Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Creeping Out into the Night

When the skies are clear, if I go up the stairs to bed at a certain time, I can see the moon out my bedroom window.  Last night the full moon was bright and gorgeous at 9:30 when I toddled off to bed.  I kept waking up, wondering, is it time yet?  Hubby had set the alarm so we could get up and see the eclipse, but I was already awake when the alarm went off.  We crept out into the front yard, around 2:00 a.m. and the moon was directly overhead.  By then there was a large sliver yet showing.  It was 44 degrees and very breezy. We huddled together and watched and waited.  The sky was so dark and clear.  It was mesmerizing to watch as slowly the sliver became smaller until the moon glowed red.  The Blood Moon.  We commented on how we really must get some Astro- binoculars.  Watching Cosmos has really renewed our interest in the night sky. We are both hooked on that show. Also the wonderful host, Neil deGrasse Tyson.  He is so amazing to listen to.

When we first moved here over 20 years ago, and there were only tiny new trees, and no houses built behind us...Hubby would take the telescope out back and we'd have star parties.  All the kidlets that have since grown and gone away would come over and he'd let them all look at the stars and planets. He'd pretend to be Carl Sagan and answer all their questions.  Ha Ha.  Now the city lights have gotten closer every year and the trees taller, and if one wants to look at the stars they have to head farther and farther out of town. I miss going out in the desert when we lived both in California and Nevada and seeing everything in the sky so brightly.  In one of our California locations, we lived on Starlight Lane.  That has always been one of my favorite of our many addresses.

Crept back in the house and went back to sleep around 3:00 a.m.  Very cozy and happy that it was a clear night and we got to actually see this time.  So often it is cloudy here and we miss these extraordinary sky events.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Happy Spring!

Spring arrives in many guises all across the country. Nice and cool here this morning and got up to 80 this afternoon. It has been very windy all week, so the humidity is low and the weather men keep warning of fire danger.  The trees are starting to bud. No spring bulbs popping up through the snow here, at least not at my house.  No snow and I don't have any bulbs.  I did think that the hard freeze we had killed my little potted Pomegranate tree that "someone" forgot to move into the garage, that one week we had very cold temps.
 Plus, that same "someone" cut it way back in my absence.  However, the past week has shown it is recovering, at least one branch has some new growth. Poor little thing, I hope it grows to it's former size.  We bought it for our anniversary gift about 8 years ago and have managed to keep it alive all this time, So Far.

I've done a fair amount of moping and grieving the past few weeks, but have managed to get out a few times and do some things. We only went to a few of the SXSW festival happenings this year. The crowds just get larger every year and it is less appealing to us to deal with it. Here are a couple of the ones we did get to last week and week end. Getting there, we drove to the train station and took the train downtown.  It was a quite uncomfortable, like being in N.Y. or San Francisco. It was standing room only and in very close quarters. Ewww  It was even worse coming back, but we were on line early and at least got a seat this time.
 
 The poster show was amazing, mostly artwork done for music gigs but some movie posters too. Look at the cute little taxidermy guy that someone swapped for some posters.  The lady there said it was a weasel, but I think the white ones are ermines. Not certain though. He was really cute, if a little creepy.

Renegade Craft Fair is always fun.  They had these paper mobiles hanging from the ceiling all throughout the building. Lots of handmade things and workshop/make and takes.  I only bought some tea and a pretty aqua screen printed scarf.  There was a guy there from L.A.who had some gorgeous screen printed and handmade books.  It is hard for me to resist anything PAPER...but I managed. Now I am sorting through all my stuff trying to find his business card so I can drool over his artwork on his website.

Meanwhile back at the convention center, there was a lot going on there besides the poster show and Music Gear Expo.  There were bands playing on several stages and it got to be a bit much after awhile.  Hubby went to listen to music and I wandered around seeing some of the other sights.
I met these really cute young ladies in line at one of the venues.  I asked if I could take their photo, I thought they were so cutely dressed.  They are Kari from Nashville, and Ella from Atlanta.  Hope you can make out Ellas' huge wooden peace sign earrings. Believe me there were a lot of really cool costumes, most I did not get a chance to take photos of.  Most of these were taken with my cell phone as I need to shop for a new camera.

Friday, February 14, 2014

THE DAY OF ST. VALENTINES

Hubby always tells people the reason he and I don't make a big deal of Valentine's is that we celebrate Valentine's day every day of the year.  I love and share that sentiment. We did go out today and get a coffee and go to World Market and bought a couple bottles of wine for company coming over this week-end. But that was it.  We do usually make each other a Valentine gift of some sort, but this year, we just did not get it done.  He was out of town all this past week, and I was sick.  The two weeks prior to that I was in Idaho and he was in Oklahoma. Plus we have been consumed by other thoughts.

Last Friday I spent the entire day, flying home from Idaho.  Sick with cold/cough, bordering on Bronchitis...Sister did get it,  but I avoided it turning into that. I huddled in the corner window seat coughing and close to tears the whole way home. I came home and cried for hours then spent the entire week-end sleeping, only waking up to cry some more, and go back to sleep.  This entire week has been pretty rocky, but I am feeling better physically at least.  Some days I can go a few hours without tears. Today I did okay.

After my Dad's funeral service, I stayed in Idaho to spend more time with my sister and Mother.  We had a lot of business to attend to and that kept us all very busy. Sister and I cried at the bank, we cried at the DMV, we cried at the Drs. office,  at the Social Security office, you name it, everywhere we went, one or the other or both ended up crying. Our Mother, bless her heart, was strong and stoic, and comforted us through it all.  I think she believes she has to be strong for her children, and to do so means not crying herself. Staying busy is helping us all to a certain degree. The folks at her assisted living place are keeping her very busy with activities and giving her a lot of support. When I spoke to her today, she wished me Happy Valentine's and said she had to go as she was getting ready to attend a Red Hat Society function at the center.  They had a Valentines dance at the center last night and she said she was tired from dancing. This woman just turned 91 and she still loves to dance.  She is doing the best she can in the situation, being without my Dad for the first time in 71 years.  I am glad she is keeping busy and not sitting in the corner of the room by herself. I can tell when talking to her though, that she is still being brave, but starting to fray around the edges.  She is grieving in her own way.

 It has been a pretty rough time for our family.    Ten days after my Dad passed, his sister Doris did also.  Then our cousin Brenda passed away a few days ago, on the 11th, after a very long battle with breast cancer.  Our family is experiencing some very sad times right now. I know we will get through them in time, but we are all pretty raw and in a lot of pain.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Boots My Father Wore

At a place called Grace Assisted Living, in Meridian, Idaho, in the tiny apt. my Father and Mother have lived for the past 8 1/2 months. There sits my Father's boots, the two pair he brought from home when he came here to live. He would alternate the days he wore them. At 98 years of age, his shoulders and arms did not work as they once had.  Some days he struggled to pull those boots on, and many evenings my Mother helped him to remove them. Along with his Levis, his western shirt and vest, and most often his cowboy hat, he made a fine and dapper looking gentleman.  Lately his boots have sat there together, under the t.v stand where he would sit and watch his western movies and while away the hours.

On Sunday January 5th, while getting himself dressed, he suffered a fall and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  It was determined that he had fractured his pelvis in 3 places.  From that point on, he was bedridden.  He spent two nights in the hospital and on Tuesday January 7th was transported back to his place at Grace.  He was already in Hospice care due to another hospitalization over Thanksgiving. From the moment he came back to Grace, there was a steady stream of relatives along with the hospice people. The hospice staff were all wonderful to him and to us.  Hubby and I were there, we had spent the previous 3 1/2 weeks in Idaho so we had spent a lot of time with him. Because of work commitments, we had to come back to Texas, so, reluctantly, we left on the 11th. From the time he came back to Grace he alternated between being clear and coherent to being agitated and incoherent. When he was doing well, he always had a kind word or a joke for the hospice staff, the aides and staff at Grace and anyone who came by to see him.  Yesterday on Sunday the 19th, he passed peacefully, in the presence of my Mom, my Sister, my Aunt(his sister) and my Cousin(his niece).  My Father, Bernard(Barney) Stephen Conner, was 17 days from reaching his 99th birthday.

When I left him on the 10th, I was pretty certain it would be the last time I would see him in this life. I wrote these words when I got back home to Texas.

Your voice so soft
I cannot hear
I must lean in
Close to your ear
So much unspoken, but the time is near
All I can do is say...
Thank You
I Love You
and then
Goodbye

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oh no, this is not my black bag

You know those signs at the airport near baggage claim..something to the effect that "a Lot of bags are similar or look alike"  Yeah, those signs.  Lately when we travel, we take 4 large bags.  Each one is the largest bag from whatever "sets" of luggage we have had.  So they are all different colors, and pretty recognizable.  A couple of them are pretty beat up. But I shudder to think of buying new ones again.  The last one I bought got ruined by the airlines the very first time I used it. I say ruined, it was stained with oil and grease, but still usable. So instead of buying another new one I just keep using it.  Well anyhow, I have made custom tags for all our bags, so they are very recognizable coming off the turnstyle.  We have never had a mix-up so far.  A couple of times Hubby has seen his black bag grabbed by someone else, but always caught it.  This time, we got our 4 bags and trudged down to where the airport shuttle picks folks up.  When we got on the shuttle there was one other person who got on with us.  The driver dropped us off first.  It was dark and we were tired.  Some times we just open up the one that has our toiletries in it and wait to unpack the next morning.  Well, Hubby decided to haul them all upstairs anyhow.  He was groaning about how heavy the black one felt, he did not recall it being so before.  Well, pretty soon he hollered down the stairs for me to come up.  He had opened the bag and it most def. was not ours.  He ran downstairs and called the shuttle company, and they got in touch with the driver, who came back to exchange the bags.  He had gotten about 20 miles away, but had not delivered the other passenger yet.  That was really close. The driver apologized about getting them mixed up.  I told Hubby, before we use that black bag again I am going to spray paint a design on it so it REALLY stands out.

Speaking of luggage, I bought 3 pieces of matching Chaps, the black and brown with stirrup design,  last year because I thought I might like some "matching" for a change.  The very first trip, the large one came off the turnstyle with one roller wheel completely broken off. The rest of it looked fine, but it was totally unusable with only 3 wheels.  Sometimes I feel like packing my clothes in a cardboard box with a rope tied around it!

Yes, I have probably spent enough over the past ten years on luggage to have bought a set of industrial aluminum.  However, the sets I have bought have always been good brands, and "on sale", but never really cheap. I guess I should start using the really old hardside Samsonite one that went with my Mom's set.  But I don't think it ever went on an airplane, so consequently, still looks like new.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snow Day in Idaho

Hubby and I flew to Idaho last week to spend the holidays with family. There was snow on the ground when we got here, and a few days later we got a few inches more.  It snowed most of the night and we had almost 3 inches of fresh snow by morning.  Beautiful to look at from inside, but then there is that task of clearing the driveway and walkways.  Not to mention driving in snow, which we have not done in quite a few years.  Everything has worked out fine so far.
 
The view of the back yard at my Idaho house. I love the look of the snow on the bare branch trees. This tree is a Crabapple, and in the far background there are several tall pines next to the fence.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

BRRR! It's winter in Texas

Well, it's winter everywhere isn't it?  Most places I have lived though, there are 4 seasons and winter comes on gradually.  Here in Texas, we are wearing shorts one day and our parkas the next.  Last week we had two days of 80..then overnight, "The Big Arctic Freeze" blew down and we had a freeze.  It did not get above 30 for 4 days in a row.  Most cities in Texas are not equipped to deal with ice and snow because we don't get it on a regular basis.  Plus we have all these high in the sky overpasses and bridges that freeze over.  Makes life interesting. Our little fountain on the porch did not get drained yet, so it has had a bit of ice on it the past few days.  I like the way it looks.

The colors have finally changed here though and it looks real pretty.  I don't have an oak tree in my front yard.  I have a live oak in the back and it doesn't shed it's leaves in the fall, only in spring when new growth occurs. But my neighbors on both sides have oak trees and so I have the benefit of tons of leaves.  I find it amusing that the guy on the left rakes most of the leaves from my yard, he says it's the least he can do, since they came from his tree.  Matters to me not a whit, we eventually rake or vacuum them up when they all fall.  The guy on the right rakes right to the property line, so I always just hope that the ones on my side blow back into his yard..HaHa  He also rakes every few days, then the next day the yard is full again. He's also the guy who mows his yard 3 times a week, while the rest of us do it once a week.   Both my neighbors are great, its just funny to me, the differences in people..
 
 Oak tree to the right
 
Oak tree to the left
 
Leaves in my yard
Leaves for crafting