Monday, August 31, 2015

Stopping By to Say Hi

The weather here remains hot, hot, hot and very humid.  The only one
who is happy is this little lizard.  Meanwhile Bentley and I are inside
staying cool and I am still working on the guest bathroom.  Don't have
anything to show you yet, but my goal is to finish up as much as I 
can before the end of the week.

Until then, I'll be spending every free moment painting and ordering
the rest of the accessories for this room.  Boy, will I ever be glad to
finish this project so that I can start the next one!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to School Splash Party

Yesterday our next door neighbors hosted a Back to School Splash Party with
the biggest slip and slide I have ever seen.  It came complete with two running 
lanes and palm trees.  We all laughed and said that thank goodness our
yards are big enough to hold something like this.

Isn't this cute ~  it's Lily explaining to CeCe how the slip and slide works.
You jump up onto the slide, run to the third palm tree and then slide into
the pool at the end.  

There is Catherine, our hostess on the far left.  I am so blessed to have
her as my neighbor and we have become such great friends.

We managed to get all the kids together for a group pic.  Such adorable and
well mannered kids.  Love them all!

This little group of four little girls have become BFF's.  

Hurry up kids ~ the ice cream truck has arrived!

Nelda, our other dear neighbor ~ she is wearing the turquoise top and
the white skirt ~ arranged for the ice cream truck to stop by so that all
all the kids, and parents too, could have a cool treat.

The kids were all so happy!

Our little group of BFF's stayed together the whole afternoon.  CeCe (the
little one on the right) lives across the street from us.  She and her parents
and little sister just moved in a few months ago.  It's great to see that she
already feels so at home here. 

Marshall was enjoying his ice cream while telling me all about his
favorite super heroes.

This little guy has the sweetest face.  It's easy to see that he will be
very handsome when he grows up.

This is our dear little neighbor Dodson.  He was just three years old when we
first moved into our house.  He is now in kindergarten.  He's starting to fade a bit here,
but he perked right up after his ice cream and got back on the slide with the other
kids.  He continued playing for a few more hours.  After all the little kids left,
Dodson and the bigger kids watched as Catherine and I took our turns on the
slip and slide.  We tried it about four times and oh my was it ever fun!

Here are our little BFF's again.  Such darling and sweet girls.

We are so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors.  I remember when
we first chose our house, the real estate agent told us that we would love
this neighborhood.  She was so right!  Our neighbors have become our
friends too.  Everyone is so supportive of one another and we all love
to get together and have parties.  

Even our dogs are BFF's.  After most of the kids had gone home, several of
us sat around outside and talked and laughed and had a great time while
our dogs Toby and Bella and Bentley all played together.  I feel so
blessed to live in such a great neighborhood with the best neighbors

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tea and Rye Bread Toast at 3 AM and Other Ramblings

I believe that I have told you before that sometimes I suffer from insomnia.
I have a list of remedies that I try which are often effective, but last night
nothing seemed to work.  I listened to Art Bell via my "tune-in" app on
my iPhone.  His guest was an anti-aging doctor and the show was quite
fascinating, but was finished at 2 am.  

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Art Bell.  I used to 
listen to his shows on the radio some years back.  I was addicted to 
his show.   It always came on in the wee hours of the morning and he
had all these fantastical topics ~ ghosts, ET's, Big Foot, Mel's Hole
and more.  Mel's hole was this supposed pit somewhere in Washington
state that seemed to have no bottom.  Mel claimed he tried to go 
down into the hole once.  He said you could toss an old broken
refrigerator down that hole and never hear it hit the bottom.  After
a few years, Art never heard from Mel anymore and that was the
end of that story.  However, David and I continued to tune in and fall
asleep in our darkened bedroom while listening to these fun topics.
But Art made the mistake of joining up with a big conglomerate
radio network and soon they were dictating what he could and 
could not air over the radio so he quit because it just was not
fun anymore.  But now he is back with a new show that is
streamed over the internet.  It's called Midnight in the Desert.

When Art's show was over, I started to think about my childhood growing up
in Chicago's North Shore suburbs.  My very first home was in Wilmette, Illinois.
I was blessed to live there.  It's consistently rated one of the best towns in 
the US for kids.  Bill Murray the comic is from Wilmette and so is Ann
Margret.  But of course in the wee hours of the morning my mind has a 
tendency to ramble from topic to topic and early this morning was no
exception.   Notice that Wilmette is right on Lake Michigan.  I love
that lake.  So many happy memories of it's waters, it's beaches and the
nearby ravines.  For me it is a magical place.  So I started looking at
pictures of the beach.  

Gilson Beach and Wilmette harbor.  In the fore front of this photo is the Bahai
Temple completed in 1953.  Such an imposingly beautiful landmark.  Of
course there is the beach and the harbor.  While I was thinking about the
beach and my youth, I also started thinking about my beloved lake.  It's
enormous size and how to me it always seemed like an ocean.  But, before
I move on, notice the city of Chicago off in the distance at the top of the
picture.  Looming ahead like an Oz.

So, because I was thinking about the size of the lake I found myself 
visiting a Facebook Group Page …. You Lived on Chicago's North
Shore if You Remember …. when I came to a wonderful article posted
that was written by Rich Cohen for the New York Times Travel
section.  Rich grew up in Glencoe, a neighboring suburb and loves
the lake as I do.  Here is a link to the article which you may enjoy
even if you have never been to Chicago or have seen Lake Michigan.
A Tour of Lake Michigan, My Inland Sea.  I will warn you, its a long
article, so grab a cup of tea or coffee before you dive in.  Oops, 
a pun just jumped out ;-)

In this wonderful article, Rich (who now lives back east) takes his young sons
on a long road trip circumnavigating the lake, beginning in Chicago and ending
in his childhood home of Glencoe (just up the road from Wilmette).  This was 
a lengthy trip because they drove from Chicago south, through the Indiana 
Sand Dunes, up the coast of Michigan and across the lake to Mackinac Island,
across another ferry to the Wisconsin side and all the way south to Rich's 
hometown of Glencoe.   

Rich was talking about a restaurant where he and his boys had dinner, and
that started me thinking of famous restaurants in the Chicagoland area and
that's how I landed here at Klas Restaurant.  I have never been here, but now 
I wish I had because the place is steeped in history and has been in business
since 1922.  If you want to read more about it's history you can read this
article.   Here is a link to the Klas Restaurant website so you can look 
at their menu, which is of course what I did.  Very heavy Czech cuisine,
but doesn't it all look so delicious!  Leave your bathroom scale outside the 
door and enjoy ;-)  I could not help but notice the Chicken Paprika on
the menu.  Suddenly my stomach was registering empty and I really
wanted to have some of that tasty dish.  However, at 3 am I was not
about to hunt for ingredients to make this tasty dish.  So I settled for a
cup of tea and a slice of rye bread toast.  

I warned you that my mind wanders all over the place in the early
morning hours.  

Bentley ~ now that it's mid day, lets see if we have all the
fixin's to cook up a pot of Chicken Paprika!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tea With Honey

I want to show you the cutest thing my friend Sharon sent
me recently.  I was so surprised and happy to receive these
adorable cups with square saucers and the cutest little 
ceramic spoons to match.

They were all packaged in this precious little suitcase.

So I decided to set up a little teascape to share with y'all.
Notice my grandmother's porcelain cat in the background.
Sharon is a cat lover.

Thank you so much Sharon!  I love the this so much!!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Happy National Dog Day from Bentley!

Bentley believes that every home that has a dog is a happier home.

Dogs love to be part of the family and go everywhere with the humans
they love.

Dogs love to participate in holidays and will even happily wear Mardi Gras beads.

Dogs lead the way to new adventures and encourage us to have fun.

Dogs are our faithful companions twenty~four seven.

Dogs are always allowed to sit at the table at grandma's house.

Dogs will happily share their toys.

And remind you to get out that bike and go for a ride around the 
neighborhood to get some exercise.

Hurry up mama, lets get this show on the road!

They let you know when they are in hot pursuit of other critters in the yard.

But most of them don't like baths :-(

And don't always like to be groomed so they may just run off with 
their hair brush :-)

Maybe I can hid this brush by the plant and mama won't notice ;-)

They will join you while you are gardening.

And let you tuck them in like a baby.

But most importantly, they bring the most profound unconditional love into
one's life.  

Happy National Dog Day to all the dogs out there!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, August 24, 2015

We Are Readers

We have several spots around our house where I like to read, but this spot is my
favorite.  We lovingly refer to this as our "library corner".   We also like to sit
here just before dinner with a cocktail or a glass of wine and chat for a bit and
catch up on each other's day.  

I have always loved to read.  Books have been collected over the years.  Some of
these on this shelf belonged to my Daddy.  He always shared his love of world
history and archaeology with me.  

One thing you will never see in my house are book spines turned toward the back.
Sorry to all the decorators out there who have followed this trend.  I am guessing
that for them books are only accessories and the content is of no importance.
That's fine for them, but not fine for me.  

On my shelves you will find the classics, many books on philosophy and
ancient thought.  Our copy of the Book of Common Prayer is tucked away
yet referred to often.

We were so saddened when Christopher Hitchens passed away a few years
ago.  What a brilliant mind he had.  I have been very fond of Flaubert since
my college days.  Oops ~ our copy of Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was
put back on the shelf upside down.  

We have the Wall Street Journal delivered to our home.  David likes to read
all the business articles, but the paper is very complete and there are lots
of other interesting articles to read besides business.

I still have all my French books from college.  

My dear friend Sharon who lives in Houston, surprised me recently with a 
box filled with wonderful goodies and one of the goodies was this
book ~ Lunch in Paris.  I just squealed in delight when I saw it and am
looking forward to beginning it tonight.  She also sent me the most adorable
little tea set which I will use in a tablescape later this week.

I love reading books about Paris despite the fact that I am a full fledged
Anglophile.  Here is a short list of books I have read that have Paris and
or France in general as their topic.  I highly recommend all of them:

Almost French ~ by Sarah Turnbull
Into a Paris Quarter ~ by Diane Johnson
C'est La Vie ~ by Suzy Gershman
Entre Nous ~ by Debra Ollivier
A Year in Provence ~ by Peter Mayle

and of course:
Appetite for Life ~ by Noel Riley Fitch
because Julia Child is one of my favorite people.

So there you have it.  I hope that since fall is on it's way
and kids are back at school, the idea of reaching out for a good
book to expand your mind and your horizons will be on your
schedule too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, August 21, 2015

Favorite Things Friday

Breakfast in bed ~ with a good book too.

Crafting in my studio.

Sitting on the back porch.

Celebrating holidays with good friends.

Vacations by the shore.

And at a charming cottage in the Texas Hill Country.

Shopping for antiques.

And especially up in Round Top!

The feedsack pillows on my breakfast room bench.

And the island in my kitchen.

Red Velvet mini cupcakes.

Blue and white transferware.

Staffordshire figurines

All the Yorkies I have loved.

And even their relatives.  This is Sugar, grandmama to Bitterman.

And of course this little guy.  Bentley!  Love him so much!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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