Thursday, January 28, 2016


It's time again for Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This is where we share with you whatever it is that warms our hearts.

As I type this post it is actually Thursday, January 28, 2016.  Forty years ago today my youngest son was born.  Happy Birthday Reid!

He's been to hell and back to reach the big 40.  He's been through countless rounds of chemo and two stem cell transplants.  Through it all he's never forgotten how to smile.  I've never once heard him ask, "Why me?"  Today he is cancer free although he does have side effects from the chronic graft vs host disease.  He no longer has the energy he once had and he sometimes has shortness of breath due to the cancer originally pressing on a nerve to his lung.  There's no going back to the life he had BC (before cancer).  Again, he never complains.  This is the new normal for him and he accepts it.  I am very proud of him.

We no longer take birthdays for granted in this house and it warms my heart to see him celebrating the BIG 40!  He spent some time with friends today.  Last weekend Keith came from Austin to help us celebrate and tomorrow we're going out to dinner with Troy and his family.  It's kind of a week long celebration.

I tried to get a picture of him without the light reflecting off his glasses.  It didn't work.  Here he is standing in front of the Christmas tree (yes, it's still up!) this morning.  Doesn't he look healthy?
Yes, my heart is definitely warm and grateful today...and every day!

Now please head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants.  Thank you for visiting (and allowing this mom a chance to celebrate and brag).

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Satisfying My Curiosity...

I was taking a few minutes to read some blog posts today and JP at A Quiet Corner published some photos of snowstorm Jonas.  It got me to thinking about named storms.  For as long as I can remember they have named Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, but when did they start naming other storms?

I did a little online research and discovered that snowstorms have been named since 2012 by The Weather Channel.  They've had help coming up with the names by a high school Latin class in Montana since 2013.  I have no idea why this school was chosen, but they came up with the alphabetical list of names used by The Weather Channel.   However, prior to this Connecticut station WFSB had been naming storms on their own.  You can read more here.

Then I wondered about the name Super Storm Sandy.  It turns out that Super Storm Sandy started out as Hurricane Sandy, but lost hurricane status right before it hit the east coast and did so much damage and destruction.  It was a huge storm and many feel it should still have been called a hurricane  because more people might have paid attention and been prepared.  You can read more about it here.

Some of the same people that were hit by Super Storm Sandy are now dealing with Snowstorm Jonas.  It will be interesting to see what the insurance companies do now. Will they pull out and refuse to insure people there anymore?  Raise the rates ridiculously high with huge deductibles if there are any storm claims in the future?  Don't get me going on insurance companies.  Along the Gulf Coast we've been dealing with them for years. I think insurance has become a racket.

 My thoughts and prayers are with the people suffering from the affects of this storm.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What's The Rush For Warm Heart Wednesday #10

Welcome to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This is where we share each week something special that warms our hearts.

I don't like to put up anything Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  Every year I attempt to get the Christmas tree and decorations up as soon as possible after Thanksgiving so I have time to enjoy them.  Every year it takes me until the second week of December to get it all up.  It's rush, rush, rush to get it up and then it's rush, rush, rush to get it down.  In our family it's always been a tradition to leave it up until after New Year's Day.  When I first moved to the south I noticed some people putting their live trees out at the curb the day after Christmas!  I was kind of surprised, but decided that tradition probably began before the days of A/C and artificial trees when the live trees quickly dried out and became a fire hazard.  I guess it's become a tradition for some families to still get it all down right away.

I have found that in this climate things stored in the garage or attic don't always hold up well in the heat and humidity.  So, I rent a storage place for the Christmas decorations.  That means numerous trips to the storage place to bring back the plastic containers with the Christmas things and then lugging the empty containers back to the storage place until it's time to take everything down.

No wonder the holidays can be stressful.  This year it suddenly occurred to me that here is no steadfast rule saying when decorations must come down (or go up).   I enjoy the decorations and all the memories that go along with them.  It's AFTER the Christmas rush that I finally have time to truly enjoy them.  I decided that from now on I wouldn't take down the decorations until the end of January.  I would take time to truly enjoy them.

Like this wreath that I bought at a craft show in the early 1980's.
The Christmas stockings that my sister knit when each of the kids were born.
The ceramic Santa that I made in the 1970's during my ceramic hobby phase.
The macrame Christmas tree that I made in the 1970's during my macrame hobby phase.  (I kept busy in the 1970's!)
My Mom's punch bowl filled with some of her vintage ornaments.
The ceramic stocking that my Mom always hung on the stair railing.
The vintage aluminum Christmas tree that I bought some years back on eBay.  I just had to have one!
Yup, it's all still up!  This and everything else including the big decorated tree in the dining room.  I still plug in the tree and mantle lights most nights.  Yes, it still all warms my heart.

I took down the outdoor decorations, but inside it's still Christmas and I'm in no hurry for it to end.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Plant Lives On For Warm Heart Wednesday #9

Welcome to Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."  This is where we share what has warmed our hearts.  For a list of this week's participants head over to Jenny's blog.

I know this looks like an ordinary plant, but there's a story behind it.
Years ago, while living in Virginia Beach, Virginia I bought a Schefflera plant.  It was sometime in the mid 1970's.  In 1981 my husband accepted a job in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Before we moved my parents drove down to Virginia Beach from New Jersey to see us before we left.  Our furniture was going to be put into storage for a while and we really didn't have room in the car to transport any large plants.  So, I offered my Schefflera plant to my mother and my parents drove it back to New Jersey where it continued to live for many years.

In 2001 my Mom died and Dad assured me that he would continue to water the plants.  He did continue to water them, but after a while they weren't looking too well.  He was probably over watering a bit.  Around 2004 I realized that the Schefflera plant might not make it.  On a trip to New Jersey I decided to cut off a few leaves and bring them home with me to root.  I didn't know if that was even possible, but I thought I'd give it a try.  I put the leaves in a Zip Lock bag with a little water and flew home to Texas.

When I got home I dipped the stems in rooting hormone and planted them in a pot.  All except one died.  The one that lived never looked too healthy and never got taller or grew any more leaves.  A year later I decided it might be root bound and I should probably repot it.  When I went to repot it I discovered that it had never grown any roots.  The stem had just been sitting in the damp potting soil all that time.  It never grew, but it never died either.  I decided to give it another shot and dipped the stem in the rooting hormone again and replanted it.  This time it worked!  The plant started to grow.

You guessed it.  That's the plant today.  It's been repotted many times.  When it gets too tall I clip it back.  Most of the year it lives in the backyard because we have a pretty mild climate here and plants love the humidity.  If they predict a frost I drag it into the garage.  I won't let it die.  This plant has a bit of a family history that warms my heart every time I see it.

When my Dad moved to Texas in 2006 one of his neighbors took the original plant.  I have no idea if that one is alive today, but I know a piece of it is still alive in Texas.

Now head over to Jenny's blog for a list of Warm Heart Wednesday participants.  Thanks for visiting...

Friday, January 08, 2016

Just Playing...

I decided to take a little time to play with my dolls today.  I had been neglecting them lately, but recently my son helped me work on my "outdoor" shelf by putting up new sky wallpaper. 

I know it's winter, but I set up a a summer scene because last summer my friend Sherelyn surprised me with the ice cream bike and my "outdoor" shelf wasn't ready to be photographed.  I had been watching this bike at Walmart and Target for months waiting for it to be reduced.  Well, somehow I missed it and one day they were gone from the shelves.  I was so disappointed.  Then one day Sherelyn showed up with the bike!  I was going through a very stressful time and she knew it and decided to cheer me up.  It worked!  Thanks Sherelyn!  Here's Little JJ (my interpretation of Texan player JJ Watt as a child) buying ice cream at the park.   (Click on the pictures to enlarge.)
A lot of the kids turned out for a day at the park.  This little Madame Alexander doll was a gift from Carolyn this past Christmas.  I dressed her in a vintage Ginny Doll dress that matched her hair bows.  Thanks Carolyn!  Carolyn has a website with lots and lots of her Vogue Ginny Dolls and their friends called Carolyn's Rock and Roll Ginny Dolls.  Be sure to visit.
As you can see, it was a busy day at the park.  This is a combination of vintage Vogue Ginny Dolls, vintage reproduction Vogue Ginny Dolls, Madame Alexander Dolls, vintage Nancy Ann Muffy doll, and a vintage Uneeda Bob doll.
Little JJ has been looking forward to Saturday's play off game.  I hope he won't be disappointed.
Little JJ just sits on a shelf right now, but I'm planning to give him his own room soon.  When my sister moved this past summer she uncovered the Ginny Doll bed we had as kids.  Her girls had played with it too, but they colored it with crayons, so I decided that I'd paint it in the Houston Texans colors for Little JJ.  Setting up his room is on my "to do list" for 2016.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

A Trip To The Zoo For Warm Heart Wednesday #8

It's time again for Warm Heart Wednesday sponsored by Ms. Jenny at Jenny Matlock..."off on my tangent."   One of these days I'll actually get my post up on Wednesday!  For some reason it's usually not until late Thursday when I finally start writing.
My son and I had been talking about going to the Houston Zoo for months.  In fact, last Spring we drove down on a weekday and the place was mobbed.  There were school buses and cars parked all over the place.  We drove around for a while and couldn't find a place to park and left.  Then Summer came along with the hot humid weather and we promised ourselves we'd go when the weather cooled off.

This week the kids were back in school, the weather had cooled off, and we decided to go.  It was probably in the low 50's the day we went.  It was just perfect weather for the zoo.

I've lived in Houston area for most of the last 30+ years and the Houston Zoo has improved greatly over that time.  It is really a very nice zoo with lots of large natural habitats for the animals.  I was telling my son how when I was a kid the poor animals were kept in small cages where they paced back and forth all day.  I think that was at the Bronx Zoo, but it could have been any zoo during that time period.  It warms my heart to see the animals treated much better today.

This past year they opened a new gorilla habitat and that was what we wanted to see.   In years past they had one gorilla living in a small indoor exhibit.  I believe after he died they started working on the big exhibit and all the gorillas living there now were acquired from other zoos in 2015.

Sometimes the animals do something that really warms my heart.  Take a look at this little guy.
A lot of the zoo residents were out enjoying the warm sun.  This duck found a nice spot.  I guess they're all good friends.
And these little guys were so cute.  I wish I could remember what they're called.  They were running around and having a great time.
The zoo is located right next to the Houston Medical Center and every so often a helicopter would fly over.  We had to laugh when they all looked up when they heard one.
There are lots of exhibits and this is a small sample.  Just a few pictures of the ones that especially warmed my heart.

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