Gratitude, Memories, Summer

Gratitude for June

Swimming Pools

Try to think summer and not picture a swimming pool. Impossible. Sparking blue water. The smell of Coppertone mixed with chlorine. The snack bar. Don’t you wonder who sat down by the lake and thought You know, we could dig a big hole in the ground, line it with rebar, concrete, blue plexiglass, and then fill it up with water! Aren’t you glad they did? I’m old enough to remember when not everyone had a backyard pool. We went to a town pool or a neighborhood pool or – if you were fancy schmancy – the country club. My grandmother in Dallas walked us to the pool on Skillman from her little house in Lakewood. She had very strict rules about how we carried our towels. Never over our shoulders. Only folded over our right arm. For real. I remember the stone walls, the changing rooms, and the showers where we rinsed off our hair and our swimwear before heading home again. In California, our swimming hole was the pool on Ft. MacArthur at the Officer’s Club. They had a high-dive. My children still don’t believe I used to dive off that diving board. Or that we had to wear swim caps. Mine was covered in pink rubber flowers. I could tell story after story about summer swimming. How many of your childhood summer memories were related to a swimming pool? See?


Summer Camp

Did you go? Church camp, Scout camp, band camp, social camps. Day camp was our thing growing up as Brownie Girl Scouts where we wove sit-upons, foraged in the woods for wildflowers to make a centerpiece to lay in the dirt, and made ‘mugs’ from orange juice cans, two pieces of wire, and a stick. We wore those on our belts. We hung our lunches on a rope stretched between two trees so the bears wouldn’t get them. Bears? Seriously? I’m guessing ants. At the end of the day, we always sang Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky...

One summer I went away to summer camp, also Girl Scouts. I can’t imagine what I was thinking. We slept on cots in screened cabins, earned new merit badges, and played archery. I don’t remember much about those days. A week? Maybe it was two. I still can smell the showers every time I open a bottle of Lysol. On Sunday night, dinner was white bread and a ginormous bowl of peanut butter mixed with honey. All-you-can-eat. Fix it yourself. And on Sunday morning we put on our ‘dress uniform’ – dark green shorts, white camp shirt, scout kerchief around our necks – and went to church in the main cabin. Surely I went with my best friend. I was not a brave child. I also was not a camper. But I did love The Parent Trap!

Do you remember this?


Vacation

Packing the car for a road trip to Yellowstone. A flight to Florida to relax on the beach. A cruise to Alaska. A week at the grandparents. There’s nothing that says summer like a vacation. Anywhere but home! I always envied the families who road tripped to the Rockies. You know, the Brady Bunch went to the Old West. The Mertz and the Ricardos sang their way to California. The families in the Green Stamps catalog were always going camping. And those campers looked like so much fun! Everything is so compact. As a child, we always went to the grandparents’ house, rode in the West of the Pecos 4th of July Rodeo parade, and played with the cousins. Once we drove to New Mexico to a mountain cabin and were wilderness children for a week. Well, my sister and I played with our Barbies on the screened porch, but I’m sure we went for a couple of walks, too. And family reunions were a real thing. In the summer. In West Texas. With relatives we did not know. We never were tourists. We traveled to see family. I had not flown until I was in college. Things do change. Our grandkids flew before they walked. Our children see the world. And sometimes they invite us along. I still love the idea of loading the car with snacks, inviting the dog, and heading out to see the family. ❤️


Afternoon Naps

If you are the parent of young children, you probably think I’m talking about the free time you relish while the munchkins are sleeping, but truly I’m talking about adult naps. My nap, in particular. When I’m sleepy, nothing feels so good as having the absolute luxury of being able to just go to sleep. On a made bed with a soft pillow and a throw for when I get cold. When I was teaching, afternoon naps were frowned upon by most school administrators, so I had to wait for the weekend. Those mid-afternoon hours were golden. If I had a nail appointment or errands to run, I timed them so I could be back by two o’clock. Three at the latest. I like for it to still be daylight when I wake up. And Sunday afternoon is totally nap time. Church in the morning. Tuna sandwiches made with apple for lunch. Nap. And if you married well, when you wake up from your nap, you smell the grill on the deck and there is quacamole on the counter covered with a paper towel, just waiting for you to taste-test ❤️. Of course, in the summer, everyday can be nap day. But I think if we napped every day, we would lose some of the joy of the ever-so-often nap. And those are priceless.


June

Apparently I am grateful for summer. In particular for June. When life revolves around the school year, June symbolizes freedom. That first day of summer vacation. Ahhhh. As a parent, no alarm clock or carpool or forgotten homework. As a teacher, ditto. In June, the summer looks endless. And full of potential. Days in the sun. Naps on the deck. Reading ‘til midnight. Cold watermelon and Texas peaches, fresh cherries, and Pecos cantaloupe. To a child? The smells of Off and Coppertone and the trucks spraying carcinogens to kill the mosquitoes. Being asked to sit on the ice cream freezer so the grownups could turn the crank. Oh wait. We have Blue Bell now. Lightning bugs and playing outside until dark:30. Summer reading at the library and drive thru raspas. Those are snow cones, gringos. Unlimited library books and visiting the cousins. Fishing trips, crabbing in the dark, baseball games, American flags from Memorial Day to the 4th of July. There just is no such free as June free. 🇺🇸

No shoes, no shirt, no problem.”

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney says it best. Listen here.

Finding the Fun Stuff!

Jigsaw

Are you a lover of jigsaw puzzles? They run in my family. The grandmother-great aunt-mother-sister side. My older brother loved them, too. I like to block out a long weekend when I know I can stay up until all hours with no interruptions.

My husband understands. When I sit down at the puzzle table right after breakfast. Or maybe before. When I stay in my robe until one o’clock on Saturday because I just can’t quit. When I am still awake in the wee hours because I want to finish a section.

Snowy days are my favorite puzzle days, but the lazy days of summer are perfect, too. I can’t work a puzzle unless my brain is free and clear of any responsibilities. No guilt. No chores. Nothing neglected. And I can’t have an in-progress puzzle sitting around to fill my free time. What’s free time if a puzzle is spread out and unfinished?

We have rules, too. The border comes first. No sneaking those interior pieces. We sort through the box once until we find all the edge pieces. Of course, we always miss a couple that we have to go back for. Everyone. Still no interior pieces. I wonder how we decided on this…probably some ancestor did and passed it on to us.

As soon as Facebook caught me looking at puzzles, they really started showing up in my feed. And there are some beauties that I would love to tackle. Come see!

Book covers, tea cups, birds, and post cards. Paris is always fun. How about New York? I need to find NYC.

Paris in a Day at modydress.com
I worked this one…those windows just about broke my jigsaw spirit!

Jane Austen’s Book Club is a favorite. I’m still searching for it. Self-quarantining has caused it to be hard to find. Lots of sold out puzzles!

Both of these should be both challenging and fun to finish. So many interesting details. I think that’s what makes a puzzle fun. I want 1000 pieces, but I don’t want it so hard that I can’t finish. I like cuteness in my puzzles, too. Have you seen the one that is solid white? Seriously. Just white! No way.

And more birds! I really like these.

The colors are so soft. 💙

I found New York! Coney Island and the City, too!

Bountiful Garden and Dogs in the Park. More hard choices. I would love working absolutely any of these. Available at modydress.com.

The Laurel Mercantile Co. in Laurel, Mississippi – the home of HGTV’s Home Town’s Erin and Ben Napier – sells these cute jigsaw puzzles.

But this American Road Trip is 1000. It would be fun! The license plate border plus all the cute details would be very entertaining.

I’m not sure about all these suppliers who showed up after I started looking through the puzzles showing up on Facebook. I’m not inclined to share my credit card information with sellers I don’t know. Hallmark shops and Barnes and Noble normally have great selections.

Local gift shops are a good place to look, too. And so many puzzles are out of stock. The Laurel Mercantile is restocking as quickly as they can. If you know a good place for us to find some, would you leave us a comment? Especially if you can find Jane Austen’s Book Club.

Of course there’s Amazon. They have lots of puzzles, but they’re charging $43.00 + $12.25 for shipping for Jane and the girls!! So Amazon and I aren’t speaking to each other right now. Maybe we will make up later…

And who wouldn’t love this one? ❤️ From tourifitiy.com.

Happy puzzling! Or jigsawing! I’m sure there’s a word for this happy, classic hobby! Stay safe. Stay well.

Home, Summer Style

Summer! It’s Coming!

Y’all, we are almost to June! Our entire spring flew by in a quarantined blur. But I’m ready for house chores like painting and planting and watching the golfers roll by.

I don’t remember where I found this, but it looks like summer to me.
Dining alfresco, sunflowers, life on the porch. And watermelon!

What I especially like in this painting is the conversation out the downstairs window. I asked my grandfather once how he met my grandmother, and he said he was just walking by and stopped to talk to her out the window. So I picture them like that! It was in the early 1920s in a little country town. They could have looked like that! Hubbn and Nanu. How are those for grandparent names? My oldest brother did that for us!

These came home from the grocery store today along with some peaches. Summer fruit is the best, and cold fruit in the fridge might help us to eat more healthily…🍒

We like summer walks with our dog just at sunset, and that’s still darned hot in Arkansas. We walk the cart path, so we have to wait for the last golfers to play through. If we wait too long, the bats come out for their evening meal. Mosquitoes, not us! But I don’t like for them to circle overhead! And that is when cold watermelon is the best. ‘Cause we are melting.



Go check out Ann at On Sutton Place. She’s as ready for summer as I am, and she’s showing us how to style a summer porch.

I’ve raved about her blog before, but today she’s showing off that gorgeous blue door! My husband doesn’t know that a can of Sherwin-Williams Naval is headed his way. So pretty!

I’m going to look for that door basket at HomeGoods. Amazon was out of stock and noncommittal about a restocking timeline – guessing our supply chain is broken. I really like the size of this one. I like that it shows under the greenery. I bet HG will have something comparable. And I will probably go with smaller flags. After we paint our new blue door


I’m also on the search for a couple of porch plants. Well, really deck plants. I need a banana tree and a clematis. It’s getting a little late, but the self-quarantine has extended the selection in the nurseries. So I’m taking home a new clematis for one of my empty blue pots. These are favorites.

And this is the home of my banana tree. I’m looking forward to that deck, some sweet tea, the hummingbirds, and my banana tree. It sure doesn’t take much. Maybe a good summer read. It’s my Happy Place.


If I need a new patio umbrella, which I doubt, I think I will buy this one.

Isn’t she a beauty? Looks like a twirling lady at a garden party! Such a pretty dress! It’s from Pier 1 and is on sale right now. Half off and free shipping. $149. She’ll look great with my banana tree and clematis, don’t you think?


When I started teaching, summer became my favorite season. I never really appreciated it before. But as a teacher, I learned to relish the month of June. It was decompression time. I could sleep in. Deadlines disappeared. I could sit and read or play in the flower beds or not wear makeup. It was the perfect time to learn something new to use with next year’s students or to load up for a road trip.

Now it’s the time to dig deeper into things I love. Piece a quilt top. Learn to grow camellias. Write! Every day! Paint my front door. Yes, summer holds promise. And sunshine. And air conditioning. And family. And naps under an umbrella.

Listen to Louis sing What a Wonderful World and see if you don’t feel it, too. ⛱

Childhood, Memories, Phyllis George

Sweet Dreams, Miss America

On Saturday I learned that Phyllis George has died. She took with her a piece of my childhood.

You see, we both grew up in the same sweet little town, Denton, Texas. While we lived there at the same time, I never knew her or even met her. She was my big brother’s age, and that made her totally unreachable for me.

But I do remember the pageant in September of 1970. In fact, I remember watching all Miss America pageants in the 60s. They were a huge deal! The highlight of September. I remember all those Toni perm commercials, too.

I remember how Life Magazine sold a fold-out spread so we could keep track of the contestants and pick a winner before Bert Parks announced one. Each girl had her own little oval. My sister and I studied and studied those beauties. We knew who would win!

By the time Phyllis George was a contestant, I was not a little girl anymore. We had moved to California and then to Houston, and I was a sophomore in high school. Miss America pageants were being attacked as cattle calls. It wasn’t cool anymore. Feminists were protesting outside the pageant.

But we were watching because she was Miss Texas and she was from Denton!

She was a beauty with Girl-Next-Door, freshly scrubbed innocence. She walked primly across the stage in her one-piece bathing suit which no one but our mothers and Miss America contestants wore anymore. Shoot, even Annette Funicello wore a two-piece! You know…Annette in the Beach Party movies with Frankie Avalon? But not Miss America contestants!

I just knew Miss South Carolina would win. She was blonde. Phyllis played the piano! The only thing worse than that was juggling. She played Raindrops Are Falling on My Head. She never quit smiling. She bobbed her head. Her hair never moved. She was doomed. Those other girls could sing.

The interview questions were about the girls’ interesting pasts. No world issues to solve. No tests of their intelligence. She talked about her sorority sisters at North Texas and the hermit crab she brought on the airplane from Texas for good luck and how no one sat beside her on the plane. She was charming.

She was the fifth girl of the five finalists. There sat Miss South Carolina. One by one girls were eliminated. She and Miss South Carolina were the last two! I was right! My contestant was going to win!

And Phyllis George won. Miss Texas from Denton was Miss America! My favorite part of that pageant was her walk down the runway. Just as she began, her crown fell off her head and rolled away. She calmly picked it up and began her Miss America walk. She never missed a beat. She smiled all the way, carrying her crown in her hand.

Maybe those judges knew what they were doing.


I think she was gorgeous.

She went on to become the first woman sportscaster. The first woman doing pregame interviews for NFL Today. For a short time she was a news anchor on the CBS Morning News. When she married John Y. Brown, she helped him win the race for Governor in Kentucky and served as their beloved First Lady.

The last time I saw her was in a small role in the movie Meet the Parents. She was still beautiful.


What I never knew was that she had inherited a rare blood disorder from her mother. George lived ten years longer than her doctors expected. She was survived by a son, a daughter, and two very young grandchildren. I’m sure she was still a beauty.

Phyllis George. Beauty queen, sports broadcasting pioneer, First Lady of Kentucky, businesswoman, mother, and grandmother. And a little girl from Denton, Texas.


I am from Denton, Texas, and I will never let you or anybody else forget that. I am a small-town girl from a small town and a small-town family. If I hadn’t come from Denton, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now with this great job and my great husband and my beautiful children.”

Phyllis George, Denton native
Home, Quarantined

The View from Here: Heading Home

So our week is over. We came on Sunday and we are going home on Sunday. One last morning of this view.

Those animals in the clearing are a tiny herd of longhorn cattle. How great is that?!? And there’s my little river house. Remember? The one I’m going to buy?



Lots of packing and cleaning. Time for this sweet boy to read to his precious brother before we headed out.

Little J told me to, basically, leave them alone. Janny! We can’t read if you are taking our picture! Scowl. His, not mine. 💙

Driving through the hills is such a pretty drive. Well, until you get almost to Waco. The roadwork is a hot mess. My husband caught up on the news he missed by listening to Sirius. When we got to Waco, we drove over to the Magnolia Market at the Silos. I had not ever been and was surprised that it was as compact as it is. I had pictured it more spread out.

Our daughter went to law school at Baylor and lived within walking distance of where the market is now. It wasn’t there then. We looked for her lofts, but I’m pretty sure we found the wrong ones. But we did see the Gaines’ bakery and coffee shop. I bet the whole shebang looks very different packed with people.

We also stopped at a roadside park just outside of town, and look…

Just look at that sky!

Isn’t it cute? There’s even a windmill in the back. But look at the twin silos! Remind you of anything?

I bet Fixer Upper came along before this very new roadside park was built. Don’t you think? A nice homage to the couple who has brought a small fortune into this quiet town. And made a few people quite famous. We saw Jimmy Don’s shop, but not Clint’s woodworking shop. We need to just go putter around Waco for a few days. I hope everything opens up soon! Wanna come?

Baylor University has a new beauty of a football stadium. The only problem is that it blocks the river view of the law school which I loved to see first as we drove into town! But we are Houstonians who loved Drayton McLane for all he did with our Astros, so we will forgive them for blocking our view with a stadium named for him.

This part of the state is famous for something much more beautiful. Wildflowers. Miles and miles and miles of them. Former First Lady Lady Bird Johnson gets the entire credit for these vistas. In fact, if your state roadways are blanketed with wildflowers, chances are you owe her thanks as well. Roadside beautification was her pet project during her White House years. Read about it here. Views like this exist because of her. From Canada to Mexico! Pretty amazing.

Today there were no bluebonnets. They bloom more in March and April. But it was still pretty. It was more like this but without the blue. Lots of orange and white and yellow.


I am glad she can’t see that stretch near Waco right now, but I bet when they finish building, those hills will bloom again!

Hallelujah! The news is over. Willie’s on the radio! We just passed his hometown, Abbott, Texas. Maybe we can stop there on our Puttering in Waco trip! It probably won’t take long. We can get a Nehi and hit the road again. Well, except we drink Diet Coke…

We also passed Hillsboro. I had just seen this house for sale in Hillsboro on Facebook. Isn’t this what my little river house would look like painted blue? You can see it tucked into the trees in that first picture. Up there.👆🏻The one with the longhorns. I didn’t know we would have window boxes. But of course we would! Filled with pink and white geraniums.

Look at the back. Tell me it doesn’t look just the same! Except where those weeds are growing in the sun would be my rose beds…

And of course we would still have to build that big front porch.

And open those windows. And put a quilt on the back of the couch. And build our bookcases. And bake a pound cake…🌻

Some driving across Texas music? Yep.

The sage in bloom is like perfume…”

Bob Wills – Deep in the Heart of Texas
Self Quarantine, Travel

The View from Here: The Sky

I wanted to share our ceiling here on the river. It’s early on Friday morning and when I look up, this is what I see.

It is clean and blue with soft white clouds. I watch a pair of hawks making lazy circles. And darker clouds are starting to roll in. We are supposed to have rain today. Or just clouds.

I’m not listening to the birds this morning. I turned on the television. We can’t for the life of us figure it out. To hear any news at all, we turn to a news channel and we get a three minute forty-five second clip, and then it goes away. While some – my husband – finds it highly annoying, I see the irony. I mean, really, isn’t that just about all we need to hear?

So this Roku that we don’t understand is featuring a movie while we are here. And it turns out to be You’ve Got Mail! My always and forever favorite! So I’m not watching it. I don’t need to. I can just listen from the deck and watch it in my head.

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to go out and buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.

Nora Ephron

I need to remember to do this for some teacher friends next fall…

So a pair of hawks, three eventually, were circling overhead this morning. I think this guy knew I was taking pictures because he started showing off, doing flips and soaring. They really are beautiful creatures. I wish I could see him closely enough to find what kind of hawk he is.

Tonight is shrimp on the grill and jalapeño poppers. Maybe grapefruit margaritas again. Yum.

I saw this little guy as I walked up to the house this morning. What a cutie. I’m just in love with the flora out here. It’s like I’ve never been to Texas before…

He’s blooming. 💛

I thought you might like to see more of the pretty here.

It’s a truly beautiful view. See the little house in the last photo? I want to buy it and paint it blue. And add a metal roof so I could listen to it rain. I would fill it with painted bookcases, big squishy chairs, quilts, and antiques. I would plant a rose garden and a cutting garden and tomatoes. You just know it has rich river soil. I would sit on the huge front porch – I can’t actually see the front of the house, so this is just my imagination – and make quilts and read and bake pound cakes. We could build a huge front porch…And listen to Lyle Lovett sing and every now and then watch You’ve Got Mail.

Want to hear Lyle Lovett sing about my new front porch? Go here.🦋

Quarantined, Recipes on the River

The View from Here: A Nap on the Deck

Yes, we are still on the river. The breeze is my favorite thing today. I am lying on the deck, just about to fall asleep. But I first thought you needed to see my view. I have updates, a delicious recipe, and some native Texas plants to share. See you in a bit.

I got up extra early to make what we call sausage roll. Hot sausage, cream cheese, crescent rolls. Here’s how easy they are. I promise you won’t have any left over.

Sausage Roll

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. roll of ground sausage I use Jimmy Dean Hot. Owens is good, too.
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cans Crescent Dinner Rolls

Directions

Break up sausage in a medium skillet and cook until tender brown. Turn off the burner. Dice the block of cream cheese into smallish cubes and stir into the warm sausage. Let it sit until the cheese softens enough to stir it all together.

You need waxed paper or non-stick foil or foil sprayed with Pam. Tear off four pieces about 18”-24” long. This is your work surface. Open a can of the Crescent rolls and unroll the sheet of dough onto one sheet of your prepared paper. Gently press the perforated lines to seal them. Then lay the second sheet of prepared paper on top of the dough sheet with the nonstick side facing the dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough sheet a little bit, just to smooth it out. Slide this whole package into the fridge while you repeat with the other can of dough.

Now divide the filling in half. Make a strip lengthwise down the middle of one of your dough sheet. Just toss that top piece of waxed paper in the trash first. Spread the filling until you are about 1 1/2” from the end of the dough. Working with the long edge, fold up one side of the dough to the middle of the filling. Now the other long edge. You now should have a long, narrow piece of dough wrapped around that delicious filling. Squeeze your seams together; fold up the short ends and squeeze them to seal. You don’t want any filling to leak out while it bakes. Repeat to make a second roll.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Now you have to get the sausage roll off your waxed paper onto that cookie sheet. Here’s what I do. Pick up one roll, paper and all, and hold it lengthwise on your forearm. In one smooth movement, flip the whole thing onto the greased cookie sheet, pretty much where you are going to want it to stay. You can scooch it over a little if you need to. Just not much! Gently remove the paper you had underneath while you were building it. It might stick just a bit. Go slowly. Repeat with the other roll. Leave about 2” between them so they can grow as they bake.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Take them out when they are golden brown. Cool as long as you can wait…no more than five minutes. The filling will be hot, so be careful! Cut slices 2-3” wide. Enjoy!

Everything is rock garden and drought tolerant. Well, at least heat tolerant. It was 98 the first day we were here. The sun is constant, but the breezes off the river make the days cooler. Early morning and evening breezes are so wonderful they make that afternoon sun forgivable. But here’s what grows in this happy Texas landscape.

I don’t know them all, but I can take a guess. The first picture in each set is a yucca. One blooms a deep pink (red), the other is yellow. Both are called Red Yuccas.
There is prickly pear cactus, agave cactus, maidenhair fern, and Mexican heather (tiny purple flowers). Purple sage and sweet little blossoms I have never seen before. It might be a Whirling Butterfly Bush.

We still haven’t found a good bird photo opportunity. I could hear them, but couldn’t see one. I thought I should listen to a cardinal on my iPad to see if that’s what I was hearing. OMGosh! Those birds heard it and started flying all over the place looking for him! They flew from tree to tree in search of a male they thought was calling.

I couldn’t get to the camera fast enough to catch one flying by, and the females really are camouflaged in the trees. Finally the male came out to see who was horning in on his territory. We will try again in the morning after a trip to the worm store.

We really are making our own excitement this week! Our bandaid count is going up, but so are minutes of quality time.

Until tomorrow. 🦋

How about King George showing the Dome some love? Here!

Out of the blue, clear sky.”

George Strait – Blue, Clear Sky
Margaritas on the River, Pool Toys

Day Three: The Immediate View

Our first view is the pool. And the pool toys. We started with a shark, a donut, and a penguin. G named the donut Donnie, the penguin Pecky, and the shark Thrasher. Yesterday we added an Alfard the alligator, not to be confused with Alfred. Today Rederick the dinosaur and a turtle named Shelly. I hope the crew is complete, although Pecky took a spill over the edge of the pool and down the hillside. Not sure he made it. Intact. Afraid he might be mort.

They do make an impressive sight.

Our science lesson today was a scavenger hunt. We found everything but a frog, a snail, and a butterfly. We are holding out hope for the butterfly. I wish the turtle could count.


His writing prompt was where in the world he would go on vacation and why.

G chose the lake house. 💙

We grilled burgers and dogs and ate on the deck while we watched the results of The Voice voting. Then we made s’mores over a wood fire in the fire pit. Sparks flew into the night sky. We even saw fireflies. The moon was full.

And we drank these delicious Grapefruit Margaritas. Yummy stuff. Better than the traditional lime juice margaritas, and I love those!



This recipe makes four servings.

Grapefruit Margaritas

  • 1 cup each of fresh grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice (2 grapefruit and 4 limes)
  • 1/2 cup of tequila and 1/2 cup of Triple Sec
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup or simple syrup

To make, mix grapefruit juice, lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec, and agave syrup. Shake well and pour over ice. Garnish with a small grapefruit section. Delish!

*If you choose to make simple syrup to use in place of the agave, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium burner and stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Let it cool before mixing the margaritas. You can store it tightly sealed in the fridge if you want to make more margaritas at a later date.

The landscaping is so well done. Xeriscaped to allow for this hot and often dry climate. We are on the Colorado River, and the water level is low, so all these blooms are not a result of rain. I can’t even begin to identify the assortment of trees. There are gorgeous old oaks, but they planted fan palms and sago palms, crepe myrtles and kumquat.

  • A – Society garlic
  • B – Woolly Stemodia
  • C – Palm and banana trees
  • D – Century plant
  • E – Lantana
  • F – Bicolor Iris

❤️ To quote Mary Englebreit…


Go here for some Jimmy Buffett…you can guess which one, right? But you can’t guess who’s with him! Sigh…

That frozen concoction that helps me hang on.”

Jimmy Buffett – Margaritaville

🐢

Recipes on the River, Self Quarantine

The View from Here: Day 2 and a Recipe

It’s not as quiet this morning. Our little buddies are out and about.

Are you fixing breakfast?

Has anyone seen Lucy? Lucy! Here Lulu!

Don’t throw rocks in the pool. Why? You can’t swim if the pool has rocks in it. Why?

We found her!

You don’t need to change your clothes. You aren’t that wet.

Don’t let her drink the pool water!

We had a little cool front. The high is only 79 today. The hills are gray, but when I look straight up, the sky is a perfect blue. I’m guessing we scared away the birds. They’ve gone somewhere they can hear themselves think. I’ll look tomorrow.

Che che chee chee chee chee chee. Che che chee chee chee chee chee. Someone is here.

Last night we watched The Voice, G’s favorite show. It is the highlight of our week, just watching him watch the show. He dances, picks his favorites, and has a strategy for voting. He is absolutely certain that Storm Cloud will win. Thunder Cloud? Thunderstorm?

It was my turn to cook, so I made Chicken Spaghetti, a tossed green salad with black olives and a perfect avocado, dinner rolls, and strawberry shortcake. The base was homemade pound cake, but the whipped cream was Cool Whip. It didn’t hold a candle to fresh whipping cream, but it was pretty! I should have brought a hand mixer…

To make your own whipped cream – I wish I had…

Chill a metal mixing bowl by placing it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Pour four tablespoons sugar into the chilled bowl. Add two cups whipping cream. Beat with a hand mixer or wire whisk until stiff peaks form. Serve immediately or seal tightly and keep in the fridge for up to 8 hours. Whisk it again before serving. *You may not need this much whipped cream. If so, just cut the recipe in half.


Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and cubed
  • 1 can Original Rotel
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can sliced ripe olives
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • milk
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 pkg. thin spaghetti

Directions

In a large skillet, melt butter and add the onions. Sauté over medium heat until tender. While the onions cook, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Break the spaghetti pieces into thirds and drop into the boiling water. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Make a white sauce by sprinkling the flour over the onions and butter. Stir until blended; add the milk and stir until the flour, onions, and butter mixture are blended smoothly into the milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the contents of the cans of Rotel, mushrooms, and olives into the white sauce. Use the liquids in the cans as part of the sauce. Stir in the diced chicken. Mix all of this with the cooked spaghetti.

Spray a large casserole or cake pan with Pam. Pour half the mixture into the casserole and cover with a thin layer of cheese. Pour the rest of the spaghetti mixture on top and add the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees until hot in the center, about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!🍓

Want to hear Creedence Clearwater Revival sing about rollin’ on the river? They sure are 70s cute. Click here.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river…”

CCR – Proud Mary
Longhorns and Painted Rocks

The View from Here: Quarantined on the Colorado River

We have longhorns grazing in a pasture below us. Real live cattle. These are truly Texas longhorns. I suspect some Texas Exes might own those acres. Silence except for a bird whose call I do not know. I could live here forever, watching these hills. As the sun gets brighter, the greens change.

And the blue-green of the river. More blue on the left, more green on the right. My husband says the green is deeper.

A flash of red flies up from the treetop. There he sits on the top of a gnarled branch just in front of me, calling to his mate. Why is that such an event? I move too quickly to snap his picture and he is gone. I will wait for his return.

If I sit still and listen, I hear three different birdsongs. And the wind blowing – it is so quiet I can hear the wind.

It won’t stay this way. Little boys will “Cannonball!” into the pool. The dogs will bark at anything sounding like a knock.

This is our first day of a seven day stay. Getting up early and sitting on the deck, I can write a little before everything else gets going.

We have lesson plans to follow and work that must get done. Tonight I’m cooking dinner. And because it’s Monday, we must watch The Voice!

Today for Social Studies we are painting rocks to make a flower garden. This is fun except that in the rock gathering, the youngest cuts open his toe. Of course. Did you know they make spray on BandAids? I did not. Did you know that painting rocks is Social Studies? I did not.

It’s fun to be in elementary school…especially in May.

Graham meets with his class on Zoom, showing the pool, the river bend, and the famed Texas Hill Country behind him. They answer questions, talk about those painted rocks, and sing Happy Birthday to his sweet, young teacher. Isn’t school grand?

Swimming, lunch outside, and worms that are ready for fishing. I’m taking my rock flower home. Does it get any better than this? I will find out tomorrow. ☀️


Want to hear Lyle Lovett sing about some Texas rivers? Go here for Texas River Song.

The crooked Colorado runs weaving and winding…”

Lyle Lovett – Texas River Song