Thursday, March 17, 2011


Greetings to each of you on St. Patrick's Day!

The last time I blogged I forgot to mention that our local art gallery had it's annual Gala and we went.

This year's theme was "With Pennies from Heaven We'll Be Singing in the Rain". It was a fund raiser and they were raising money to repair the roof which was in dire need of repair. Some friends of ours from Dallas were our guests as well as an Arlington couple, so we all met over here so we could go together and take up fewer parking spaces.

It was a lovely event and Frank and I knew most of the people there. They had decorated with umbrellas to keep with the theme and had clouds suspended from the ceiling and also on the table cloths.

Here is a shot that I took from the mezzanine that shows the overall scene for the evening. Fortunately they have an elevator so I was able to go upstairs.

When we first arrived, we were greeted by these girls who were in all white body-stockings and they were twirling around a hoop which was built into their garments. It was as though they were moving in slow motion. They looked very surreal and almost spooky!

Here are some of our dear friends who were there. Betty and Ann were also at one of the Ben E. Keith tables and sat next to us. There were three of these tables thanks to Betty's husband., Dick.

There were also a number of my artist friends there and they had some of their work in the auction. I used to paint with Karen, Nancy and Barbara who were part of the group I belonged to called Canvas by Canvas.

There was dancing before dinner and also live entertainment. Both were exceptional. These dancers even sang and danced to "Singing in the Rain". It was great fun.

There was a silent auction that started when the event began and after dinner there was a live auction. Here is the painting that I had in the silent auction. I hope that they made enough off of both of the auctions to make the necessary repairs to the building with some left over. It was a lovely affair and I'm sure that they did.

Canvas by Canvas had one of their large pieces in the live auction. It was entitled "La Diosa Rosa" and one of our guests bid on it and got it. I worked on this piece with 8 other members of the group. Their's is a very unique way of painting. You can go to their website and see how it'd done.
I really enjoyed painting with the group and was with them for several years.

The silent auction had the art work hanging at all times, but when the live auction started, they had volunteers who looked like The Village People walk around the museum with each painting so the patrons could get a better look. Here's our Longhorn.

It was a great evening and a good time was had by all.
I mentioned before that our son was in a wreck and totaled his car.

Well, he now has a new car and hopefully there will be no more mishaps! It looks much better than the old one did a couple of weeks ago!

And speaking of cars, our great-grandson celebrated his 16th birthday last month and has just gotten his learner's permit to drive. Please keep him in your prayers! There is so much traffic in our area that I'm concerned for him. As you can see by the look on his face, he's both excited and proud.

I had a minor setback from my treatment last week, so I spent a lot of time watching TV. It's a good thing to do when you can't walk. I happened upon a show that I had never heard of called Amazing Cakes and this is indeed the most amazing cake that I have ever seen.

You can check out these links and see how they made it.

I finally got around to painting again last week. I met with some old friends that I used to paint with and here is the result of my effort. I had a lot of fun and it was a productive day.

One of the girls who was there is doing torn paper collages and here is the one that she worked on that day.

I think it's wonderful and she is considering giving classes on how to do this. If she does, I'll be the first in line to sign up.
Guess I'd better go and get ready since I have another treatment in a few hours. Enjoy St. Patrick's Day and drink a green beer for me! This was my Father's birthday and he would have been 107 today. May God bless him!
XOXO, Pcasso

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It's been a while since I've posted here. There's been a lot going on in our lives and some of it was difficult to report at first.
For the first time in 53 years I did not host our Thanksgiving celebration, so we put on our feathers and headed south ... south Arlington, that is.

Franklin and Beth graciously offered to have our Thanksgiving feast at their house this year since I was having a lot of challenges with my back. We all gathered together to celebrate and be thankful for all the blessings in our lives.

They "brined" the bird overnight before they baked it and it was, without a doubt, one of the best turkeys I've ever eaten.

The rest of the family brought other food items and they were all delicious, especially the pumpkin and pecan pies that my Granddaughter made. Everyone brought something to add to the feast and it was all great.

We all had a great time and of course, the "boys" all went to the Cowboy game afterwards while we girls stayed behind and continued to celebrate as we watched the game on TV and enjoyed a toddy.

Little did I know what was in store for all of us when I declined preparing the Thanksgiving feast.
Three weeks later I developed an infection and after several tests and visits to the doctor I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I have kept a lot of you informed of what happened along this difficult journey. I had my first surgery in early December.
We had a blessed Christmas in spite of what was going on with me. Beth and Franklin once again offered their home and everyone had a great time.

Harry and I enjoyed eggnog while everyone else was preparing the meal as well as getting ready for the gift exchange.

Nicholas, our eldest grandson, was Santa this year. We take turns with this job and we most always let one of the boys be Santa.

After Christmas, I went back to the Urologist and she performed a cystoscopy and discovered the extent of the cancer. In case you don't know what cancer looks like, it's the "fluffy clouds" in the photograph. You are actually looking inside my bladder here. I'm amazed how cancer can look so lovely and be so destructive.

My first surgery was December 9th, so I had a legitimate excuse to not cook at Christmas! Due to the extent of the cancer which was much worse than they thought it would be at first, my doctor inadvertently nicked the wall of the bladder so she could not complete the procedure. I was scheduled to have a 2nd surgical procedure on the 20th of January. I was told to take it very easy between surgeries and I certainly always want to follow doctor's orders! I might add that Frank is not only a wonderful nurse, he is also learning how to cook , so I was well taken care of!
My friends that I used to paint with in Canvas by Canvas brought me this lovely poinsettia when I was in the hospital the first time. It not only cheered up the hospital room, it looked wonderful at the house. In fact, it was our Christmas tree for most of the season! They are such dear girls and I really appreciate both their talent as well as their friendship. Everyone was exceedingly kind to us during this time. I was under girded with prayers, cards, food (which Frank really appreciated) and visits. Support like this makes things so much easier when you are going through a rough patch.

I had a much easier time after the 2nd surgery and was told that I am now Cancer Free, or at least as much so as can be expected at this point. Those are magical words to my ears!
I am now in the process of treatments which will hopefully prevent the cancer from coming back and I'm half way through ... YEAH! I'll certainly be glad when this is all behind me.
In the meantime, my family has been very busy. We had a family day here last month and I cooked (brought in pizza from a local place ;-)

We played games, celebrated 3 birthdays and had a great time in general as we always do when we get together.

Here I am with 3 handsome young loves of my life.

And these are the birthday people ... Nicholas' wife, Dayna, Rachel and her son, Ethan. He was born on Rachel's birthday and turned sweet 16 this year. I still can't believe that I have a great grandson that old. How is it possible since I'm still so young???

Two of my other loves!

Our youngest grandson, Connor, is competing in a Math/Science program in Dallas and he comes home most Saturdays with medals. He's a really smart and special young man.

While everyone was off to competitions, our son Franklin was going to work in Dallas. He makes this trip every day but this was a very different day. On his way home from work he was in a car crash which totaled his car. By God's grace, he was not hurt. Praise the Lord for air bags! We feel so blessed that this was no worse than it was since this is the second big wreck that he's been involved in. The first one also totaled his car by a driver that was going 80+ mph. It was literally a hit and run as they never found the person that hit him.

Our other young grandson, Ian is quite the musician as well as being a good student. He plays guitar and is very good even if I do say so.

If you go to this You Tube link you'll see why we're so proud of him. You can hear what a young rock band sounds like. This clip was shot at a talent show at their school and they won!

Tonight is Shrove Tuesday and we'll be on our way to church in a few minutes to eat pancakes and listen to a jazz band.

In New Orleans they call it Fat Tuesday and I'm sure that the pancakes have something to do with it. In the United Kingdom and many other countries, the day is often known as Pancake Day. Making and eating such foods was considered a last feast with ingredients such as sugar, fat and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. My wish for each of you is that this will be a time of prayer and reflection and that you will realize how blessed we all really are. Have a holy Lenten season. I'll get back to you soon.
XOXO, Pcasso

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We spent the next few days in the most glorious place, one of Marriott's Vacation Villas in Newport Beach. It was the last leg of our journey so this would be our final home away from home. We had not been there before and what a treat it was!

Since there are several days included in this post, there will be a lot of photographs, so please bear with me.

The drive from Los Angeles along the coast to Newport was not a very time consuming trip and we arrived in the late afternoon. As we came over the hill, this glorious sight was awaiting us. What a spectacular place this was! We were supposed to come here two years ago but Frank had the flu so we had to cancel. It was well worth the wait. It was the perfect place to end an already perfect two weeks.

All the grounds were landscaped to perfection.

After arriving, we checked into our condo and took a look around our place. It was wonderful and so spacious. Frank and I each had our own bedroom and bath.

Of course I took the one with the King size bed with the Jacuzzi tub in the room (I couldn't get in and out of it so I had to use the shower) My room also had the ocean view. At home we have twin beds on a King-sized headboard, so even though we are together, we're not. It makes for a much better night's sleep.

I can remember when we purchased our first twin beds. Frank's Dad thought we were most certainly on the road to divorce (he and Mama had always slept in a double bed). The fact of the matter was that 3 months after we bought the twin beds I became pregnant with Franklin. Guess that blew Grandpa's theory!
We had a beautifully equipped kitchen but we opted to eat out and not prepare any meals. It was a real treat to just relax and enjoy the cooler California mornings, sit out on one of our balconies and enjoy the view.

That evening we weren't really hungry but decided to venture out and find a place for a light meal. This is not a good move if you are new to the area. We had no idea where we were going or how to get there. Newport is a little like Hilton Head as they don't have well marked streets. Guess you're supposed to know where you're going in advance which we did NOT! We went into the main office and asked for suggestions. While Frank was doing that, I looked around some of the public rooms and at the pools. This place is really lovely.

The young woman at the desk at the resort was not very knowledgeable about local restaurants, so we ended up having dinner at a place that we found called The Five Crowns, which we assumed was a pub. The first thing they asked us when we got there was if we had made reservations. Of course, not knowing where we were going, we had not.

It was a charming place. Since we had not "booked" we were seated at a table that would have been more suitable for two small children. We told them that this would not work for us due to our ages and sizes, so they graciously moved us to a different table. When we looked at the menu, we realized that this was no ordinary pub. The prices were sky high and after looking around we discovered that we were very under dressed. I mentioned to our waitress that this was a very unusual menu for a pub and she said that we were in the fine dining portion of the establishment and we most probably would find what we had been looking for in an adjoining part of the building. It was called The Side Door. She walked us over there and when we got there it was perfect. A typical English pub with pints and chips!

We both decided on the fish and chips and a pint of ale. It was delicious and made us feel as though we were back in Jolly Old England again. After starting out on the wrong foot, we ended up having a great evening. It's nice to be surprised. Sometimes things turn out better than the ones that you have carefully planned.

The next morning we decided to have cereal at the condo. It was easier than going out and that way we could take our time getting ready for the day. The beauty of a trip like this one is that there is no agenda and you can take as little or as much time doing things as you want.

After breakfast we took a stroll around the grounds to get a better look at the place.

We especially liked all the statuary and the fountains. They were lavish but not gaudy.

They had this cute little green golf cart that would transport you from one part of the complex to another since the resort covers so much acreage.

We had made plans to meet some long time friends, Henry and Margaret Hulan, who live in Upland, CA which is about an hour away for lunch.

Having roamed the territory last night and were familiar with locations of some of the restaurants, we decided to go to Gulfstream which was in a nearby shopping center. We needed to get as much fresh seafood eaten as we possibly could before heading inland soon.

The place was extremely busy but it was an excellent choice. Reminded me a lot of Houston's in Dallas where we frequent for good food.

I had the shrimp, Frank had snapper and the Hulans had a fresh tuna burger which included a mountain of french fries. My baked potato with all the trimmings was on a separate plate. I wouldn't want you to think that I was eating light!

We had a wonderful visit with them, catching up on mutual friends whom we had not seen in years. There's nothing more special than long time friendships and we have been blessed with many of them over the years. We went to Guadalajara together many years ago and still remember the fun that we had together on that trip. Henry was with an Orthodontic supply company so we were able to find out all the news about Orthodontists that we had know when Frank was still in practice. It's still hard for me to realize that he's been retired 25 years. Time flies when you're having fun!
A couple of hours later we said our goodbye's, took a few more photographs and they headed home.

I'm not sure, but I think Henry might have had some left over french fries in his kitty bag (it couldn't have been a doggy bag since it came from a fish place ;-)
After lunch we decided to take the drive along the coast and get a closer look at the ocean.I honestly think I could spend the rest of my days at the seaside watching the waves and sipping good wine.

The homes along the way were magnificent. Every inch of space is built upon and most of the homes here have an ocean view. I have since found out that Newport Beach has more expensive homes and it is more costly to live there than any other city in the U.S. It's a good thing that we didn't decide to go house hunting.

There were lots of different styles of architecture but all were most attractive.

We stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home and got some sandwiches for dinner. It seemed easier than going out and we wanted to play cards and watch a little TV like all old folks do for entertainment.
The next morning after we got partially packed, we walked around for a bit while we waited for the time to come to go to lunch. You're right ... all we do is eat or we plan where we will eat next! We found this quaint little place called the Quiet Woman and decided to give it a try. You can probably figure out why it was called this by the logo on the menu!

It was a charming and cozy little place and the staff were friendly, the food was most appetizing and the ambiance was perfect.

We enjoyed a bottle of California wine from the Napa Valley and then I chose a Reuben Sandwich for my meal. Jason's Deli style it was not. Jason's is good but in the words of Tony the Tiger, this was great.

Frank had fish tacos and we shared some French Fries. After tomorrow, no more wine at lunch and no more fried food, so we thought we'd better take advantage of this opportunity.

We decided that the lady sitting across from us had had way too many fries and that they just might have to get a shoe horn and some Vaseline to get her out of her chair. I honestly don't know now she got in it! Looking at her made me feel almost thin! She also had a "to go" bag. I certainly hope it was for her dog !!!

After lunch we walked around the grounds of the resort for a while before going back to the condo to finish packing. It was then that I discovered a Koi pond with not only fish, but also water lilies.

Once our bags were packed, we decided to sit out on the balcony and have a drink and watch the sunset.

The air was cool and calm and suddenly the sky over the Pacific Ocean turned the most glorious shades of red, purple and orange that you can imagine. It was the perfect way to end a perfect trip.

We left early the next morning for the airport. As I looked back and bid farewell to our latest home away from home, I was sad to leave but anxious to get back to Texas, friends and family.
We have had such a great time but all good things must come to an end sooner or later. We got on board our big silver bird, buckled our seatbelts and couldn't wait to get back to DFW where our son would meet us and take us back home again.

Thank you for traveling with us. We hope to you again soon.