Gypsy's Travels

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween - Quilted Wall Hanging

Posted by Picasa
Happy Halloween!
(Click on picture to enlarge)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Christening

Everyone was bustling around and fussing over me, so whatsa' guy to do? I ate and had a nap!

I woke up just in time! People were rushing around and demanded I wear a white, satin suit! Don't they know babies and white don't mix? I managed to hold it all together while they did their thing.

Eleven week old WRS was duly christened.
Then I lived up to my family name. With my messy, oiled hair, my shoe untied and falling off, my clothes rumpled, my shirttail out, and drool everywhere, I proceeded to charm everyone. The fragrance of Christening oil hasn't worn off, but Mom is already thinking about my first birthday party. I had better get busy, I have a lot to teach them before then!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 25, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Scary"

Posted by Picasa
Happy Birthday, D.A.!
It is SCARY that you are growing up so fast......

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Trip to the Theater - "Dracula"

DS visited this past week and we accomplished a lot of odds and ends, things that had been hanging over my head. I was also delighted he was able to accompany me to see a play at The Wimberley Players Theater in, where else but....Wimberley, Texas. "Dracula" was the current production, and it was in the last days. It is not something I would ordinarily choose to see, not being a fan of blood and gore, but it was a most interesting production. The costuming, special effects, staging in a small area, and even the acting, were all excellent.

The journey to the theater, one and a half hours from home, was an adventure in itself. We left 2 hours before curtain time and fought the Austin traffic. We then journeyed through wilderness on some marvellous sports car roads, praying we would see any deer before they ran out in front of us. Signs of habitation were few and far between. We slid into a parking spot, just in time to find our seats for this sold-out production, and prepared for the unexpected.

We knew there would be something unexpected, because there was a man sitting at a table in front of the closed curtains. A half-empty, or was it half-full, glass of wine and a napkin were on the cloth covered table. The man might have been a statue. He sat ramrod straight, eyes closed, hands resting on the arms of the chair, with absolutely no detectable movement. I could not even detect signs of breathing or movement beneath his closed eyelids. No one was allowed to linger in front of him, and the audience waited with whispered anticipation. But I won't spoil the play for you.
I was surprised the plot had some redeeming qualities. According to the director:
"We can find both good and evil in our world quite easily if we go looking. But when evil finds us, we don't always recognize it because it can present itself with incredible beauty. Often, we gather it to us and embrace its deliciousness as we dare not acknowledge the truth that whispers in our ear. For then we would have to ask ourselves, "Is this who and what I really am and want to be?" The journey that the cast, crew, and I journeyed as we delved into Dracula's world has reminded me that we all make choices every moment of our lives that can have profound consequences. We are seldom random victims. Do 'wrong' choices mean we
are evil? Do 'right' ones mean we are not? I want to believe the human soul will always eventually turn to the light of love, faith, and redemption."
The real reason I went to the play, was my sister. Sis has spent years making other people's dreams come true. It is something she wants to do. She has also spent years working with the theater - designing, constructing, and creating costumes.
"I prefer to be backstage," she says.
Stepping into the role of a "vixen," was a step out of the box for Sis and a huge time commitment for 4 months. All the while, she maintained her business. Originally, she told me she had a small walk-on part. Then she had a few "lines." By the time the programs appeared, she was listed in the names under "Starring: " My sister, a STAR! And you should have seen her - slithering, enticing, cajoling, and appearing from out of nowhere. A remarkable performance!
Now....if we can just find time to produce our video for "The Amazing Race" before Sis is discovered by Hollywood.....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Family"

Posted by Picasa
A Grandmother I never met, sitting on right.
See other themed photos at PhotoHunt

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - "Golden Cowboy"

Posted by Picasa
Another statue impersonator

Monday, October 13, 2008

Odd Shot Monday - "What's for Lunch?"

We were looking for a light lunch - sandwich and drink. We didn't end up with goat, but Em loved the tuna and sweet corn sandwich she ordered at the next booth..
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 11, 2008

PhotoHunt - "Lazy"

Just lying in the sun, sleeping, on a canal boat.....
Posted by Picasa

Learning about the Cheetah Girls

I have heard of "The Cheetah girls." I don't know anything about them except that they are a vocal group appealing to young teens........ I think. So it was with some surprise that I read:

The Credo of the Cheetah Girls
  • Cheetah Girls don't litter, they glitter. I will help my family, friends, and other Cheetah Girls whenever they need my love, support, or a really big hug.
  • All Cheetah Girls are created equal, but we are not alike. We come in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and hail from different cultures. I will not judge others by the color of their spots, but by their character.
  • A true Cheetah Girl doesn't spend more time doing her hair than her homework. Hair extensions may be career extensions, but talent and skills will pay my bills.
  • A brave Cheetah Girl isn't afraid to admit when she's scared. I promise to get on my knees and summon the growl power of the Cheetah Girls who came before me - including my mom, grandmoms, and the Supremes - and ask them to help me be strong.
  • All Cheetah Girls make mistakes. I promise to admit when I am wrong and will work to make it right. I will also say I am sorry, even when I do not want to.
  • Cheetah Girls were born for adventure. I promise to learn a language other than my own and travel around the world to meet my fellow Cheetah Girls.

These sound like admirable principles by which to live. I think I might like the Cheetah Girls.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Bird in the Hand

I have been so inspired by the photos on Abraham Lincoln's blog (yes, that is really his name), that I finally went out and bought another bird feeder. The first one I had was destroyed by a squirrel. It was a green, metal one with a bar that lowered and hid the seeds when anything heavier than a bird lit on it. How did the squirrel manage?

The new one is a metal & glass rectangular feeder that has several openings where the birds can eat the seeds. It has a sensitive mechanism that lowers metal plates over the openings when anything heavier than a bird sits on it. I have it at the most sensitive setting. I also bought a plastic shield to put over the bird feeder. The wrapping showed the shield tilting when a squirrel deigned to visit, so that he would not be able to reach the feeder.

I placed the feeder in a tree, near a vacated nest, and prepared to shoot some fantastic photos because Abe makes it look so simple. So far, I have filled the feeder three times and I have not seen one bird. I have not even seen a squirrel. The seeds are all gone, but I do not know what is eating them. They are not on the ground under the feeder. Come to think of it, I have not seen very many birds in the yard at all. A hummingbird visited the Turk's Cap one day, and two little birds hopped around on the porch for a few minutes. Maybe I will move the feeder and see what happens.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

That's Just Peachy

Reading ABWF's blog about picking apples brought back some interesting memories.

We did take the children out to pick apples in Oklahoma when we visited. It didn't take long for my parents, 4 children, DH, and I to fill several baskets, in spite of filling our stomachs along the way. Fortunately, with a little effort, apples keep pretty well .

Our next venture was picking peaches. These were not ordinary peaches. They were absolutely the best peaches I have ever eaten. Small and ripe, bearing all the colors of the coming Fall, these peaches were easy to pick and we made the most of it. We were all replete with the sweet flesh and juicy goodness of these small fruits and filled several baskets to take home. We picked them late in the day and planned to leave early the next morning for our eight hour trip home.
During the long drive, the fragrance of ripe peaches permeated the van. Our picnic lunch ended with everyone eating as many peaches as they wanted from the several 1/2 bushel baskets loaded in the back. The peach smell was enhanced by the warm sun beaming in the windows as we completed our trip.

The goal for the day was to arrive home early evening so we could ready our family to leave early again the next day. We planned to meet family members for a weekend camping by the river near New Braunfels. As DH and the children carried everything inside, I headed to the back of the van to oversee the transfer of ripe peaches into the house, thinking they could wait a couple of days for processing until we returned from the river. Unfortunately, I had not reckoned with the effects of warm sun in a close environment on peaches that were already ripe to perfection. As I opened the back van door, I was greeted by a wonderful fragrance and flowing juice from, now, overripe peaches.

Adding to corralling children, doing laundry, cleaning peach juice out of the van, and repacking for the next few days, I mentally added "do something with peaches." Not a problem, I can handle this, I thought. Everything else under control, I started peeling peaches. There was not time to can them as I had planned, so I began packing them into freezer bags and found space in the freezer. By midnight, I was sure the peaches were cloning in the baskets and I had been abandoned by my family who thought sleep was more important. I peeled and processed my last bag of peaches about 2 AM. No, they were not all done, I just couldn't face any more. I had carefully chosen the firmest, most intact peaches to deal with on our return in a couple of days. I placed them, individually, on the newspaper-covered kitchen table, not touching one another. The table was covered with waiting peaches.

We had a relaxing time camping at the river with extended family and I felt ready to tackle the peaches when we got home. Thoughts of peaches and ice cream, peach jam, peach cobbler, and eating those delicious, succulent fresh peaches flooded my mind on the drive home. The fragrance of peaches greeted us as we opened the front door. Actually, it was more the fragrance of fermented peaches that greeted us. All the fruit I had so carefully placed on newspaper on the table, had continued ripening under the sun's warm rays from the kitchen window. The peaches had begun to ooze and the liquid had soaked through all the newspapers, puddled on the floor around the table, and coated all the cracks between the leaves.

I still love peaches, but have never again had any as sweet as those. Have we picked peaches again? No, I was voted down.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Trip to the Grocery Store

I love to wander through grocery stores when I travel, but I don't like to grocery shopping for necessities. I have to run out of something very important in order to precipitate the inevitable trip to the local grocery. I have tried several different things, thinking perhaps it was the time of day, day of the week, or particular mood,but nothing made the obligation any easier. Such was the dilemma yesterday. I was out of bread and tea so a trip to the local HEB was an absolute necessity. I had put it off all week, knowing it would be worse the longer I waited, but finding excuses to avoid the inevitable.

It has not always been this way. I frequently shopped with all four children in tow. I taught them to hang on to the cart and we managed very well, thank you. After the children left home, DH would sometimes request to accompany me. He learned about the increasing prices of food on each trip and we delighted in trying new items that appealed to both of us. When my mother visits, she loves to go along and compare what we have to what she is accustomed to at home. Just give her a grocery cart and she is able to easily maneuver through territory that would ordinarily be too difficult for her. Perhaps it is the memories that make the shopping so difficult these days. Perhaps it is the changes in the store and the service that throw me into a subliminal cringe.

At any rate, I finally graced the grocery store doors late Saturday afternoon, forgetting that everyone and his / her brother would be doing the weekly shopping. I braved the crowds, giving way to hurrying shoppers who were weaving in and out of aisles and around other carts, just as they drive on the freeway. I was in no hurry. I chose my items, stocking up on more than I intended ( you never know what you really need until you see it) and made my way to a check stand. I gave up on the self-service check-outs a while ago because it always takes me twice as long as going to one of the real people.

After having spent the time selecting all my goods, loading them into the cart, and unloading them onto the conveyor belt, I watched and waited as the man in front of me paid for his beer, wine, and soda. $100 worth of drinks. Must be having a swinging party. The checker was friendly enough as she tossed my purchases to the end of the counter. There was a line behind me and no sacker, so I bagged everything myself while trying to keep an eye out to ascertain the prices were correct. I wonder why can I remember the prices of everything I buy and I can't remember the name of a person when I am introduced. All my items rolled on the conveyor belt and / or were tossed to the end in quick succession, to arrive in one roiling pile at the end of the counter. I was bagging as fast as I could, having had plenty of experience in Australia where bagging was the customer's responsibility, but it was the final straw when I tried to pick up a bag of grapes. The plastic bag had been caught in the end of the conveyor belt, squashed up against bottles of juice, and most of the grapes that had not been squashed, had rolled out of the bag and lay among the various other items. I tugged at the bag with growing ire and pictured bruised and squashed grapes being discarded by overzealously picky family members. I gathered my courage.

"I don't want these grapes," I said as I tugged on the bag which was hung on the still moving mechanism.

I grabbed at individual grapes, trying to rescue them from certain maceration and fuming that I had been charged for them already and the weight would be diminished by losses by the time I got them home. No problem. The checker deftly took the bag, spent a few minutes looking on her machine, then deleted the price. As I loaded the last of the groceries into my cart for the trip out to the car, she looked at me sweetly and asked, "Would you like some help with that?"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008