Saturday, August 11, 2007

its a dry heat

There have been a few years i completely missed getting plants into the pots on my front porch.

Considering that, I'm very pleased with the way these plantings turned out. And really glad i took these photos about a week ago - because the heat over the last week has been brutal - and even with my tender, loving care, the plants are beginning to look weary.

I'm feeling a little wilted, myself. I'm going in now for some good ol' southern iced tea. And Julia's cooking supper - Thai cashew chicken. Mmmm . . . smells wonderful.























Thursday, July 26, 2007

War Eagle

I know it looks like i fell over the edge again with my lack of posts, but you just have to understand that sometimes life can be high-maintenance. And blogging can be very time-consuming. Something has to fall to the bottom of the priority list.

So . . .
. . . by special request i present this photo i made back in the spring on our trip to NWA (northwest Arkansas). BTW, this makes a GREAT wallpaper!






Monday, June 18, 2007

La Chapelle to Paris

Thursday – June 18, 1959 – Day 5

Continuing southward, we stopped at Reims and toured our first cathedral. :)




We also saw the statue of Joan of Arc in Reims. I believe the car on the far left is Grandma’s car, judging from the pack on top of the car (tent and other camping essentials).



Then we headed for PARIS! TA-DA!



We arrived in Paris mid-day, and probably drove every street of the city. We finally parked and took the tour of You-Know-What.

Looking down from the Eiffel Tower . . .




A view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower.



Another view of Paris from the Eiffel Towel . . .



We stayed two nights in Paris. I do not remember much about the sleeping arrangements, but do remember many of the sights. I would have sworn my Grandmother would never agree to stay in the city, due to the expense, but my mother affirmed that, yes, we stayed in Paris. We stayed at -- not the hotel of the same name, but the city park. WE CAMPED AT THE CITY PARK! All I can vision in my mind’s eye is bums on park benches, but Mom assures me it was all very dignified and proper. Why can’t I remember this? Why is there no picture??? Oh, how I wish . . .

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blumendahl to La Chapelle

Wednesday – June 17, 1959 – Day 4

From Blumendahl, Holland we headed south for Belgium. In Brussels, we toured the grounds of the 1958 World’s Fair and saw the Atomium – a building which represents the structure of the atom. The Atomium was constructed just as “the atomic age” was waning, but the structure is still a famous landmark, and was reopened in February 2006 after renovations.




After our tour of Brussels, we kept heading south, across the Belgium-French border to the tiny village of La Chapelle. There we found a modest hotel / Bed and Breakfast for the night.


Doesn't this scene just shout "EUROPE"?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Amsterdam, Holland

Tuesday - June 16, 1959 – Day 3

Up at the crack of dawn, ready for a day of adventure, we set off to drive north to the Isle of Marken. I remember Marken as a very strange place. Everyone was dressed in traditional costume, and there was some custom about all children being dressed as girls (to keep the gypsies from snatching the boys?). I don’t remember, if I ever knew. It was all very vague and mysterious to the 9-year-old mind. I have not been able to locate the pictures of Marken.

After a boat ride back to the mainland, and lunch at the boat dock, we headed west to the Atlantic side of the country. We made it to Blumendahl Beach by early afternoon, and selected a choice camping spot on the sand dunes. The note on the back of this photo says, “too cold to swim.”




Fellow campers at an adjacent campsite - Helmgart Campground at Blumendahl, Holland.






Thursday, June 14, 2007

Prestwick, Scotland

Monday - June 15, 1959 – Day 2

We were served breakfast in Scotland – the first of many new dining adventures. The only thing I remember about it is that smoked tongue was on the menu. I was completely unimpressed with the “smoked” part, but do remember wondering, “tongue from what?”, and pondering world hunger as I thought, "You people must be a lot hungrier than I am."




After a short flight from Prestwick, we finally arrived in Amsterdam. My mother and I were met at the airport by my grandmother, who lived in Germany and taught school on an American military base. She had arranged for one of her teaching friends, a Germany lady named Brigette (pronounced Bri-gee-ta) and her mother Mrs. Schillat to join us on our driving tour of Europe. The plan was to drive around Europe for 2 weeks, camping when possible, and end up at Grandma’s place in Hohenfels, Germany for a few days of rest before flying back home to Little Rock. Total trip - 3 weeks. Four women and one annoying 9-year-old – including all their luggage and camping gear – in one small car. HOW??? HOW??? HOW???


I’ll just say, my grandmother was never one to shrink from a challenge. The very fact she was teaching school in Germany at the age of 53 might be a tip-off. She and my grandfather got divorced when my grandmother was about 42, and she decided she was still young enough to see the world and have some fun. Sitting home feeling sorry for herself was not an option!


This is the 53-year-old grandmother and the car she drove all over Europe. An Opel Olympia.



Grandma went to Europe to teach school the year after I was born, and retired the year I graduated from high school. But there were many visits during those years. The routine was a trip home every other year during the summer break. On alternate years, she just toured Europe with her new European friends. Grandma was due home for her biennial visit to the U.S. in 1959, but for some reason decided to have my mother and me come to visit her instead.

Here I am viewing windmills in Amsterdam. I recall about 500 bicycles crossing this bridge just seconds after the photo was taken (wish I had a picture of that!). Must have been time for everyone to go home from work.



We spent the day touring the canals, and stayed the first night in a hotel in Amsterdam. Tomorrow the adventures really begin.


Once upon a time . . .

. . .a little girl took a trip to Europe with her mother. That “once upon a time” was 48 years ago. Over the next few days the little girl and her mother are going to try to remember some of the highlights of that trip.

Sunday - June 14, 1959 – Flag Day
Grandma and Grandpa Marvin (yes, Kate and Fritz) came to the airport to see us off. Looks like it’s a little after 8:30 a.m. Sorry the photos are black and white, but as one of my wise children would say, this was in the days before color photography.




Back in those days, you walked out of the airport waiting room right across the tarmack and up the steps of the plane. I don't know any of the strange people in this photo . . .



View of Washington D.C. from our airplane. Notice it was a prop plane.



If you laughed when you saw the picture of the Little Rock airport, keep in mind this is what the Washington airport looked like in 1959 . . .



and the New York airport . . .



I remember some of the anxiety my mother had about packing ONE suitcase for TWO people for THREE weeks. Didn’t seem a big deal to me (one of the advantages of being 9 years old and un-obsessed with fashion). But you may have noticed in the first photo, people “dressed” more then than now. Can you imagine putting a 9-year-old on a plane for – um – almost 24 hours dressed like that now?

P.S. - Whitney - have fun and tell Mindy "hello" for me!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Arkansas strawberries

Yea, it’s been a while. I don’t even know where to begin to recap the last 2 months (almost), so I will just jump in . . .

France has its cheeses; Cuba has its cigars; Florida has orange juice; Arkansas has strawberries. It doesn’t matter if the world doesn’t recognize Arkansas as the source of the world’s most incredibly wonderful strawberries. That leaves more for the fortunate few. :)






Since I’ve been giving “kitchen” tips this year, I’ll give a brief review of what to do with strawberries, if you are at a loss. There are, of course, the standards: chocolate-dipped and shortcake. My personal favorites are:
(1) sliced with a little sugar and a splash of Calvados – then spoon the juice over homemade vanilla ice cream
(2) take any amount of sour cream and mix in some powdered sugar (you just have to be willing to experiment – there is no wrong way to do this) THEN – stand at your kitchen sink with a flat of Arkansas strawberries fresh from the field. Take ONE juicy red delight and wash it, dip it in the sweetened sour cream, and eat. Repeat until you are either (a) out of strawberries, (b) out of sweetened sour cream, or (c) sick. :)

I definitely agree with my father’s comment years ago: “I wish I could eat enough of this to make myself sick.”

Usually, the Arkansas peaches are pretty fabulous, too; but a late freeze and 2 hail storms wiped out the peach crop this year. We all cried.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday in Northwest Arkansas

It must be my lucky day . . . or week . . .




First, lunch at Susie-Q in Rogers . . .





I know it doesn't look like much, but these are happy memories.



Then a little side trip on the way to Hobbs State Park to check out an old favorite location east of Rogers – and a glimpse of deer in the front yard of a house we once frequented. I’m pretty sure this is the same split-rail fence that was here when we lived in Rogers 30 years ago . . .

Then another little side trip to War Eagle Mill . . .











The ultimate destination of the day was at the developing Hobbs State Park. Presently it is approximately 12,000 acres of pristine wilderness. We were attending a pre-construction meeting for the planned visitor’s center, and enjoyed stomping around in the woods.

The dogwoods were in full bloom, even after a freeze earlier in the week . . .





Huckleberries in bloom . . .



Perhaps there are dinosaur bones in these hills . . .





Heading back to town, we drove by Beaver Lake to compare the water level since last January.

2007





2006 (not a quality photo, but shows the contrast since last year)





. . . dry lake bed - January 2006 - cars in distance are parked in area that is normally covered with water.



The drought the summer of 2005 exposed quite a few submerged structures. This is the Monte Ne "Pyramid" . . .




Wednesday night – a lovely gourmet dinner at James at the Mill with Susan and Jeter.

Thursday night – dinner with Justin and Kristy and precious Stevens.


The whole week was unseasonably cold with off-and-on rain. But there’s nothing like a trip to Rick’s to chase away the chill . . .




Here’s the cookie jar display at Rick’s -




Aren’t these the cutest cupcakes? A white cupcake is my all-time favorite Comfort Food. And I’ve never had too much icing on a cupcake - - - until I tried these. :)



Shhh - don't tell anyone - but I love living in Arkansas.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day Trip !

A day trip to Branson is always a fun day. Beautiful drive thru the mountains - good shopping - good food. We get up early, make a stop at Ed's Bakery in Conway (to check on the Spit, Whittle & Piddle Club that hangs out at Ed's every Saturday morning), and then head for the hills. Then it's shopping, lunch, a little more shopping, and supper in Harrison at DeVito's. And back home before bedtime. This trip was a shorter version due to some major highway work between Clinton and Harrison. Since the travel time was a little longer we had to cut out some shopping. We left Branson mid-afternoon - so we missed having dinner at our favorite spot. But settled for Market Place in Conway. And still got home in time to pick up a few necessities at Drug Emporium before it closed.

Downtown Branson has seen a few changes since last spring. No more hanging out on the dock, dangling your feet in that dark, bone-chilling Taneycomo water, and watching children feed breadcrumbs to the ducks while you rest from shopping. Now its just an ordinary promenade between the lake and the mall parking lot. Pretty, yes. But I can't help feeling a little nostalgic about the old dock. Wish I had a picture of that somewhere!














Friday, March 16, 2007

spam

I think email and internet are some of the most wonderful inventions of modern man. But also has its evil side. Everybody has to be as sick of junkmail as I am. What a waste. Does anyone really benefit from it? My junkmail filter catches 200-300 every day. But here’s a sampling of the ones that got thru (with my sassy comments):

“Singles matchup” – ain’t single (thank you, Lord)
“Save thousands” – by clicking on junkmail???
“Confirmation of your order from Sony” – uh, I’m boycotting Sony because it is a sucky company, so I’m certain this is bogus
“Online degree program” – if I’m gonna spend time and bucks, I’m gonna get a REAL degree
“Get a higher education” – i dun been to hi skoo
“Find your soulmate” – I did (thank you, Lord)
“Find dates” – I have a whole calendar full of them, now run along
“Bad credit” – um, no thanks
“Don’t be lonely” – I’m not, dammit, now leave me alone
“Dream vehicles” – got one
“Love chat” – uh, how about a little prayer time, now there’s some love chat!
“Scholarship award” – ok, first off, I’m not a scholar
“Discount health insurance” – now there’s an oxymoron is I EVER heard one
“Talkshow trip” – sounds like a trip to hell if you ask me
“Money for you” – just for answering your stupid survey? Is “na├»ve” written on the ceiling?
“Attract any woman” – uuk, excuse me I need to go throw up
“Vacation to Las Vegas – participation required” – what? The government is requiring my attendance? They better buy my ticket and pay for meals and accommodations, too.

These are just today’s selection. But at least I don’t get the ones about “Please your girl” or “Enhance fill in the blank”.

There’s another group of junkmail that is either from illiterate people or people who have English waaaaaay down on their communication skills – like not their primary (or secondary language):
“Appeared than print”
“Get more better”
“Check our latest rintonges”
“Check out our latest ringotes”
“Check our our lastest ringtones” (these came in succession – not sure if they ever got it right)

Then there are the intentional emails from friends / co-workers that leave me wondering, can’t you find a hobby? Or maybe a second job so you don’t have so much free time?
“Describe me in one word” – umm, I ain’t steppin’ in that
“Make a wish and forward this to 14 people and you will get your wish in 14 days” – Firstly, why would I want to annoy 14 of my best friends? And secondly, if I want something that is out of my power to accomplish, a prayer would be the needed thing (not a wish - and a wish and a prayer are definitely NOT the same thing).

Sometimes I just try to think of junkmail as someone’s poor attempt at providing entertainment – like bubblegum music. Mostly I just DELETE. Okee, rant over. Back to more productive activities.

Monday, March 12, 2007

that's how it is in Arkansas

One day everything is cold and brown, and the next morning you wake up to vibrant color - everything in bloom. Saturday was a beautiful day; warm enough to wear shorts on the bike trail. I saw turtles sunning on logs in the river, and even a guy waterskiing! But not much blooming. Just a few small wild flowers - violets and bluets.

THEN . . . Sunday was like a burst of sunshine on the landscape. Suddenly, everyone's flowerbeds are full of daffodils and forsythia. and all the Bradford pears are blooming. Ahhh - spring.




Sunday, March 04, 2007

signs of spring

busy soccer fields ...





activity on the bike trail is increasing ...





Iris peeking thru the leaf litter and mulch ...





Julia, i miss you... MOMOXOXOXOX

Friday, March 02, 2007

men in black

... at the UALR BBall game last Saturday evening.
The men did a great job. The boys - not so good.




Friday, February 23, 2007

and here's the menu (aka autograph)


One of my co-workers said she would like to have some of that sexy chocolate.

Too bad. It was not on the menu.




Now that’s some rims!





Out to lunch with “the team” today. To a little place called Burger Mama’s. Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor is in town for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. How did I know when I suggested Burger Mama’s that he would show up??? And be happy to give me his autograph!