Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A New Place to Hang Out

We're still getting things off the floor here at the remodel house. Last weekend it was the elk's turn to find his new spot. He's the crowning jewel of the stuffed zoo we'll have out in the pool cabana. Slowly but surely we'll get both sides filled in with the other hoofed critters we already have, plus the ones from Afrida STILLLLLLLL at the taxidermist here in Texas for processing. 

It was a tight fit. Any closer and the guys would have poked a hole in the ceiling to attach the antlers. Because seriously, those suckers detach. Otherwise it would be quite heavy and unwieldy when you need to move and hang it. Shift Mr. Elk the wrong way and lose an eye. I'm sure ER docs see that all the time.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bragging on my kids

The teen is off and running this school year with cheering and peer mentoring and clubs and AP classes and handling it like a champ. She drives herself to and from school and that has been such a handy thing for her to have her license. No more grousing at me if I didn't read her mind and restock the strawberries. She just hops in her car and goes to buy some on her own.

Homecoming (HOCO) is in a few weeks and this year the dance is Sadie Hawkins. Oh the horror! I've gotta ask a boy? What if he thinks I like him? What if he says no? So the teen debated and pondered and finally made her poster to rustle up a date. Because you don't just ask face-to-face anymore. You have to come up with a cute slogan on a poster. She did a play on the young man's last name that's pronounced blass and made it BLAST since the HOCO theme this year is space/aliens. Which begs the question, whaaaaattt?! And who the heck was on the committee that chose this?

My furry child Ollie has become my walking buddy in the 'hood every morning. This past week, I took him farther than usual and I think it did him some good. He was dragging by the time we got home and seemed less restless... though the squirrels in the front yard still plague him with their antics as if they know he can't be turned loose out front to run them down. On a side note, here is the little prince making himself at home on the new loveseat in the front living area.

Friday was the third day we spied a roadrunner in the same area on our walk. It stands there and lets us get pretty close before it dashes away. Ollie seems perplexed as to why it doesn't fly off like every other winged creature he has chased. That same day, we spied a gray fox. If it had been a coyote, I'd have started looking around for falling boulders and ACME dynamite sticks. Beep-beep and that's all folks!

Patio Sprucing

Now that the inside of the remodel house is about 95% done, with just the upstairs bedrooms and bath needing odds and ends, it's time to tackle the patio. It's just so danged visible from the family/dining room in the house through the wall of windows, that I feel like it's an extension of the entertaining space and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. 

Our decorator has chosen some thick slate tiles for the new patio decking. It's got shades of blue and green and gray and cream that will hopefully look great in a broken brick pattern to match the house and cabana. Now we're just waiting on our appointment with the landscape architect this Friday to get things kicked off with a master plan so the contractor and decorator can work their magic.

Bye-bye, mismatched pool decking.

So long dead space in the vee of the house and hello modern water fountain that will double as a bird bath. I'm thinking something kinda like this.

Adios, bare concrete slab.

Time for an outdoor fireplace to roast weenies and marshmallows later this fall. It must have a sufficient hearth for my big ol' butt to park it there and get warm.

And the old rubber mulch area where the former owners had a big outdoor playset will get some sort of overhaul, too. Maybe an area that can be used to toss horseshoes, pitch washers and play corn hole? Anything would be an improvement over the current eyesore.

I'll be posting updates once we get into demo in a few weeks. I hope the landscape architect really understands and honors our vision of a clean and more modern space that requires less maintenance and can be enjoyed year round.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Dog's Life

Every morning, I take Ollie my furry child on a walk through the neighborhood. Our remodel house, built in 1953, was way out in the boonies back in the day  but now it's in the thick of things. Homes in our little sliver of the city are all built on 2-3 acres lots. So it's a really peaceful and mostly car-free stroll with Ollie boy for about 45 minutes.

The pugzillas, mother's other children, come over to hang with us quite often. They shed like cheap fur coats, but they're pretty entertaining. Lots of snorting and snuffling and waddling around like bowling balls with legs.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Ponderings on a Bush

Now that we've got the inner fence for Ollie boy, we need to plant something along it so that you can't see into the backyard pool area from the road. 

This part of the yard, seen below, is a bit of a mess right now. We had a big old leaning Arizona Ash tree removed because it had started to lose big limbs when it rained or the wind blew a bit. And then there's the freshly turned dirt from the septic pipe fix. I'm thinking I need to make a run to the local big box home improvement store to see about getting some St Augustine seed to try and fill in the mud this fall with grass so I won't be fighting the issue of dirty dog footprints all over the house.

I went online to the trusty A&M Ag site to find some options. But there were stipulations. It has to be deer resistant. Those hungry SOBs will strip plants clean of leaves. Been there, provided snacks for them in our past landscaping. 

Another important point is that the plants must be drought tolerant. The thought of dragging a hose around to hand water these plants for the rest of my days isn't something I want to do. There's only so much zen and relaxation I get from standing there watering plants and contemplating the universe while the skeeters chew on me. 

The whole how-fast-it-grows issue is a Catch-22. We want it to grow quickly and fill in. But then we want it to slow down and not try to overtake the fence, yard, AC units, dog, etc. Because then I'm having to pay my yard guy extra to trim these as yet to be determined bushes several times a year if they grow too fast.

Right now I've narrowed it down to four finalists. Next step is to visit a local nursery to see them in person and get the 411 from their folks.

The nominees are...

Wax Myrtle

Sandwanka Viburnum

Red Tip Photinia

Variegated Privet


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Falling into Blue and Green

I sure do LOVE me some fall. Autumn is awesome. It's the second most wonderful time of the year. And this year I'm decorating with punches of blue and green and silver that slide right in alongside my blue and green vintage glass collection.

It's not traditional colors, but I find it equally pleasing to the eye. Refreshing and soothing - no bright orange pops of color to damage my retinas. We've been there and done that when the girls were little. Now it's fall the way momma wants it and I'm thinking this new color scheme will be around for years to come.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Love Me Some Friday Night Lights

They were great. Oh sure, the football team lost. But the cheerleaders looked so danged cute and peppy on the sidelines. The 11th grader was a bit nervous, being on the sidelines in front of a crowd for the first time at a Texas high school football game, but she didn't let it show. She looked like she was having fun and we were proud of her. 

We kicked off the team sports school spirit Friday by attending a volleyball game with friends whose daughter is a senior. I had a nice expat stroll down memory lane with Debbie that just moved back to Texas this summer with her husband who retired yesterday from a 27 yr stint in the Air Force. We discovered our daughters played volleyball against each other last year when they were both attending international schools in the London 'burbs. Small world, as always.

Then we hit the outdoor stands to watch the daughter cheer. And some occasional football, too. 

The daughter's school has their own version of the corps and it's pretty cool. Reminds me of back in the day at A&M. I really liked this pic because it's a great distance shot of the Texas hill country on a Friday evening in September.

Here's a little video of our cheerleader in action.