhere in our garage -- so, no photos! (Bummer.) But these are some of the books I've acquired more recently:

I've noticed that all the current hoopla promoting coloring books for adults seems to play up the "relaxation" and "creativity" aspects of the hobby -- and I think that's a valid claim. Coloring can be almost like meditation, and I suppose it does inspire creativity, in a way. But I've always liked it just because it's FUN!

Please note: I have absolutely NO connection with Dover or any of the other publishers of coloring books shown here. Also no affiliation with any of the promoters of National Coloring Book Day. I just love the hobby.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

National Hot Dog Day

And we're all ready!!!


And HERE are a few places to get free and almost-free dogs today.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Blue Monday: Obligatory Bluebonnet Post

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

When I was looking around for a subject for Blue Monday, it suddenly occurred to me that I never posted any bluebonnet photos this year. Heavens!!! And we had a really great crop this year, too. Well, it's never too late for bluebonnets, so here we go.

When we went out on our annual looking-for-bluebonnets drive back in April, we found a huge and amazing field of the flowers (plus a few Texas paintbrushes, wine cups, and Indian blankets) just outside Marble Falls.

There really were bluebonnets as far as the eye could see.

It not only looked gorgeous, it smelled absolutely wonderful! With my allergies and asthma getting ready to attack, I couldn't stick around very long. But it really was a beautiful sight.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Daddy Long Legs

With all the wet weather we've had this spring, the bug population around here has zoomed. I'm not a real insect enthusiast, but I do like taking photos of some of the more interesting critters, and this caught my eye yesterday. Now I know that technically spiders aren't really "bugs" (and the hubby tells me that daddy long legs aren't like other spiders -- more like ticks), but all these creepy-crawlies seem pretty much the same to me.

At first, I thought "Tarantula!"

We have several of these clumps (or clusters) of daddy long leg spiders (or do you call them granddaddy long legs?) under the eaves of our house. At first, it just looks like one big spider, but as you get closer, you realize it's a bunch of individuals making up a huge clot of thingies (sort of like the Borg in Star Trek).

Togetherness, spider-style

And every now and then, one spider will make a break for it and go it alone. I'm wondering if it comes back to the bunch after reconnoitering or if it's on its own for good.

Leaving the nest

Saturday Snapshot is now hosted by Melinda @ West Metro Mommy Reads.
To see more snaps or participate yourself, just head on over to her blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 646

Another week, another muttering.  Hosted by LunaNiƱa.  Here we go....

1. Windy :: Chicago / Fort Worth / Pampa (that's in the Texas "panhandle," folks -- the wind never stops)
2. Left out :: abandoned / omitted / forgotten  (Geez, I'm getting all depressed here.)
3. Hot dog :: the snack bar at the Eastern National Doll Show / Nathan's Famous / the old Der Wienerschnitzel chain in San Antonio back in the '60s
4. Pop :: ... goes the weasel
5. Hunger :: Games (I haven't read the books or seen the movies, but it's in my head just the same.)
6. Square :: Huey Lewis ("hip to be square")
7. Unhinge :: freak out / discombobulate  (can you be combobulated?)
8. *!#$ :: bleep!
9. Toenail :: fungus (Those John McEnroe commercials are the worst!)
10. Irritation :: toenail fungus / John McEnroe / hunger / left out / windy

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Unconscious Mutterings: Week 645

Time for another round of Unconscious Mutterings, hosted by LunaNiƱ

I keep forgetting to mutter. But not this week! Here goes:

1. Shack :: Chicken (Anyone remember the old Chicken Shack on the Drag in Austin, back in the '60s?)
2. Cute :: the hubby (He gets cuter as he gets older. Nice, the way that works out.)
3. Factor :: Max (My favorite makeup was always by Max Factor. Mostly unavailable in the US these days. Bummer.)
4. Beach :: Rehoboth in Delaware (My favorite summer vacation spot.)

5. Toddler :: Run the other way! (Yes, I'm a terrible person -- but toddlers terrify me.)
6. Cups :: of coffee (I'm addicted.)
7. Leaning :: Tower of Pisa (Still hoping to get to Italy someday.)
8. Thailand :: ??? (Still hoping to get there someday, too.)
9. Beanie :: Babies
10. Schools :: out for summer!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blue Monday: Memorial Blues

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

We're not flying our flag today because of the rain. Michael is an old Boy Scout (well, old-ish) and has a thing about not displaying the flag in the rain. I think he also just doesn't want to get wet. And I can certainly identify with that.

Anyway, if we were flying the flag today, here's how it would look:

Happy Blue Monday! And I hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stones: Stacked, Not Rolling

Stacked stone circle, Llano TX, March 2015
Stacked stones, Llano TX, March 2015
Click on photos to enlarge.

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by 

For more Wordless Wednesday offerings,
please visit the website here.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Texas Hawk

Travis County TX, October 2013

Possibly Red-tailed Hawk?

Taking off

Outdoor Wednesday is hosted by 

For more Wordless Wednesday offerings,
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