Be a bridge

Bridges are interesting, aren’t they? Some are merely functional, a way to get over a waterway or a road. Concrete passages to the place you are headed.

Still others are architectural masterpieces. A piece of art in the sky, spanning high above a river or bay, and more, much more than a method to get from one place to another.

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge, at Crissy Beach

These are the bridges I admire. The beauty, the history, the ‘how in the world do they build that?’ bridge.

How do they build them? Especially over large bodies of water? I don’t understand it and my mind can’t comprehend it. I simply like to stare at them. And take pictures of those steel beauties.

Continue reading Be a bridge

I now see Waco

Who am I? Good question.

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.

Waco
On the Suspension Bridge, in Waco, looking at the Washington Bridge

Continue reading I now see Waco

God moments make you think

Do you ever wonder why something happened to you?  Why did I go that direction?  Choose that path?  Why did I bump into that person?  At that particular time?

I believe those are God moments.  I know we have free will but I also believe in His will.  He has our lives mapped out for us and I believe He puts certain people in our life for a reason.

Napa Valley
Saint Helena-Zinfandel

If you don’t share my belief you probably have stopped reading this by now. And that is ok.

Continue reading God moments make you think

Mornings well spent

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.

coffee mug
Create.

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.

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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.

coffee
Dichotomy, in Waco

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.

coffee
dachshund coffee mug

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.

Dachshunds
my weenteam

Then it is coffee in-hand and I head to the office to write.

The coffee house article in The Groove
The coffee house article in The Groove

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?

coffee and muffins
breakfast of champions

I hope for you puppy kisses and coffee!

love and blessings~dd

 

The mere smell of fall

“It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon.” -Sarah Addison Allen, First Frost

kitchen

That is the way I want my house to smell in the fall. Cinnamon, cloves, apples, oh my!

apples and spices
apples, cinnamon, cloves and whole all spice

I light candles—pumpkin candles, vanilla candles and cinnamon.  But nothing is better than smelling something cooking in the kitchen.  Something sweet.

“The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization.”- Fernand Braudel

apples
simmer pot
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If I am on a diet, which I always am, or I don’t have the time to bake, I fake it.

  • Cinnamon sticks,
  • all spice
  • cloves
  • star anise
  • vanilla, from Mexico

All these wonderful spices, simmering on the stove, in two cups of water, make the whole house smell of wonder.

apples
apples and cinnamon simmering on the stove

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.

apples
apples

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.

lemons
lemons and rosemary

Hope your house smells like all things fall!

love and blessings~dd

The ugliest dachshund

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 (not really) with five dogs (only two inside) and six cats (all outside) already and the parents didn’t think they needed another dog.

Great Dane puppy
baby Tegan

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.

pups
Cameron and Jemma

Fast forward five years and another birthday wish (this one granted), and a Great Dane named Tegan came into our life.

Great Dane puppy
Tegan and Cameron on the day we picked her up

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.

great dane
Tegan and I when she was a pup

Tegan was loved instantly.

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Baby Tegan and Charli on top of poor Jem

We, as you may know, are a weenie dog family.  Jemma is an honorary weenie dog and Tegan soon became one, also.

Big and Little
Tegan and Martha

Have you ever seen the movie The Ugliest Dachshund by Walt DisneyDean 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 I am 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.
pups
Tegan with Charli and Martha

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.

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Tegan, Jemma and Charli at the dogpark

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.

Dachshund and Great Dane
Tegan and baby Martha

You could definitely describe her as great.

Great dane
Tegan’s enormous head

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!

"Whatttt, deedee?"
“Whatttt, deedee?”

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.

pups
Tegan and Charli

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 calls us), 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.

pups
baby Tegan and Jemma

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.

Great Dane
Cameron and Tegan

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

 

 

box of chocolates

On day 21 of my write 31 days, or as I like to call it-write thirty-wonderful days, I am diving a bit deeper.  Hang on

The famous quote in the movie Forrest Gump is not only witty but very true.  And of course you can’t go wrong when Tom Hanks is the one speaking the truth.

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” 

roses and chocolates

My momma probably said something along these lines to me once or twice.

I’ve always had a pretty cheery outlook on life.  This comes in handy when life gives you lemons.

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And then there’s that famous song by country singer Lynn Anderson–“I beg your pardon-I never promised you a rose garden.”

roses

More true words.

When you are living your life, one that seems pretty dreamy-and then your garden turns to weeds, what do you do?

When you are living your life, one that seems pretty dreamy-and then your garden turns to weeds, what do you do? Click To Tweet

I turned to prayer.

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.

chocolates and roses

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.

roses

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.

chocolates

love and blessings~dd

A walk in the clouds

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?

San Francisco
Fisherman’s Grotto at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

We headed to Fisherman’s Wharf and up past The Cannery. 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!)

San Francisco
The Cannery at fisherman’s Wharf

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.

Golden Gate Bridge
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.

San Francisco
geese at Crissy Beach Wildlife Preserve

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.

San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Beach

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.

San Francisco
the walk to Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field

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.

Golden Gate Bridge
Crissy Beach

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.

San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge

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.

Golden Gate Bridge
Danni and I in front of Golden Gate Bridge at Crissy Field

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.

San Francisco
Alcatraz as seen from Crissy Beach

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.

Crissy Beach
Danni walks fast

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.

Don’t hide your beauty behind your clouds. Let your beautiful self-show. Click To Tweet
San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge

And try to go without your phone every once in a while!

(Oh and one more bit of advice, don’t talk politics after a bottle of wine.  Or two. But that’s another story…)

Love and blessings~dd

 

 

All the feels of fall

 

napa-view-meritage
view from the grapevines at the Meritage Resort in Napa

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.

Pier 39
the trees out our window in San Francisco

“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.

Pier 39
View from our hotel room in San Francisco, Pier 39

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.

Halloween
storefront in North beach area of San Francisco

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.

San Francisco
Ghirardelli Square

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.

San Francisco
pumpkins in the fountain at Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco

In the streets and on the sidewalks, there were beautiful fall colored leaves. That had fallen. (duh!)

San Francisco
leaves on the streets of san Francisco

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
Inglenook Winery
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”- Albert Camus Click To Tweet
Napa
grapevines in Napa

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.

Napa
Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook Winery

Our view out our patio in Napa was another lovely sight. Grapevines, that were changing colors, and a statue of a grape stomper.

Napa view
view out our patio at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa

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.

Napa
jack rabbit we saw in Napa

This was a very peaceful place.

Inglenook
In Napa, even walls have pretty fall leaves. (Inglenook Winery)

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

Napa
fallen leaves in Napa

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.

Leaves
Napa moments with Lisa

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.

 

A day to remember

Saturday was one to remember. As the popular saying goes, “Best day ever!’

Napa Valley
Saint Helena-Zinfandel

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.

Bus to vineyards
Fun on the bus

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?)

vineyards
Napa Valley

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.

Mumm Napa
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!!)

Mumm Napa
beautiful table at Mumm Napa

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.

Lisa, Danni and I at Mumm Napa
Lisa, Danni and I at Mumm Napa

We tried three sparkling wines and I loved them all. (Duh!) A dry, a rose and a sweeter version.

sparkling wine at Mumm Napa
Mumm Napa

The whole experience, I thought at the time, couldn’t be topped, but I was wrong.

Danni and I at Mumm Napa
Danni and I at Mumm Napa

Louis Pasteur said it best. “Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”

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After shopping and shipping wine home, we jumped back on the bus and headed to what soon would top Mumm Napa.

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The next stop was my favorite of the day.  Not neccesarily better–just different in a lovely way.

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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.

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And another beautiful, long table filled with empty wine glasses.

Napa Valley
Long, communal table at Flora Springs

This was Flora Springs, named after a lady named Flora that lived to see her 100th birthday. (Perhaps all the wine??)

Flora Springs
Flora Springs

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.

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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.

Flora Springs at Napa
Mark and I at Flora Springs

The experience at Flora was my favorite but there was one more winery to visit that was equally dreamy.

Flora Springs in Napa
Flora Springs

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.

Inglenook Winery
walking on the grounds at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook Winery

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.

Inglenook Winery
Staircase inside Inglenook Winery

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.

Inglenook
Inglenook wine barrels

And again, the most beautiful long table, this time with charcuterie boards full of yumminess-everything needed to accompany delicious wine.

Inglenook
table at Inglenook Winery
Inglenook Winery
Inglenook’s barrels

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.

Marti turns 50!
Marti turns 50!

love and blessings~dd