Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How do you know?

So...10 days until Christmas. So far there are no presents and no Christmas tree either. We've got a project going on, on a small scale. Hardwood flooring, painting, and molding. And right now, some electrical switches going in.

So how do you know it's Christmas without the usual decor? For one, music, that's a given. And Christmas movies. Who doesn't love Christmas movies? Scrooge-people, that's who. The king of animated movies is and always will be, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

But my favorites are non animated. Here they are:

Home Alone. Love the story, love the house, love Macaulay Culkin, love the music!!! Darling. John Hughes wrote a winner and it cannot be beat. Catherine O'Hara as the mom and John Candy as the polka guy were awesome.

A Christmas Story. Some people call it the Red Ryder BB gun movie. I threw this one in because my kids love it so much. I've only seen bits and pieces of it, never from start to finish, but I will.

You don't usually find This Christmas on anyone's must see list, but I don't care...this is a fun movie. Loretta Divine is always good. Chris Brown is part of the ensemble, of course this was filmed pre-Rihanna.

Four Christmases. Maybe the plot is cliched but how can you not like this? Reese is darling. And Vince Vaughn! Cracks. Me. Up.

Christmas With the Kranks. This was based on the novel by John Grisham, Skipping Christmas. I laughed. Heartfelt.

Oh I love this one. While You Were Sleeping. Sandra Bullock is precious. Especially in this movie. Bill Pullman is perfect. The grandma, Glynis Johns. (remember her from Mary Poppins?)

The Holiday. Cameron Diaz. When she looks back at this movie, she'll always be happy, she's just gorgeous here. You HAVE to root for her and Jude Law to get together. The scene where she meets his daughters...precious. Kate Winslet and Jack Black are darling.

And here it favorite Christmas movie. I don't just want to watch The Family Stone, I want to be them (minus the liberal politics). I want to go home for Christmas somewhere in a house like that. Diane Keaton is fabulous. Claire Danes. Craig T. Nelson too. Rachel McAdams is just a doll. And the guy that plays her love interest...the EMT guy, he's so good! Even though one of my least favorite actresses is in this (Sarah Jessica Parker)....even she can't spoil this film for me. Luke Wilson nails his part. Charming. He steals Dermot Mulroney's thunder. The Family Stone. Love.

The best thing is that even without a tree...these movies make me feel good. And that's what it's all about. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ghost Riders in the Sky

We've been the happy owners of our red Honda Pilot for nearly nine years now. We've seen good times, tough times, Keith Urban times, cruising times, hurricane times, fun times, and some all-around we ROCK this Pilot-times.

But today it was goodbye time.

And after nearly 17 years of driving a red vehicle (the Accord, then the Pilot), mama's got a horse of a different color.

A brand spanking new WHITE Honda Pilot!!

It's fancy. Frisky. Fantastic.

Big Daddy likes it too.

It's fun. Now we just have to figure out how to work everything.

Ghost Rider:

Ghost Rider, the pattern is full. (name that movie)

I don't think anyone will know it's me in a white vehicle. I might lose it myself in a parking lot.

Say it with me now, "White, white, white!"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October Skies

Well this month is just blowing by. Why can't August go this fast?? I love's my 2nd favorite month of the year, after November. Yes, this IS my happy calendar time! And Don's too, deer season has begun.

I love everything about, a north wind blowing, leaves flying through the air, cinderella pumpkins, baby pumpkins, gumbo, and oh yeah, did I say football??

We've mostly watched these guys, while we cross our fingers for their coach Jason Garrett (who I have a slight crush on) to perform a miracle before Jerry Jones fires him. Or gets another facelift, whichever comes first.

And while the Cowboys are having a rough year, it sure helps to watch this coach, Eric Taylor, and his Dillon Panthers on Friday Night Lights. We're making our way through each season on Netflix. Seriously, it's good. Coach Taylor is played by Kyle Chandler. I have a little crush on him too. (Texas forever)

When I'm not in the middle of a football game (real or imagined) I spend a lot of time talking about this ship. She's beautiful, isn't she? In this case talk isn't cheap. But sail, we will. Do you believe in Magic??

Galveston, oh Galveston...

And my other hobby of late, shopping for wood floors, hopefully to get installed before the end of the year. After a lot of looking (virtual and in person), I've picked this one, by Shaw. It's hickory, pictured here. I love it and I hope it loves me back.

And last but not least, I've thoroughly enjoyed watching these guys go at it. Debates are awesome. So. Much. Fun. I'm learning a lot about these candidates. And the good thing is....we all participate. By reading, watching and by voting. Did you vote today?? My sticker says "My Vote Counted".

Make yours count, too.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eight is Great!

This is our oldest grandchild, Alahna. She turned 8 years old recently and was baptized and confirmed a member of our church. It was such a special day. She wore a darling white satin and lace dress. She looked just like a princess. And so she was.

We were all so happy we could be there with her. We (the Mawmaw & Pawpaw of this tribe) flew to California. Aunt Jennifer came too.

Alahna was baptized by her daddy. He was so proud of her. Her mom and Kirra were proud too. Everyone loves her so very much.

She got some special sister Lou Ellen gave her the pink pearls she is wearing here. She looks very grown up. But don't worry, she's not that tall yet...she was standing on a chair.

Alahna made some big promises that day, but she got some big blessings too. I know how happy she was, and I hope she remembers that feeling always.

I love you, sweet girl.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sam ~

Last week we had to say goodbye to our furry friend, our Devil Boy, our baby, our constant companion, and the cat our family will always remember...Sam.

I'm still too sad to write much about him. We all shed many tears, but we know he deserved the best. And the best, was to say goodbye. We miss him so much.


Each year in our Christmas letter, we always updated all our friends and family on Sam's status. And why not? He belonged to us and we belonged to him.

One day I'll write more about Sam. But for today, from those letters, here's a look into his life and his place in this family:

1995: We can't wait for Christmas....Santa is bringing us a computer and a cat. (written one week before we got Sam)

1996: Last Christmas we added to our family by adopting an adorable kitten we named Sam. He is definitely the king around here and he knows it! We keep him inside to stop history from repeating itself. Sam thinks he's a dog and does a few tricks that make him appear clever.

1997: Our cat Sam is doing well, though he may be in for a little stomach distress since he insists on chewing on the Christmas tree branches and lights. He provides us with entertainment most of the day, but sometimes slips into another personality we call "Devil Boy". You wouldn't want to be around then, trust me.

1998: Our cat Sam, aka Devil Boy, has been lively and particularly wicked this year. When he is not chewing on our Christmas decorations, he is on the windowsill watching the squirrels and blackbirds that fill our backyard, always plotting some way to escape from the house and attack. But they're only kitty-cat dreams. His favorite bite victim in-house is Don, though he is the one who feeds Sam tidbits from the table; go figure.

1999: Sam the cat has had a tough year. We had to have him declawed due to the excessive damage he did to our old woodwork, and now with the new stuff - well, he had a choice - say adios or go under the knife. He chose the latter. At least we think he agreed. But sometimes I'm sure he's looking for his own attorney to take the case against us.

2000: Sam tries to climb the Christmas tree every day or so. Our not so secret weapon to get him down is to rustle a plastic bag at him. He jumps down and runs like the devil himself is chasing him. I keep telling him to behave or we'll ship him out to Florida to keep Jesse Jackson company. So far he isn't intimidated. (written during the recount for the 2000 Presidential election)

2001: Sam has had a rough year. He had a near-death experience this past summer, but I guess you could say he's over it. Right now his obsession is to defend his turf (he's waging war through the french doors) from a neighbor cat who likes to visit our patio.

2002: Sam has been cantankerous, as usual. Each night as I am reading, he leaps into our bed and meows frantically until I scratch his back with the wooden back-scratcher I keep on the nightstand. Then he finally plops down and purrs loudly as if to say, "OK, that'll be all for now." It is too funny for words!

2003: As for Sam, he had been behaving himself for most of the year, but now that the Christmas tree is up, "Devil Boy" is back in the saddle again. I have trained him to sleep on Don's side of the bed. He makes a nifty foot-warmer, but if you get up for any reason, he bites you when you come back to bed. Don mostly stays put.

2004: Sam is in the middle of his winter hibernation, which means he spends 90% of his day curled up in my oak letter-box, basking under the warmth of the desk lamp, his own version of kitty-sunbathing. He staked out his turf years ago and we don't mess with him.

2005: Because Sam was the only one of us who actually witnessed Hurricane Rita from inside our house, we have crowned him 'Sole Survivor' and accord him the reverence he is due. He doesn't travel well (at all!) so we left him home while we (in our folly) assumed the hurricane would do as others had done and hit somewhere else. We had many anxious and tearful moments thinking about that cat here at home. We rushed back to check on him the day after the storm and were overjoyed to find him waiting for us, safe and sound!! Now he knows he's got us right where he wants us. Which is really no different than before...

2006: Sam doesn't go anywhere much, not willingly anyway. He sleeps a lot, but when we have company he howls like a wolf and runs, jumps and prances around, just to remind us all that Devil Boy lives. We never doubted, we believe!!

2007: Sam doesn't know it but he's getting zip for Christmas unless he shocks us all and decides to welcome Thunder (Jen's cat) with open paws when he arrives from Utah. Of course the chances of that are slim to none. So we're going to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We know Sam will be thinking (in the spirit of Kevin McAllister, Home Alone) "This is my home and I have to defend it!"

2008: We held our breath last Christmas as Sam had to -- for the first time ever -- share his home with another cat, Thunder. At first it was all-out war as far as Sam was concerned, but much to our amazement he soon developed not only a tolerance for Thunder, but he actually LIKED him! Now they're best buds. When Thunder comes over Sam is a happy camper. Who knew??

2009: Sam is still the leader of the pack around here. Most days he sleeps a lot but he still has the eye of the tiger. And when he's cold and wants to sit on your lap, he turns into a little lamb. Just don't scratch his head the wrong way. He lives for those moments...

2010: Sam is now 15, fairly old for a cat but he carries it well. He struts around the house and tries to sneak chicken at every opportunity. Most days he wants to sit on our laps. I think he's worried about dying....he's afraid no one in kitty-heaven will feed him chicken.

Sam doesn't have to worry anymore. He knows that the best chicken is in heaven.

And, he also knows:

Be sweet Sam, we love you. ♥

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Get the picture?

I'm somewhat of a reluctant photographer. You wouldn't think so...I have my camera in my hands a good bit. It's a 2 year old Panasonic Lumix DMC-series. It's got a 10x zoom wide-angle lens. And it's really an ideal camera for travel. It's light and small enough to put in my bag or pocket, with good image stabilization, an easy auto-setting and an excellent battery life, and it came with an extra battery.

I almost always get better photos outdoors. Indoor shots are dicey, like these I took at the library when Alahna was having fun at the Smart Table.

I haven't read the instruction manual for my camera and certainly haven't played with many alternate settings. I just pick it up and shoot. It's the way I roll.

Still, sometimes I surprise myself with what I can do.

Here's Keith....he looks good. And yes, I did take that. ;)

But there is a big difference between what I can do on auto and what you can do with a better camera. These pictures were taken by Missy Morris. She has a Canon Rebel.

Justin shoots a Nikon D90, here's just a couple he took of Kirra. (She likes to you couldn't guess that.)

Pretty. Sometimes I consider buying a camera with more power. But...would I really use it? I like pretty pictures but I also like a compact camera. And then of course, if I got one - I'd definitely have to read the instruction manual. Or take lessons. And learn editing.

Or not.

So, until then.

It's point and shoot.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rollin' on the river ~

(cue Bayou Rock...)

A couple of days ago we were invited to go out to Zack & Andrea's camp on the river. Jason and the girls were all for it, so heck yeah we'll come.

Yep, it was hot. But we had a ball anyway. We ate pulled pork and sloppy joes and grilled sausage, boudin and onions. Watermelon and smores were popular too. I brought a box of Jo's Party House cupcakes. They're necessary. ;)

So. Much. Fun.

Lily showed Alahna & Kirra the right way to swing on a rope and jump in the water. They took it all in, and Alahna just went for it! Kirra kept thinking about it. We know this because she told us at least 20 times. :) She did jump off the dock even if the rope swing didn't happen.

Jason and his girls.

Emma was a big help with the little girls, she's a sweetheart.

Evan takes the wheel. This boat pulled the wakeboarders and skiers.

Zack pulled the kids with his pontoon boat. He can really maneuver that thing.

Jason's pretty good at wakeboarding, he's a natural.

Don was happy his grandgirls were having a ball.

Alahna had the best time. All smiles.

And Kirra was beside herself. She said this was the "best show" she ever saw! (maybe she thought we were on a reality show?)

Thumbs up for FASTER. Girls just wanna have fun...they feel the need, the need for speed.

Whether it's hunting or diagnosing the sound the boat motor is making, Don and Zack are talkers.

Our evening ended with a bit of drama. After darkness fell, while everyone was making smores around the fire, someone heard a voice calling for help across the water. Turns out a guy was over there and said his dog had a broken leg and he needed help to get him to the dock. A bit suspicious maybe, but nevertheless the guys decided to help. Zack, Taylor and Jason jumped in the boat and went to pick him up. Kirra was yelling out across the water, "We're coming to get you!! We're coming to help!" It was a large dog, a Bullmastiff. We hope the dog made it. Kirra would be proud.

Such an awesome night. Good friends, good times. We love all the Zack's and we're tickled that the grandgirls got the full camp experience. Thanks for the invite!

Left a good job in the city
Workin' for the Man every night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin'
Worryin' about the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river