Monday, April 3, 2017

The Year of the Yard, Part II

What a weekend! We spent much of it in the yard - new rock beds, spreading pine straw, cleaning out beds and working on an upcoming piece for our kitchen.


My godmother, Candy, discovered these pants when she moved into her new house this fall. I did a little poetic planting - this is my artistic work, "Pants On Fire."


This was already a drainage ditch to pull water away from the patio, but we freshened up the bed with crushed marble.


For the first time in three years, our quince is bearing fruit! This piece was about the size of a golf ball. Mom consulted with her friend Pam, a master gardener, who isn't sure that they are edible.


We had quite the interesting day today after strong storms flooded the area and knocked out power. Above is the power outage map from this morning. See the number 27? Our house was part of that. We were without power from 5:00 am to 6:15 pm! 


This was the culprit: a huge oak tree from our neighbor's yard blocking the street! It took down power lines, a street light and a whole pole had to be replaced. Paul came to my office to work all day. It was very surreal!

Very, very thankful to have our power back.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Year of the Yard

Whooo, this week has been a doozy!

I have dubbed this the "year of the yard" in regards to our house. After a few years of focusing on the interior, so far, 2017 has been full of pruning or curating. We have cut down bushes, pulled huge vines and made our yard sing. 

Now, it's time to add new growth back in. I ordered ten 'pretoria' variety canna lilies, which I am really excited to see pop up. I planted the bulbs last Sunday, but it will be early summer before we see them peek through.

I also bought a quarter pound bag of zinnias. Zinnias always remind me of my grandparents' house on Riverwood. 

I'm hoping I can plant those seeds today. We have had so much rain in the past few days!


Here is another new bloom in the backyard!


See this pottery vase? This is the newest in my collection, thanks to Fondren Flea, our neighborhood wide garage sale event for residents, churches and businesses. I helped get the word out about the event, though sadly it rained early that morning. Luckily, the big church rummage sales were inside.


I couldn't help but share this sign I spotted last night. Will someone find one of these for me?

Monday, March 20, 2017

County Line

Paul and I had what my mom would call "unexpected pocket of fun" this evening. Our fridge was rather bare, so off we went to grab groceries. On the way there we decided to get Chick-fil-a. We pull into the parking lot and guess what? They are tearing it down and building a bigger one! What?!

Plan B: Chick-fil-a at Northpark Mall.


I haven't been to the mall in a very long time and the two of us spent a lot of time reminiscing about the Northpark glory days. By the time we made it in the doors, we had each waxed poetically enough about Chinese food counters, we had to see if they were still around. While the one from my memory was gone, Paul's favorite was still going. We forgot all about chicken sandwiches and I had my first ever mall date complete with a loop around the mall "just to see."

Afterward, we finally made it to Target for groceries. In a special moment, our friend Kristen Ley's products have been picked up for a special collection. It was so cool to see her work and know these were designed in Jackson, but sold in Targets all over the country.

What a fun Monday night.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Home Again

I am typing this from the comforts of my cozy bed and I never want to leave again. A week of travel will do that to you. Five flights, a massive amount of streetcars, trains, buses and Lyft rides later, our whirlwind trip is over.


Yesterday we took a walking tour of Portland that was easily the highlight of the trip. Our guide had a spunky personality that was easy to love.


We said our goodbyes and headed out to our airport hotel. Paul was able to taste one last beer flight at dinner - this s'more stout was a favorite.


This was the view for most of our first flight (which came very bright and early). We crossed Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado before landing in Texas. I believe this was near Salt Lake City. 

Off to catch much needed beauty rest before work in the morning!

Saturday, March 18, 2017


Hello from Portland! I don't have much to say at the moment because I am dead tired, but I'll share a few moments.


Portland via their aerial tram



We have also had our share of eats (in between walking, of course). I have been looking forward to that pastrami sandwich from Kenny & Zuke's for months. Also, Blue Star Donuts because donuts.

It has been rainy, but we are pushing through!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Half Day Tourist

With the tail end of my conference wrapping up right before lunch time, I got to play tourist for half of the day.

The Chinese Theatre, of course. It was less dramatic in real life, though it was cool to spot my favorite stars along the Walk of Fame.

We couldn't go to LA without getting close to the Hollywood sign. No dancing a la La La Land once we arrived at Griffith Observatory. Thankfully, the fog has gotten a little better this week.




Back downtown, we decided to check out the Museum of Contemporary Art, nestled right next to our hotel. Thanks to a pass I have for museums around the country, we received free admission.



Andy Warhol greeted us as we walked into the gallery.

I was mesmerized by an exhibit by Kerry James Marshall. Here is a wonderful NYT article about his work:



Tomorrow: Portland!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

West Coast Time

Hello from Los Angeles!

I finally found a way to post from my phone, which I am super excited about.

Paul and I have been in LA (I have a conference here through tomorrow) and it is such a change of pace.

Fog has been a big issue the past few days! We rented a car Sunday to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. Unfortunately, it was hard to see much!


Above was at Venice Beach. It was very cold! Forecasts called for 90 degrees, but that was very deceiving. 

When we found a patch of clear beach on our way to Malibu, we were so excited!



We had a chance to eat at nearby Grand Central Market, which we have come to love. We also walked through the Downtown Arts District - it had a Fondren feel we appreciated.




More later!

Sunday, February 19, 2017


My grandmother says I need to blog more. Writing all day, I'm not inspired as much as a I used to be! I will try to do better. The last several weeks have been especially full with a magazine deadline, lots of forums and important speakers at work, teaching a few night classes, hosting book club and more.

One thing that has taken us by surprise has been this very early spring we are experiencing.

That means yard flowers are in full effect. These camellias were especially beautiful.

Arum italics (top), also known as Italian lord-and-ladies has been a real treat to see pop up. I have never seen as much in the front yard as I have this year. Jonquils and Lenten Rose (bottom left) are always fun.

Of course, we've mixed in some fun along the way. I'm still thinking about our delicious meal at Brent's last Sunday with family. Their cherry limeade was wonderful.

Mom said she couldn't get the burger and fries out of her head.

Early spring also means yard work, which we always have plenty of to keep us busy. People alway ask us what house projects we are working on and I have dubbed this the year of the yard. We have done so much on the inside, the outside needs some loving too. The past two summers have brought severe droughts, which have done a number on our plants despite my frequent watering.

We have plowed our cast iron plants to help them grow back stronger, pulled out many dead azalea bushes and pruned back rose bushes. This weekend, it was this area's turn.

Below is the "after" shot. While I love all the plants, it is nice to have some breathing room.

This left quite the pile for the garbage men. I'm crossing my fingers they take it all on Monday. If not, we are going to have one unhappy lawn man next week.

We finished off the weekend with a visit with "the boys," AKA, our nephews. They had a great time playing basketball in the driveway. Afterwards, we took them to Whole Foods for dinner. They were very impressed with their options.


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