Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31, 2011

Look at the size of these cucumbers!
I got the word from Dr. Mc to "shut up" about the weather in Santa Fe. I taught the girls not to use that two-word phrase, but now that they're grown they say it to me all the time, just to annoy me. Sometimes, to totally upset me, they add an adverb between the two words. With big smirky smiles across their faces, they twist a knife in my heart using that ugly phrase and modifers. Oh, those girls! I'll get them back.

Major upset in my plans yesterday. The little sewing machine I keep in Santa Fe stopped working. It's an inexpensive Brother's machine that I bought four years ago just to have up here. I've made window treatments, pillows, bedskirts and tote bags with the machine, using mostly light-weight cotton and linen fabrics. I'm hoping I can take the sewing machine to a repair shop tomorrow and have it fixed for less than the cost to buy it. Any guesses on how long it will take to repair a sewing machine in the Land of Manana?

Today I'm creating pesto. At the farmer's market yesterday I bought the fresh ingredients I need, plus some heirloom tomatoes to serve with it. Mr. B doesn't eat uncooked tomatoes, so the heirloom tomatoes are going to be such a treat for me! But first, this afternoon I'm going to walk around the Contemporary Spanish Market in the 85-degree sunshine. Then tonight, I'll take a bottle of crisp white wine, the tomatoes and pesto, and some good bread outside to enjoy in the COOL Santa Fe evening. Take that, Dr. Mc!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30, 2011

In yesterday's newspaper I found several estate sales that I wanted to visit today. The one I was most interested in started at 8 a.m. and listed, among other items, fabric and a bike. I'm always looking for old fabrics and I've wanted to have a bike in Santa Fe. I set the alarm on my iPhone for 7 a.m. so I can be there early to check out the bargains, but don't get up until 8:30 a.m. After taking the dogs for a walk, eating some yogurt and getting dressed, I  leave the house at 9:30 a.m. My mother was fussing inside my brain that everything was going to be picked over, but I headed out to the estate sale. Although it was  across town, I was there in 10 minutes. Oh yeah, this is Santa Fe, not Houston.

Book I bought yesterday at Border's.
Lots of tips and tricks I can't wait to try!
Walking up the drive, I see the bike is still there. Nice looking, but dusty. On closer inspection, I discover it's a 1983 Peugeot, 14-speed racing bike – not what anyone should ride on the rocky, dirt roads of Santa Fe. I go inside to check out the fabric. I've never seen so many pieces of pastel-colored fabric with tiny flowers. Not interested, so I head to the next place. The ad in the paper says it's a HUGE yard sale with bikes (plural). Nice looking bikes, all with training wheels. Not interested, so I head to the third place, which is just down the street from Pettita Casita. Strike three! Junk, junk and more junk. Complete flop!

Today I'm creating some shopping bags. I found a great book yesterday at Border's going-out-of-business sale. Last night I matched some fabrics to use. So after I go to the Saturday farmer's market I'm going to come home, open the windows, and turn the dining room table into my sewing station. Sounds like a fun afternoon to me!

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29, 2011

For two years there were no  flowers on this
plant. I almost pulled it in May, thinking
it was a weed. By the end of July it was
blooming. Now I need to identify it.
Rose is learning that she doesn't have to bark at every noise she hears. This made for much better sleeping last night. I've told her she only needs to bark if someone comes in the yard, and that it's not necessary to bark at every creek and squeak a 70+ year-old house makes. Of course, once Rose barks then Roz has to chime in. Nothing I dislike more than being awakened at an odd hour of the night from a deep sleep by barking dogs.

Remember several years ago when Ch. 2 – the NBC affiliate in Houston – had Radar the Weather Dog? Adorable furry dog, but stupid concept! Albuquerque is a much smaller news market than Houston, so I guess it takes longer for idiotic ideas to reach it. This morning, on the NBC affiliate in Albuquerque, the weatherman was holding a shaking chiuaua with bug eyes. Sad!

Today I'm creating  time in the garden. We had a problem with the drip system in the side yard and lost some plants. I figure if I buy the plants today I can get them planted throughout the weekend. It's sad that my aging back can't endure hours of bending, digging, and planting like it used to. As Mr. B's mother used to say, old age isn't for sissies!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011

This is a chocolate plant. It's low to the ground
and omits a chocolate smell when brushed. 
Last night I made a to-do list for today. Actually, I added to the to-do list Mr. B left me before he returned to Houston. He walked around the garden yesterday – in his uniform of slacks, a crispy starched shirt, and polished shoes – pointing out chores for me. Talk about role reversal. I thought I was supposed to create honey-do lists for him!

I'm happy to report that Evan has a new job. She's working at Paulie's, which makes one of my favorite sandwiches in Houston. If you're out and about for lunch, stop by Paulie's on Westhemier, order a shrimp sandwich (yum), and say hello to Evan. When she worked at Buchanan's in the Heights, she would always tell me who came in the nursery and said hello to her.

Today I'm creating a new curtain for the puerta trasera (backdoor). I brought the fabric from Houston, but need to go to the fabric store to get lining. It's always a temptation for me to go into fabric stores and not come out with more than I need. I've been known to go for a spool of thread, but walk out with $100 of remnants and no thread. Focus!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27, 2011

Vintage cabinet and framed print brought from
Houston fit perfectly in the Santa Fe house.
Terrific dinner party last night! Good food and wine. Good friends. Good weather. And more refreshing wine. Am I in heaven? The photo I'm posting today is the little cabinet I bought in Houston and brought to Santa Fe. It fits perfectly in the spot and worked great during the dinner party as a "server." I moved the old wooden platter from Mexico and the antique stirrups my parents bought in South America to the floor. Then, during dinner, the dishes of food sat on the server instead of in the middle of the table. I'm sure this isn't the final version of the server, but for now I think it looks cute.

The piece of artwork above the cabinet is also from the Houston house. It's a "relief intaglio" by Peter Massing. For those of you who are familiar with The Art Guys, Peter is Jack Massing's brother. Intaglio is a very old printmaking technique involving a plate the artist has carved, ink, a damp piece of paper, and a printing press that, through pressure, transfers the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper. Our original one-of-a-kind piece has the amazing colors of the high desert. Very wonderful!

Today I'm creating a list of canning and preserving items I'm going to need this summer. In addition to the two big boxes of fabric I brought with me to sew, I've been reading a preserving primer. Last year I canned about a dozen jars of apricots that came from the tree in our yard. There aren't any apricots on the tree this year, but the farmer's market has plenty of fruit. I've run into the first snag on page 14 of the magazine, stating beginners (definitely me), "should ease into canning by starting with fruits that have a high acid content, such as quince." What's a quince?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011

The table is set for our dinner guests.
Today didn't really seem as if I were on vacation. I got up early for a Skype conference with a client. I'm usually in the client's office on Tuesday, but since he's in Houston and I'm in Santa Fe, we had a Skype conference. Or at least we tried. Something didn't work as it was supposed to, so instead we had a teleconference ... for one hour and 15 minutes. My arm was exhausted from holding the phone up to my ear for so long. I wrote the newsletter later today and got it off by email. I was so excited I finished it today, but then realized it was 4 p.m. in Santa Fe, which meant it was 5 p.m. in Houston, and no one was in the office at that time to review it. Also worked on two pro bono projects today. See what I mean about working on vacation? Yikes!

Errands were also on my agenda today. It was so nice at the farmer's market, which is close to the house and open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Beautiful veggies, breads, plants, cut flowers, handmade lotions and potions, etc. I'm making squash I bought at the market for dinner tonight, along with a green salad. The grill master (as he likes to be called) is heating up the Webber in about 30 minutes to charcoal chicken.

Today I'm creating a lovely dinner for The Richards (our friends in Santa Fe) and also for Lynn (who is in town from Houston). The table is already set with linens and fresh flowers from the garden. I told Mr. B I wished I had a cutting garden in Houston. Oh yeah, I have more time to garden in Santa Fe when I'm on vacation.

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25, 2011

Hello from Santa Fe, NM. I'm 900 miles and a world away from Houston! Mr. B, Roz, Rose, and I began our drive at 8 a.m. Central Time yesterday, after the mandatory first stop at Mickey Ds for drive-through breakfast. Granted, Mickey Ds doesn't serve the breakfast of champions, but Mr. B has to have his sausage and eggs biscuit sandwich and the girls love sharing their Sunday morning hash-brown patty.

Next scheduled stop is always in Decatur, TX, just outside of Ft. Worth, at a Shell station. I walk and water the girls in the hot, dry air for five minutes while Mr. B fuels up the car in the shade. Pit stops and diet cokes for the humans, and we're on the road again.

Next stop, not always scheduled, is for a change of drivers. Yesterday it was in Chillicohthe, TX, at the Sonic. I got a diet cherry limeade and watched Mr. B eat a chocolate sundae with whip cream, hold the cherry. Hold the cherry? He's really serious about losing weight! I'm behind the wheel and the speed control is set.

Next (unscheduled) stop was in Quantum, TX, just for me, at a roadside park. Thank goodness I was driving. Mr. B would NOT have stopped just because I couldn't hold the beverages I'd drunk since the stop in Decatur. So in the middle of nowhere, with official yellow signs everywhere warning to beware of rattlesnakes, I bravely make the three-minute walk/run inside to the restrooms. I'm clapping the entire way, thinking that will scare off the snakes that are lurking, just waiting for a strike at my pearly white flesh. Hey, if mosquitos can't resist me, how can snakes? This is the cleanest roadside park I've ever been in. It has air conditioning and resembles what I expect an old train station would look like. Cute! Inside the stall, I wonder if a snake could rise up through the water to bite my meaty buttock? Remember, I don't have experience in roadside parks. Finished, I make the three-minute walk/run back to the car – clapping and humming this time. Inside the car, door closed, safe from a close encounter with snakes, I'm sweating. Was it because I was nervous about snakes or because it was HOT outside? See the photo I took of the car thermometer showing the exterior temperature. WOW!

Bladder empty, sandwich brought from home eaten, bottle of water between my thighs, and my two hands on the steering wheel, we're back on the Highway 287 heading for the next scheduled stop.

In Amarillo at the Valero station, the temperature has fallen to 99 degrees. Although it's hot in Amarillo, there is always a strong wind. Leashed, the girls enjoy the last grass they'll experience until we get back to Houston. After the dogs' five-minute walk and potty break, Mr. B offers me the last piece of leftover pizza we packed in the cooler. Eating a cold piece of pizza in the Valero parking lot. Nothing but the best when you travel with Mr. B.

Behind the wheel again, this time with an energy drink in hand, we get on Interstate 40 and head for the New Mexico border. I'm always excited to enter the "Land of Enchantment." The roads are rougher, but the speed limit is higher. Only three hours left until we reach Santa Fe.

Around 8 p.m. Mountain Time, Mr. B pushes open the gate and I pull in the drive at Pettita Casita. Not lickety split (for those of you familiar with that expression), but home again. There's just enough light for us to take a quick walk around the garden to see what's new. After unloading the car, I walked around the house opening windows and filling the fridge with water while Mr. B gathered dinner from Il Vicino. In a city known for its Mexican food, he likes Italian food from Il Vicino.

Today I'm creating a extra long blog. Since I didn't write one yesterday, I decided to write a long blog today. Next I'm creating a grocery list and heading to the Trader Joe's and then Albertson's. The weatherman in ABQ (no television station in Santa Fe) said the high is supposed to be 88 degrees today and the low tonight is 59 degrees. It's overcast and threatening to rain, so I doubt it will get to 88 degrees. If it does rain, dinner will have to be inside tonight instead of under the apricot tree. But I have lots more nights in Santa Fe until I go back to Houston.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23, 2011

Rose has her toys and is ready to travel.
Another full morning with the yard sale. I was up before 6 a.m. and started setting up about 30 minutes later. People start stopping at the first sign of light. And some people are just nutty! For example, a man arrives about 6:45 a.m. and is looking at what's on the tables. I tell him we won't have everything out until 8  a.m., which is when our signs state the yard sale will begin. He ignores me and picks up a large plastic pitcher with a lid. He asks the price and I tell him $1. A few minutes later I see him opening the door to his SUV. I yell at him that he hasn't paid me for the pitcher. He shakes his head "no," climbs in his car, and drives away. Come on. Stealing a $1 plastic pitcher. Really? Like I said, some people are nutty?

It was so hot outside this morning! We kept moving around the front yard to find shade, but at noon – with the sun straight overhead – there was no shade in the front yard. A huge maroon candle melted on one of the tables. I think that was the only casualty, except maybe my back. I'm not sure if it was the picking up and moving of boxes or the sun and humidity that zapped me – or both.

Today I'm creating a packing list for my extended vacay in Santa Fe. Mr. B says, "We leave at dawn," but that never happens. Rose saw my suitcases and brought me both of her toys.  A girl has to have her toys when she goes on vacation!

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22, 2011

Yard sale part deux tomorrow from 8 a.m. to noon. Mr. B is going through the garage tonight, but last night he brought home boxes (see photo) from our storage unit for me to go through today. These boxes have been in storage for more than a year. My theory is that if we haven't missed the items inside the boxes by now, we probably don't need them. Correct-a-mundo?

But what do I do with items I don't use or like, but can't discard? This topic came up last week with my daddy's Texas A&M diploma. Daddy was the first person on either side of his family to graduate from college. His diploma always hung in a prominent position in his study. I don't need the diploma, but can't pitch it. Then there's a painting my parents bought in South America in the mid 1950s. I don't like the painting, but can't seem to discard it. The same goes for a painting that a friend of my parents made. All three of these framed pieces are quite large! What I need to do is put on my big-girl panties and deal with this issue. I don't have to save everything. And there are many items that I cherish. I don't have to keep things I don't like. Light bulb moment ... who makes collages? A piece of this. A scrap of that. Everything collaged on one piece of canvas. Yes! Thanks for helping me work through this conundrum.

Today I'm creating a budget for the Women of Wine fundraiser. I'm chairing the event that will take place on October 25. Oh course, with all these boxes stacked in the dining room, more in the kitchen, and a budget to create, I don't think there will be time for all the Friday cleaning activities. All together now ... awwwww.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

Drinking multiple margaritas last night
seemed like a good idea at the time.
Note to self: You drank too much last night. On a school night. Bad girl! What were you thinking? OK, move on.

Here's a story with a happy ending. Dr. Kendall researched and wrote a grant proposal for a non-profit organization that shall remain nameless. She provided an estimate (hourly rate multiplied by number of hours), which was approved. When she was assigned more work relating to the same project, she informed the executive director that the additional work would exceed her original estimate and was given the go ahead to proceed. But when it came time to get paid for her work, the executive director said, "I don't think so." Bad form! Dr. K found out recently that the executive director had been replaced, so she sent an email explaining the situation to the new executive director who responded, "Sorry for the delay." Very proud of Kendall for following up! You go, girl.

Today I'm creating an afternoon of errands. Mr. B has loaded me up today. I have to go downtown and stand in line. I have to go to Discount Tires and wait for who knows how long to get my tires rotated. I have to take the Explorer to our mechanic to find out why I can't put the pedal to the metal. Nothing sounds like fun. I think Mr. B is punishing me for having too much fun last night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011

A cute little pouch made from an old burlap bag and scraps.
I haven't figured out the handle ... or maybe it doesn't one.
I just read that 42 years ago today Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Although many people I know weren't even born in 1969, I was at drill team camp held at SMU for the historic first walk on the moon. There were lots of giggly young girls gathered around the television in the reception room at the dorm. I was so excited to be there as an officer of the Spring Woods High School Tigerettes.

Women of Wine had a great planning meeting for our upcoming fundraiser. Always fun spending in Bill Baldwin's wine cellar! The one idea that didn't come out of the meeting was a name for the event. What? I'm the theme queen (or so I like to believe) and I couldn't name the damn thing. But I'm not giving up!

Today I'm creating envelopes for a newsletter I've been working on. At the request of Dr. Kendall, who told me last night I needed to be sewing more, I'm posting a photo of a little pouch I made yesterday. I used an old burlap bag for the main portion of the bag and scraps of cotton for the flap. The pouch is lined with beige cotton. The bag is cute and easy to make, so I'm planning to make more in Santa Fe. Leaving in four days!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011

The comfy chair in this reading nook belonged
first to my maternal grandmother and then to my
paternal grandmother. The lamp belonged to
Mr. B's mother.  Lots of warmth in that corner!
Another rainy morning in Houston. Usually I'm not a friend of gray skies, but two rainy mornings in a row is a good thing (thanks Martha Stewart for the expression).

Lots of check marks on the to-do list for Santa Fe. More items added to the list today, but it all still seems manageable. I doubt the panic mode will hit until Saturday afternoon, which is not a good thing. I wish I could push myself into more of a hurried state before the last minute, but since my middle name is procrastination, getting things done before the last minute isn't going to happen. Today I'm procrastinating against going to the tax office and standing in line for who knows how long to get the title of Evan's scooter transferred out of the previous owner's name.

Today I'm creating an agenda and handouts for the Women of Wine fundraiser planning meeting. I need to get this organized and volunteers assigned to the different tasks before I leave town. Hope the meeting doesn't last more than an hour because Mr. B and I need to have dinner tonight with our buddy Keith Crane. Keith's middle name is better than mine. He actually has two middle names: Cranium and Crane-the-Brain. Since he's so smart, I bet he doesn't procrastinate.

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011

My brain.
It's Monday again. Just like clockwork Monday comes around every seven days, whether I'm ready for it or not. But this Monday morning brought something Houstonians have been missing lately — it rained for a few minutes, at least at my house.

I have lots of random thoughts this morning, probably because I'm getting ready to leave town. I usually have the pictured notebook in my purse. I've begun making lists of things to do before I leave, things to take with me when I go, and there's even a page for Roz and Rose. But before crossing anything off a list, I need to eat lunch and watch All My Children. A Monday ritual.

Random thought #1: The media seems so surprised because J Lo and Marc Anthony are divorcing. Really? I think it's more surprising when celebrity marriages last more than a few years.

Random thought #2: I woke up this morning with a huge bump on my left forearm and the beginnings of what will be a nasty bruise. Ouchy!

Random thought #3: I'm so happy that I found Evan's IRS refund check. I couldn't locate it for about a week. It's time to put it in her bank account.

Random thought #4: I could care less where Casey Anthony is hiding!

Random thought #5: Last night I cooked fish and roasted veggies. The only problem with cooking fish is that the house still smells. Reminds me of a joke: What do house guests and fish have in common? They both start smelling after three days. [Insert laugh track here.]

Today I'm creating dinner in the slow cooker.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17, 2011

The cute scooter Evan bought is at my house
until she gets her driver's license renewed.
It's only one week before I leave for my summer hiatus in Santa Fe. Being gone for eight weeks takes planning, which starts today. This summer I'm hoping to volunteer 10-12 hours per week at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, so instead of my normal linen shorts-and-tops-only wardrobe I'll also need to take some casual-Friday skirts. I'll also begin sewing for the upcoming fall and holiday craft shows while in Santa Fe, which means I need to go through fabrics, trims and my inspiration files to coordinate what I want to take with me. Just thinking about being in the high desert for the rest of the summer brings a HUGE smile to my face (emphasis added).

I find that while in Santa Fe during the summer I eat much better than I do in Houston. Maybe it's because I shop at the bi-weekly farmer's market while I'm there or maybe it's because life is slower and I have more time to plan and prepare, but for whatever reason(s) I like cooking en la cocina casita. I also give up drinking diet cokes (bet you thought I was going to say alcohol) while in Santa Fe, which usually means I'm a bear the first few days as I de-caffeine. Even Roz and Rose prefer drinking refreshing spring water (as opposed to tap water) in Santa Fe.

Today I'm creating an opportunity to ride Evan's cute scooter. She bought a gently used scooter on Friday and it's being stored at my house until she renews her driver's license this week. (No need for a driver's license while she only rode a bicycle.) The scooter needs to be started every day, so maybe I'll ride it to Revival market and buy some fish for dinner tonight. And maybe I'll ride it to the salon to get a mani/pedi. As my dad used to say, "Sounds like a plan."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 16, 2011

A great, no-longer-produced tupperware container.
Mr. B woke me up BEFORE 6 a.m. this morning to set up for a yard sale. It was hot, humid and still dark. Two hours of setting up, two hours of selling stuff for $2-$5, and an hour of getting leftovers under the porch roof as it started sprinkling. After counting the dollar bills and lunch, it was time for a long nap. I hate getting up early, and now Mr. B wants to continue the yard sale next Saturday since we got rained out today. I must love him because I said OK.

We had mainly large pieces in the yard sale, most of which didn't sell. Most of the "smalls" came from Mr. B's mom's apartment, including a priceless piece of tupperware. I HAD one just like it, until I took something in it to Kendall's house. The good doctor now insists it is hers. The tupperware container with lid (see photo) holds a pie, several dozen cookies, about 18 cupcakes, lots of deviled eggs ... you get the idea. It's perfect for hauling goodies to someone else's house. If you ever see one at a yard sale, do yourself a favor and buy it.

Today I'm creating a festive outfit to wear to the neighbor's house for dinner. I'm looking forward to a casual, fun evening.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15, 2011

I have a beautiful antique hall tree in Pettita Casita (our home in Santa Fe, NM) that I'm planning to place on consignment this summer while I'm there. The casita is small and so, whenever possible, the furniture has to perform multiple functions. For example, in the back hallway there is a long bench with lots of storage underneath the seat. In the kitchen there is an old painted tall cabinet where we keep bar glasses and liquor. In the guest bedroom, instead of putting a simple table between the twin beds, there is a small four-drawer chest where guests can put their clothes. But the hall tree just stands there unused because everyone comes in the back door. Not practical. So I'm thinking about replacing the hall tree with a small cabinet that has a serving surface and storage. Much more functional, plus we could also use the wall space above the cabinet to hang artwork.

Yesterday I found a small oak cabinet with a big drawer and two doors that will work well in NM, but now I'm wondering if I should buy the piece in Houston and take it to Santa Fe when I go next weekend, or look for a chest in Santa Fe. I like the chest I found, but would change the knobs (don't think they are original). The price is reasonable, probably less than I'd spend in Santa Fe, and the size/style are good. Decisions, decisions. This weekend I'm taking Mr. B (also known sometimes as Mr. Grumpy when it comes to spending money) to see the chest and get his opinion.

Today I'm creating a clean house ... again! Fridays and the dreaded house cleaning chores come quickly each week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011

Women of Wine happy hour on July 13, 2011. FUN!
I had so much fun last night with a group of about 25 or so women at the happy hour for Women of Wine Charities. As a young adult I had more guy friends because they dominated the corporate culture in which I worked, but now I so enjoy interacting with women of all ages.

Speaking of interacting with women, I had the pleasure of spending time during the holiday's for the past 6-10 years with Marge Griffith, who died last weekend at age 83. Marge, who was an inspiring and trail-brazing women, was the mother of my dear friend Sandy Steitz. At the University of Wisconsin, Marge was a drummer in an all girl's band. After graduation she had a career in teaching while being a wife (for 65 years), mother of two, grandmother of four, and friend of many. She also found time for church, golf and volunteer work. While living on Long Island she served as the Volunteer President for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. For many years she was an active alto in the Church of Our Savior choir and she participated in the church's bell choir. She not only liked to play golf (and, of course, she was a great player), but she served for many years as a Board of Director for the Florida Woman’s State Golf Association. Marge was a breast cancer survivor of many years, but in 2010, she was diagnosed with pancreatic, lung and liver cancer, and told she only had a few months to live. Strong-willed and stubborn to the end, Marge outlived that predication.

Today I'm creating dinner for the Steitz's family, and helping them celebrate Marge's life. Here's to living life to its fullest, Marge!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13, 2011

Twin nieces Rebecca (Akin) Mackey and Patricia Akin.
Last night I fought with all my might the temptation to devour a milk shake. Even as late as midnight I was tempted to get up, get dressed, and get a vanilla shake. I'm normally more interested in salty foods, so my sweet tooth making a late-night appearance was a surprise. I didn't succumb yesterday, but today's another day.

Speaking of today, it's the 33rd birthday of my twin nieces. Happy birthday, ladies! It seems as if it were just yesterday that I looked through the window of the hospital nursery and saw the sweet little babies, Tricia wearing a gold heart-shaped monitor. Those adorable babies have grown to be successful young women who are beautiful both inside and out. My wish is that my older brother was still alive to share in his daughters' lives, but I know he watches over them. My question is this – should I celebrate their birthday with a vanilla shake toast?

Today I'm creating the mailing envelopes for a newsletter I created yesterday. Putting a mailing label on an envelope isn't very creative, but I fear it's about as creative as I'll get today. Or maybe I'll be creative in my outfit for the day. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

As I've previously blogged, I'm a reality star junkie. Last night was a double whammy, but I kept falling asleep before the endings.
First on was The Bachelorette. I'm not crazy about the current bachelorette, Ashley (a.k.a. that bow-legged chick to Mr. B as he passes through the room), and I'm not that wowed by any of the guys this season. I can't believe that any guy could be so upset about not receiving a rose, which symbolizes affection, from a girl he has known for about three weeks. Lucas was one of the guys sent packing last night and he had to keep walking off camera during his final goodbye because he was crying! Crying? I don't like labels, but he was acting like a girlie man.

Then, one of my favorite shows – Design Star – was back on the air last night. I started watching it but fell asleep before the rooms were revealed. I woke up several hours later and started watching the second showing, but fell asleep again before the rooms were revealed. Oh well, during the next week I'm sure it will be showing at least once a night.

Today I'm creating a newsletter, flier, website blurb, press release, public service announcement, and hopefully I'll still have time to work on a six-month communications plan. WOW! Then I have a project for each of my non-profit boards. And I need to organize treasures for a garage sale this weekend. Busy, busy, busy ... but first – food for thought – what's for lunch?

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011

The front garden loved yesterday's rain!
Roz, Rose and I were at the vet's office this morning at 9 a.m. Taking the girls to the vet is in some ways like going to the dentist. You know they're going to make comments or ask questions that make you feel as if you are not worthy.

Dentist question: Have you been flossing?
My answer: No.

Vet question: Have you been giving your dogs their flea medicine?
My answer: No, we ran out.

Dentist statement: You have some plaque build up.
My response: Sorry.

Vet statement: Your dogs have some plaque build up.
Same response: Sorry.

The prices of visiting the dentist and taking two dogs to the vet are also similar. Thankfully we have dental insurance. But even though the vet visit was expensive, I like the new vet who saw the girls today. If you're looking for a new vet in the Heights area, I recommend Dr. Clint Duncan on 20th Street. Roz liked him so much she wagged her tail the entire time he was examining her. This is a big deal for Roz who doesn't really like anyone.

Today I'm creating invoices. This afternoon I'm going to my Women of Wine board meeting. In the meantime, think I'll chew one of the dog's flea pills to see if it can help me stop scratching. The minute I think about fleas, I start itching.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

July 10, 2011

Our party last night for Sandra York was terrific! I met some new people, hung out with neighbors, chatted with other art lovers, and just had a fabulous time. And even with 50+ people in the house, the temperature remained pleasant.

It's amazing to me that I've been having large parties for many years, but still have light bulb moments about what to serve. I spent hours making a yummy dessert with fresh oranges, honey and liqueur. It was tasty and refreshing! It wasn't difficult to make, but took lots of time to prepare. I also made shortbread cookies. The idea was to put the cookies in the bottom of a bowl and then put the oranges and some juice on top. Most people just ate the simple shortbread cookies. Note to self: When serving a large group, keep it simple. The hit of the night was probably Kendall's homemade hummus with pita chips. And Mr. B is the grill master! We have tons of flank steak leftovers. We cut the meat very thin and put it on top of lettuces and other fresh vegetables, red onion and feta for a steak salad. Yum.

Today I'm creating a clean kitchen. Fortunately we used heavy plastic plates and silverware, so that part of the cleanup was easy. But neither Mr. B nor I like to drink wine out of plastic, so there are tons of wine glasses to wash and put away. And large bowls and platters. Fortunately there was a heavy rain in Houston this afternoon, which made for a needed diversion and grand nap.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9, 2011

Busy day getting ready for the reception Mr. B and I are hosting for our neighbor, friend, and artist, Sandra York. The house looks wonderful (except for the inside of my closet). As usual, all the leftover stuff got tossed into my closet. Mr. B is getting ready to grill the flank steak. The green beans, dessert, and hummus are ready. The salad is assembled. Now all that will be left is to dress the salad just before everyone arrives. And my feet are KILLING me.

Speaking of dogs (get it? feet = dogs?) sweet Rose was at my side all morning, which means she missed her morning nap. This afternoon I found her taking a siesta and snoring on the guest room bed. Lazy dog!

Today I'm creating Greek food. I hope it tastes as good as it smells!

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 8, 2011

Mr. B and I spent last night hanging art back in the house. It's wonderful to have so many wonderful pieces of art back on the walls. I still have a dining room wall to complete, but first I need to finish cleaning the room. It has been the gathering area for all the what-do-we-do-with-this-stuff. I've gone through everything and am left with piles and boxes designated for upstairs (crafting and office), donate, garage sale, and thrash.

I'm posting a picture of the first piece of artwork Mr. B and I bought together. It's by a Houston artist named Gail Siptak and is titled "Stair Jumping." Gail's style is so whimsical and fun. Every time I look at this piece I smile.

Today I'm creating a collage of artwork on a dining room wall. There will probably be a dozen pieces on the wall, so wish me luck in getting them hung straight without putting too many unnecessary holes in the wall.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7, 2011

My pinky now has a smaller bandage.
I bit the bullet today and went to see the doctor, and am happy to report that my pinky will live to extend another day. While I was in the doctor's office, I also had my annual thyroid check-up. I'm good to go for another year, barring another close encounter with a sharp blade.

Next week it's the dogs turn to visit the doctor. This makes me think about Nelson, our white Shih Tzu before we got Rose. Nelson, who was the toughest dog on the block — all 15 lbs. of him, hated to go to the vet, just as I don't like to go to the doctor. Once when Nelson was at the vet's office getting his shots, the tough guy won't stop crying. Even the vet told Nelson he was being a baby and crying too much. When we walked out into the waiting area, the other dogs was cowering because of all the noise Nelson had made. Unlike Nelson, I didn't cry today when I had my blood drawn.

Today I'm creating wall groupings with our artwork. When Mr. B and I were thinking about selling our 100-year-old house and moving to a townhouse, we removed about half the art from the walls. Now that we've decided we're not ready for a townhouse yet, we're going to spend this evening rehanging artwork. Can't wait to see everything back up on the walls!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011

Happy National Fried Chicken Day! Who knew there was such a special celebration for the crusty yumminess? Nothing better than good fried chicken with lumpy mashed potatoes and cream gravy ... and I don't mean the kind that comes in a tub or box. I should make some for Mr. B for dinner, except that I went to the doctor today and was told that I gained four pounds.

Speaking of yummy, had a great lunch today at BRC. I had a lunch special that included three sliders with perfectly grilled beef patties topped with pimento cheese and lettuce on toasted buns. They were delicious, and the fries weren't bad either. Very cute interior. I think Mr. B would like it there. Thanks to Katy, Marilyn and Kay for a belated birthday lunch celebration.

Today I'm creating nothing. I've been going through old magazines and clipping ideas for future projects, but I just don't feel like making anything today. It's OK. I'm allowed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011

Rose and I found this sweet little birds nest on a walk.
Casey Anthony was found not guilty in the murder of her daughter. She had been convicted by the news media, but I guess the jury had "reasonable doubt." I really don't know about her guilt or innocence, but I'm sure there will be lots of opinions voiced tonight by the media. If Casey Anthony did kill that sweet little child, she'll receive punishment from a higher power! In the meantime, I look forward to hearing interviews with the jury.

It's so quiet in the house today. Both dogs are at the groomers for a bath and couffer. Roz will be traumatized when she gets home and head directly under the bed. Rose will strut her hefty fluffed-up stuff around the house for several days. She looks so silly with pink bows on her ears, but she thinks she is beautiful. I love a girl with feelings of high self worth!

Today I'm creating an invitation to a reception for our neighbor Sandra York. She is having a gallery opening of her latest and greatest artwork this Saturday night. I'm planning to also celebrate Sandra'a heritage by serving a light supper of Greek food. I have never cooked Greek food before, so wish me luck!

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4, 2011

My favorite memories of July 4th aren't from my childhood. Growing up in Texas, it was too hot and there were too many flies and mosquitos to have an outdoor picnic, and I've never really enjoyed evening firework displays and the crowds. Yes, I was a "princess" even as a child. The only thing I really liked about July 4th was that my mom or grandmother Nannu would make homemade ice cream. Once the creamy mixture was in the canister and the canister was in the bucket with ice and rock salt, my older brother and I would take turns sitting on the top bucket to hold it in place while the men hand turned the crank. The results were delicious!

My favorite July 4th celebrations were when Kendall was in grad school in Denver. I looked forward to going at that time of the year to visit Kendall and Nick, and shop the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. They would invite their friends for dinner, so the day always involved me making lots of "sides." Two different kinds of potato salad. Baked beans. Green salad with ranch dressing and homemade croutons. Lots of garlic bread. Sugar cookies, lemon squares, and brownies. The huge platters of deviled eggs were always the first to go, usually before dinner was served.

Nick and I would marinate chicken. Then just as the sun was going down and people started arriving, Nick would light the charcoal grill. Their friend Keaton, who is a chef, would help Nick grill the chicken, basting it with either barbecue sauce or a peach marmalade.

Christmas lights lit the backyard and we'd all sit outside, drink wine or beer, and enjoy the company and good food. It was interesting and inspiring to listen to the "kids," many of whom were in grad school, talk about their plans and visions for a bright future. By the time the fireworks started we'd usually donned a long sleeve shirt or light sweater. Great, fun times! July 4th with no flies and no mosquitos was heaven!

Today I'm creating an empty apartment by helping Mr. B and Missy (and Larry) finish packing and moving everything out of their mom's apartment. After all the bending and lifting and carrying, Mr. B and I will probably spend a quiet night at home. After we clean up and each take two Advil gel caps, we may watch the fireworks on television. No flies and no mosquitos.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3, 2011

I'm hoping that if I write everything down I'll be able to visualize if I want "form or function" in the very small (10' x 11') third bedroom I'm cleaning and organizing. When completed the room will be a study/reading room. Here I go, stay with me.

The north wall (10' exterior wall) has two large windows with a small amount of wall space on either side. In front of the windows will be a pair of Louis XVI style arm chairs that Mr. B's mother gave him many moons ago. They have dark wood and are upholstered in a brown textured fabric. On the west wall (11') is a half-glass door that leads to the porch. Beside the door and taking up the entire wall is huge, three-door antique armoire. More dark wood. On the south wall (10' interior wall) I'm placing a streamline, but not modern design, love seat with straight wooden legs. The love seat is covered in off-white, semi-nubby linen/canvas. The door to the hallway opens onto the south wall next to the love seat. This leaves the east wall (11'), which has a three-foot door opening. I want to put bookcases on this wall, and herein lies my dilemma.
Shelves depths (top to bottom):
4", 7", 10", 13", 17"

Last night I researched bookcases online, and was torn between two styles. A set of standard bookcases would be functional in that they would hold more, but I'm afraid seven feet of wooden bookcases would be visually heavy in the small room. (I'm not interested in white laminated or painted bookcases.) On the other hand, seven feet of "leaning ladder shelves" on the wall would have a more open form, but wouldn't hold as many books because the top shelves are angled closer to the wall. (See photo.)

OK, this did helped. After mulling it over, I've decided on the leaning ladder shelves. I've picked form over function, which is so opposite of the teachings of my favorite architects/designers (William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright).

Today I'm creating a room design and reviewing the plans with Mr. B, who may decide he doesn't like my idea. Arghhh!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 2, 2011

Adding a photo of Roz to my blog today
since Feng Shui is from the land of her people.
Hopefully she has connections.
Saw this on Facebook this morning: This year July has five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So copy this to your status and money will arrive within four days. Based on the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui.

Technically, since I copied the item to my blog and am posting this blog on Facebook, I’m doing as instructed. I’ll let you know whether the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui pays off within four days.

Today I'm creating organized boxes of stuff I'm removing from the cleanup room. I'm serious! Keep. Trash. Donate. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 1, 2011

Roz, our sixish year old cat-dog,
crumpy Shih Tzu.
WOW. It's already July. I must be getting old because the days/weeks/months go by so fast now.  Of course, the days might seem longer if I got up earlier. This morning I slept late and told myself I was resting after all the stress of the past two weeks. But then the part of me that has to over analyze everything wonders if I'm just lazy or apathetic. Or is all the clutter in the house just too overwhelming?
Rose, our loveable fat dog,
Shih Tzu Cocker mix.
Over the long weekend I want to clean out a room in the house. We've been putting everything in that room and closing the door. Right now I think it resembles a space that would appear on the hoarders show. I have fabrics and clothes all over the place, as well as bags and totes I've made. Buried under the boxes are probably forgotten shoes. There are also boxes filled with items that need to be sold in a garage sale or donated to charity. And on top of it all, Mr. B has started bringing items from his mother's apartment, but there's no  room at the inn!

Today I'm creating conference promotions and making my list for the weekend.