Monday, March 31, 2014

Racing the wind

It looks like this bunny is racing to bring Spring weather and Easter eggs but bunny is not quite making it. A tease day here and there but the wind is howling now. Lazy gardeners prefer nice weather for their outdoor cleanup chores. Hasn't happened yet.


Thursday, March 06, 2014

Tropical topic

I went to Mexico for a couple of weeks. I need an occasional tropical fix because even though I've lived in Colorado all my adult life, I haven't forgotten growing up with a beach and palm trees all around. Tropical foliage gladdens my heart!
In Puerto Vallarta, bougainvilleas are everywhere, climbing as vines, cascading over walls, and grown as standards. Pinks and purples, yellow, orange, red, sometimes all of those forming a colorful umbrella overhead while strolling the streets. Love them.

I walked the beach looking for sea glass. I found these seaweed-covered rocks. When the waves hit them they had streaming green hairdos.

The streets are lined with colorful market stalls. Bargaining is expected and you're supposed to play. You can test a vendor's resolve by walking away. They probably won't let you. 'No, gracias' is a good phrase to keep in mind.

How about a refreshing drink of coconut milk? A pile of coconuts is a pretty good indication there is a machete-wielding vendor close by.

He chopped the tops off of our coconuts and plunked in a straw. Drink up! Actually not very tasty. We noticed that the locals liked theirs spiced up with limes and hot sauce. I passed on that. Rum might have helped though.

I have an old pair of Minnetonka sandals that I've worn out but love. I can't find new ones in that style so I took them to a huarache store and asked them to make me a new pair. This is Marco Antonia cutting out the pieces for my new sandals with a curved knife.

He sewed them together on this machine.

Old sandal, new sandal. Not bad for 400 pesos, about $28 USD.

We needed to go to the grocery store and load up on pan dulce, sweet bread. In other words, pastries for breakfast. You take a metal tray and tongs and walk around making your choices. The senorita then wraps everything up for you. We might have gotten a few too many.

Shouldn't these eggs be refrigerated? Ah well, when in Rome, or Mexico...

The Mexican Army is a familiar sight on the streets. The automatic weapons a little off-putting. Never fear, it's quite normal for a show of weapons here.

Time for dinner. The Dubious Gardener was very fond of this molcajete full of seafood. I saw octopus suckers in it. No thank you. Grilled dorado in garlic butter suits me just fine.

Back to the balcony in time for sunset. This is my attempt at a selfie, trying to stretch my arm as far as I could to avoid double chins. This is serious business.

And my reward, a beautiful sunset.

And afterglow in the sky.

But then back to normalcy. Mountains, and clouds like fields of snow. Which was what it was actually doing below them. Welcome home, goodbye tropics.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Things in the snow...

...a blue glass tulip light

One of a pair of rufous-sided towhees - I think they're called northern towhees now. They love to scratch around under the suet feeder.

Christmas lights - wonder when I'll take those down?

A white covered sea of honey locust pods

Hello January...


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Time to put Christmas away

And speaking of time, this little unframed oil painting below is 113 years old. I bring it out every Christmas and prop it up near the tree. It's my Aunt Dorothy almost a year old in 1900. I love the simplicity of the scene with the baby entranced by the lit candles of the charming Edwardian-era Christmas tree, with her presents below. Her parents were artists and this was painted by her father.

Both parents died tragically young of diphtheria while on a visit to Paris only two years later. My aunt was raised with her cousins and she eventually followed in her parents' footsteps, studying painting and illustration at The Carnegie Institute in New York. But she took a different path. The story is that one day she happened to see an artist in a ladies' store working on a mannequin which inspired her to begin her own business of repairing and refurbishing mannequins. She painted their faces, outfitted them with new wigs, and limbs if needed! Can you imagine such a business today? Store mannequins are very different now, but in the mid-1900s my enterprising aunt managed to keep 18 employees busy and the city of Baltimore well supplied with updated mannequins. Here she is with some of her "ladies".

I think she still looked a lot like that baby in the high chair mesmerized by the Christmas tree! She's been gone for many years now but she lived a long and fulfilling life and is remembered fondly by all her nieces and nephews. Time to put that baby away till next year...


Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Christmas Eve at my house.


Merry Christmas to all!


Thursday, December 05, 2013

Baby, it's cold outside.

-13 degrees Fahrenheit overnight, warming up to 6 degrees during the day. But who's counting? I spent the day on the sofa with a faux-fur throw that has the warmth of an electric blanket. No wonder the foxes run around my yard chasing rabbits in below freezing temps - they've got the real thing. But they didn't have a good novel and a bag of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark Squares. I did.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Bird brain

"Grammy, you changed your table." This from a 7-year-old grandson. Well, yes, I did. I moved the stack of library books from the dining room table to another stack in the living room, put the Halloween candy bowl in the basement storage room, sorted and recycled the mail, put a bag of purged clothing into the car, hung all the coats that were draped on the chair backs. No wonder he noticed the table was different. He said, "It looks like fall."
Such a sweet boy. Because that's what I was going for. Never mind that the hutch behind is still full of summer seashells. The table is fall.
But what fascinated the 7-year-old and his brothers, 9 and 11, were the pheasant feathers. What kind of bird is that from? What does it look like? (We're suburb dwellers - no pheasants around here.) I tried to explain...well, it's kind of like a turkey but not, has beautiful long tail feathers, lives in fields...but - their attention had waned.
Relating this to friends later, one of them said, "Why didn't you show them the taxidermy pheasant you have in your hallway?" Okay, duh.

Yes, there is a stuffed pheasant in the hallway. I look at it every day of my life. It's so familiar that it doesn't even register anymore. Obviously.
Maybe I'll remember the next time they're over. Bird brain, indeed.