Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Autumn!

I'm ready for cooler weather, apple cider, Halloween, and pumpkin-spice candles burning in my house!

It's a rainy day here at Slipper Moon,

and the little ground spider probably won't have much luck snaring a meal in this web of diamonds! You can see its little funnel in the upper right corner of the photo, but the spider was deep beneath the grass and leaves -- out of the wet!

My garden spiders are busy spinning webs despite the rain. They're especially fond of the space between my hummingbird feeders and a nearby shrub.

I think it's beautiful, don't you?

But I'm not as intrepid as the spiders, and I think Buster and I will remain indoors the rest of this wet day.

Have a blessed day, everyone.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rambling Around Northeast Texas

I just returned from a long weekend in Northeast Texas, where my husband Neely is working for a few weeks. We visited the small town of Gladewater, which abounds in antique shops and some beautiful old houses.

The centerpiece of the town square is this pumping unit from an oil well. In April, 1931, an oil strike in Gladewater came in at 1000 barrels an hour. That's a lotta Texas black gold, y'all! Texaco Inc. operated the well until 1957. When Texaco closed its office in Gladewater, the company donated this pumping unit from the lease. The original oil derrick was wooden.

We also wandered around Lake O' The Pines, a beautiful lake maintained by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, with federally controlled campgrounds. We found several places that we'd like to camp.

People were boating and just enjoying the beautiful weather.

Neely and I love weekends like this: No agenda -- Just hop in the car and go where the wind takes you. I hope your weekend was fun, too! Till next time . . .

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Of Muggles and Magic and Visits to Chi-town

Okay, maybe I'm a "senior" fan, but I love Harry Potter, his world and his friends. Author Jo Rowling has a fantastic imagination, and the movies give life and breath to her creation. Recently, while visiting my "transplanted Texan" daughter at her home near Chicago, we took the train downtown to tour the Harry Potter exhibit at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

This is Andrea on the train (regrettably, not the Hogwarts Special)

and this is Chicago's Union Station.

When we arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry, a huge poster announced this summer's major attraction. The tents at the photo's bottom left housed the exhibit.

When we entered the museum, the Weasleys' flying car provided an irresistable photo op:

I regret that I can't share photos of the exhibits because none were allowed. But believe me, the movies' props and costumes were impressive. The artistry and creative genius!

We felt as though we were walking through Hogwarts. The tour began with a sorting hat ceremony, followed by a walk past the famous animated paintings and through the passageway to Griffindor. We loved seeing the costumes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, from the very small ones in Sorcerer's Stone through the near-adult sizes in the more recent movies. Dumbledore's costumes were wonderful, replete with detail. I noticed that Dumbledore's hat was embellished by small metal bees, and Andrea told me that the word "dumbledore" means "bumblebee"! (An interesting discussion is here: http://www.wordsources.info/words-mod-portmanteau.html.) A guide told us that Lucius Malfoy's costume is made of "snakeskin silk" -- quite appropriate for that character. (That guide was a young man who seemed quite taken with my Andrea -- I think that's why we received special attention throughout the entire exhibit!) My favorite display was Hagrid's hut, complete with his enormous chair (I sat in it!), and his pumpkin patch featuring Buckbeak. That creature was quite a work of art in itself! And of course, there were dementors (shiver!) and You-Know-Who's costume from Goblet of Fire. Even the Great Hall was there, complete with food props.

The Museum's OmniMax Theater was also showing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Of course we had to see it, and son-in-law Pat joined us to view the movie. I have to say, though, that the movie in OmniMax was just too BIG to really enjoy. I love IMax theaters with their amazingly tall screens, and I saw Order of the Phoenix in 3-D on an IMax screen. But OmniMax is a huge curved screen above the audience -- the ceiling of the theater -- and it's impossible to see the entire screen at any one moment. I felt that I missed much of the movie. No worries, though -- Hubby and I saw it again in an ordinary movie theater.

I so enjoyed this exhibit, and can't wait for the final two movies!

(The more observant of you will notice that Andrea's clothing is different in the first photo than in the others. Yes, I confess, we saw the exhibit twice, and I combined both visits for this blog.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Visiting My Daughter

I love visiting my daughter Andrea and son-in-law Pat. The weather was perfect, mild and sunny (a nice break from Texas heat for me), and I spoiled their dogs -- Loki

and Sunny --

with many walks around their townhome neighborhood. A pretty pond is the neighborhood's central point

inhabited by this fellow,

who teased Loki and Sunny by splashing away before they could get close.

This year, neighbors are tending a vegetable garden in the common park.

Looks like the pumpkins will be ready for Halloween -- always a major event in this area.

And back home, in Andrea's little flower garden

the bees were really busy in this plant.

Anyone know what it is? If so, drop me a comment and let me know. I'd love to have some, but it probably wouldn't grow well in the weather furnace this Texan calls home!

Enjoy the rest of your summer, everyone!