Archive for the ‘favorites’ Category
Tags: aeonium, blue sky, blushing beauty, echeveria, graptosedum, lucita, pearl von nurnburg, succulents, sunshine
Tags: garden, nature, texas
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.
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’.
Will I ever have daughter, even grand-daughter plants in my garden?! I certainly hope so.
Tags: cage the elephant, chelsea, concerts, cosmopolitan las vegas, february 19, the black keys
Surreal: having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic.
Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas – 2/19/2011
The Black Keys music that I own:
6 studio albums
Dan’s solo: Keep It Hid
3 soundtrack releases
1 cover song from a various artist CD
1 EP: Chulahoma
Black Keys music that I’m Missing:
1 split artist EP
Pat Carney’s indie band album “Feel Good Together” by Drummer
The collaborative BlakRoc album
2 live albums
The Black Keys, an American “garage/blues-rock” band from Akron Ohio, are on the verge of greatness… again. With three 2011 Grammy’s under their belt, an album on the top of many ‘Best of the Year’ lists, and over a million records sold… it seems to be that THIS TIME it’s really going to happen for them.
That being said, it’s still surprising that people give me a blank stare when I start geeking out over whatever piece of Black Keys music is turning me on at the moment. Are there really still people out there NOT jumping on the Black Keys bandwagon? I guess I’m really just waiting for the band to get so big as to have my Katy Perry-loving girlfriends, who shall remain nameless, start spazzing over some album I’ve had for almost a decade… or when EVERYONE starts calling them sellouts for FINALLY being recognized for their talent. Which I might add, is well deserved! Yes, the Zale’s and car commercials are killing me, but it’s not going to make me stop loving them.
It pains me that I didn’t see them at the Granada or Ridglea way back when I was still in ‘breeder’ mode. Unfortunately, that was before I had my third-of-life crisis and decided I was still young enough to go to a million concerts a year, EVEN ON WEEKDAYS! GASP! Sadly, I felt like with each new Black Keys album I was losing my chance to see them before they got ‘stadium big’. And wouldn’t you know, the only time they came to Dallas (post third-life-crisis)… it was at the freakin’ Starplex stadium… opening for Kings of Leon. Basically that means Sara and Peter paid over $120 to see the Black Keys play without their own stage and light set up… for just an hour. I felt ripped off. But I was also happy with whatever I could get.
Flash forward to Peter’s third-of-life crisis which involves bizarre lovey-dovey behavior towards his wife, a need to polish his ‘rough looking’ boots, and a Strange Desire to travel without the kids and spend money recklessly… that’s just weird for Peter! REALLY weird. My concern quickly changed to fanatic elation when he surprised me with birthday plane tickets to Las Vegas and SOLD OUT tickets to the Black Keys concert at the Chelsea Ballroom in the Cosmopolitan Hotel! Yes, I cried. Yes, it was solely the outcome of such a special gift to see the Black Keys, once again on the verge of greatness, headlining a smaller venue… IN LAS VEGAS!!! I mean, that’s like mission impossible caliber!
In a whirlwind weekend, we flew into Vegas… stayed up all night eating, drinking, gambling, watching the Beatles LOVE Cirque show… slept a wink, then geeked out over music memorabilia at the Hard Rock Hotel, walked through the Cosmopolitan in stunned awe of the classic yet modern beauty of the magnificent hotel and the artwork throughout… ate gourmet tapas at the hotel buffet… and the icing on the cake: we saw Cage the Elephant and MY Black Keys in a beautiful art deco type ballroom… with a noir feel to the whole night!
Cage the Elephant started the concert off to a frenzied start with the band spewing out electric energy at a frenetic pace and Matthew Shultz wailing punk rock greatness into his microphone, talk-singing in an almost Black Francis-type manner. Their shining moment came when the singer wrapped his hand all the way around the mic, clutched it tight as he leaned towards the crowd… and through the split in his mop of Kurt Cobain hair… he says, “Do you guys like crowd surfing? I really like crowd surfing.” And then he commenced hurling himself into the audience during lyric breaks… the band holding time for him to get back on stage again and again. And in final grandeur, he walks out ON TOP of the audience holding the mic while a stage hand holds the wire up above the crowd. I’ve never seen anything like that. Period.
After waiting 4 hours for my band, they FINALLY took the stage. And it was All I Ever Wanted. Two individuals with the same soul for music, no theatrics… just music. The blues just seem to emanate out of Dan, as if the gravity of the music might break his soul in half. Eyes closed the majority of the time, instinctively swaying, and music, that has been the landscape of my life for a decade, radiating out of him in sonic boom manner… forcing me to geek out, on a daily basis… about a band that I love as much as Pink Floyd, or the Talking Heads, or Jimi Hendrix, or U2.
Tags: cadillac sky, concerts, dallas, folk, house of blues, king charles, mumford and sons, music, pictures, rock, slideshow, texas
I will admit that I’m obsessive to the point of insanity… especially about music. And after listening to the poetic lyrics and classical instruments of Mumford and Sons, I knew they would put on an amazing show. What I did not count on was the talent of the preceding acts to be just as grand.
The night of the show, my friend and I arrived to the House of Blues half an hour before the 8pm show time… only to find that we would have to wait outside in the cold until they decided to open the doors. Herded like cows to slaughter, we squished our bodies with strangers and pretended that we were not about to pee our pants. And things didn’t improve much as we blindly followed a teeming mass of hipsters shuffling their way to the GENERAL “standing room only” area when the doors opened at 8.
Packed again with the other sardines, I started having claustrophobia induced visions of elbows in my back, and obnoxious drunk girls slurring in my ear. Although, I was pleased that we had center stage in our direct line of sight about 10 feet back… I can only imagine how the poor souls felt that arrived late to find their spot by the beer bucket/bathroom line. My pissiness quickly returned as I finished my 24 oz. can o’ crap beer and there was still no sign of the opening band.
Just then, the lights lowered and a lanky Patrick Dempsey looking man carrying a white guitar, with his hair literally piled a foot on top of his head, walked on stage. I’m not going to lie… in my head I thought, “Oh great, a cult leader-esque narcissist to sit through before we endure another opener’s bluegrass hoedown.”
But then he opened his mouth…
When King Charles opened his mouth… he started singing in the loudest, most pitch perfect voice I have ever heard… complete with his own brand of witty, poetic lyrics, as well as hummingbird hands strumming on his white guitar. There was instantly a unanimous “Who the hell IS this guy?!” buzz in the audience… his magical pipes having disolved any cynics in the audience immediately as he stood on stage BY HIMSELF casting a spell on us all.
I’m a sentimental soul, and even though everything he sang was magic, when he asked if there were any Billy Joel fans in the audience I may have shed a nostalgic tear. And those tears may have multiplied as we sang the chorus to his very own version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
***for extra credit: Check out “Love Lust”
and my favorite from the concert (although, nothing I’ve found comes close to the live performance) “Ivory Road”
As our hearts still thumped for King Charles, Cadillac Sky took the stage… With enough beard to fill a Giants baseball team, these homegrown musicians won over the audience with their friendly and comical TEXAS skit:
“You know what we love about playing in Texas?”
“Every time we say ‘Texas’ the audience screams!”
David Mayfield leans into the mic, and evenly says, “T-e-x-a-s”
[crowd ballistically screams]
And then he leans once more and speaks slowly, “Oklahoma”
[crowd BOOOOOS, then laughs]
I wish more people listened to this type of music. They were so very talented on their ‘old fashioned’ instruments… it felt like HOME listening to them play… like only a sentimental southern TEXAS girl could appreciate. Not only that, but these guys are the most hospitable musicians you’ll ever see… inviting the audience to meet them after the show and grab a free download card for 3 of their tracks. It’s not like these guys are playing the Wreck Room, you know?! Good stuff.
The first time I heard “the Cave” by Mumford and Sons, I was blown away. So lyrically heavy that it sucks the breath right out of your chest while you listen, even though it would take a poet or philosopher to decipher the meaning upon first examination.
The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat
But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again
Yes, it may have been three hours after we had arrived for the concert when Mumford and Sons finally took the stage… but to me, the wait was worth it. I don’t know that I’ll ever see another show with 2 different opening bands fitting so seamlessly with the headliner.
“White Blank Page” WAS a kick in the chest, as a friend so aptly put it… and when Mumford and Sons played “Roll Away Your Stone” another wave of nostalgia hit me and sent my heart racing with excitement, adrenalin, and love… a wave that I would ride for the rest of the night and into my dreams. I woke up singing the lyrics of poets and humming the folk-rock harmonies of Englishmen.
Tags: Anole, Gecko, lizards, nature, reptiles, Spiny Lizard, texas
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.