Friday, September 01, 2006

It's pretty busy around the gardenia bush these days. Mr. Preying Mantis also got caught in my watering, and gave me the evil eye.

He slowly went under a leaf, being camera shy, but I just rotated the leaf and got a shot of him anyway.
This second shot really shows how well they blend in.

He is SO welcomed in my garden. And I hope there is a Mrs. Preying Mantis somewhere too.
I'll be looking for an egg case, and hoping for...

(hmmm, let me think, what would be a good collective noun here for lots of preying mantis? Ahhh, I got it!)

....a MIRACLE of Preying Mantis.

Ta-da! Posted by Picasa

Awww....a baby anole....I love baby lizards!

Abraham and Sarah must have had another "moment" (that's what we call the big anole males and females when we see them...they just look old as adults.)

Behold, a baby anole.

This little guy is about one and a half inches long, including his tail! I was watering the gardenia bush and he hopped, flew really, over to the potted boulgainvillea to escape.

I treasure our anoles. The males are especially fun because they do push ups, and then inflate their throat areas like a huge bubble gum bubble, a SALMON PEACH colored bubble. How's that for cool? Lime and salmon peach.
Of course they change colors too. They run up and down the tree bark in brown, then spring over to the ferns and leaves, changing into the most amazing chartreuse.

I guess I'll call this little guy Isaac. Afterall, he did make me laugh. Posted by Picasa

Anonymous berries

Here's some more berries that are currently around Kingwood. The stems are a brilliant fuchsia, again, and the berries a deep blue. I don't know their name. Ah, a botanical research project!

Update: It is poke weed, or poke berry, offically named Phytolacca Americana L.

Native to the Eastern United States.
No wonder I didn't recognize it, being that I am a native of South Western United States!

Folk medicine use the root, leaves and bark. Eating just one berry a day will stave off arthritis aches, according to folk medicine pages. You just must be sure not to chew the poisonous seeds.

I'm going to keep on eye on this one, the leaves turn pink and scarlet in autumn, which in Houston means a week before Christmas.

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Reaction: Whew!

I'm writing this at 2:10 am, the first of September and I am SO relieved. At 10 pm blogger was totally not available at all, so I crossed my fingers and went to bed hoping that Googleplexers/BloggerBeta staffers were doing some major work on Blogger.

I couldn't sleep-my knees were hurting (I had vacuumed today, let's blame it on that....) so I got up to check the blog and IT WORKS!!!!!!

So as quickly as I could manage I copied ALL my posts into word documents, which I will later back up on disk, and printed out a hard copy. That was kind of fun as the blog looks very different on a white background and center justified. It makes each page look poetic/artistic.

Whew. Wow. Thank you God.

Hey, didn't this happen during the one year anniversary of the Katrina Hurricane?

Hmmm, maybe that is it. Since I've returned from vacation I have had problems with Blogger, my cell phone battery, and my new garbage disposal.

The reason I link all that to Katrina is that those of us who lived through Katrina/Rita/Tropical Storm Allison/Northern California earthquake/Southern California wild fire/9/11 now constantly play a mind game that goes like this:

What would happen if you had to evacuate?(Chemical, biological, storm trama)

What would happen if you couldn't get out? (Flood, other areas destroyed)

When we planned possible evacuation with Hurricane Rita I discovered all my photo albums were simply too heavy to throw into the car. Hence a digital camera now, and I am happy to spend $20 on a memory stick that will hold 300 pictures in the third of the space of one of my credit cards. Heck, I'd pay that in film and development, so I just keep buying memory sticks that I can take with me if I have to escape.

So I'm thinking "what else can I do to protect my blog?" Hard copy, electronic copy, back up space on another blog engine......if anyone reading this has some brilliant other ideas, let me know.


Happy, Paranoid, and Tired.

Good night, er, um...morning????


PS: I discovered the time stamp on my blog is West Coast time! Not quite September out there yet!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beauty Berries

Aren't these gorgeous? They are Beauty Berries, and they grow in woodsy areas of Houston. They are also called Turkey Berries in some *rude* areas of the United States.

Beauty Berries surprised me when I first moved to Houston. I had never seen anything like them before, especially the true fuchsia color of the berry. Then I saw the "wands" being sold in florist shops, the leaves having been removed. What a visual treat.

The berries range in size from baby pea size to big pea size. Just to give you an idea of what you are seeing here size wise.

The Beauty Berry has small white flowers in the spring time, and the leaves turn golden in late autumn. Pretty clever, dressing up for the seasons.

(Note on Blogger angst: I created a mirror blog, where I can use my old tools, and then copy the html into this blog, which *suddenly* is accessable via the old URL again.
And a few of my archives are back. Come on, Googleplex, motivate your Blogger team and give me back my archives, and Picasa upload capabilities!)

As the season progresses the berries get deeper and deeper in color. The last picture is how they look in September. Posted by Picasa

August 30th

I'm going to try to keep the faith with Google and Blogger. Even though Blogger recklessly seduced me into trying its beta version by appealing to my librarianish weaknesses for cataloging. Beta Blogger promised I could post by category, and I dreamed of having a section on the blog for millinery, cats, gardens, travel, reaction, and stories. Imagined having people looking for hat pictures thrilled to avoid Tiggie shots, and cat fans delighting in avoiding my latest rant.

Beta Blogger also promised, PROMISED! that my blog pages would be safe. Absolutely safe.

Instead, now I can not upload a picture, can not access my blog except by an individual page URL, can not edit my posts, can not access old posts, and somehow even Google cache for my site is gone. I have no idea what Beta Blogger did with my pages. All I know is that Beta Blogger has seduced lots of us trusting types. I know because I read of the anguish in Blogger help sites.

I simply can not believe that even the cache is gone. Cache, the feature that records a picture of everything on the internet as a snapshot for posterity. When I think of how many people out there pray that cache would somehow fail to work, fearing future employees, dates, and parents will somehow see what was on a site frivolously posted in a daft moment, and here my little innocent blog gets wiped out of the internet universe. Well, it is just not right.

I'm going to be taking a good look at the sky tonight. There must be a reason for this. This, and the fact that my email inbox miraculously emptied itself of all except maybe 10 of my letters.
How is that possible?

And why is my cell phone refusing to show that it is charged up, so I had to run to buy a new battery, and when the guy went to check my phone, it lit up like a sweet potato princess getting a new tiara.

It just ain't right.

Of course I am just back from vacation. Every time I think about going on vacation I wince, because nothing is ever exactly the same when I get back from a vacation. Plants shoot up, or die. Job setting change, people move on or schedules are re-done.

Old and set in my ways am I. Yesterday I was young and willing to take a risk, jump into something new, and throw caution to the wind. Today I just want my blog and email and cell phone back to how they were before.

And I also want to be the same weigh I was before I went on vacation.

Googleplexer, you out there on the left coast: Help. Stop Beta Blogger from ruining your family reputation. Make them make it all right again. I trust you. Make them stop.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Travelog: Final Scene

Sunset in La Jolla. Bernie and I got several great swims in as the water was warm and the surf lovely.

Sunday we all went to church, and had breakfast at this little place.
Then Bernie and I visited Laura at her place, and the next day we flew home.

Lovely time. But hot.

(I know most people think Houston is hot, and it is, but we in Houston all have airconditioning inside, set at 76-78 degrees in the summer. So when I visit Colorado or San Diego and it is 86-92 degrees INSIDE and OUTSIDE, I tend to complain. DO they stand it?) Posted by Picasa

Introducing the other sibling cat Annie

My folk's have had a cat named Annie for several years.

Annie lives under the mattress pad in my parent's bedroom. She growls whenever I walk in. You know the growl, the one that starts as a low rumble, then twists up to a higher pitch, then explodes in a cascade of kitty cusses.

She hisses if I touch her. That is, if I touch the banket that is over the lump that is her under all the blankets and mattress pad.

Annie hates me and my entire family.

The above picture is how we see her the rest of the time. Under the bed.

Another view of Annie, under the bed.
And a picture of Annie running away from us.

That's just Annie.

Sheesh. What a waste. Posted by Picasa

Introducing my cat sibling Rufus

My Mom got a cat for Mother's Day last year, and we named him Rufus, which means red.

He is a flame point siamese, and my Dad is loony over this cat. Rufus feels the same way about Dad.

At first Rufus was not really good a posing. It took three tries to get this shot. He kept looking up and down and all around each time I clicked the camera.

But didn't it that shot turn out great? It was taken in the corner of my folk's garden.

Rufus soon learned to pose, but I think he and Hart both are a little confused by the concept as it applies to boys.

Very cheesecake. Pretty, but I think a bit strange.

Rufus has however demonstrated that he understands the concept of color and texture as used as background to underscore your best features.

And if his big sister (me) would have used the video feature of the camera, right now you would not only be seeing him, you'd be hearing his non-stop purr as well.

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Travelog part 4: Olivenheim and millinery collaboration

August 25 I headed up the coast and a tad inland to visit friend Denise and her bird Zoey. I'm not sure if that is the correct spelling of Zoey, but hopefully the bird can't read and won't complain.
I've known Denise since first grade. She also has just achieved an empty nest, with the marriage of her oldest son two weeks ago, and a daughter rambling around central America, and another son who got his own townhouse awhile ago.

Actually, come to think about it, she really doesn't have an empty nest, what with that nine year old bird and all.

Zoey is regularly contributing feathers to my millinery trim collection. I intend to create a stunning cocktail hat (she's a cockatoo, get it???) using both the elegant matte white feathers and the lemony crest feathers.

And yeah, I do think it is a family thing to make hats from feathers of birds that we knew personally.

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Travelog part 3: 60th Anniversary!

I flew to San Diego Wednesday August 23rd and the next day Bernie flew in from Houston and we set about celebrating my parent's 60th Anniversary!

We went for dinner at Clay's in La Jolla, up the street from my parent's home, and followed it up by attending a play at the La Jolla Playhouse, called "All Wear Bowlers". Avantgard, funny, weird, memorable for being so!

June Stein and Carl Dustin were both born and raised in San Diego, and met on the beach that is four blocks from their home. Carl went to WWII, and they wrote letters until he returned and they got married. Aren't I blessed to have such faithful and beautiful parents?

(The beach where they met begins right where the curtains end...if they were raised you'd see the blue pacific ocean!) Posted by Picasa

Millinery: Daughters in hats

Daughters are such a joy!
Glengarry style hat, pattern designed by Kate, name after me: "Jill", sewn and trimmed by me, with vintage buttons from my collection.
It is my favorite hat!
Isn't she just too precious for words??????
Why do I expect that if she were to speak, it would be in French?Posted by Picasa

Travelog part 2: Castle Rock, Denver, Boulder

Monday August 21 Laura and I headed to friends Curtis and Jeane's home in Castle Rock. That IS Castle Rock, as seen from Jeane's back yard.
It was hot, which Colorado always manages to be whenever I visit, but that didn't slow us down a bit. Jeane's daughter Jennifer agreed to drive us to downtown Denver to see oncology hospitals, which was the focus of the trip for Laura, as she considers where she might want to live next year.
Added bonus: Downtown Denver was mid-Cow Parade. Laura saw the NYC and Houston Cow Parades, so this was her third! The next day we drove up to Boulder Colorado and walked the outdoor mall, pausing for a the picture in the split boulder.

Boulder had great shopping and a yummy restaurant "The Kitchen", don't miss if you head there.
Highlight of the time was getting to meet the EIGHT grand kids that Jeane has been bless with by two of her three children in the past eight years. Twins and an adopted child from Ukraine figures in the mix. It was such a joy to see the "Prayer Projects" frolicking about, as there were several anxious moments involved in having these children arrive.

Jennifer, Laura and Jeane and Cow. I should have written down Cow's names, as they are always puns, like "udder joy".

Anyway, it was a MOOOvelous Memory! Posted by Picasa

Back home, and a travelog, pt. 1

Nine days of travel fun...loads of pictures!
I've decided to do catch up posts by location, and be brief.
Saturday Sept 26 I flew to Denver, and friend Gail picked me up at the airport, and drove me to her home in Colorado Springs.
Gail has accomplished a bit of a trifecta, she's lost several dress sizes, gotten a high profile job as admin to the Ex. VP of Focus on the Family, working her way up from the bottom up over the years, AND achieved empty nest!
We hung out together, went to church, saw her daughter Elizabeth's newly aquired townhouse, and hiked the Garden of the God (the red rock area in the last two pictures).
Daughter Laura flew in from San Diego and joined us Sunday night.

Colorado Springs is so pretty, flowers in bloom in late August!

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