One should constantly be growing and learning and I believe I am. I have grown into a person who loves life. I love so many things around me. Waco is one of those things.
Sometimes I feel like I not only have found my words but also my eyes.
Or do I now see Waco for the beauty it is because I now write and I am always looking for stories?
I see beauty all around me in the simplest things. I write about all those things on my blog and also, occasionally I get to write about those Waco things for the paper I write for, The Hometown News and for The Groove Entertainment Magazine.
I am not much of a morning person. It’s not that I wake up grouchy-I just don’t like to wake up early. In fact, I loathe it. I hate an alarm. I hate getting right out of bed and into the shower. Those things make me not happy.
“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you will miss them.” -William Arthur Ward
But when I do get up early, I get to enjoy sunrises like the one my husband took a picture of a few weeks ago. (this feature image) I could also have more time in the day to get more things accomplished.
“Mornings well spent brings days of content,” I once said talking about writing and subject matter for writing. I botched or more like put a different spin on that quote about Sundays, but I like it and its so true.
And as I know this, I still prefer a lazy morning. At least a lazy hour. It just takes me a little bit to get going. To get thinking. To get creating.
William Blake said it simply, “Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”
Although I prefer sleeping in a bit, Martha, being a puppy, likes to get up around 7:30 a.m. Charli and I are working on her! We have her closer to eight ‘o clock every day.
My favorite mornings consist of anything after 8:00 a.m. And puppy kisses. And coffee. But first a Dt. Coke.
I recently started liking coffee and I am slowly going from super-flavored to not-much-flavor at all. But definitely still cream. I use unsweetened almond milk. No sugar.
When its hot out, and in Texas it is hot most of the year, I like my coffee iced. When it is cold out, I like a cute mug. It’s all about the feels for me.
The pups and I wake up, go outside and start our morning. I turn the TV on NBC and whatever hour of Today that is still on. After I turn all my pretty lamps on (its mood lighting), I feed Charli, Martha and Jemma and then we go back outside to water.
Then it is coffee in-hand and I head to the office to write.
Mornings are definitely a time to get things done. Richard Whately said, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will spend all day looking for it.” So true, Richard, so true.
What is your morning routine? What gets you going in the morning?
If I am on a diet, which I always am, or I don’t have the time to bake, I fake it.
vanilla, from Mexico
All these wonderful spices, simmering on the stove, in two cups of water, make the whole house smell of wonder.
And if I have an apple that has gone bad, I throw that in the pot, as well.
Throw caution to the wind and add some apple cider or apple juice. Experiment with different concoctions until you find your favorite. Remember to simmer, and keep an eye on it. Don’t want the liquid to boil over or dry up! Ew.
You can also do the same thing with lemon, rosemary and vanilla, simmering in water and you will get an entirely different lovely smell. William Sonoma uses this to entice people when they shop in their stores. And I believe it works.
Once upon a time, there was a sixteen-year-old girl who begged and begged for a Great Dane pup for her seventeenth birthday. The parents lived in a castle (notreally) with five dogs (only two inside) and six cats (all outside) already and the parents didn’t think they needed another dog.
The girl received a purse instead.
Fate (God) thought differently. On the daughter’s birthday weekend, someone snuck five lab-mix puppies in our backyard. After finding homes for all but one special black pup (our Jemma), the daughter kinda got her wish.
Jemma was not a Great Dane but she was a cute puppy.
Fast forward five years and another birthday wish (this one granted), and a Great Dane named Tegan came into our life.
Cameron, Danni and I headed off on an adventure to East Texas to pick up this already enormous pup. That was a fun day that won’t be soon forgotten. On the way, we tried to think of names for the newest member of our family. Although there were some great names thought up (Big Sandy), Tegan was the name of choice.
Tegan was loved instantly.
We, as you may know, are a weenie dog family. Jemma is an honorary weenie dog and Tegan soon became one, also.
Have you ever seen the movie The Ugliest Dachshundby Walt Disney? Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette play a suburban couple who are also a weenie dog family. The husband, Mark, takes in a Great Dane pup and falls in love and there is much mischief in the house, all blamed on the Dane and (can’t believe Iam saying this) but clearly all the weenie dogs fault. Highly recommend this movie, if…
1) you like dogs
2) you love weenie dogs
3) you like old Dean Jones movies and
4) you like Great Danes.
Back to Tegan…
When Tegan was just a wee little big pup, she would play with Charli and be very gentle (or as gentle as she could be). They would play tug-of-war and yes, Tegan would always win. Charli was a mighty Dackel but Tegan was almost always mightier.
She thinks she is human. She thinks she can get on my couch and take up the whole thing. She thinks she needs crackers when Marky-Mark is eating a snack. She thinks she is little like the weenie dogs, except when she is barking and then she stands big and tall, and looks mighty like a Dane.
You could definitely describe her as great.
Great big head. Her big ‘ol head is my most favorite part of her. She has legs for days and a tail that causes trouble. T stands for Trouble.
Tegan has a lot of great nicknames, as well. The one most used is a simple T. And then there is T-pain. Teebee. Teebeer. Mrs. Teebeeweeberson. And Weeber, just to name a small few.
Tegan has a look and it says, “Whatttt??” This look cracks me up every time!
Tegan is a sweetheart. She and Cameron are in love. Tegan is very attached to Cameron and Cameron is attached to her. I’ve never been more happy about a gift I’ve given than this one. She protects Cam with her big ferocious bark (although she is all bark and no bite). She provides entertainment and companionship. And makes a pretty good pillow.
Tegan loves the weenteam. She will get down on her belly, on their level, kind of, and play very gently with them. They love her and she loves them.
When Tegan comes to Deedee’s and Marky-Mark’s house (that’s what she callsus), she gets so excited. Have you ever seen a Dane zoomie? It is a thing. You have to get out of her way and let her go. She runs around the yard, about 90 mph, and takes out anything in her way.
We love our sweet big grandpup. I love to have Cameron and Tegan (and Winston, the kitty) come to visit us from Austin. Our house shrinks the moment Tegan walks in, but that’s ok. We don’t mind.
Cameron loves her pup and that pup loves Cameron. And they will live happily ever after.
love and blessings~dd
*to read more about my love of all things Dachshund, click here
If you pray every time you are down, every time you are worried, every time you feel like there is no way out-you will definitely find your way out.
God will lead you out of that dark garden. He led me. I never faltered. I never doubted Him. I never left Him. I never complained to Him. And I certainly never asked Him why.
Jesus answered him, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later,” -John 13:7
I was led out of that dark garden, into the roses and given a box of chocolate.
Ask God to help you. He will deliver. It may take ten years, but He will see you through.
God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine, or guess, or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around, but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”-Ephesians 3:14-21
I have the love of my husband and my family and I love them more than life, here on Earth anyway. I am so thankful and my life is so full of blessings. It was then, too, I had my family and we were healthy. We were safe.
I hope for you a box of chocolates. If you are having trouble finding yours; ask Him, He knows. After all, you were never promised a rose garden. There’s got to be a little rain sometime.
When we were in San Francisco, last week, not everything was roses. Wednesday, we had a day. I suppose you could say it was one to remember. And while it was not perfect, it was still fun and after all, we were in San Francisco.
We started the day off with coffee and macaroons, so how bad could that be?
We headed to Fisherman’s Wharf and up past TheCannery. From there we walked up the hill to Ghirardelli Square. We were trying to find a place to eat lunch, outside of course. (my favorite!)
We settled on a great sidewalk café-type-seafood place, Lew’s Fish Shack, on Jefferson Street.
We watched people, rested our feet, talked about our morning and enjoyed probably the best lump crab meat crab sandwich ever. When we were finished, we ubered to Crissy Field.
We were told this was the best place to see the Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field, or Crissy Beach, is an old air strip that is now a public beach and wildlife preserve, and just so happens to be butted up to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In every big city I travel, I have a fascination with a piece of architecture-generally one building or structure. The Eiffel Tower, The Empire State Building, Big Ben, and The London Eye. (London gets two favorites because it’s that amazing!) Even Waco—I love the Alico Building.
I found my newest building-love. I have a new fondness for this magical bridge. It seems magical to me because it’s always hiding in the low clouds or the fog. Mystical. Mysterious. Eerie.
I was always looking for it no matter what part of San Francisco we were in. If I could see the bay, I would be asking, “Can you see the bridge?”
And when I got a glimpse of her red beams, I would get so excited. I was hoping the weather would clear up so I could see her in all her glory.
We were told that clouds roll in over the hills. Like they get stuck. The clouds form there right over her, hiding her beauty.
This makes the bridge even more appealing to me.
Back to the story…we get out of the Uber and because I am so excited to get out and start taking pictures, I stupidly left my phone in the car. I did not realize this until he had driven away and we had begun our walk closer to the Golden Gate Bridge. I had already started taking pictures with my camera before I noticed.
I was a bit freaked out. My phone is an extension of my hand. Truly.
Mark nicely stayed back, near the road, in case the driver came back. Danni and I started the long walk to the bridge, all the while I am freaking out.
So this was not as enjoyable as I had anticipated and dreamed of. I couldn’t wait to take selfies with the bridge behind us. I was so mad at myself.
Danni was brilliant and got on the app, logged in under my account and magically got ahold of the Uber driver. (maybe the bridge has magic after all?) HE HAD MY PHONE!!! The day was saved, although I did not get my phone back until we returned to the hotel after 11:00 p.m., that evening.
Going all day without my phone. I did it. I survived. We should probably all go one day without our phones every once in a while, just to prove we can. Of course, I had no choice.
The end of the story…we had to walk forever to get to an area where we could get another Uber. And I complained the entire time. It was approximately a two-mile walk. And I had knee surgery in March. And I had already been walking all morning. And I didn’t have my phone.(excuses!)
That day, our Fitbit’s showed we had I walked approximately 20,000 steps.
Back to the beauty of the bridge…don’t hide your beauty behind your clouds. Let your beautiful self-show.
One of the best things from our trip to San Francisco and Napa was the weather and the natural fall colors, even in the big city.
It’s no secret that I love fall and all the feels of fall. The temperatures, the colors, the smells. It’s also no secret that I live in Texas and we have very few of these feels.
“Life is either an adventure…. or nothing at all,” said Helen Keller.
Helen Keller didn’t have the ability to see or hear but she still knew what adventure was. She was a smart girl.
Our adventure started in San Francisco and it was full of all the glory of fall. The trees were beautiful and even though it was a large urban city, it was full of streets and neighborhoods that were tree lined and full of color.
Our view out our hotel was stunning because we saw the bay, the wharf and all that entails. And these trees.
Our window opened wide and when we were in the room, it was open. I would have slept with it open, if it were up to me. You could hear all the street music (this reminded me of Paris and New Orleans). You could even hear the sea lions barking and that was lovely. You could feel the cool air. You could smell the sea.
The neighborhoods were full of touches of fall, both manmade and natural.
The storefronts had pumpkins and Halloween décor.
We walked up (most everything was up!) the hill to Ghirardelli Square where the stores were lovely and the smell of chocolate was even more lovely.
There was a fountain in the center of the square that had been emptied and the water had been replaced with pumpkins–of every size and color. It was a sight for these fall-loving eyes.
In the streets and on the sidewalks, there were beautiful fall colored leaves. That had fallen. (duh!)
I would love a bouquet of fresh fall leaves. They really can be almost as pretty and vibrant as flowers. They probably wouldn’t have the same lovely fragrance though, would they?
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”- Albert Camus
Napa was also full of these colors, and the cooler fall temps. In the perfect rows of grapevines, in the rolling hills that seems to be like a fall patchwork quilt. And of course in the trees. All the sights mixed with drizzling rain and cool temperatures, I knew I was no longer in Texas.
Our view out our patio in Napa was another lovely sight. Grapevines, that were changing colors, and a statue of a grape stomper.
One day, Danni and I were sitting on the patio and I saw something moving. I wish we had binoculars but we did have my camera with a zoom.
A sweet little jack rabbit. His big ears were swishing when I first saw him. In our family, we love bunnies and see them as a sign of peace.
This was a very peaceful place.
The wineries that we visited were all full of natural vegetation that was feeling the autumn temperatures. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of all the fall beauty.
It was everywhere. Even growing up the ancient walls of the wineries.
“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”- John Burroughs
Yes, the weather definitely played a part of our experience in California. It was almost another character to the story. When we stepped off the plane in Dallas, it all came back, hitting us in the face-like a bad pie. It was like walking back in time into August all over again.
Thanks for welcoming us home, Texas. I love you, but I am not sure why I live here in you.
Love and blessings~dd
This is not the first time I have written about fall leaves. To read more of my love for these beautiful shapely gifts from God, read here.
Saturday was one to remember. As the popular saying goes, “Best day ever!’
Our group of 17 boarded our private bus and headed to our first winery. The drive there was simply incredible. I’m really loving the weather here, the fall colors and even the drizzling rain can’t be complained about. It seems to make it that much more dreamy. That much more not-Texas-like. It feels like fall. It looks like fall. It smells like fall and I am in love with every aspect of this place.
I love everything that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.” Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield
We drove through Napa Valley and into Rutherford and I couldn’t help but take a million pictures of the grapevines, the fall trees, and the hills lined with both. The fiery reds and brilliant oranges. The golden yellows. (Can you tell I was happy with the colors of fall in this place?)
Our driver told us the week before was in the 90’s so I felt blessed to have this weather. If it looked and felt like Texas, I don’t think it would have seemed as dreamy. We were all in awe of the beauty.
Our first stop was at Mumm Napa.
It was a quaint little vineyard with shiplap and succulents so I was happy. Extremely light and airy-and I’m not speaking of the wine. The grounds were beautiful and the view of a hill, lined with rows of grapevines, was breathtaking. (I’m sorry for all the adjectives!!)
They had a gorgeous long table set up for the seventeen of us with three champagne glasses each. The rustic barn wood table completely finished the loveliness of the whole experience.
We tried three sparkling wines and I loved them all. (Duh!) A dry, a rose and a sweeter version.
The whole experience, I thought at the time, couldn’t be topped, but I was wrong.
Louis Pasteur said it best. “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”
After shopping and shipping wine home, we jumped back on the bus and headed to what soon would top Mumm Napa.
The next stop was my favorite of the day. Not neccesarily better–just different in a lovely way.
More lush grounds, rolling hills, lined with rows of grapevines and a beautiful house built in the 1800’s. The grounds surrounding the house were perfectly manicured and the entire thing looked like something you would see in the countryside of London.
And another beautiful, long table filled with empty wine glasses.
This was Flora Springs, named after a lady named Flora that lived to see her 100th birthday. (Perhaps all the wine??)
We sat outside under a red barn-like structure that was open and in the fall air. And it began a misting rain, although we were completely sheltered from the mist. We started with a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc and then moved to the reds.
We had lunch served to us that just might have been the best sandwich I’ve ever had–fresh French bread, ham, turkey, and all that goes with plus pasta salad and grape leaves filled with something delicious and fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. For desert, a simple chocolate covered strawberry. Perfection.
Was it the meal or perhaps the experience of the surrounds?
We were able to tour the cave-like area where they store the wines in barrels. Lots of information, lots of pictures and lots of wine. And lots of laughs.
The experience at Flora was my favorite but there was one more winery to visit that was equally dreamy.
Off to another and it seemed every time the 17 of us got back on the bus we were a bit louder than the time before!
Francis Ford Coppola. Heard of him? He is not only known for some pretty awesome movies but also some pretty awesome wine.
Coppola owns Inglenook Winery. A very dark, ancient, European-looking winery that was fairytale-like, and once again, the grounds were an unbelievable perfection of all the fall colors and the drizzly rain made it seem even more so like something in London.
We toured and drank (I mean tasted) and drank and toured (I mean tasted). More barrels, information and gunite-lined caves full of wine barrels.
And again, the most beautiful long table, this time with charcuterie boards full of yumminess-everything needed to accompany delicious wine.
All three wineries, equally beautiful, romantic, dreamy–with impressive wine, but yet all three different and offered a completely different experience.
Good wine, good food, good fun with good people. Perfect day. Best day ever. A day to remember.