Sunday, October 30, 2011

Go “all out” in Spirit of Mardi Gras
I’ve heard it straight from Jan Walker. This next Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas is the 20th of its kind and Majestic Krewe of Aurora members report the theme will focus on traditional symbols with the title “Spirit of Mardi Gras.”
“Plan on going all out this year,” Walker, krewe communications director, said.
Dates are Feb. 16-19 of 2012.

Pecans for the season
Comanches must have loved pecans as much as we do. The Golden Triangle Sertoma Club is proud to be selling Durham-Ellis pecan halves for holiday baking. I looked up the Hill Country area distributor who reports Comanches ate plenty of pecans. I’m willing to sink my teeth into these babies, which come in perfect halves. I told my saleswoman they’re too pretty to chop up. The gorgeous nuts should top a cupcake or adorn a snack mix.
Proceeds from $11 bags have helped Children’s Miracle Network, American Cancer Society Mid and South County Relay for Life and scholarships. Get them for Thanksgiving and Christmas by contacting Linda Hebert at 963-4882,; or Emily Sonier at 365-7599,

“Troubadour Tx”
Robert Creaseman, a musician and motivational speaker, told an audience I was in we can all be Rockstars, and gave us a formula, which I won’t reveal here. Just tell me if it’s working, because I’m trying to rock. Creaseman is involved with “Troubadour Tx,” a new show that tells the story of Texas song writers, performers, etc. The web site says you can catch it round these parts at 5 p.m. Sundays on the CW. Of course, in his talk, he mentioned one of our famous musicians from the past, Janis Joplin.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ink it pink in October
My Sharpie love has upped a notch through the Ink it Pink promotion. It’s true that celebrities love Sharpies for autographs as much as I love them for jazzing up mundane chores. Stars have used pink Sharpies adorned with the breast cancer support ribbon and displayed them at Send yours in October and the company will donate a dollar to City of Hope, a cancer treatment, research and education center. Get on the web site to view guitarist Grace Potters video about the project, and ink away.

Catch a Rauschenberg
Texas Monthly’s October issue features a rundown on where to view some of Robert Rauschberg’s modern art paintings, collages, etc. I shouldn’t have to remind Port Arthur residents who knew “Milton” that Museum of the Gulf Coast has a gallery dedicated to the world-famous artist.

Birders on the big screen
An image of Owen Wilson from “The Big Year” shows his character armed with binoculars by a poster reading “Houston Audubon’s High Island.” This family bonding flick stars Wilson, a Texan, as an avid birder with Steve Martin, from the Waco area, as his dad.
I’ve been learning about our area’s birding activity. I don’t know if members of our own Audubon Society will like the movie, but I’ve been enjoying reading up on purple gallinule.

Silver and copper gets in your face
They had me at blue bottle. The cobalt blue spritzer holding Ancient Stones Ancient Elixir Setting Spray just looks natural. Silver and copper are on the ingredients list, but you won’t find fillers, additives, preservatives or talc. Spray some over your made-up face. This product in the line is designed to give the face a “smooth air-brushed look” and to keep your look fresh all day with no smudging or creasing, though you may have been working out or swimming. It feels good going on and feels good in place.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wranglers and rouge and my Nine-Cat Summer

My Nine-Cat Summer
When our neighbor, noted for growing a patch of both bluebonnets and cotton by his garage, passed away, his daughter came in to check on his home. She left me a sack of cat food and a note that there were seven kittens, two apparently Mama cats and a possible baby raccoon under the shed. I’ve spent the summer doing so and chatted with neighbors I’d never met as they all stop to look at the cats.
It made me appreciate “Cat Calls: Wonderful Stories and Practical Advice from a Veteran Cat Sitter” all the more. Jeanne Adlon and Susan Logan have some funny stories, like cats who have trained themselves to use a human toilet. Here’s just one tip for feral cats and flea control. A woman who had a farm full of them sprinkled brewer’s yeast with garlic over their food. Never use a dog product on a cat, the book advises.

Ranger wrangling
Bob Alexander offers chapter titles like “We’ll do the shooting,” “He Fell Like a Beef” and “Venison is better than no meat at all” in Rawhide Ranger Ira Aten: Enforcing the Law on the Texas Frontier.” It’s a good read and Alexander’s words paint as clear a picture as the plentiful vintage photos of this family. Aten was honest and humble and took the dreaded assignment of “detective” in an era when law men wanted to be clear on their intentions. He posed as a “cutter” and gained the trust of men who broke through fences for cattle and horses. Undercover was kind of a new deal, and Aten then worked up to other duties, each as interesting as the next. The book is a University of North Texas Press release.

Texas scandal
Bill Neal’s “Vengeance is Mine: The Scandalous Love Triangle that Triggered the Boyce-Sneed Feud is another true Texas tale from University of North Texas Press. So Lena got what she wanted, had candlelight parties for women in the day time and may have neglected to return borrowed dessert spoons. She married a wealthy Sneed, but carried on with cowboy Boyce. Her husband committed her to an asylum to save face and shot her lover’s daddy, then her lover. Established women of Amarillo packed the courtroom in furs and diamonds. Sneed was let go both times for “protecting the home.”

Nyx the night
Goddesses get all the attention. Nyx, the Greek goddess who ruled the night, paints the town red, and a huge selection of other shades, creators say. Since 1999 NYX Professional Makeup, for artistry and day wear, have rarely discontinued a shade. Red is back big time for lips this season and NYX is on the clock. A swipe from the stick comes in 22 shades and is designed to keep a matte finish all day and into the night. NYX is also bringing back cream rouge, like hip ladies of my grandmother’s era sported. Tickled is the newest of 13 shades. It sounds like summer, but I’m feeling a tinge of fall orange from the smooth rouge. Love the packaging, too.

Stocking for the sweaty
Words to Sweat By is part practical and part inspirational with stocking stuffers for the New Year’s Resolution crowd. The To Health and Happiness Package packs a blue tote with a high-quality towel adorned with thoughts such as “Healthy. Strong. Happy.” Stick a message like that a black tank top or “mantra T-shirt” and you think you’d be ready to hit the treadmill at the Port Arthur YMCA. But the package isn’t empty. There’s a wristband locker key chain and reusable snack bag. Work out, wipe down and feel good about feeling fit and fashionable. In 2012, the company will put phrases from Olympic athletes on their towels.

Softest bamboo
Gaiam has a fall catalogue on line that lets you search by color. As drawn as I am to purple, a rich, green shawl caught my eye and I’m relishing its bamboo and cotton durability. How can bamboo be so soft? It’s a good thing to have for chilly offices. Because Gaiam is into yoga wear, sustainability and “healthy stuff,” the cover-up looks great over your workout wear, or you can dress it up. The company “tag” is “Live, learn, grow.” I could go for one of everything in the catalogue. If you can’t knit one of the panchos glamming up the fall looks, get one here.

A clean car
Water rationing or wanting to avoid hauling out the hose are both motivators to try Washdrops. A bit of the non-foaming solution in one bucket of water is all you need. A pouch of the stuff will help you keep your car clean while you’re on vacation. I found this to be a product that works like it claims it does, and that’s good news for me and my neighbors. We live in an area where street construction and dusty roads have been a part of our lives for months. I’m not complaining. That’s progress, and keepin’ it clean.

Make a BiOWiSH
Garbage take-out is my daughter’s detail, but I get all the feedback if I didn’t furnish the right bags or a toss didn’t make it to its destination. I presented her with BiOWiSH Garbage Bin Wash for pride in ownership. Dissolve it in water and wash out your bin with the solution so that naturally occurring enzymes can help your bin stay odor-free for a month. There’s no flowery scent, so insects and rodents won’t be attracted. This is a winner, because Southeast Texas kitchen garbage often has the remains of our great seafood. Great to eat, not so great to smell.
The wine and cheese estate sale
It doesn’t take much prodding to get an adventure-seeking bargain hunter to a sale. Estate Sales by Vivian has a huge e-mail following. Vivian Duplant and her web master, Michael Mathews, post photos of the goodies shoppers will find inside homes, so hunters have a few days to plan. If there’s a lot of blue glass or any other sort of collectible, the photos will give the scoop.
When I saw a notice for a Nederland sale where one could meet artist Cal Gaspard and sample wine and cheese, I was so there. I think I made some new friends and hope someone went home with Gaspard’s bluebonnet paintings. I got a scarf and a cream pitcher from the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, where my parents spent their honeymoon. My bill for an hour of fun: $3.
Mathews owns The Tattered Suitcase resale shop at 2590 Calder Avenue at Tenth Street in Beaumont, and says he sometimes offers Thursday wine parties at his shop of “well-traveled finds.
He said he loves all things old and feels like I do about kitchen bowls and such found at estate sales. We both imagine how many dishes have filled the classic patterns and how many Thanksgiving tables platters have seen over the years.

What a bummer
I loved the community support Bum Phillips got when a street that spans Nederland and Port Neches was named in his honor. Local love was evident. I’m surprised to hear that someone apparently loves Bum so much, he or she had to snatch one of those road signs.
The ceremony in Nederland was on the parking lot near Bruce’s Market Basket. I ran inside later that day to confirm what I suspected. “Bum’s Favorite” Blue Ribbon Sausage, with his image on the package, was for sale in the store while the celebrity coach was just outside.

Tough women
Linda Guillory says she’s one urban cowgirl who is back in the saddle again after her breast cancer diagnosis a while back. She used black and pink bandanas to create “A Cowgirl’s Dream Bra,” her contribution to “Bra-Vo! Applause for the Cause, a Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” project. Gladys Wilson-Hollins created a pink floral called “Pearls of Love and Flowers.” Other creative supporters went “tough as nails,” gave nods to Mardi Gras or a favorite sports team and thanked family in their bra art. Visit for more information on this inspirational collection.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meet Bates’ ‘French girls’ and pine for the pig
A picture is truly worth 1,000 words for amicable artist Delle Bates. Through his Orange studio, he sells his bold faces he’s painted in oil to clients around the world. Wall Street and Post-Rita angels in T-shirts are other themes. He said he chatted with a New York reporter for more than an hour and the “story” ended up as pretty much a sentence, that storms inspire Bates to paint angels. He’s known for it.
To meet Bates is to make a friend. He’ll tell you how this spring’s visit to France had him shuffling to two museums a day for 28 days and how he’s “starving” to paint more. Everyone there was in a scarf, and he’s painted some of that excitement into works he’ll show at Texas Artists Museum in October. A dark cadmium redhead with absinthe-green eyes is named “Lucy in the Sky.”
Jean Gunn and James Black will also show works in October. TAM, a, 3501 Cultural Center Drive, offers monthly Second Sunday programs with entertainment, often combined with artists’ receptions.

Pining for the Pig
If you miss Ralph the Swimming Pig of Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, then pop some corn and get ready for the Swine Dive. I recently caught a documentary on this grand-scale amusement park that paved the way for today’s family fun stops. I saw the underwater mermaid show as a child, so I loved this film featuring memories from former swimmers and park tenders. Bob Phillips, a tourism specialist not associated with the country reporter of the same name, made this movie. He’s one of hundreds who worked there as a youth. Get yours at

Stable Spirit has haunted hay ride plans
As if the woods aren’t already scary. The fifth annual Haunted Hay Ride Festival, sponsored by Stable-Spirit and Tyrrell Park Stables, will be Fridays & Saturdays of Oct. 21, 22, 28, & 29, from 7 to 10 p.m., at Tyrrell Park Stables, 5595 Tyrrell Park Road, inside Tyrrell Park.