Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Just A Tomato -- Or Is It?

"...when asked if it is reasonable to assume that an American who has eaten a fresh tomato from a grocery store or food-service company during the winter has eaten fruit picked by the hand of a slave, Molloy said, “It is not an assumption. It is a fact."

Read the full story here: Politics of the Plate: The Price of Tomatoes

Thanks to my sister for bringing the above story to my attention. As she said:

"From now on I'm going to avoid buying tomatoes from the grocery store...I'll buy local or grow my own...or eat yours...this is so disturbing and upsetting and makes you wonder about the conditions other produce workers deal with...I can't change the world but I don't have to willingly contribute to the suffering of others..."

I also saw this story in USA Today: A 'thimble-ready' cause. It's just a sweater, a blouse, a pair of shoes...isn't it?

Perhaps we should all spend some time in personal reflection about what actions we can take, however small, to make a difference in this world.

A first step could be to find out how we can make our voices heard on these issues.

A second step could be to plant a garden, learn how to knit*, or dust off the sewing machine.

*One of my nieces loves knitting and has become very good at it. Check out her blog, where she mentions her projects, among other things, frequently.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Houston, We Have a Problem

I'm stranded in my hotel room today. Houston had major, major rainstorms yesterday and last night and is seriously flooded. Local TV stations are featuring constant coverage.

It's amazing that some people believe instructions to stay home and off the roads do not apply to them. They drive, get into serious trouble and have to be rescued by local police and fire departments.

The office complex where I work Mondays-Thursdays is closed. Several buildings have inches and inches of water in the basements. We don't know when the buildings will re-open. Everyone is working from home or from their hotel rooms. Fortunately, we are all very familiar with virtual working.

It's not strange for me to work by myself, but it is strange to be working by myself in a Houston hotel room approximately 1 mile from the office!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Won A Prize!

I won a contest on this blog: Gather

I'm so excited!

I found this blog recently and have really enjoyed reading it and communicating a bit with Donna, the blogger.

I encourage you to take time and read Gather also. I think you will like it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday Errands and Sunday Laziness

We went to Garbe's Saturday to pick up a couple of new track lights for the living room. It is such fun to go to that store.  I love all the lighting options!

The Husband is considering buying a bike.  We stopped at Lee's and at Tom's.  Very nice guys at both places provided lots of information on different types of bikes and offered suggestions for the best bikes for us.  The Husband took one for a spin around the parking lot.  I may go back next weekend and do the same.  If I buy a bike, I promise I will not buy any of those little spandex shorts!

The Husband also walked over 5 miles Saturday morning. He has recently started walking to work more often than driving. That equates to about 2.5 miles per day.  Go, Hubby!

Ended the day with dinner at my sister's house.  They are having a lot of interior work done...granite kitchen counter tops, painting several rooms, new wrought iron balusters for the staircase.  Everything is looking really good.  I'm happy for them!

All in all, a good day in Tulsa.

Sunday has been a lazy day.  Yes, I confess to a nap on the couch.  But I've also done lots of laundry, visited my mom, been to Target and to not one, but two grocery stores.

Trying to finish up laundry now so I can focus on the new episode of The Tudors tonight.  I love this show and it didn't click with me until last week that part of where the show is set is Hampton Court Palace and I have actually been there!

I was in London on a business trip in 2004 and one of our British colleagues organized an afternoon of sightseeing for us. It was very enlightening!  This is me in front of  the "south front" of the palace.

This is a side yard.  The flowers were gorgeous that day. The brick structure is a Banqueting House built for William III in 1700 for summer dinners in the garden. If I had a gazebo, that is SO what it would look like!
The "privy garden" looking at the "south front" of the palace. I loved the formal feel of the garden.
Good memories of a fun afternoon!  

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stuff

Everyone who knows me realizes I love to play with my "stuff." This morning I brought out the white pottery:
And the green and yellow pottery:
I just love spring!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two of My Favorite Things

1) Lost will be on in approximately 19 minutes.

2) I get to go home tomorrow.

So far, it's been a long week in Houston. The project is just 2 months from the "go live" date and everyone's stress level is escalating. Some of these folks have been working on this project for 2+ years. This is my 4th official week and here I am complaining.

I'll just shut up now and enjoy watching "Lost" while making sure I'm packed to check out of the hotel tomorrow morning.

Of course, we all will have to work on Friday (from home) and be back in Houston next week, but perhaps the break will do everyone good. My focus next week will be on keeping my sub-team's spirits up and our efforts focused!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Flowers in the Garden

In addition to the vegetables and herbs we planted last weekend, I picked up a few flowers at the nursery for some pots in the garden.  These are Superbells.  The colors I selected are saffron, dreamsicle and apricot punch.  Check out the color tab on the link I've included.  They are beautiful.

I love this little bench planter.  I picked it up years ago at Round Top.
My chicken planter came from Houston. He amuses me. He is holding a royal deep orange Gerbera Daisy for me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers

The Bunny Tree is gone for another year.  

Behold below the "Showers and Flowers" tree. The duck lights represent the showers!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Our Little Vegetable Garden

The Husband and I planted a few things on Saturday. Four heirloom tomato plants, one cucumber plant and some herbs. The tomatoes are "Cherokee Purple" and "Carbon" and the cucumber is the "Sweet Slice" variety. 

A couple of plants came from The Tomato Man's Daughter , a couple more came from Grumpy's Garden, and the cucumber and herbs came from Colebrook Nursery.

We have grown "Cherokee Purple" tomatoes before and they are fantastic. The "Carbon" gets a good review from The Tomato Man's Daughter, so it will interesting to compare the two varieties.  
The herbs we opted to plant in pots. Basil, dill, parsley and rosemary.  

At the nursery we also picked up some new tomato cages.  We've had problems with the wimpy cages we've purchased previously being overwhelmed by the plants late in the season.  We are hoping that these Texas Tomato Cages will stand up under the pressure!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On the Road - Packing Dirty Clothes

So, what is your system? Of course, I have one.

I check into my hotel room and unpack everything. I hang clean clothes in the closet and put the remaining items in the dresser drawers.

Every evening, I take my worn clothes and repack them, resulting in layers of dirty clothes in the suitcase.

This is a good system for me, because on my last morning in the hotel I don't have to scoop up all the dirty clothes off the floor of the closet to stuff them in the suitcase. All I have to do is drop my hair brush, etc. into the case and I'm good to go.

You wonder why I wrote this post? Because I love efficiency and this is one of the things I do that makes my life easy during travel. :0)

Think of me as you read this post, as I am on my way home today!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silvey Estate Sales

I love Silvey Estate Sales. I have found some lovely things at their sales in the past few years.

I can't believe I'm not in town until tomorrow evening. You can be sure I will visit this sale on Friday. A girl can't have too many dishes, glassware or linens, can she?

Conquering Technology

Yippee. I can now logon onto my blog from my corporate pc. This will be great.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

I have been a subscriber to Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day functionality for a number of years. I receive an e-mail every day containing a new word, the pronunciation of the word, the definition of the word and the origin of the word. Additionally, M-W provides the usage of the word in an sentence.

What better way to learn our language?

I have always wanted to play the game of using all M-W words received in the previous week in the creation of a paragraph/short story. Every one I have mentioned this game to has always looked at me like I was crazy.

My challenge to you, my readers, is to subscribe to M-W's Word of the Day and use these words appropriately in your daily conversation!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Crisis Clarification

A few readers have expressed displeasure with my "Crisis in the Morning" posting. The main issues were:

1) Why did you not explain how the original Scotch glass was broken?

Ummm...I didn't think of it? The answer is Steve cracked it by accidently hitting it on the edge of the counter as he was unloading the dishwasher. (What a great guy!)

2) Did Steve crack the glass because he was drinking his first Scotch of the morning?

No, Steve never drinks Scotch that early.

3) What do the new glasses look like?

Behold, the new SCOTCH glasses!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

The nieces were excited this morning to find that the Easter Bunny (EB) had somehow gotten INTO their house and hidden eggs all over the downstairs because it was raining this morning and he didn't want them to get wet!  Smart EB!!!!

Big Sister A was also excited about her very first pair of high heels!  Notice the pose below.  

Even more exciting was finding EB at the MeadowBrook Country Club brunch.

EB and I took a photo together.  For some reason The Husband did not want to be photographed beside a VERY tall, thin, white, furry bunny. Wonder why?

Hope you and yours had a great holiday and the eggs you found were filled with good things!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Crisis in The Morning

It was a perfectly lovely morning.  The Husband and I awoke feeling great, ready to enjoy the day and each other's company. He made his way downstairs first, while I beautified myself.  

As I came down the stairs, I noted the vacuum cleaner on the landing.  I turned the corner into the kitchen and said "Did you have a 'clean-up on aisle 3' situation here?"  

He looked up at me, while raising his right hand and said "Pack a bag.  We may be gone all weekend.  We are going to hit every flea market, garage sale and antique shop in the county.  We can't come home until we find another."  

I focused on what he was holding.  Nooooo!  He was holding his favorite Scotch glass.  It was seriously cracked. I've known this man almost 20 years.  This has ALWAYS been his favorite Scotch glass.  The expression on his face was terrible.  My first thought was "Thank God I'm not the one that broke it!" 

You must understand, this glass is the last of a set of 5 glasses that was given to him 30+ years ago while he lived in Connecticut.  Originally, there were 6 glasses and they all had gold rims.  Over time, the gold disappeared and a glass occasionally broke. When I met him, he was down to the last glass and it had not one bit of gold left on the rim. 

We have laughed together about what would happen if that glass broke.  And, we have always unconciously been on the hunt at flea markets, etc. for a glass (or glasses) just exactly like it to purchase as an insurance policy.  

Today, when tragedy struck, I knew we had a situation that required immediate action. I don't know why we didn't start at the Tulsa Flea Market, but we did not.  We started at the Great American Flea Market.  Don't ask me why.  What an interesting place, but that's blog posting for another time.  

We ended up at the I-44 Antique & Collectible Mall.  We cruised every booth and found many interesting things. We even found a couple of serious contenders in the Scotch glass category.  So serious, we lined them up next to each other on a table and compared dimensions.   He also spent a considerable amount of time hefting each one in his right hand trying to determine if they were the suitable size.   I really thought one of them was going to make the cut, but ultimately The Husband walked away from them both.  

We rounded the last corner in the shop and stopped at a display case near the cash register.  Suddenly, there on the top shelf, were two suitably shaped glasses. Even better, they were commemorative glasses for former Tulsa movie theaters. One theater in old downtown Tulsa:  Orpheum and three drive-ins: Apache, Bellaire and Capri.  It took The Husband all of a couple of minutes to decide these glasses should reside at our home.

Everyone should be happy to know that The Husband has enjoyed his new Scotch glass tonight.  While it is not his old, familiar friend he thinks it will do nicely!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Home and Garden Tour

A neighbor and I went on the 14th Annual Maple Ridge Home and Garden tour on Sunday.

My favorite house on the tour is at 320 E 19th Street.  The homeowners and contractors did a wonderful job of transforming the outdoor space into a lovely oasis. It really made me want us to get serious about our backyard.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Springsteen at the BOK Center

We saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Tuesday night.  We've had the tickets for weeks and were terribly excited about the concert.  It was great fun!

This was my first event at the new BOK Center.  

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

More Nieces

You may have thought we only have baby nieces, but that is not true.  We also have lovely adult nieces.  

Tracy and her spouse, Tim, here:
Amy and her spouse, Dillon, here:
Tracy and Amy are sisters of Mary, who just got engaged.  
Stay tuned for more...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mary and Joel

Our lovely niece Mary became engaged last Friday night to Joel, a nice young man. When did she grow up?  

Congratulations to the young couple.  They have a great future before them and we will support them however we can!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Air Travel

My first day last week of resuming corporate road warrior status did not have a good start.  I'm the type traveler who allows plenty of time to get to the airport, through security and to the gate.  Last Monday I was directed to the "expert traveler" line and the TSA checking ids was, without a doubt, the slowest I have ever encountered.  I counted 11 people in the line next to me who were passed through the checkpoint by another TSA before the woman ahead of me and her two children were cleared and I moved to the front of the line.  Why were they in the "expert traveler" line you ask?  I don't know.

At the front of the line, my documents are scrutinized thoroughly and I'm directed to the line that is using the new whole body imager.  This piece of equipment seriously slows down the process.  You step into the scanner, hold your arms above your head, the machine scans you and you step out.  Once you are out, you are held in line by a TSA who is waiting for someone to communicate with them via an earpiece that your scan is clear. If it is not clear, they frisk you.  I got a frisking that day, yes I did.  I'm still not sure why, since I was not wearing a bra with an under wire!!!

Finally, I proceed to my gate with plenty of time before departure.  Well, lo and behold, I see a "delayed" sign posted next to the sign for my flight.  Delayed 2.5 hours worth.  We have a plane, but no flight crew.  I arrive at the office in Houston in the middle of the afternoon.  I certainly did not accomplish much on this day.  

My return flight last week also had it's challenges.  Early morning storms across the Southeastern US caused delays in the flights across the country.  Even though my flight was at 5:30 in the evening, airlines and airports were still playing catch-up. (Not to be confused with ketchup!)  Anyway, I was about an hour and 15 minutes late arriving home.

In the big scheme of things, these delays do not amount to much individually.  But for folks who are road warriors and travel every week, they are very frustrating and cut into the precious time we have at home.

I'm going to have to work on my zen attitude over the coming weeks!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Look What Happens When I'm Gone for a Few Days

I leave town for a few days and look what I missed.  

We knew the old house had been sold and was going to be knocked down.  I'm just sorry I missed the event.  I find these things entertaining.

Will be interesting to see what type of house gets built.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Miscellaneous Info

I spent four days in Houston last week.  Traffic was much better than normal because 1) the weather was better and 2) the I10 widening project in the Energy Corridor is complete.  I10 is really wide now!
 
I must confess that being in the office with a lot of people was a bit stressful.  By Thursday, I found myself shutting the office door just to block out peripheral noise and to prevent people stopping in to chat and interrupting my concentration.  Pretty sad, right?

Frustration

Sorry I missed posting this week.  

I've been frustrated that my corporate computer does not allow me to logon to this blog and post new entries.  I understand companies restricting certain websites due to security concerns and/or trying to ensure employees don't waste time goofing off instead of working. However, I'm supposed to be in the category of employees that "live on the web" without restrictions.

What's up with this road block then?  I intend to find out!