Thursday, May 25, 2023

From Coffee Bars to emerging butterflies...

DH and I went out this morning for coffee and hot chocolate at Frogg's Coffee Bar and Creperie. He had a Banana's Foster Crepe... which was very good (I tasted it - but since they aren't gluten-free don't tempt myself). I should have taken a pic. But we enjoyed eating outside on the patio and sharing his crepe with some pretty aggressive Starlings. They land right on your table and beg...  probably the not most sanitary idea... but we didn't mind. It was shady and cool... a nice place to start the morning.

Last week we visited our friend out in the country. I finished the tassels on 2 of her Fisherman's afghans and returned them to her.

Also it was her birthday, so I made her some of my sour cream chicken enchiladas, some home-made almond horns, and some chocolate dipped strawberries... as well as a few other well chosen little gifts. It was a nice visit, but got cut short due to bad weather. We headed back when it slacked up, but ended up in torrential rain on the highway. Took us an hour to get home instead of the normal 30 minutes.

And... recently my granddaughter brought me about a dozen caterpillars she took off her mom's dill plant. They are now residing in covered vases - (with lots of dill) in our den. 2 have already gone into chrysalis. Should be coming out as Black Swallowtails in 7-10 days (more or less).

The first time I ever did this was the summer of 1998. Back then I was the editor of The local Audubon newsletter and this is what I wrote:


This is an incredible story... not because I grew a butterfly, but because of the serendipitous change that occurred within me as the metamorphosis took place. As I watched, this crawly creature (caterpillar) became an inanimate leaf looking object - its soft movable body seemed to stiffen and harden - and I had to wonder if it was a 'painful' process.  Knowing that many of life's big changes are usually painful (births, deaths), I figured it probably was and felt empathy for this tiny creature.  

Day in and Day out, I watched for changes in the chrysalis. Then suddenly, only 10 days from the onset, I noticed something was hanging on the side of the chrysalis - something that looked like a dark leaf. Looking closer I realized it was my butterfly! Hurriedly I took the jar outside and lifted the branch she was clinging to out. She slowly climbed onto a rose, opened her wings, and stayed there as I ran inside for my camera and returned to take numerous pictures - all the time telling her how beautiful and perfect she was.

She stayed there apparently drying her wings - and probably wondering what and where she was - as I rambled on ooing and aahing over her, calling my husband and my friends announcing her birth like some lunatic.  I was also afraid to leave her as the roses are close to the bird feeder and several Blue Jays were hanging around. I told them that they had better not touch this butterfly. I protected the birds from the cats, and I intended to protect this butterfly from them... at least until she took her first flight.

It was about 15 minutes before she suddenly became very lively - as if the critical information as to who and where she was finally filtered through, and off she went - a little haphazardly at first landing on the Lady Banks roses on the fence, then off again landing on the lower branch of a Redwood Tree, then finally up into the sunshine and higher up into the branches of a tree by the creek.  My heart soared with her!  And I realized watching her that it really didn't matter if her life wasn't long - that she made it this far was a miracle... and the strange thing was that I felt that she knew it too. 


2nd Swallowtail emerged this morning. Took longer for him to get his act together and stayed around the backyard longer. When I went outside later, he seemed to buzz me... was flying around and around in the sunshine - if I had to interpret it - gleefully!  The Scripture passage that states "what-so-ever you do for the least of my breathren..." came to me. 

I know many of you will think this ridiculous... getting so excited over something kids in grammar school see all the time. But I had never done this and it did affect me. I can't explain why.

And one morning years later when I had surgery scheduled that day and was feeling scared, a new butterfly emerged unexpectedly that morning... and lifted my spirits again!

(I have looked all over for pictures of that first butterfly - and I know I kept them, but can't for the life of me find them - sorry)

Going to close this now.

Thanks for letting me share this memory with you.

Hugs (virtual),


Thursday, May 18, 2023

a post Mother's Day meal... and some odds and ends

our post celebratory Mother's Day Meal
dessert: bread pudding

This was our post celebratory Mother's Day meal... we had Wednesday evening at our favorite Italian restaurant. I can't recall the names of each of the entree's - but mine is a wonderful mix of veggies with chicken and pasta. DH's is a pasta with sausage and cheese. Both are beyond wonderful and enough to take home for another meal. And of course we always share their bread pudding (another favorite of ours - if made right - and they do!)

The next few pics are just some odds and ends that I wanted to share:

Cookie and Harvey - youngest granddaughter's companions

my tomatoes 

the little bunnies I bought in the hill country

All else is good. I got phone calls, texts, and flowers for Mother's Day and DIL brought over some home-made Tiramisu... which was wonderful. I also tried a new recipe for custard cake (I love anything custard so had to try it). It's definitely a keeper...

And that's about it here. The feral cats are all doing well. Life goes on.

I did lose my Amazfit watch for a week. It was on my wrist when I went to Walmart's and not when I returned last week. Lost and Found had one that I'm not sure was mine, so didn't take it... looked old. But when I went back this week, it still was the only one they had - so I took it. It did sync up with my phone (don't know if they all do??). Anyway, I took it home and cleaned it well with lysol wipes and it seems to be working fine. 

Also I've made some progress in cleaning out the computer room... not a lot mind you, but actually shredded several boxes of bills and papers that belonged to both my brother and my mom (both deceased). It's taken me this long to do that. Bill died in 2000 and mom in 2008. I decided it was time...  And I put out 2 boxes of 'stuff' on the sidewalk for anyone to take if they get there before the garbage pickup in the morning. It could be garage sale stuff, but we don't do garage sales.

OK, that's it folks. I going to make myself a cup of tea and do a load of wash (exciting life, yes? but still happy to be here).  Take care and know that I look forward to reading your posts! 

Hugs (virtual),


Sunday, May 14, 2023

Happy Mother's Day ! May 14, 2023

My mother passed away in 2008, but I wish her 

a Happy Mother's Day today still...  

She was a wonderful mother. We didn't have the same personalities, nor the same likes and dislikes when it came to personal choices, but we loved and respected each other. Mom lived with us for the last 14 years of her life. 

When Alzheimer's became a problem (and I was still working), she went into an Assisted Living facility for a short time, then to a Memory Care Unit. I now regret that I didn't stop working and just take her home - but at the time it didn't seem right for many reasons. Mom passed away due to complications of Alzheimer's within that year. Mom was 94.

And now I want to share with you a poem that I came across a while back that to me embodies motherhood. It's how I felt (and still feel) about becoming a mother for the first time. 


Happy Mother's Day!

Hugs (virtual),


Wednesday, May 10, 2023

an ice-cream day...

Today DH and I stopped at McDonald's for sundae's. I got hot fudge and he got caramel (he wanted strawberry, but apparently they don't do strawberry anymore?) Who knew? We haven't done this since before the pandemic - and then the sundaes were like $1 or maybe $1.50... now, they're about $2.50 and smaller. But we shouldn't be surprised. After all, most things are getting smaller and costing more. That's just the way it is these days, I guess. 

Not complaining, just noticing. We really enjoyed the sundaes despite it all. We have taken to stopping for a coffee or hot chocolate (or ice-cream now) when out running errands. Again... something we used to do, but stopped with the pandemic. Guess we're just getting back to what may be our new normal. 3 years of staying home and cutting back has left it's mark. And although I don't think we'll ever be quite the same, we are enjoying the little things again.

Covid is still around. You hear about people down with it daily... but generally it isn't life-threatening anymore - and few have to be hospitalized. So I guess what I'm saying is that this is the first spring in a long time that I feel we can breathe freely. However, DH and I still wear our masks when in public places - just to be safe (and yes, I know they are no guarantees) I will probably be a life-time masker when it comes to crowds, but that's just me. 


My removable partial was adjusted again yesterday. Now it seems to be fine and I'm wearing it daily without any problem. 

We plan to go out to eat at an Italian Restaurant for Mother's Day. We probably won't go on Sunday as it might be too crowded. But we're both looking forward to it and if I can remember, will post a picture of our meals. 

Daughter's horse got sprayed by a porcupine last week. She said she spent the evening taking quills out or Tootsie's face.

I'm planning to make Almond Horns in the next day or so. They can be made with almond flour and almond paste... so are gluten free! 

And our tomato plants are actually making tomatoes... or trying. Here is a pic:

The cucumber plant looks good too, but hasn't produced anything yet... but it has a few flowers. And the same goes for the bell peppers. So yes, our Trug garden is doing a bit better this year... so far. 

And our mint front garden is taking over. It looks so wonderful in the spring... and we use it in our sweet tea... but as the weather gets hot, it will go to seed and get scraggly looking. 

mint front garden now

That's the news here for now... nothing earth-shattering, but that's the kind of news I like. I will recommend a movie that we saw on Netflix the other night, "A man called Otto" (kind of an odd story line but still good)

that's me...

that's me too!

 - Rian

Friday, May 5, 2023

Harvey, new dental partial, and a good rice pudding recipe...

I think I've previously mentioned that our youngest granddaughter has a new kitten/cat. Actually he's almost one year old... so possibly a young cat. He's an orange domestic shorthair and his name is Harvey.  Here is a pic of granddaughter and Harvey in the dog's bed. Cookie is her French bulldog. He and Harvey seem to get along pretty well - although Cookie may be a tad jealous.

Next in the news is that - as of Wednesday, I have a removable dental partial (bridge). Told the dentist today that now I know what a horse feels like when they put a bit in his mouth. This partial is connected on both sides with a small silver palate that sits over my palate. Feels strange... Making rice pudding at the moment for 2 reasons. First because I like it and second because it is soft and easier to eat with this new bit in my mouth. 

Had to go back Thursday to have some adjustments made. Does feel a bit better now. Guess it will take some getting used to. I have been missing 3 back teeth on my upper left side for some time now. It puts all the pressure when eating on my right... which isn't good, so I finally agreed to the partial.

Note: if you like rice pudding, this is an easy (and good!) recipe:


1.5 cups cold water

3/4 cup uncooked white rice

1.5 cups milk (I use whole milk

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoon butter (I use unsalted)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream (can use regular milk here - but I like it rich)

2/3 cup golden raisins (optional - I don't like raisins)

Step 1:

Pour water into saucepan and bring to boil. Stir in rice. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed (about 20 mins.)

Step 2:

Combine cooked rice, 1.5 cups milk, sugar, and salt in a clean saucepan. Cook stirring often  until thick and creamy... (about 10-15 mins).

Step 3:

Stir in heavy cream (or another 1/2 cup milk), beaten egg, (and raisins if desired - I don't) Cook 2 mins more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until combined.  Good served warm or cold. 

DH and I went out to run some errands this afternoon. The weather is really hot and muggy. Temp is 93 F and feels like 102 F.  I actually like humidity - find it comforting and relaxing (probably due to being raised in New Orleans without AC as a child). But - it is the first day of Texas heat that I'm noticing...

Never the less, we stopped at a favorite coffee shop for coffee and a hot chocolate. We usually sit outside there, but this time we stayed inside - in the AC.

And of course with the temp that high, we are now getting alerts for severe Thunderstorm watches...

Update: Love my new KitchenAid dish dryer rack!

and just for fun - love my cat dish towels the kids give me!

 It's Friday! Have a good weekend! 

Be safe, have fun, make someone smile!

Hugs (virtual),