Monday, December 28, 2015

What's blooming this new year?

Blooms for all seasons
Two bright pink azalea flowers on a shrub greeted me Christmas day as I pulled back the curtains.
Grateful for our mild winters, Southeast Texans can look to their landscapes for a variety of blooms now. Some are even more unexpected than usual.
I visited a friend with a little bouquet featuring yellow copper canyon daisies, purple “wandering jew” blooms, a fragrant rosemary, a stalk of succulent and a tropical leaf.
She later sent a photo, proving the bright colors popped against her purple wall. That made me happy, so the gift kept on giving.
Head to the far corners of your back 40 to see what’s blooming out there just for you.

New Orleans story
I’m nearly done with an advance copy of  “The Feathered Bone,” which Julie Cantrell begins with a field trip at Mardi Gras world in New Orleans, the ferry to Algiers and Jackson Square.
That’s heaven to me, and I can picture, feel and smell all those spots. But this story is about an abduction. Amanda is in charge of some children, including her daughter and her best friend. The friend goes missing and this story covers the years after and how that day affects so many in a community. As chilling is the story of Sarah is, Amanda, a social worker, is learning how to deal with tensions in her marriage and her daughter’s coping with Sarah’s loss. Amanda hears others give her advice she has doled out all these years to others and it sounds strange to hear it back.
The title reference is to a feather that a palm reader in Jackson Square gives Sarah minutes before her abduction. A feather bends, but it is difficult to break, is the theme of a very memorable book.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Beaumont Community Players has hit in "Both"

Beaumont Community Players has a hit in “Both”

Mark Wilson played Father McKenzie in “Both,” a story he wrote that tells the story of the Nativity through the music of The Beatles.
You heard me right. It’s important to know that “All You Need is Love,” that everybody needs “Help” and “Here Comes the Sun” can imply the baby Jesus.
Beaumont Community Players presented “Both” and didn’t charge a thing for it. I teared up through most of the show. My husband went back to see it again. I communicated with some of the cast members and get the impression that they were as transformed by the production as I was. “Imagine.”

“Change Your Story, Change Your Life”
So maybe you’re not ready to take a shamanistic journey. But you may be ready to change the way you think about negativity, so you can get past it.
Carl Greer’s book is subtitled “Using Shamanic and Jungian Tools to Achieve Personal Transformation.
In one anecdote a woman shares is imagining a symbol of a silver spoon to represent healing the relationship with her parents. A spoon is kind of small and it can tarnish. That’s it, the spoon is saying. You have to work a little to find the beauty in this nurturing tool.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Stuff those stockings with joy

For years my good friends at Museum of the Gulf Coast have reminded me to mention that the gift shop has Port Arthur-inspired ideas for the holidays. History books on local legends, T-shirts and jewelry are some choices.
Go to town at an array of area shops and get crafty at home. I’m looking to find someone who can turn some silverware into jewelry and windchimes for me.
I’m also thinking any brand of step counter you wear on your wrist is a great idea for a good friend or spouse. Walk your way to fitness next year. How about a membership to an area museum or club?
Here are some other ideas:

Despite all the ideas I share with readers, I don’t do much online business. I want to say that Tweezerman has lived up to its name with the offer of free sharpening. I sent off two very old pair and they came back good as new. The website informed me that if the tweezers could not be sharpened, I’d get a discount on a new pair. So either way, the company came through.
It’s true that now I’m on their mailing list, so I can tell you they have quite the array of holiday offerings.

For the tech/chic savvy
In the days of “A Christmas Story,” kids got all bundled up and sometimes frozen to a pole. In the south, we worry less about freezing weather, but we want to stay warm. Who would have imagined we’d risk getting colder for using our smart phones and listing to our jam. Now U|R Powered offers Touchscreen Gloves and Audio Headwear for looking oh, so cool while keeping warm and connected.
U|R Powered’s holiday looks include gloves in knit, fleece, genuine sheepskin leather and heated nylon, so “fingers are kept warm, and stay dexterous.” Lined to keep body heat in and moisture out, the insulating materials are eco-friendly and contain zero trace of metals. U|R Powered’s stylish audio headwear allows wearers to enjoy music in comfort and warmth sans pesky earbuds that never seem to stay in place, makers say. I’m going for basic black gloves that should be in style forever and rocking the pullover hat that lets you hear your tunes as you walk off those Christmas pounds on the track. I rank these as high-quality options that will look good when we tend to get our most chilly weather… perhaps around Mardi Gras parade time? Prices range from $36 to $75 for audio headwear and touch screen gloves.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Can you name the 'boudin' capital?

Did you know Scott, La., is the Boudin Capital of the World? Lots of signs proclaim it, and I’m not gonna dispute it. In fact, I’d like to take a couple of days and taste them all for myself.
I did check out Don’s Specialty Meats offering the “best homemade boudin & cracklins.” See how they spelled that? “Boudin.” Now I’m not going to argue with that, either, but I put another letter in “boudain.”
Anyways, this store has some good each, and I was tickled that they have neon signs guiding the way. No matter how you spell it, I think it’s funny to see “boudin” and “cracklins” up in lights.

Sparkly holidays
What you want to know about Dermelect Cosmeceuticals have keratin protein peptide-hydrolyzed keratin extracted from New Zealand sheep’s wool that helps strengthen nails.
That news is almost as much fun as the winter color collection: of “ME.” Hold “ME”is Sparkled Midnight Noir, and I have been seeing this color in the skies of late. Thrill “ME” is frosted evergreen; Kiss “ME” is Velvet Crimson and Sleigh “ME” is Arctic Shimmer.
I’m shimmering now and it is an eye- and light-catching glow that seems a bit silver and gold at the same time. Ready for oysters and Champaign? This one will go through New Year’s Eve.
This cruelty-free product resists UV rays, chipping and splitting; restores nail flexibility and fore sure has no formaldehyde.