Monday, August 31, 2015

the last of August

Dinner last night with Mom and Dad, "Seen any coyotes lately."
Me: "Nope, I think they must've moved on.
12 hours later...


The elusive red rainbow, which I'd never seen before in my lifetime, until last August 2014, made it's appearance (for me, naturally) again today. The closer the sun is to the horizon, the better your chances, as blue light continues to scatter so that only the red is visible to the human eye. 


(It appeared and then faded within 5 minutes.)

Saturday, August 29, 2015
Friday, August 28, 2015

 a very yellow 99% rising moon in Aquarius tonight

We'll see if the clouds stay away for the 100% set in the morning at dawn.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Color is the place

Rainbow this morning. 

They're so overused and synonymous with "happiness" that they are inevitably childish, even cliché. 

So why is it so hard (at least, for me) not to stare and smile at this simple little thing appearing in the sky? 

Not one poem that I enjoy comes to mind which references rainbows.  Only the painters seem to get it right.

"Simple colors can affect the intimate feelings with all the more force because they are simple." ~Matisse

"Color is a means of exerting direct influence on the soul. Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hands which play, touching one key or another purposely to cause vibrations in the Soul."  ~Kandinsky

"Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet." ~Cezanne

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Third morning back was the charm.




Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Now My Daughter is Showing Me Up

It makes my heart happy to check on Sam's blog and see new posts almost every day. 

And it makes me think, oh, so that's why people ask me why I haven't blogged in a while. . .

First time on that side of a blog. 

So, a blog. 

I am an empty nester now. I'd had my week of side-stepping it running around Houston and seeing friends and generally reminding myself that, yes, I have done pretty well with keeping the "me" around while raising my kids. 

And now, with kids raised, I still have all those things and friends and interests, old and new, to keep me busy. 

Where it creeps in and whispers to me "gone" are the random moments that I realize . . .

I have no one that I might wake up playing on the piano in the morning when I get back from my walks or bother while they are trying to watch television/play games throughout the day. I'm suddenly awash in practice time in an empty house, all day. 

There is no one to shout down to let the dogs in from the backyard, or to swap the laundry while they're downstairs in the kitchen. We'd already been on our own laundry schedules, so there isn't any less to speak of.  But sometimes I'd have a hand in moving my stuff on through the line. Now it's all me. Drat. 

I have an email for half off at Goodwill this afternoon for tomorrow and there is no Sammi to ask if she wants to make a trip with me. 

It's in those little moments that "gone" twists the knife, just a bit, just enough to know this is a change that is still working itself out in my head. 

Katy was acting out when all three of us disappeared from the house within a span of a couple of days. With Bob out all day and in the basement all evening/night, she was one unhappy camper who decided peeing and pooping at the front door all the time as well as strewing cat litter all over the kitchen floor might get some attention. (It wasn't the attention she wanted, however.)

But since I've been home, no more of that. She stays within a few feet of me wherever I go, and lays near the front door until I return if I go anywhere, which hasn't been for longer than an hour at any point. 

Evan spends half his day on Sam's bed and half on Nick's floor (the bed is higher). He sleeps next to me all night. He never used to be in either of their rooms much, but now he seems to like dividing his time between them. He seems to wonder what happened. 

I wonder what happened, too. A minute ago, I had little kids who needed me for everything. (That was exhausting. Not gonna lie.)

Everyone was posting first-day-of-school photos yesterday and, since my age group still largely has kids younger than I do (I was one of the first out of the gate), it was bittersweet to see their middle-schoolers and high-schoolers and know those days have flown. Side note:  It was also wonderful to see their elementary kids and babies and think, "those days are now gone! More power to ya, but no thanks!" The thought of having a toddler at my age? Oy. 

I'm in a weird head space in a lot of ways, wondering what comes next, and knowing whatever it is, I'm good. Despite all our problems, and who doesn't have them, we've raised a couple of great kids who are already great adults. I'm proud of the people I helped shape into Nick and Sam. 

Love you kiddos. 

Sammi's stuff you can find on her blog. She's been fabulous about keeping up.

The boy, who is never on FB and who would likely rather die than ever think of having a blog?

He's been a little busy.

(See him at the 1:14 mark get to 21, his personal best.)

doing team exercises on the army course

Helping freshmen at move-in day

At the scrimmage last weekend, wearing cleats that make his Dad proud.

His latest instagram post, which I can't seem to download, showing his senior helmet stripes, as the first in senior to play football for SU in half a century.

His final semester schedule is basically sports science and sports classes, so it's all fun all the time. If you consider two-a-days in the Texas heat fun, which he does. I must've dropped him on his head harder than I realized as a baby.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Rest of the Trip

So I posted Wednesday night will all the happenings for most of the trip, but the short clip above is how I started out Thursday morning. This was about 5:30 in the morning, no rain, but big lightening every few seconds as I drove in to the office. By 6:30, it was pouring and it kept pouring, for hours.

It was Thursday, so the next issue of the Leader hit the stands that morning. I was delighted to find Marie had included a shout out to the SBH blog on the front page, and above the fold. That always helps!

 I stayed put and out of the deluge and scanned all the way through to 5:30 when I reached my goal date of the end of 1997. 

I had to blink a few times. I was  . . . done. 

When I'd started this whole thing, it was a whim, an email just to see if perhaps the Leader might have a photo or two from back in the day that I could share. That was September 2013. Across another three trips in 2014 and these two in 2015, I've scanned and archived thousands upon thousands of photographs in the past two years. 

This trip I logged 60 hours. That might be a bit more than the previous times, since I had a few extra days outside of a week, but that's roughly and well over 300 hours of scanning all told, not to mention the untold hours of post-processing, uploading, and posting. 

This little whim got big, quick. After the second trip in 2014, I'd decided to set the end date for the archive at the completion date for the Beltway. The South Belt signs came down, Sam Houston Tollway rolled across the area, and it felt like a good end point. I don't think I believed I would complete it as quickly as I did.

The process is slow and very manual. Stacks of old papers, one at a time, turn every page, lay the page properly on the bed to get a clear scan of a photo, wait for the 300 - 600 DPI scan to process (I shortened it to 300 DPI by the third trip of 2014.) My hands turn gray from newsprint, no matter how many times I go and wash them. But I love it.  

Photographs continue to be unearthed around the cavernous office space. Negatives, too. I have a few leads about other places in the community I might mine for additional resources. 

I have a road trip to Austin for a day or two on the next round to complete. 

It's not over. But a big goal line got crossed Thursday night. I was a bit misty eyed when I realized the same month the Leader began its ability to use full color photographs on the front page was the same month the headline blazes "After 2+ Decades, construction of South Belt is complete."

I even had to rescan with the right settings for the color photograph. For about 1200 issues, I never needed anything other than a black and white document. And here, at the very end, it changes.

I said my goodbyes to Marie and headed out with my gear. It was only lightly drizzling, not enough to even bother fumbling with the umbrella. 

I should back up and mention that the first day I'd pulled in on this trip, exactly a week ago on Thursday, there was a little black bird, dead, in the parking lot, lying against the curb. Every day when I would pull in, I would select that spot so my car would shade him as he returned to dust. 

As I stepped out the doors, on the sidewalk right in front of me, drenched in the rain, was a little black feather lying there, still perfect. With  my hands full, I stepped past it and as I was walking to the car, I caught myself thinking, "I should have picked that up." I set everything down in the back seat and glanced down at the keys in my hand. 

The Leader office key was still on my ring. 

I had to go back. 

And I had to pick up that feather. 

Don't ask. It's just a thing with me.

We all have our things.

Thursday night was laid back. I was exhausted and the rain didn't help the sleepy mood. Steph turned on the television and chose Legends of the Fall. Not the happiest of movies, but it fit the mood. Robert took a photo of us under the blanket she'd made for me while I was here.

I spent some of the evening packing. The next morning, as I went to pull out my travel power strip that goes everywhere with me, it tickled me how many tech gadgets I had dangling. I shot the photo with the phone still attached, but there wasn't a way to get it into the photo with the rest of the crap. 

My constant companions while at Stephs seemed to know what those bags meant. 

And it is absolutely ridiculous that this is all for one person. Every other trip, I've had my blue computer bag and my blue suitcase. That's nuts. 

I'd been already in bed Thursday when I began to think, "I had the early bird check in for this leg of the flight, right?" (I did for Tampa to Houston.) So I'd pulled it up on my phone to check-in online only to discover, no, I did not. I landed at the rather alarming boarding position of C-4. Rats.

It wasn't until Friday afternoon that I rechecked on whether the flight was still showing on time, since the clouds seemed to be gathering, only to discover my flight time wasn't at 7:00 as I'd thought, but at 6:30. 

Oops. About that time, Steph calls to say she got hung up in traffic, but should be there soon, but could she drop Maddie off at her dad's first. 

Uh, well . . . probably not. 

We don't even pull up to the airport until after 5:30. I have Steph just drop me off curbside inside of trying to park and walk the bags in. I somehow manage to get all three bags rolled together up to the Southwest desk and drop off two of them and get my C-4 boarding pass printed. I am in luck as there is no line. 

So at 5:40 as I get into the security line, without reading glasses at the ready, I look down and squint at my pass only to make out the time: 6:00.


Thankfully Hobby is smaller and the line was not terrible. I didn't get pulled for any additional security checks, even though I was sweating through my shirt with nervousness, but with shoes off and two laptops tucked under my arm, I hoofed it, praying my gate wasn't at the far end of the terminal. It was 5:55. C-4 wouldn't matter. Just getting to the doors would. 

The gate wasn't far and, strangely, everyone was seated. The area was full, not empty as though the plane was about to take off. Had we been delayed? 

No, not yet. 

My boarding pass had enlarged only the boarding TIME enough for me to make it out without glasses. 

I looked around for a place to sit to put my shoes on and get the laptops put away. 

Once I shot the evil eye at the asshole taking the last open seat in the gate area with his Starbucks drink and ipad, briefly considered feigning blindness and spilling his drink while I sat down (oh, sorry!), I just plopped down on the floor (right beside the open seat).

So after I lace up my shoes and pack away the laptops, I get up to fill my water bottle since the A group isn't even lined up yet and I'm in the great unwashed Cs.

But then I'm walking past the desk when the agent says over the loudspeaker, "Any of you C group passengers who are interested, I have positions A10 through 15 available for purchase for $25 here at the desk."

I am literally standing in front of her. On the leg from Tampa, the price for those primo spots was $40. What a bargain!

After all that stress, I heard myself say, "Sold!" to her. Let's go. From C-4 to A-10.

I was all happily lined up at the very front right behind the business guys when the gate agent said, "I can't board you yet. We don't have a flight crew."

About that time, the rain picked up. 

By the time we had a flight crew?

Grounded for lightning. 

I had taken my position up again on the floor where I'd started when another woman asked if she could sit down next to me. I didn't realize she was carrying a pet carrier bag until she unzipped him. She had to call her people at the other end of her flight and figure out what to do because her flight, after mine, wasn't going to arrive until after midnight, when the rental car places close. She was on the next flight from the gate to Jacksonville where the time change would not work in her favor. 

While she tried to work out what to do, Buddy, her little dog, curled up in my lap, which I assured her was perfectly fine. We became friends for the next hour as the storm blew through. 

We began boarding and pushed back at 8:00. 

Once on, in 4F, on the window, naturally, I spotted the Southwest Colorado flag plane heading for takeoff. Shouldn't the Denver flight be on that?

As we were building up speed, the rain drops flew off and I was able to get clearer photos of the skies and the Houston skyline in the distance. 

We grazed over Pasadena and the ship channel before getting above the clouds. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Week in Houston

Arrived last Wednesday night into Houston Hobby where Steph picked me up and we headed straight home and to bed.

Since then, lots of activity, not as many photos. Here's the week from the phone.

Up early, spent half the day catching up and clearing out all my work stuff. Got over to the Leader offices in the afternoon to organize the week ahead and start up the scanner for its hot and heavy week. That evening, Steph and I took the girls (both names Maddie) to Gringos and shopping for back to school stuff, since their classes start up in another week.

Texted Nick with a "miss you!" photo. 


Friday morning I was up and out with the sun and over to the Leader, key in hand, to get going. 

My contribution to the office staff

Found a huge framed aerial looking north from Brio worth pulling out from behind a desk.

Scanned from 6:00 to 6:00 Friday, 1990 - 1993 out of the stacks and loads of other photographs that had been unearthed when they moved things around this summer.

Met up with the family for dinner at Pappas BBQ, who have some spectacular beef ribs on the menu.


Had an appointment with Tim at the Julia Ideson Texas Reading Room downtown to view and order some additional never printed negatives of Almeda (should arrive today via email). I also had a chance to flip through the un-indexed Houston Magazine put out by the Chamber of Commerce. They are bound by 12 issues for the year into large books, so the pages warp when you attempt to take a photograph (scanning is not allowed). Sure enough, there in Oct. 1966, was the opening of Foley's fourth store, at Almeda-Genoa, two year before the mall would be built. I also discovered that Bob Bailey, the photographer, was a well-known and prolific photographer around Houston during that time and that his, and his son's, body of work, some half a million negatives, are stored at UT in Austin at the Briscoe Center. Since he doubtless took a whole roll of the opening and the magazine only used a couple, they are waiting for me to find them on the next trip.

a few other snaps from that book and the 1968 one:

Got back, did some more work, and more scanning of photographs I'd taken with me on Friday before the family got back from their running around and Robert grilled steaks. Steph's oldest brother and his girlfriend joined us. And I didn't get a single photo.

Sunday was spent finishing up the rest of the photo scans and running around with Steph doing errands.  (Nap) before resuming scanning at the Leader for a few hours. 

Got over to Walmart to buy a replacement carry-on for the one I managed to rip a huge hole in as well as pick up a few things for Steph. 

On the way to the South Belt Monday morning:

One of the finds that took me a good part of the weekend to finish was the huge thick album of photos of the earliest days of Beverly Hills South Belt Little League. Hundreds of photos layered in those pages!


Worked from 6 to 6 again, before heading over to Cafe Brasil for an evening with Cjo.

She knitted me a birthday present and included a copy of her book, 
which I made her sign, before we left.

When I got home late that night, Steph had made me a fleece blanket covered in Inside Out graphics, just like Sammi's.


And the next morning, I found this little present left for me on my coffee cup. I'd slept in and actually left later than everyone else, at 6:45! Slacker!

I still got about three hours of scanning in before meeting up with Mr. Golenko at the front of the "real" Dobie High School for a tour. It took some patience to get clearance, but once they let us through, we had the place pretty much to ourselves except for some meetings going on in common areas. All photos from our tour are here.


After that, we drove over to Dot Coffee Shop for lunch. Mr. G had never been! It's been in the same place since 1967, with most of the interior original. 



The portions are huge. This was lunch and dinner today.

and pie!

Tried to get all the portions of the large aerial they had hanging near the bathroom. 

We swung by his house so he could lend me the scrapbook made for him at his retirement in 2006.

I scanned until 6 again and headed back to the empy house, where the dogs were happy to see me. That's Lucy sitting on top of Roxy, who insisted on getting between me and the side of the couch.


Mr. G came by to get his scrapbook and we managed a photo together before he left.

 Scanned from 7 until 11:30 when I got over to meet up with Steph and Michelin for lunch. We forgot the photo until after Steph had departed.

Back to the Leader until 5:00 when I had an appointment to pick up the Monterey House candy that had been freshly made this week by the original baker, still going strong. 

She suggested I cut it into small pieces and wrap it in wax paper, and perhaps even place it in a bag of chips to get the consistency I remembered from my childhood. So, we'll see. Even soft and fresh, it is delicious. And yes, I'm sharing. 

Last night was just me and Steph and Mexican food. 

Two more days and I will finally not be living out of bags again. That'll be strange.