Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Our Lantana Tree

This is a photo of our puny little Lantana  Tree back in March 2013. It had been without much water before we moved into this house. Around it was a large patch of purple ice plant that was beautiful in 
full color for a month or so but was old and 'ratty' looking for the rest of the year.  We were so embarrassed by our ugly tree that we seriously considered cutting it down.  But then we decided to water it and feed it for a while and see if we could rescue  it.
It totally surprised us by bursting into bloom and with a little help from careful trimming and giving it a little more attention, it really began to thrive.  It was a bit unwieldy but we didn't know anything about pruning -- or anything else about gardening. So we let it bloom.

 In a year or two it got so heavy with blooms that we decided we had to cut it back because when the rains came the branches or even the spindly trunk might break.  So we waited for the blooms to die off  before we trimmed it. By this time we had come to think about this tree as a miracle tree because it NEVER stopped blooming.  Finally we had to take the bull by the horns and cut it back -- blooms an'all.   Within a month of cutting it back, the tree was in full bloom again. 

About that time, we decided to take out the ice plant and redesign the front garden (It's not very large)  I have related about this in previous blogs so I'll get back to the tree.  It has never stopped blooming now for almost four years except when we trimmed it back and then only for enough time for new buds to form.

We have already cut this back twice this year, once in May and then in July and sure enough it came back blooming even better, if in a rather unruly condition.

So about 3 weeks ago we trimmed it back in a more orderly fashion.
And yes, it is covered in buds again and we are waiting to see if and when it will burst into bloom.  A nice bonus is that the butterflies and
humming birds love this tree -- not to mention bees!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two Luxuries


I have two luxuries, which I suppose I could live without but I wouldn't want to.  The first is to get my hair done every week.  Now the photo above doesn't exactly look like I just had it done but  that's because it is supposed to have the 'tousled' look.  My beautiful beautician took the photo just a few minutes after it was finished.  She really does a wonderful job.  It takes very little to look after it -- just the "Freeze and Spray"  hairspray which is quite strong, but very necessary as my hair has a mind of its  own.  I can't believe how old I look here.  My hair color is natural.  I wanted to take a photo to compare with others taken a year or so ago.  Perhaps I shouldn't have.  But this is my birthday photo.  Christmas Day I will be 79.  I really don't believe it.  I don't feel a day older than 69 -- but obviously I look it.
UGH!  I remember now why blogging was such a chore!  I CAN'T get the underline to turn off.  What a pain!  I'll just have to continue writing and try later to turn the thing off.  Sorry!  Blogger has a mind of its own too!The second luxury is to have lady who comes to clean the house every two weeks.  What a blessing that is!  It means we have to put away stuff we've been working on or just left out.  There is'nt much to do in the kitchen since I don't cook a lot.  The dust is the biggest problem.  The house is quite old, though it doesn't look it, but it certainly gets a lot of dust.  That is partly because I have the front door open most days.  Our large living room windows face south and the sun keeps the house nice and warm.  With the doors open we get a beautiful breeze right through the house. Lovely!We had about half an inch of rain yesterday and expect another half inch tonight.  We badly need the rain.  Have had water rationing most of the summer.
I'll be showing you a few changes we have made in our back yard in my next blog and a couple of pieces of my artwork too.  Then I have to tell you about the big excitement I have coming up next weekend.  See you soon.

Friday, November 25, 2016


The last turkey dinner I cooked, 2013

So yesterday was Thanksgiving.  We had a very nice quiet day.  My family know that gone are the days of my cooking a large turkey dinner!  Both boys are either away or traveling so there were just the two of us.

About 2:30 p.m. we wandered (in the car) down towards the ocean where we visited The Claim Jumper, one of our favorite restaurants.  We knew they were fully booked but they said that if we just walked in they would probably be able to  fit us in -- and they did! There were 8 or 10 couples with reservations waiting in line.  We just went up to the counter and flashed our "Tom Landry" club card and they seated us right away.  This is a membership card for the restaurant where we get points for every time we choose to eat there, a free meal for a certain number of points and a free meal on our birthdays.  Not a bad deal since the food is excellent and the servings large.  We had the turkey dinner of course -- 4 large slices of carved turkey, vegetables, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, preceded by a salad and followed by pumpkin pie.  The really good thing about this restaurant is that there is always way more than we can eat at one sitting so we get leftovers boxed up.  Guess what we had for dinner tonight?.....Another turkey dinner!!! Since I don't care for pumpkin pie we took our desserts home too and Barry had mine this evening. But don't feel bad for me because he went to the grocery store and bought gelato tiramisu for me.YUMMY!!!

I didn't waste all day on the laptop today.  Although I WAS on the laptop, I wrote my article for our News Magazine.  Nothing very earthshaking, but at least I finished it before the deadline, December 11th.  I joined the publications committee of the HOA a couple of years ago, consequently I frequently contribute articles and photographs to the News Magazine, which helps to keep me out of mischief.

That's all for now.  See you again later.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I'M BA..A..A..ACK!

PHEW!!  After about 4 hours I finally got back into my old blog.  I stopped blogging about 18 months ago -- mostly lack of motivation and didn't seem to have much to write about
But I think I've got a little more enthusiasm to pick it up again.  We shall see.  I certainly hope I can get back into this dashboard page again.  Honestly I think I tried every combination I could think of.  Ah well, persistence pays off.  Now I'm hoping I can catch up with all my old friends from my past blogging days.

We had about a half an inch of rain yesterday. YAY!  Everything is looking SO much better.  We haven't had anything more than a drizzle since last May.  The creek is looking good and the ducks are much happier.

I have had no more digestive blockages since I last wrote.  I have lately been drinking green tea with honey, greatly diluted with water.  I never drank water, but now I have about 24-30 ounces of the diluted green tea and I have to say that I think I feel somewhat more energetic than I was.  It's either the tea or the fact that the hot weather has finally moved on.

Not doing anything special for Thanksgiving.  Son #1 and wife and daughter are on the road permanently, helping out with Samaritan's Purse, and amazingly working with the FLDS polygamous
families of Colorado City, AZ.  This is the group run by Warren Jeffs who is now in prison for life for sex with minors.  The women who want to leave this cult have nowhere to go and need as much help they can get.  There are genetic problems among the children and a 'baby cemetary' for the many babies that died at birth or very young. It is an amazing story how Son #1 got involved with this ministry.  Visit totally-trailer.com to see what is happening in their lives.

Son #2 and Vicki are coming to visit at Christmas.  Since Barry has been having digestive problems we will probably have Thanksgiving dinner out and plan not to eat too much so that we can bring some home for dinner on Friday and still not eat too much at one sitting.

Other lovely things happening in our lives but will write about them another day.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I was on a cruise ship a few months ago when something happened that has niggled at my conscience for a while since then.

I was sitting in the library area, feet up, on a very comfortable chair, drawing and watching the seascape glide by.  An older husband and wife sat a few yards away from me and a few yards away from them a group of exuberant  students filled up the padded benches just to their left.  Because of the way I was sitting I could see both the students and the couple very clearly.

After a while the students moved on.  Soon after that, the husband of the couple casually stood up and strolled toward the padded benches, picked something up and just as casually returned to his seat.  He had in his hand some kind of  iphone or ipad. Then followed a conversation between them as to what to do with the ipad.  The wife opted to either leave it there or turn it into the desk.  The husband felt that whoever he gave it to would probably keep it for themselves.  As the debate continued in subdued voices, I sat as though concentrating on my drawing.  At some point the wife mentioned that I had probably seen and heard what had happened.  The husband assured her not to worry about me, he was sure I hadn't seen or heard anything, (too old and too intent on my drawing).  What neither of them knew was that I have excellent hearing, and as a teacher I am unusually alert to deliberately casual behavior -- someone's usually up to no good.

After about ten minutes they both got up and took the iphone with them. For as long as I was there no-one came back looking for their possession.

I have no idea what happened in the end, but I must admit that I am disappointed in myself that I didn't do or say something to prevent this from happening.  Even worse, at the time it didn't even occur to me to intervene.  I know I was absorbed in my drawing, but I also know the difference between right and wrong.  Maybe I was just waiting to see they would do.

What do you think?  To me, doing nothing is the same as being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

This incident was brought to mind by Berowne's post today where you can find another moral dilemma for you to solve.

My contribution to ABC Wednesday's letter T.  Thanks Denise and Roger and all other helpers.  For more contributions please click  HERE

Sunday, May 24, 2015


It's been a week of up's and downs -- mostly ups.  Once I got word from the hospital that that nasty movi-prep wasn't necessary, the surgery was a breeze!  In at noon, home by 6;00 pm. No pain , just a little soreness and stiffness.  They think they got the adhesions from past surgeries that were causing the problems.  I'll know more after the follow-up appointment.  Thank you Lord!

Can you believe it we have people actually come to the front door to say how much they like the improvements we have made to our front yard!  It is quite simple (see two posts ago) but I guess quite effective.  The large stones were more expensive than we had anticipated but we decided to bite the bullet, because they'll be here longer than we will, they will take care of the drought problem and they won't blow away with the leaf blower.

I've been lured on to facebook, (I said I'd never do it....) mainly because my past students need someone to contact for their school records now that the school is closed.  But I have discovered the fun of catching up with old high school friends (60 years ago!) and others along the way, not to mention some new friends from Flamborough where I lived all those years ago, with wonderful photographs, enough to make me homesick.

Now if I can get myself together to do something exciting I'll have something more to blog about.

Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts.

FOOTNOTE -- PHOTOS from my old High School -- Bridlington High School for Girls, E. Yorks:

The gym complete with climbing ropes.

The Great White Hall

The Magnificent Elm Tree that once was struck by Lightning

I'll be back!

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Our topic for CREATIVE TUESDAY this week is:


  I am not very good with fantasy as I mentioned to Michael, our Creative Tuesday facilitator,
so I resorted to zentangles.  I am such a down-to-earth realist!  I don't even read fantasy or science fiction, nor watch those kinds of movies.  Even so it was quite fun to do but I still felt it needed a little life in it so I added the squirrel and an enormous acorn for him -- a gift from the tree.

This is not due until March 19th but in order for it not to get lost with ABC Wednesday I have posted it early.  Why don't you hop over to Creative Tuesday and see what others in this community have contributed to illustrate this theme?  Please click on LINK here.