Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Day: So the California folks can enjoy

Hi Mom and Dad S. and Mom and Dad D.
Wish you could of been here for Thanksgiving too, but I hope you enjoy the's the next best thing I can offer.

Love you!

Jeff arrived late Monday night; we had heavy fog Tuesday morning.
Jeff and I took a walk through the woods. Along the way there, he spotted a fire ant nest and decided to kick it.
Always fun to watch the ants swarm up, and he DIDN'T get stung either.
A pretty creeper...
I had to work Tuesday evening, but the boys got in a round of golf, a trip to Papa's Cajun seafood restaurant, and they stopped by to say "hi" to me at the library on their way home. They even saved me a bit of their dinner!
I had to run an errand on Wednesday morning. Decided to try Grandma Fay's Vera Whistler hat that always looked bleech on me. Ta-da...with the new glasses and new hair style, it suddenly works. Or maybe I am just looney enough now to think that it does with a brown vee neck and brown suede skirt.
I'm pretty sure it is a 1960's design. Rather faux hippy, don't you think?
Since you'll been so good, here's a picture of the pedicure art.
Wednesday night we went shopping and Bernie purchased some salmon. He breaded it, and fried it in oil and butter, then smothered it in a dill and red radish cream sauce, with a touch of horseradish.
Hart relaxed with a glass of white wine and kept Bernie company while he cooked.
This recipe is soooooo delicious! Oh my gosh! And the extra salmon was served cold with crackers as an appetizer on Thanksgiving day.
After we ate, we had a powerful lightening storm. It had been very warm and muggy all day; when the cold front moved in the temperature dropped about thirty degrees. It did knock out power momentarily.
I was glad the storm hit in the evening for us; that way I knew Laura wouldn't be flying in a storm the next day. I did feel for the countless people who were trying to get home on Wednesday night though. I'm sure the storm made getting in and out of Houston difficult.
Thanksgiving morning Bernie got going on the food first thing. He had been gathering recipes for a few weeks, and wanted to try a butternut squash apple bake.
He was so excited about cooking he didn't even take time to comb his hair!
Jeff checked out all the ads...
While I baked a pumpkin strudel coffee cake for Friday. I got the pumpkin pie made, and we all worked on a green bean, mushroom, garlic, onion side dish.
At noon we took a break to get in a good brisk walk before heading to the airport to get Laura.
The leaves on the paths were fantastic! It was just dry enough that we could shuffle though piles of brown leaves, but there were still fresh colored leaves falling as well.

Autumn may come late to Houston, but the colors are worth the wait.

We walked very fast, and the boys got way ahead of me, but I was determined to take more leaf pictures.

Can't decide which one I like best...
Wait a is this one. I like this picture best.
Right after our walk (and it was nose running cold outside!) we jumped in the car and headed to the airport.
You know me...gotta take in the airport fashions. Crocs and stripped hose: Yea!
I love seeing our guys in uniform meeting up with their families on Thanksgiving Day. I especially loved this man, with his back pack and his tiny adorable daughter's bottle stuck into one pocket, perfectly naturally.
After we got home Laura arranged the flowers for the table, and I made a last minute requested apple pie.
Then the turkey was done, and the sweet potato casserole, corn bread stuffing, potatoes and gravy were ready to be served.
We wish you could have been here...
Everything turned out just great!!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Imagine: A Thanksgiving Day journey in the mind

Visiting a special place, a place with tree shaded walkways, and water racing in sheets down steep inclines and into narrow aqueducts that trace the border through out the park like space.

Imagine a walk up a ramp, and entering a white spiraled building.

Inside you look up, into a seemingly endless spiral of color, beginning darkly and rising sixty feet high into a clear golden pinnacle. You crane to look upward, or perhaps even lay upon the floor, feeling your thoughts soar amongst the colors.
Square by square speaking of the Divine descending on to Earth, and human praise and gratitude ascending to heaven.

It is a small place. Fifty people would fill the space, yet the view...the view...the tiny room doesn't matter, only what is above concerns you.

When you have drunk your fill, you walk outside, following the course of gliding water.
You walk down paths, then stop at a wall to read the declarations of a Thankful people

You read The Wall of Praise upon which is Psalm 100, writ large.

You read The Proclamation Wall, where the words of President George Washington prescribing thanksgiving is inscribed.

The history of American Thanksgiving is recorded there too: The story of Pilgrim's thanks, the Continental Congress, various Presidents proclamations to be a Thankful People.
Imagine: You stop at stations describing the ways of many people of many lands give thanks.

Then, finally, your path comes to a beautiful plaza.
You step into the space, and stand before a golden circle upright beneath three bells.

Each bell is shaped like the Liberty Bell, each has a different inscription from the Psalms at the base.

The bell's inscriptions speak to the three truths of at the heart of gratitude:

Our Creator loves us

We love our Creator

We serve our Creator by singing.

The bells strike the hours and peal together at noon.
You read the final two Proclamations, the exhortation to value Thankfulness, and the how importance thankfulness is to you as individuals and to your land.

You are urged to give thanks as well.

You are urged to stop and think and consider all that you have to be thankful for.

You are there to contemplate the One to whom you are thankful.

When you have finally gathered all that you have to be thankful together in your mind...

(or perhaps you have one new thing you wish to give thanks for...)

You walk up the seven steps and enter into the center of the Golden Ring,.

And there you stand and speak your thanks to the Almighty God of the Universe.

This is a real place, a real experience to be had in the center of downtown Dallas Texas, where in 1961 the City Planning Counsel of Dallas met and determined to set apart an acre of prime land in the heart of Dallas.
Christened Thanksgiving Square, it eventually became a celebratory place for thanksgiving in Dallas, the United States and the World. I've been there, and experienced it.

For me, upon my visit by happenstance (seeking shade on a hot day...) it was an exhilarating experience to give my thanks to my God as part of a public celebration.
To speak it loud, and thank my God for all that HE does for me daily.

After that, it was interesting to imagine something else...
That there already was a day each year to give thanks for all that God has given you.
But... what if... (imagine this) the proclamations urging thankfulness added something else.
What if...whatever you didn't remember to be thankful for, whatever you esteemed so lightly that you did not feel thankful to God for...
Imagine just for a moment, if what you were not mindfully thankful for...
Would simply be taken away.

Interesting thought, no?

Welcoming the thankful season

The clueless little turkey is just outside the door...

The foyer table displays autumnal bounty....

The mantle is laden with bobbles and memories....

Pictures of my babies, angels from my childhood, and a framed picture of Laura's five year old hand print, masquerading as a turkey.

A wedding present vase, a small humming bird nest, and a kindergarten leaf print picture by Jeff. He's already here, flew in on Monday night, but I don't think he's noticed the picture.

(Hint for the day: If your children create a picture that you love, make a color copy on acid free paper. You will enjoy it for years, and additional copies can be shared with others.)

The table has just bare minimum decor; a full array of china and crystal, turkey and "fixins" will be upon it tomorrow.
And just for fun, Tom Turkey has been given a place of welcome as well, where he gobbles out silly phrases whenever anyone passes before him.
(We forget he is there, and do a little jitter jump each and every time.)
A bit more shopping today, the temperatures are predicted to drop to a suitable chilly level, and Laura flies in tomorrow just in time for the Thanksgiving dinner.
While I know our Canadian friends, their T-day long since celebrated, are gearing up for Christmas (the North Pole is closer to Canada; Santa swings by there sooner than anywhere else so they must be on their toes to be ready), I want to say to all of my Americans friends who are finishing up pre-holiday details:
Isn't every detail something to be thankful for?
Isn't it wonderful to have a Season of Thanksgving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


We've been getting some rain lately. On Sunday it was a here and there, now and then kind of rainstorm, while a few miles north of us in Conroe they got a solid six inches of rain.

I love an autumn rain, because nothing makes the fall colors more vibrant than a light steady rain.

Above: Our Japanese maples are beginning to turn color.

I'll bet several of you have been wondering whatever happened to the sweet potato that spent most of it's life growing pinkly in my kitchen pantry.
I decided to turn it loose, let it go wild, let it become a free range sweet potato.
Let it escape the cruel fate of so many other innocent sweet potatoes which are slaughtered during this Thanksgiving season.
Slaughtered and covered with miniture marshmellows.
Oh the horror of it all.
(Sing along: Born free, as free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows, born free to follow your heaaaaart.....
Live free...where beauty surrounds you, the world still astonds you, born free to follow your dreaaammmmss...)

Sniff. Wait a second while I get a hankie. (honk) There, that's better.
That song always makes me tear up. Isn't it wonderful to see that sweet potato running freely just as God intended it to do?

Other sights in the garden: As you might have noticed after reading countless of my posts, I am enamored with tree bark. The textures and colors inspire me in my artwork.

Naturally Tiggie joined me in the garden. I told him it was wet outside, but he said he could handle it.
He could, except for the puddles.

Puddles, eech.

Now what?

You gonna help me out here or what?
Fine then, I'll just have to jump.

I'm over here now, where are you?

This has been really pretty and all, but I am ready to go inside now.

Bernie and I left Tiggie and Hart to snooze while we headed out for a more vigorous walk through the woods. As we started up the street, I saw this trail of red leaves.

Modern art, ancient art, freshly delivered to my curbside.

"Snowflake" Wilson Bentley, was the first man to photograph snowflakes and prove that each has a unique design. I always heard about that bit of marvelousness. Even in kindergarten, in the snowless climate of Southern California, we were taught about individual snowflakes.

I can't recall anyone making the same fuss about leaves.

Walking on the concrete path littered with fallen leaf gems, I had to wonder why this fact had not been pointed out as well.

So much easier to see and enjoy than a single snowflake...

So much color inspiration too!

If I hadn't been trying to keep my heart rate up, I'm afraid I would have shot up my entire disc.

Actually, that's not such a bad idea.