It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.



Sunday, October 4, 2015

Please remember...

I'm now posting about Small Simple Things of Life at smallsimplethingsoflife.com.  I'll still check in here from time to time, but everything else is on my new blog site.  Please join me there.

I'm still posting on tailsofwaggingtails.blogspot.com and doorwayintothepast.blogspot.com so please add those links into your reading list! 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Enchanted Rock, second attempt

In January 2012 we had attempted to climb Enchanted Rock (click here for the original post ) and made it the edge of the summit before the wind drove us down again. Yesterday we attempted the climb again and this time made it all the way to the summit. Read more

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Playland Park

Many years ago I visited a local amusement park with friends, but never went back.  The park closed a few years later in 1980 when the owner passed away, but it had a rich history and provided many hours of entertainment to local people during the years it was in operation.  Read more here

Saturday, September 19, 2015

My opinion

Jump over to Tales of Wagging Tails to read a new post.  I've expressed where I stand on spaying and neutering.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alamo Stadium part 2 is now up on Doorway Into the Past!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jackson Dog Show, part 1

Yes, we are on the road again!  This time we are travelling out of state to a dog show in Jackson, Mississippi.  Read more at Small Simple Things of Life

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday 09.09.2015

My house is full of surprises, although finding Mitzie in the spring wreath I took off the door and laid on the table was pretty much expected! She was not pleased when I interrupted her nap to make this picture!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

New Post on Doorway

I finished up part one of a post on Alamo Stadium and it is up on  Doorway Into the Past. Click on the picture in the sidebar to read.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday 09.02.2015

June 2009
The 10th anniversary of Katrina has just passed; ten years ago this time the Gulf Coast was devastated.  Recovery would be slow and painful.  But recover those folks did; they are hardy and took this in typical Gulf Coast stride.  I had to watch from afar, but my sorrow was nothing like theirs. When I visited in 2009 I had a hard time recognizing where I was and looked, sometimes in vain, for familiar landmarks.  Haunting scenes like these two brave lions were everywhere. 

I stopped in a souvenir shop (I love those places) that was just re-opening.  I talked with the owner and some of her employees while they struggled to get their register to stay on line.  They had ridden the storm out, but swore never again.  The owner was very forthright when she stated that she was only alive due to the grace of God!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Since I'm transitioning to the new blog site I think that for a while I'll share the link here when I post to one of the other blogs.  In time, I'll smooth this all out, but thank you for your continued reading while I bump through this! 

Here's the link to Inside the Old Blanco County Courthouse.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Stained glass effect


It doesn't matter if the colors are bright or subdued or if the subject is religious or modern.  A room with stained glass seems peaceful, calm.  The colors, the shapes, the subject, and the light seem to tell the viewer to be still, to contemplate, to reflect. No matter how many times you've looked at a piece you will always notice a little different detail each time.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Fives 08.28.2015

(If you are new to this blog Friday Fives is a feature I do from time to time.  Go to Friday Fives 05.08.2015 to read about the origin of these posts. This post also appears on Small Simple Things of Life)
This Friday night I am thankful for these things:
  1. August is drawing to a close.  The waiting is over and Labor Day will soon be here followed by football, pumpkins, chrysanthemums and cooler weather.
  2. The sunrises and sunsets I've watched in my rearview mirror.  It gives another perspective to the start or end of the day.  This morning the early morning sun was reflecting in the shiny black Suburban in front of me as I crept along in rush hour traffic.  The perfect mirror image of my car and the hundreds behind me snaking along the freeway was illuminated by the sun reaching up into the sky that still held that early morning deep blue shade. 
  3. The loving looks on my dogs faces.  Everyone needs a little love sometimes and these pups share theirs with me all the time.
  4. A change in the weather that knocked down the humidity.  How nice to walk out tonight and instead of suffocating heat it only felt slightly warm. 
  5. And, I am thankful for this Friday night that leads into the weekend.  It's been a wacky week at work. I am thankful for a little down time and a weekend of simple chores.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday 08.26.2015

Large oak tree next to Boerne City Hall (Kendall County Texas).  I wonder how old it is!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

It's gone!

I'm a regular reader of Preservation in Mississippi.  Last week one of the articles featured what happened to Ceres Plantation and the sad tale of its demise and the subsequent waste of the property in the name of "development and progress". Today the area that was developed to be what was touted as an invaluable resource of the future sits pretty much abandoned and all traces of historic Ceres are gone. 
 
I'm a preservationist, strictly amateur, but nonetheless I believe that preserving properties of significant historical value is very important.  Preservation matters to me.
 
Recently I've had a first-hand experience with a situation where there was a total lack of preservation and a home was allowed to sit empty and deteriorate.  The property in question has significant historic value to me and my siblings; it was the house that belonged to my maternal grandparents. I spent many, many happy hours in this house and on the surrounding property. Those experiences made me who I am today and continue to influence me now.
 
My grandparents bought this property in 1941 (if I remember correctly).  My grandmother told me one time about the tiny house that was on the property and showed me how the kitchen became the bathroom and the front room became the kitchen.  The original bedroom was the room where I always slept. Somehow my grandfather scraped together enough money to have a small lake constructed by building an earthen dam across a little stream on the property. He also built a barn out of lumber salvaged from an old house that was being torn down!
 
December 1956
This picture of my parents shows part of the original house.  The house had no air conditioning and was heated by space heaters.  All the rooms interconnected and the windows provided cross ventilation. By this time my grandfather had enclosed the back porch that extended across the back of the house and added what was referred to as the utility room where among other things a large deep freeze was installed.

 
December 1964
My grandfather added a carport and side door while we were overseas along with the siding (which was probably full of asbestos and other substances).  When we returned in 1961 my parents were quite pleased to have a carport to park their car!  This picture is how I remember the house. The carport took out quite a bit of my grandmother's flower garden.  She still had numerous different types of flowers when I was growing up, but my mother commented one time that her mother never had flowers again like she did around the original house.
December 1975
My grandfather had his first stroke in 1973 and eventually had to enter a care facility.  My grandmother struggled to take care of him and the property. Thank heaven for nearby family and neighbors who pitched in to help.  Still, the property began to decline.
 
June 2008
 I don't remember how the drama played out, but my uncle ended up with the property.  Upon his death it passed to his son.  The house was allowed to sit year after year.  By the time this picture was made it looked bad.  My cousin's wife had tried to open a small business of some kind in the house and did some remodeling on the front rooms as well as the hideous paint on the outside.  They tore off the utility room, too.  My mother was very upset about what had been done, but she had no voice as the property wasn't hers any more.  The last time I passed by was on the way home from my mother's burial in December 2008; it looked even worse just six months after this picture was taken. 
 
I'm not sure what happened, but this is what Google street view is showing today.  At first I thought that maybe I had the wrong place.  But continual swinging around showed my great-aunt's house across the road and another house that was unmistakable to me.  In horror and disbelief, I clicked out of the view.  No, no, it is a mistake.  The next day I looked again and zoomed in as far as I could.  My grandparents had an outside hydrant a few feet from the back door.  The hydrant was on top of a pipe that was about 12-18 inches high.  When the county mandated that everyone switch to their nasty water my grandfather had defiantly left this hydrant on the well so they could water their garden!  The pipe was still there, it was unmistakable.  The house is gone.
 
After going through the stages of grief I finally had to admit that perhaps there was a calamity that befell the house and made the clearing away a necessity.  There are no signs of fire, but perhaps a summer lightening storm or winter ice storm had brought down a tree on the house. I had to wonder if it was just simply neglect and something like the roof caving in led to it's clearing away.  And, perhaps, just perhaps, the house was relocated somewhere.  But in my heart, I know that my cousin probably got tired of seeing it and called in a bulldozer and dump truck.
 
So shame on you cousin that I haven't seen in over 40 years and probably never will see again.  You never spent more than a few days at a time in this house when you came to visit.  You never spent a summer here and knew our grandparents one-on-one like I did.  You never worked in the garden and spent hot summer afternoons sitting under the trees snapping beans.  You never snuggled down under a quilt on a winter night as the warmth from the space heater faded.  You never sat for hours looking at old pictures and talking to Mamaw about who those people were (do you know your family  tree?). Shame on you for building your big modern home on the hill above the lake and turning your back on the poor little house by the road.  Shame on your father for letting it begin the descent into no turning back.  Shame on my mother, too for so hastily signing over her portion of the property and then not encouraging her brother to maintain the house. Shame on me, too, although I don't know what I could have done. 
 
This has turned into a long post, thank you dear readers for staying with me if you got this far.  There are many things I want to say, but I'm going to conclude with just one thought. 
 
It doesn't matter if it is historically significant property or just a humble house along the road.  There is no excuse to let it deteriorate due to neglect.  There is no excuse in thinking that it is just an old building that needs to be torn down.  There is no excuse!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday 08.19.2015

My church sits on the edge of a new cross-town thoroughfare that will soon be completed.  It has given us a new flood proof entrance with this sign on the exit side.  While it will make driving much more convenient I am sad because there are considerable deer in this area along the creek.  I'm sure there will be many that loose their lives by this encroachment of the city on their space.  I also miss walking out from night activities and listening to the night sounds and feeling like I was miles from everything and not in the middle of a city.  But the sign is beautiful and I hope that each time I leave I will remember to take that peace with me out into the world.

(Remember this post will also be on Small Simple Things of Life my new site)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

When what-if becomes reality

Made in America 1957.  Still running perfectly today.
Several years ago I started playing the what if game with myself.  It started one boring day at work when I realized that my desk was perfect for cross stitching (at that time I was still under the delusion that I had time for intricate stitchery).  The lighting was perfect and my chair was comfortable; what if I could just sit here and stitch for the rest of the day, I asked myself.  It was a delicious day dream that gave me a little encouragement. Then the what if became: what if I could set up my beloved Featherweight machine and sit here and sew all day?  There's even room for a small pressing board and little iron.  I could just see those little fabric pieces rolling under the chattering needle!

I still play that game with myself.  But now I am coming to realize that those what-if's are really dreams that are coming from my inner self.  My heart whispers these longings to me in the form of a dream in the what-if game.  Now when I have the "what-if I could" thought I find myself stopping to consider if that what-if could become a reality.

One of those dreams to reality has now unfolded itself and I want to share it with you, dear readers, in this post.  I love writing and I love sharing words. Over five years ago I started this blog and have written over 500 posts.  But, still I've wanted more and often had the thought what if I could take this writing to the next level.  One of the ways I've wanted to do that was through a web site where I could continue with posts but have opportunities for offering more than what is available through Blogger.  I'm excited to share that the web site has become a reality!  Now, honestly, it isn't quite a true web site (maybe someday), but through WordPress I'm able to have my own domain and customize a site quite a bit.  I've been working on this for several months and decided to go ahead and publish the site now because I know that it is going to be an on-going process that I will never complete! 

The new site can be found at http://smallsimplethingsoflife.com/.  I've been putting a few blog posts from here on it, so it may look familiar.  Blogger has been very good to me and I'm leaving the dog's blog and Doorway Into the Past with Blogger.  For a time I'm going to post Small Simple Things in both places, just until I feel completely comfort with WordPress.  I'll be writing more about the new site in future posts.  I invite you to please join me on the new site.

The next what-if?  Well, what if I could write a book, or two, or three.  I'm listening to those whispers from my heart! Thanks for reading here and please keep reading as I make this change and share more words in the spirit of bringing peace and joy to the reader!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday 08.12.2015

Creativity and inspiration often surprise me when I'm not expecting it.  I've lived here almost 12 years and I've threatened several times to take down these dust catching shutters that are on either side of both doors into the kitchen.  I was afraid that if I did the walls and the space would be bare.  The shutters frame the doors and give the rooms depth. 

The thought came suddenly one day:  Why don't you use these to hang pictures up on since you are short on wall space?  Go get some hooks and give it a try.  I just happened upon these frames at Michael's with ribbon already attached.  Selecting pictures and experimenting with the arrangement took a while, but I'm pleased. 

I have family pictures on the doors into the breakfast area and pictures of flowers on the doors into the formal dining room.  Perfect solution, but I have to wonder why it took me 12 years to think of this!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pushing 100

When the temperature is pushing 100 degrees and you haven't had air conditioning for almost 48 hours this is what you want to see on your driveway.  And, the old unit is what you want to see coming out your front door. 

Unfortunately, my savings account is not as pleased as the dogs and I am tonight. But, there's a 10 year warranty on this thing so I don't intend to be this hot again for a while!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday 08.05.2015

Hidden Away
Last night after watering the plants I decided that it was time to pull up the tomato plant.  It was still making blossoms, but I knew that realistically it would not set any more fruit.  Time to pull it up and let the pot rest until it is time to plant a fall tomato.  But the plant gave me two nice surprises before I pulled it up.

The first was the discovery of one perfectly ripe, un-bird pecked tomato.  Just perfect to pick. I pulled it and the handful of remaining green ones to put in the kitchen window to ripen.  That's when I had the second surprise - a warm memory from my past.

As I picked the tomatoes I remembered that my grandmother always wore an apron.  Always.  It came in handy for more than just keeping her clothes clean.  The pockets held odds and ends that she picked up here and there as she went about her chores.  As I stood there clutching the tomatoes I remembered how she would fold it together to gather vegetables in it as she watered the garden in the evening.  She had done the main harvesting that morning and the few things she found didn't justify going to get a basket. We would walk back to the house with her holding the corners of the apron that was full of vegetables. Just another simple thing from long ago.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Prayer Shawl Ministry

When my church announced that a prayer shawl ministry was being started I remember thinking, "how hokey, no one is going to want to have one".  Several months later one Sunday morning the steps to the altar were draped with many prayer shawls of different colors and patterns; I became a convinced believer that morning.  Before our pastor led us in a prayer of blessing on the shawls our pastor shared that a few shawls had been taken to the local military hospital that was receiving many wounded soldiers at that time.  The person at the hospital had looked at them and then glanced around and asked if that was all we had to donate as they had people asking for them all the time.  The person delivering the shawls was told that the hospital would take all our church could make! 

So, what is the idea behind a prayer shawl?  Here's a quick summary: As the shawl is constructed the maker will begin work with a prayer of blessing and then pray for the unknown recipient.  When completed the shawl will be blessed again by the group of people involved in the ministry.  The shawl is then given to someone in need of comfort with the idea that when they wrap the soft shawl around their shoulders they will feel comfort and solace. 
In January I talked to the lady that coordinates the ministry and she explained the process.  There is no set pattern, but they use a size of 24" x 72" and soft acrylic yarns.  I had a hard time getting going on a pattern.  I pulled some off the internet and tried adapting a crocheted afghan pattern, but I wasn't satisfied with the results.  When I went to the first meeting I asked about the pattern that most of them appeared to have been made with; a dear lady explained that you just knit.  Yes, just knit!  How easy! Many groups use patterns that use a grouping of 3 stitches to represent the Trinity and as you knit each stitch you remember Father, Son, Holy Spirit. 

At the meeting everyone brings finished shawls and shawls that are in progress (we knit while we talk business).  There are always skeins of yarn that have either been donated or bought with donated funds as well as needles and hooks, so you don't have to buy anything.  At the first meeting when they realized I was struggling one of the ladies handed me two pairs of needles and explained that they were a good size that I would find easy to use.  I also picked up two skeins of light blue yarn even though I had an ample supply of yarn at home - the blue just called to me.  While working on it I've delighted in its softness and often as I spread it across my legs to work I felt a sense of peace come over me (trust me, I needed it!).
I've got two in process at this time and alternate working on them with other projects
I've been in several groups where a member was sick, facing surgery, or in need of comfort. We would all gather around the shawl to be presented and touch it or each other's shoulders and then offer a prayer of comfort for that member. Many souls lifting up prayer is a moving experience. I've heard so many recipients (and sometimes their family members) say that the shawl brought them so much comfort and strength. Making one is easy, it is something I enjoy doing, but it is also a blessing for me because it makes me take time to sit down, quiet my thoughts and offer a prayer.  I think it is one of things where the receiver and the maker are blessed!

A Shawl Maker's Prayer 
© 2015 All rights reserved - By Diane Burgess
 
Dear Lord; Bless my hands as I knit today.  May each
twist of the yarn guide me to create a pattern of love and
comfort in my work and remind me of Your ultimate protection.
Wrap me in Your spirit so that I will be more caring towards
those in need.
 
Grant me patience as I create this shawl.  And bless
my handiwork as it travels to bring comfort and peace
to someone in need of Your warming embrace.  Amen.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday 07.29.2015



 
 



It's just a little hot these July days, so I've been keeping the tea bags handy!  I don't care if it is sweet or unsweet, although on hot days I can't do the sugar.  It can be flavored, but plain tea is just fine with me.  Lemon and limes are good additives if you have some on hand.  I added a little lemonade to the glass in the picture which is another option. Decaf tea is my preferred choice.

Way back in 2012 I wrote a post on my memories of making tea with my grandmother (click here to read Iced Tea).  Iced tea has always been a part of my life and I can't imagine a summer day without at least one glass!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Simple Sunday Morning

After several weeks of being on the road with dog shows I just wasn't ready to resume my usual Sunday morning routine.  So I decided it was time to have church-in-the park.  Bentley and I headed out to one of the most peaceful places in San Antonio - San Pedro Springs Park.
 

I love this place because of its rich history and for it's beauty. When I'm here I can almost feel the "history vibes" of all the significant events that have taken place within this area.  In 1709 the first Europeans camped around the springs while on their way to visit the early Catholic Missions in East Texas and would return to establish the Mission San Antonio de Valero somewhere close to the springs (this would be the first location of the mission).  King Phillip V of Spain declared the area around the springs an ejido (public park) in 1729. To read more of the park's history CLICK HERE

Even when the fence is around the pool and it is set up for summer swimming I find it enchanting.  It is the perfect place for a Sunday walk and to sit quietly for a while and reflect.  Sometimes I bring my Bible to read and sometimes I just sit and thank God for all my blessings.  It isn't an organized church service, but to me it is worship.
I was surprised this morning to see water gushing from the top of the grotto.  I've never seen the water flowing here although I've read about it doing so in the past when there was still a flowing spring under it.  I was surprised and then I remembered that with the abundant spring rains that the water restrictions were lifted.  The fountains can flow again!





I'm not sure if it was the rains or the return of the drought, but the Esperanzas (Tecoma sans) are profuse this year.  I had never noticed how many bushes are in the park, but with their bright yellow blossoms I didn't miss them this time! This hardy plant is also known as Yellow Bells, but most people around here know them as Esperanzas.  I love the way that word flows off my tongue and, best of all, in Spanish it means "hope".

 
The other amazing thing I saw was water standing in the openings of the springs at the head of the pool.  I've never seen water flow from these springs and didn't expect to ever see it do so.  But this morning there was water standing in them.  Now I'm curious as to why this happened and if it was a result of the spring rains.  I love a mystery!
April 2014
July 2015


Bentley enjoyed the morning walk and the squirrels in the park!  I was tempted to let him off leash, but thought better of it.  Sorry little guy!  He was content to smell around with his hound dog nose and then to sit on the little rock wall with me.  What a good little companion he is!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday 07.22.2015

Since the temperatures have soared this week to their usual July highs I was thinking of cool things this afternoon and remembered the snow that fell overnight in February 2011.  Sawyer and Blossom weren't quite a year old and they loved it.  I had to bring them in after a few minutes to let them warm up and then they wanted out in it again!  The cold didn't bother them one bit!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Little lessons

I learn something every day, as most people do whether they realize it or not.  It seems that even with many years of experience with planning, packing, and travelling that with each road trip and each dog show that I learn more about travelling conveniently, practically, and economically. 

What I learned on this trip is mundane, but important to remember for future trips.  Here are my 3 little lessons:


1.  Protect your feet at the cost of being fashionable.  It's been years since I donned tennis shoes with dress clothes, but it is a practice to revive.  My feet are tender and were already trashed from wearing flat sandals.  Then I walked around on concrete floors all day Friday in dress flats. Saturday morning it was time to put those comfy, supporting tennis shoes on until ring time.  I love my sandals, but comfort is now a must.  Leave the sandals home when you have a lot of walking to do.


2.  Balance what you do so you don't exhaust yourself - or your dog.  I opted out of going to some dog friendly places in Houston, like the Houston Arboretum, because of the heat.  But we were still go, go, go all the time.  As we pulled out of the gas station and sat at the last light before getting on the freeway to come home I snapped this picture of Bentley.  He was exhausted today and slept most of the ride home.  Truthfully, I'm tired, too.  Whether your activities are planned or spontaneous, think ahead as to how they will effect you and the dog later. You will enjoy your trip much more if you aren't worn out from all your activities.

3.  If you opt to take along food to sustain you, then you must remember that in order to consume the food that you have to have it with you.  If you leave the bag of sliced cucumber in the hotel fridge, then when you have a late afternoon hunger attack you will probably cave to the pizza craving.  Likewise while driving if you pass up the rest stop where you could sit and munch on a sandwich and some fruit then you will most likely end up pulling through the Whataburger drive through and consuming a large burger and large sugary Coca-Cola that will sit like a rock in your stomach in the afternoon heat.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Don't leave home without this!

Bentley and I are on the road again.  We rolled into Houston yesterday afternoon for the "Houston World Series of Dog Shows" held in the building adjacent to NRG Center, home of the Houston Texans and host to many events.  The poor little Astro Dome sits forlornly next door, but it is not the subject of this post. And neither is the dog show since I've posted enough lately about our adventures in the ring. But it is the subject of something that I almost always take along with me, even on day trips and that is...an ice chest.  I have several in different sizes so I can take along anything from a few bottles of water or tea to enough food for a full weekend of meals for a trip to the coast.

As I packed the ice chest for this trip I had flashbacks to growing up and road trips in the family car.  Being military we were either travelling to a new assignment or on the road from somewhere to visit relatives.  One thing that Daddy always included on these trips was an ice chest that was packed into the trunk last thing where it was easily retrieved when needed.  He filled it with ice from the motel ice machine, he did not buy ice ever.  As far as I can remember it was just a Styrofoam ice chest, but fairly large in size.  I know we always had milk to drink for breakfast or to pour into a cup with cereal.  And, I think we had sandwich fixings although I don't remember exactly what.  Probably baloney or home made pimento cheese as those were popular items in our home. I just know that the ice chest was always a part of our journey.

I'm sure Daddy did this as a money saving measure with three kids and two adults to feed.  But as I thought about it I realized that when I was fairly young that Ronald and Jack weren't yet on every corner.   Fast food had not taken hold of our eating habits; if you wanted a meal you had to stop and sit down in a restaurant.  That took up time and time on the road was precious to my father. He would pull over along the side of the road, retrieve the ice chest from the trunk, put it in the front seat with my mother, and we would continue on down the road.  When we finished the meal he pulled over again and put the ice chest back into the trunk. No time was wasted with this process. Plus, we were often travelling in the middle of nowhere and there were no places to stop to eat anyway. 

My reasons for squeezing an ice chest into a fully loaded car for this trip are pretty much the same as the ones from my childhood.  Compare these:

1) when travelling with a dog you either eat fast food from a drive through or find a dog friendly restaurant, much like travelling in the middle of nowhere with no eating places.
2) I need to save money as these shows and trips are getting expensive, Daddy's philosophy of frugality!
3) after a long day at the dog show I don't want to fight traffic to get to any eating place, I just want to get to the hotel and chill out (so does Bentley!).  Time is precious.
and
4) as much as I love to eat out I know it is not really healthy. If I can eat a few healthy meals, that offsets some of the processed food's unhealthy effects! The Candlewood Suites where we are staying offers me a full size fridge, 2-burner cook top, dishwasher and microwave - all the comforts of home.

This last reason is the only one that really is different from Daddy's philosophy!  I have to think that the ice chest habit is a good one that carried over from those growing up days.  So, don't leave home without one!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday 07.15.2015

Renner School
Dallas Heritage Village
This two-story school was built in 1888 to serve the community of Renner, Texas, located north of Dallas. Schools were established early in the formation of most communities, but farm chores took precedence over education. School terms were scheduled between the fall harvest and spring plantings.  Teachers usually had to board with student families and often were overworked and underpaid. In addition to teaching they were responsible for the building's upkeep.

In the 1880's Texas appropriated funds to construct schools and improve education; the school in Renner School is typical of schools built during this time. The interior and exterior details and the number of windows and their arrangement indicate that the building may have been built from one of many architectural patterns available at that time. A wood burning stove warmed the building in the winter and cross-ventilation from the windows cooled it in the warmer months.  First through fifth grades assembled in the classroom downstairs and sixth and seventh met upstairs in the "high school" room. 

The building was moved to the Dallas Heritage Village in 1977 and restored.  The original black boards (boards painted black) are visible and walls and trim remain their original color of grey.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Fives 07.10.2015


Tonight I give thanks

1.  For the little Divine nudge that gave me the energy to get out and mow and trim my yard.  I was exhausted when I got home and didn't think I could do it.  But I did!

2.  For the satisfaction that comes when a task is completed and checked off my list.

3.  For the first sip of coffee in the morning. I've easily cut back to only one cup a day, and honestly that's all I really want.  But that first sip is always the best.

4.  For the smell of the rosemary and basil tonight as I trimmed along the pathway by them.  They are my favorite herbs and shared their fragrance with me as I brushed by them.

5.  For the realization that attitude is everything.  Shake off those blues, quit complaining, shift your thoughts to something pleasant, and remember to be thankful for all great and simple things.  A thankful heart yields a joyful attitude.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday 07.08.2015

I have always been intrigued by a building that is in the process of being moved.  In fact, my earliest memory of being fascinated with an old building was when I was about 7 or 8 years old and an old house in my Dad's home town was being cut in half and moved.  We were military and Daddy always subscribed to their home town papers so we could stay in touch. There was a picture of the cut in half house on the front page of the paper; I couldn't stop staring at it.  It was a large white house and as I remember it had columns. The questions poured forth from my young mouth until finally one of my parents told me to quit worrying about it that it was just an old house that was being moved.  

On our next visit to my grandparents' house when the adults began planning a little drive around the county I begged to go see the house that had been cut in half.  My grandmother was puzzled until Daddy called the house by name.  It was a little out of the way for that trip, but on another trip they relented and took me by the house.  At that time you could still see the line down the middle of the pediment and the front of the house.  The questions started again. I wanted to go back every visit!

So, when I saw this building raised up off the ground I had to park and walk back to make pictures even though I had no camera, only a cell phone.  Until a few months ago this building was well known because it leaned considerably.  And, yes, it was in use as a business!  The lean was a distinguishing feature. 

I'm not sure what is going on here now.  The building was straightened and was going to be moved into the nearby historic Pearl Brewery, but that had been blocked.  Then it was to be renovated, so I assume that this work is part of the renovation process.

So what was this leaning landmark?  It was built as a house in 1890 by a former brew master at the Pearl, Fritz Boehler.  Over the years it has served as a boarding house, general store, and a saloon.  The Liberty Bar, Boehler's Bar & Grill, and Minnie's Tavern and Rye House have called it home. I think that "Liberty Bar" is synonymous with this building; everyone always associated that name with the leaning building on Josephine Street!

I'm not sure what it's next phase of life will bring, but I'm watching.  In fact if I lived in that area I would probably be down there asking a million questions. To see a picture of the building before this renovation CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Big D - Day 4 Redemption and Home

Tomorrow is always another day and you do have to put the past behind you, learn from your mistakes and resolve to make the future better.  I experienced that today with the final day of the dog show.  I will not weight down this post with complete details about all my motivational thoughts, but I walked out of the hotel as a woman determined to move on. 
Okay Mom, I got you this blue ribbon.  Are you pleased?  Can we just go home now?
Here's a quick run down on the show:  We got in the ring and he didn't walk too well, but stacked on the table perfectly and remained focused on the treat in my hand while the judge looked at him.  "Smokey" (thanks S. for the laugh!) didn't pick up any tape or debris from the floor this time!  Today's judge was pleasant and easy to show to.  We beat the other dog in the class, although I felt a little bad because the owner was a delightful older lady that only shows at limited shows.  But she gave me a hug as we left the ring, so I knew there were no hard feelings.  We went back into the ring for Winner's Dog and he did well.  The judge took her time deciding and looked carefully at each dog.  I'm honestly not sure why she picked the winner that she did, but the dog she chose for reserve was a beautiful cream. 

Today was a better day and I have a new, positive attitude toward what I'm doing.  I've re-grouped and moved on.  Bentley was a good sport about the trip and went along agreeably with each activity.  I tried to make sure I didn't tire him out, leaving aside some of the things I wanted to do.  I knew he was exhausted last night when he curled up and went to sleep before I turned out the light.  As we headed home he was asleep before I pulled up onto the freeway.  He slept most of the way, occasionally standing up on the console and looking at me like, "Mom, are we there yet?"

I stopped in Hill County for him to have a walk break at the rest stop.  I have to digress, remember when these stops were called "road side parks"?  They are now referred to as "safety stops" to be politically correct, I guess.  Anyway, he wasn't interested in the purpose of the stop, but I found myself marveling at the flatness of the land while he smelled around.  Living in an area that is nothing but low rolling hills I am amazed at the straight lines of the land in this area.  I've always enjoyed making this drive and watching the hills give way to the flat lands planted with crops.  Maybe that's why I like road trips because you can watch the changing of the land and foliage as  you drive along.

This modern windmill was running at the safety stop and I had to make a picture.  I've always loved to see windmills sitting in fields or close to barns with the blades spinning away.  I'm always saddened to see one that has fallen into disrepair.  I wondered later if there was a description about this one and I suspect since it was running and there is a tank near it that it might actually be pumping water.  I'll have to stop again and investigate!

One final funny event for the trip home.  I decided to take a fairly new toll road (130) to avoid Austin traffic and possible home bound holiday traffic congestion.  The toll road offers speed limits of 80 and 85 mph.  It is through farm lands, uncongested and has less trucks than the interstate.  It was a pleasant drive; however, I made the mistake of following TxDot's instructions instead of exiting where I knew I should from checking the map. 


Thanks to TXDot I ended up on I-10 on the other side of Seguin.  I plan to write them a little note and explain that they need to look at a map and realize that Seguin is a 45 minute drive from the outskirts of San Antonio and that this route takes San Antonio bound travelers to the eastern side of San Antonio.  And I am going to suggest that after reviewing the map they should update the Transguide instructions to inform travelers if they want to reach San Antonio from the toll road they need to exit at Buda.  If they want to travel on to I-10 to Seguin they should stay on the toll road.  Granted, I had looked at the map and should have taken the Buda exit.  But I trusted TXDot......

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Big D - Disapointing Day 3

Yes, today was a big disappointment.  A real bummer of a Fourth of July.  But now that the pouting is over there is hope for tomorrow (as Scarlett O'Hara would say), and I do have a sweet story to share.  So, all is not lost.

It was up very early this morning for the first doggie walk and then ring time was 8:00 a.m.  I felt Bentley looked fairly good and we were ready to maybe have a win.  There were three dogs in his class, all creams.  In fact, there were 6 creams showing today which I've never seen before, but what fun to see them all together! 

But as soon as we walked into the ring everything just seemed wrong.  He didn't want to walk right, which happens a lot.  The first thing that frazzled me was that as I put him on the table to stack I realized that somehow he had picked up a piece of what looked like masking tape on his under carriage.  Oh no, my thoughts were that he had walked around the ring in front of the judge with that stuck on him!  I was so shook up that the judge asked me if I was nervous!  Well, yes I am now that I've realized I've got this dog that had a piece of masking tape stuck on him up here and now he doesn't want to stand here like he is supposed to.  Am I nervous?  Oh, just a little was my polite reply.  She gave us third place out of three dogs.  I wanted to cry.

So I pouted all day, felt sorry for myself, frustrated that I don't know what I'm doing, pout, pout, pout.  But we stayed at the show pretty much all day.  I shopped a little at the many vendors and consoled myself with purchasing a new top that is a bright pink color.  I bought Bentley a bag of chicken strip treats made by Pro Plan to console him (ha ha), but in truth they smelled good and had good ingredients in them.  He liked the sample, so we quickly opened our bag so he could have another piece.

Now that the disappointment has ebbed I've remembered some of the adages I've always heard and used at times like this. 
That's the way the cookie crumbles.
When life gives you scraps make quilts or if it's lemons then make lemonade.
This is a hard pill to swallow.

But while watching some of the group competition this afternoon I remembered Winston Churchill's famous advice to never, ever give up.  I've determined to use this as a turning point.  We may not do any better tomorrow, but that doesn't mean we will quit and go home.  There's something here in this "dog show thing" that calls to me and I'm determined to stay with it.  And, I am a woman who puts her mind to doing what she determines to do!

Now, here's the sweet story.  During the early afternoon Bentley and I were relaxing in our decorated grooming space.  I was knitting and he was in the crate, supposed to be resting, when a young couple and a boy about 11 or 12 years old walked by.  The woman was carrying a small crate and all three were just beaming.  Ah, I thought they have come to pick up a puppy!  Now, I do have to note that the show expressly prohibits selling puppies at the show and exhibitors at these shows follow all rules scrupulously. So, I suspect that this family had already selected and paid for the puppy and were picking it up now that it was ready for its forever home.   I saw them reach a lady at the end of the row and there was hand shaking and smiles on both sides.  Then a little later I noticed the seller cuddling what looked like a Maltese puppy, probably just about 3 months old.  I wondered why they would choose a Maltese and if they had had another one that was dearly loved and had passed on recently. Some time later they walked back by, still beaming but now their expressions had changed from anticipation to celebration.  The man was carrying the carrier with the little white fur ball inside.  The lady had a bag of puppy food and the boy had a little blanket and a goody bag.  I had to smile as they walked by with their new family member!  How hard for that little baby to leave the only human he/she had known and his secure little world, but I could tell that he/she would quickly be enveloped in a loving human family. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Big D - Day 2


Day 2 started early with grooming and then into the ring.  The show is sponsoring a July 4th decorating prize with cash prizes, so why not get in the red, white, and blue spirit?
My first stop of the sightseeing was the Dallas Heritage Village.  I chose to stay off the freeway due to major, confusing construction.  I'm so glad I did because I saw so much as we travelled the streets of Dallas, so many old buildings to go back and discover.  I also was pleased to pass by the Farmers Market and know that it is so easy to access.  Early in the journey I saw the dreaded "detour ahead" signs, but they didn't pan out.

The Village is a collection of buildings located on the oldest city park in Dallas.  The park had fallen into decline and was revived by the re-location of these buildings into the park to create a village depicting life from the past.  Read the full story here. I enjoyed walking the grounds and will do a post on this delightful place to visit.

It was getting hot and I couldn't go inside any of the buildings because I had Bentley with me, so we navigated back to the area around the Dallas Museum of Art.  I hate to drive around looking for parking, so when I saw that the DMA had parking I pulled in, even though it is one of those creepy underground garages (told myself not to think about it!).  Bentley was a little freaked out, but we got parked and were quickly on the street.

We immediately headed to Klyde Warren Deck Park.  This greenspace is built over I-30!  Yes, it is amazing.  There were food trucks, but we would later come back to eat at Savor, a dog-friendly restaurant.  They have many activities including games, free reading materials, and water play places. 

When I saw the M-line trolley parked along Olive Street we quickly made our way over and hopped on.  It is free and dog friendly!  We rode almost the entire route. I forgot to make a picture of the car we rode, but it was quite old.  This one appeared to be a newer reproduction.

Interior detail of the car we rode
 
Bentley wasn't too sure about this but was a good sport.  He was admired and petted, so he was happy.  He rode for a while on my lap, but moved into the floor.  I wasn't too happy as it ended up I was facing backward, so I had to twist around to keep my motion sensitivity calm! It was a little bumpy getting him off the trolley; the steps were steep and he freaked out when I picked him up to get off.  I made it down without falling - everyone just stood there and no one offered to help, oh well!  We may go back tomorrow and re-ride facing forward and with a map in my hand so I won't miss the things I wanted to see.

Yes, there are many things I want to see in this vibrant city. Day 2 has brought discovery of a new place to come back to again and again!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Big D - Day 1

This morning Mr. Bentley and I dropped off the other dogs at their "resort" and headed up I-35 to Dallas, Big D!  We are here for a dog show and a little dog-friendly sight seeing.  Plus, it is the Fourth of July and we are in Big D! 
We stopped at a rest stop in Bell County and I knew I was in central Texas when I saw this sign!
I've been in and out of Dallas numerous times through my life.  Sometimes on family trips, sometimes on business, and sometimes just driving or flying through (I was well acquainted with Love Field as a child!).  But I've never been completely on my own here, so I've looked forward to this little adventure of new roads/freeways to navigate and new places to explore. I am fascinated with their light rail system and entertained myself on a doggie-potty walk earlier this evening with watching the trains fly by - they move right along the track!

Bentley's a great little traveler, a nice road companion.  The only draw back to a road trip with a dog is that you have to arrange your meals a little differently since they can't accompany you into most restaurants.  Some people can leave their dog alone in a hotel room long enough to enjoy a meal or brief outing, but not this one.  He is good in the hotel and minds his manners fairly well, but does not like to be left alone for very long periods so I've never left him for longer than a few minutes. 

We've had a full day travelling, setting up our space at the show, a little grooming and then settling into our hotel.  This little dog is one tired pup! And yes, he is on the bed.  We don't do this at home!

Tomorrow we have an early morning show time and then we are headed out to see the sites if I can navigate through the construction zones!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday 07.01.2015

I had no idea that stargazer lilies were so easy to grow until I saw them growing en mass at the Botanical Garden.  From the price of a cut lily in the store I had always assumed they are exotic plants that require much cultivation.  They are actually a fairly new hybrid lily.  Sources I read said they prefer full sun, but these were growing in a lightly shaded area.  And, yes, they are fragrant!