07 December 2016

some really good BBQ . . . and a very large hot sauce

On our way from Pflugerville to Houston last Saturday, we stopped in Elgin for lunch. Southside Market must be really proud of their own original hot sauce, judging by the size of the bottle. Taller than the standard roll of paper towels! We didn't try any though; the brisket was amazing on its own!

06 December 2016

at long last, autumn

As much as I love living among the oaks, pine, and cedar in these wooded hills, every autumn I miss the colorful maple leaves we knew in our Kansas neighborhood. Recently the small ornamental trees in our yard __I think they are Mexican plum trees__ have begun to change colors. Not quite as colorful as our Autumn Blaze maple, but I love the reds!

01 December 2016

church sketching

A bit of sketching and verses from last night . . . and one of my favorite songs we sang. The fountain pen in my bag had brown ink, which does not show up as well as black on this red paper.

30 November 2016

more of Reece's & cohorts

This is just a few weeks after Reece's was rescued. She was still under 2 lbs. and had to be isolated from other family pets, being too small for flea and worming treatments or shots. She lived in an upstairs bathroom.

A week later, Bill needed to replace a faucet in that bathroom so I "kitten-sat" with her in the library. She insisted on trying to climb up my back -- Mikala later told me the wee thing loves sitting on her shoulder as she does her homework. As I tried to maneuver getting her litter box back into the bathroom when Bill was done, she escaped and ran straight down the hall to where Pumpkin (a large Maine Coon) was sitting at the top of the stairs minding his own business. She reared up like a grizzly bear and growled at him . . . and he ran away!

Mikala's two Maine Coon cats are baffled over the kitten's antics. Here they are, Mocha and Pumpkin, watching her at play. They don't seem to understand Bradley, the golden-Pyrenes mix, either; perhaps that's why he and Reece's have bonded together in friendship.

29 November 2016


Blogger is not working on my iPhone anymore. Testing a post here with Reece's, our granddaughter's newly rescued kitten. 

A calico named for the candy, her best friend is Bradley, a golden retriever-great Pyrenees mix.

Well, it worked this time . . . . after it crashed 3 times first. Googled suggestions online say to just post from the browser but I can't figure out how to add photos from my phone. The tab is there but it foetseem to work. Oddly, the blogger app still works on my iPad.

28 November 2016

new-to-me toys

I use Apple products (iPod, iPad, and iPhone) but have been backing them up to an iTunes app on my Acer Aspire mini notebook computer. I learned on a PC and that's what I'm comfortable using.

Recently I opened iTunes to sinc my iPod and add more music from CDs. A notification popped up saying there is a new version of iTunes, do I wish to update? This is a common occurrence every few months, so I clicked yes. After a long download and installation process, it said that iTunes was not installed correctly, I need to uninstall and reinstall.

After trying this several times, following instructions from the Apple web site, I still did not have iTunes on my PC. I know that Apple and PC do not play well together but this is ridiculous! I was only following iTunes' instructions and now I could not sinc any of my devices to the computer or add any CDs to my iPod.

Enter my hero, Jason (also known as our eldest son). He had an older MacBook Pro he was not using, so he set it up in my name and gave it to me. Because I had forgotten to de-register previous computers, I had trouble registering this one to my account. I did not know this --- I took it back to Jason to figure out and he did. The Mac's disc drive is not working, so he threw in an external disc drive -- the one I use with my Acer is not Apple-compatible.

He backed up my iPod to the Mac, then asked for my phone to back it up. Afterwards, he said I may have to reload my books --- I told him I don't have any books on my phone because there was no room (only about 5 gig to work with)Next thing I knew, he was removing my phone card and putting it in his old unused iPhone. So instead of an iPhone 5 with only 5 gigs to work with, I now have an iPhone 6 with an extra 59 gigs. I do think I will buy a different case for it though. Not fond of this one's colors.

I've been fighting some kind of sinus thing with headaches that keep me from sleeping, so I sketched all this in the middle of the night as it lay on an overstuffed ottoman (which is a faded, muted red, NOT pink). Sort of a messy 2-page spread, but it distracted me from the headache.

24 November 2016

ran(d)on bits of nature

Between tasks yesterday, as we got ready for family to arrive today, I sketched a few random bits of nature in my journal. Then free-brushed the heading . . . forgetting the "d" in random!

21 November 2016

testing QOR watercolors

I was ordering a few Christmas gifts from Amazon, but did not have quite enough to qualify for free shipping. So I fixed that . . . by adding a small set of QOR watercolors in earth tones. It made perfect sense to me at the time. Here, I tested the paints in my sketchbook -- They seem a bit more opaque than my favorite transparent watercolors, but I do like the brightness and they seem to mix well.

There is room to add a couple of Koi waterbrushes in the tin, but because the paints seem a bit "dryer" I think a real brush and water container will work better with these paints. They seemed to take _Forever_ to dry in the pans but that might be due to our humidity.

I had a couple of Ice Chips tins, which are already white inside, so I removed the lid from one to friction-fit on the bottom of the other one, giving added mixing space. Pans are secured with a dab of rubber cement. The 6 small tubes came in this huge tin which is too large to be a useful palette; I will probably just use it to store stuff.

18 November 2016


One last page from our trip to Fredericksburg: although neither of us are true shoppers, we did manage to buy a few things while walking through the historic downtown.

The first item purchased, with my love of history, was a $1 guidebook to the area's history. This was found at the National Museum of the Pacific War, where I also found the Rosie the Riveter mint tin. I once worked in a history museum and one of my coworkers did a re-enactment presentation of "Rosie". Teresa's aunt had been a riveter during World War II, so she drew heavily from those memories. The tin reminded me of her . . . and, yes, it _might_ become a mini paint palette some day!

In search of a light lunch, we stumbled upon Rustlin' Rob's. We thought it was a chili eatery; it turned out to be a shop full of cooking condiments! Everywhere we turned, there were samples of salsas, peppers, sauces (some over cream cheese, some mixed in sour cream), jellies, etc. Also set out were tiny crackers and pretzels to taste the samples with. We ended up eating samples for lunch -- who knew prickly pear jam could taste so good? The shop also offered several types of fudge; we bought a small sample to share later.

I will soon be decorating our wee cabin for Christmas __ we don't really care if it's decorated or not, but the kids and grandkids insist __ and our skinny alpine tree had no star. This star is simply twine wrapped around a wire base that was dipped in glue, then silver glitter. And though we have real mistletoe growing outside in a neighbor's tree, I like the "Texas" version using hot peppers.

14 November 2016

buildings, mice, and a lovely morning

We managed to walk the whole downtown of Fredericksburg several times, including a side street, admiring so many old buildings. I took photos rather than sketch on site since Bill is not a sketcher --- I didn't want to make him wait and we _were_ interested in getting the exercise. These are some of my favorite houses (plus one garage / carriage house). There were so many more downtown buildings I wanted to draw! This town really built them well, maintaining and repurposing them through the years instead of tearing down to make way for new.

We had an invasion of mice at church yesterday . . . of the chocolate-cherry-Hershey-kiss-almond slice species. Ms. B.J. has been playing with her food again and the kids loved them.

And this is my view as I edit and post these photos this morning. Not as many roses in bloom as we have recently had, but a lovely, sunny 59 degrees.
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