Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Weaver's Gallery

(Special note to Jeff: No spiders photos appear in this post. Just webs. You'll be OK reading it this time. Love you!)
The morning dew point level combined with sunlight has been creating beautiful spider web displays now.
Sunlight and dew drops together results in exactly the same thing as sunlight and rain drops together creates: Refracted light...Rainbows.
Poetry fragments spin in my mind as the colors sparkle and glitter. Each passing breeze lifts the web; for a moment it is gone, then the web relaxes back into its colorful splendor.
Silvery web, platinum web with rainbow overlay.
Just a portion of the web caught in the light between the curving forked branch.
A quiet water's edge, with drift wood and dog paw prints. The canine enthusiasm can be read in tracks.
An inviting bench amongst the cypress.

The view, as enjoyed for a moment from the bench.
Another web, an inhabited one this time.
Tiny flowers I almost pass by. What a treat I would have missed! These flowers are about a quart inch big; I didn't even notice the elegant stamen until I loaded my disk on the computer and saw the flowers enlarged.
For once a mocking bird stayed still long enough for a picture. It was early, perhaps he was sleepy. Was it too soon for a worm?
Home again. The web's perfectly spaced dashed lines on the tethering lines are eye catching, being so regular and long. Our tiny Goth spider has some holes in her web though. A evidence of a caught bug, or snipped out debris?
Ah, it is true, housework is never done. Both of us needed to get to work.

These were pictures from yesterday. Today I'm taking Bernie on a mystery date. His cold is much better, a major business proposal is completed, and he deserves a special treat.
C ya later!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Millinery: Get the point?

As promised: The first of my fall felt hats.

The arrow motif was hot in the 1920-early 30's. If you ever read the Nancy Drew books with the original illustrations, you might of noticed she often had an arrow somewhere as a design element in her outfits.

LOVE Nancy's style. Wanna be Nancy, want her car, her hair, her clothes, her friends, her boyfriend, the whole shooting match.
A few years back I had just seen the Mary Moody Northern millinery collection at the Moody Mansion in Galveston, and was fascinated by the arrow motif on one of her 1920's cloches .
The next day, when I spotted the hat I am modeling for sale on eBay I knew I just had to have it.
I suspect it is actually a more modern creation, but the arrow hit the mark for me.
It has been one of those hats that I loved, but that didn't really love me for several years.
One of those hats that I would try on, and no matter how I tilted it or did my hair, the look just didn't come together.
Until this week.
Brown vee neck 3/4 length tee shirt, men's style fabric brown crop trousers, brown loafers and off to see the eye doctor for a yearly exam.
LOVE my eye doctor!
Haven't seen him in a year; ran into him in the waiting room before my appointment.
"Hey, it's great to see ya!" he called out across the the heads of the other waitees. "I just love seeing women in hats!"

Once I was ushered into the exam room I knew I had to take my hat off while my eyes were examined. After the preliminaries, Dr. Z rolled back in his chair and looked at the little hat sitting on a chair next to my purse.
"Hats are so cool," he said. "They are like sculptures. You could have a room of them, displayed like art, with lighting."

He's married, I'm married, but I'm telling heart fluttered.
He totally gets hats.
How cool is that?
Zing...bull's eye!
Right on target!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

There must have been a full moon this month...

I did make it to water aerobics this morning. As I drove there, I passed the church where a new columbarium is being installed, amidst much local debate. Seems it is illegal to keep human remains anywhere in Kingwood so the church is in the midst of legal challenge. It is too bad; the columbarium is very simple and out of view to anyone except those who would wish to visit it on the church's private property.

I wonder how many people around here knew about this law before? Once it becomes a bigger issue, and starts hitting the papers, I guess it will be adios to Great Aunt Opal's ashes on the mantle; people will be told to get thee to a mega Service Corporation property and place the urn there instead.

I personally have treasured church yard cemeteries. England's and New England churches always have somber yet reassuring grave yards; I love to imagine Resurrection Day, and the dearly departed joining in on Sunday worship songs albeit in heaven, even now.

The mega Memorial Parks reminds me of bus stations; people crowded together waiting to go somewhere, never before or after to have common reason for such assembly.

At the stop light I was treated to music not of my choosing. You know the kind; cranked up base thumping in a slow rhythm that bounces your bottom on the seat of the car whether you enjoy the experience or not.

My mind flashed back to the job I once held at a Mega Corporation Memorial Park for a brief time. There were caskets to be had which would gently pipe in music for the enjoyment of the deceased, or at least to the emotional satisfaction of whomever made such melodic decisions for the deceased.

This was almost twenty years ago that I saw such an option first offered. It was demonstrated with soft religious organ music seeping gently behind the pillow where the dearly departed's head would someday rest.

As the THUMP Tha THUMP THUMP, THUMP Tha THUMP THUMP beat assaulted my car, I envisioned visiting a Memorial Park, and coming across a memorial plaque vibrating to the heavy beat of the modern sounds. I imagined my elderly relatives (and myself) interned next to that, and shades of life in the dormitory, rising up before the Last Trump to yell out "Turn it down, I'm trying to sleep here!"

Or something like that.

In the pool, a collection of middle and late aged people arranged themselves in evenly spaced places, and the aerobics teacher cranked up the music.

First up: "Living La Vida Loca"

I imagine iPods for the dead, and play lists created "before need" or by distant relatives with less sense than pop culture affiliation. Yeah, I could see it now..."Inside, la vida loca"

Next: "Great Balls of Fire!"

Well, for cremation...that would work...

I don't own an iPod and those who know me best know that music adheres to my brain and loops endlessly, so I must be very wary of what music I expose my ears to. What ever comes in, stays in, for days at a time.

For the record: I do not want music played on an iPod in my casket. What I want is to be cremated. I want my ashes to be intermingled with my husband's ashes, and our urn either kept in a garden somewhere or on a book shelf.

My girlfriend, upon hearing me muse on this thought briskly commented "So, you want to be in an urn with Bern until the Lord returns."

Yeah. That'll work.

It's good to have these details settled ahead of time. Otherwise all kinds of craziness ensues. There is even a website where people post stories about this, it is a place called Etiquette Hell. Reading that site makes me laugh so hard; it covers miscues at weddings, showers, business and other situation where common sense might save the day, if sense was still commonly to be found.

One woman I know had a mother in law pass away. She called me to ask about Memorial Parks in the area, and commented that she was considering the one that was on the way to the mall.

I imagined the family gathered about, and as the final prayer was uttered, everyone pulled out their Sears Sale Circular and headed out, knowing the post funeral meal could easily be gotten at the food court, and afterwards, bargains could be compared.

Actually that is not such a bad idea. My mom and I always enjoy post sale brag sessions; someday it could actually be a comfort to call out as I drove by the Memorial Park:

"Hey, guess what? I got a Jones New York blazer at 50% off, and an additional 10% off because it was Senior Citizen's Get 10% off Tuesday!"

Well, Bernie wants to stop typing and help him with something so I've gotta run.
You know how it is with life around here...the beat goes on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Giving it the old college try....yet another rant.

There's a squawk going on around these here parts; a squawk concerning Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth. That's a school about three hours up the road from here, over next to the big D.
You know, the Big D as in Dallas.

Here's what the flapadoodle is all about: Student attending the Seminary are now able to earn a concentration in homemaking as part of a bachelor of arts in humanities degree.

Course work includes seven credit hours of nutrition and meal preparation, seven hours of textile design and clothing construction, three hours each of general homemaking, "the value of a child" and "biblical model for the home and family."

The dean of women's programs (women's programs! Boy does that look odd to type in these modern times...) at the seminary told the Associated Press that the course's main purpose is "to strengthen families." The school's web site states the program "endeavors to prepare women to model the characteristics of godly women as outlined in Scripture."

Here's the rub: The degree is available only to women.


Or a Bernie put it: Does the college have classes for men only to endeavor to prepare men to model the characteristics of godly men as outlined in the Scripture?

Such as: How to nets?
Such as: How to cook breakfast... as in "on the beach, by Jesus"?
Such as: How to care for in suffer the little children to come unto me (oh come know who said that!)
Such as child modeled by Eli, the total disastrous father who nevertheless was given Samuel to raise.

In my Bible (and I have many versions, King James, New King James, Jewish Bible, New International Version....I could go on and on....) there is a passage about this: Neither Greek or Jew, or Male or Female. Galatians 3:28, go head, look it up.

The Bible speaks specifically about male/female interactions and characteristics (husbands love your wives, look for ways to die for them to raise them up; wives, honor your husbands, look for ways to admire and esteem them...that just one passage I will suggest.)
I just don't see anywhere where home making skills are limited to only females.

Did you know that the Bible discusses (if you want to get literal about it) that men should be the one's doing the dishes? See II Kings 21:13. Yeah, go ahead, look it up.

I wonder what SBTS would have to say about that?

Do they know that there is an entire book in the Bible, nay, an entire chosen people dedicated to the imperative that only men should make coffee? (Think about it....)

I have zero beef with having classes in home arts (or home making/home economics/family studies and consumer science or any other name that might be given to courses that help folk effectively manage their families and households.)

I think it is pathetic that fewer and fewer people can cook using ingredients "from scratch" or sew on a button or know not to smack a two year old just for saying "No."

Fewer and fewer people know about the different kinds of insurances available, which ones are a rip off, and which ones do what they are intended to do. Few folks have a clue how to understand how to calculate a total or applied cost of a purchase.

These things are important and are covered in Home Economics course work. Individuals and families are failing in financial and interpersonal levels in ways that basic home economics education and home making skills could easily remedy.

I think college level is a little late for a lot of this information. On the other hand, most teens can't see the relevance until they are in the midst of the decision making process. They find themselves at a loss for information at a stage of life when they have neither the time nor money to attend college to figure it all out.

A lot of these things in another era were learned "at my Mother's knees" or "at my Father's side." Classes in the basic subjects just weren't necessary. The information was used, and put into practice daily anyway, for all in the household to see.

Bernie chimed in again on this subject: "Most women aren't the problem in households anyway, it is the men that aren't yielded to God as they should be that are the problem."
(My husband...I just love him to pieces!)

He's right. Few families go down the tubes because Mom can't sew on a button or make a cake from scratch.

Now days "Mom" can even park herself on the couch and watch the Home and Garden Network and pick up instruction on these topics any way. Or she can head to the computer and do some web surfing or (gasp) even consult a local librarian to find a book on these matters. After she usually puts in a ten hour day at work. And does the dishes that her husband ought to be doing, if he is a scriptural literalist.

SBTS is OK for offering the classes, but they should also be open to men. What better place for a man to find a wife?

Ha! Hahahaha, snort, giggle....that's a little inside joke.
Those of us who went to college to get a home ec degree were often accused of seeking the degree to get a MRS. degree (also known as getting a husband.)

I always pointed out that there were NO men in my classes, so it wasn't a very good hunting ground for that.
At my school there were degrees offered in Forestry and Business and Agricultural and Wild Life Management (no, not Frat parties, real critters out in the woods...)
Those courses were just loaded with men. If I was just husband hunting, duh, I would have enrolled in some of those classes.

What I should have told everyone asking me if I was in Home Ec:

No. I am enrolled in pre-med.

That's right...a bachelor of science degree in Home Economics in the 1970's had the exact same science requirements as pre med. It was a tough degree. Some of my classes were three hours of class time, and had an additional twenty hours of lab time each week. TWENTY HOURS! And that was just one of my classes. Before we could turn on an oven we had to be able to write out all foods by their chemical structure. Before we could stitch a stitch we had to memorize all the physical and chemical design within any given fiber. Do not pooh-pooh my home ec. degree.
There was a lot more difficult degree to earn than most people ever imagine.

From time to time I have pondered the idea of getting my degree in theology. Bernie has a Bachelors degree in theology, I know what is required. At age 53 I could nail that degree in a heart beat, albeit the Greek component has me skittish. I am not good with foreign languages.

My research skills and life long study of Scripture would make getting a PhDiv in Theology a piece of cake. I've seen some of those doctoral thesis papers, phfff...give me a break. Actually I have assisted pastors with their degrees, doing the research to pull information to support their ideas. That's what librarians do: Help people find what they need to read to become knowledgeable.

I can find and read and understand anything I need to get a theology degree. It rankles me to have to pay a school to hand me a piece of paper saying I was able to do it.

Since I'm not one who thinks women should be ordained (a slippery slope...once a woman does something, then men don't think they have to do it any more) a PhD degree in theology would only allow me (as a woman, according to my own interpretation of scripture) to teach at a college, and since the Bible says I'm not suppose to teach men either, I guess I would be limited to teaching home ec classes to women.

This is sounding suspiciously like something out of the Middle East. If this lead to wearing a burqa, so help me I am going to eat like there is no tomorrow, and I'll order my burqa's from the Sassy Fat Girl shop so I'll have room to grow.

And speaking of growing...look at this lovely vine!

It has such a pretty pink and lavender shoots tangling up like a microscopic examination of a extruded synthetic fiber. I would know, I used to study microscopic slides of extruded synthetic fiber.
I've been watching it grow in my pantry all summer. You know, it is just too hot to garden outside here in Texas during the summer. I was pleased that something wanted to grow with out water or much sunlight, and without me doing a thing for it, so I just let it sit and sprout on top of one of the cans of soup.

It was too hot to eat soup this summer, so there never was a reason to move it.

Now I've gotten rather fond of the thing; I could never bring myself to eat it now.
I'm thinking of planting it outside, just to see what will happen.
An abbreviated version of being a Proverbs woman:
"...she plants a vineyard."
Proverbs 31:16
(And as Bernie finished his breakfast, he blew his nose, said "You don't see women executives raiding corporations. You don't see women executives being investigated by the SEC. It's the men who are always doing illegal stuff..." his voice faded away as he walked away from the table and headed to his office.
I was more than happy to pick up his breakfast dishes and load them into the dishwasher.
I'm pretty sure that men washing dishes only applies to dishes that can't be put into the dishwasher.
Scripturally, I'm covered.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First day of Autumn: A walk in the woods

Bernie has been under the weather with a horrific cold. He was on an airplane (as usual) flying from San Diego to Phoenix when he said he felt a tickle in his nose; by the time they landed his whole body ached.
He just feels rotten, so he's laying low, trying to get well enough to do what needs to be done in the upcoming weeks.
Since he and the boy cats had been snoring away together for two days, I decided on Sunday afternoon that I would take a walk and see if I could catch a glimpse of autumn color in our area, to celebrate the first day of fall.

The magnolia pods are already casting their shiny red seeds.
Aren't those seeds just gorgeous?
The pod is about the size of a woman's fist.

When I was in Canada visiting Lovella I asked her what was the name of the tree in her front yard. She said it was a magnolia, and I blurted out (with a shocking lack of good manners and grace) "That's not a magnolia!"

Turns out there are several types of magnolias; hers was a kind I had never seen before. Our southern magnolias have dinner plate size creamy white flowers that smell like a cross between lemon and jasmine. One blossom can scent the whole neighborhood.

The center of the blossom always drops tons of stamen as it ages. As kids we would gather the stamen and play with them. (The photo above was from the internet, not this walk.)

The magnolias around here have large glossy leaves, with rust colored backsides. I used to dislike the rust tones on the leaves, thinking they looked too autumnal as a backdrop for the beautiful white flowers. Now I think the rust color is a rather elegant touch.

(Oh, and another thing I used to do as a kid: I'd pull the glossy red seeds from the pods and a slightly sticky spiderweb like string would stretch between the bead like seed and the pod.)
Our neighbor's zinnia's are still blooming nicely, and the pipetail swallow butterflies are usually to be found indulging in zinnia nectar. They are an extremely active butterfly, black with an iridescent blue wing that sparkles as they continually flutter.

We've had this guy hanging around out front for about a month now.
I starting to really get a kick out of our spiders with their weird smiles.
Isn't that a great goth look?
(The spider is actually very tiny, about the size of a baby pea.)

The Chinese Tallow tree is always quick to throw bright fall colors. It is considered a "trash" tree as it never gets thick enough branches to do anything with.
It is also an invasive species, but everyone is so pleased with its color change that they don't want to get rid of it!
Another tallow tree.

A clear cut area for power lines. I can position myself to take a picture each week and watch the seasons change over the coming weeks.
One of the flowers that are blooming along the path through the prairie area.
Kingwood actually has a budget for prairie land reclamation; trees that grow in the prairies are pulled up. It makes a nice mix to have both woods and prairies to explore.
Cute little penny sized flower on a vine.
How the flowers looks along the way.

Another very soft looking kind of flower. It has an herbal sweet fragrance

The prairie with a small locus tree in pod.
Along the trail...

Close up of the yellow flowers.

Another locus on pod with slightly overcast sky. The temperature was just vaguely not hot.
"Not hot" is a good thing. Something like 88 degrees.
Another place with a view that I want to use to track fall color change.
Pine cones are suddenly on the forest floor. As a Southern California child I used to just adore the idea of walking in the forest and picking up pine cones. These pine cones were cute, plum sized and there were a few larger ones, but since I have to pick up pine cones that fall in my back yard anyway, a bit of the thrill is gone.
Isn't that sad.

I was amazed by this: A big tree had fallen, and it was caught by a tiny tree, which was supported somehow by another tree.
There's a sermon in there somewhere.
The tiny tree's tip has turned brown, but elsewhere it is putting out new leaves nicely.

Only the wings are left of this beautiful insect. The wings are very large, about three inches in length. I wonder what happened to it that it could be so very neatly eaten.

Water Hyacinth above is an invasive species as well. It can spread and choke out a body of water in nothing flat.

Gorgeous though, isn't it?

If the plant spreads, the forest management people spray the leaves and it disappears. One day a whole inlet will be covered in the flowers, the next day it will be all gone. Amazing. The flowers look so much prettier than the murky water, but the water when covered with the plant can no longer support fish and wild life.

(Don't know name...must get field guide...funny how so many things in the woods right now are purple!)
There was only one of these plants.

Purple Beauty Berries are everywhere.
Well, I'd better be hopping along now.
Hope you enjoyed my tail, er, I mean tale of my walk.