Friday, July 4, 2014

Stars and Stripes Forever

I love Independence Day.  I'm proud to be a citizen of the USA. I try to stay informed and make good choices.  I'm a firm believer that America is exceptional - that we are a free nation based on democratic ideals and liberty.  Our Declaration of Independence was (and is, still) an inspired document.

Seeing our flag fly always makes me proud.  So does patriotic music.   This is only one of my favorites:

The colors of our flag - red, white & blue make me happy.  Especially at home!  

My new mixer is Candy Apple Red.  Honestly, how can you not love red?    

Although it came with a glass bowl, it seemed a bit cumbersome to use so I quickly ordered a stainless bowl.  It is perfect!!  

I've got friends who have Fiesta, but I never thought it was for me.  My house isn't a multi-colored place where it would fit (or so I thought).  Then I innocently bought a few little fruit bowls on clearance at Dillard's and promptly fell in love with Fiesta. Kinda.  Not all colors, but the favorite is Lapis Blue.

I had some Mother's Day gift cards and ended up buying some luncheon size plates in that color. 

How can you not love blue plates?  They're cheerful.  And even though they're not exactly the same, they also play nicely with my cobalt blue Le Creuset serving pieces.  

That blue is heavenly.

One morning last week, at 6 am I woke up (this is normal).   

I said goodbye to Don before work and immediately hopped out of bed (so not normal) and started setting the table (ditto).  

Don wasn't sure what had gotten into me.  When I was done I went back to bed, and when I got up later I was kind of surprised at how much I loved it!  

I used my Lenox Butler's Pantry plates under the Fiesta, with some new red-checked napkins from Pottery Barn (clearance) on top.  Oh happy day.  

The water goblets were just $1 each, I bought those long ago at Garden Ridge.  

I made a roast last Sunday and it was awesome to eat on the pretty plates.  The roast was delicious, too.  At least Alex, Jennifer and Don said so.

We didn't use the napkins yet, but we will.  Believe it!

I'm proud to be an American.
I love my family.  I love my country.
I love our troops and am grateful for them all.
I love the flag.
I love red, white & blue.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (cue the music)

If you don't know the theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" you should look it up or stop reading now.  It's iconic. And so is this story.

"The Making of a Driveway, 2014"

Our old driveway had been slightly curved on one side, to fit around pine trees that are no longer there.  It was badly cracked and broken in several places.  Repairs were no good, it was clear we needed to start over.  After our neighbors volunteered to let us park our 2 trucks and my Pilot over at their house, the project was begun.  (I mean, how long could it take? Five or 6 days?  10 tops?)

Things started out promising enough.  Men came.  Equipment made loud noises.  After a few days we we realized the team we hired hadn't had the utilities marked - gas, phone, water.  Yikes.

Then, too.  There was a difference of opinion between how it should be done, and what was getting done. 

And that was all before the rain started.  

Worry commenced.   Options were weighed.  (Are you listening to the music here? Because you should be.)  

Don decided the best course of action was to change horses in midstream.  I was all in.  

New team, new plan, a new day.  They preferred to start over from the beginning.  New markings for utilities, new forms, new methods.

These guys were awesome.  They don't do driveways, they build streets in million dollar neighborhoods.  (Our next door neighbor tried to hire them and they turned him down flat.)

But Don knows people.  And his people know people.  And so the cavalry rode in to save the day, though by this time 19 days had gone by.

Men came.  Equipment made loud noises.

People stopped to admire the process when the concrete was poured.  No kidding.  But that could have been because they were really tired of us parking in their driveways.

In any case...they finished.  Still more work to do, though - leveling the grass, trimming, sealing.

Oh how happy we were!!  When we were allowed to walk on it, it was like magic.

The forms have been removed.  The men have left.  The equipment is gone.  Goodbye cones and tape.

And today, today... 

Tuesday, June 24th, after 27 days...we finally were given the OK to drive and park here.  

Yes, at our own house.  Raise the flag!

Savvy Southern Style    A Stroll Thru Life

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Come on down to my boat, baby...

If the title of this post doesn't ring a bell, you've missed out on one of the gems of 60's music.  It's by Every Mother's Son.  (Give it a listen on YouTube)

A couple of months ago, Don & I sailed away from Galveston for a cool trip of our own.  I was so tickled to be back on the Carnival Magic, my favorite ship.  It's been such a cold and icy winter that the idea of getting out of here for a week was awesome!

Off course, the first thing you do after embarking is EAT.  Here's a few gratuitous food pictures.  First, the Mongolian Grill. I ordered shrimp, shrimp, shrimp, ha!  It was delicious.


I'm not sure what was going on in this picture, but I think it had something to do with cookies.


It's so funny how your tastes change over the course of a week-long cruise. I started out the first couple of evenings by ordering two Shrimp Cocktail appetizers. They're tasty and all but I moved on.


Then one night I ordered the Fresh Fruit Cocktail as a starter and it was out of this world. I mean, how do they do that, pick the very sweetest fruit for cruise ships?  I don't know, but whatever, it was perfect every time. The Cream of Broccoli soup was so good, too.  

Another note about food. You can have the most mouthwatering spread of awesome food, but if the service is poor, it kind of spoils it. You know what I mean.

 The first couple of nights we bounced around in a couple of different spots in the dining room, but then - then, we got Glenn as a head waiter. And once we had him, we were not going to sit anywhere else.

He was efficient, warm, charming...and he could tell if I liked something instantly. No kidding.  One night I had ordered Prime Rib, but when it came, it just didn't suit me.  Before I could even ask, he whisked it away and brought me the Panko Crusted Jumbo Shrimp instead.  Crazy good service!

OK - we did do things other than just eat.  The weather was spectacular!  We left Galveston in the sunshine and it stayed sunny and bright all week, except for one cloudy afternoon in Jamaica.

The Magic is a beautiful ship and you can walk all the way around her on the Promenade deck.  Not many cruise ships have decks like that.  The Sky Deck has a Serenity area (no one under 21 allowed) and it was wonderful.  It was dicey to get a place to lay out during the afternoon, but if you look carefully, you become pretty good at finding a couple just getting up to leave and heading over to their spot.  ;)

So pretty at night.  And the sky is gorgeous.  If you wait until you're out to sea (past the drilling platforms) the stars sparkle like diamonds. We sat on our balcony a lot and watched the sea drift by.

Other things we did:
  •  Trivia games.  
  •  Line dancing.  (ok, just me)
  •  Hot tub.  
  •  Napping.
  •  Reading.
  •  Entertainment...stage shows in the Showtime Theatre, comedy acts in Punchliner, and live music all over. 
  •  People watching/ people meeting.  

This is the deal - you meet some people you absolutely love, some you can take or leave, and some you are glad to never see again (just like real life!).  Most nights at dinner we sat near the same 3 ladies and loved talking to them (they were also taken with Glenn, the waiter, so they made sure to sit in that section).  They were sisters, who once a year, meet and cruise together.  

The last night at dinner we sat at a tiny table and on either side of us were couples.  One - honeymooners (he was a tennis pro, she was a spa manager) and the other, an old couple from Australia.  They had been married more than 50 years, no children.  But they had traveled the world, spending months at a time in far away countries.  We were so torn, we wanted to talk to both couples, and so we did. That was awesome.

Our destinations on this cruise:  Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel.  At Jamaica, we just went to shop a little in the port terminal.

Grand Cayman.  Of all the excursions we've done, this one was #1.  Fantastic. Super. Fun. Amazing.  And I know this much is true...we will do this again.

After the short tender ride to GC, we met our group (Marineland Tours) and took a short bus ride to the boat.  I was specific in booking this boat and crew (they only can be booked through Carnival).

The boat was so fun to ride.  The Cayman Explorer is powered by Cat engines...always a good thing!  Smooth ride.  Easy steps down the back into the water. We didn't wear the life preservers because the water was only chest deep. (my kind of water)

Bert and his crew are - yes, there are such people - "Stingray Whisperers".  They were friendly, encouraging and gave us very good info.  We formed a circle in the water with the crew in the middle and they gave us some guidelines.  They told us how Steve Irwin died (Crocodile Hunter) and why that wasn't going to happen to us!  Good to know.

Some of the rays were young and little bit antsy.  But my guide found a mama who was mature and relatively calm.  Don & I both got to hold was exhilarating!  We didn't have a waterproof camera so we took turns taking pics from the steps of the boat.  I missed getting a shot of Don holding one, dang it.

Holding that mama was like nothing else.  It's hard to describe, but it was almost like a gift.

The look on this little girl's face says it all.  Joy!!!

What a trip!! Another time, another day, we'll be back.


After we were back at port, it was time to find food and do some Cayman shopping.  I love Grand Cayman, it's  pretty and peaceful and fun.  Don bought me a lovely Larimar necklace.  And I was one happy girl!

All too soon we had to head back to the ship, and the next day it was on to Cozumel.  We went to Chankanaab, a wildlife park.  There was a sea lion show, and you could do the Dolphin Encounter (for extra $) or just watch.  Then we headed back to Puerta Maya for shopping (silver, Del Sol, and the Cozumel pharmacy) and our favorite place for chips, salsa and guacamole, Pancho's Backyard.

OK, if we have to go back to Galveston, at least we have our favorite ship to take us home. French toast and omlettes in the morning and Warm Chocolate Melting Cake at night.  It's a good way to go!

One more thing.  I bought a hat for the cruise, and I'm not a hat wearin' girl.  I love it!  It's by San Diego Hat Co., one of those packable ones, so you can fold it all up and then pouf, like magic, it's good again.  And it's SPF 50.

It didn't work in high winds though, so I had to take it off before it blew away.  Still, good hat.


Good hat.  Good trip.  Good food.  Priceless memories.  

Come on down to my boat, baby
Come on down where we can play
Come on down to my boat, baby
Come on down, we'll sail away  

Linking to:

  Savvy Southern Style

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Say yes to the glitter...

Once upon a time there were two princesses.  They were sweet and loved everyone.  They were going to see their Daddy get married. Of course they wore party dresses.

Their dresses sparkled.  Their shoes did, too.  Every time the princesses turned this way and that, sparkles of glitter would float from their dresses.  

                   Just like magic.                      

All day they spread love and laughter (and glitter) all through the land.  Of course they sprinkled most of the glitter on the happy couple.

Jason & Annie Duplantis
September 28, 2013

The princess girls spread glitter all over the groom and his friends. 
Just because.

And they sprinkled glitter on the bride and her friends...
all pretty girls 
who didn't mind some extra sparkle.

They showered their Daddy in kisses and hugs...and glitter.

They sprinkled glitter all over their Mawmaw & Pawpaw. 

(and their rental car)  

When the valet at the castle opened the door for the little princess, 
she said, "Don't worry about the sparkles in the backseat!"

Even after the bride and groom dusted off the sparkles, 
some of the magic still clung to their boots.  

And their hearts.

~ And they lived happily ever after ~ 


It was a gorgeous day, filled with lots of love. 
We're so happy for Jason & Annie.  

And for grandgirls who make every day sparkle...
I love you. ♥♥