Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gifts to Each Other

'Pup and I have been resisting the urge to buy new televisions to replace our old analogue televisions. We've been less than pleased with the converter boxes we bought with our government coupons. So, when we went shopping for some new shirts for 'Pup, we darted over to the electronic part of the store (walmort) and saw some very tasty looking deals. The big tvs were and are still out of our reach, but we could afford a couple of the smaller ones.

They're so flat, and light. We both want to hang them on the walls of the rooms we do most of our computer work in. I suppose the two bedrooms are our offices, tho we've never designated them as such. Well, we had for Richard's, but until this year, I'd been using the sunroom. Now I'm using the third bedroom. Now, we'll have to get new wall mounted tv stands for them.

Later, I have a story about a television and my first birthday gift.

Till then, What did you get for Christmas?

A'Tisket, A'Taskets

Shall we make some gift baskets?

'Pup and I brought my family our gifts on Sunday. The presents we brought were a hit and everyone was happy. Two of my great nieces got some new boots, courtesy of a western wear store going out of business. In addition, my oldest great niece got a treasure chest (a wooden box, decorated and made in India), with some jewelry and some hand creme in it. She was thrilled and was putting on her pretties as fast as possible. Then, I gave her a big bag, and her day was complete. I'd been able to find almost all of Marguerite Henry's horse books, and some "Fancy Nancy" books. She started reading almost at once.

She's a girl after my own heart.

Another niece's favorite gift were some red boots. She actually danced around, yelling out "They're red! I got red boots!" as she hopped on first one foot and then another. She put them on right away.

All in all, I think they were pleased. And that makes me pleased.

I also received another, very nice gift Sunday. It came with a story even more precious than it is.

That's for another post.

Graduation

When I graduated from High School in 1978, my parents gave me some big, hard sided and heavy Samsonite luggage. Back then, one of the advertising campaigns had a gorilla bouncing on and throwing around, various parts of the luggage sets. Needless to say, the luggage survived nicely.

I can even attest, these 30 years later, that they still survive. I don't use them much any more. As I said, they are heavy and they were made before wheels were a standard part of luggage construction. They've been used as storage and moving boxes and, on occasion, as a prop for a table.

Now, they may be part of my simplify and clear out program. I don't need the table prop anymore, and anything in the luggage I've not unpacked in about 12 years are things I probably don't need.

I might keep the smallest piece tho. it makes a nice sewing box.

Putting it to Bed

This year, as a whole, has been pretty good. I've had some downs (I couldn't grow a tomato this summer, no matter what), but mostly I've had a decent year. Now, I have to admit, what I classify as a "good" year might not be what another would take. Like a sleep number bed. people's definition of good and bad are individual.

The good: No one I loved and was related to has died this year. Things have come close, but with a bit more than one day left in 2008, I think it's safe to say this.
The bad: Things have come close. Closer than I've blogged about and closer than I want to think about.

The good: most of my plants survived the hurricane.
The bad: well, our fences didn't.

The good: We've both been employed all this year.
The bad: Not all of our family have been employed...at all.

Things both good and bad will be changing next year. Most will stay on the good side (this is my fervent prayer), some will end in sorrow.

I am making the choice to end in joy. May you also have that luxury and blessing.

Plunge into the New Year

If you'd had as many "plumbing adventures" as 'Pup and I have, then, like us, you'd probably look very hard at the toilet every time you flush. Oh, yes, we do!

Dang low pressure toilets, you have to flush them 3 times, so tell me: how much water are we really saving?

So, we decided to investigate some new...err... clog...errr wellll. We were looking at plungers. Not the most romantic thing a couple can shop for, but needed.

Therefore, off to google I go. One of the results looked promising. I mean, don't the words "spring plungers" just warm your heart? On the one hand, you have the needed tool.. but with MORE POWER!

Turns out, they ain't what I'd pictured.

Dang.

You know, plungers might not be the most romantic thing a couple can shop for, but sometimes, things like that can really help to keep a couple together. I just don't think we've got the energy for another plumbing adventure.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Junk and Simplifying

Honestly, it's getting to the point that I'm considering contacting moving companies to see if they'd be willing to pack up the junk in the garage and either take it to a storage shed...or better yet, a thrift store.

How bad is it?

Well, before we were first threatened by hurricane Rita, we could actually see the floor on most of the garage. This is no longer true. When Rita was on the way, a grown son of one of our neighbors came and pretty much threw a whole backyard's worth of stuff into our garage. Only about half of it's come out since then.

Goal in life:

Clean out garage.

Sigh.

What a New Year's resolution...

What are yours?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

How Do Y'all Do It?

The temperatures here in Houston are in the 30's right now. We had a freeze last night, and it's going to be close tonight as well. I've got the plants covered, so I'm not too worried. What will be, will be.

I will be torqued if my tomato plants bite the dust though. Seriously.

But the thing I'm marveling about has to do with covering ME up. Y'all. I got a seriously good winter coat from the Thrift store (full length, wool, with a fur collar) for only $20. It's pretty, and it's warm and it is freakin' HEAVY!

Lord Above Us, have Mercy!

I got tired getting DRESSED. Walking around in this thing, is warm, but it's work. And the sleeves! Between the heavy sweater I have on, and the coat... it must weigh close to 10 pounds of cloth...or more.

I do not think I would like to do this too often.

I'm tuckered out!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Childhood Freedom

When my brothers and sisters and I were children, we were pretty much given the run of the neighborhood and the nearby park. There was also a creek that we used in our play and probably did several things that would have made even our parents blanch and would give parents nowadays faint dead away.

Lest you think I'm joking, let me tell you a story.

Let's set this story sometime in the late 1960's to the mid 70's. I was one of the older of our particular group and enjoyed feeling like one of the "big kids". By the mid to late 70's already started what was to become a rather successful business as a baby sitter. But until then, I liked playing with all the other kids.

One of our neighbors, my best friend's house was by the creek. It wasn't a big creek most of the time, it took a really intense storm to raise it's water levels and it was known to go dry in spots when we'd not had rain in a while. It was pretty much the center point for the neighborhood kids.

We had several common meeting points, where we'd go and find out who we were going to be playing with that day. One was under the bridge. We kept some fishing line, hooks and some bobbers. No fishing pole, as those tended to walk away. besides, all we needed was a stick long enough to reach at least half way across the creek, or, as I preferred it, we could just fished with a hand line.

We usually caught small fish and threw them back. the real excitement would come if we had the misfortune to catch a big old soft shell turtle. Those things were often as big as a large dinner plate (about 12 to 14 inches in diameter), and they were MEAN. They also had a regrettable tendency to swallow your bait, hook and all. When we could get the hook out, we did. If we had to cut the hook off the line, well...hooks were cheap. If one of the bigger, older boys were around, they'd like as not just cut off the turtle's head. I didn't like to be there when they did that and would leave. Turtles were one of the reasons I preferred to fish with a hand line. I tended to fish closer to the shore and there were fewer turtles. Occasionally, we'd catch a fish worth keeping and we'd take it home to clean and cook. You could share if you wanted to, but otherwise, you got to eat your own fish.

Occasionally, we'd find that we weren't the only kids that stashed stuff under the bridge. One memorable discovery was made by my brother and his cohort of friends. They'd found a whole box full of Playboy and Penthouse magazines. As I think back, I believe that they'd claimed to have taken them off to just burn the whole box.

I believed them at the time

More often, the boys would catch or find dead fish and perform explosive experiments on them. There always seemed to be plenty of different kinds of firecrackers around. One or the other of the boys would bring a pocket full, with matches. We pretty much all carried a box of matches, a knife and anything else we could think we might need. I remember being very proud of the flint and steel fire making kit I'd gotten for Christmas, or perhaps my birthday. I showed off a lot that summer, showing how to lay and then set a fire with my little kit. I always put the fire out. We all did that. Not doing that was a sure fire (no pun intended) way to get our own butts burned up good.

The one and only kid in the neighborhood who'd not followed that rule had been caught and ever after that, one parent or another, any adult in the neighborhood would give that kid the evil eye. When I read the Elephant's Child by Rudyard Kipling I remember laughing, remembering that kid. He might not have had 'satiable curiosity, but it all the grown ups seemed to think he needed spanking...just on general principals.

We stayed outside, playing, for most of the days during the summer and on weekends when the weather was nice, or at least, not raining too hard. All our mother's requested was that we keep track of where each other was, to get home before dark, for supper, try not to get too dirty and mind our manners if we were allowed in someone else's home.

Lunch was something you made before you left home and carried with you. Occasionally, a mom would take pity on some of us walking appetites and feed us a snack or two. Other than that, we ate what we had, and supplemented it with things we bought from the 7-11 store with pooled moneys and with fruit we could pick from a few trees in the woods.

Dewberries were our favorite fruit. We could eat our fill of them, and bring them home. Our mom's always seemed to let us in when it was Dewberry season. I guess they liked the pies and cobbler and jam too.

After they were done, we had to settle for some pears, and some fairly productive Mulberry trees. The fruit we got off the Mulberries wasn't as sweet as the dewberries, and had the added hazard of being under the tree while a flock of birds was eating in the crown. Seemed like that fruit went right through those birds, without stopping. It made for a colorful carpet under the tree.

The pears were often as hard as rocks and doubled as ammunition. They were alright eating as long as you didn't have a loose tooth...though they were useful for that too if your money was running a little short that week.

All in all, it was a good childhood. More later.

Found an Old Blogger Friend!

A while back, I almost lost my blog template. Fortunately, I had a back up, but it didn't have all the links I had collected. Slowly, I'm getting some of them back as I track down the bloggers I liked reading. My links list is getting almost unweildy, between the garden bloggers and the other folks. Some of the links lead to blogs that are gone now. I think I keep them there as mementoes.

The most recent "Old Friend" I tracked down is Joe in Vegas. He works at one of the big casinos and his blog lets you see Las Vegas through the eyes of a resident, and without having to use and buy a Las Vegas Strip map .

He also has the worlds cutest grandbaby.

I'm looking forward to catching up on everything.

Signs of the Time

One of the lines I heard from the newscasters after Ike was about the huge billboards that plague parts of Houston. More or less, the guy said, "Remember everyone thinking there are too many billboards on parts of the 610 Loop? Well, that's not a problem anymore." I liked the quote because it was so delightfully descriptive, and at the same time, very understated. Sigh, since then, I believe a lot of them have gone back up...good as new.

The only really big sign I see on my way to work is on the Tollway. It's some digital signage, and it's used to give out Amber Alerts, and Missing Elderly Alerts and important traffic details. Right before the hurricane, it was pretty much used for "Hurricane formed in Gulf. Fill your gas tanks". Not high poetry, but very utilitarian and worth the air space it takes up.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Computers

'Pup and I take Consumer Reports. and use it to compare brands before we buy most of our larger purchases. Recently, they've been reviewing computers, televisions, and cars. While we need all three, we'll probably only end up getting a new television, assuming that the prices keep on going down as they have recently. We're kinda hoping on some really good after Christmas sales.

'Pup is also casting a covetous look at the new computers. Like a lot of geeks, he gets kinda dizzy when reading about gigs and terabytes of memory. Truth be told, I'm just enough of a geek-ette to look longingly at the new thin laptops and all in ones.

Which reminds me, I saw a teribyte external memory drive at Office Depot on the sale table. I need to tell 'Pup. My pictures are eating up a lot of memory on both the laptop and the hard drive. Hummm... I also need to tell a friend that I saw some Mac memory drives online. Her husband is a physics professor and he's got a MONSTER Mac computer. V says sitting down at that computer is like driving a very fast sports car when all you're used to is an economy hatchback.

Dang, I gotta go visit....

Get. It. OUT!

I hate sneezing. I have a specific reason to dislike sneezing, in fact. See, for the last couple of years, when I eat something and start to sneeze, things...happen. And they aren't nice things.

Still, once it's over, I feel fine. I even stop sneezing. I get hungry. Not surprising, as after the incidents, my stomach is pretty much thoroughly empty. Yeah, it's "that" kind of incident.

Doh! Who needs diet pills? Even something like Fenphedra, which is supposed to be "too strong for the average weight loser" doesn't get rid of what you eat faster than a sneeze does for me.

Still, I'd rather never sneeze again.

Really.

Time on Your Hands, and into the Red

I'm not sure how much time I'll have off this holiday season. So much depends on how many kids and which kids will be staying in town and whose parents will want them to attend tutoring classes. This has not been a stellar year for the Learning Center. Well, for learning centers in general, really, as many smaller centers have gone under as parents prioritize and cut back expenses.

Rather than all three of their children taking both Reading and Math or Vocabulary, the parents are triaging. The child who needs help the most gets the tutoring. Instead of three kids taking six or even nine hours of tutoring, suddenly, it's one child taking one hour, or the three kids taking one hour each. It's hurting all of us. Mr. Good Boss hasn't made a profit, we've had to cut back hours for the tutors, and we're all getting nervous. I have an extra day off during the week, and my hours have gone down enough that I'm getting about $100 less per paycheck.

It's getting scary out here in the world of luxury services...even when, for some, you're not a luxury, but a necessity.

I am seeing more and more stores go under, some large stores, some small stores. At other stores, I'm not seeing the variety or amount of goods I remember from previous years. And what goods there are, are often at a discount, and have been since before Thanksgiving.

Even online, things like Movado watches, are at a discount, as are things on the big box store sites. There are probably a lot of very nervous business owners out there, wondering if the year's going to end in the black, or the red.

I may have to scale up my other avenues of income. 'Pup and I are very grateful that we have some surplus, and some cushion in the form of my teacher's pension, and 'Pup's job. It's...good to know that we've...alternatives to keep us in the realm of black, and out of the red ourselves.

I have a feeling that a lot of books are going to be bleeding this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Never Underestimate an Angry Woman



HT to Jan at Primordial Slack

Under Covers

We went out tonight, to do some Christmas shopping. We also were looking at some clothes for 'Pup. He needs some new shirts and t-shirts. He also needed a lightweight jacket. Seems everything in the closet is either too big, too small or too casual for wearing to work.

We looked at some men's wool coats, but they were a little...too much. Too heavy for all but a few days in a decade or too much money for too few days in a decade. It's one thing to get a coat and know you're going to have it for a long time because it will wear so well. It's another to spend way too much money for a coat and know that you can pass it down three generations before it's been worn more than 20 times.

So, we found something a little more formal than the windbreaker he had before, and a little larger and a little smaller than some other nice jackets he has in the closet. It's large enough that he can layer underneath it for those normal winter days where it starts out in the 30's and ends up in the 70's...on the same day.

Besides, 'Pup gets hot inside and needs to be able to take off or put on layers. I've seen him going outside and being quite comfortable in just a shirt, even when the temperatures have me wearing a hat, gloves, a warm jacket and a scarf.

Okay, that temperature cut off is somewhere in the 50's... but still!

He has gloves, he has a scarf (I made it myself!), and even a hat. He prefers to wear a Santa hat to the knit one. Oh, the Santa hat? Well, he started doing that a few years ago, before Christmas one year. He just kept it up, as the hat was handy, he could easily spot the van with the Santa hat on the dashboard, and...well...he enjoyed the double takes he got from the people who passed him. 'Pup has an interesting sense of humor.

So, 'Pup has a new jacket. Best of all, the cost of the coat was just about covered by a gift card from his employer. THAT'S what I call a deal!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day December 2008

Anyone that has seen some of my past GBBD posts, sponsored by the good Lady at May Dream Gardens, would know that I usually have SOMETHING blooming all the time. It's one of the joys of living in Houston.


Even after a friggin' SNOW! In HOUSTON! In December!, I still have blooms. I love Texas.


The naval orange tree is still blooming, and might be setting fruit. Go figger.


Next to the front door, my somewhat geriatric geranium is going pretty strong. I've been covering that bed with a frost cloth, especially today, as we've had another cold front, and the meteorologists are tentatively covering their behinds by admitting there is a possibility that maybe something like rain that might be either very very cold or even frozen. Which is kinda what they said last week. And it snowed.

So, the covers stay on.


Lowe's had this at 25% off, and it was so pretty...I took it home. It will be living outside. It's covered with the frost cloth right now, just in case.


Belinda's Dream is blooming, but there are a lot more buds on there. From the rate of progress, I might have a very nice full bloom out right around Christmas and into the New Year.

More of the nasturtiums are blooming, along with a rouge PETUNIA (!) that somehow managed to survive through the whole summer, autumn and is trying for winter. I hope it sets LOTS of seed. The purple of the petunia and the nasturtiums

The Gold Medal rose is starting to bloom. I hope, in a few years, it will be as big and robust as Belinda.


Angel Wing Jasmine

The Cherry Parfait rose is still going strong.

Yum...


A viola in the black pot, all the plants are blooming there.

While at Lowe's, there were also some "take me home now please" pansies and some pin cushion flowers.....thy jumped into the cart.




There seems to be a strange force around the calendula.... I like it, but it's weird. This one was taken on a very overcast day.


The last blooms of the lemon basil are struggling. This was a volunteer bush, and has lasted a very long time. It's one that I'm hoping will set seed and spread it in that bed (it's far away from where I'd ever planted it before!), and that it will be a good strain for that side of the house and this area.

The Golden Showers rose is bravely blooming in the cold air. It needs pruning.

The Pinata rose is blooming too. A few days ago it had several more, but 2 or 3 at a time will make me happy in December.

The figs are getting bigger. I'm a little worried, as it's growing very near a squirrel highway...

Under the enclosure, the Fushia is blooming! I thought it had died earlier this summer, but it looks like it must have been dormant. It likes the enclosure.




The Butterfly weed is blooming and was a bright shot of color in a dreary day.

I think the Carolina Jessamine is putting on buds. Spring is coming, but it will be a while.
Under more cloth, plastic and another, heavier blanket, the tomato plants are still blooming and the tomatoes are just beginning to try to get ripe. Now, we need a week of warm weather. The plants got slightly bitten by the cold weather last week, but the damage was very minor and only to the very outside leaves. Nonetheless, it has led me to add a couple of layers to it's protection. You don't mess with my 'maters!
Also under that tomato enclosure are some plants that are waiting for warm weather to be planted.

A gorgeous lantana, some red and white dianthus (the pics didn't turn out..sigh), and
a lavender lantana that is to replace one that I lost because of the hurricane.

It's not a big bloom day for me, but I'm happy when anything is doing well. I hope this winter won't be as horrid as it seems to have started out. But if it is, I'm ready. Things are covered pretty well, and should come through whatever happens.
OH! I'll be picking my oranges in a couple of days!

Tour the Country

When 'Pup and I went to Washington DC, we drove. It was a long drive, through a lot of, well, woods and trees, and lots more trees. We'd made reservations for hotel rooms where we figured we'd stop each night. Most of the hotels were pretty good, some more than others. I didn't have quite the resources for researching different hotel options that we have now. July 2003 seems so long ago in computer time.

Now, I'd probably insist that we actually fly to Washington, or at least, make fewer reservations so far in advance. I think we missed a lot of what we were driving to see. Ah well, what was not, can not ever be...

In 2008, only five years after our trip, things would be so different. 'Pup is healthier, I'm not as able. The economy was better, and we had more money. We had options.

Oh phooey! We could still go and do a lot of things, and even (with a little due diligence research) stay at places like those on the Westgate site. I'd like to go to Las Vegas...if only to gawk at all the people losing money, and to enjoy the pretty casinos. There are lots of other places I'd rather go, though...and most of them involve some fishing.

I'm just an old fashioned girl...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heaven

I blogged earlier about my knee, and how much it hurt, even after the doc took some fluid off the knee. He used a really big, ugly needle and it hurt...a lot...sniff sniff---(insert whiny voice here).

It continued to hurt that day, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and it was still hurting Friday when I went in to my hair dresser's shop to get my hair back to one color. (Let's just say the highlights were on the wrong end of my hair.)

I was a little early, and on an impulse, I asked for a pedicure from the new nail tech.

She was very gentle and included a massage of my lower legs and feet.

When I got up, well, stepped down, from the chair, I felt like I'd been hit by a miracle.

My knee didn't hurt.

It. Didn't. HURT.

I could WALK.

And I'm still walking (gingerly, carefully and with forethought), and I got to go outside today and actually get somethings done outside in the garden and I'm just about so happy I could bust! I'm going to sleep tonight without having to take Vicodin.

I am happy. I'm so happy I could just about cry.

But I won't.

A Post, in Which I Confess a Peculiarity of Preference and an Oddity of Time Keeping

Beware, clicking this video will expose you to some singing done by someone who hasn't been doing her vocal exercises. You have been warned!
video

I have posted the text of this song before, on this blog. It is one of those songs that tends to rattle around in my brain from one year to the next. It haunts me, not so much for the words, though they are melancholy, but the tune is so simple, so easy to sing, and so easy to remember.

It might be why I've always liked Grandfather Clocks, even...or maybe especially, ones that don't look like the ordinary ones you think of first.... I like iron work. If I could afford it, we'd have iron stuff everywhere. Seriously. (The picture above is from Howard Miller Clocks.)
'Pup and I are having an issue with clocks right now. Light fixtures too. See, they all need either new batteries or new light bulbs. And they're all just a little out of reach for either of us. I may be able to do it now, that my knee's feeling a little better (OH! more about that later!), but I'm leery of misstepping and re injuring or aggravating the injury to the knee. Still, must be done, as it's very hard to be on time with a clock that has no batteries, even if it is still correct at least two times a day.
Tick Tick Tick.....Tock...............tick.............................
Time to reset the clock.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Houston Freezes Over..

It did! It friggin' snowed in Houston, in December!

Now, mind you, this is the first time this has happened since...well...the Native Americans didn't keep records of it that we can access....so it's the first time EVER this early in December and only the second time ever IN December, and it's all happened within ONE Decade.

Houston Freezes


How it Happened

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

OMG!!!

I walked outside to get in my car to go to work. Everything was wet. Not unusual. But there was this...sound...like little pieces of gravel hitting the ground and sidewalk.

But it wasn't gravel.

It was ice. Something called....sleet...I think.

But it got even stranger. As I drove to work, stopping at a light, I thought I saw....

But no, it couldn't be....

But, it was....

A snowflake!!

There are snowflakes falling from the sky in Houston, Texas. They won't stick. The ground is too warm.

That's just as well, 'cause, you see.... snow is the only thing, other than a direct hit by a hurricane, to shut down the city cold. And I do mean, COLD.

I had to wear my gloves and I wasn't even gardening!

What I Did Yesterday

Lovely, ain't it. Yerks. I wrote most of this yesterday, after I'd gotten home. It was so whiny I almost didn't post it. I might not leave it up long. We'll see.

That's my knee, after the good Rheumatologist drained off a considerable amount of fluid from around my knee, and then shot in a good dose of cortisone. Y'all, it hurt. It hurt a LOT. It STILL hurts a lot. (edit: this morning, it does feel better)

The doctor said my knee would be feeling better soon. And, I suppose, in a way, it does. I don't know why I am having a harder time handling this than usual. It's almost as if, now that my knee doesn't hurt as MUCH, the damn has broken and my stoicism has been breached. I'd lost my composure and that distressed me as much as the pain from the needle.

I also went to a cardiologist. Not for my heart, it's fine. I even have proof it's fine, as I had a sonogram of my heart to prove it. He was worried that the pulmonary embolism I'd had in November of 2006 might have damaged it. It hadn't. (only click that link if you really want a blow by blow--eww, that's a pun you'll only get if you click--rendition of my hospitalization)


They kept asking me if my blood pressure was always as high as it was while I was there. Uhmm, no. I'm in pain, it tends to raise one's bp. Tends to make the heart beat faster too. (So will crying... I did a lot of that today too, maybe in relief?)


I'd gone to the cardiologist for some in depth, and expert monitoring of my PT rate (how fast my blood clots). Now I have a Primary Care Physician, a Podiatrist, a Rheumatologist, an Opthamologist, and a Cardiologist. My PT rate is just fine now.


All in all, I was a whiny baby yesterday. I'm fine, more or less. Just pouting, 'cause my knee still hurts, and I spent my whole day at the doctors' offices.


Tomorrow is another day. Thank GOD! ( Oh, yes, it really is!)

Restocking for the Hurricane Kit

After Ike put Houston in the dark for most of two weeks, having an emergency light close at hand has taken on a new...meaning...for me. 'Pup has always made it a point of putting a flashlight in my hand whenever a thunderstorm is rumbling and I took them in good humor. I knew that they might be handy, but never truly appreciated them to the full extent possible.

I've changed my mind now. Right up there with ice, a light in the darkness makes the difference between surviving and living with some comfort. That light in the dark, really does give hope.

Now, what do you do that makes you a light in the dark? You'd be surprised sometimes how much and how brightly you glow in other's eyes.

Someday

Someday, I'm going to get there. Where? The Outer Banks. Why? I'm not sure. For some reason, whether because of reading I did as a little girl, or even as a young woman, the name has brought on thoughts of... what could be.

Perhaps it's because it sounds as if they're so far far away, and sometimes, far far away is where you want to be. Sometimes, you want to have a place you've never been and probably will never be as a destination to travel to in your head when being where you are...isn't where you want to be.

I needed that yesterday.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Citrus Crop of 2008: The Oranges!


Okay, it's not much, but it's 1/2 of my orange crop. Both of them are slowly turning, well, orange. 'Pup had to convince the neighbor kids that they weren't ready to pick yet, and I would be sure to have them there when I think the oranges are ready to pick...and, I presume, to eat.

Half for them, half for 'Pup and me.

Good News, Merry Christmas

What's the good news? Well, my PiL finally sold his house in Georgetown. It had taken a while, as there have been more and more Austin homes for sale . The strain of paying that house note and his apartment rent was telling on him. It was nice to see him relaxed more after he sold the house. Austin real estate has always been among the most expensive in Texas. Even with the recent hard times, prices there are still higher than you'd expect.

I'm not sure my PiL got all his money back from the sale, but the note is out of his hands and now he can enjoy living near his grandchildren. He's also been able to buy a car that can carry his scooter and seems more...relaxed.

I'm happy for him, but I must admit that I'm missing having a place to stay and a reason to travel to the Austin area. I like the Hill Country and have always enjoyed being there, no matter what the reason.

Merry Christmas, Pa-in-Law!

Success!


So, why are the pictures of this lovely nasturtium labled Success? Well, it's not like this is the first nasturtium I've ever planted. Oh no. I've planted many of them before. Some of them have even lived for a while. None of them have EVER bloomed.
I feel....so validated.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stocking Stuffer

I don't know about you, but this is one year I'd love to get gift cards for Christmas. Preferably, they'd be to places I want to buy things and/or one like a Visa card, or something taken in a variety of places. Anything but the big coffee place. They charge too much for something I don't usually like anyway. The reason they sell so many lattes is that the coffee, on it's own is foul beyond belief.

All I want for Christmas is a sure fire way to pay bills. I wouldn't even mind if I could pay a few other people's bills too. In fact, between the two, I might like paying other people's bills even more than my own (that's assuming mine are already paid).

What's your ideal Christmas present? What was your best and/or worst Christmas present ever?

Inflation


Inflation, it seems, has hit even the dollar stores.
In related news, the 99 cent stores here in Houston are all closing down.
Dang, just as I'd found a store I could afford to shop in...
Seriously... $1.09???

Hosting

'Pup and I are still looking for the best web hosting provider, and we've been looking at another site. This site doesn't offer the hosting themselves, instead, they've been collecting data on other providers and listing relative prices, space and a ranking system for service. It's arrayed in an easy to follow chart that compares the different aspects of the services offered.

It's like Consumer Reports for web hosting. I love Consumer Reports. They make it easy to either kick ourselves in the backside for buying what we have bought, or pat ourselves on the back when we've ended up making a good choice. I like the later better than the former. Not as painful to do, you see. And, of course, we use it to check out brands before we buy. We're researching TVs right now.

So, Web Hosting Geeks recommends a best blog hosting site called Bluehost. It's got unlimited domains we can host under the account ('Pup and I want to have separate domains, possibly several of them), and unlimited storage and downloading and bandwidth.

It's not a done deal. We're still looking. At least we've narrowed the search down to where we're looking. Now, if we can just figure out how to set up a blog with out a premade template like we've been using at blogspot...well...we'd be even closer.

Sigh. We're not techno illiterate, but somehow, neither 'Pup nor I seem to be able to get off the pot on this one. It's a matter of inertia I think, more than anything else. But inertia is a powerful force, and one that's stopped more forward motion than anything else in the universe.

Very Odd....

Like most of us, I check my site stats, specifically my referrals, now and again, just to see who's coming by, and how they're getting here.

One very, very odd trend seems to be going on here. More and more, I have hits coming from Google, as someone is searching FOR my blog, under nancysgardenspot.blogspot.com.... and more often than not, they even have a specific post in mind. I'm not sure what's going on.

Does anyone out there have any ideas?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

All Tucked In

It's gonna get cold here tonight, down to almost freezing, with the chance that it might briefly dip down past the magic number for an hour or so. For most of my perennials, that won't be too bad, and I'm not too worried. For the tender tropicals, and my beloved tomatoes,well, it could be just enough to cause harm.

So, everyone is tucked away in the blankets we set up earlier. (These pictures are from November 15, I didn't have time to take pictures this afternoon.)







I am more thankful than ever that we'd gotten this ready earlier. With the problems I've been having walking (bad bad bad knee), I couldn't have gone outside to cover the plants without the prep we'd done. Even with it, I was thankful for the pain pills the rheumatologist had prescribed for me.


I wish I could have gotten another shot in the knee, as they really do help. Unfortunately, the last one didn't help for long enough and it's too soon to have gotten another one. Plus, the x-rays I had earlier don't explain why I've been having as much pain as I've been experiencing. So...more tests are in order. Tomorrow, I go for an MRI.


I'm hoping it will tell the doctor that I just need a shot of some very good lube in my knee. The alternative could be surgery, and I'm not happy about that.


I've come to the firm conclusion that pain killers are NOT as good as being pain free.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In the Night Sky

Note to self... spend more time looking up.



The last couple of days, I've been enjoying the views of the night sky I have as I arrive home. Above, is how the sky looks to the east, towards the lights of the stores and parking lots. Usually, it's an annoyance, as I don't get to see many stars because of the light pollution. Still, on cloudy nights, it lights up the cloud terrain quite strikingly. I wish my camera could do it justice.
The big news, of course, is the rare (ish) planetary alignment of Jupiter and Venus so close to where the moon shows in the sky. The larger "star" is Venus (much closer to us) and the smaller one is Jupiter, much larger in the real sense, but so very very far away. Click on the link for a better explaination.
I felt lucky that the neighbor children were playing tag in their front yard as I got home. I called them over to show them what was above their heads. They thought it was pretty neat. I did too.
Of course, it took me a LOT of tries to get the clear (ish) picture of the moon and planets. I didn't have a tripod with me, and it's hard to hold still long enough for the right setting on the camera to do its best. I make a poor tripod. Which, if you consider it, is odd, as I've just about become a permanent tripod myself. Me and my canes...
Not so good. Streaks against the sky wasn't what I was looking for... BUT! It could get much worse.
How much worse?
No, this isn't a frantic call for Superman. Interesting effect, but definitely not what I wanted. Oh well. It was my first attempt at the setting and I'll have to try it again.
Y'all keep looking up.
Oh, I hope it will be easier to comment today. I've set it so anyone, even anonymous can comment. I'll do the moderating later.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Comments

Hi everyone, I've been getting a couple of emails that are saying that it's hard to comment on my blog. I've changed a setting to see if that helps. Can you let me know if it's working?

On another note, I apologize for not commenting more on more of y'all's blogs. I've been in pain, and the pain pills are making it hard to concentrate...heck...hard to stay awake.

The knee is a little better today, I think because the front has gone ahead and pushed on through. It's chilly here, and overnight temps might be in the mid 30's here. I think my plants will be well enough protected. (crossed fingers)

So, have y'all decorated or are you planning on decorating the outside of your house? The Wests, our good neighbors asked us if we'd please put up some lights (they put them up for us, really) because they wanted the little girls in the family to have a more festive environment. I've seen several of our neighbors have decorated recently, but not many on our street. I hope that changes this year. I think we need a little Christmas this year.

A New Farmer's Market


'Pup and I were driving around when we saw a sign advertising a new Farmer's Market open in our area. This is a big deal, as there just haven't been that many in our area of Harris county. The best known market is inside Houston, and it's not open when I can get there. I work on Saturday mornings and I can't get to any farmer's market on Saturday mornings.
This one is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9am to 5pm. Finally! A market I can get to when I'm off, and one that is open more than one day a week!
So, off we went to find it.
It is easy to get to. We traveled North on Hwy 6 to Hempstead Road, traveled West for just under a mile until we came to Huffmeister. We passed through the intersection and turned into the entrance on the right.
There it was, under the shadow of the water tower.
Okay, well, not directly under it, but the water tower's a good landmark.
We got to the market and found a pretty tent that had been carefully and thoughtfully arranged to be attractive and inviting. The tent was cheerful and neatly kept and the items nicely presented. Debbie did say that future plans included building a building that can be climate controlled--before summer hits again. Summer is not kind to fresh veggies, and they need air conditioning.
There are not only vegetables, but some plants for sale as well. On our first visit we bought a couple of things, including a honeydew melon and some pears, honey, radishes and tomatoes.
The produce was good. Especially the pears and honeydew melon. The melon was so good that I, as someone who is usually ambivalent about melons in general, ate almost a full half of the large melon. 'Pup finished it off, and said it was sweet right down to the rind. And 'Pup loves melons. He also knows pears and I didn't get any. The rat.
We went back again the next day and bought two more melons and more pears. The selection of vegetables is a little sparse right now (we went on Saturday and Sunday), but I can see that the location and the proprietors are going to make a success of this market. I look forward to supporting it.

Thinking About Moving On

'Pup and I have been thinking about moving away from blogspot and into our own domain. There are a couple of reasons, some financial, others...well..........just because. So, we've been looking at different hosting services for the Best Web Hosting as far as price, quality, bandwidth, etc.

There are a couple of ways we've been doing this. One is by asking anyone who might know anything about anything.... and the other is by looking on the web and trying to compare the different options. Who knew that choosing a good web hosting company would be so hard? Who knew that there WERE that many web hosting companies?

We'll get it all sorted out, soon enough. Even if I move to my own domain, I suspect that I'd keep this blog as my home sweet home. I've just got it broke in good!

Ouch, Dang it!

I have a bad knee and it's about to drive me crazy. I can't go outside to work, because I'm afraid of falling.

I tried going outside Friday and 'Pup had to come and get me with a wheelchair.

This does not make a happy gardener.

If You Could Live Anywhere...

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? For me, I'd like to live on several acres of land, somewhere that isn't too far from a city (I do like having access to medical facilities and good stores), but far enough out of the limits so that if I wanted to (or could) I'd have a couple of goats and some chickens.

My brother L, lives in an apartment now. I know he and his wife would like to live in a house, so they'd be looking at. Though, I'm pretty sure that they'd like to live in a house well within the city. They'd probably end up living in Austin again. They are most assuredly city folk.

The Texas Hill country is just about the most breath taking, difficult, challenging and enchanting area you could imagine. The countryside inspires people to do their best, or it can defeat them. It's not for the faint of heart, instead, it is for the Great of Heart. Those people who create homes from the wilderness, but care enough for it to leave it wild.

Fall Color




It ain't much, but it's what we've got!