Breaking Through

For the beauty of the earth. . .Thanksgiving, November,2014 065

. . .for the glory of the skies. . .

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. . .for the love which from our birth, over and around us lies. . .

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Lord of all to Thee we raise, this our sacrifice of praise.

(Trees attached to and outrageously blue sky over our wonderful neighbor’s piece of Texas.  All of it courtesy of God.  All photos AS IS out of the camera.)





I recently traveled to Louisiana to spend time with my friends MaryLinda and Stephanie.  We get together once a year (although this year we decided twice would be better), so for our lagniappe trip we chose New Orleans.

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This photo is more of what MY Louisiana is like.  The northern and southern parts of the state are quite different, but we both have bayous, Spanish moss, cypress trees, and good food.NOLA Trip, November,2014 140ps

Speaking of food, we pretty much ate our way through part of the French Quarter.  I cannot say I am sorry.  That would be a lie. This billboard speaks truth.1NOLA Trip, November,2014 100ps crop

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Unfortunately, we only made ONE trip to Cafe Du Monde for hot beignets.

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And I “did” it wrong by having a Diet Coke rather than cafe au lait. . .but I was happy. . .and ML and Steph didn’t have coffee either.1NOLA Trip, November,2014 027New Orleans is OLD.  Really, REALLY old. . .1700’s old.  The first time I visited New Orleans was in 1985 WITH, interestingly enough,  MaryLinda and Stephanie (and a bunch of other friends).  We were in high school, and our undefeated football team played the state championship in the Dome.  I remember thinking at that time how OLD it looked.  I think it has to do with the color of the stone. . .the erosion of edges and corners.  It was also DIRTY. . .two and a half centuries of grime in the Louisiana heat takes its toll.  Katrina did a lot to wipe some of the grime away, but at a high cost.  I would LOVE to know exactly how old this building and those chimneys are.

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Most of the major streets in the French Quarter had signs similar to these.1NOLA Trip, November,2014 005

We were out in the morning, and they still wash their sidewalks and stoops to clean them off.  As pretty and historic as the French Quarter is, there are many who sleep on or against stoops like this each night, hence the washing.1NOLA Trip, November,2014 003

NOLA Trip, November,2014 048I have never been to Mardi Gras, and can honestly say I ever want to go. . .but here is a quintessential shot on Bourbon Street that tells the tale.

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Come with me on a weekend stroll through the Quarter. .

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“New Orleans ladies. . .all the way from Bourbon Street to Esplanade, they sashay by. . .” I didn’t see any of the “ladies” that the group Leroux immortalized in song, but I liked this sign.

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I cannot begin to describe the way this gal plays the clarinet.  Brought me to tears. Seriously have never heard anything like it.

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A place we actually did NOT eat.  If it’s on MaryLinda’s list, we WILL eat there someday.

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And this lovely, lass just appeared out of nowhere with her Robin’s egg blue bike, dark red lip and hair, and wrap skirt.  It was like she stepped right out of the early 1960’s. I barely had time to snap this shot. She was on a mission.1NOLA Trip, November,2014 079 ps

Caricature dude with a tale on Jackson Square

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The Louisiana Supreme Court building 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The three steeples of the St. Louis Cathedral

1NOLA Trip, November,2014 022psToo dark to take a photo, but I tried anyway.  They are getting ready for Christmas.Blog NOLA Trip, November,2014 031

Transformer Dude was pretty amazing to actually see.

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1NOLA Trip, November,2014 060If I’d had room in my car (and a boat load of money), I would have taken this set of lions home with me.

Blog NOLA Trip, November,2014 063ps  This one is staring across the threshold at his twin–maybe they are discussing how to eat that lamb that is just feet away. Also, it wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the “do not photograph in our show room” placard.  I’m such a rebel, but I was on the sidewalk anyway. . .1NOLA Trip, November,2014 061 bw

Traditional French Quarter Horse Head Hitching Post.Blog NOLA Trip, November,2014 093

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This is one of the views from our room at The Ritz Carlton New Orleans.  We had two windows–this one looking down Canal. . .

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. . . and this one with a view towards The River.  Old Man River.  The Mighty Mississip.

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Our 12th floor room gave me the PERFECT vantage point to photograph the iconic Ritz Lions.

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I think this might be my favorite photograph of the entire trip.

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And being the photography happy yokel I am, I couldn’t resist this shot.


1NOLA Trip, November,2014 103There is never enough time,  so when we discovered we had taken NO photos (but one failure of a selfie) together, we had  the valet who brought the car take some shots of us. . .all blurry. . .all hurried. . .but here we are–happy to be together.Blog NOLA Trip, November,2014 115

So, we were all “home” in some sense of the word–MaryLinda still lives where we all grew up, Stephanie was born in Texas but spent most of her growing up years in Louisiana, and I was born there and moved away.  It matters not–when we are together, we are home.  We carry it with us.





Does it ALWAYS take this long?

This school year seems to have taken a bit longer to calm down. . .and I am hopeful that I’m not speaking too soon about the calming.  We have a new principal who is GREAT–but VERY young and VERY high energy.  Therefore my teaching (which wasn’t lethargic before) has also grown in intensity.

I am also teaching a new subject this year.  It is an elective called “Exploring Languages” in which we–wait for it–explore languages.  We have covered Shakespearean English, Greek and Latin Roots, and Spanish.  Now on to French.  It is an experiment.  I know no French.  I have no French students.  Everyone is about to be on even footing as far as languages go.

Thad is at the Jr. High with us this year–and we love it.  Only TWO stops each morning instead of three.  He has grown an insane amount in the past school year–even over the summer–even SINCE the summer.  His voice is also in the process of changing–there isn’t a lot of cracking, but there is a difference. He has been somewhat determined as of late to NOT be photographed.  It is an obsession.

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I only managed to get this one after we had a “chat.”  He has grown about a half an inch (or more) since this was taken at the end of July.

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And this one when MawMaw came to visit in August.

Processed with MoldivMawMaw and Victoria small(Victoria and my mom. I love this picture.)

Victoria has a boyfriend.  His name is Hunter.  He is a Junior just like her, and they have known each other since 7th grade. They both CLAIM  to not have “liked” each other that long.  Either way, there was enough discussion of Hunter in our car and at our house that I took a photo of them together the night they were inducted into Jr. National Honor Society at the end of 7th grade.

2011, National Jr. Honor Society 050They were both inducted into National Honor Society in the spring, and I WANTED to get a picture of them together again, but I feared that the indignant “Moooooooooooooom!!!!!” would be hanging in a conversation bubble above the high school parking lot even now.  In the photo below, Hunter was about 12 feet away to the right.

Harding, NHS, 4.14 151And here is Homecoming which happened this past weekend.

Homecoming, October rsz ps 2014 072 Homecoming, October 2014 rsz ps 006AND the Homecoming hair extravaganza.

photo(45)The truck was crushed beyond repair this summer.  A tree decided that 21 years was long enough for the truck to be in service.  It was a sad, sad day.

photo(42) rszThe bumper was already like that–and the hood was already missing paint–but the tree did some significant engine/frame/body/radiator damage.  Tony still held out hope that it could be repaired. . .to the extent that when the Body Shop lady called and he asked her, “So can it be fixed?” she laughed for nearly a minute solid.  Then she apologized for laughing.  Then she laughed some more.

June, 2014 624SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. . .Tony got this bad boy for his birthday.  My brother gave us the nicest congratulatory message.  It was, “Tell Tony that I hope this truck lasts him twice as long as the last truck did.”  We can’t wish for more than that.  A new truck every 21 (or 42 as the case may be) years ‘taint bad.

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And these blossoms were picked at the end of my walk this evening.  Victoria was with me for a bit–the weather has cooled off (for us), and we opened the windows in the house.  Ahhhh. . .fall.  photo(41)rsz   Our weekends have been packed, and our days and evenings have been packed, but we ALL came home at a reasonable time tonight, and everyone is under THE STRICTEST of instructions to not accept any invitations for this weekend.  We plan to stay in our pajamas and play Clue!


January 9th of 2014 marked the fifth year in our “new” home.  And five years is not really a long time to be in a home.

My mother has been in hers for 48 years.

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View across the pasture from Nanny and Grandaddy’s house where Daddy grew up and where my sister now lives.

Tony’s parents have been in theirs for about 52.

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Tony’s parents’ bedroom the Sunday morning we finally got to go back into our home after the fires. . .back when Victoria was shorter than me and we were both very tanned. I need more pictures of their house. The chandelier is an original.

We lived in the Copperfield house for 12.


In the two pictures prior to this one, Thad was pointing at the sold sign and sticking his tongue out. He and Victoria weren’t too hip on moving.

We had one last “hold out” as far as rooms went, though.  For five years, the study served as the last repository of moving, filled with boxes and junk galore.  We had a full week for Thanksgiving this year, and Tony was inspired to get the study in shape.  That he did.  We all pitched in somewhat, but he had a vision, and took the reigns.

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He moved the furniture to one end (it was a perfect fit). He built a frame for the world map out of old fence planks back when we were in the old house. Now it’s finally on the wall for which it was intended. The chess set is actually multiple games that my mom gave him long ago. He was very glad to finally get them on the table.

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More Anthony Langley Original fence plank frames on the opposing wall. The other map is of Camp Philmont. The rug was intended for the dining room but turned out to be too small. The green chair was in our room, and I miss it, but it’s so nice in here.

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Looking out the study doors into the living room. The shelf above the doors is yet ANOTHER Tony original, and I’ve already shown a photo of the grape wreath I made from our own grape vines.

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Treasures on the shelf: Eagle Scout award, Teacher of the Year award, wooden giraffe he made in wood shop in jr. high or high school, campaign poster for Bellaire City Council, log chewed in two by genuine beavers in Colorado, his grandmother’s rotary dial phone from her New Orleans home, a commemorative Astro Dome tin from the last baseball game played there, and a shadow box (also made by my wood-working husband) containing the shell of the largest crab he’s ever caught as well as other miscellaneous things either made or treasured by him.

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Blood donation mugs atop the study furniture.

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And the pièce de résistance. . .a large photo of him and his buddies in the beloved campsite doing what they do there. . .except they are normally all three in hammocks–this was an effort to show the main activities simultaneously.

We have all enjoyed the study.  It’s a lovely placed to sit (in the green chair) and talk on the phone.  The table is used by Victoria and Tony a lot–the computer by all of us.  Sometimes I just like to walk in and enjoy the calm and the silence.  Although I think Thad would have preferred to have kept the furniture out.  It’s easier to wage war that way.


It’s Fall, Y’all

Small LeavesThese are leaves from our trees:  Sassafras, Yaupon, elm, grape vines, and obviously pine cones.  I COULD tell you that they all fell like so much confetti right into this exact spot, but that would be a lie.  The TRUTH is, that the pale yellow one WAS there, but I kept finding pretty ones, so I just tossed ’em down and called ‘er done.

Small Dining AutumnIndian Corn and mini pumpkins and fake leaves and pinecones (from the yard) on one of Granny’s little tables with my nod to my home state in a frame.

Small Dining 1st FireFirst fire of the year:  November 7th.  Thad (and his feet) are enjoying it.  We care not that it was only 60 degrees–balmy by some standards.  It is cold enough for a jacket and a fire at our house.

Small WreathAnd THIS, I am proud of.  It is a grapevine wreath that I twisted together from wild grapevines that are ALL OVER our property.  We have been clearing out some underbrush, and the vines grow all over everything.  I started this wreath a couple of weeks ago, and now it is finished.  Right now it is naked, but I plan dress it up some and hang it on our door.

Small Dining Wreath


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So after nearly five years in the house, we have decided some dining room curtains are in order.  In the photos it will appear that my house is spic and span, but if you look closely at my table, you will see a swath through the dust, and I conveniently did NOT photograph the right half of the dining room as it is piled high with flotsam and jetsam that will float away to a donation spot soon.

No matter–we love our new curtains.  Even Victoria who HATES change loves them.  Even Thad who cares not a fig for decorating loves them.  They make the dining room feel all official.  Penneys . . .on sale.  Can’t beat it with a stick.

Small Dining CurtainsThey are actually silver, but I love how they pick up the blue in the walls.

Small DiningI also love how they look with the cherry furniture. (Peep my Granny’s China cabinet there on the left full of my blue and white dishes.  Happiness!)

It’s the little things, don’tcha know.