Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"X" AS IN "X MARKS THE SPOT" for Alphabe-Thursday

My goodness...we're up to the letter "X" already for Alphabe-Thursday.

"X" is a hard one, but something has been going on around here for the last couple of days.
We've had plenty of warning.

One of NASA's retired 747s was moved from Ellington Field in Houston to Space Center Houston, a distance of about 8 miles.  Here's the map and "X" marks the spot of the aircraft's final destination.
 You can read about The Big Move on Space Center Houston's website.

During the night of April 28th it was moved 5.75 miles to a temporary location on East Commerce Street in Webster, Texas.  That's where I went to take these pictures.  Sorry, I didn't feel like going in the middle of the night to watch it slowly being moved down Highway 3.  A lot of people went, but I wasn't one of them!  I was perfectly content to see it in broad daylight in this temporary location.

A lot of other people had the same idea and it was causing a bit of a traffic jam along Highway 3 and NASA Parkway.
 It isn't often that you're driving along and see pieces of a 747 parked along the side of the road.  Workers from Boeing took apart the aircraft for the move.  When it arrives at Space Center Houston they will reassemble it.
Cars were pulling over along the side of Highway 3 for a better view.
They said it was being moved on six different trailers with the biggest piece being the fuselage, measuring 25 feet wide, 35 feet high, and over 190 feet long.
They had the area roped off and there was plenty of security so we couldn't get any closer.
At Space Center Houston they were preparing for its arrival.
I took this picture on the 29th.  This is a full scale shuttle model that will be mounted on top of the 747.  To the dismay of many Houstonians the city did not get one of the retired shuttles.  We got a fake one that was used for training purposes.
Right outside Space Center Houston is a free picnic area called T-38 Talon Park.  (The astronauts fly the T-38s.)  Right past this park is where you enter Space Center Houston.  However, I believe you will be able to observe the 747 and Space Shuttle model from this free location.  I parked here and walked across the street to take the picture of the shuttle.
Here are the T-38s.
There's also an Apollo test aircraft on display.
When my kids were growing up in the 1980's there was no Space Center Houston.  However, you could visit the Johnson Space Center and it was free.  We went often. The kids loved it.
Space Center Houston is located right next to the Johnson Space Center.  I was kind of disappointed when Space Center Houston opened because of the expense.  You can check here for current prices.  We were used to free.  You're now taken over to the Johnson Space Center on a tram and no longer have the freedom to walk around and explore.  Of course, after 9/11 they probably would have had to do away with that anyway.

Seeing the Space Shuttle on top of a 747 is quite a site.  In 1991 NASA accepted the delivery of  the Space Shuttle Endeavor and she was transported from Palmdale, California to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the back of a 747.  Endeavor was built as a replacement for the Space Shuttle Challenger.

On May 6, 1991 the 747 with Endeavor on top flew over the Johnson Space Center and landed at Ellington Field on its journey to Florida.  I decided we should take advantage of the opportunity and Reid, Troy, and I went to see it.

It was a Kodak moment.
Back then Reid had hair and Troy had long hair.

I had my frizzy hair back then.  We all had to get in a picture with Endeavor!

I actually had an opportunity to go aboard one of NASA's 747s at an open house some years back.  The interior of the plane is stripped down to the insulation to cut back on weight.  It's just a big empty plane with a few rows of seats.

It's all history now!

Be sure and visit Ms. Jenny's blog, Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent" for a list of this week's participants.

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I know a lot of you are looking forward to spring. Here in the Houston area we have two seasons...a little bit of winter and then a long hot and humid summer.  Summer has arrived and I had forgotten how much I dislike the heat and humidity.

This past winter was wonderful! The coldest and longest winter that I can recall in 30+ years of living in this area. We actually had a few frosts and for the first time in many years I lost some of my tropical plants. I kept moving them into the garage whenever they predicted a frost, but one time I didn't and that was all it took.

This is a picture of Reid arriving home. You can see one of my fig trees that didn't make it. (I'm not sure of the real name, but I call them fig trees for short.) I had that tree since 1990.
Sophie was happy to see him.
We have a mobile garden again this year.  I wheel the wagon around the yard so our tomato and pepper plants get enough sun.  Here's Reid checking the crop.
We have peppers!
And a tomato!
And we have tiny limes on the lime tree.  There were more last week, so I'm thinking the birds might be picking them off?
 I really wanted to take this tree out, but now that there are limes it makes it harder for me to do so.  I don't care for a tropical landscape.  It must be the New Jersey in me, but I want the yard to be like woods with pines, oaks, etc.  There are some Crape Myrtles along the fence and I plan to have them taken out.  I hate Crape Myrtles.  I know a lot of people really like them, but I don't.

The next few days are supposed to be cooler (not in the 90's) and I need to get outside and finish organizing the garage.  We have a three car garage and still can't get a car inside it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"W" as in WALTZ for Alphabe-Thursday

I was stumped.

I couldn't think of anything for the letter "W" for Alphabe-Thursday this week.

I turned to my good friend Google and finally came up with WALTZ.

Would you like to learn to WALZ?  There's a You Tube Video for everything.

OK, now practice for a few minutes. 1,2,3.  1,2,3. 1,2,3.

Before you know it you'll be ready for Dancing With The Stars.

No need to thank me.

You'll be racking up 10's in no time.

Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thanks for visiting...
PS...When I hit publish the two You Tube videos may or may not appear.  I have been fooling with this post for an hour.  Right now they appear in the Preview.  However, one of them occasionally disappears and I have to reinsert it.  With a little luck they'll both show up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"V" as in a VERY Blessed Easter for Alphabe-Thursday

It's time again for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  I sure hope Ms. Jenny will be back soon.  I miss her!

This week we are studying the letter "V" as in a VERY Blessed Easter.  More on that later.  I need to catch up now.

Last week I lost my almost 21 year old cat and I was kind of in a funk.  I apologize for all the E-mails I've failed to respond to.  I'm probably going to just clear a lot of them out and start over.  I also missed my letter "U" post.  You know, "U" as in UH-OH.  "UH-OH, I missed class last week." 

OK, now I'm caught up.

If you celebrate Easter I hope you have a VERY Blessed Easter. 

I've been playing with my dolls again and thought I'd share some pictures of the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  (Click to enlarge them.)
In case you are wondering these are all Vogue Ginny Dolls.  Some are vintage from the 1950's and others are modern day and vintage reproduction dolls all by the Vogue Doll Company.  I grew up playing with Ginny in the 1950's and I love her as much today as I did back then.

You can learn more about Ginny by visiting Carolyn's Rock and Roll Ginny site.

Ginny was pre-Barbie.  By the time Barbie came out I considered myself "too old" to play with dolls.  Little did I know that I would be playing with them once again at 68!

Thank you for visiting.  Now head over to Ms. Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Gracie Girl...

It was the night before Thanksgiving 1993 and the doorbell rang.  One of Reid's high school friends was standing there with a kitten.  As he approached our front porch he had noticed a kitten sleeping on the lap of a scarecrow that I had sitting on a bale of hay.  He brought the kitten inside and she never left.  She had found her forever home.

We went around the neighborhood trying to determine if she belonged to anyone.  A couple of people told us she belonged to someone on the next block, but they were away for Thanksgiving.  When they came home we were told that she was a stray that had been hanging around and they had fed her once in a while, but weren't interested in keeping her.  So, we became her people and named her Grace.  After all, Grace always comes before Thanksgiving dinner.

Yesterday, Grace's time on earth came to an end.  She would have been 21 years old this summer.  We figured she was 3 to 4 months old that November evening, so she was probably born in July or August of 1993.

In recent years she had become thinner, but never really acted like and old cat until the last couple of weeks.  I noticed she was drinking more water and the Veterinarian said it was probably to compensate as her kidneys slowly started to fail.  She stopped eating a week ago and we tried everything to get her to eat, but it was all in vain.  It was her time.

I'm afraid I was lulled into thinking that she'd go on forever.  She had been doing so well as an old cat and I had hoped she'd set some kind of longevity record.

She was such a sweet cat and never a bit of trouble.  She loved our dogs and would spend time grooming them.  They loved it.  Here she is with Shelby.
After Shelby died she did the same thing with Sophie.  In fact, as recently as a couple of weeks ago she was grooming Sophie.

She never really liked being held, but she loved  to be pet.  She would hit my leg or arm with her paw to let me know.  As she grew older I always stopped what I was doing to pet her.  The night before she died she slowly walked over to me and I sat on the bedroom floor and pet her for about a half an hour. Then she decided it was enough and went back to her bed.  By morning her condition had really deteriorated and I brought her to the Veterinarian for the last time.  It was the least I could do for my good old friend.

I've been looking through old pictures and I can't find any photographs from 1993.  I know they must be in a box somewhere.  It was long before we moved to digital.  I'm sure I'll find some pictures of her as a kitten one of these days.

I do have some of my favorites saved though.
  For a while she liked sitting in the warm dryer.  She was a very young cat here.

Here she is watching some Peregrine Falcons on a webcam.  This might have been around 2000.

Checking out some of my doll stuff.

Sleeping with Zoom - 2010.

I'm going to really miss her, but I like to think she's with Jim now.  He used to like to tell me that he had one dog and I had the cats.  One year I gave him a plaque that said, "Heaven's the place where all the dogs you've ever loved come to greet you."  He took it into the office.  After he died the people at work packed up his office.  In one of the boxes I found the plaque. He had taken a piece of paper and written the words "and cats" and taped it to the plaque so it now read, "Heavens the place where all the dogs and cats you've every loved come to greet you."  He loved the cats just as much as the dogs.  He never had me fooled.

I'll miss my Gracie Girl (that was my pet name for her), but I know she's in good hands.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

"T" as in the TEAM TOILS for Alphabe-Thursday

It's "T" day for Alphabe-Thursday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  The letter "T" couldn't have come up at a better time.  This past weekend some of my TEAM helped me TOIL in the front yard.

It was time to get the yard in shape for Spring.  Here we usually go right from Winter temperatures into Summer temperatures so I wanted to get the mulch down before it got hot. 

When we moved in the front had white rocks edging the bed, but I wanted a different look.  The last time Keith visited he lugged the white rocks into the backyard for me.  I dug a trench so the landscapers wouldn't have any trouble edging and keeping the grass out of the bed.  We have St. Augustine grass which has runners and they can easily creep into places where they shouldn't go.

I like to use Pine Bark Nuggets for mulch because I find they last longer.  I always put 4 or 5 layers of newspaper down, wet the paper, and then dump the mulch on top.  It takes a while for the newspapers to decompose and they help keep weeds to a minimum.
Keith opening a bag of mulch.

Reid wetting down the newspapers behind the bushes while Keith spreads mulch.

The old lady spreading the mulch just so!

Getting all the newspaper covered before it blew all over the neighborhood.  Wouldn't you know it would be a windy day.  We had to work quickly.

I think it looks much better.

I've since planted Monkey Grass along the edge to help keep the Pine Bark Nuggets contained.  I don't know if you have Monkey Grass where you live, but it's dark green grass like stuff that eventually spreads and thickens.  I forgot to take a picture today and it's dark outside as I type this, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Now I need your help.  When I was looking for a place I almost didn't look at this house because I thought it lacked curb appeal due to a strange window in the stairwell.  I ended up falling in love with the interior and thought perhaps I could do something to help the ugly window.  Here it is...

The builder never put shutters on that window.  Do you think shutters would help?  I like the bushes and would hate to have to move or transplant them, but I think there should be something with height under that window.  Would some kind of ivy look OK?  Maybe a trellis?  There is some room behind the bushes, but not enough to plant a shrub.  I'm open to any and all suggestions, but remember this is a semi-tropical climate and not everything can survive here.

I also tucked a few Gnomes in among the bushes in the front and then hid a couple of naughty Gnomes behind them.  They're to the left and right of the front door.  I wonder if anyone will say anything when they come to the door?  Those naughty, naughty Gnomes!
Thanks for visiting and now head to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.

Thanks Keith and Reid for all your TOILING!