Thursday, November 29, 2012

Texas Courthouses

Texas has some of the loveliest courthouses and if I had more time, or energy, or gas money, I might do a quest to photograph all of them.  But I think I will settle for these few and happily spend my time on other, more readily available pursuits...

Glen Rose

Also Glen Rose

Ft Worth

Sulphur springs



Okay, this is hardly a courthouse but I've been trying to tuck this picture into the blog somewhere.  I have to admire anyone who would put a 12' cow in their front yard.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Civil War and Fashions to die for....

I thought I had seen the last of the Civil War when I left the south and headed west but someone urged me to visit this museum in Ft. Worth...for something unusual.

I persuaded Aunt Louise to see the movie, Lincoln, with me and, finally, I was completely satiated with Civil War knowledge.  I am determined not to visit another battleground, prison camp or museum after this.  I do, however, recommend the movie.

The performance by Daniel Day Lewis is jaw-dropping.  He looks more like Lincoln than--well, Lincoln. 

The history lessons the movie gives us are unnerving--the things Lincoln had to do to get the 13th amendment passed are debatable regarding the ethics. What was more free the slaves or to stop the killing? It seems both could not happen at once. And was it more important to preserve the Union or to punish the rebels?  (As an aside, I discovered that my Lambert great grandfather owned slaves.  I am still mulling that over.)
But this is why I came to this museum.  There is an extensive and remarkable collection of Victorian dresses on display .

Not one dress would have fit anyone over 5' tall or over 100 pounds.  Once again I am amazed at the size difference.  And please note the waistlines.

All the clothes were beautifully tailored and mostly done by hand. Sewing machines were just coming into use at the turn of the last century but the better clothes were still done by hand.

Oooh La La!

Isn't it amazing?  In such a short time we have evolved our fashion from these elegant dresses to holey jeans and jeweled flip flops.  Isn't progress grand? 

These apparatus created bustles--or big behinds.  Wow! My butt would have been in fashion 150 years ago. I think I'll hang a ruffle on the back of my holey jeans and start a new trend.

I enjoyed the display until I came to the following poster on the wall....
And now I know... my jeans and sweat shirts are not so bad after all.  From those tight-laced corsets our  youth are now succumbing to anorexia and bulimia. All in the name of fashion.

 I am so glad my beaded flip flops let my toes wiggle.  Do you think, 100 years from now, there will be a display of fashions from today?  What will it show and just what will people say about it?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Where the locals go.....

"Let's go out for lunch," Aunt Louise suggested. (BTW, she suggests that every day and when I start tiring out from all the coming-and-going, my 90+ year old aunt will say something like,  "Maybe you should take a nap." She never takes a nap and her energy never wanes.)

Half way between Aledo and Weatherford, Tx on the north side of I-20 sits this funky, somewhat non-identifiable store.  We parked along the access road next to a lot of other cars.  The signs read Wood Stoves, Garden Supplies, John Deere Parts.  

Nowhere did I see a restaurant or sign of one but Aunt Louise assured me we were in the right place.

I wanted this guy for my house in Tucson but couldn't figure how to carry him. I did think Halcyon II would look good with a bowsprit figurehead--if she only had a bowsprit.

Inside the door we found...well, stuff...Lots and lots of stuff.

Room one--nuts, bolts, hardware.

Room two--chairs and stoves

Room three--stove accessories

Room four--antique chairs and desks

I'm still in room four when I spied this relic.  I remembered it from my childhood and suspect that at least one of my sisters will remember it too. (any guesses?)

Room five--more antiques...and more stuff.

Ditto, room six...

and seven...(boy, I am getting hungry) 

At the entrance to room eight was a table with two ladies, eating a sandwich--ahh, food at last.

And here it is!  Room nine with tables and chairs and ladies behind that counter serving some of the most luscious looking sandwiches on fresh-baked bread. 

My mouth watered for a slice of the home-made peach pie but I would have to work my way through this 5 pound roast beef sandwich first.

"What's this restaurant called?" I asked.
"It's the Wood Stove Store," Aunt Louise replied, disdainfully.

Oh, of course.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ft. Worth Encore

Today is Thanksgiving  and Halloween was a mere 3 weeks ago!  Where did this month go?

I arrived in Ft Worth just before Halloween and made the customary, and much anticipated stop at Uncle Julio's Mexican Restaurant where cousins, Jerry; wife, Kathy; daughter Chelsea; her husband, Blake; Aunt Louise and I congregated.

 We occupied a table for about two hours and caught up on politics, the state of the nation, plans for the holidays,  the latest conspiracy theories and some juicy gossip.

  It had been a year since I sat in this same restaurant with Jerry and Kathy.  I cannot believe how fast the year has gone nor how much I have seen in that time.  The cousins asked, has this Odyssey been what I expected?  

It has been so much more than I expected and I often feel guilty about this blog. (I know it is like an interminable family newsletter--"What I did on my Vacation")  But to all of you 'stay-at-home', armchair travelers--Life on the open road is--well, FUN! There is always something more to see, somewhere ahead to explore, someone else to visit with.   I don't want it to end and I am finding myself getting restless when I stay in one place too long.  If this journal gets boring, well, I am sorry.  But I hope it is a fun trip for any of you that aren't ready to get out there yourselves.   

Is this an addiction that will give me trouble down the road? Is there a cure?  or Is it fatal?  Am I destined to live the rest of my life following the broken yellow line?  Will I always be looking for what lies beyond the next curve? Ohhh, I hope so!

An example of an interesting and unusual place that I might never have explored when time was limited.  Aunt Louise, Cousin Glenda and I did another trip to BRIT...

BRIT is one of those 'below the radar' programs that few people know anything about.

Run by very knowledgeable volunteers whose main goal is to gather, chart and catalog all the flora of the country-- native,  foreign, invasive, heirloom--there are millions of specimens dating back for decades.

Anyone may send a specimen with questions about its properties, its origins, etc.  The plants are then mounted with descriptions on the location, date found, type of plant, and any peculiarities.

The mountings are constructed by the volunteers and stored in a climate controlled vault.
I thought these were so lovely they should be framed and hung on the wall.

There are now millions of specimens--including cocoa leaves and marijuana. (I did wonder who sent the pot specimen and what question he might have asked--the volunteer couldn't tell me.)


Monday, November 19, 2012

A visit with Aunt Louise

As I drove through San Antonio I made a stop to visit Aunt Cile, Uncle Merrill, cousin Denise and her husband Dwight.  Can you believe that Uncle Merrill is about to turn 90 years old?  He was doing very well, though walking is difficult for him now.  We went to a really good (and incredibly busy) Mexican restaurant for dinner and Dwight was full of questions about my 'life on the road'.  Look out, Denise, I think he's got retirement plans. (BTW, What's the name of that restaurant? I want to recommend it)

Then on to Ft Worth and Aunt Louise's house where I planned to stay for a few weeks.

That is the gate to her property and over the years this fence and gate have been hit some 30 times by motorists coming around the curve in the road.  I think she should put in a moat instead of a fence--maybe only 3 ft deep.  It would baptize a few reckless drivers and perhaps provide some entertainment while they pull their cars out.  As it now happens, they wipe out the fence then drive away before she can get their names or license plate numbers. 

You can tell by the dead grass that rain is a rarity in this part of Texas.  But Aunt Louise still gets out many mornings in the summer with the riding mower and cuts her grass--acres of it!  If the weather weren't so dry she would be out there even more.  And can you believe that she is over 90 as well?

Posted by PicasaSo Halcyon II was quite satisfied to sit in her driveway for a while.  It is very nice to have my own rolling guest room.  Sigh Me and I can stay out of her hair until Aunt Louise is up and ready to face the world in the morning and we can retire at night and play old rock n roll music to hearts content without worrying about annoying her with 'the racket'.

I know, whenever I get to Ft. Worth that we will be visiting museums.  This is from The Doss in Weatherford and the above painting reminded me--of me.

If I could paint I would paint flowers.

Or perhaps I would paint with fabric...

This seemed especially difficult to me--quilted portraits. 

I would love to do a quilted portrait of Aunt Louise.  Or write a poem about her.

She is a walking history book about Texas--from the pre-history of dinosaurs,  to the great ranchers of the last century,  and finally to the latest mega land deals and the pillages of the land from 'fracking'. And everywhere we go, people know her and rush to greet her. 

One day I joined her for the monthly Ft Worth Women's Club Luncheon.  It was a lively affair at the Black-Eyed Pea but the club is dwindling in size--no new members have been added in years.  The conversations all centered around the health of the members and it reminded me of one of my favorite 'Aunt Louise stories'...
One day a friend of her's asked her, "How are you feeling?"
Her reply was a bit abrupt, "I feel fine! And if I didn't, I wouldn't tell you."

So, I guess I'll just post a blog about her.