Tag Archives: Texas

Theme Song Thursday:) Under Texas Skies

4 Mar

“Know what you want to do, hold the thought firmly, and do every day what should be done, and every sunset will see you that much nearer the goal.” ― Elbert Hubbard

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We’ve had some beautiful warm weather here in McKinney, Texas. I went to Zumba at the Y this morning, then a nice long walk at 10. The sun was shining and the wind was strong, but exhilarating. I was pumped, and decided to get some massive housework done. I cleaned two bathrooms from stem to stern, including floors, mopped all the tile floors in hall and kitchen, and vacuumed. All this before I ate lunch…well, lunch was at 2. 

I was going to try and do some painting, but I decided an evening walk would be better served. Plus, I like to catch the sunset. It’s true… The skies at night are big and bright…da-da-da-da… Deep in the heart of Texas.

  
Every sunset is a miracle in the sky.

   
   

Theme Song Thursday: Yellow Rose of Texas

4 Apr

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While I was painting yellow roses on some wine glasses the other day, I couldn’t help but hum to myself…”There’s a Yellow Rose in Texas, That I am going to see, Nobody else could miss her, Not half as much as me.” Since we moved here to Texas nine years ago, I find myself painting a lot of yellow roses and bluebonnets. Must be something in the air. My artistic and writing endeavors have flourished with the warm Texas air and the friendly atmosphere. Yes, a glorious golden yellow rose is the perfect symbol for Texas.

I never knew all the words to the song or the history behind it, so I Googled it. TMI!!! I didn’t realize there were so many folklore tales about who the yellow rose was, and what the song was really about. If you weren’t born in Texas, and unfamiliar with the history, this might be interesting, maybe not. Gosh! I learn something new every day.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwrel&v=rPM7zzElj-Q

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Wikipedia:
Legend
The song is based on a Texas legend from the days of the Texas War of Independence. According to the legend, Emily D. West (also known as “Emily Morgan”) was seized by Mexican forces during the looting of Galveston. She seduced General Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico and commander of the Mexican forces. The legend credits her supposed seduction of Santa Anna with lowering the guard of the Mexican army and facilitating the Texan victory in the Battle of San Jacinto waged in 1836 near present-day Houston. Santa Anna’s opponent was General Sam Houston, who won the battle literally in minutes, and with almost no casualties. West was a mulatto, of mixed race ancestry. The song refers to her as the “yellow” rose, in keeping with the historical use of term “high yellow” as a description of light skin among people of color in the South.
[edit]History
Historians assert that if West was with Santa Anna, it was not by her choice, nor did she play any part in deciding the battle. The seduction legend was largely unknown until the publication in the 1950s of a version of the lyrics based on William Bollaert’s account. Bollaert, a British subject, spent two years in Texas—1842 to 1844—and was a prolific writer, publishing more than 80 articles on various subjects.[4]
The basic facts[5] are that Emily West, a free person of color, migrated to Texas from New York City in late 1835 as an indentured servant under contract to the agent James Morgan. She was born free in New Haven, Connecticut.[6] Sources describe her as a teen or as a woman of twenty. She was to work as a housekeeper at the New Washington Association’s hotel, near what was then called New Washington and is now Morgan’s Point. Historians say she became known by West’s surname, as was the custom at the time for indentured servants and slaves.[6]
Santa Anna reportedly saw West in April 1836 when he invaded New Washington prior to the Battle of San Jacinto. West and other black servants were taken to his camp, along with some white residents who were captured.[6] According to legend, Santa Anna was with her when Texan General Sam Houston’s troops arrived, forcing him to flee suddenly without weapons or armor and enabling his capture the next day.[6] (Note: The seduction of a military leader by a beautiful woman who brings about his downfall, is featured in the “Book of Judith,” in the Apocrypha of the Bible.)
[edit]Lyrics

Who knew? Anything is possible. They wrote a song about it, didn’t they? Must be true.

Theme Song Thursday: It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

22 Feb

The day started off cold and rainy. Miraculously, the dreary morning was replaced by a glorious afternoon. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun forced pedestrians to remove their jackets and don their sunglasses. It was “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

Speaking of neighborhoods and neighbors, today was the Empty Bowls fundraiser at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in McKinney. My senior art group completed 25 painted bowls for the big day, and now I’d get to see our bowls and all the others displayed. I heard there were over 225 donated bowls.

What an amazing turnout! The community was out in full force to support feeding the hungry. St. Peter’s is tucked away in the middle of a charming historic neighborhood. Many locals walked over for the event. I ran into dozens of friends. A lot of smiling, laughing, and hugging was exchanged. Each guest received a bowl of delicious soup provided by several local restaurants, a slice of bread, and a beverage.

I picked out a lovely hand-built coil bowl with a simple tree sketched on the front. The empty bowls are to remind us of the many people who still go hungry every day. But, it was also a great reminder that neighbors and friends who gather together to help their community, are blessed many-fold. Thus, I was reminded that it was “a beautiful day in the neighborhood.”

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Saturday Salutations: Growing Old

2 Feb

GROWING OLD

There’s nothing pretty about growing old, or is there? There is no actual growing involved, but rather, a lot of shrinking, sagging, and deterioration. We may have pins in places and saggy faces, but the one thing we do have control over is our disposition. We can choose to be happy or decide to be miserable. I choose happy.

This morning, I called my sweet mother, as I do every morning and said, “Mom, when you get old, don’t ever get crabby!” She cheerfully agreed. Mom is eighty-five years old, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her crabby, angry or mean spirited a single day in her life. Needless to say, she was a bit curious. I shared with her a few examples of some run-ins I’ve had with a group of cranky seniors who have nothing better to do than snarl at people, especially if others are having fun, laughing, or loud with merriment.

What causes people to act that way? There’s the stereotypical cartoon with the old person waving a wooden cane, and shouting, “Get off my lawn.” Are they so unhappy with their lives that they can’t stand to see people enjoying themselves? It’s not just seniors. I’m sure you know a few people who have a permanent scowl on their face. What’s with that?

I’ve actually gone out of my way to smile and make pleasant small talk with people I’ve run across with aforementioned affliction. Amazingly enough, I have gotten some very nice smiles and conversations in return. Maybe they were just having a bad day, and all they needed was a kind word to cheer them up. But, it doesn’t always work. All you can do is try.

I told Mom, “When I grow up, (I’m only sixty), I want to be just like YOU.” Even if I’m falling apart on the outside, I want to be shiny-new and young on the inside. So, if you ever see me with a scowl on my face, don’t worry. It’s probably just gas, and that too will “pass”.

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OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD

24 Jan

Today was a sultry summer-like day with sunshine and temps in the 70s. The thing is, it’s the middle of January. What’s going on! I know it’s Texas, but this is unseasonably awesome! After sitting in the house most of the day, doing mundane chores, washing clothes, cleaning the kitchen, etc., I was feeling guilty that I hadn’t even poked my head outside, except to take out the garbage cans.

For the past couple years, my daily routine used to include walking the dog for about an hour. Rain or shine, we were out there. But, ever since we got the puppy, life has been too hectic. Poor old Prince looks at me with longing every afternoon. Whenever I put on my tennis shoes, he whimpers with anticipation, but little Buck is a nut case, and there’s no way I can take them both for a walk. Prince and I have both put on a few pounds since the little guy has come to live with us.

Did I say little guy? The nine month old pup is now bigger and taller than his older counterpart, and that’s pretty big. By 4 pm, the sunshine was beckoning me, and I couldn’t stand it any more. I decided to take the pup out for his first ever walk on a leash. The tricky part was sneaking out the backyard gate while Prince was napping in the house.

Buck enjoyed the leash. He enjoyed chewing on the leash, grabbing at it, and trying to pull it out of my hand. He had never been in the front yard before, so every bush and shrub was enticing. Everything was new and exciting. I decided that we would only practice walking past a few houses on the block. We were doing great until all the neighborhood dogs decided to greet us from their backyard fences. Buck jumped a mile, returning his most ferocious bark.

Poor old Prince heard his little protege barking from inside the house. Now, he was inside barking like crazy, and Buck was outside barking his brains out. That was the end of “out with the new dog and in with the old dog.”

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Taco Tuesday

23 Jan

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There are two words that can bring delight to my heart, and they are…Taco Tuesday! I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to texting, but when I hear that little “ping” and my friend, Karen, sends a text that only reads…Taco Tuesday, with a question mark, I’m quick on the draw with a two letter reply..O and K.

The food at Rosa’s Cafe in McKinney isn’t out of this world fantastic, but it is pretty good, and the three taco platter is so darn cheap, I couldn’t make it at home for the price.(Under $4 on Tuesday) Believe me, I should know. I’ve been making delicious homemade tacos since I was a little señorita.

But, it isn’t just the food, colorful decor, and authentic ambiance that entices me. I thoroughly enjoy an impromptu lunch invitation from a friend. It means we get to sit for a couple hours jabbering about our week, complaining about our husbands, and extolling the praises of our now grown children. Funny how, as the children get older and move out of the house, they tend to become so wonderful and accomplished, and when the husbands are around all the time, they tend to lose their glowing status and credibility. I guess we just need something to complain about.

The point I’m trying to make is, friendships are special, and Girlfriends are extra special. So if you have the opportunity to make someone’s day with a note, a call, or an impromptu lunch, JUST DO IT! And to quote Carly Rae Jepsen…”Here’s my number. Call me maybe!”

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A Special Saturday:Sharing A Special Tree For Christmas

20 Jan

I shared this special story with my Facebook friends at Christmas, and thought I’d share it with my new blogger friends. Perhaps you have a “Pay It Forward” story that you’d like to share. I’d love to hear it.

A SPECIAL TREE FOR CHRISTMAS

It is believed that the tradition of the Christmas tree spread across America during the 1800s with the arrival of German immigrants, a reminder that the dark grey of Winter would soon bring the green renewal of Spring.The Germans would bake fancy ornaments for their trees and then eat the decorations when the trees were taken down. Fruits, nuts, flowers and lighted candles also adorned the first American Christmas trees, but only the strongest could support the weight without drooping. So, German glassblowers began producing lightweight glass balls to replace heavier, natural decorations. These lights and decorations were representations of the joy and light of Christmas, with the star on top of the tree a symbol for the “Star in the East.”

This is such a wonderful American tradition, but what about those who don’t have a Christmas tree, ornaments, toys and freshly baked cookies? The thing I love about America, Texas and the marvelous city of McKinney is, when there is a need, there is a way to fill that need.

One of my own personal holiday traditions is giving my hand-painted ornaments to friends, neighbors, and family along with homemade cookies, cupcakes or brownies, because “nothin’ says lovin’ like homemade.” This week, when I stopped at my neighborhood McKinney Fire Station 5 with my ornament and a dozen chocolate cupcakes, as I have for the past eight years, I was greeted with the usual smiles and appreciation.

As I was escorted back to the kitchen, I asked, “Can I see your Christmas tree?” I remembered how beautiful the tree was last year, and how all my ornaments from the previous years were carefully displayed on the branches. The young firefighter just smiled and said, “Well, it’s not much of a tree, but come on in.” He turned on the light in the dimly lit space, and there to my amazement was a bare five foot metal pole with a red light on top.

I asked, “Where is your Christmas tree?”

“This is it,” was the only response.

I knew there had been a big change in personnel this past year when the new fire chief took over, and a lot of the guys relocated to other stations, but I didn’t think that would effect Christmas. I asked, “Where is your beautiful tree and all your ornaments? I’ve been bringing ornaments for years.”

The perplexed fireman responded, “I don’t know. Maybe they took them over to the other station.”

I shook hands with everyone on shift that afternoon and wished them a Merry Christmas, walking out with an unsettled sadness. Not quite the feeling I was expecting.

When I got home, I went to my handy iPad and posted a picture on Facebook of the ornament and cupcakes that I had taken to the fire station. My message retold the story of the sad looking “Festivus” looking metal pole that took the place of a traditional Christmas tree at the fire station.

To might delight, when I checked my page an hour later, there were so many comments from friends and neighbors appalled at the situation. There were several offers of Christmas trees from neighbors. My friend, Kim McCraw, said her son Shane was working at Christmas Traditions on US75 and they said that they would drop off a freshly cut evergreen tree the next day. Wow!

Saturday afternoon, I drove over to Station 5 with a box of newly purchased blue ornaments for our friends in blue and their new tree. When I arrived with my gift, a gorgeous nine or ten foot tree adorned the space where a sad metal pole stood the previous day. I explained that I was “the ornament lady” from yesterday, and that I had posted on Facebook that Station 5 didn’t have a Christmas tree this year. They were all smiling and honored when I told them that just one Facebook post had inspired a dozen offers of trees and goodies to brighten their holiday.

When I looked at the beautiful tree, there was a single ornament on a branch, and it was one of mine from 2008. They were waiting to decorate the tree until they purchased some new lights. Off to the side was a box with decorations and ornaments that they must have found in a storage room somewhere, many of which I recognized from my signature matching hand-painted boxes. I was delighted, humbled and grateful. The old “Festivus” metal pole was off in a dark corner. What could have been a dreary space for a group of gallant firefighters, was now a bright and cheery room better suited for a group of kind men and women who are always nearby to serve and protect.

I returned New Year’s Day and found a beautifully decorated tree. Fire fighter David Crump, wife Barbara, and young son Coleman were enjoying some family time at the station. I asked if I might take a picture, and they happily obliged.

The tradition of the Christmas tree is alive and well in McKinney. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

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