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All in the Family

Is it possible for a tree to be part of the family? I'm thinking yes, especially one as lovely as our new live oak tree. Check it out:
If you click on the photo you will see Baxter doing a little morning calisthenics on the driveway. Which, by the way, I've been meaning to talk to you about. Seriously, I've learned something quite useful from our little puff of fur. Stretching. Yes, indeed, each morning when we, by we I mean Baxter and I,wake up, he stretches all his limbs in the chair where he sleeps and I begin stretching in the bed. I didn't always stretch. No, it took a dog to teach me that if I stretch, I will bound out of bed! Try it, you might just be impressed with this technique yourself. But I digress....

I also wanted to show you a view from the other side because there may be those amongst you who've been wondering what we did with our beloved stag horn fern. Ta Da!
Beloved fern?   Are you kidding Gail?    Would I kid you? 

In the first year of our marriage, which for those of you who are counting is 37+ years now, one of our neighbors began selling very small stag horn ferns mounted to a board. We bought one! We babied that fern.  Bruce even went so far as to make a special box to nest it in during our five day drive to California. It grew. And grew. And grew. During Hurricane Charley, the limb that held it, came crashing down, smashing the daylights out of the fern. Although the corner of the house was damaged, my main concern was the fern. It took Bruce and three neighbors to hoist it onto a new branch back then. Seven years later, I imagine it weighs in the neighborhood of five hundred pounds. Before they took the tree down, Jody moved the fern via his bucket truck to hang between the pines. Yes, my friends, a plant can be family.

Actually, once they began digging the hole for the tree I left to go to the store because they said it would take some time. My sister Nancy has been giving me makeup advice, which may sound a little silly to you, but this 57 year old is fairly ignorant when it comes to makeup. Nancy recommended a foundation aptly title "Photo Ready" by Revlon. After receiving my telephone consultation, I wanted to take advantage of the sale at Walgreens. Here's the loot:
Normally, unlike both my husband and my sister Maureen, I'm not much of a Walgreens shopper, however, you would never know it from my purchases; somehow I managed to spend $70 there! When I returned, the tree was in place with no one in sight. I called the nursery learning that I was to fill the berm twice a day with water for at least three weeks. Just today the awful thought of it dying occurred to me, something obviously I'm going to be doing my best to avoid! I'm more than delighted you can imagine that I can see it out of both windows and even from the kitchen. Did I mention the lovely spring green leaves? Beautiful. Now we can do something about both the bed and the grass. One thing at a time...

Yesterday morning was our bridge get together with eight ladies showing up. Fun my friends, very fun.
What I should have been doing besides playing bridge was shopping for groceries for a very special dinner for the twins. Sadly, Melanie was not able to be here because she was at the barn late, but Bill, Dave and Michelle joined us for what I hope they thought was a yummy meal. A good many of you know that cooking brings me joy, so stirring the roux for the gumbo was no problem, however, I won't lie, I kept looking at the clock wondering when twenty five minutes would have passed. Actually, Bill was playing a gig later which meant he had to leave by 8:00. With Bruce just landing at 6, arriving home by 6:30, I had a short window to work with. 
The Menu
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
White Rice
Fried Okra
French Bread 
Coconut Macroons
Because everything was made by yours truly, the cooks amongst you can imagine that the menu required some serious time management. I suppose I should note that neither Bill or Dave likes cake, thus no birthday cake on the menu. Leftovers tonight!

Oddly enough last week on Bill and Dave's actual birthday I began thinking about a specific picture of the two of them dressed identically near their one year birthday. 32 years ago having twins was a rare occurrence, especially identical twins. I will NEVER forget the time a woman ogling the twins in their stroller asked me, "Aren't you glad you didn't have Siamese twins?" I was so shocked I had no snappy comeback! Can you imagine if I'd been clever enough to say, "Why no, I was really hoping for them."
Boy did I get sidetracked! Okay, so about the picture. After our trip last weekend, Bruce dug out a fishing book that he'd not opened for years and years. Handing me the above picture he said, "Look at this." The exact picture I was thinking of! I always loved this one of them in their identical outfits which came from a Mother of Twins club I belonged to during their first couple of years. There was no shame in buying and selling worn clothing. We definitely had our financial struggles back then so it was a God send! Mostly though, I didn't dress them alike, hoping they would form their own identity. Only worked up to a point though. "You Can't Fool Mother Nature" was an old commercial tagline--so very true.

While cooking Jonathan called. Yeah! He was in the midst of registering the MINI Cooper in Texas as well as renewing his driver's license. Complicated but he got it done. While talking I learned that Wednesday was his last day in the Law Department at UT. We are all hoping another longer assignment comes up shortly. 

Saving some very exciting news for last, we now have our airline tickets to London booked for July 1!!! Using Facetime, I spoke to both Matt and Tom this afternoon, kicking around ideas for our ten day stay. So many options....I'm going the old fashioned route and buying a guide book a little later this evening. I've got one for London but we're planning on venturing out of the city this trip. Tom, of course, has done some traveling and his input will prove to be invaluable I suspect. We got into a discussion about the difference between "moors" and "dales." I believe I'll sign off just now so I can figure out what the heck those terms mean. 

Happy Weekend!

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