Archive for the ‘family and friends’ Category

Adventuring

Posted: October 17, 2011 in family and friends, nature, texas
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To me, even the littlest step into nature can provide an escape… but in the eyes of children, you can bet that it provides a grand adventure.
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I have developed a seedy new habit… Whenever I see a robust and bustling garden, I have an insatiable desire to loot it.  Always begging for seeds and offspring plants at any opportunity presented.

In my third year of gardening, I can say that my style has been largely inspired by my Aunt Pam’s “tough and adaptable, natural and Texas native” planting creed.

This au naturel style is abundantly clear when meandering down her thyme covered stone steps… the entrance to her whimsical, butterfly-peppered sanctuary… filled with patches of periwinkle Plumbago, pungent Spearmint, and happy little clumps of Blackfoot Daisies. Continue walking, and the crunch of the crushed rock underfoot will fill your ears as you explore the P-shaped path of her little prairie garden… Strange old world herbs, utilized by long ago pioneers, bushing to the right… trailing Vinca (occasionally blooming with bell-shaped lilac flowers) ever so slightly grappling up the wall of her house for more space than the floor of the garden will allow it… Autumn Sage and Turk’s Cap to satisfy the greedy hummingbirds buzzing around them, all held ransom by a border of redbud trees and tall red yuccas (that always seem to be blooming with their ferocious crimson spires reaching towards the sky.)

Even in negligence, this garden would survive. In fact, without the dutiful hand of a keeper, the “daughter plants”, as my aunt would say, and “grand-daughters” …would pop up wherever the breeze or birds directed them to take hold.

I'm obsessed with my little rock garden, filled with different types of Sedum, Iceplants, Torch Cactus, Salvia, and Skullcap

This lovey Rock Rose seems to be doing well in my West facing garden of fire… for now.

This is what I want to emulate in my own garden. NATURE’S beauty. Not the fake, pointy, manicured nail of perfection. While cookie-cutter gardens are very beautiful, the maintenance involved seems tortured and insincere. I don’t need voluptuous ‘Knockout Roses’ and begonias to be satisfied with myself, er uh, I mean… my garden. 😉 It sometimes feels like I am surrounded by prisons of conformity and compliance.

                

 

But I also know, that when my garden is lush and thriving… I would do the same for my friends and family. Share in the joy of gardening.  Let the grand daughters go play in someone elses yard! 

I have also taken to collecting seeds from my own plants, and I relish discussing each variety. So far I have Salvia greggii, ‘Winecup’, ‘Nana’ Coreopsis, two types of ‘Rock Rose’, and I even took seed from my ‘Batface’.

Rock Rose and the White Crab Spider

Citronella Plant and the Lynx Spider

Will I ever have daughter, even grand-daughter plants in my garden?! I certainly hope so.

3 year old Salvia greggii ~ one of my FAVORITES

 

The memories we’ve buried
Have just taken seed
When springtime comes
They’ll turn into weeds
And they’ll creep through your window
to smother your dreams
~DR. DOG – THE BEACH

I love Elton John.  A LOT.  And I’m sort of mad that I’m actually in love with someone named Bernie Taupin who wrote ALL of my favorite Elton John songs.  I knew Elton John didn’t write his songs, that’s not the point.  The point is, TODAY, in reality, I hear what a stretch it is to believe Elton John singing in his magical voice about leaving society hounds to go back to the plough… or pirate smiled blue jeaned babies.

I’ll be optimistic here, and say that I do still believe in the cheesy 80’s movie endings… OMD playing If You Leave on a 7 minute loop until the Duck tells the girl of his dreams (you know, the one he has subsequently been stalking up to that point) that she should GO!! GO to the man of her dreams and not ruin the moment… with an omniscient view of how everything will turn out as the stars intended.  Yes, maybe Kristy Swanson making bedroom faces at him helped a little.  But we don’t get to see sweet nerdy Duckman’s happy ending, do we?!  You should have picked him John Hughes!!! ….er um, Molly Ringwald… er um, whatever your name was in that movie.  God, I’m such a sucker for movies with a record store… ANY movie with a record store.

I think most of my ‘after 30’ blog posts have, in large part, been about feeling old.  Coming to terms with not being a child, but still feeling like a child.  Growing up and realizing that I still want to believe all the bullshit I believed when I was that naive, under 30, dreamer.  I still live with my head in the clouds… my scatter-brained idiosyncrasies spilling out all over the floor when I trip over the responsibilities of being a functioning member of society. 

I don’t want to feel like the dream is dying.  I want to keep living in a childs eye of things.

When I was putting my boys to sleep last night, as we were listening to a Paul Simon song, they asked me what Hearts and Bones really meant.  I smiled with the pride of a mother who has two little boys that are actually interested in 1: Paul Simon and 2: Lyrics.  It’s amazing that I have more stimulating conversations about music with my babies than most other people. 

I thought about how to answer and I said, “Well… people say the heart is where all your emotions come from, and your bones hold up your body and help you to move along.  Without heart you wouldn’t be a whole person… no love, hope, or bravery.  You wouldn’t have much to move for, would you?” 

Lathan’s reply?

“And without heart you would die… because your body would have no blood.”

And that, my friends, is perspective. 🙂

It wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t tell you a gift early… cause, let’s face it, surprises are overrated… and I have no self-control! Merry Christmas y’all!!! I deviated from the normal ‘new music only’ format… bonus points if you can guess the theme! 🙂

Disc One
1. Howlin’ for You 3:12 The Black Keys Brothers (Deluxe) Alternative  2
2. Roll Away Your Stone 4:21 Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Alternative  2
3. The Breeze 3:59 Dr. Dog Fate (Bonus Track Version) Alternative  2
4. Oh Well (Live) 2:45 Fleetwood Mac Men of the World: Fleetwood Mac – The Early Years Rock  2
5. How You Like Me Now (Single Edit) 3:37 The Heavy The House That Dirt Built Rock  2
6. Young Folks 4:39 Peter Bjorn and John Writer’s Block Alternative  1
7. That’s the Way 5:37 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III (Remastered) Rock  1
8. Everlasting Light 3:24 The Black Keys Brothers (Deluxe) Alternative  1
9. Home 5:06 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Up from Below (Bonus Track Version) Alternative  1
10. Baby It’s You 3:22 Smith Grindhouse: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
11. Can’t You See 6:01 The Marshall Tucker Band The Marshall Tucker Band Rock  1
12. Your Song 4:04 Elton John Elton John Rock  1
13. Love to Hate You 3:57 Erasure Erasure: Pop Deluxe Box (Audio Version) Pop  1
14. Sea of Love 2:19 Cat Power The Covers Record Rock  1
15. When the Night Comes 3:56 Dan Auerbach Keep It Hid Rock  2
16. Do You Realize 3:33 The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Rock/Pop  1
17. Eclipse 2:04 Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Rock  1

Disc Two
1. These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ 2:46 Nancy Sinatra Boots Pop  
2. A ll You Ever Wanted 2:56 The Black Keys Attack & Release Alternative  1
3. First Day Of My Life 3:09 Bright Eyes I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning Emo  1
4. The Cave 3:36 Mumford & Sons Sigh No More Alternative  1
5. Hang On 4:01 Dr. Dog Fate (Bonus Track Version) Alternative  1
6. Go Your Own Way 3:38 Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits Rock  
7. I Put a Spell On You 2:26 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins Cow Fingers and Mosquito Pie R&B/Soul  
8. Miss You 4:49 The Rolling Stones Some Girls Rock  
9. The Love You Save (May Be Your Own) 2:56 Joe Tex Grindhouse: Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)  
10. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out 3:49 Eric Clapton Unplugged (CD Version) Pop  
11. Could You Be Loved 3:58 Bob Marley & the Wailers Legend [Bonus Tracks] Reggae  
12. Need You Tonight 3:01 INXS Greatest Hits Rock  
13. Smile Like You Mean It 3:55 The Killers Hot Fuss Rock  1
14. Cut Here 4:13 The Cure Greatest Hits [Bonus CD] Disc 1 Rock  
15. I Summon You 3:56 Spoon Gimme Fiction Alternative  
16. All I Want Is You 6:30 U2 The Best of 1980-1990 Rock  
17. Fade Into You 4:56 Mazzy Star So Tonight That I Might See Rock  
18. Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Pts. 1-5 13:31 Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here Rock

Common House Gecko – (Hemidactylus frentatus) Originally from Asia, these geckos spread globally by ships and then adapted to the climates of South America and the southern parts of N. America, 3 to 6 inches in length, nocturnally feeding around areas of easy prey; such as areas with an abundance of bugs due to lights on buildings and houses, translucent beige spotted bodies with striping on the tail help them camouflage to brick and siding, large circular pads on their feet help them to cling to walls and even ceilings… We have lots of these little cuties on our house. Over the spring and summer months we would watch a group (of up to four) feed on our bathroom window when the moths and flies would drone to the light at night. I’ve photographed many House Geckos, but I’ve only held two (not counting all the geckos I cared for at Planet Pet). The first was a small adolescent that had probably been in the house for days without a substantial source of food… I cornered him and took him outside. The second was an adult that I spotted outside on the brick just before a summer storm… I still can’t believe I caught him! All he had to do was climb out of reach… but he didn’t. He just kept circling the same column until I was able to gently grasp him in my hand and pluck him from the wall.  After a few pictures, I finally let him go and he did not hesitate to run out of my reach this time. As I watched him go, I felt like he had shared something special with me.  I love Geckos… they seem so gentle and soft, fragile almost.  Geckos will easily drop their tail if they are threatened… I learned my lesson with a Giant Day Gecko at the pet store.  I felt horrible.  Sometimes they recover and heal without any problems, and sometimes they don’t survive it.  The tail regenerates, but is never the same.
  
Texas Spiny Lizard –
(Sceloporus olivaceus) 7 to 11 inches in length, usually grey to beige in color with some black spotting or stripes, males usually have blue patches on the sides of their belly, long toes with sharp claws for climbing bark and rough terrain, sometimes mistaken for Horned Lizards because of their spiny appearance.

The Spinies I’ve seen on nature walks and in my garden are VERY fast. I’ve only caught a few because of their ability to climb out of range in a split second… and they tend to be shy, staying in brushy, safe areas. I will say that I run into these guys more after a rain. They seem to love basking in the sun with the added humidity. Their natural habitat is in areas with mesquite trees. When challenging each other for territory, the males will have push up contests… until one gives up and runs away. Predators of these little guys include: Roadrunners, snakes, raptors, coyotes and foxes.

The first lizard that Riley ever held was a Spiny… it ran up his arm, then his back, and onto his head.  My cousin found one laying a clutch of eggs in a hole dug out of her rocky garden ledge.  I was thrilled when I finally spotted this female in my garden!  She’s SO shy… she won’t let me anywhere near her.  Especially after I tried to catch her by my Star Jasmine one day. Ha!      

  

 
Green Anole – (Anolis carolinensis) 6 to 8 inches in length, found in warm humid climates in North and South America, long slender tails and toes, ability to camouflage in ranges of color from green to grayish brown… but healthy, non-threatened adults are usually bright green, males have a large pink flap of skin called a dewlap under their jaw that they aggressively display during courtship or territory disputes… raising their head up and down and sometimes appearing to shake it back and forth. I usually find these guys in houseplants, green vegetation, or more tropical areas. These are pretty easy to catch… aside from the booger that I chased around at my cousins for a half-hour.  Anoles seem to be the ballsiest of the three, and after the initial shock of being captured they will hang out for a while.
  

I’ve never been bitten by a wild lizard, only lizards bred in captivity… and then, only twice. Seems like I should move on to snakes, since I’ve caught all of the usual lizard suspects in our area. I still hope to eventually spot a true Horned Lizard in the wild. (Phrynosoma cornutum), also known as the Horny Toad. Fun fact: they squirt a stream of blood, mixed with a foul smelling secretion out of their eye… into the eyes and nose of their predators, to keep from being lunch. Pretty darn cool.

In the beginning Lathan had bare tan walls and Lightning McQueen sheets… no comforter… and one poster.  He needed an upgrade and so we asked him what he would like in his room.  First response: Batman.  I said no.  Second response: Guitar Hero.  Now we’re talkin!  Does that make me a bad mom?
Yoga painting move.  I didn’t have a ladder at this point so I had to be creative when applying the ‘lightning.’  At first I tried applying a cool pattern with white paint and crumpled up paper…. which I DO NOT recommend to anyone.
Than I started the grid pattern over the lightning with the plastic grid from an old baby gate Amanda gave me.  I had to nail it to the wall in about 8 places each time I moved to a new section and then I stippled in the darker grey paint.
The grid took most of the time.  Probably a little over 2 weeks.  Towards the end I was whining WAY too much on Facebook with posts like: [This wall is starting to suck the life blood out of me, better put on my Gooines Never Say Die shirt.] and [I have a paint chip lodged in my eye, possibly lead poisoning, tetnis and lung damage from paint fumes…]
“I get by with a little help from my friends”
Finally done with the grid!
The first backwards guitar!
My signature… yes I signed my mural two weeks before it was done.
Mark Knopfler Strat
Got a ladder upgrade from Joshua
Bruce keeping mommy company.  Isn’t he hansome?!  I love the matching guitars on the paper in the background.
I’m surprised Peter did not short circuit looking at this filthy mess… that seemed to grow larger everyday!
I will never again post a picture of myself wearing NO make-up AND making a heinous face.  So soak it up ladys and gentlemen.  Check out my awesome cheer up or die shirt.
Too many pictures of my butt… please forgive me.
Check out my awesome hairdo.
All the records my dad gave me… I still need to get Darkside of the Moon.
My Aunt Pam gave us vintage concert tickets from some legends!  Thank you!!!
He’s so excited.  I wanted to cry just watching him last night.  And this morning when I went upstairs to make his bed he had already tried to do it just like we had.  Love you, my baby Lathan!!!

Rock On

Posted: September 15, 2009 in family and friends, favorites, I Painted a Mural, music
Without giving EVERYTHING away I would like to present the premature stages of Lathan’s rock ‘n roll mural.  When my oldest baby said he wanted a guitar hero room… I ran with the idea!  And something that started small got real big, real quick.  With everything from guitar/amp bedding (that we found online) and a guitar mural, to my dad offering to give Lathan some of the most precious album covers in his collection!  Deciding what kind of guitar to paint on the wall has turned into a full scale dilemma… I know musicians play different guitars for different sounds… but which is the best:  Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul?  My obsession at the moment, Dan Auerbach, usually plays a Gibson.  BUT a Fender is SO ‘Rock ‘n Roll!’  So I decided to paint Fenders over the lightning and grid pattern that you will see more of later, and thanks Amanda for your baby gate contribution!   Not to say that a Les Paul or Epiphone won’t be on another section of wall… I mean, Lathan did say, “Mom, EVERY part of the wall needs a picture!”
So here’s a break down of the mural…
Stage One: Lightning
Stage Two: Circle Grid Pattern
Stage Three: Stars
Stage Four: Guitars

Fenders
(The red is a Mark Knoffler Strat!)
Gibsons