Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Woe is me....

It has been two months in Ft Worth--with a two week sprint through Louisiana in the middle--filled with rain, threats of tornadoes, wind, leaks, broken bits and pieces--including my beloved camera--and lots of humid heat.  An expensive all-day trip to Camping World fixed the leaks;  Ace hardware fixed some broken bits but the pieces are still giving me headaches; and the weather is getting hotter.

I tend toward frustration when inanimate objects refuse to operate in their instruction-booklet-promised manner.  After downloading weeks worth of photos from my new camera into the computer the photos all disappeared! Every last one!  There are presently 35,000 photos stashed away in my computer library and I know those new ones have hidden away somewhere in the lot but, try as hard as I might, I can not find them! In addition, everything I have been able to search out looks fuzzy.  I have tried over and over to adjust the camera settings, only to make things worse.

Suzanne, my friend and Aunt Louise's caregiver, tries to keep me laughing but I'm getting more testy by the day.  We did a lot of sightseeing on back country roads and I took lots of pictures (Clark Gardens, Italian Restaurant, Dog Park, Blah, Blah).  Just try to imagine them.

See the ring in the pavement in front of Aunt Louise's chair?  It's for tying up one's horse.  Try to imagine the rest of the little country town we stopped in for lunch.

Aunt Louise's best friend, Louise Farmer and her daughter, Connie.

Finally!  Some pictures appeared under the date 01-01-1980!  Were there any photo programs on personal computers in 1980?

Connie and her husband, Scott.

These are two very talented people with many activities going on in their lives all the time.  Connie sews, quilts, makes jewelry and writes and publishes romance novels under the name of Constance Anne Scott. (I pout and look for photos.)

Even Daisy is having a pity-party.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Saying 'Goodbye' to Aunt Louise's House

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Ft. Worth and the most noteworthy activity has been saying "Goodbye" to Aunt Louise's house.  


I had a few pictures in last year's blog postings that showed the HUGE amount of 'things' that Aunt Louise had amassed over her 96 years of life.  Those things were sold in a giant Estate Sale last May and June.

The house was then put up for sale and it was quickly purchased by the owners of an adjoining ranch.  

The new owners wanted it as a guest house, primarily for their children and grandchildren.

Walls were removed, bathrooms were gutted and new tile put in...

New fixtures....

new cabinetry. 

A transformation is definitely underway.

The backyard, once overgrown with vegetation.... now opened up.

Aunt Louise laments the loss of her wildflowers and worries about the wildlife that lived on the property.  But not all has been lost. The new owners have assured her that the wildlife will be protected.  And the irises that her mother (Grandma)  planted over 50 years ago are suddenly much easier to see.

It is undeniably hard to close this door on a life that she was most proud of.  It is something we never, deep down,  think we will have to face.  However, none of us escapes it.  Life changes, sometimes more rapidly and other times so slowly we hardly notice.  Still it changes.
How complacent will I be when I have to give up the keys to the RV?  Not very, I suspect.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

West Texas --Bring on the Locusts.

The wind stopped by the next morning.  I headed east out of El Paso with no whirling dust clouds in sight, lots of sun,  a determination that West Texas would not defeat me and a new mini-vacuum to clean up  the grit.


This part of the US is the least inviting of all my travels but, since it is the fastest route to Ft Worth, I go as fast as I can.  I even break my 'only 3-hours-driving-per-day' rule to get it over with faster.

By the time I reached Midland it was raining--hard--and did not stop for 24 hours.  Daisy and I sat in the Cracker Barrel parking lot and waited.

If I thought the sandstorm was the worst West Texas would throw at me, I was wrong.  Spirit sprang a leak!  Right over Daisy's bed.  The whole upper bunk
 above the driver's and passenger's seats was wet.  Very wet.

Another day lost.  Immediately,  I unloaded all the storage stuff off the wet bunk-- and there was a lot of stuff.

 I raised the mattress up onto glasses to dry it out and set up a fan is to try and stop mildew. 

The water stains on the mattress (note the stains to the left of the fan) are my souvenir.   The turmoil of boxes would torture me for a week before I could get into Camping World to find and seal the leak.

My reward was to finally see Aunt Louise and Suzanne again.

 I would be camping in the parking lot behind Aunt Louise's apartment complex for the next few weeks.


Daisy was so happy to see grass instead of sand, rocks and cactus.  The moment she jumped out of the RV she stretched out in the soft cool green carpet , with legs spread-eagle,  and just lay there.  I think she was also frustrated by the grit, the inability to move around in our living space,  the rain, and the confinement caused by endless driving.

One week later Camping World went to work and recaulked every place they could find on the roof.  Last night we experienced another major rain storm--HOORAY!  No water anywhere inside!
Did I mention how much I enjoy crossing West Texas?

Saturday, April 1, 2017

I Need a Rest!

What a harried week!

Getting ready to hit the road means: 
tons of errands--groceries, laundry, carwash, top off the propane, Petsmart for a dogwash,  

cleaning the RV (found an errant onion that was looking for a garden);

 vehicle maintenance (oil change, wheel alignment); 
wash all bedding including dogbed; 
                                                          last minute doctor visits;
                                                                   forward mail;
                                          and finally, farewell lunches and dinners with friends...



Suzie and Bailey 

Bailey (who didn't like sharing his balls with Daisy)

Lynda and Karen

Me with Nancy

Don and Mikey

and Stuart.

Daisy was getting very impatient to get on the road.... 

Her favorite spot is to stand on the stairs and gaze longingly out the screen door.

...and when I fail to pay attention to her she has a unique way of getting my attention. (I am so sorry but the dog ate the gas bill.)

Finally!  We were on the road with a stop on Thursday night at the Sunland Casino in New Mexico.  At 8 AM Friday morning I awoke to the sound of thundering hooves...

...and discovered that we had parked right next to the Sunland race track!  

Daisy thought those big dogs were most entertaining,

We did a lot of horserace watching until the wind chased us back inside the RV.  High wind warnings were on the radio and the roads had become hazardous.  The day before we had passed two big rigs on the highway that were flipped on their sides --I did not want to become another casualty. The wind gusts were even stronger by 10 AM on Friday--clocking to 40 MPH according to the news so we spent a leisurely day rocking to the wind and watching the races from our window.

By Noon the dust in the air was like a thick fog.  The mountains had completely disappeared
and I was beginning to feel grit everywhere I put my hand.

The doors and windows were closed but the sand and dirt were still drifting in.  My clean RV was suddenly filthy--including my bed!  But the horse races continued long into the afternoon!  That seemed like the ultimate in animal cruelty to me.
This morning the wind  died completely and we are traveling again.  Next on the agenda--I am stopping at a Walmart in El Paso and buying a vacuum cleaner!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A found Treasure--the Miniature Museum

I moved to Tucson in 2001--16 years ago!  And last week was the first time I have visited this gem of a museum

I do not know how I missed it.  I am glad I finally found it--what a wonderful discovery.

All of the exhibits are behind glass and, even though I was allowed to take pictures, you will see some glare or fuzziness in every one.  

The museum is divided into three galleries with separate themes...


The center of this gallery is dominated by this wonderful tree with many tiny peep-holes...

...and a fairy that flitters here and there.

The inhabitants of the tree are tiny mice.
Surrounding the tree are miniature scenes inhabited by dragons, fairies, mice, frogs or storybook characters.


Made by Playmobil, a German company that produces easily assembled toys.

"The Kewpie Craze"

Pocket Dragons

"Cinderella's Coach"

"Easter Scene in a Coffee Pot"

"Tea Room in a Tea Pot"

"The Nutty Professor"
by Glenda Hooker--1997
(based on characters created by Eddie Murphy in the movie "The Nutty Professor")


"Oriental Floating Garden" 
by Bill Lankford--2005

"Japanese Family Farmhouse"
by Shoichi Uchiyama--1992

Traditional family farmhouse from the countryside north of Tokyo.  As of 1994 only three full-scale houses of this type were still in existence.

"Culinary Center"
Pat Ariel --1995

(The pots are actually made out of copper.)

Christmas scenes galore....

...even under the floor.

Ed Mabe and Eve Mabe--2002

"The Potter's Studio"
by Craig T. Roberts

 (This photo is for my sister, Mary who makes pottery.  I was fascinated that some of those pots are no bigger than a kernel of corn. ) 


"Time of the Pharaohs"

by Elaine Cannon--1950s

A collection of 52 miniature dolls in their individual glass domes.  Each doll is formed from a grain of wheat, with painted features, sculpted hair, and a body and limbs of wire wrapped with thread.  Costumes are Swiss silk with dried plant accessories.

A masterpiece of miniature art reproduces exactly its life-sized counterpart, down to the smallest nail or stitch.  Textiles require special care as ordinary threads and stitching often look out of scale when used in a miniature.


Miniature rugs that reproduce the patterns and textures of fine woven carpets are especially challenging.  Needlepoint in which threads are stitched into a background fabric mesh, employ a count (number of stitches per inch) of 30 to 40 per inch in order to achieve a realistic effect.

Many of the same type tools were used to create the miniatures that were replicas of the full-sized objects.  However--miniature art requires miniature tools.

"Yellow Rose of Texas"
by Brooke Tucker --1983-1985

The theme of Ms Tucker's house is "Wedding Day".  Note the table, full of gifts.

Brooke Tucker's miniatures convey a flair for elegant theatricality.   

Her mother was a glamorous showgirl, her father was the actor, Forrest Tucker, and her grandfather, Stanford Jolley,  played villains in dozens of westerns and B movies.

Please note the lights are lit, the cat in the chair, the dog under the bench on the left and dozens of other features.  Every single display took me many minutes to absorb in all its detail.

The Rolls Royce was waiting to whisk the bride away to the chapel.

"A Gentleman's Space"
by Ray Whitledge--1995

Note the moose head on the wall and the dog in front of the fireplace.

 "The Boatbuilder's Study"

"A Tribute to Erte"
by Brooke Tucker

 The Erte tribute was amazing, with all the glass, the chandeliers, and the 30's art deco.

by Peter Westcott
Contains reproductions of features from historic manor houses in Derbyshire and Essex, England.  The portraits are painted by Joan Hairrel.
(The paintings looked so real though no bigger than a thumbnail)

by Charlotte Schoenback--2006

A 14 room Rococo chateau, with furnishings inspired by European palaces.  The chateau was designed and created over a 30-year period.

I am so sorry my photos do not do these creations justice.  The permanent collection is over 300 miniature houses. Just remember, if you ever get to Tucson, don't miss this.   I would be happy to go with you.