Saturday, April 22, 2017

Good-Bye To An Old Friend (Lathrop State Park, CO)

We had to say good-bye to our oldest cat - Squirrel.  He wasn't doing too well this last year.
Squirrel 1999 -2017
As a matter of fact, it was this time last year in almost the same location that we started noticing the changes.  He wasn't ready to give up the fight to live though.  He was always a fighter.  He fought to move into our home by running away from our next door neighbor's house several times until we asked to keep him.  He knew what he wanted and there usually was no compromise once he made up his mind by telling us he wanted it 'Now Mister!'.  He argued with us every day to go outside and explore the area whether it was rain or shine.  He never allowed us to close the blinds because he needed to see outside at all times.  Despite his arthritic hips, he would still chase after birds or one of the other cats.
riding with Dusty through Wyoming to Montana 2016
Last week, we saw the fight leave Squirrel.  He was tired and ready to go.  I wasn't ready to say good-bye, but I knew he needed to rest.  I hope he is enjoying his new home chasing butterflies in catnip fields.   I will miss our little fighter.
Tomorrow is a travel day.  We spent four days in Lathrop State Park, CO while waiting for the latest cold front to move away from our northern route through Wyoming.  While we waited, we spent quality time with our cats especially with Max.  He was Squirrel's shadow from the moment Max joined our family.  Squirrel wasn't too thrilled with the little punk, but he tolerated him....most of the time.  :)
If the mountains look familiar, it is because I posted different pictures of them last year when we stayed for two nights to give us all a break from our long travels from Florida.
View from our dining room
We walked around one of the park's trails yesterday.  We didn't not see any wildlife, but the views were fantastic.
I am happy to see snow-capped mountains again.  The cold weather....I would have been happy to miss until next winter.  I'm sure it will start warming up soon.
I haven't been sewing as much lately.  I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for the moment.  The Black Cat quilt sold as soon as I let the interested customer know it was ready.  She sounded quite happy with the quilt.
Maybe I will find my muse again along the highway going north.  With all the scenic views, how can I not find it again?
Hugs to all

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Time In Texas (Bridgeport, TX)

Between the heavy rains and warm almost hot days, everything is turning green and blooming!  
My nose is itchy and my eyes are is definitely springtime in Texas!  ðŸ˜„
We had visitors last week.  My brother came down from Illinois with his dog, Frodo.  Frodo is such a sweetie for being a puppy.  No chewing, barking, or accidents.  He tried to be friends with the cats, but they were stubborn and just hissed at him.  Dusty did spend more time watching Frodo and they even got nose to nose a couple of times.  They might have been friends in a couple of more weeks.  Oh well.  We had a great time with both.  Yes, I did spend time with my brother too.  
We had lunch at the Down the Alley Cafe in Decatur.  Dan and I had lunch here in December and I wanted to go back again.  
Sitting outside
 I love the way they decorated the outdoor sitting areas.   We decided to eat outside and enjoy the peaceful afternoon while watching birds and cats in the gardens.
A watering can tree?
The food was delicious, but we were told that they were turning their cafe into a beer garden and this would be the last lunch served.  Darn!  It is so hard to find a place that serves a variety of flavorful vegetarian meals.
After lunch, we walked around the downtown Decatur square.  I have to say that the Wise County courthouse is the most unique one I have seen so far.
I probably took too many photos of this building, but I could not help it.  The good news is that I did cut down on the ones I was going to post here.  Lucky you!

Each side had a different look.  Giving me the feel that I was looking at a different building when viewing each side.
I read that you can take a tour of the clock tower.  Visitors get a view of the 2,000 lb bell hanging in the tower on their way to the top.
Two more photos of what looks like a stairwell...... 
...and the details in the stonework....amazing!
Okay, I had to share a few more photos of Frodo.  I took these while he was waiting for my brother to come back to the couch.  He is so cute!
Looking for a fun easy read? Try this cozy Oxford Tearoom Mysteries. 
Oxford Tearoom Mysteries (5 Book Series) by  H.Y. Hanna
  Oxford Tearoom Mysteries
I just finished #4 with only two more to go. I love the descriptions of village living. The food served in Gemma's tearoom along with the local restaurants sounds scrumptous. Of course, being a cat lover - Gemma's mischievous cat, Muesli has me laughing and going 'yep that sounds like something our cats would do' except they do not point us in the right direction to solve a mystery.
There's quite a selection of colorful characters like Gemma's overbearing matchmaking mother, her artist friend/co-worker, and the four "old Biddies" (Gemma's reference not mine) who consider themselves the real Miss Marples of Oxfordshire, England. I also like the fact that it is written with British English spelling and usage making the story feel more authentic. So far, I have only had to refer to the Glossary of British Terms a couple of times at the end of the book. 
Remarkable Creatures Audiobook

I'm so happy a friend recommended this book to me. I really enjoyed listening to this audio version with two narrators.

Based on true facts and science records, this is a story about Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot living in early 19th century England in Lyme Regis along the coast known for its fossils. Through their love of fossil hunting these two women became friends despite the differences in their age and social status. 
Meet Mary Anning - The Greatest Fossil Hunter Ever Known (sadly, of course, she rec'd very little credit for it in her own lifetime).:
Mary Anning with her dog Tray source: Pinterest
Mary's father taught her how to look for special shells and fossils to sell in the family's store to the tourists.  She grew up knowing how to hunt after storms and often showed others how to look during low tides.  Elizabeth Philpot came from a higher social status.  She and her two sisters are unmarried and supported by their one brother in London.  When their brother decides to marry, the three spinsters move into a small cottage in Lyme Regis.  They are still supported by their now married brother, but have a limited lifestyle since there is no man in their home.  Elizabeth finds solitude in her painting and in hunting for fossils along the beach when she becomes friends with Mary.

The story also covers the constant battle of gender inequality and social power that both faced with the scientific community especially with the Geological Society of London.  A time when women could not vote or go to a university for an education.  

 Mary's discovery of the Ichthyosaurs would have made her famous and her family wealthier if not for the men of the time taking advantage of her being a woman. This did not slow Mary down. She spent her whole life looking and categorizing fossils. Even endangering her life by hunting along the cliffs after major storms. She lost her dog, Tray in one landslide while looking for fossils.  **The death of her dog was not covered in the book.
Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis, UK. Must visit there to look for fossils!:
source: Pinterest
I looked up Lyme Regis and I was quite surprised to see recent photos of so many fossils on the beach.  I wonder if visitors are allowed to leave with their finds or if they are asked to leave them like they do here in the states?  Wouldn't that be an interesting place to visit?

On The Cutting Board
I finished another black cat quilt.  I wasn't so sure about how I was going to tie together the different colored cat themed fat quarters.  I think keeping the colors together worked out better.  I hope the customer interested in this quilt will like it too.  I plan to send photos this afternoon.  If not, I'll be listing it in Etsy!
Well, I just got a new computer.  I have been busy uploading new software, working out problems with old software and I still have so much to do on it.......but I am ready for a break.  Time for a little relaxing and sewing.........must sew now........
Happy Quilting!

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