The perfect watermelon doesn’t take a thump

We have a local Radio Host, Randy Lemmon. He does all things gardening, and has great tip sheets for the Coastal Texas area. Randy Lemmon

He recently shared a tip for picking the best watermelon. I tested it out, and it is spot on.

Don’t listen for the “Hollow” thump. Roll that melon over and look for the spot on the bottom.

When I picked the Good Melon, it was not overly sweet, and very crunchy with a very high water content. That’s the kind I like. Crunchy, juicy, and not over sweet.

The Better Melon was sweeter, a little less crunchy, a thinner rind, and not mealy or mushy in any way. My second favorite. I can’t abide a mealy, mushy, Melon.

The Best Melon has a short shelf-life, if you get the best Melon, eat it right away, or you could end up with an overripe Melon, and that gets a little mushy.

It’s high Watermelon season, I hope this helps get you through the rest of the summer.

Enjoy!

Gifts from my heart

The bags are stuffed and ready to go,

It’s Go-time for the client gifts to be given out.

I loaded up my car with the offerings; the lovely soap, the lotion bars, and scrubber gloves. A hand written note on the ingredients, a little demonstration on the lotion bar, a little warning on how long it takes for the heavy lotion to sink into the skin, and lots of hugs. My favorite kind of sales calls.

I got my first review today. It’s the most amazing thing to give something from your hands and heart and for it to be well received. My client, and friend Staci tried the soap, lotion, and scrubber gloves last night. She even scrubbed her face! The loofah gloves probably aren’t the best thing for the face, but whatever works for her!

A happy client, a happy Wendy…..A Win-Win all around.

Still, Sunday mornings in the city

Bartaco was a happening place last night when my friends walked me to my hotel after dinner.

It’s so still this morning.

Maybe because I was up at 6 with Anticipation of going home, and not many are up at 6 after a night of revelry

We will meet up again this morning, and head to Our Lady of Good Voyage for Palm Sunday Mass. Then I’m jetting home.

It was a great trip, and I will post more pics when I get home.

I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to to, but I got to make a new friend, and find out more about my family thru my cousin Shari.

Happy Sunday all, I hope you enjoy something fabulous today.

Polkas, Shiner, and a party to send off Papa Jack

My husband on the right, and his brother Tom on the left. My husband definitely looks like his Uncle Jack.

The third funeral this month. Uncle Jack, Papa Jack, Alvin Jack Klesel, of Schulenberg, TX.

Uncle Jack was my favorite of my husband’s family. Since I started dating my husband in 1991, Jack was always kind to me.

Jack was just one of those souls that connected with everyone immediately. He didn’t know a stranger. He was fun, interesting, loving, kind, funny, smart, and just always engaged in what was going on.

He served in WWII, in the Army Air-corps in the Burma/China Theatre. As a clerk in the intelligence wing, he debriefed the Doolittle Raiders upon their return from Tokyo.

When he returned from the war, he had a Grocery Store, the Shiner Beer Distributorship, a Truck Repair shop, and an Insurance Agency.

He had great stories, a great family, he was always involved in his community and church. It was a great honor that one of the Bishops from the Galveston-Houston Diocese came to give the Funeral Mass for Papa Jack.

After leaving St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, we took the short walk to the cemetery for the graveside service. The VFW officers, and the Knights of Columbus in Full Uniform with swords were on guard. It was a full military service with a 21 gun salute, Taps, the flag folding and presentation. I lost it when they started playing Taps. It was a two hanky cry, for sure.

There was more though! Chris Rybak, “The Accordion Cowboy” played As The Saints Go Marching In as things were wrapping up. We went from crying to singing along, just like Papa Jack would have wanted.

We walked from the Grave site to the Knights of Columbus Hall across the street for the Reception. Everyone who attended the funeral was invited, and encouraged to come. This was a big thing, especially since the Bishop showed up to give Mass. The church was full.

There was beer, a big fried chicken lunch, lots of Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake, Strudel, pies, and Iced Tea.

Chris Rybak, one of Jack’s favorite Polka guys, played all through the reception, and of course, several got up to dance. Just like Papa Jack would have wanted.

I sincerely hope I don’t have to go to a funeral for a while. But this one, for a 96 year old man, who served his country, his community, his church, and his family, is something I will think about for a very long time.

Something to enjoy

My recent dive into new poets, and a close look at beautiful sculpture has uncovered a new word for me.

From the Greek “meraki”. We all know someone who puts love into what they do. It’s so obvious that they are committed to their project that their work just stands out.

It could be seen in a beautiful garden, or photo, or poem, or meal, or the way a home is kept, or the way a team comes together.

Have you enjoyed something recently that had “Love” sprinkled in that just delighted you?

Is there something that you do that you can’t help but put that extra “love” into?

I’m a bit of a homebody. On Saturdays when I clean the house, I’m putting love into the chore. When I’m finished, I sit in my clean home and I feel such a sense of satisfaction and comfort. My home is not fussy, and there are no “untouchable” items here. I’m definitely not a clean freak. It’s just that I grew up in an “untouchable” house and that’s not fun. I strove for something different.

The enjoyment comes when friends and family gather together and they are comfortable. The best compliment I ever got was from my Brothers-in-law Tom and Kenny when at one gathering they remarked that they would come to anything at our house because it was “warm and comfortable”. That’s when I knew that the love I put in was seen by someone else. It was the best compliment I ever received.

Now it’s time for me to put some love into my garden and clean away the spent plants from summer, put out some mulch, and let the soil rest a bit till February.

The Vortex live

Sucked back in time once again.  The phone call.  35 years later, I get to hear that Boston accent.  Hear that voice, the laugh, the humor, the heart that is my friend.

Did 35 years really pass?  Didn’t it seem like yesterday?  Are you happy?  Are you healthy?  Tell me about you and tell me you are OK.

All is well, everyone is healthy, happy, and the friendship is still right there.  I’m so happy to have reconnected, and got to hear him again.  It was like we were never apart.

He tried my phone the night before, but had a migraine and was heavily medicated.  The call didn’t last long.  We tried again today and it started something like this:

Bill:  “I’m so sorry that I had that migraine.  They come on suddenly, and the medication is like barbiturates! After we hung up, I felt much better.”

Me:  “So it wasn’t the sound of my voice that gave you a headache, and you felt better after talking to me?  I’ll take that!”

Big laughter.  We were on a roll after that.  So much fun.

But Wendy, aren’t you married?  Aren’t you worried about what your husband would think?  Not to fear,  I got his blessing before the call.  I’ve never stood in the way of his long term friendships, and he was just as gracious with me.

Bill and I were never romantically involved.  I dated his friend.  He did tell me that he had been in love with me.  I was so flattered, and somehow nostalgic that we never took the chance.  I wasn’t the kind of girl who could date a friend of a former boyfriend.  I never gave us a chance.  But that’s they way it was supposed to be.   His wife, Karen, sounds like an amazing woman, and I hope I get to meet her some day.

I think that’s how you know that you truly love your friends.  When you are happy for their happiness, even when it has nothing to do with you.

When we reconnected, he said he had been thinking about me, and when I found him as the suggestion on my LinkedIn it was perfect timing.  I guess in the wild expanse of the universe, we were just on the same wavelength.

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A Year Since the Big Flood

We’ve come along way in the Year since Harvey hit. Where we once had lines of trash and debris trucks stretching for miles and miles carrying away the flood damage, closed freeways, damaged levy’s, and a community coming together to help each other. There weren’t lines for hand outs, there were lines of people waiting and more than willing to volunteer to help their neighbors, their friends, their city. #HoustonStrong

Today I’m grateful to be in a City that knew how to come together after a major catastrophe, and the wonderful recovery we’ve enjoyed because we went to WORK on it, we didn’t wait for the Government to bail us out.

Starting off the week right

Santa Maria Tri Tip, or Prinaha bisteca.

The Churascarias of Brazil serve their tri tip on a skewer. I’m not that fancy.

I wandered around this cut for a couple of days, and decided to jump in feet first.

I sliced the fat cap, in a cross hatch and gave it a good salt and peppering, the I seared it well on both sided, and finished it in the oven.

Served it up with some beautiful Salsa Verde I made on Saturday, potatoes and zucchini.

That is a nice cut of beef to serve if you have less than an hour to get dinner on the table and need to feed several. It’s not an expensive cut either, but really flavorful.

This is the Pinterest image from the recipe I used.

We ate too fast to take pictures.

But I sliced up my tri-tip, gave the more rare pieces a quick dunk in the cast iron skillet that I cooked it in, and served the Salsa Verde (Chimichurri) on the side. My Salsa Verde go to is parsley, cilantro and oregano with garlic, red onion, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil.

I’m a firm believer that how you start a week sets the tone. So why not give Monday a boost and have something really fun.

I’m ready for Tuesday…..maybe?

Today, I’m really grateful for a meal to come together, and my family to spoil. When my youngest gets up from the table ready for seconds before anyone else finishes, I know it’s a good meal.

Bon Apetit.

Triple Digit heat index

It’s a little hot, as it usually is here in S. Texas in July.

We are officially in the Dog Days of Summer.  Or maybe the Frog days of summer?

Check this out.  There are still nice people out there.

 

 

 

The soap continues

The soap has cured, it’s un-molded, and drying. I am very pleased.

A batch unscented, 1 lavender, 1 rosemary.

7 pounds of sudsy stuff that I can wrap up and gift.

Why soap? Well, when I spent 18 months unemployed, I needed something to do to be productive. Between working on our acreage, and getting the bees established, I really needed something to do to be creative.

I’m not a crafty person, but being creative with a purpose appeals to me. Like cooking, making things that makes someone happy, or hearing them ask “you made that?” It’s a good thing.

I also nerd out measuring everything by weight, mixing the lye and water, getting everything to compatible temperature. Then I use an immersion blender to whazz everything to trace, adding the essential oils, molding, keeping the soda ash from forming. Ooh! It’s fun.

Who doesn’t need soap? These are Lux Bars. Really luxurious, velvety, sumptuous lather from Shea butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Caster Oil, Coconut Oil, and Olive Oil.

Today, I’m grateful for things that come together well, and for a supply of a little bit of my care, time, and talent to wrap up and gift.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson