It's been many years since Molly was around to watch a little pumpkin carving on the patio. We've had many warm Halloweens since this photo was taken. Today it is supposed to break records with a high of 88 in Houston. I'm planning on carving the pumpkin in the backyard once again.
Warm Halloweens: The fun of carving pumpkins, outside on a warm afternoon... First Texas Halloween and the kids were sweating in costumes... Windows open and hearing trick-or-treaters before they ring the bell... Eating our traditional chili, when it's ice cream weather...
Most of my Trick-or-Treating days were in Iowa, where costumes were often covered in coats. In these photos I appear to be a bride, a witch and maybe another witch... behind the cat. Besides my friend Diane's incredible granny costume, I have few memories of costumes. My memories focus more on the candy and how we got it!
Trick-or-Treat Memories: Dark nights and porch lights... Telling a joke to earn a treat... Walking through leaves on buckled sidewalks... Smells of leaves and jack-o-lanterns... Bags getting heavier with candy... Shouting "Trick-or-Treat!" with great gusto... Dumping out the loot when we got home... Inhaling the aroma of candies in wrappers, often mixed with the scent of a ripe apple or 2...
This was taken a year ago in New Orleans. We had to pull over to take a few photos over the iron fence. My photo only shows a portion of the clever set-ups. There were celebrity skeletons and politician skeletons and lots of good humored captions. I can only imagine what they might have added this year, with all the election hoopla!
Spooky Stuff I Used to Love: Caldrons with dry ice... Recordings of scary music and sounds... Fake cobwebs and spiders... Feeling goopy, sticky, yucky things with my eyes closed and being told what they were...
This picture cools me! Today is October 28th and it's 85 degrees! I wish I could go back in time to the places I've lived, that had real autumns. This photo was taken on a visit to NYC in 2003. Heidi and Scott got to enjoy what was left of colorful trees in November.
Home Towns in Autumn: Grinnell, Iowa was the best, with our yellow house surrounded by orange, red and gold trees... I just experienced 2 Falls in Ann Arbor, MI and I remember the colors coming and going too fast... Webster Groves, Mo had beautiful mature trees and the raking never ended... Tulsa, OK had a good amount of color for a city that seemed so south... South Bend, IN probably had great fall colors, but I moved away at age 6 months...
Last year, Don and I walked by this painted building often, during our stay in Guatemala. The painted image of the farmer in the field intrigued me. But the day we passed by in time to see the man and horse, I couldn't stop smiling. Both images, painted and live, were reminders of all the hardworking people we had encountered during our 10-day stay!
Guatemalans at Work: Women standing in the lake, washing clothes... men lined up on the stairs, passing buckets of cement... Children carrying bundles of firewood to school on their designated days... The woman who worked the corn grinder, so locals can make their tortillas... The woman who used a non-electric sewing machine to alter the shirt Don bought... Elderly folks carrying huge bundles on their heads...
I love any image of rain and umbrellas. It takes me back to young childhood and the thrill of being allowed to handle an umbrella. This was taken in Dallas last spring at a special exhibit of Gustave Caillebotte's work. I thought it was a pretty fun idea, that the museum recreated this famous piece and offered up some hats and umbrellas for photo ops!
Umbrella Moments: Playing Mary Poppins as a kid and jumping off the porch with open umbrella... My brother letting his Matchbox cars take a ride on the inside of a spinning umbrella... A downtown Houston art display with a house covered in illuminated umbrellas... Watching my umbrella turn inside out in fierce wind... Enjoying the shade of a beach umbrella... Tiny paper umbrellas in drinks!
This photo from 2012 shows the small island in Emerald Bay, from a boat. I wish our boat could have stopped and let us climb up to the ruins of a tiny house on the top. It's hard to imagine travelers, 100+ years ago, making the journey to Lake Tahoe!
Islands I Like: Galveston Island may not be a flawless paradise, but I love the amazing history... "Gilligan's Island" in the Bahamas, may be a touristy with its filming connection to the TV show, but it is lovely and isolated... Staten Island felt very special when I lived there at age 6, because you could only reach it by ferry...
Since I'm heading home to Sugar Land today, this photo seems fitting. I took this photo when we first moved to Texas in 1998. I like this image because it reminds me of how relieved I was to find something old in Sugar Land, when I felt so surrounded by new. I was eager to tour the Imperial Sugar Mill and learn something about the curious history... but the factory closed before I got the chance.
Factory Tours I Recall: Wearing paper hats and touring the Kellogg's factory as a kid... The quiet inside the Maserati factory in Italy, with meticulous workers... St. Louis' Busch Brewery is like a factory and how I remember that smell...
Watching artisans painting delicate dishes at the Delft factory in The Netherlands and so hoping my kids didn't break anything!
This was taken just a 2 days ago, walking along Taylor Creek near Lake Tahoe. It was peaceful, but cold. The sun was just coming up which was helpful, since we have spotted bears here in the past. The flooded walkway slowed us down a bit, but we had nothing more exciting than that to report.
Memorable Pre-Dawn Walks: An eerie swampy walk In Texas' Brazos Bend State Park. Too dark to spot gators, but the jungly sound of a million birds was most memorable... Before sunrise, walking out to Bright Angel Point (Grand Canyon N. Rim) with winds whipping us down the path... A cold December morning, I walked from hotel to Mississippi River in St. Louis and saw The Arch, eventually glow with morning light...
I bought these snappy little shorts at Goodwill. They cracked me up, with their red checks, rick-rack trim and the "button-on-pocket-flap", that made them downright "skirt-like". They looked like something worthy of a picnic in the 1950's. I bought them for a couple bucks and of course, never wore them.... except in this photo. But I have purchased and worn many a fine outfit from thrift shops and Goodwills!
Resale Outfits: I still wear and adore my embroidered Mexican blouse bought 20 years ago... Beautifully made "cowgirl dress" made with retro western fabric. It was too large for me, but Don wore it on Halloween... Well worn, red and black cowboy boots from west Texas.... Vintage silk scarves that I used with children for dance and now they're washed and worn by me!
I love this old blue truck on the green grass, with old cotton gin behind. This was taken at the Shack Up Inn, in Mississippi 4 years ago. Old sharecropper's houses were turned into rental cabins. The cotton gin had hotel rooms. In the evening you could enjoy live Blues in the old Commissary. It was a great place, with a blue truck that I adore.
Truck Memories: My sister's green '54 Chevy... An orange "highway service" truck that my dad used for work one summer. We kids played in the truck bed ... Riding in the back of a truck pulling a trailer of canoes, on bumpy gravel roads in the Missouri Ozarks... Don's '73 Chevy truck that picked me up for our first date...
Today is our 37th anniversary, so I'll post 2 photos! This wasn't exactly an engagement photo. It was a photo taken by a friend who wanted to paint a portrait of us for a wedding gift... another story. I love the photo because it's a reminder of how dang young (and lucky) we were. I was 21 and Don 24 when we became engaged. We had dated 4 months and were married 6 months later. Yep, we were in love, but there was some good luck on our side!
Some of those Early Dates: January date to go lap swimming... getting together to build a newspaper kite (which failed).... Trout fishing with overall waders... Cross-country skiing and a winter picnic... Second date was during a blizzard to the only restaurant open and I had to drive the truck while Don pushed us out of a small snowbank!
Today is our 37th anniversary! That's something to cheer about. Here's the photo of us walking down the aisle at Washington University's, Graham Chapel in 1979. The photo always makes me laugh, because our expressions make us look like a couple, that would be lucky to stay married a year. I look slyly proud that I got my man. Don looks like he's being dragged. I was aware of Don's serious expression as we walked, and I whispered. "You need to smile..." When we walked out through those beautiful doors into the sun, Don broke into a giddy grin. I laughed, "You're smiling now! Didn't you hear me?" "Oh," He answered. "I thought you were telling me to hurry up!"
Other Funny Things in Photo: My open toe shoes... Don's big bow tie... The white bow on the pew, reminding me that my mom, sibs & I were decorating the church that morning... No one in photo is looking at us or taking cell phone photos!
Gotta love pictures of kids and kisses. I like this one, because I happen to like this father and son team. Don and Scott recently spent some time together in Lake Tahoe and that makes me pretty happy. Scott had to head back to New Orleans Monday, but now I will take his place... as was the plan 6 months ago. My window between treatments, miraculously allows for this! I'll be there later today and our anniversary is tomorrow. I'll kiss to that!
Kid Kisses: Butterfly kisses with eye lashes on cheeks... Little ones learning how to blow kisses... Slobbery, but sweet baby kisses... "Eskimo kisses" we used to do with our noses... Innocent babies kissing each other!
This photo was taken in fall of 2003. It was my first time seeing Central Park since I was 6. I had fond memories of the climbing on the Alice in Wonderland statue and playing with a toy sailboat in the pond. It was fun having my own kids enjoying the very same park, so many years later.
City Parks I LIke: Forest Park in St. Louis, where the 1904 World's Fair was held... Woodward Park in Tulsa when azaleas are blooming... Balboa Park in San Diego with Spanish Colonial Revival Buildings... Boston's Public Park with the iconic swam boats...
My foot is covering the glasses, but we did have some kind of beverage as we sat on the porch of our rental trailer. 3 years ago, Don and I were the least hip of all the hipsters, staying at El Cosmico in Marfa, TX. We had a mighty fine time, sitting and watching other "campers" moving into teepees and trailers nearby. Evening chats with a snack and drink are a treat anywhere.
Happy Hours: In Tulsa, in the backyard with neighbors and kids... Hacienda Restaurant in St. Louis in the 1980's... "Mari de Villa" where my grandma Daw lived and drinks were served with a little piano entertainment... On cold evenings, at home on the couch with a fire...
This was taken last fall at Glacier National Park. It was just after sunrise and we were lucky to have a clear day. The staff at the lodge complained about a summer of wildfires and bad air quality. At sunset the night before, servers and staff joined guests outside, snapping sunset photos. All were equally enjoying the reflections in the lake.
Good Reflections: When kids discover their faces, reflected in a spoon... Those rare moments in a dressing room when the mirror reveals something good... I love spotting people eyeing themselves in window glass reflections... Seeing still water reflections, suddenly distorted by a tossed rock... More than once I've been sure someone was staring at me, only to realize the stranger was my reflection in a nearby, store mirror. I love sharing that relief and laugh with my mirror image!
I think of hammocks as relaxing, calming, lazy and peaceful. I know a few people who are scared of them. At least Heidi and Scott didn't have to worry if this one broke, since they were practically touching the ground. But I love the photo and how it reminds me of lazy, summer days when the kids were home... and Molly still got her soft ears stroked. It's 90 degrees today. Too hot for the hammock!
Hammock Times: Sleeping in a hammock in my sister's apartment in 1975... Two year old Heidi, taking her nap on an island, in a hammock stretched between 2 palms... Laying back in the hammock pictured above, at night watching stars and even fireworks... Messing and failing with hammocks on camping trips...
This little shed selling fresh eggs, woven baskets and jam was so much more than just a roadside stand. It was an opportunity to engage with the Amish culture... just a little bit. It was in upstate New York a few summers ago and I was totally thrilled to tell the 2 young sisters that it had been my dream as a child to live with an Amish family. They giggled and I left with many homemade goodies!
Roadside Memories: Buying a basket from a sweet woman in the Missouri Ozarks. She fell in love with Baby Heidi and gave her a rag doll... My sister and I stopped along the road in Arkansas and bought a jar of honey from a man in overalls... Also in Arkansas, Don and I stopped with our kids to watch a man at work with a chainsaw and ended up buying a chainsaw bear... Another Amish experience, but this one in the snow. I chatted with the bearded man and his horse and bought cookies and bread...
I look like I'm taming a wild one in this photo. But all our family boxers were sweeties...from Mac to Ted. My sister and I mostly tended to cats in our growing up years. Our dogs were family pets, with my younger brother always becoming the most attached. Growing up with animals was an empowering thing. It felt good to feel some control in their care... even though most of our pets had minds of their own.
Pets I Tended: Astro Bunny, who nursed off our mama cat. She was the only pet that was all mine... I took Casey to doggie school as a preteen and was mortified to be in charge of the most ill-behaved beast in the class... Jenni and I took turns cleaning the cat box and cleaning the endless cat accidents... Tending to numerous kitten births, back when "fixing pets' wasn't thought of... and I owned a turtle for a day, but left him on the swing set...
These furry cows were enjoying some grass and flowers in February, a few years ago. I have stopped at this spot near Fayetteville, TX a few times for cows. In fact I have stopped to "visit with" cows in many, many places! I especially love a trio of cows, because all animals are better in threes!
Animal Trios: The 3 Bears... The 3 Kittens... The 3 Little Pigs... The 3 pets in the book/movie, The Incredible Journey... Raz, Muffin and Poutler, the 3 cats Don and I owned in 1979...
I love the color of pumpkins and all their lovable shapes. We may not get great fall colors in the Houston area, but at least we can pick up a pumpkin or two at the grocery story. I still insist on carving one or two each year!
Carving Fun: Coming up with the face idea... Pushing the knife through a healthy, thick skin... That musty pumpkin smell... Getting my hands in the gooey innards... Scraping with the spoon... And stepping back to have a look at the glow on the front porch!
This picture from last May amuses me. Scott and Chali had their hands full with their new pup, Lola! As you can see by Scott's grip, it was a struggle getting Little Blue Eyes to hold still for a photo. These 2 have thrown themselves into being good dog parents, despite all they have going on with jobs, internships, grad school and law school. They are arriving late tonight, so I'll once again get to enjoy this trio!
My Own Puppy Memories: Clumsy feet and the smell of puppy fur... Mouths at work constantly... Puddles and paper towels... Tugging at leashes... Puppy baths in the hose or tub... Sweet tuckered out pups, finally sleeping!
We've lived next to this lake for nearly 20 years and only a few times have we spotted a swan. This one posed so beautifully for my neighbor, Lorrie and me. We just sat and enjoyed... and I'm suddenly reminded that I take this lake for granted! The weather is ideal today and I should be sitting outside basking. I think I'll wait for sunset and check for swans.
Past Lake Fun: When neighbors helped raise baby ducks, (abused by father duck) then all gathered for a freeing celebration... Rescuing many a turtle in the pool and carrying them to the lake... Floating with wine glasses in our clunky, metal canoe... Construction workers amusing us with soccer at lunch, then swimming after the lost ball... The kids fishing in the lake!
This picture of Heidi celebrating her 4th birthday in preschool, cracks me up for a couple reasons. First of all she looks like she's eaten too much cake. Then, I love how she used her scissors to cut around the important people in this photo... Heidi and her 2 "boyfriends". As I recall, the day after this photo was taken, she asked Adam (in yellow) to marry her. Happy Birthday, Party Girl! You are 30 today!
Things Heidi Loved at Age 4: Sorbet... her stuffed bunny, Bobby... Puzzles... Singing... Being read to... Animated Disney movies... Her sandbox and trapeze...