Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Scavenging

No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist. 
Oscar Wilde

Time for the June Scavenger Hunt brought to you by Made With Love. Please visit her in Australia if you, too, would like to join or view this most fun creative outlet. Even if you don't post it, fun to come up with your own interpretation.


http://suzzie43.blogspot.com.au/


The June List

J is for
Rust
Smooth
Classic
Imagination
Similar
Parallel
Socks
Bead
Mug
Post
Whatever You Want


 My Take

 J if for

Julie. That would be me. The burger joint I was visiting has been since 1926. Not me.

Rust
My brother, Jordan, sent me this windmill. I put together, screw by screw, all by myself.

Smooth
The water falling into this waterfall is beautifully smooth before the fall.
Classic

You win Lewis Carroll. I visited an exhibit featuring Alice in Wonderland at the University of Texas Ransom Center last week. Much fun especially since I was reading the book at the time.

 Imagination


Come to find out, Salvador Dali did 12 illustrations for an Alice in Wonderland book. What a combo of imagination -- Lewis Carroll and Salvador Dali.


Similar

My husband and youngest son - the Bama Chef boy (home for a week after a year and a half. Yes, those sheets I showed you the other month finally got changed!)

 Parallel

View from the hammock. Three lines looked parallel to me.
Socks
I went a little crazy on these, but I love them. You got your Toulouse Lautrec, Vermeer, Monet, Edvard Munch, Van Gogh, Matisse, and your Botticelli. Right there on your feet.

Bead
Pride of Barbados or if you prefer, Bird of Paradise. I thought the unopened blossoms and the detail on the end of the stamen (anthers?) looked like beads. 

Mug
My three sons mugging for the camera last night.
Post
University of Texas night light.
Whatever I Want
Upper McKinney Falls

That's all I got. Here's July's List:

July's List
D is for?
Wide
Edge
cylindrical
Feelings
Mysterious
Weed
Joke
pile
Speed
Night
Whatever you want

Any takers?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer Reading List 2015

Medicine for the soul. 
Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes




Since I've "retired" I haven't been able to get back on track with my writing, but I've certainly enjoyed the attack on my To Be Read Shelf. In the past five and a half months, I only purchased a few new books and have diligently read from those old piles. My stacks are now down to one packed shelf, a basket, and a few books on top of another basket.

I've vicariously traveled to World War II France --  twice, New Guinea,  a Virginia farm,  Baltimore, Armenia,  the English countryside, Islamabad and Lahore, southern Illinois, India, South America and through a looking glass.

I've eaten the best food with great chefs, visited seedy, intense and scary places as well as the most lovely of sites. I've followed along with the most interesting of people -- many of whom I liked and some I didn't.  Fine writing.

'Tis time to list my summer reading wish list.  Here's what I'm attempting for the summer. Those who know me are aware that I'll switch maps here and there with a trip to the library or will walk out of Book Club with a few new treasures in my arms. Alas my intentioned route gets mucked up.  I'm always surprised by the avenues I take.  Or those I veer onto. Or the dirt roads I just plain try because I normally wouldn't and I felt like it that day.

Here's the proposed map for this summer. (I've provided a link to Amazon for information purposes, but please, please support your local bookstore.)

Honeydew - Edith Pearlman

Euphoria - Lily King

The Children's Crusade - Ann Packer

The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah

Dubliners - James Joyce

The Tao of Travel - Paul Theroux


The Painted Girls - Cathy Marie Buchanan

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll


Zealot - Reza Aslan

An Unnecessary Woman - Rabin Almeddine

My Time - Making the Most of the Bonus Decades After Fifty - Abigail Trafford

A Fighting Chance - Elizabeth Warren


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Diaz

Comes the Watchman Harper Lee


Second Nature - Michael Pollan


The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

And a Re-Read
for the third time.

Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon

Last, but most certainly not least, are a few from friends of mine that have published books this year.

Take My Husband Please - Kimberly Jayne


All The Innuendo -- Half the Fact  Kimberly Jayne

Oveta Culp Hobby - Debra Winegarten

Matchbook - Desiree Prosapio

What's on your summer reading list?

Support Your Local Bookstore


Monday, June 8, 2015

May Scavenger Hunt - Late


 Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. 
Henry David Thoreau


June, and I'm now getting to my May Scavenger Hunt. So it goes sometimes. Without further adieu.

http://suzzie43.blogspot.com/2015/06/scavenger-hunt-may-2015.html


The May List:

Blue

A Matisse Cut-out

Crystal
My grandfather was a Swedish Covenant minister. He used this bowl for baptisms. 

Vintage
1950's Red Wing Pottery. Vintage -- just like me. My mother had one like the long vessel. She would use it to make her floral arrangements with gladiolus to enter in the Mower County Fair every August. The pitcher was hers. I used it to make a purple petunia arrangement for entry one year. Second place in the Junior Division as I recall.

Fluff
Baby Geese

Global
We have three large Chinese Tallow trees beside our cabin. Each spring the bees come and they are here right now. I walk up the stairs and I can hear them all in the trees, buzzing. I chose this for global as the bees are disappearing. I'm glad to have them. You can see one on the blossom.
Mask
I bought this in Venice and carried it around and home in my backpack. Whenever my friend, Kris, comes to my house, she turns it over so she can't see it. It scares her. She says she never would have babysat at my house.

Bus
I drove this beast for 11 years. 160,000 miles. Had a lighter blue one for 120,000 miles before that. Drove those three boys everywhere from baseball practice to the Field of Dreams to Lambeau Field. One time we were headed for Grand Lake, Colorado and it died 1/4 mile from the summit of Trail Ridge Road. I don't know if you've ever been on Trail Ridge Road, but not a really good place to vapor lock. Why we were up there in a bus with 150,000 miles on it -- well, why not? After a few minutes rest, my husband patted the dashboard and it started. Figured it we got to the top, we could roll all the way back to Texas. Made it back just fine and got 10,000 more miles out of it before donating it. Youngest son got to drive it to school his senior year. He loved it.

Frame
The new frame for our entrance to the cabin. My husband has put in over a 100 hours painting and setting it. Almost done.

Collection
Assorted collections -- I was originally thinking books. And then I saw the reindeer. The trinkets from around the world. The photos and the other assorted junk. Yes, I know it needs yet another reorganization, but seems like I just did it. (Why does it always look worse when I take a picture of it? Looks fine when I'm sitting at my desk.)

 Poster
There should not be an apostrophe in The Andersons. Gotta fix that one of these days.

Ribbon
My Ribbon Box. I use them as pagemarkers for the journals I make.

Whatever I Want
The Magnolia trees were blooming last month. So pretty and the blossoms only last a day.



Okay, thinking I best get started on June.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting for the Rain


All was silent as before —
All silent save the dripping rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The calendar says June. I missed posting in May. I'm trying to piece together what happened to the month. Here's my excuse.


As many have read, we've had great rains in Texas the entire month of May. I've refrained from posting on Facebook or in my blog as my heart has broken for those swept away in the flood waters. I can't imagine the grief that has wrought.

As I thought of those in such pain, I wasn't just watching the rain fall. We'd made some changes out at the lake cabin the past couple years. We hired out to add a crushed granite driveway and a stone walkway and patio. The patio had previously been dirt and the walkway a haphazardly placed potpourri of steppng stones. I often called it The Drunk Test.

Our Central Texas drought had not really afforded an opportunity to know how the new additions might fare in rain. If the makeshift French Drain tunnels we had added ourselves on the other side of the house could accommodate downpours, let alone massive drops.

The driveway and walkway/patio fared well, but our own handiwork did not.

Back when we had rain, the house across the street was an old place like ours built in the early 1960's.  That house has since been torn down and replaced with a mini-mansion. Built higher than most homes on the isle, its slanted-toward-the-street-driveway had no trouble funneling the rain to my house creating a large buildup of water in the driveway.

Combined with our lack of gutters, suffice to say, the drains couldn't handle the overflow. I'm now quite adept at manning a shovel and broom in the midst of a lightening storm. I spent over $200 on barriers that grow when they get wet. By layering those I was able to create a more contained running stream -- one that kept the rain in the garage and running down the side of the house rather than in the downstairs TV/bedroom/Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. My neighbors helped greatly with shovel work as well, digging the rocks out of the trench to allow more movement for the water.

This is after it was flowing and the rain had slowed way down. Back by the gate is where the water built up. I never took a photo of that. Perhaps I was too busy?

Each day, I awaited the rain. My husband works in town so I was the babysitter of the homestead. As I sat on the dock watching the clouds and the radar on my phone,  I felt like I was Waiting for Godot. Unlike that play, I could time the storms approximate arrival and try to assess the severity. I'd gather my candles and flashlights. A can of tuna and Melba toast. Box of leftover Cheezits. Bottle of wine. Liter of water. I'd hang out in the TV/Packer Hall of Fame room, listening to local weather, until the wind and rain took out the satellite.

Prepared, but not too excited about it all, I willed myself to not be scared of the tornadoes nearby. Or worry if I would have to again venture out into the storm to move my barriers or dig a little more. I took deep breaths and just went for it. Raincoat clad and swim shoes on my feet.

Some days it hardly rained. The air instead hung heavy with humidity. The neighbors and I would gather in the street or on the dock. Stare at the sky. Wait for the next round.

Memorial Day arrived.  And the crowds wanting to boat and play in the mud-filled water. We had  a few visitors as well.

What to do on a rainy day. We started out on the dock and then moved inside when the rain came. Was pretty peaceful as everyone found something to do while we waited.





And then came the rain.


That dog was snoring. Snoring. Now that is bored.




Ended up in the downstairs due to the tornado warnings. We had a plan that all nine of us, plus three dogs, would harbor in the ten by four foot closet if need be. We do not have basements in Texas.

Water gushed into the garage and we manned brooms and shovels once again to detour toward the lake.

When the rained lessened and the tornado threats abated, several of the kids headed over to a property where my oldest son and daughter-in-law, the Texas Aggies,  were invested in newborn baby cows. You had to figure how that was going to turn out.

Stuck Truck

Fence Fixing
One of those young people visiting was new to our cabin. He sat down to dinner after the land/truck/fence adventure and remarked that he had Australians coming to his work the next day who thought that all Texans rustled cattle, fixed fences, and drove tractors. He, a native Texan, was planning on debunking that cliche as he had never, ever done those things. Now, he would have to admit it might be true.

Meanwhile, the lake is a mud pit. Limbs of trees and debris have been running by the cabin for days. Bloated fish unable to breath in the muddy water floated past. People's trash.


I know y'all wanted to see the dead carp.

A view from downstream (I couldn't believe people have their boats out there with all the debris.)

It will take a few days for the rivers flowing into the lake to finish depositing their loosened fare. Hopefully by week's end the water will clear and I can get back in the water and read while floating. Oh, wait. I mean aqua jog for hours to get in better shape. Yes, that's what I meant.

Sorely in need of rain to fill the lakes and aquifers, the storms did help to quench that thirst. They also provided a few pleasures at day's end.







A Monet. Right there in my own sky.

The rains have passed and none are forecasted for a week or more.  Although I love to hibernate at the lake, I normally know it's time to come home when I start understanding what my duck friends are saying to me. By the end of the month we were having long conversations and I was enjoying their stories.

I came home yesterday.

A quick perusal of my garden proved most disappointing.  I'd hoped for a bountiful display of tomatoes-to-be, but the tomato plants had been eaten by dirty little buggers. The eggplants hadn't moved in their height or blossomed, nor had the peppers. The gladiolus blades tilted parallel to the earth.

I did, however, come across a beauty. The first Dahlia of the season. I cut it, brought it inside, and placed it on the table beside the chair where I live. So pretty.


My husband and I try not to think of the smile on our new contractor's face when he gets paid after putting up gutters and fixing that drainage situation at the cabin. (No, we aren't tearing down the new house across the street. We just look at it with more disdain than usual.)

My babysitting the rain is done. Today I sit.

We hope the searchers have all the equipment and stamina they need to continue looking for those still not found in the flood waters. We pray for the families that suffered such great loss here in Texas and throughout the world. 

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