Sunday, January 30, 2011

Oh my gosh, they are heavenly!

You probably know that one of the things New Orleans is famous for is little deep-fried puffed squares of dough  blanketed with sifted powdered sugar called beignets. 

We’ve been in New Orleans for a week and a half but, since we don’t get going very early, we haven’t gotten around to having beignets. . .until today.  Well, we didn’t get a very early start so didn’t drive down to the “Quarter,” locals speak for the French Quarter, but headed over our local Café DuMonde Coffee Stand.  We each had an order ($2.25 for three) and watched as they took them out of the big fryer, placed them on a saucer and sifted a generous amount of powdered sugar on top.   Oh my, a little puff of steam escaped as I took my first bite of this light warm pillow. . .heavenly!  I don’t drink coffee and Gary is a plain black coffee man so neither of us tried their famous coffee with chicory.


Even though we didn’t have chicory coffee I did buy a blue Café Du Monde mug.  My morning Earl Grey tea will taste quite special in this mug.


I do love New Orleans!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In the median-Metairie, Louisiana

Saw these cute sculptures in the street median on the way to Whole Foods (LOVE Whole Foods and hadn't been to one for a long time!)


I’m thinking this red dog may be a George Rodrigue dog?. . . the dog on the other side blue (and I think the third side is yellow.)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Journaling. . .a helpful habit

As I designed the cover for my 2011 Journal I started thinking about how my Aunt Freda’s daily diaries were an inspiration for me to keep the assorted diaries, journals and other  recollections I’ve kept throughout the years. I just wish I’d had the self-discipline to keep them up as regularly as she did!

My aunts Freda (right) and Genevieve in 1976. scan0005

She, the busy mother of thirteen, made time to keep a daily diary her entire life.  In a book for each year she recorded the daily happenings of her life. This “pie crust” entry was written sometime in the early years of her marriage:  “. . . so tough we could only eat the filling.  Finally after about five years I was listening to a radio serial, sponsored by crisco, and they were telling how to make a good crust.  Well, I got a can and made two pies.  John cut through as usual into the pie, with a lot of pressure, and he almost broke the plate.  He always tried to eat the crust so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt.  The crusts were now so flaky and nice; talk about a surprized look from him. I have used crisco ever since.”  This 1943 entry relates how they decided to leave North Dakota and move out west to Washington:  “We were getting letters about war work and high wages out West, so we made plans and left.” 

The family found her journals to be useful when it came to settling disputes: “What year did we all have the measles?” Aunt Freda would check her diary (no one was allowed to read them) and settle the “discussion” once and for all.

When I was growing up I loved to write in my little Five-year diaries.  Each day’s entry had about four closely spaced lines to squeeze in thoughts and activities.  Since, at some point, mine were lost this isn’t my diary but it is very similar.  Does anyone else remember these little diaries with the little lock and key?

diary pink thumbnailCA4TPA9J

For years I didn’t keep a journal per se but documented my life in other ways.  A journal of sorts, I kept a little book of the trips we made in our Itasca motorhome.


I copy and throw snippets of paper with quotes I like in another little book.  This is often the source for the “A Thought” section on this Blog.


One of my other “journals” documents my sewing projects.  The cover is pretty shabby (chic? No, not in the least!) and inside I’ve taped or stapled in samples of fabric, idea notes, patterns, who I made the project for, and other comments.


The left side details how I refurbished Denise’s childhood rocking chair for newborn Stanley.  Making race marshal flags for my friend Dale is described on the opposite page.


This very pretty blue blank book was my journal of choice when I got serious about daily journaling during planning stages of going full time RVing.  I have a terrible memory and thought I’d better document the many places we would go.  I’m glad I did!


We officially began full time RVing on November 2, 1994 and beginning with 1995 I switched to a three-ring binder. The flexibility of a three-ring binder allows me to add pages/pictures of interest and doesn’t limit me to a certain number of pages for the year.  I had a small laptop computer (no internet yet at that time) and my plan was use it to record and print my daily entries for inclusion in the journal.


I did that for awhile but found that my natural rhythm for journaling is writing in bed at night before I go to sleep so that didn’t work for me.  Since then I write every night with one of my fountain pens (each pen is filled with a different color ink: Blue, Tobacco, Nightshade,  Lie de The, Martin, Lierre Sauvage, Chocolat, Turquoise) - colorful!


Beginning in 1997 I decided to use 6”X9” 3-ring view binders which gives me the opportunity to design my own covers.  Sometimes I use clip art but usually chose photos I have taken.  Because I won’t be in California most of the year, my  2011 cover is California poppies and lupine I photographed at Laguna Seca in Monterey.


Below is my 2010 journal.  The front cover is a photo I took at Luther Burbank Gardens in Santa Rosa, California and the back cover features some words of inspiration I found in a Whole Living magazine.


My journals focus on daily activities rather than personal feelings and thoughts (although they do creep in at times!)  I write pretty much what did I do, where did I go, what happened that day.  Journaling has gotten to be part of my routine which I very rarely skip. 

NOW. . .the challenge is, with so many books of journals and my bad memory, how do I find what I’m looking for, i.e. “when did we eat and listen to Cajun music at Landry’s in New Iberia?”  Answer: I’ve started a timeline spreadsheet! (Is that another sort of journal? I don’t know!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Galveston Island’s Tree Sculptures. . .a second life

Last week  we stopped at the Galveston Island Visitor Center in the historic Ashton Villa.  It was a spur of the moment stop--we thought we pretty much knew what we wanted to do and see but were happy we made the stop.  Not only did we learn a little more about post-hurricane Galveston, we picked up a brochure about the tree sculptures.

Bit of trivia: see the short iron fence surrounding Ashton Villa?  That fence is 6’ tall!  Following the devastating 1900 hurricane half of it was buried when the owner built the soil up around the mansion.  Consequently the first floor windows are at ground level .


Galveston experienced extreme damage on September 13, 2008 when hurricane Ike slammed onto the coast and the city.  Many of the island’s trees were uprooted by the wind and surge waves but salty sea water was responsible for killing thousands more.   Remaining after the salt water killed many of the huge old oak trees that lined residential streets were the stumps, many of which have taken on a new life in the form of sculptures.

Brochure in hand, with my chauffer Gary doing the driving I jumped in and out of the truck to take photos of as many of the twenty-six sculptures we could find.

This informational sign is posted in the yard beside the impressive “Herons” sculpture.



This is titled “Birds of Galveston.”   I can only imagine how majestic this oak tree must have been!


A creature of the sea:  “Mermaid Holding Clam Shell.”


“Great Dane” is Gary’s favorite.


I only got a back view of the mermaid (in Christmas hat) on “Dolphins and Mermaid.”  Note the cute little Victorian house in the background.  Most of the homes in the area are huge beautifully renovated Victorians.


Ah, isn’t “Squirrel” cute?  Appears that he was carved and then placed on the stump.  Most of the sculptures are carved in place in an existing stump.


These two, “Owl” and “Wildlife Totem Pole” are in the side yard of a home.  I didn’t feel that I should go tromping into the yard to get my photo! (Plus there was an unfriendly-looking barking dog guarding his property!)


I’m guessing that the deck was built around the oak from which “Dolphins” emerges.  It is in the same yard as “Owl” and “Wildlife Totem Pole” (and the barking guard dog!)


“Fire Hydrant” and. . .


looking up at the fire hydrant is “Dalmatian”  Wonder what he’s thinking about?


Frog?  No it’s “Toad!”  A clear example of carving in place on a tree stump.


“Yellow Lab” is SO cute!  The expression on her face is priceless. . .I think she knows what a handful she has in that basket!   (The puppies and basket aren’t carved.)


Interesting bit of trivia about “Tin Man & Toto”


Tin Man appears to have been carved in place while Toto was carved, then moved into position.


Close-up of the adorable “Toto.”


“Monument to Galveston’s trees”


“Large Pelican” I would have titled it “Large Pelican with fish!” Note that this Victorian is still undergoing “Hurricane Ike” repairs.  This is a typical scene throughout Galveston Island.


“Geisha” is in the parkway and. . .


“Sister Angels,” my favorite, is in the yard.  Love the lacy Gingerbread woodworking on the porch in the background.


“Pelican Sitting on Piling”


Found one under construction!  I wonder what it will be titled?  Elvis related? Fender guitar? Home on the Range?


All of the above are located in a residential neighborhood of Victorian homes.

“Hand Clutching Diploma” is behind a fence at a neighborhood youth center. The inscription at the base reads “education is power.”


Monday, January 03, 2011

December 21, 2010 Lunar Eclipse

Yes, I got up to see the December 21st total eclipse of the moon on the Winter Solstice!  Just wish I'd woke up enough to get a tripod out - could have gotten better pics - but it was pretty awesome here in Galveston.   I shared these photos on Facebook so here they are for my Blogging friends.

This was taken about 1/2 hour into the eclipse. Before the eclipse started the full moon that night was very bright and white.


View of the sky taken about 2:45 a.m. (Central Time). See the little reddish dot?  That’s the moon!


Oh, if I'd only got a tripod out! Thought I could hold my camera still. But what a color!


Awesome.  I got a crick in my neck from looking straight up into the sky.


Again, no tripod but it was beautiful.