Sunday, November 02, 2014

One gal's disappointment is another man's glee.

In all the years we lived in our little house in WA, we had maybe 2 trick-or-treaters. We were sure it would be different here, because our neighborhood just seems like a good trick-or-treating place - lots of houses, and not way out in the sticks. Besides, lots of people decorate their yards with jack-o-lanterns and bales of hale and blow-up ghosts and witches that look like they've flown straight into telephone poles, which is clearly a trick-or-treating magnet, don't you think?

We wanted to be prepared for droves of tiny princesses and race car drivers, so I bought two gigantic bags of candy from Costco and decorated the front door with orange & black stars and a very friendly spider ('There is candy here!' I wanted everyone to know.) We turned on the porch light and camped out right by the door in the dining-turned-exercise-room, good and ready for 700 doorbell rings.

Between the hours of 5 and 9:00, at which time I gave up, took a bath, and then took myself to bed, we had a grand total of five.

The next morning, my husband, unable to contain himself any longer, began hopping around and pumping his fists in the air. He'd been secretly hoping all along for just this kind of scenario, because what happens to left-over Halloween candy in this house? It's not given to the local dentist's office for $1/lb, I can tell you that.

He wore his pumpkin head to work on Friday, but I am married to a turkey :) 

Oh, and to add insult to injury: I lent my Lady Liberty costume to our friends' son, who later told his friends that he'd borrowed it from a 'middle-aged woman.' 

Such disappointment, such sting! 

Better luck next year to me :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Finding fall

Just a few pictures of a Texas October - quite different than what our Pacific Northwest clan is experiencing (nobody there is wearing flip-flops, I bet!) with lots of pretty things in lots of places.

This one is my favorite :)
And candy corn pumpkins!

Oops, I almost forgot. Our Sara sent this to me; it's so perfectly fall & any minute now I expect tiny gnomes to pop out from behind the toadstools:

And one more fun thing: birds here chirp on fall mornings like they do elsewhere in the spring :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Great Texas Tradition

We jumped into the month of October with a few hours at the Texas State Fair. It begins at the end of September and I think tomorrow is the last day. For a couple of WA kids, it seems strange to hold a fair so late in the season, but I know this is meant to keep everyone from succumbing to heat stroke in the middle of the cow barn. I appreciate this; I really do. However. On October 1st it was 92 degrees. Thank goodness for air conditioned buildings full of prize-winning quilts and fancy car displays and samples of root beer floats, is all I will say about that.

We spent no money on rides but spent a ton on food. For brunch we each ate a corn dog, and then 45 minutes later, after exhausting ourselves by watching a dog show, we shared a gigantic plate of nachos (with Texas-shaped chips!) and I drank an iced coffee. Following several bottles of water, and as we were on our way out, Jan Michael ate an ice cream bar & I made a mess of myself with a caramel apple. Then, after we took the train home, we ate cheeseburgers and french fries and possibly a chicken strip or two for dinner. Moderation is hard sometimes.

The very best part of the whole day was the petting zoo. In terms of animal exhibits, Texas wins. Of course there were the usual barnyard animals, including the two which must always be present or a fair just isn't a fair - tiny goats & a huge mama pig with her itty bitty babies - but there were also animals we'd only ever seen at a zoo. A camel! Some zebras! A  huge tortoise! We were too cheap for this, but someone at the entrance was selling bags of feed; next year I'll spend less time feeding me and more time feeding the animals :)

We don't know what kind of cow this is, but she must have awful headaches :)

Fun giraffe trivia: They have the same number of vertebrae as we do (7) and their tongues are 18-20 inches long (!!) 

And then, something I'd never seen in real life before, zoo or not: 
Not long after I took the picture, he/she twisted all around and pretty soon the only thing sticking out were feet :) And this guy made us laugh with his beefcake poses in the sawdust :)
I could have stayed for ages admiring these three, but the corn dogs were calling ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This & that

I cannot reconcile the fact that it's almost October; autumn in Texas is toastier than in WA, and so I forget. Last weekend I shoved all of my tank tops into the back of the closet and pulled out my cardigan collection, but I don't think this is going to spur the weather on quite like I'd wish.

I've gussied up the inside of the house for fall, though - orange candles & fake leaves everywhere; you know the drill :) - and have been drinking pumpkin spice coffee since the end of August. Our mantle here is much fancier than our old one, and I think I'll have fun bedazzling it for each season.

On Tuesday I'll dig out our Halloween decorations, but this has been hanging on the pantry door for the past month:
The Pinterest projects I choose seem to turn out only half the time, but this wreath was a smashing success, and I plan to make one for every single holiday I can think of. This is about two packages of cupcake liners (covered in tiny skulls which are SO CUTE, can you tell?!), all with the centers cut out, and pinned around a foam wreath. It's cheap & fairly mindless & turned out just exactly like the picture I pinned in the first place, so two thumbs up! 

As far as kitchen adventures are concerned, I've been baking our bread for a few weeks now. I read a horrifying article recently about ice cream sandwiches that wouldn't melt, even after hours in the sun, because of whatever awful thing they're made with, and for a few minutes I washed my hands of messing with anything store-bought ever again. Then I calmed down and decided bread was at least a good place to start. We had a very near disaster with the last batch when I overloaded the poor mixer and it kneaded itself right off the counter and crashed loudly to the floor:
I thought it was lost and gone forever, which would have been a terrible & expensive loss, but Jan Michael tinkered around and, ta da!, it works! 

On Friday I made applesauce with about 5 lbs worth of ginger golds.
I tossed in a can of pumpkin, which ensured that I would be the only one in this house interested in it, and then... I ate it. All 5 lbs worth. It took me a day and a half. I suppose it's better than 10 caramel apples in one fell swoop, but still. But..yum! I will do it again, maybe this week :)

The sunsets continue to be a balm to my heart, and since it's cooling off a little now, I've been in the middle of a few these last couple of weeks. Jeannie, we share these especially for you :) 
Oops, this last one is a sunrise - still lovely, and besides, I like the bird in middle of the pond :)

Friday, August 01, 2014

Rise & shine

My friend Heather and I have been switching between her neighborhood and ours for walking & jogging, but this week we found the loveliest trail, just down the road, that winds around two small lakes. It's the closest thing I've found to the PNW, and being there helps make my heart happy.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hot time, summer in the city

The irony is that I think it's not even 70 degrees outside, and yesterday it rained a good bit of the time, but for the most part, goodness gracious, does that title apply... Except that I keep hearing things like "Oh, honey, this isn't hot! Just you wait!" and someone told me recently that I'll know it's hot when people start wearing iced-filled turbans all over the place. Oh, dear.

Anyway, here's the summer so far:
There's a long list of things I miss about WA and the Pacific Northwest in general, but I will say this for Texas: the sky is very often beautiful, and the sunsets and sunrises are lovely. 

The town we've landed in is right on the water, and has a little harbor; when the temperature dips slightly lower than the surface of the sun, I bet it it will be a nice place for walks :)

The 4th of July was fun because we spent it at a lake house with a mish-mash of new and old friends..
Caleb and Jen, who are still Washingtonians (and used their vacation to visit us, hooray!) but would like to be Texans...and we would like them to be, too!
Shannon and Heather, who are brand new Texans via Kansas City, and who have two charming boys, who respectfully declined having their picture taken. I let this slide because there will be a billion more photo opportunities in the future and they don't yet know how persistent I can be :)
Have I mentioned before that I have a handsome husband? 
Somehow I missed snapping a picture of Ken & Lisa, who actually own the lake house and the dock from which we were able to watch the sunset. This makes me feel crummy; I'll pay better attention next time. Also, they are originally from Texas, but lived in WA for a couple of years, and then moved back here a little less than a year before we did. Texas is a magnet that just keeps pulling people in! :)

We spent a day in Fort Worth, wide-eyed at the long horns; they're pretty amazing!
Hey, it's the elusive Kansas City boys!

What else? Oh, yes - the Truck Yard, which is a bunch of food trucks all circled up together. It was closed when we went, so we'll try again. 

And then please meet Bessie, who is our first nod, art-wise, to the South. I loved her on sight, and Jan Michael gives her the thumbs-up, too. I feel like I'm blazing a trail in the arena of home decorating, what with trying to mix WA and TX, but I'll make it happen! ;) 

Monday, June 02, 2014

In which we flew the coop

Please pardon our long absence; we've moved to Texas.

Jan Michael has officially been here for 2 months and I for 1; I still can't quite believe it. Everyone knows that getting old is not for sissies, and let me tell you: NEITHER IS MOVING.

But it's ok; we'll do our best to bloom where we're planted. Jan Michael is doing a bang-up job of this already and I'll get there eventually :)

Here's a snapshot of our speedy road trip at the end of March from the Pacific Northwest to the land of cowboy boots and barbeque:

We live very near this lake now..
in this very lovely house..
so I suppose we aren't doing too badly :)