Carousel Joy – Friday Lagniappe

Today’s lagniappe is a bit of Carousel Joy to start your weekend.

The Fort Worth Zoo is a wonderful place. And our grandboys love it.

The Texas Wild – Carousel Joy

A section called “Texas Wild” features – among a petting zoo and other fabulous activities for young and not-so-young alike – an old-fashioned carousel.

The animals on the carousel are mostly horses in fancy western regalia – it is “Texas Wild,” after all. You’ll find some buckboards, too, for the little ‘uns.

Grandboy 1 on a horse
The older grandboy can ride by himself and he chose a blue paint

Continue reading “Carousel Joy – Friday Lagniappe”

2 Examples of Why Design Matters from Debra

Listening to Debra talk about some of her recent projects, I asked her to do another “Why Design Matters” post.  As usual, my comments will be in italics. Here it is:

I’ve done a couple of consultations recently that really made me happy and I’d love to share them with you:

Color Consultation

I finished an exterior color consultation last week for a dear friend.  She bought her darling little place 16 years ago and she has done a ton of work over the years … but she’s never been happy with the brick.

After a big hailstorm last year, she got a new roof. She chose black – and immediately hated it. The roof was lovely. The real problem was that it just didn’t work with the brick. So, she recently decided to take the plunge and paint the brick. Continue reading “2 Examples of Why Design Matters from Debra”

A Quartet of Mushrooms at Hildring House – Thursday Lagniappe

I want to share an August oddity with you – a quartet of mushrooms at Hildring House. But first, a word about the real weather story in Texas:

A Monster Called Harvey

The monster called Harvey attacked south Texas with a vengeance. Our hearts go out to those suffering from the storm.

We’re proud of the courage and caring that folks have shown one another during a difficult time. Texans demonstrated that they’re better than their problems, bigger than their differences. That, at least, shines through.

Friends from elsewhere inquired about our status here in the northern part of the state. Hildring House sits about 275 miles from downtown Houston. As mean as that bastard Harvey was, he didn’t push anywhere near this far inland.

Which is not to say that this summer has been “normal” for us. But our weather aberrations have been welcome.

Not Your Normal August

Typically, August is a brutal, viciously hot month. This year, however, we enjoyed what Houston and surrounds had all too much of: rain. Fort Worth’s Meacham Airport (a small commercial field north of town) recorded nearly 6-1/2 inches of water falling from the sky. In August.

The temperatures for the month ranged from a high of 100 (and even that is a bit lower than expected) to a fantastic low of 68 with an average for the month of 83.7. And that, my friends, is pretty wonderful. (For those who don’t believe it, you can check the National Weather Service data here.)

A Quartet of Mushrooms

The rain and the moderate temps fostered the growth of mushrooms at Hildring House – and a variety of them, at that. Here, for your Thursday morning “little something extra” is a slideshow of a quartet of mushrooms:

As this post was in the works, I learned of the wildfires in the northwestern part of the country. More weather devastation. If you’re adversely affected by them, please know that you’re in our thoughts and prayers.

No matter where you are, we wish you health and safety, peace and prosperity.

Best –

Dan

10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Time Travel – Hong Kong 2009 – 10,000 Buddhas Monastery

Today we’re journeying back in time, up a mountain, and through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

It’s mid-March, 2009. We’re in Hong Kong, enjoying a trip that Debra won (yes, that’s what I said – she won) courtesy of Central Market, a wonderful up-scale food store in Texas, and Intercontinental Hotels.

[There is a story behind her winning the trip – aside from the fact that she is a lucky lady – but that will have to wait for another day. Trust me, I took something like 1,200 pictures on that trip, so there is a lot of material for posts. I’ll tell you the “winning story” in connection with one of them.]

We see something in a guidebook or somewhere about a place called the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. How can we not be intrigued? So we go and find it.

10,000 Buddhas – But What’s an Arhat?

The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery is on the side of a small mountain. The Wikipedia site –  you can find that here – says that you access it by means of “431 ‘steep steps’ … surrounded by statues of arhats – the Buddhist equivalent of saints who have achieved enlightenment.” Since it’s 2009 and if Wikipedia is even a thing, we’ve never heard of it, we don’t know anything about the 431 steep steps. Or the arhats. (I’ll call them “arhats” in this post since I have the benefit of 2017 research. But back in 2009, we don’t know anything about them.)

We figure out the steps pretty quickly.

Beginning of the ascent
The beginning of the path. It gets steeper.

 

We’re not sure what the arhats are, but they’re pretty cool.

ascending path and arhatsEach one is different – not just in facial features, like the terracotta warriors – but in dress, demeanor, and personality. And degree of weirdness. More about that later. Continue reading “10,000 Steps Through the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery”

Hildring House – Home is a Haven

Home is a Haven
I’ve tried several times recently to write a post and have been overwhelmed by all the negative things happening in our world. Many of my friends and fellow bloggers have written eloquently about resistance and love …. and I feel as if I have nothing meaningful to add. And I know that, at least for me, when there is so much darkness all around, it is even more important that my home is a haven – a beautiful, safe, and nurturing space. It is from that place of peace and calm that I can go out into the world and try to spread  peace and calm.
kishaniperera room
not Hildring House – from kishaniperera
I keep walking away from my posting attempts thinking to myself: “How can I write about pretty places and sparkly things when there is so much darkness?” But on Sunday I had the opportunity to make things pretty and serve a girly lunch for two of my good friends, and I felt so much lighter.
A Paris Party

Continue reading “Hildring House – Home is a Haven”

Lo-Tech Eclipse Lagniappe

A total eclipse must be an awesome thing to experience. Here in North Texas, the occlusion was at roughly 75%. Despite the lack of totality, eclipse glasses sold out weeks before the date. I opted for lo-tech eclipse viewing. But it worked. It’s a bit of lagniappe, while Debra works on another Hildring House post.

Materials at Hand

Cardboard and shadowA hunk of cardboard, ripped from a box of something or other, with a hole poked by Phillips-head screwdriver made a basic viewer. Why a Phillips-head? Because I couldn’t find our ice pick, if we even still have an ice pick, and because it’s round. I did have to trim the fuzzy edges of the hole with the kitchen shears.

Image on concreteAs the occlusion started to show up in the image, I was disappointed in the quality of our driveway as a screen. So I went inside and grabbed a piece of printer paper.

Improved Visualization

Point of Maximum OcclusionThis picture, taken at 1:08 CST shows our maximum occlusion. You can also see the image at the edges of the cardboard (most notably at the ragged lower right-hand edge) and – my favorite – in the gap between my finger and the cardboard.

Here’s one more from a few seconds later:

Another image of the eclipseLo-tech eclipse viewing was a thing, apparently. I’ve seen some really cool images across the web of hundreds of eclipse-crescents made by everything from tree leaf shadows to a colander held above a white foam board (quite clever, that one!).

The best thing about the eclipse was that, for a few minutes, the whole country had its attention turned in the same direction, observing a natural phenomenon far, far bigger and more wonderful than any of the issues that divide us.

We all walk under the same sun.

I hope the rest of your week is peaceful, pleasant, and prosperous.

Dan