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Showing posts from September, 2011

Gardening update

Cooler temperatures have arrived, and every living thing in Texas has breathed a sigh of relief.  There's even been some rain!  I lost a few plants to the Great Heat of 2011, but those that have survived are perking up and even daring to put out some flowers.  Also, a couple of weeks ago I attended a Yard Smart seminar run by the city of Fort Worth, which left me all excited about gardening again.  If you live in Fort Worth and are at all interested in plants, go: the speakers were engaging, entertaining and inspiring, and it's entirely free! One of the topics at the seminar was fall greens.  My last attempt at greens was spring lettuces, which put out about six leaves before deciding that it was far too hot to bother growing.  The advantage of planting in the autumn is (hopefully) a longer period between baking and freezing temperatures, and also, apparently, the shorter days encourage the plants to store sugar, thus making the leaves sweeter to eat.  I sowed kale and collar

Grillin' and chillin'

September 5th was Labor Day, which is kind of the official end to summer in America.  Right on cue, the temperatures dropped out of the triple digits and it got almost - gasp - chilly overnight.  Starved for fresh air after three months stuck inside breathing air-conditioning, we spent as much of the weekend outside as we could. Saturday morning we went for a walk over at Parr Park in Grapevine.  It has a great-looking playground; unfortunately Toby's still a bit small for anything but the swings, and gets easily overwhelmed by big play spaces.  Still, it's OK if you're hanging on to Mum. In the afternoon he was grouchy.  He has recently developed a scream which has roughly the same effect as a pneumatic drill boring into your brain, and deploys it to good effect.  After a few hours of this Graham and I were about ready to donate him to the nearest adoption agency and flee the country.  Finally he slept, and we collapsed onto the couch and tried not to snap at each

The church is the people, not the building.

This old adage has been repeated so often it hardly seems worth saying any more.  But, like all good clich├ęs, it gets an outing on a pretty regular basis.  Someone said it at my church on Sunday.  And I realised it isn't true. Or if it is, we no longer attend the same church that we stepped into almost two years ago.  We started going there in December 2009, when it met on Saturday nights and we were childless and free.  By the time Toby's baby shower came around in October 2010, almost all the people we'd initially got to know had left.  Half a year later, when the founding pastor moved back to Canada and a new minister took over, very few of those who had signed Toby's baby book for us were still around.  Not only the congregation but also the leadership had changed completely, twice. Yet the building is still there, and still pretty much the same.  Whatever else has changed, there is still a sense of calling to that particular place .  What does this mean, and ho

Wonky teeth

I was listening to the news on the local public radio the other day and the announcer said that Texas spent more on orthodontic treatment last year than the other 49 states combined. That's one of those pieces of information that's so random it keeps bouncing around in your brain.  Not only more than any other state, but more than all the other states put together .  Is that even possible? Are Texans born with hereditary wonky teeth? Are Texans vainer about their (children's) smiles than other Americans? Or do they all get their teeth kicked out by bucking broncos? As ever, the real reason is far less interesting.