Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dallas Arboretum

Yesterday afternoon Ethan and I got a membership to the Dallas Arboretum. It was very pretty. Very different from the Ft. Worth Botanical (I think I may like the Ft. Worth garden better, but it's not within walking distance and the arboretum is.)

They had many areas with water-wise plants that gave us fun ideas for our home garden. I especially loved the globe amaranth mixed with Joseph's coat (round flowers next to purple foliage)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

playing with oil paints

When my grandmother passed away, she left me a whole slew of oil paints, some of which were too old to open, and others of which were still usable. A few weeks ago when I had an afternoon off I decided to try my hand at modern art oil painting.

Here is my trio of paintings:

I shall title them "confetti western 1, 2, and 3". Try not to get too blown away by all that raw talent.

I think one day soon I am going to make a more earnest attempt to paint something that looks like something. but for now I've got these stunners!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I've harvested the first tomatoes today. They are delicious.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Things that are awesome about my mom

1. She always made our birthday cakes, with homemade frosting from scratch. They are the best cakes in the entire world
2. She also made Happy Birthday Jesus cakes every Christmas.

3. She read to us every single night before bed from as early as I can remember. I in fact don't remember ever learning how to read.

4. She joined the Navy after being dared to by her brother.

5. She showed me that a woman could have a career, and should work hard. She was able to support our family when my dad was between jobs for several months when I was little.
6. She (and my dad) struck a good balance between letting us know that they had high expectations of me and my sisters, without making us feel that we would lose their love if we happened to fall short. I think finding this balance was probably a hard thing to do.
7. She started doing triathlons in her 50's. and made me do them with her.

8. She can and does mispronounce every word with an origin in another language, and can laugh at herself about this.
9. growing up, she let me rearrange my room/ partially redecorate every few weeks without making a peep.
10. She let us travel as part of our educations, then decided we shouldn't have all the fun, and started going herself.

11. She can pull together a full meal for eight on a few hours notice. With like six different sides.
12. When I was growing up, I was never grounded. But if I gave her attitude or slammed the door to my room, she just took the door off for a week. (with the rationale that I was to immature to deserve a door at that time).
13. She has driven all over the state of Texas to take me and my sisters to swim meets, regattas, and soccer games.
14. She knows the entire available inventory of Costco at any given time.
15. She made up songs to sing to us when we were little.
16. She continues to make goals for knowledge or experience for herself each year. in the last few years, she has traveled to Israel, learned how to play golf, and finished several triathlons.
17. She is as bad of a dancer as I am, but does it with great joy.

18. There is love:

19. She has even worse ADD Than me.
20. She's just great. That's all there is to it.

Garden 2011

We've had our garden planted for a month or more now, and I realized I still had not done a post on it.

This year we decided to do more herbs, and more flowers. We also went with a purple/ red and green theme, mostly through colorful foliage.

Our plants included:

In the herb garden:
Sweet Basil
Opal Basil

French Lavender

English Lavender
Purple sage
Regular sage (not sure of species... we stuck a seed in the ground last summer and it survived ALL winter, including snow and ice storms, so that plant was a keeper)

Lemon Verbena

- sorry about not knowing species, we planted all of this 1-2 months ago
two kinds of cherry tomatoes

one heirloom tomato
one compact patio tomato
banana peppers
2 jalapenos
anaheim peppers
green and red bell peppers
swiss chard

Onions (starters given to us by our neighbors, who are awesome at gardening)

Shade garden

2 boston ferns
3 red and green coleus
2 green and white coleus
2 dark purple coleus
some kind of vining hanging plant that has both dark purple and light green foliage

Blanket flowers
some kind of flower I bought two years ago that was labeled as an annual that has not died despite huge neglect on my part. will try to find out what it's called because it's a super star if you have a black thumb.

Last year we grew 4 tomato plants and got 3 tomatoes. We said we wound never plant them again, but after doing some research, we re-thought it. After some research, we realized that unlike the midwest, if you want to grow tomatoes in Texas, you can't start in May. It's too dang hot. Also, we learned that if you get cherry tomatoes, the maturation time is more conducive to Texas' two short (spring and fall) growing seasons. I bought two plants on March 1, and just covered them with some Christmas lights and a sheet when it was cold overnight. They're both doing AWESOME, and I will plant them again next year. we also got a patio tomato (fruits seem to be on the smallish side of a regular tomato size) and one heirloom. It's doing okay, but not as proliferative as the other plants have been. We probably have 75-100 cherry tomatoes growing right now!

our peppers aren't doing much, but I think that's because they need heat to thrive. I expect more from them when it gets hotter during the middle of the summer.

Another key to success in our garden this year was putting up a simple fence (made from gray PVC piping and twine) to keep Reagan from stomping on things. this has helped a lot, especially in the shade garden. He could get over it if he wanted to, but it serves as a reminder to him of where he's not supposed to go, and it seems to be working pretty well.

I'm really excited about the opal basil and the idea of making purple pesto, and having our nieces and nephews over to eat it. I think most kids love weird-colored food, and it's better that it's naturally weird-colored than that you add a bunch of artificial coloring. we could make purple pesto chicken and serve it over purple potatoes! the possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter 2011

We went to Easter services at FBC Austin, where my mom and sister are members. My sister was unfortunately sick Easter morning, but she did perk up by the afternoon and was able to have some dinner with us.

Here we are outside the church with the flowering cross:

Shannon's pretty Easter table

And the egg hunt. I could NOT get this girl to look at the camera for me! She was very intent on finding her eggs.

Birthday Party

Last weekend, I miraculously got off. In case you're not familiar with how days off go in a surgery residency, they are usually random. The only rhyme or reason is that you're required four days off for the month. That sometimes means I'll go 20+ days without a day off, if they're bunched up in the first part of one month, and in the second part of the next month. This also explains why I have time to blog on a Tuesday morning. What most people consider a regular weekend is for an intern in training labeled a "golden weekend", meaning that you actually get to leave work Friday afternoon, leave your pager behind, and you don't have to worry about coming back until Monday morning.

So anyhow, I got the weekend off, which was AWESOME because it was both Easter and my BIRTHDAY weekend. We decided to drive down to Austin to spend it with my family, since I hadn't seen them since January,

and I hadn't seen my little sister since last summer.

Saturday, we went grocery shopping for my birthday dinner, and then I got a fantastic massage from a woman named Amanda (at Massage Harmony in the 26 doors shopping center in case you're ever in Austin on a Saturday). Saturday night we went to my sister's house where we grilled steaks and ate all my favorite things- shrimp cocktail, asparagus, spinach salad, caprese salad, and of course, funfetti cake (decorated by my sister and my 3-year-old niece).

My sister set up a beautiful tablescape outdoors on the porch.

What is even more amazing? She is able to put together a gracious and artistic southern-living style table, and make me a cake, while doing MUCH of it like this:

A baby on the hip and the other on the leg!

It was so fun to spend time with the little girls

(after we'd been pushing her higher and higher on the swing and repeatedly down their mini roller-coaster... this girl is an adrenaline junkie)

And to relax on Shannon's porch swing:

Such a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon/ evening! And of course, after dinner and a few glasses of wine:

and why my mom is not in any other picture...