Saturday, October 29, 2011


Remember the three tomato plants I planted way last spring?  The ones I've been boring you to death about for eight solid months now?  The ones the deer chomped in half as soon as I planted them, but which then came back to life just when I was ready to yank them out?  The ones that started fruiting just in time for it all to get stunted and shriveled by our record streak of triple digit temps, and then started fruiting again?

My Black Prince...
my Yellow Plum...
and my Juliet?

Juliet is the one I left sitting in its pot for-ev-er, not even sure if it was worth the trouble to plant it.  It was a straggly, half-dead mess when I finally got around to putting it in the ground.  Now it's huge and lush and absolutely loaded with fruit that is just coming ripe.  I picked my first piece yesterday, and was hoping to have enough to roast by the end of the week.

Of course, we did have a cool front come through this week, and they predicted our temps dipping down into the low 40's. perhaps, but that's not enough to get yer knickers in a twist over, right?  So, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning, only to discover our handy-dandy electronic thermometer reading thirty-frickin-four-degrees!

They still look ok to me, so I guess my question is, how long will it be before I know whether to pitch a hissy fit or not?

Friday, October 28, 2011


Since I have always viewed my birthday as the official start of the holiday season (even if the rest of the world doesn't see it that way), how fortuitous was it that a serious cool front just happened to whisk through here last night, blowing away the last of those ninety degree temps (we hope!); we just happened to need our downy duvet filler for the first time last night; I just happened to feel the need to switch from AC to heat for the first time today; and, my hubby just happened to buy a candle for some reason today, brought it home and lit it up, and it just happened to be in my veeeerrry favorite holiday fragrance?  Let the festivities begin!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


This was my in-laws when I first met them.  I wish my kids could have known them then, instead of having most of their memories filled with the bad times, towards the end.  Unfortunately, that's the way it goes when all four of the grandparents were 30 before they had us,  and we were 29 and 33 before we had our first child.

Not long ago I mentioned that my hubby bought a new scanner, and he's been a busy little bee, scanning all our old slides.  Imagine my surprise when I opened up I-photo on my computer the other day, and found a bunch of photos of George and Theda in their early days.  Photos that I'd never seen before.  Photos like these:

How I wish I could have known them then -- known something about their personalities and sense of humor, their hopes and dreams, their struggles and triumphs.  If only I had more stories about them, that I could pass along to my kids -- something to supplant all those memories of dementia, pain, and humiliation.

So.  You wonder why I'm obsessed with writing it all down?  Well, there you have it, in a nutshell.  Our grandkids will have stories!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


How I love these old theatres!
The last show we saw in NY was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert -- again, not for the faint of heart nor the easily offended.  In fact, I have a friend who went to see it just last week, and she hated it, but I'm not sure she knew what she was getting into.  John and me?  We had a blast.  But then, we had seen the movie, and had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

John beneath a giant silver stiletto.
We weren't expecting a Phantom or a Les Mis.  We expected more of a Mamma Mia kind of show.  Priscilla is not really about the story.  It's just three drag queens on a road trip across Australia.  Nor is it about new, original music.  Instead they recycled a lot of favorites from our youth that are guaranteed to have you singing, clapping, and maybe even dancing along.  No, Priscilla is just great costumes, great dance numbers, great props, lots of glam and glitter, and a lot of great, campy fun!

A couple of the frocks.
Since Cousin Jerry happens to be Prop Manager for this one, he had us come around to the stage door after the show, and he escorted us down into the bowels of the theatre.
Seeing exactly what goes on behind the scenes took our appreciation to a whole new level.  For example, when Jerry worked on the show Shrek, there were two sets of costumes to deal with -- townspeople and ogres.  In this show, every single song meant every person on stage was in a brand new costume, from the tippy top of their elaborate wigs and eye-make-up-masks down to their rhinestone-studded stilettos.  And their were extra sets of everything for the stand-ins. That's a lot of stuff to keep pristine, to organize, to store, and to maneuver into being in the right place at the right time.  So many wigs and frocks and props!

My hubby was modeling one of these in a previous post.
The most amazing piece of proppery was Jerry's bus, which was covered in LED lights (behind see-through paneling) that created psychedelic light shows and imagery at different times throughout the show.  The bus itself could spin around on stage to reveal the other side, which opened up like a camper.  The top slid open as well, allowing characters to rise up from within!

The bus was lined with a special fake fur that was no longer available, and which Jerry had to have custom -ordered.
Jerry points out a favorite piece -- a copy of the original he found, but which belonged in a museum, so he made a mold from it. Many props serve the double purpose of hiding wires and things you don't want the audience to see.
The shoe carrousel, in the corner of the bus.  I want one of these for my bedroom!
I couldn't get over the work that went into every little piece on stage, even if it was just a prop in the bus, and not actually part of a costume!
Was this the best day of the trip?  It's hard to say.  They were all good!  Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the following morning we headed home.  Oh, but I almost forgot!  That last morning we caved in and headed to McDonalds, since we'd had it with $50 breakfasts, but guess what we stumbled upon along the way?  The Food Emporium, a great little Euro-style specialty grocer with a counter service bakery-cafe inside -- a cafe that served yummy pastries, illy coffees, hot cocoa or tea, and which had a long table facing the window, where we could linger over our tea and cocoa, and people watch to our heart's content.  Exactly what we had been looking for from the get-go.  The total cost for both our breakfasts?  $8.97  Oooh, yeah!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


On Thursday we went in search of a more reasonable breakfast, and spotted a place called Lindy's Diner. It looked like the sort of place where, back in Texas, you'd find a $3.99 breakfast special.  It was not.  The food was bad, the service grumpy, and still it cost us fifty bucks.  But that did not keep us from having a faaab-u-lous day!
First we went exploring down the Avenue of the Americas, towards Rockefeller Center, where young Kevin works.  We saw the Statue of Liberty...
did some souvenir shopping for the kids at the NBC store...

It's filled with M&Ms!
happened to be there for opening day of the infamous skating rink...
and bought a macaron at Bouchon, chef Thomas Keller's take on a French boulangerie.  It was a very good morning!

After a quick clean up back at the hotel, we then headed over to my cousin's loft apartment, just a few blocks off broadway.  Cousin Jerry is a very cool, very interesting guy. Imagine growing up on a ranch in Bogata, Texas (pronounced buh-GO-duh), and somehow making your way to Prop Manager on Broadway!  But then, all his siblings are like that.  His older brother started out as a rodeo clown, and now travels the country producing rodeos.  My uncle, he didn't raise no slackers!  Anyhoo, Jerry had made reservations for lunch at a very special place, but since we had a bit of time to kill, we got to see his gorgeous apartment (why didn't I take any photos?!) with fabulous artwork from some of the theatre greats, then we took a leisurely stroll through Central Park to get to our luncheon spot, Jean Georges, in one of the Trump buildings.  We decided to go whole-hog, and ordered the six-course tasting menu, which was uh-MA-zing, but there are no pictures of that either.  Not because I forgot this time, but because this place was so fancy-schmancy I was just too intimidated to whip out my camera.  I was afraid my poor cousin would be mortified!

When we'd finally finished lunch, at about 4:00, we returned to the hotel for a little rest up.  We needed it, after all the walking we'd done that day!  (I don't know how anyone could be overweight in NYC).  Then it was back to Broadway for our final show, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert -- but more about that later!

An interesting sculpture of construction workers perched on a beam, having lunch, that travels around town mounted atop this little truck.

Monday, October 24, 2011


The merchandisers at Fishs Eddy know my secret -- that if you don't have a "theme" for a display, you can always merchandise by color!  See how everything in this photo ties into the colors of those marbles in front?
There were two main shops in NYC that my big sister told me I just had to visit: ABC Home and Fishs Eddy.  ABC made me think of an Anthropologie store.  On steroids.  Mega doses of steroids.  I can see it being a favorite haunt for women whose primary purpose in life is to score something unique that none of their friends has yet.  Or, if you happen to be my cousin Jerry, and need an unusual chandelier for one of the shows you gather/create props for, this might be a great place to go.  For the most part though, as they say about New York, it's a great place to visit, but...  Me, I like practical stuff.  Useful stuff.  And color.  Boy, do I like color.  Which is why I just loooooooved Fishs Eddy!
Fishs Eddy was just chock full of both color and useful stuff, like dishes and glassware -- my very favorite kind of useful stuff!

OK, these glove molds probably aren't all that useful, but they get bonus points for color!
It's a really good thing I don't have one of these stores anywhere close to Wimberley, 'cause the only thing that kept me from getting into serious trouble here?  Knowing what a pain it would be to haul ceramics or glassware home on the plane!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Wednesday was our rainy day, and for once I managed to stay in bed as late as John, so we went in search of breakfast together.  John was drawn, as if by magnet, to the huge chocolate-dipped croissants in the window of a bistro-like cafe called Ben Ash.  I had a pretty good bagel and some hot chocolate, while John enjoyed a beautiful fruit and yogurt plate with the aforementioned croissant.  Only hitch?  With tax and tip, this breakfast cost us right at 50 bucks!

After a bit of exploring, we met up with young Kevin -- our son's best friend since first grade in Indonesia.

Kevin's a writer by night, editor for an NBC blog called Dvice by day, and has lived in NY for about four years now, so he led us down into the subway, and whisked us away from the midtown area for a bit of an adventure.  Destination?  Ippudo -- a Japanese ramen brasserie, not too far from Union Square.  Oh, my my!

Poor Kev had to go back to work afterwards, but not us!  Union Square is a great area to explore, even on a cold, drizzly day.  There's the farmers' market...

and Max Brenner, "chocolates from the bald guy"...

The chocolate syringe, for the serious chocoholic!
and of course, lots of fun shops to explore, like ABC Home and Fish's Eddy (more about that one tomorrow).  Before we knew it, we were plum out of time for dinner, and just had to get cleaned up and head straight to the theater.  Wednesday's performance?  The Book of Mormon.  Not for the faint of heart, nor the easily offended, but OMG, did we ever laugh!

We finished off the evening with a late night snack at Angelo's Pizza, right next to David Letterman's theatre, again thinking this had to have been the best day of our vacation.  Again, we were wrong!