Saturday, July 30, 2011

two favorites

Have I mentioned that I'm a big science fiction fan? I think I have. Probably 75% of my reading as a young adult was science fiction, maybe more. I did eventually mature and moved on to romance.

Hee hee, just kidding. I still read a good dose of science fiction and will generally go see any science fiction movie.

I guess movies is where I learned to love science fiction since I stayed up many nights in the early 60s watching things like Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman and The Amazing Colossal Man and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers on the one hand and Tarzan movies and Sinbad the Sailor movies on the other.

I'm also a big fan of westerns and will pretty much go see any western movie though I never got into them for reading material. However mixed in with the sci-fi on TV was Have Gun Will Travel, The Rifleman, Maverick, Gunsmoke and The Rebel. These were the stories and myths I grew up with.

So when the opportunity arises to go see a western and a science fiction movie, two classic genres, and they're the same movie, baby, I'm there.

Cowboys & Aliens with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford opened last Friday and Saturday Marc and I went to see it.

I was not disappointed.

That's all I'm going to say about it besides remarking on what a fine specimen of manhood Daniel Craig is and Harrison Ford ain't too shabby either. The rest of the cast were not really known to me but the actor that played the rancher's son reminded me of my high school sweetheart. And I was pleased to see that the three female roles were played by women with natural average sized human shaped breasts. And by natural, I mean not enhanced. It was refreshing to not see women with unnaturally large perfectly round cantaloupes on their chests.

And so as long as I'm going on about sci-fi and westerns, I'll point you to a personal favorite and under appreciated series, Firefly, best described as a western in space. 14 episodes were filmed but the series was canceled before they all aired. The movie Serenity that came out several years ago was the end piece to the series. Serenity was the name of the ship.

Here are three short clips from the series and let me tell you, I had the devil of a time selecting just three.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

three down, one to go

And I thought I didn't have any time to myself with the first two visits.

Jade, at 13 this summer, is full of ideas and wants to do stuff all the time. Except for checking her mail and FB now and then, she spent little time watching videos or TV like the other two. She loves to make things and will go on-line to find instructions to learn whatever it is she is interested in learning. And what a chatterbox. Unlike her older brother who talks all the time for the attention and when he runs out of things to say he'll just start repeating himself and her twin who doesn't really engage in idle conversation, Jade is just newsy and chatty. The one evening, after a long day of sewing (and sewing and cooking the previous day) that I did not contribute to dinner, Jade stayed in the kitchen with Marc while I sat and read in the living room. I could hear them as they chatted and joked and laughed while fixing dinner.

She wanted to make a dress, a stuffed monster toy, and a shoulder bag (she had brought iron on decals to decorate it).

In her new dress. She chose the same pattern as her sister and we made a little shrug to go with it. I still have to make one for Autumn probably out of the purple fabric.

She wanted to learn to make balloon animals so we got balloons.

She likes to cook and take pictures of food and made a pie, a green salad, a meatloaf and a fruit salad with little to no supervision and she helped with just about everything else.

She wants to learn to play the piano or the guitar and has signed up for band next year at school.

Learning to play chopsticks on the iPad.

We made ice cream and played Scrabble and Rummykub.

She swam in the pool and lugged a lawn chair out to the field so she could climb up on the hay bale.

Thankfully, she did not want to see the Transformers movie (in which they destroyed 534 cars...I looked it up) or any of the movies currently playing. Said she'd take $5 instead.

So I gave her the money.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

hay, a web and a gift

Because of the drought, crops all over the state are failing and ranchers are having to sell off their stock because there is no feed. Consequently, hay is going for a very good price. The 13 acre field behind us was mowed about two weeks ago and yesterday it was raked and baled.

Last night about 10 PM I took the trash out and saw this spider finishing up her web just outside the garage/shop. It was at least 5' in diameter.

It was a little breezy and she was constantly moving. The flash reflected off the strands nicely though.

This morning when I looked about 7:30 AM it was gone. She'd packed up the whole thing and moved on. Amazing how they do that...spin a web and then take it down.

Every time I see a blue jay in the yard I ask it to leave me a feather. This morning this was sticking straight up in the grass.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

brief interlude

Marc and Jade went off to run an errand so I took the opportunity to walk around the yard before it got too hot to venture outside.

I spotted this just hatched anole, the fourth one I've seen in the last few days. The little thing was stretched out as if resting up from its struggle to be born. It gave me the eye trying to decide if I was a danger.

Every day by mid-day the ginger looks like it hasn't been watered for weeks when, in fact, I water it every day. A few of the stalks are sporting swelling buds.

I set the some of the broken turtle egg shells on the pond filter to dry out.

The rocket larkspur, dried up and gone to seed long ago.

The one surviving azalea of the 7 that I transplanted last April. Even though I have watered every day, the heat and hot dry wind with no rain was just too much for them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

some girl time

The second of the grandkid visits is done. Her mom picked her up last Tuesday and so we had a day or two of down time before the next one arrived yesterday evening.

Autumn is one of the twins. They are 13 now. As twins, they are best friends and sometimes best enemies but one thing they have never been is the type to dress alike. Neither has ever been interested in highlighting their twinness. In fact from the moment they could assert themselves they have always made their own choices starting with their favorite colors. Autumn has always been purple and Jade has always been pink. Autumn asked me this visit if that was something they chose or if we appointed those colors to them when they were babies because in all the pictures, Jade has on pink and Autumn has on purple.

No, always your own choice,” I told her.

So, it was with some surprise that, as we were shopping to pick out the fabric for her dress, she had an idea. The pattern for the dress we were going to make is the same pattern that her sister picked out and one of the examples on the pattern envelope was pink with white dots. Autumn saw that very material and also some that was white with pink dots.

Granny, can I call Jade?” she asked, “I want to see if she would want to do our dresses the same, her with the pink and white and me with the white and pink.”

It took us a while to get Jade on the phone as she wasn't at home the first time we called. When Autumn finally got her on the phone, she ran her idea by her sister, listened a moment, said 'OK' and handed me the phone.

So, what did she say?” I asked.

She said,” Autumn mimicked her sister, 'Uh, nooooo.'” using that sassy little lilt that teenagers do so well.

So Autumn picked out a solid purple (all the purple prints were 'old ladyish'). Her actual first choice was a print of multi-colored peace signs but there wasn't enough left on the bolt, so we used it for the sash.

We sewed.

And we made ice cream.

And we made a kite. No wind though so we couldn't fly it yet.

And we went to the movie (Transformers again).

And she cooled off in the small pool.

And we helped my sister clean her new house after the painters were done and move boxes around while Marc mowed her grass.

And she loaded up my iPad with games.

And we ate and we stayed up late together and we talked.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

gettin' kinky


I was headed somewhere on one of the county roads I traverse frequently when an old Kink's song came on the, admittedly, 'oldies' radio station. As 'All Day And All Of The Night', cranked up at the first few notes, came blasting through, I was reminded of how long it has been since I heard one of their tunes. They're not exactly on high rotation.

But the Kinks, one of my faves in their day, were a great band, played some great rock and roll. Once home, the song still in my head, I searched the web for several more.

So fasten your seat belts folks while we take a little trip in the Way Back machine.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

catching up

Despite my setting Big Mama on the ground to roam and dig in the yard for several days, when we came back from three days in the city we found three broken turtle eggs, the yolks all run out, on her sunning stone.

Leaving the city last week, there was a very big cloud but only a small finger of rain.

The cotton is nowhere near the size as last year. Last year by this time it was at least waist high and by the time the farmer harvested it some of it was as tall as I am. This year it's barely knee high and some fields not even that. And the corn fields have already been cut.

Here's my wax model of a grain of evening primrose pollen highly magnified. Not counting the casting reservoir it's about 2” x 2”.

Here's a little peek at the new improved bee box which the pollen sculpture is for. It's the old bee box but with the flowers glued on the outside instead of scattered at its feet. This was the original vision but I liked the way the flowers looked loose around it. However, I think all those loose flowers made it unsellable.

During one early summer foray into the city this crossed our path. It's a Pedal Party. The bartender serves drinks while everybody sitting propels the surrey.

The only thing that seems unfazed by the heat and the drought are the yellow bells.

And the okra.

The garden is mostly done except for the aforementioned okra and the peppers. Still a few tomatoes ripening and the beans are blooming but not setting fruit.

The pecan trees are starting up their cycle dropping green fruit. These are about an inch long.

Now that the wheel has turned and the setting sun is shifting south again, the sunsets are becoming more visible, moving out from behind our neighbor's trees.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

strange dreams

Halfway through the first grandgirl's visit I find the only downtime I have is between 10 PM and 12 AM. Another busy day ahead today so here's the dream I woke up to this morning after sleeping late.

My grown daughter is standing on the porch wanting to talk to me. She needs consoling. I tell her let's go in where we can sit down and I direct her to the house. I tell her to go on in that I will be right there. I go to my shop and then get involved with some work. I think one of my grandgirls is there and I am instructing her how to do the work. Suddenly I remember my daughter waiting for me and I run out saying shit shit shit shit over and over. I run over to the house and the door is ajar and I go in. She's still there waiting for me but is very unhappy. She won't look at me or talk to me. She pulls away when I try to gather her in my arms. I'm apologizing profusely telling her how much I love her and how important she is to me. I feel terrible and I'm sad too that I have made her feel worse when she already felt bad. Finally she lets me take her in my arms and hold her and she starts haltingly to tell me what happened. I see behind her that her husband and kids have come in looking for her because they are impatient and he wants to leave to go do something. I wave them out silently. They can just wait a minute. She is upset because she and her husband went to a restaurant and the waitress was rude to her and her husband did not stand up for her. She starts feeling better and is ready to go back to her family so we walk out. I go into my house/studio and there are three people there and Marc is doing a design consultation/sales pitch because I was not to be found. I step in and talk to them and the next thing I'm leaving with two of them. We are in a car looking for a bookstore. We are in a residential neighborhood and the driver is looking at a map and indicates the place we want is that house diagonal to us and across the esplanade. Instead of driving on the street he tries to cross through the esplanade and because it's been raining we almost get stuck. We pull up in front of the house and when I get out I have to stretch a long step over the water filled street at the curb. The driver just walks in the door and the lady and I follow, me reluctantly because this does not look like a store. This is someone's house. The man walks deeper into the house. I'm very uncomfortable and tell the lady with me that we shouldn't be in here. We hear someone stirring in another room of the house.

Then I woke up.

FYI, I do not believe my daughter's husband would, in real life, not standup for her. He is protective of his family.

So now my grandgirl and I are off to help my sister clean house and unpack some after two weeks of carpenters and painters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

flying cars?

the Transition by Terrafugia

I got an email from my high school boyfriend the other day letting me know that my flying car is now available. Only problem is, it looks and acts like a small plane. Needs a runway to take off and land. The thing that makes it a flying car, they say, is that the wings fold up after landing and you can drive it home.

This does not qualify it as a flying car.

It's still a small plane and requires a pilot's license to fly. I suppose not having hangar fees or having to deal with a left behind car is a plus and a little bush hopper of a plane that only needs a 'sport license' to fly might be fun but its kind of ugly in its car mode.

Reminds me of the car-boat that didn't make a very good car or a very good boat.

Besides, it costs $250,000. Yup, that's a quarter of a million dollars.

OK folks, back to the drawing board.

Think Jetsons.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

onward into the.....present

Here I am sitting in the truck on my way into the city typing up this post. Just a day trip in today to take care of some business and to pick up one of the grandgirls for her week in the country.

How, you might ask, am I able to be typing this up in the truck besides the fact that I'm not doing the driving? Why, I'm using my new iPad! We made a big leap last week, acquiring an iPhone and an iPad, an extravagance we probably should not have indulged in since our personal economy hasn't yet improved all that much.

Marc did need a new phone since his old flip phone had a nasty habit of turning itself off for no apparent reason and since his phone is the official business line, that was not a good thing. Everybody we know has an iPhone and so, having paid off the truck last month and emboldened with a coupon for a special deal, we took another step into the present.

Whereas we could justify the expense of the iPhone, the iPad was a total indulgence. I've been wanting one since they came out since I have to box up my computer and bring it with every time we are going into the city for more than day. Much of our business is conducted via the Internet, not to mention being cut off from cyberspace in general.

Now all I need bring is my iPad. No more lugging the heavy computer around, no more lugging the two portfolios with their foggy cellophane sleeves to presentations and design consultations. The images look better on the screen than they do in the pictures anyway.

Oh,I can justify the iPad but it doesn't really enable me to do anything I couldn't already do. It just makes it so much easier with less baggage. So during my insomniac nights I've been scrolling through the app store looking for free stuff I might actually use.

I'm back home now, granddaughter settled in. Tomorrow we go buy fabric for another sewing lesson.

P.S. I actually used my iPad today to show someone a picture of our work in a business connectivity way, something I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise since I don't carry my portfolios with me as a matter of course.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Q is for...

Q is for...quiet, quaint, quack, quit, quilt

Q is for quilt.

When my great aunt died at the age of 96, my sister and my father drove to Lubbock to clean out her house. Among the things they came back with were handmade quilts and quilt tops that hadn't been quilted yet. My sister took first pick considering she was the one who made the trip but I got a few of them too.

Quilting is not something I ever learned or rather something I ever did since I know how to quilt. But knowing how to do something and actually doing it are two different things.

Here's how you make a quilt: cut fabric into little pieces, sew them all together, get some padding, get a length of cloth for the other side, put the padding between the pieced side and the other side and sew them together with small stitches done in designs.

Quilting has a long history and quilts are in fact sometimes a recording of history. They are functional memories of favorite dresses or certain events or family stories or pretty pictures. Their making was often a social event. Now quilts are recognized as an art form.

Back in the early years of my marriage I decided I was going to make a quilt. This idea was probably germinated by the receipt of some of my great aunt's quilts though I had made some bed coverings, a couple of afghans and a comforter, in the past. And I had a long history with cloth. You might remember my post about sewing.


Marc and I had several pairs of worn out blue jeans so I decided I was going to do a State of Texas quilt. The state was going to be pieced together by counties with the bluest of the jeans for the wettest counties and fading to the most faded parts of the jeans for the driest counties. The state was to be bordered with representative images.

Do you know how many counties Texas has?


Cut and stitched out of blue jean material which, even worn out, is still thick.

Sometimes I think I need to have my head examined. Even using a machine, which I was, it was tough going. I managed to get about two thirds of the state stitched together before I gave it up. It wasn't the debilitating back spasm the last session at the sewing machine gave me but the thought of having to actually quilt the damn thing if I ever got it pieced together.

It's probably still up in the attic somewhere, abandoned along with all the other stuff I didn't want but couldn't get rid of.

The quilts I got from my great aunt were all hand stitched. Two of the tops I used for curtains for years until they deteriorated from the sun. We used the three or four finished quilts until they absolutely wore out, the fabric finally getting so thin that the stuffing was coming out.

I wish I had taken better care of them now. Maybe. I suppose I would still have them but what good would they be, put away in a drawer?

I guess it's better to be used up with love than to be stashed safely away.