Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Alphabe-Thursday..."B" as in BEAUTIFUL home

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday and this week we are studying the letter "B" as in BEAUTIFUL home.  At least it will be BEAUTIFUL someday.  Right now it looks like this...
It's a work in progress and one of the homes I visited recently on the Galveston Historic Home Tour.  I wrote about the rest of the homes on the tour here.  This is a yearly event in Galveston, Texas and they always have one restoration in progress on the tour.   This is the 1887 Samuel A. and Sallie Cook Cottage.

It is going to become a weekend vacation rental when completed and will probably appear on the home tour again within the next few years.

Right now it needs a "little" work.  This is the garage and I believe there might be an apartment over the garage someday.
It's in rough shape, but has survived a few hurricanes in its day including the 1900 Storm and recently Hurricane Ike in 2008.

I've always dreamed of buying one of these fixer uppers, but I think this is really a project for someone a lot younger than me.  If only I was about 30 years younger!

This is the backyard.  It's tiny, but a lot of the old homes have these little yards.  There's an alley behind the fence.
This is the living room and where the fireplace will go.  Those are the plans for the home hanging on the wall.  Someone with a sense of humor added the decorative fish.
I think to tackle a project like this you would have to have a sense of humor.

I believe this is the original decorative piece for the fireplace that's been temporarily removed.
This home has a large sunroom that was added on in 1912.  I'm sure this will be a BEAUTIFUL room someday.
I thought this glass was pretty.  I'm not sure if it's original to the home or added later..
I have no doubt that this home will be BEAUTIFULLY restored.  Hopefully, I'll be able to visit this home again on a future tour and show you the finished product.
Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog, Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" to visit some other letter "B" posts.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Stem Cell Transplant Update...

I haven't posted an update on Reid in a while because things have been uneventful.  That's good!  He continues to regain stamina and has learned how to pace himself so he doesn't get too exhausted.  He has had absolutely no complications and no longer takes the anti-rejection medication.

I have a tendency to compare him to Robin Roberts of Good Morning America.  She received her sister's stem cells in a bone marrow transplant which is very similar to a stem cell transplant.  I know she's been hospitalized twice since she was discharged, so I consider Reid very fortunate.  He's had no signs of rejection or infection.

On June 21st it will be six months since he received Keith's stem cells.  It's hard to believe that much time has gone by already.  He will soon begin receiving all his childhood immunizations again.  He had them all after the first stem cell transplant and now they must be repeated again.  He's a real trooper.  The last time they would give him four or five at a time!  I'd be heading for the hills, but needles don't seem to bother him.  I guess he's used to it by now.

In July he will have all the scans again and waiting for results is always a stressful time.  I have to remind myself to live in the moment and not to let my mind rush too far ahead.  That's much easier said than done.

We've been working on a puzzle that Troy gave me for Christmas. (If you remember, we only celebrated Christmas the Saturday before Easter, so it hasn't been sitting on the kitchen table for six months!)  It's a 4-D puzzle of New York City and has really been a lot of fun.  First you put together the Island of Manhattan in the 1700's.
Then you start adding the next level.  That's when you see things like Central Park, Little Italy, China Town, etc.  Here's Reid working on it.  The Island actually becomes a little larger.  I remember hearing that Ellis Island was enlarged when they dug out for the subway system and maybe that's what happened with Manhattan too.  They had to dump all that dirt somewhere.
Next we'll be putting the skyscrapers up and that will be the 4th level.  I'll have to remember to take a picture when we get it done.  It's a great way to get to know the layout of the city.

I caught Reid as he was leaving for the store this morning and asked him to pose for a picture.  Doesn't he look healthy?  He's starting to gain some of the weight back.  I think he lost 30 pounds.

Keith is coming from Austin this weekend.  His birthday is May 31st, but he's coming on June 1st.  It will be good to see "the donor" again!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"A" as in ARIAS, ARIAS, ARIAS...enough already!!!

I thought I'd jump in and try keeping up with Alphabe-Thursday this round.  I haven't been able to participate in recent times, but hope "real life" will allow me this indulgence.  I've missed Alphabe-Thursday and hope Ms. Matlock will excuse my absence.  You think this bribe will work?
I'm starting to think there must be 500 Jodi ARIASES and  perhaps another 500 Ariel Castros. The world is filled with evil...or is it?

I was born in 1945.  We got our first TV set around 1951.  You can see it proudly sitting in the background in this old Christmas photo.
Just one little black and white TV.  No kitchen or bedroom TV.  One TV for all of us to share.

I grew up in a suburb of New York City, so we probably had more channels than people in other parts of the country, but we still didn't have shows broadcast all day.  I could be wrong about this, but I think the nightly news was only on for 15 minutes each evening.  The Today Show didn't even come on the air until 1952.  We received most of our news from newspapers.

CNN didn't come into being until 1980.  It was the first 24 hour a day news channel.  I believe that's when everything started to change. Cable TV changed everything.

Before 1980 the Jodi Arias trial might have been the lead story on the news in Arizona, but the rest of us probably would have heard mostly our area news on our local broadcasts.  News of the Arias trial might have appeared on the first page of the Arizona newspapers, but for us it might have been a small story
on the second or third page.

There's no getting around it...the murder of Travis Alexander by the evil Jodi ARIAS was horrific. The bombings in Boston were so tragic.  Two dead and all those people hurt by two evil men.  Do they get much more evil than Ariel Castro?  He took ten years from those women's lives and mistreated them the entire time.

Is there more evil in the world today?  I don't think so.  I just think we hear about things over and over again.  We have 24/7 news coverage with lots of time to fill, Internet access, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  We get flooded with all the horrific details.

Sometimes hearing about something over and over again can be good.  We spring into action and want to help.  National disasters like Super Storm Sandy and the recent Oklahoma tornado are good examples.  It's so easy nowadays to go online or text a donation to the Red Cross.

I just have to believe that there is more good in the world than evil.  It's just that evil seems to get more air time.

I sometimes wish we could go back to the old black and white TV days.  (I think I'm showing my age.)

Now head over to Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of this week's letter "A"  participants.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

I support the Sandy Hook Promise.  This Mother's Day please join me in remembering all the Mom's that lost children to gun violence in this country.  Please sign their Mother's Day card here.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

R.I.P. my loyal friend

My 27 year old Honda Lawnmower is looking for a new home.  Hopefully, someone will come along and take HIM.   (Don't you hate it when people call mechanical things a SHE?)
I have a lawn service for the front yard, but I like to mow the back myself.  It's shady back there and St. Augustine grass won't grow.  I let the Monkey Grass spread all over the back yard.  Monkey Grass is usually used as edging, but does well in the shade.    It also grows slowly, so I would only have to mow once every few weeks.  In the Spring I mow more often because weeds also grow until it gets hot.  Up until a few years ago we mowed ourselves and didn't have a lawn service, so this lawnmower was used a lot.  Lawns get mowed weekly here for about 9-10 months a year.

Today I took out my faithful friend and topped off the tank.  That's when I noticed the gas dripping onto the ground.  I guess the gas tank finally rusted through.  I bought this lawnmower in 1986 or 1987.  I know we were living on the other side of Houston then and it was before we moved to Oklahoma in 1988.  So, it's about 27 years old.

Over the years we had it tuned up a few times, but I don't think we've even had that done for the last 7 or 8 years.  Jim used to drain the oil and change the spark plug every year, but he didn't do it last year and it hadn't been done this year.  I mowed a few weeks ago and it worked just fine.  It did burn oil and I used to joke that the EPA was going to come along and stop me one of these days.

Anyway, I hope someone will take HIM because I don't think the garbage men will!  Besides, HE deserves another chance.

I wouldn't buy anything but a Honda after this one.  I'm still trying to decide if I should buy another or just have the lawn service mow the back too.  I kind of like doing the back myself, so I'll have to think about this for a while.

By the way, I do not work for Honda or even own stock in Honda.  I wrote the above based on personal experience.  I've never had anything last like this lawnmower.  It's the Energizer Bunny of lawnmowers.  Thanks Honda!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

What a great weekend! The Galveston Historic Home Tour...

The weather this past weekend was wonderful.  In my wildest dreams I never thought I would be wearing a light weight jacket in May.  That just doesn't happen here.

I headed down to Galveston on Saturday for the Historic Home Tour.  I've probably gone on at least 15 of these tours over the years.  It's usually hot and humid.  Jim and I used to hope for rain because then it would still be hot but the sun would be blocked and conditions would be a little more bearable.  Never did we have a cool day, but this year things were different.

The tour runs for two weekends.  I had originally planned to go this past Saturday and next Saturday, but with the cooler weather I changed my plans and went Saturday and Sunday.  I have a feeling it will be hot and miserable this coming weekend and I wanted to take advantage of the great weather.

It was perfect weather for standing in line although it did warm up a little in the afternoon.
There were big houses and little houses.  This one was huge.  It was built in 1889-1890 and is called Open Gates.  It's owned by The University of Texas Medical Branch and now used as a conference center.  I kind of liked the flower pot up there.
This little cottage was built in 1888 and I believe they said it was 835 square feet.  Isn't it cute?
There were 10 homes on the tour and one was a restoration in progress. The restorations in progress are actually my favorites.  Usually they'll have the finished home on the tour again within a few years.  I took loads of pictures of this year's restoration, but I'll save them for another post.  That's the only home where you can take pictures of the interior.

There were some pretty yards.  Very tropical looking.
 I also took some time to walk along The Strand.  I love the old stores and it was a perfect day for a stroll.
The Carnival Magic was in port.  Hope they'll all have an uneventful cruise!
Look at this pretty street.
I'd love to live in Galveston, but then I remember Hurricane Ike and what the city was like for a long time afterwards.  (Most of the homes on this year's tour flooded during Ike.)  I wrote about our trip down to Galveston four months after the storm here.  I must admit that the city has come back which I thought would probably never happen when I wrote that post back in early 2009.  However, if I was living in Galveston I'd be a nervous wreck every time there was something brewing in the Gulf.  When you live on the Island you have to evacuate!  I don't want to live any closer to the coast than I am right now.  I'll just get my Galveston fix with short day trips.

Friday, May 03, 2013


We're having record cold temperatures and I LOVE IT!  For us it's almost like winter.
We're such wimps!

We're breaking records!

Tomorrow I'm going on the Galveston Historic Home Tour.  Jim and I went many times over the years and usually it was very hot standing in line...especially if there was no shade.  Tomorrow, I'll probably be looking for the sun and complaining about the cold!   I think it's only going up in the 70's.  I can't wait!