All the little, and big, things that make up Julie's life.

View from the top

Last week, on our last day in Port Isabel, Danny and I climbed to the top of the historic Port Isabel lighthouse. The old iron staircase winds up and around inside the lighthouse until you reach a little landing. Then you basically have to climb a short ladder followed by a tiny iron staircase to reach the top. The top of the lighthouse is where the old light used to be housed and you can walk around a very narrow balcony with a small railing.

The view from the top was very nice. We could see out over the old buildings of Port Isabel and beyond to the Laguna Madre with South Padre Island in the far background.

Now we are settling back into our home in Mississippi where we will be for this school year at least. The elder berries and pears are ripe right now so I plan to make something yummy out of them. We have lots of lawn mowing to get the yard back into shape. And one of the best things will be enjoying a real autumn again because far south Texas does not have an autumn season since it is mostly tropical.

USS Forrestal Update

Back in February I wrote about the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal being brought into the Brownsville harbor.

This is the aircraft carrier coming through the jetties at South Padre Island in February:

This is what it looks like right now as the crews of welders and cutters take it apart slowly:

I wanted to give updates up until the time that the aircraft carrier no longer exists but my time here in the Brownsville area is almost done. Danny’s job here on the South Padre Island jetties is nearing completion and we will be going back to stay at our house in Mississippi for awhile.

I hope the metal and other materials from this once-proud ship go into making interesting and useful projects in the future. I wrote before that I was disturbed that such a fine piece of American history was being destroyed but I am also happy that the aircraft carrier is finding a second life.

If you would like to keep in touch with updates on the USS Forrestal visit the USS Forrestal Association Facebook page.

Friends

This past weekend some of our friends came to visit here in the Rio Grande valley. They came for a family reunion but managed to fit in some time to visit with us also.

We went to dinner on Friday evening which was crazy considering it was the 4th of July, this is a major resort area, and we required a table for 9 people. Eventually we were seated with a great view of the Laguna Madre and cold drinks in hand all around. Then the next evening we met at their hotel where we played rousing games of UNO in the lobby followed by swimming in the hotel pool.

This particular group of friends is made up of twin sisters, their significant others, one child, and they brought along the grandmother. We’ve been friends with them for something like 32 years. At least Danny has since he went to school with them. I gained them as friends once Danny and I married. We even shared an apartment with the twins back in college in Austin for a brief time, along with two other friends and three cats who hated each other. Believe me, it was the experience of a lifetime!

Now we all get together so rarely because of time, distance from each other, jobs, families, etc. You know, the general parts of life that keep us all busy. So we are very grateful when we can manage a dinner together and a few hours of talking and laughter.

One of the topics we discussed was taking a trip together again. It has been many years wince we did a friends trip. We are thinking of renting a cabin in Montana next summer large enough to hold around 18 people. Somewhere near Yellowstone. And I would love to visit some hot springs while we are there. It is still a long way off and in the very early planning stages but I am already excited about getting together with some of my best friends for a week of vacation fun.

Summer Afternoon

We just spent a week at our home in Mississippi. It rained practically every day we were there. One day there was even a big thunderstorm with high winds that took down a huge limb off a tree in the front yard. When that limb came down, it took limbs off a couple of smaller trees near it and made a huge mess. We did not have time to clean it all up before we left so it looks like we will be doing that on our next trip up there.

Although the rain came frequently, we still had some beautiful afternoons:

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to laze around and enjoy the afternoons. We worked on a whole long list of projects like improving the kitchen cabinets that Danny built last time we were there. He also got a chance to organize and straighten his tool storage shed. I finished unpacking all of my kitchen things: dishes, utensils, pots, pans, etc. I packed those things three years ago when we sold our house in Texas and they have been in storage ever since.

I enjoyed cooking our meals this time while at our house. Up until now, our house has been in a constant state of construction and the kitchen was the very last thing to be built. On our first day in town, we drove to the Aldi grocery store in Florence, Alabama and stocked up on groceries in a big way. We had family over for meals almost every day. Overall, it was a pretty good trip. But then we had to make the long, long drive back to south Texas in one exhausting day. Now I plan to spend some time at the beach and get back to finishing the novella that I am writing.

Hammock Trees

There are a couple of trees that grow out of the steep bank behind where we live. This water behind the trees is a sort of canal that comes off the Laguna Madre. Yesterday I was walking my dogs in this area by the trees and thought how neat it would be to hang a hammock between those two trees. To lie in a hammock over the water and feel the cool breezes from the Gulf of Mexico would be awesome. But getting to the hammock would require a ladder or something because of the angle of the trees.

I’ve been busy on a couple of my writing projects and haven’t gotten around to blogging. I suppose when the writing bug hits, I better go with it and some things will get neglected. Like the blog. Or washing my car!

Seaweed

On Sunday we had dinner at BurgerFi on South Padre Island which has some of the best hamburgers I have ever eaten. We eat there once a week since we discovered their burger goodness.

After dinner we drove to the end of the road on the island. Most of Padre Island is protected seashore maintained by the National Park Service. So you can only drive a few miles outside the town of South Padre Island and the road ends. Along that stretch of road outside town are some of the most beautiful sand dunes I have ever seen. As we drove along the road that day there were at least six photographers set up taking family shots of people in the beautiful white sand dunes. And of course, everyone was dressed in all white for the ever-popular white-clothing-beach-photo.

When we got to the end of the road, we parked and walked across the dunes onto the beach. The beach was simply covered with huge mounds of seaweed.

The seaweed was more then knee high in many places. It always feels weird to walk across the spongy mounds of seaweed. We picked up shells and visited with Danny’s cousin who was with us. Took some photos of each other. All in all, it was a nice way to end the day.

Antique Sheet Music

My daughter takes violin lessons at a music store in Brownsville each week. Recently when we were there for her lesson, I noticed they had a large collection of very old sheet music for sale. The store manager told me that someone was selling their entire collection of old sheet music.

So of course we had to buy some! He was selling them for just $1 per sheet. These are a few of what we got.

I was enthralled with the artwork on the sheet music. Most of the music was from the 1910’s and 1920’s. Honestly I think many of these could be framed to use as artwork and I may just do that with some of them (without damaging the sheet music of course.)

Some of the music had the person’s name who originally purchased them written in the lovely handwriting of a bygone time. The same style of handwriting that my grandmother used.

Dogwood Flowers

We have just returned from spending Easter week at our home in Mississippi. The dogwood trees were in full bloom and looked beautiful this year. I picked a bouquet of branches and placed them in a clear vase to brighten up the inside of our house.

You can see the green of our walls in the background. That is the color we painted our dining room and the walls on the stair landing. The dark wall on the right is our game room which is painted a color that is almost black but called Nocturnal Green. The staircase is the divider between the two rooms and the wooden face statue sits on the short landing of our stairs.

The visit to our place in Mississippi this time involved additional work on the kitchen and the new tool shed. In the kitchen Danny built more cabinets and I painted all of the cabinets. In the tool shed that we built in March, he built shelves inside and finished the trim work on the outside. Next trip up there I plan to paint the outside of the shed a lovely shade of barn red and Danny wants to build another cabinet in the kitchen that will house our pantry items with a built-in nook for our espresso machine.

For now, we are back in Texas where it is hot and sunny. I am continuing work on my next writing project which is a novella set in a small south Texas town. I should be working on my next cookbook project also but the inspiration isn’t flowing for that so I’ve put it away for now.

 

GOMI

I lost my interest in writing on this blog temporarily.

The problem is GOMI.

GOMI is a website devoted to snarking about blogs and bloggers. And it is a highly addictive website. After I discovered it I spent hours reading about blogs that I have followed over the years.

To tell the truth, there have been some blogs that I hate-read. I read them just to see what craziness is going on.

Now I have discovered GOMI where people can discuss and snark to their heart’s content about bad blogs. There is also a section about good blogs but the main premise of the site is bad blogs.

GOMI has also made me think seriously about continuing to blog. My little blog here has such a small reader base. But am I doing it right? Is my blog snark-worthy? Will I end up on GOMI someday?

Anyway, for the foreseeable future, I will continue to blog and visit GOMI and learn what not to do on this blog!

Beach Coconut

Yesterday we walked on the beach as part of our daily exercise. We also rode our bikes for a couple of miles and played basketball. Our gym membership just expired here and since we are not sure how much longer we will be living in this area we did not renew our membership. So we are doing other forms of exercise besides working out at the gym.

The beach had a large amount of seaweed washed up onto the sand. During spring break and heavy tourist seasons the city of South Padre island tends to keep the seaweed cleaned off. But we are now into the slow season so there was tons of seaweed.

Mixed into the seaweed, we happened across a coconut. It had apparently been in the water quite some time because it had many shells attached to it.

Wonder where this coconut came from? Most likely Mexico which is only a few miles away from us. But I like to think it came from a tropical island very far away and made its way on the ocean currents to our beach here.