Tag Archives: south Texas

A Picnic with the Alligators

No, it’s not a children’s book or a gangster movie. When Mom and two of my sisters were here last week, we packed a picnic and went down to Brazos Bend State Park south of Houston to spend an afternoon under the live oaks. It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the low 70’s, sunny skies and a great breeze. We went on a Wednesday, so we practically had the entire park to ourselves which made it even more peaceful. We found a picnic table under a big live oak tree dripping with Spanish moss and spent a relaxing afternoon enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. It was beautiful. It was glorious.

There’s something about a picnic on a lake, under a live oak with nothing but the sound of birds chirping that’s just good for the soul. I can’t describe how relaxing it was. While we ate, we broke out the Pente board. Pente was really big back in the early 80’s, if you’re old enough to remember it. We played Pente several times while the girls were here. If you’re not familiar with posts about my family, we’re big into playing cards and board games. Sometimes we even break out the 1,000 piece puzzles. Scrabble, Phase 10 and Cranium rate high on our list, too. Subconsciously, I think we’re all hoping that this ritual of working our brains will help keep senility at bay. Check back in 20 years, and I’ll let you know how that worked out. But on this day, we kept our brain cells hopping with a little low-level strategy and bead stealing while we fed the ravens and grackles.

When lunch was over, we packed up the picnic and game board and took a stroll around the lake in search of alligators. Welcome to south Texas, ladies!

It’s not like we planned to wrestle them, or anything. We just wanted to see if we could find them and take pictures. Baby Sister said that our nephew, Gabe the Babe, would get a kick out of it if we could find and photograph some alligators. As soon as we started down the path around the lake, we found one about 6 feet from the shore. Some days, we just get lucky like that. Guess I should have bought a lottery ticket, too. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.

Our gator was kind enough to pose for pictures. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but I think he was about 6 feet long, a Pisces, and into red meat, small woodland creatures and macrame. But I’m just guessing. Hello, handsome!

Big Sis took this awesome close-up shot. She wasn’t the least bit afraid to get close enough to get a good picture with her zoom lens. Here’s the proof:

Our Baby Sister was right there with her. Which reminds me…. I forgot to tell them to run in a zig-zag pattern if the gators decide to come out of the water and chase them. Oopsie. Hehe (nervous laugh). Another 10 feet down the path, we ran into a blue heron. Such pretty birds. They really are blue, you know.

There were other gorgeous birds, as well. Like the ibis with his long bill (also seen on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs) and these beautiful red-billed ducks.

The big lake at Brazos Bend is beautiful. It’s wild, marshy and untamed like me (wait…marshy?) and it’s teeming with flora & fauna. The banks of those little islands on the right are home to all sizes of alligators, turtles and birds. I wish I could adequately describe how lovely it is. It’s so peaceful there.

Those decks over the water make an excellent place to stop and take photos.

We took lots of photos. There were so many things to look at. Favorite flower:

These were growing on tall, thin reeds like cattails. I don’t know what they are, but they were absolutely lovely. Favorite trees? Definitely those gorgeous live oaks. They grow low and wide, like big green umbrellas. When they’re covered in Spanish Moss, they’re just magical. They’re one of my favorite trees.

Favorite critter? This baby alligator captured by Big Sis and her zoom (again).

This little guy was perched on a stump. He couldn’t have been a foot long. At least, what we could see was about a foot long. What is it about little baby animals that make them so stinkin’ cute? Even the deadly ones. Baby lions? Cute. Baby hippos? Cute. Baby cobras? Trick question!! No snakes are cute!!

Thank you Mom, Big Sis and Baby Sister. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your visit. I enjoyed the antiquing. I enjoyed the baking. I enjoyed that big honkin’ sirloin we grilled up with that baked potato casserole. I enjoyed the chick flicks, the board games, and the pajama nights. But most of all, I enjoyed our picnic in the woods and the chance to just hang out and be ourselves. And laugh. And belch like guys and giggle about it. And swap stories. And relax. It was lovely. And I miss you already. We should totally do this again sometime. And next time, we’ll see if we can’t get all the sisters and My Baby to join us!

If you’d like more information on visiting Brazos Bend State Park, go to:
http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/brazos_bend/

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Know what I love about fall? Breaking out my collection of pajama pants!

How do I love pajama pants? Let me count the ways!

Fall is here, and it’s time to break out my collection of pajama pants. Oh, how I love my pajama pants. So much so, that I feel compelled to share a few random thoughts with you – my close friends and confidants. Hope you don’t mind.

1. Down here in South Hades (Houston, TX), it’s just too dadgum hot to wear PJ pants year round. That’s why I look forward to cold weather, when the highs dip below 98F, the humidity drops below 140% and there’s a not-so-blistering-as-usual breeze in the air. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer. Close enough to make me break out the PJ pants collection and get them ready.

2. I’d wear pajama pants all day long if I could get away with it at the doctor’s office or grocery store or the post office. You laugh, but I’ve actually seen people wearing them out in public. Did they forget or something?

3. I don’t know why, but I don’t really go for the PJ tops. Buying the full set is a waste of money for me. I prefer to wear PJ pants with t-shirts. It’s more comfortable. Or maybe it’s that I’m menopausal and sleeping in a flannel shirt with night sweats would make me crazy enough to kill someone (unintentionally, of course).

4. My collection includes both flannel and cotton PJ pants. It’s like the old party conundrum – “black tie” or “business casual”? I like to wear the lightweight cotton pants when it’s cool, and the flannel for special occasions. And by special occasions, I mean Christmas. My Baby (my beautiful daughter) and I started buying matching PJ pants to wear on Christmas morning when she was in high school. That was 10 years ago, and we still try to buy them each year. I love family holiday traditions.

A few of my cute Nick & Nora pajamas from Suuupah Target

5. I seem to have more than my fair share of Nick & Nora PJ’s from my favorite store, Suuupah Target. I especially love their sock monkey PJ’s, but I also have a super cute pair with snow globes from the 50 states on them. Another favorite pair has girly lingerie on hangers and clotheslines. Love them!

6. What would a pair of pajama pants in the winter be without fuzzy socks? My favorites are the ones made by the “Life is Good” people. They’re cuddly, fuzzy perfection. I also love this sweet pink pair with the fuzzy bunny cuffs. So cute, and so toasty warm. They’re like a hug for your feet from someone you love.

Fuzzy Socks - A warm hug for your tootsies.

7. A word of caution: don’t wear fuzzy socks when you’re carrying your over-loaded laundry basket down the stairs (lesson learned the hard way) and don’t chase your dog on wood floors with your fuzzy socks on, or you’ll be singing “Wipe Out!” in your sleep.

8. Don’t mix fuzzy socks and polar fleece blankets. They tend to stick together, and you run the risk of getting tangled up when you try to run for the bathroom during television commercial breaks. Not to mention the fact that you’ll get popped with static electricity. Personally, I think it would be a hoot to rub a polar fleece blanket on your head and then walk into a room and say “Honey, the pregnancy test came out positive!” That seems pretty dang funny when you’re 47 and menopausal.

Happy fall, y’all! I hope you have a season filled with punkins, cool weather, crisp apples, homemade soups and stews, and comfortable pajama pants with fuzzy socks. I don’t think there’s anything better this time of year!

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Hot Fun in the Summer Time

I think the extraordinary summer heat in South Texas has finally baked Ziggy’s brain. For the most part, he seems to be normal. He still snores when he naps. He still farts after he eats. He still tries to lick my feet as if they’re covered in melted cheese. He still snuggles up next to me on the sofa. Yup, he seems pretty normal except for one thing. He L-O-V-E-S to go outside during the hottest part of the day and lay on the concrete patio. What is he thinking?!?

Ziggy - Bake at 450F for 15-20 minutes

The Complete Package took our instant read thermometer out there to test how hot the concrete is in the late afternoon. It came back at 115F. I’m pretty sure you could smoke a brisket out there. Hmmm…brisket…oak chips in the pantry…weekend coming up…I think a plan is forming.

Why Is There A Camera In My Face, Mommy?

Sorry, Ziggy. Mommy got distracted. Don’t you want to come back inside where there’s air conditioning and your favorite rug under the ceiling fan? No? Are you sure? What if I got you some ice cream?

Did Someone Say Ice Cream?

Yeah, I thought that would get your attention.

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