Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Card Image

Another year. Older, grayer and fatter. Still working on my personality.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'm growing stuff!

Lookie here y'all, real organic gulf coast winter tomatoes! We bought dirt, built raised beds, fertilized and watered, and so far we have about 15 tomatoes. Hopefully there won't be a freeze anytime soon. The least pleasant thing about my garden is my neighbor's satanic dog (pictured below), who barks and snarls constantly. We used to have a tall wooden fence between our garden and this continuously angry cur, but Ike changed all that. If I can't find a contractor to rebuild the fence soon, I may have to poison the bitch. Esme, the third world dog, doesn't like our neighbor's dog either.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Phoenix From The Ashes and Other Cliché Metaphors

A nasty stump of a rose bush I was going to dig up produced this bud after Ike. Lee has been calling it the "Ike Rose." Guess we're keeping it now that it has a name. Ain't nature grand?

Here are a couple before and after Ike pictures of our yard. Lots of labor ahead, but not as much damage as other folks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Like Ike.

Even though we spent part of the day buying water and filling up gas tanks, Thursday felt like a little unearned vacation. The weather was calm and we sat around the house watching TV and surfing the internet.

The pictures and forecasts on the news were dire, and Grandma called to extend an invitation to Ft. Worth. I remembered all the horrid tales of the Rita evacuation. Many of my friends spent 9+ hours in the car trying to get out of the city. No thank you. We were going to ride it out. The pre-hurricane sky was an ominous orange. Around midnight the winds became fierce. The power went out around 1:00 am and the winds continued to thrash for 5 more hours.

The day after the storm was unbearably hot indoors for everyone, so the entire neighborhood took to the street to survey the damage or they sat out on their porches. We saw downed trees and power lines and a "tossed salad" of leaves and debris everywhere. The people in the faux chateau townhome across the street had an array of reclining lounge chairs set up in their garage. We met new neighbors and told "how I survived the storm" stories. Saturday night my family played poker and "Oh Hell" for hours. We had to shut our windows at dusk to prevent a mosquito infestation, so no one slept very well in the humid still air.

All the neighborhood markets were closed due to lack of power. My pregnant neighbor looked uncomfortable, hot and overwhelmed. I was saddened by the hundreds of dead birds on the sidewalk in front of Kroger's supermarket. Room temperature food, non-potable water running from the tap, bickering stir-crazy boys, and lack of information made Sunday an unpleasant day.

Rex discovers he has to return to work immediately. I'm convinced that the University of Houston is run by Satan. The rest of us are told to take the rest of the week off. We spend three hours walking to and waiting in line at Whole Foods (the only open store) to buy overpriced but welcomed provisions. In the afternoon, we drive to Alvin to discover our house is safe, but our yard, trees, and fences are completed trashed. Please note the photo of the huge toppled pecan that had the courtesy to fall away from our house.

Boys and I drive to Ft. Worth to hang with Grandparents in air conditioned splendor. Hot meals, ice cubes, and Dish Network abound.

We're back in Houston. The power is on although our house smells faintly of fish and mildew. I'm cleaning and enjoying internet access. There is food in the refrigerator, scented candles are burning, but it remains difficult to relax. The city is crippled and I am overcome with sorrow for our neighbors to the south. I can't believe how wimpy I've become. I need to remember that most of the planet lives without the comforts I enjoy every day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Very busy.

1. Wake up.
2. Find respectable clothes.
3. Make sure Julian eats breakfast.
4. Drive to school.
5. Prepare supplies for 6 classes.
6. Teach 130 students.
7. Do paperwork and answer e-mails.
8. Teach Julian to drive.
9. Go to the supermarket.
10. Cook dinner.
11. Watch some of the conventions while eating.
12. Wash dishes.
13. Prepare Art History lecture.
14. Surf web.
15. Read two paragraphs of The New Yorker.
16. Sleep and repeat.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Danielaphant vs. Nature

This is one of those metal Corona beer pails that you get in a Tex-Mex restaurant filled with those cute mini Coronas and crushed ice. When we inherited it from the previous owners of Cowboy house, it was filled with motor oil. I didn't know how to dispose of it environmentally correctly, so I let it sit for a while in the backyard. One morning, I discovered a dead frog floating in it, which made matters worse. Then it rained, so the pail is now filled with a weird stew of dead frog and frothing goo. Please rid me of this toxic eyesore!

My minions and I built 4 raised beds for growing vegetables. We had to carry all those very heavy cement blocks, move them about, fill the beds with countless wheelbarrows full of dirt, rake, fertilize and mulch. I am now officially "swole".

In the front yard, we have two Sago Palms. The are not technically palms, but some ancient dinosaur plant. They are sharp, spiny and send out these bulbs at the roots called "pups" that are next to impossible to dig out. It took me three days of pruning to get the Sago in the foreground to look clean and architectural. The one in the background is waiting for the same haircut. Any volunteers?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recontextualization baby!

I've been checking out the local antique scene in Alvin this summer, but I haven't purchased anything until today. I saw these rustic old folding chairs at Dixie Bell Antiques a month ago, but I didn't need any chairs so I walked away. Then I went to this hip florist in The Heights and they were selling a turquoise version of this chair for 125 bucks! So I popped back to Dixie Bell, and there they were; two for $49.00. I've decided to use them as objets d'art instead of things to sit on. If El Ranchito has an aesthetic, they seem to match it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hill Country Beauty

From Neal's Lodges...

This summer we went for the uncomplicated vacation. We rented a cabin in the Texas Hill Country; walking distance from a cold spring-fed swimming hole on the Frio river. Julian brought along his friend Everett and we met up with grandparents and cousins. It was relaxing, unpretentious, and fun. Rex's folks treated us to some fine cooking at Neal's Dining Hall and at night we went to the outdoor jukebox dance at Garner State Park and tried our best to two-step. We are already planning a return trip next summer. By then, perhaps my sunburn will have healed. Let us know if we can book y'all a cabin too!

Click on the slide show to see bigger pictures.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rolling Stones Live in 1967

I've been strangely obsessed lately with late sixties Rolling Stones music. There is something raw, fun, and pure Rock n' Roll about it. Makes the Beatles seem wussy by comparison. Please note that Keith Richards wasn't always scary.

Top 5 tunes from before 1970

1. Paint It Black
2. She's A Rainbow
3. Back Street Girl
4. Dandelion
5. Street Fighting Man

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nanny's Table and Chairs

Rex's folks gave us this fabulous 50s formica table and chairs that belonged to Nanny. Thank you! It fits our humble 1954 "cowboy country" house perfectly. I thought Johnnie would especially enjoy seeing what they look like in their new home. Now we just need the right curtains and dishes! The retro clock is from Target and the hamburger paintings are by yours truly.

Friday, June 20, 2008

El Ranchito

I've been a busy beaver working on the pad in Alvin. The front porch has a couple of new Adirondack chairs, a new outdoor sconce, and hanging baskets. We drink our coffee there every morning and wave to the middle-aged bikers as they roll by. In the back, I replaced a tacky mosquito-infested pond with a mini-tropical garden of bamboo and ferns. Let's see if it survives longer than my blisters. Click on the tiny "before and after" picture below to see the fruit of my labor.

Fetch? Yeah, whatever.

I think Esme is getting old.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Me on the first day of summer vacation.

Actually, this is a contestant in the German office chair race that took place in April. May we all embrace the silly with such enthusiasm.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Top Twenty Teen Flicks

This list was inspired by the movie Juno. I thought, "this movie will be on my top ten teen film list" but then I realized, I've never made such a list. I couldn't limit it to only ten, as it is a rich category, so I came up with twenty. My apologies to John Hughes. Here goes, not in order of preference:

1. Rebel Without a Cause
2. Say Anything
3. Rumble Fish
4. Repo Man
5. Ghost World
6. Heathers
7. Hoop Dreams
8. My Own Private Idaho
9. William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
10. Juno
11. Crooklyn
12. Quadrophenia
13. A Clockwork Orange
14. Manny and Lo
15. Breaking Away
16. The Sure Thing
17. The Last Picture Show
18. 400 Blows
19. Au Revoir Les Enfants
20. The Virgin Suicides

Saturday, April 19, 2008

El Ranchito

We've been busy trying to buy a second home in Alvin, Texas. I'm full of anxiety and always second guessing myself. Do I really want a 1954 Cowboy Cottage with a wagon wheel porch? We can't keep one home clean. There are many more details about our little ranchito on the Houston real estate website. Y'all be sure to come by!

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's Hammer Time

Looking back, Hammer is a better dancer than Michael Jackson and Prince combined. Who would have thought? I don't think my 40+ year old body can do these moves.