remembering mum

  RDG and Soub's mum

Soubry is traveling to Wales for the weekend to meet up with Welsh family and his own siblings for a solemn occasion:  to scatter half of his mother's ashes on the cliffs where she walked in her youth.  March 23rd marked the one year anniversary of her death.  Simply put, I miss her.  The above photo was taken by Soub at our first 'outing' together:  tea at a lovely cafe in Oakwood, Leeds.  It is hard to believe that this photo is almost 5 years old!  But I remember the occasion well - feeling nervous and a bit intimidated by this petite lady with an ever present twinkle in her eye.  I had met her earlier in the week at her home and found her to be quite warm and welcoming.  Not once did she question my intentions (which were honorable!), where I was staying (love the British reserve), or even how I met her son (who is/was a favorite).  I am certain we circled each other a bit, taking one's measure, and thankfully found that we had much in common.

I loved to visit her and putter about in her back garden, pruning back, re-planting, and generally tidying her garden space.  She would make me tea, and we would sit in her small conservatory talking about plants and the weather (the Brits and their weather).  But best of all would be when she would begin to reminisce about her younger days in Wales, the war, marriage, raising 4 children, and of course my favorite subject, Soub himself!  Even better when she pulled out old photographs to share.  How she met Soub's dad is a wonderful story and oh so romantic.  I hope Soub shares it one day on his blog complete with the girly bits.  Over the last 5 years I developed a warm and loving relationship with mum.  We shared passions for reading, poetry, gardening.  She always had a little something set aside for me to take back to Texas: a little china box she had painted, or a porcelain cup with the Welsh dragon on it (she knew of my love for dragons!) I'd bring her books and poetry and photographs framed of Soub and I and eventually of my children as well.  Though she never met my kids, she always asked about them and was genuinely interested in our lives.

Soub and I always made it a priority to take her 'out for a day' during my visits.  A favorite was dining at the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire - a place in which the family owns 'shares'.  I remember one particular occasion there, it had to be during a Christmas / New Year's visit because I recall wearing about 4 layers of clothing as I am dreadfully unaccustomed to the damp cold of England!  Soub, being the naughty man that he is, was teasing me across the dining table unnoticed by mum.  Provoked, I responded by ummmm .... seductively licking my spoon.  When I glanced over at his mum, she was smiling and had an eyebrow raised.  I STILL blush at the memory.  I was caught red-handed, and Soub has teased me about it ever since!  That moment certainly taught me how to behave in front of a beloved's parent!  I became a model of southern charm and propriety after that event !!

Though my time with Soub's mum were small bits carved out of a busy modern life, I cherish those bits and the woman I came to know and love.  Not because she was my beloved's mother, but because she was a wonderful person in her own right who loved to laugh, to gossip, to share a cuppa, and who opened her heart and home to me.

I carry her in my heart always ~
with love


travels with my yorkshireman

Soub and I did manage to do quite a few fun things together despite his week off due to illness and my VERY limited amount of vacation time.  On an open Tuesday we traveled down to Houston to visit the John C. Freeman Weather Museum (as quirky as it sounds) and then on to The Houston Museum of Natural Science, one of my all time favorite museums to visit.  At the HMNS we toured the New Terra Cotta Warriors Exhibit.  Soub first saw this exhibit in, ummmm... 198?,  in Stockholm, Sweden.  This particular exhibit was my first time to view the incredible terra cotta figures.  What made it extra special was having my own personal 'tour guide' who explained the nuances of design, technique, creation all from the perspective of an experienced potter.  (Should I call him a ceramicist ???)  The horse was life-size - an incredible piece.  The smaller figures were found in a later tomb.  They were fascinating because each had a different face - even one of a woman!  Soub pointed out the individual thumb and finger marks; pointed out the detail work on the horse's mane; explained which pieces would have been molded and which would have been individually detailed.  I found it all to be quite incredible, especially the fact that you can 'see the maker's mark' in each piece.  Indeed pottery lasts and speaks through the centuries!

However ........ the HIGHLIGHT of our evening was without doubt the new Led Zeppelin full-dome digital light show in the Burke Baker Planetarium:

"Through the planetarium’s full-dome Digistar system, experience a variety of immersive scenery and movement, from mood-provoking abstract art to theme-based imagery to transportive effects.

The powerful surround imagery and surround sound will be choreographed to some of Led Zeppelin’s biggest hits like “Black Dog,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Immigrant Song,” “Kashmir,” “Ramble On,” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

We bought tickets for the full 'concert' version which lasted 60 minutes (much too short in my opinion!!)  The graphics were uber cool and the sound was amazing.  The Full Playlist included:

In The Evening - In Through the Out Door
Black Dog
Over The Hills and Far Away
Whole Lotta Love
Immigrant Song
Bonzo’s Montreux
D'Yer Mak’er
Stairway to Heaven
Ramble On

Rock 'N Roll - Led Zeppelin IV

I'm not sure who produced the Led Zepp concert, but it has been playing in packed planetariums all over the US.  Here is just a small clip of what we experienced:

Okay, so I want to take this opportune moment to retract my previous grumblings about Soub's musical taste.  In the past I have tended to grouse about the 'generational gap' between his and my musical tastes.  Usually I do this grousing on his blog.  BUT ...... I walked in to the Led Zepp show thinking, "Ok, I know 'Stairway to Heaven'," but walked out realizing that I have heard every song played at least once before in my life and LOVE LED ZEPP!  In actuality many of the bands Soub loves including this one were definitely part of the 'soundtrack of my youth' - just during a time in which I was listening but not yet into knowing the who what when where why of a song.  Which is a nice way of saying that I was probably around 9 or 10 years old at the time .... :)

I enjoyed the show so much that I want to go back and take my kids with me.  Currently Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' is playing.  I think I'll wait for Led Zepp to return.  And I know I'll definitely enjoy the memories  (.... cuddling with my beloved in the back row of a darkened planetarium and listening to that oh so throbbing drum beat .... ;)



frivolous friday ~ a belated birthday post

Soub and I returned from our mini-vacation in the hill country
on my birthday last Saturday.
This is what greeted us when we opened the door to our bedroom:

My 17 yr old mulette and her friends had a grand time
decorating the 'love nest' - Hahaha.

Each night when I go to bed,
I feel like I'm sleeping inside a 'Christo' piece ...

The glowing balloons are definitely the piece de resistance!
They look like live alien pods in the dark.
What you cannot fully see are the TONS of metallic confetti
strewn about bed and floor !!

Soub emptied out my two vacuum cleaners in anticipation of the clean up,
which he has thoughtfully left for me to do ....

In the meantime, their territory is expanding:
into the bathroom, closet, shower, hall, down the stairs.
You wouldn't believe the places I've found confetti in ...

Even there ... ;)


i miss you ...

happy times in gruene, tx



it was the best of times, it was the worst of times .......

A Tale of Two Lovers Attempting to Bridge the Great Divide

I thought I had the system beat. Two hours plus to get through customs and immigration. I left the house 10 minutes after his plane landed. 15 minutes into the journey and my phone rings, "Where are you? I'm out! " F ****! was the first thing out of my sweet southern mouth. How did I get this so wrong ??? And what's this ??? They've changed the location of International Arrivals ??? And nobody bothered to clue me in, much less get my permission?? No, this was NOT starting out as the wildly romantic scene I had envisioned: me all softly lit and golden, bags dropping as we melt into a hungry embrace, and then the KISS. Yes, you know, the first kiss after soooo many long months of waiting ....

Ok back to reality folks: after circling the airport twice to figure out his location, I manage to see my beloved frantically waving me down by a traffic cone. I also saw the portly police officer determinedly waving his arms at me and blowing hard on his whistle. I surmised that under the threat of incarceration and hard time, I was NOT to stop and pick up my beloved at his unlawful spot in the road. So, I cheated. I slowed down long enough for Soub to toss his bag in the back and jump in the front seat, then hit the V-8 and headed straight for home. All the romantic gooey stuff would have to wait.

Because this is not a Harlequin Romance. But a real life with kids coming home from school and jobs demanding daily attendance and exes from hell making the possibility of getting away for a few days more complicated than rocket science. Our time together are moments stolen late in the night or early in the morning; a day off here or there to squeeze in a quick trip to Old Towne Spring or the Museum of Natural Science to catch a Led Zepp laser show in the planetarium (now THAT was cool !!). Soub has done remarkably well at carving a place for himself amidst the doldrums of family life: taking care of numerous small chores that single moms like me loathe to tackle on their own. But I knew something was amiss when he picked me up from work last Thursday night .... he looked grim and a bit green around the gills. He handed me the keys to the car and asked me to drive. One cool hand to his forehead and motherly instinct kicked in: this man was BURNING UP with fever.

Now what to do when you are traveling in a foreign country and you need to seek medical attention in a place that has no free health care ??? We started at the cheapest option - a walk-in clinic at the local pharmacy. The nurse practitioner, let's be nice here, was .... inept. A quick test for strep throat came back negative, and she declared he had the MAN FLU. A prescription for Tamiflu and $250 later, he was at home in bed moaning with a super sore throat, and I was back at work trying to juggle it all.

Day 5 and things have gone from bad to worse: he hasn't eaten solids since last Thursday. He's refusing liquids which is making me quite cross, and it is obvious that the MAN FLU he hasn't. Now it is an unscheduled day off from work to take Soub to the next option: a walk-in emergency care facility. I dithered between the Hospital ER or a private ER clinic ... I figured our odds for faster service would be best at the private ER, though I gambled on whether his traveler's insurance would cover this expensive option.

In the end it was a decent choice. No one else was waiting. He was seen by a nurse AND a doctor. Strep throat was the immediate diagnosis once the doctor took a look at his swollen throat. The doctor explained that the quick strip test for strep was only 60% accurate. Our mistake. Pour Soub feels like he has swallowed a ball of broken glass not to mention the 102+ temps he has been having between bouts of me forcing him to take ibuprofen! My children were NEVER this difficult. Are we having sleep and sex filled romantic nights? Nooooo! He's agitated, in pain, can't sleep and routinely tosses out piteous moans. (Oh excuse me, it's noises of manly suffering ....) It's almost more than a girl can bear!

Here we are on the cusp of our 'vacation' - a four day trip to the hill country, and he's refusing to even swallow the ibuprofen!! He's on antibiotics and insists that he'll be FINE day after tomorrow when we are scheduled to leave ...... Hmmmm. I'm still debating whether to cancel the bed and breakfast reservations .... my 24 hour window of opportunity to get my deposit back is quickly closing. He's lying here beside me trying to read this as I write and making obscene suggestions (Tell them you've had me chained to a shackle in the middle of the floor, and that you are using me for your own pleasure ) .... Riiiiighhhttt. (Oh, now he's threatening legal action for libel...)

I can't win. I'm tired and feeling quite cranky. Currently he's on the phone chatting up Amanda in his ever-so-plummy British accent, attempting to sort out his insurance and flirting shamelessly ...

When did life get to be so complicated, I ask?