Saturday, April 05, 2008

Another walk, and a bit of Sweden.

Yesterday Laura and I were walking from the party in almost 80 degree weather. At six she left to run an errand, and 40 minutes later the temperature dropped almost twenty degrees to 61!

Brrr...a heavy jacket felt good when we went out for dinner.

This morning dawned gray and dull.

But by noon the sun was out and the woods were beckoning.

White thistle; the blooms are the size of my hand. I don't ever remember seeing white ones here before, but now they seem to be everywhere.

My favorite tree with a hole formation has re-leafed; I now have taken pictures of it with golden leaves and bare branched as well.

Tree bark, looking like it would just flake and fall off, like if it had been rolled in panko bread crumbs.

Overhead a hawk soared in the sunlight. The light coming through the wings was amazing; you could even see the feather patterns!

We've had a wonderful guest this weekend, Laura's friend Janitha.
Janitha is a Swede, and amused me greatly by pointing out that the bluebonnets were blooming along with lovely yellow flowers which she loved because it reminded her of the Swedish flag!
I had to take a picture of her in front of a bluebonnet patch in a neighbor's front yard. The other side of their front walk is bluebonnets with red roses and other red flowers; I have always commented at how patriotic the combination looks.
Guess "patriotic" colors aren't always the combination that you might think!
Laura and Janitha met when J. married the brother of one of Laura's old boyfriends out in San Diego. Recently Janitha and her husband moved to Dallas; now they are looking to move to Houston. She is a helicopter instructor!

Laura always said Janitha is sooo much fun; we are happy to discover that is a very true assessment. We'll be happy to have her come by anytime!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Millinery: A Hat Contest

A local organization held a fund raising luncheon which was to include a silent auction, a fashion show, a bit of musical entertainment, and a hat contest.

A "Mad Hatter's Luncheon" it was entitled and I knew I didn't want to attend.
I know something about any hat event that is entitled "Mad Hatters."
It is invariably an excuse for women to go wild with glue guns, feathers, and junk from their kid's toys chest all in the name of making a funny hat.

The results inevitably is pictures in the newspaper of women looking ridiculous because they don't have the poise or self confidence to own their own beauty. Instead they make a joke of themselves, and everyone laughs at them, and then the next time someone mentions hats all that can be remembered are the ludicrous hats.

Now I am a huge fan of witty hats. Classic hat designers have always made witty interesting and stylish hats.
But trust me on this...those hats do not involve flashing lights, toy Indians and assorted garishly colored thrift shop discoveries.

I regretted that it was to be a Mad Hatter luncheon, because I really did want to go see the fashion show.

Mr. B. felt totally differently about my decision. "You must go!" he proclaimed several times as he noted announcements published in our local paper. "Get some business cards printed up, wear your Easter hat and GO!"

Laura agreed that I must go, and agreed to attend with me.

I want nothing to do with anything that makes women go out of their way to mock millinery.

But....this contest was to be judged for hats in the category of :

"Most Beautiful"
"Best Ensemble"
"Best Group"
"Most Humorous" (sigh)
"Best Theme"

So we put on our hats and went to the luncheon today.

See the winning hats below!

Best theme, third place.
Most Beautiful, Second Place
Most Beautiful, second place, another view. That is live rosemary on that hat.

Best Ensemble, first place.

Best Ensemble, second place.

The woman whose fashion collection was featured.
LOVE the hat! (She didn't compete, but obviously should have won best ensemble.)

Another peacock inspired hat...not a winner.

The highlight of the afternoon: Meeting another vintage hat collector with over 175 hats in her collection. Great classy vintage hat!
Best Theme Hat: First Place

I always wonder when ladies show up at hat events with huge hair, no hat, and then take pictures of the silliest of the hats in the room...

I also strongly disapprove of ladies who remove their hats and dump them under their chairs during lunch.
Why not kick off your shoes, peel your earrings and necklace and rings off too?
Shed all of your accessories at once and get comfy...or better yet, why not wear things that don't bother you in the first place?

Laura and I entered the Most Beautiful Hat category. We walked up to the judges for the category of Most Beautiful and Best Ensemble.
One judge (male) asked the other judge (female) if by Ensemble did they mean group.
Neither of them were sure what the term ensemble meant in this instance.

(This was my first clue that the judges were not very serious about their job.)

Since there was already a category for Best Group, I assured them that in this case it meant how well the entire outfit (hat, dress, jewelry, shoes, purse) went together.

I promise I said it with a winsome helpful tone.
I dithered about going with Best Ensemble, since my hat was made to go with my outfit.
A decision was handed down: You could only enter in one category.

One judge said to me "Nice flower. It goes with your dress."
I said "Thank you. I made the hat to go with the dress, made the flowers and the hat both. I also made my daughter's hat and flowers."

The judges said "oh."
They were both seated.
As they looked up at us standing over them, I wondered how they could possibly be judging our hats.

Laura said we both should enter Most Beautiful Hat category.
It killed me to later learn only two people entered for ensemble. I could have at least come in third!

Later in the luncheon the Master of Ceremony encouraged all the ladies who had entered the Hat Contests to be sure to let the judges know who they were in terms of "dropping names."
"Let them know if you are somebody's daughter, or have a local business, or want to bribe them."


And the winners of the MOST BEAUTIFUL HATS were...
Yes...the three hats in the picture above!

A close up of the First Place winner for the Most Beautiful Hat.

(Remember, the male judge was seated as he made his decision about the hat. See the group shot above for details!)
Yup, it was the First place award winning, picture in the newspaper flat out gorgeous...hat that won!
And she was an award winner last year too, for her hat made of fresh tulips in a flower pot, that she entitled "Pot Head."
So creative isn't she?

(Actually she is very nice, and owns a local floral shop...the flowers on the table were lovely.)

I wonder if she knows about the San Diego OTL tournament? She should think about trying out for Miss Emerson. I'd bet she'd win that too! (That's a San Diego insiders joke...)

One of the Best Groups: Black and White for a musical group. I thought they were pretty stylish.

Another winner in Theme.
Some of the sewing items had belonged to her mother.

A close up of Laura's hat. It was the hat I made to wear last Easter....
(No, I guess it really isn't that beautiful compared to the other winners.)

One of the ladies who won as part of a Best Group category. Little plastic tennis rackets are on the hat...the ladies all play tennis together. A hat that is clearly worthy of an award don't you think???

I did think it was cute that group of tennis jocks even entered the contest actually. The whole group got their picture taken for the newspaper.

After the luncheon was over Laura and I walked back out to the parking lot to leave. Along the side walk were these beautiful flowers.
Three gentlemen who were leaving the golf course on the grounds walked across our path.
"Oh, beautiful Southern Belles" one man said as he tipped his hat at us.
What can I say?
I handed my business card to the hat collector and the lady who presented the fashion show. Other than that I spent the time at the event complimenting ladies on their hats and attire, and avoiding Laura's elbow as I occasionally forgot to bite my tongue about joke hats.

One woman asked if we two were an ensemble.
I guess we were.
It just depends on which definition you use:

A unit or group of complementary parts that contribute to a single effect, especially:
A coordinated outfit or costume.
A coordinated set of furniture.
A group of musicians, singers, dancers, or actors who perform together: an improvisational theater ensemble; a woodwind ensemble.

So here's Miss Didn't Win Most Beautiful Hat.

Didn't win Miss Best Ensemble.

Not Best Group.
Not Best Ensemble, secondary definition.

All I can say is having Laura with me anywhere makes me feel like I won every prize in the universe.

Since the camera was out...You-Know-Who had to get in the act. He stood at Laura's feet trying to be the center of attention.
Boy was he surprised when she picked him up real suddenly.

She whispered something in his ear...
And gave him a kiss.
He was good and didn't even scratch her!
I think they have at last become friends.
(Special PS to KBP: Re Hat contests: I can hear you say "I told you so! all the way from DC!)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Circle of Life, or...

One Woman's Drudgery is another Woman's Home.

You know the drill:

Shop for clothes.
Wear clothes.
Put clothes in clothes hamper.
Tote clothes from hamper to the washer.
Switch clothes from washer to the drier.
Clean out lint trap.

Occasionally clean out outside drier exhaust vent.

(The small square embedded in the brick is the external drier vent.)

Add one mockingbird to the mix, and you get....

A nest of twigs....

lined with the ever useful soft and downy perfect for baby DRIER LINT!

(If it had been me building that nest I would have used the lint from the red load of laundry.
But maybe the grey lint is a better choice if you don't want your nest to get noticed. Or maybe gray is just the IN color in nest decore this year...)

It is nesting time around here, and every house seems to have a mockingbird swooping through the trees and bushes.
The tree by our driveway, (conveniently growing right in front of the drier vent) always hosts a nest each spring. I'm so happy to see the nest back, refreshed and in service!

I am especially glad that we can see the nest from our breakfast nook window.

And I am double especially glad the birds are even tempered Texas Mockingbirds instead of the hot tempered California Mockingbirds, who all act like West Coast Drama Queens when it comes to nesting time.

San Diego Mockingbird will attack you from behind, whacking you with their wings and leaving a lump on your head to remind you to stay away from their tree.
The Texas Mockers will attack but generally don't do any whack attacks.
We'll give them plenty of space anyway.
Can't wait to see the baby birds in a couple of weeks.

Ah...the circle of life.
Doesn't it give laundry day a whole new meaning?
Clothes driers: Good for you, and good for the local ecosystem!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Always and Forever: A California Girl

The Texas Bluebonnets are blooming gaily along the roadside here and I'm enjoying every cluster of blossoms. inner California girl had to have some of her own this year. When I spotted California poppies plants on sale in the nurseries last January, I swooped up a pot with a whoop and planted it next to the patio door.
Today it bloomed!

As a child I posed in a field of these golden poppies, a field like this one that went as far as the eye could see.

(Picture below was an award winner that I borrowed from here.)

When I grew up I bought the poppy seeds and scattered them in my California garden and enjoyed them happily year after year as re-seeded abundantly over and over again.

Our son planted the poppies in his small garden in Salt Lake City; I guess all of us exiled Californians need a touch of the Golden State's golden blossoms to remind us of home.

Next to the poppy a pansy smiles up with it's own cheery touch of gold.

The miniature roses are blooming too, despite being troubled by black spot.
Sheesh, roses always seem to bothered by something....

Geraniums always remind me of home as well; they riot in most people gardens and I enjoy their signature scent.

Another golden flower.

Just a few white blossoms remain on the azaleas. It always make me sad to see the flowers drop; it is a sure sign that the summer heat is soon to come.

Hart enjoys having a drink outside in the garden.
Sooo much better than the water in the dish INSIDE.
The birds are lively today and a chorus of bird song has been sung as I wrote this. I've got lists to attend to, and must get on with my day. It is time to stop lingering in my garden.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Just when you think there is nothing to blog about....

Some times you just can't think of anything to blog about.
Life is a little blah, the flowers are done in the garden, and projects aren't at a shareable stage.

You think "I'll just skip it today. I'm not in that great of a mood anyway."


You notice the cat is noticing something.

Something on the window screen is big and green....

A luna moth!

A close up of the eyes on the lower wing.
Don't the wings have a luscious texture?

My first shot...notice that the eyes are not yet revealed.

Yeah...THAT big!

If I'm going to put my finger next to it, it is time to break out those scary eyes to frighten me away.

That didn't work very well. Nice try though.

(If you click on the above picture you can also see the gorgeous antena on this moth!)

The top markings look like snake heads.
If you want to read more about luna moths click HERE to read an article.
Honestly, don't I have the coolest critters that come to visit our house?
(Special PS to Becky: The moth was on the outside of the window, not inside. How did you ever raise all those sons and yet be so squeamish anyway?)