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A Purple Weed-Chopper

Today was a lovely hot day with puffy white clouds floating across the sky, perfect for the rescheduled fly-in at the local municipal airport. We arrived around eleven in time to see some parachutists landing. Vintage cars lined the tar-mac and then there were the planes. Mostly smallish ones–two or three passenger ones at best—and then there were the ultra-lights or experimentals.

In the background is the Polyethylene plant–I used to work there as the occupational physician. I learned a lot about people and management and work processes there. The plant looks to have tripled in size since I was there and sometimes I wish I was still there.

A friend from those days, husband’s partner and son, and another friend from motorcycle days were there with two vintage cars. Husband thought he could have parked Tessie there as it was the only one in the parking lot. That would have been nice as there was a huge turn-out and we parked a good distance away on the side of Keith Road.

As we caught up chatting—the habit of pandemic seclusion a bit challenging to break—a truck drove up in front of us towing a what is lovingly referred to as a ‘weed-chopper’.

I thought it might be a glider with its wings furled around a center mast—the wings are made of rip-stock nylon identical to sails—and made by sail making companies. The man, his son and two grand-children carefully prepared the plane—-taking about an hour to fit all the pieces together. I was graciously allowed to sit in the pilot’s seat—-

It was a bit of a chore to climb through those struts with my back not bending very much.

I took more photos of some of the other ultra-lights, flying planes—and a lot of sky with clouds and no plane—and then what my engineer-minded husband and sons think of as rather odd—engine parts.

I do not know what this is or what it does. I have been accused of thinking like a surgeon at times–‘i.e. stop talking about the problem, let’s figure out a way to fix it’ but maybe with a bit of pruning, it could be part of an engineering bent.

I will do a bit more editing of the photos I took—and upload them into my Texas 2021 folder on Smugmug.

Five Buckets of Kelly Green

Five Buckets of Kelly Green. two buckets of Purple and Sky blue and a quart jar of Yellow

I was not particularly familiar with David Hockney’s work. I had read about his work with an ipad but had never viewed any of his paintings.

However, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston hosted a Hockney-Van Gogh exhibit and as I have a membership and given the seclusion of the past year or more, I was eager to see some art.

I usually park in the Herman Park Zoo parking lot, walk across the park enjoying the ducks and the turtles and the little train and the fountain in the middle of the pond and all the little children darting about. However, EVERYONE was at the zoo this morning—-the parking lot was FULL and dozens of cars drove around aimlessly hoping for a vacant spot. I ended up parking in a church lot with a bit of a hike to the museum.

Fortunately I was able to use my timed ticket although I was fifteen minutes late.

Hockney likes kelly green—buckets and buckets of the stuff; sometimes he contrasts it with a purple—both colors seem to come directly out of their buckets with no mixing.

Interspersed were some lovely small paintings of Van Gogh’s—he certainly delighted in color, mixing it on the canvas–and favoring a variety of greens, yellows and a turquoise-y blue. The only commonality I could see was that all the paintings reflected landscape—Hockney painted the same bit of road in many seasons and in many lights–but always with that dreadful kelly green.

There were some lovely charcoal drawings of wooded scenes and a series of watercolors–that seemed random landscapes–but perhaps that was the curator who placed them in such a fashion.

Of interest, though, one of Van Gogh’s drawings of a wooded scene was done in reed pen and ink over pencil with a wash over the top—interesting combination of media.

I did pick up a few postcards as reminders of the day—I have decided to not get catalogs–they are heavy to carry and I rarely look at them again–postcards are lightweight–easy on the wallet and reminiscent enough of the day.

The exhibit closes on June 27 and from what I could tell about ticket availability next Saturday the 19th is the last available day to view the exhibit. Next up is Monet to Matisse—one I’m sure to find more to my liking and aesthetics. However, it is always good to see art, analyze it for content and appeal, and see what I might use in my own work.

But it will not be huge doses of kelly green.

Bears aren’t Supposed to be Flat

I have always been enamored of Teddy Bears but never possessed one until ten years ago when two dear friends presented me with a Get-well Teddy dressed in a bath-robe. That bear held my glasses and went to doctor appointments and hsopitalizations with me and reminded me of caring friends.

Two years ago I decided to make Teddy Bears—and I made them in themed fabric, one for my son’s University of Texas fund-raiser–dressed in a burnt orange sweater.

But my zeal flagged and this poor bear was all cut out waiting for me to find suitable fabric for the soles of his feet and to be sewn and stuffed.

Here he is now—all sewn and waiting for his stuffing.

He’ll be at the quilt show and available to go home with someone to perhaps hold their glasses and go to the hsoptial an doctor’s appointments.

Thank you Notes

I’m not always the fastest at completing projects.

Three bis of leftovers have been waiting patiently on a small tray. They are the bits from a meticuluously pieced triagnle quilt of gray, pink, white and smudges of blue that I have made into a nice jacket with matching purse, an auction donation piece and now three smallish pieces; one destined for the new owner of the auction piece, one for me, and destined for the SAQA’s Spotlilght auction held at their annual conference.

Here are the two completed thus far;

The edges are grey lace seam tape; twisted and sewn down around the edges.

I haven’t quite figured out how to present the one destined for the Spotlight Auction yet—I have enough seam lace to edge it but it needs to be 6inches by 8 inches and it is just a bit smaller. perhaps mounted on a piece of black felt would work—something to ponder–it is not due for several months.

Outlets and Lights

While there is a great deal of charm in a hundred year old house–built solidly to withstand hurricanes—there are also challenges.

The wall are thick–double brick, metal lath, plaster—a very quiet house—but no walls to move at a whim to accommodate access for large appliances or re-modetling.

Then there is the question of electrical outlets. Built in an era with few electrical appliances, an outlet or two in a room was an extravagance. And lights? When you went to bed with the chickens and got up when they did—not much need for more than one light in a room.

But then there comes the time in your life when you might want to sew during a rainstorm…..or early evening…and you don’t want to trip over electrical extension cords.

It is odd having an electrician not related to you in any fashion but yet feeling like an old family friend who likes old houses and the challenge of making things work.

I’ve been on his to-do list for several months—and yesterday was the day his son and helper appeared to put in outlets and overhead lights.

That necesitated moving a few things—and here is what I had to do to prep for the installation.

and perhaps the most important outlet of all—-I had been running my sewing machine, lamp, Alexa, laptop from an extension cord from the master bedroom.

And if you are thinking what a grand mess this is–and was before the outlet and lighting project–you are quite right. I had been trying to clear out projects needing just a bit more to complete====and happy to say much has been processed—but more remains—and it did not help to take on a new hobby with new supplies and now partially done projects.

Just a soccer game

Last Saturday was a wonderfully sunny and perfect temperatured day. Since temperatured is underlined in squiggly red, it must not be a real word but I’m sure all of you know exactly what I mean.

Our oldest grandson plays ‘goalie’ on two teams and goes for lessons/training/camp/coaching with the professional team in Houston. We were invited to watch one of his games—and this past Saturday, things all lined up perfectly for the opportunity.

Warm-up happens first with much kicking of soccer balls and running back and forth. His younger brother entertained himself by asking such vital quesions as ‘what happened to my cheeks?” Wrinkles! If you don’t look in the mirror, you still remember yourself as a much younger–and wrinkle-free self—but the knees always remind you of your age!

Its hard to smile when the sun is in your face

The game started.

His mother watched enthusiastically—she is from Venezuela and I did not know she was such a soccer fan!

He did not see a great deal of action; the game was very lop-sided with the other team short three players. In soccer, you play with the number you have==sometimes there are several on time-out periods. As the score mounted, the referee began to call more and more infractions–in youth soccer, the goal is for the kids to have fun and learn the basics—but it isn’t fun to be on the losing side—so referees have the option to call more infractions, to insist on swapping out players.

That does sound like I know what I”m talking about—-I must admit to being a soccer coach many years ago.

This little guy rewarded me with a great smile

Isn’t he adorable?

A Sparkling Clean Engine

I never understood the fascination with whatever is under the hood in a vehicle.

I do know how to check the oil and refill the windshield washer fluid bucket (basket? jar?.

Many years ago, I was working in Kenya, staying with my brother-in-law when a call came from another missionary regarding her car. She had decided to wash her engine and now it would not start. He went to do something and we both thought about the need for washing car engines.

But at the Silsbee cruise last weekend I saw spotless engine compartments, gleaming components, and extensive cleaning of windshields, tires, bumpers. A few were parked under trees for the shade–and I wondered about the tree droppings.

It was a gorgeous day and I took more than a few photos of engine parts and hoods.

But I am still not planning on washing the engine under the hood of my F250 diesel.

Here are a few more photos from the day for those of you who enjoy vehicle parts.

and the guy in the yellow shirt in the walker/seated is Henry Ford talking with another exhibitor.

Making a Mess

I had planned to schedule ‘messy days’ at my shop as part of an art group.

But then Covid-19 delta variant came along—and that was just too risky for me.

But I did play a bit.

I bought a turkey roaster from Walmart—specifically for eco-dyeing.

I picked up a few leaves around the shop; layered them on water-color paper, turned on the roaster, let it cook for about an hour and a half; turned it off–and then waited—impatiently!!!

I took the paper out–removed the leaves, and let the paper dry over my clothes drying rack—found at Treasure House—my church’s resale shop—for $1 again impatiently waiting for the paper to dry.

And here is the result.

The roaster comes with a rack with handles—so you can lift out your turkey or other roasted item easily. However it left lines on the paper—I’ll have to look for some flat ceramic tiles to layer the paper on so as to avoid those lines.

Still a fun project–and I’m ready to try some more…..trees and shrubs and plants beware!

Number Six but Who’s Counting?

This year has been challenging. On top of Covid, the lockdowns, the nastiness and vitriol on social media, the foolishness of quack remedies and denials, I have had six surgeries.

I don’t like to spend a lot of time thinking about or writing about my personal physical ailments—my ‘day’ job includes listening to people’s physical (and emotional) woes.

I have been dealing with my insurance company (excellent at denials of services). Needing surgery in the midst of so many Covid hospitalizations, the refusal of many to wear masks despite the contagiousness makes for a huge leap of faith to enter these facilities for care.

But now I have had my shoulder repaired, my back improved, my cataracts-lens replaced I am left with exercise bands, residual back pain (less than it was–but still there) and perhaps now I can think about travel—in my standard shift stick diesel truck to Big Bend or to Wyoming or to Wisconsin or to ……..

Perhaps I am done with this jewelry.

Walk with Me

Every Sunday morning a prompt for the 52 week Photo Challenge appears in my mailbox. Some of the challenges involve fancy photo or photo processing techniques—and I am more of a no-crop multiple photos of the same thing from many angles and choosing what I think is the best one.

This week’s prompt was they lyrics sung by Sting “Walk with Me”. It is introspective and thoughtful—and while I’ve seen a few photos referencing the fields of gold, I focused on the shoes.

My husband loves shoes.

He has an army of shoes; a squadron, a fleet.

In the past, I had just two pairs of shoes—one for casual wear and one for work. Probably this reflects my school years in which I got a new pair each August for school and then a pair for gym class.

Now I have a few more pairs, hiking boots, sandals, sneakers, water shoes, church shoes, ‘work’ shoes but still not nearly the number as my husband has.

When I read through the lyrics and then watched the video, I thought of all the miles my husband has walked—with me and for me.


My sister-in-law brought a box of photographs and other memorabilia to my husband’s family get-together—siblings and spouses.

There were old photographs of my mother-in-law and her mother; my father-in-law being honored for his years as a local physician. School day photos—the ones where the greasy haired photographer took school photos and offered each of us a comb after he combed it through his hair. We were supposed to share all those photos with our ‘friends’ at school and probably send off a few to distant aunts.

But the most interesting item was a set of ration books. These were issued during World War II.

My grandmother operated the local canning machine to can fruit and vegetables; some to send to the troops, some for the local. My aunt married and her wedding cake was only a few inches tall–more like a large cupcake as they did not have enough rations to buy sugar for a larger one.

It seems like it was a different time with people more willing to sacrifice.

But that is looking back—and undoubtedly there were people who cheated and complained—but isn’t it nice to think that attitude is possible and wish it would be so now.

The Mighty Mississippi and a much smaller river

view of the Mississippi along the River road. this is the East channel, the West is equally wide

I grew up near the Mississippi River and every year it flooded. The high school boys would be asked to devote a day to filling sand-bags to protect the Villa Louis Mansion on St. Feriole Island. Flood stages were measured in far up Blackhawk Avenue the waters reached. I don’t remember every crossing over the bridge into Iowa. At one time, it was a toll bridge. Some locals objected strenuously to that concept and tore down the toll gate building one night—-in those days the only people out that late would be the doctor hurrying to deliver a baby or the veterinarian on a similar mission.

filling up in Ferryville we think or maybe Lynxville a small river town along the MIssissippi River

Then there was the Wisconsin River. We crossed that bridge regularly to shop at the grocery store in Boscobel–home of the Gideons. It also flooded but there seemed to be fewer buildings nearby and it was not so impressive.

The Kickapoo also flooded—it was and is a great river to canoe on—we spent early married years vacations canoeing that river. My father or one of my brothers would put us in somewhere up river and then pick us up several days later. The canoe was borrowed from husband’s family—it was a cheap but mosquito filled vacation—some portages over and through trees–and around a dam in Gays Mills—and camping out in pastures along with the cows, cooking over a fire and eating breakfast from the top of a can of pork and beans.

Then there is the more adult version of ‘camping’ with hot showers and a bed and screened in porches and a refrigerator and stove. We did paddle around a bit in one of those paddle boats—those require a lot of energy to go not very far.

those are cutouts—not real moose but you can see the paddleboats at the lake edge

But the sun-rise over the lake was lovely.