Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday Wanderings


New Texans? LOL

Nah.... but it was fun showing them around the capitol.

And both lovely ladies got a new hat.

Livey almost got arrested.

She also got gawked at while gawking at some of Austin's more "esoteric" inhabitants.

I think she left happy.

Leslie did too. Ain't that a nice lookin' Stetson she's wearing?

Y'all have fun.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday in Austin


No, the tree's not in Austin. I'll explain later.

I got to meet some very kind and interesting people today. I was a little more quiet than I wanted to be, but I was feeling very shy. Odd. I've read these people's writing, know things about their lives I don't know about my SIBLINGS' lives... and then I meet them in person. I really MUST update my blogroll.

Friday night, we went to the Salt Lick. For some reason, I was SURE we'd be going there on Saturday. Was good barbeque. Very good. I even liked the sauce, and I'm real fussy about my bbq sauce. As in: "If it's good meat, why does it need sauce?" This stuff though? Could be addictive.

By the time we got back to the Pa and Ma in Law's place, we were both tired. Pup was in pain too, and was having some problems walking. He fell backwards as he went in the door. All I was able to do was catch his head and keep it from knocking him out. So. Even more pain today.

Thank you... and you know who you are.

The tree is a picture from the "farm", some land that the good Pa in Law owned. 'Pup and I got married there. P-I-L had to give it up 2 years ago, as it was just getting to be too much for him to handle.

It was closer to Wimberley than to Austin, but might give you some idea of what the Hill country looks like. 'Course Austin? Is a big city. Really. It's just that I like that tree better.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Well, it's Friday.

My boss's husband passed away Tuesday morning. At almost the same time, her partner's daughter-in-law was giving birth. It was an emergency C-section, and the baby came a little early, but mother and child are both doing well.

It's been an eventful week.

'Pup and I are going to Austin today, for a blogmeeting. Gonna meet some interesting folk, I think. I'm nervous, as I'm usually afraid that "no one will like me". Ah well, we're all entitled to our own little demons in our heads.

Most of the following is just random pictures from the yard.

























If you've made it this far..

This is a picture of a wonderful place 'Pup and I found, called G'eli Imports. I could post the link under a word, but I'm in a hurry to get this laptop packed and us on the road. So, here's the link: http://www.geliimports.com/

It sells all sorts of metal chairs, tables, pottery and metal artwork.


Y'all have fun.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Life, Flowers and Fertilizer.

Sounds like the name of a new blog, doesn't it? Naaaahhhhh.

But things do flower, don't they?


This frog is for you, DM. As is the blooming thyme.
The star jasmine (aka confederate jasmine) is blooming like crazy. The fragrance is delicate and overwhelming at the same time.
The fountain is bubbling along.
More later.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I wish I could report good news.

My boss's husband is close to the end of his life. He's been moved to palliative care, and my dear boss lady...my friend...is hurting so much. Her parents came from Korea to be with her, and his family has made it here to Houston from around the world. I think it may take all of them to help her make it through this. She is stronger than she knows, but she and he had so many things yet to do.

That last had been her first thought when they'd found out about the cancer and it's extent. He couldn't die. He couldn't. They had too many plans and too many things to do yet. They had one son to get through college and another to get through high school and college, and then they were to have gone as missionaries, probably to N. Korea, where they hoped to bring eternal life at the risk of their own earthly ones.

Her friend and business partner has returned to this country, and is going to take over the daily running of the business. This is a great relief to me and the other tutors. We'd promised to keep the center open and running, but as none of the four (six with 'Pup and another math tutor) spoke Korean, and most of our students parent's are Korean, it was difficult. We could keep the doors open, My friend had entrusted several tasks to me that she normally wouldn't have, but we needed someone who could do things like answer the phone effectively, and sign checks and pay bills.

Most of the tutoring students know the family. The Korean community is not a small one here in Houston, but it is not enormous. As I've said before, many of the parents are executives and representatives of their Korean companies. They're not here for good, but they want their children to have the benefit of knowing English as only a native speaker can teach it. Many, if not most of the families attend the same church as my friend.

My friend's husband will be missed. He is a teacher too, a professor in computer science at one of the area universities. I suspect he was a good teacher. He is a Deacon in his church and a leader there. I'm pretty sure the only fear he faces as he slips into death is that his family will be weakened.

His sons will carry on what he has started. His wife will carry on, too. But it will be a much lonelier journey now.

God does answer all prayers. It's just that, sometimes...the answer is not the one we want.

Tomorrow, I'll post some pictures of spring. Life renews it's self around us, even as life reminds us that we are all mortal.

Friday, April 14, 2006

First, Let Us Start With Joy



It was a beautiful day today. We had warm temps and light breezes and blue skies. One of my new roses, called "Cherry Parfait, is blooming again after I planted it. The day also brought some needed rest, some doggy joy and some sad news.

Before I say the sad, let me lead with some gladness. Brain Dog is doing pretty well. The kickass chemo has reduced the swollen lymph glands so well that they are imperceptable, especially to those who really don't want to find anything.

He's had a little irritation where the IV went in, as he keeps licking it. It's stylishly wrapped now in a self sticking bandage. It stays on quite well, until Brain decides he doesn't want it there and he can tell that 'Pup is asleep and can't catch him.

This leads to the joy part of the post. What follows is a series of pictures of him cavorting deliriously in a sprinkler. Temps were close to 90 today, so it was a perfect day for his favorite thing.








Yah. that dog does love himself some water.

I also have a few flower pictures. Some lillies that popped up from ones I planted last year. They were a gamble as to whether they'd come back or not. I won that gamble, so I'm planting a few more. My hibiscus is doing well in the back, though I really need to have the ash tree trimmed back so that it gets more sun.
And, my rose bush is blooming up a storm. This is a picture of it AFTER we'd done some pruning and dead heading.


My front entrance is looking good.

And now for the sad. My boss lady, at the tutoring center, is Korean. Her husband was diagnosed about 6 weeks ago with stage IV cancer. She and her husband still held out great hope, and for a little while, it looked.... not bad. That changed this last week. And tonight, I got a call from her. She's not going to be able to go to the tutoring center tomorrow. I have the keys and the code for the alarm, so I can open up. I can also take the payments and register the new students we've got coming. One of the other tutors knows how to run the credit card machine.

My lovely boss lady's husband is losing his battle with cancer almost before he could begin the fight.

I hate cancer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mixed Blessings

It was a nice service, and a small but loyal and loving crowd of attendees. My brother T. spoke the eulogy, and then invited people to come and share stories about my dad. I learned a couple of new things, and had to smile at a few, as I knew them already, and I knew the backstory...

1) My dad loved golf. uhmm yah. When possible and there were enough people around, it was not unknown for him to play a round in the morning, another in the afternoon, and if there were a group that needed a 4th, he'd go along and play another in the evening. That's not to say that he was a great golfer. Though, he did have his moments. Unfortunately for him, none of his children shared his passion of the game. I remember the day, when I was just turned 18 and we'd just moved to the little town he'd live in for the next 27 years, when he came bounding in (well-- bounding for my dad) and triumphantly announcing to his five children: "I've just broken 100!". We all looked at him kinda blankly and finally one of us said: "Uhmm Dad, that's GOOD, right?".

2. My dad loved to play dominos. And he'd cheat. And he'd get away with it.
heheheheh. We learned real early to check my dad's shirt pocket for quarters when he came home from work. It was our icecream money. For all five of us. You'd have thought nuclear engineers and reactor operators would be smart enough NOT to play my daddy for money. Some people are slow learners. Thank goodness, 'cause my mom knew better to give my dad much pocket money, as he was also the softest touch for a loan or icecream money in the state. I'm just say'n.

3. My dad often was quiet during parties or gatherings. When he broke his silence it was usually to punctuate the evening with a very well timed one liner. He was a patient man....and very smart.

4. My dad grew up poor. Not just dirt poor, not "sharecropper" poor.... I'm talking migrant field worker poor. He went to seven different schools the first year he was in first grade. He'd gotten "held back" because he'd just plain not had enough days in school that year. Afterwards, he'd say that when he'd go to a new school or got a new teacher, he'd go in the classroom and put his feet up on the desk in front of him. He'd wait. Sure enough, the teacher would come in and say "YOU! Get your feet off that desk! What, WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN?" And he'd answer, quite truthfully, "Yes m'am, I was." And he was. Born in a barn in Belton, Texas in 1934. Well...the tack room really. The rest of the family was in the barn, sleeping in the hay as a midwife called by the barn's owner caught my dad.

5. He was smart. Ohhh yes. (see #3) And from the beginning of high school or before, he'd been determined to go to college. Not the usual dream of a poor kid. They'd moved up in the world, a little, after WWII, as my grandfather'd been a C.B. (See Bee- part of the "construction battalion" who built runways on coral reefs. My grandpa went grey over the space of three days when he and a few other men'd been trapped and were huddling in a hole in the ground trying to survive the Japanese bombing them) and thus, having gotten a little experience in running a bull dozer, he was hired on to build roads. My dad wanted to go to college, and he needed college preparation courses. In order to get the math credits he needed, he had to teach a Trigonometry class just to get credit for having TOOK the class. He had a photographic memory.

6. He was a patient and loving father. My mom did most of the yelling when yelling needed to be done. Hey. There were FIVE of us kids. Yelling was needed. Once, my mom told me that "You just wait till your father gets home! He's going to SPANK you!" Well, I hadn't done whatever it was that I was going to get spanked for... at least, that's the way I remember it. I do remember though, how my dad talked to me about it, and decided that I didn't really need a spanking. However, my dad, being a smart man (see #3 and #5) knew that something had to be done to cool my simmering mom down a bit. So, he told me that he was going to slap his thigh, and I was to yell as loud as I could. I did. And it worked. We kept that secret for many years.

My dad was patient with all the kids in our neighborhood. My mom tells the story that she woke up one Saturday afternoon, (she worked 11 pm to 7 am as a nurse) and came into the kitchen just to find my dad surrounded by a bunch of kids and making a largish batch of popcorn balls. It only surprised her because she noticed that none of the kids were HERS. I mentioned before, my dad was a soft touch for a treat.

I have a few more, but I think I'll save them for a future post or three.

Y'all. Have a bowl of popcorn and watch a game (doesn't matter what sport, but golf would be nice) and think of my dad. Those of you who indulge, crack a beer at the same time. Lone Star Beer is recommended.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Thank you

Thank you to all who've left me well wishes. My dad will be buried on Saturday.

This was a strange day. It started out with waking up in the house of one of my mom's friends, a most lovely and gracious lady and her husband.

It then progressed onto the slightly surrealistic meeting with the undertaker, talking about money and rites, and then onto the even more surrealistic experience of walking around a showroom floor and picking out a casket.

My father did not want a fancy funeral. I think, if he could have managed it, he'd have rather been buried in a plain box, just off a fairway in the rough of any good golf course, or perhaps next to a lake or river, or perhaps anywhere he could peacefully return to the earth.

My mother wants to honor his wishes, but also wants to make a decent "show", as she'll have to live in that small town for the rest of her life. Funerals are like weddings in a small town. They have importance. They are commented upon. She also knows that the cancer expenses have eaten deeply into her nest egg, and so. She has a budget.

Dad also wanted my mom to have as large a nest egg as he could arrange to leave. I'm not sure how that worked out. My brother T. is helping with the money, juggling the numbers. I think it's how he's coping. It's not a bad way.

The rest of us cope in our own ways. There is some griping and bickering. One niece is fighting to have her mom, aunts and uncles realize that she is no longer a child, but rather a woman with a child of her own. It's hard to remember sometimes. It just seems like yesterday that we were wiping spaghetti off the ceiling. And the drop cloth. And other places. (She was an enthusiastic s'getti eater. I'm just say'n)

She eats much more neatly now.

Her daughter is a lot like her.

My pink rose bush is getting ready to put on a huge bloom. I'll take a picture of it and post before we leave, if I can manage it.

We were in my mom's small town today, but came back to let me work at the tutoring center tonight. There's a downside to being irreplaceable. It means that you can't just pull a replacement out of the air. Plus, 'Pup was being trained to work there as a math tutor. We thought we'd be nicer than to throw him to the wolves......errrrr turn him loose on the kids.....errr well. He did well. I think he's going to like it.

'Pup's been very solicitous. He takes good care of me. He even took good care of my mom today, seeing that when she needed new tissues, she got some, and just being there, talking to my nieces and nephew.

We spoke about our wishes. We both would prefer cremation and, if possible, having our ashes spread somewhere to help the flowers bloom.

The final surrealistic note to this day was when we got home, and I checked here on the site. I do notice my counter, and was surprised to see it had gone up more than normal. I checked the referrals and discovered that my blog was being mentioned in two new places. One is:
  • here


  • The other is CNN.com:
  • here

  • Okay, time for bed. I'm very tired. Very sleepy. Wanting to spend my day tomorrow in my garden.

    And wishin' my dad could visit my garden, now that it's really coming along.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    News

    My father passed away at his home this morning, around 9 am. I'll be gone for a few days.

    I miss my Daddy. I guess none of us are ever too old to miss your daddy.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Spring Continues

    This tomato is more impressive than it seems. You see, this plant was planted last July. It over wintered, and just won't quit.

    Some pictures of parts of the garden in the backyard:


    The odd little plant from last year is back and blooming again. The sideyard with the water feature in the back ground. In the front, you can see last year's lillies are reblooming!



    The clematis is reblooming.



    Just some pictures of Spring in my backyard.... The rose is named "Pinata". It's a climbing rose and I've set it to (hopefully) grow up the arch that holds the bird feeders. The passion flower vine is responding well to the increase of sunlight we got after that tree was taken down in our neighbor's back yard. It does change the feel of the garden, to have that corner so bright after being so shaded.

    And I've had the little fountain set up again. I'd thought the pump was burned out, but it turns out that there was a little stone stuck in the water pipe. The good Sr. M cleared it out, cleaned out the reservoir (it collected quite a collection of critters by the way!).

    We found 2 lepard frogs and a toad, lots of earthworms and a bunch of water beetles. We had to evict them all, I'm afraid. Though, I do hope the frogs find their way back. Here's a picture of one of the frogs. (DM, this is for you)

    And the progress of the fountain:


    It's bubbling along beautifully.

    And more pictures of the dogs. I'd take a picture of Lady Spitfire, but she's indisposed at the moment and has continued her retirement under the bed. She makes brief visits to the outside world to eat, drink and attend to her toilet (thank God!), but otherwise has firmly established her abode under the bed. She has attempted a wider foray into the house, but ran. And of course, the dogs, being dogs, gave chase. She's just poked her nose out again. Ah. Chucky saw her. She's back under. Sigh. I wonder how long this is going to go on? She is one stubborn cat.


    Ah, if you've noticed the strange way one of his eyes looks? Seems that sometime within the first 2 years of his life, his eye was injured. It healed well, so his owners at the time must have taken good care of him. It did, however, leave that eye pretty much blind. I think he can see shadows and some light, but little else. The other eye is intact and is full of mischief.