Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How To Combat Cabin Fever

It is not unusual for folks to develop cabin fever especially in the month of February, so we took a little trip.
Welcome to Tubac Arizona
Tubac,Arizona with a population of only about a thousand folks, is twenty or so miles  north of the Mexican border and is largely made up of painters,potters,sculptors and carvers...and oh did I mention snow birds and  golfers? Throw in the fact that a sizable group of folks we call friends, from Lake City Colorado, winter in this area and you have the perfect get away destination. Don't let the cloudy sky fool you....there are a lot of sunny days here!

The village occupies a prime spot on the Sonoran Desert just below the peaks of the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains.

Tom and I accepted an invitation from friends who had leased a home in Tubac and  flew out for five days.
 I will post pictures of our fun filled trip soon..

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ya Need A Theme

 Decorations by Polly
If you want a theme for a party in late February...that is between Valentines and Easter, then Madi Gras is your theme. That is the one my Sister Polly chose for a brunch for  her sisters. There are five of us in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex....and it is nice for just the sisters to get together every now and then.
Polly is not only a wonderful cook, but enjoys setting an elegant (and festive) table
We dined on an egg  casserole  layered sweet potatoes, onions, and Brussel sprouts
A fruit salad made up of fresh strawberries/black berries/blue berries and grapes
Almond croissants
and Mimosas
We also played a fun dice game
Left Center Right
A friend from Tennessee told me about this game at Christmas..and how much fun it was....and she was right. I by the way won :)
Polly is also a talented photographer, so she took a five sister shot. Not easy to get five people to cooperate...so the picture I am afraid is not as pretty as the table decorations
Thank you Polly for a fun filled morning!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mansion #2

Sitting high on a hill  high above the Trinity River (once referred to as "Quality Hill) sits a Queen Ann mansion,
 built here in Fort Worth, Texas in 1899 for the widow of a very successful Galveston Banker and her adult son. Unfortunately the musician son passed away just two years later in 1901, and his mother in 1904. The next owner, again was a wealthy banker (and rancher), who moved here from Weatherford, Texas with his wife and one daughter.That daughter lived in the house until her death  in 1978 at the ripe old age of 100. So really only two families over the years have called this place home. Without further commentary I will show you the pictures that I took of the back of the house, side and interior.
Owned now by Historic Fort Worth
You may tour this home, McFarland House, along with the Thistle Hill  mansion
by buying a ticket at the door on Weds. Thurs. Friday's and Sunday afternoons.
One ticket is good for touring both homes..

Monday, February 20, 2017


No monkey business here
Just the sidewall of a successful catering business near Ft. Worth.

For other murals from around the world go : HERE

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Back to Work

We have just returned from Austin, Texas where I gave a talk about The Netherlands to a classroom of four year olds (my granddaughter's class). I was armed with this framed photo, fresh tulips, pieces of Delt pottery, etc. and most importantly...Dutch cookies. Why The Netherlands?...well I use to live there.. I hadn't given this talk in a long time...but my daughter remembers me doing such a presentation at her elementary school many years ago. I enjoyed it, and hope the kids did too....surely they liked the cookies!

My husband Tom drove me down and took the opportunity to visit with his old golf buddy Lester. Lester's wife died a few years ago, and he now lives in a senior living apartment complex in Austin to be near his kids.. A rather nice one, my hubby reports.

Lester who just turned ninety was a very successful architect in Houston, owning his own firm and designing   public schools all over Texas. Although, no one in Austin knew that, or somehow forgot...which happens when you get older......and then he sent out his Christmas card. One he had sketched himself of where he now lives.
Here is the one we got.
So, I guess the owners of this senior living center saw one, and knocked on his door. Lester has now been hired  to design their stationary and a new brochure.I guess you are never too old to go back to work!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Honeymoon Cottage

When the only daughter of a wealthy cattle baron gets married, it seems only fitting that Daddy would gift the bride and groom an appropriate Honeymoon Cottage.
and that is precisely what he did.
This 18 room 11,000 square foot cottage was built in 1903 on what was then referred to as Quality Hill.
That cattle baron (and oil tycoon) was owner of the the enormous Waggoner Ranch  northwest of Ft. Worth. His daughter Electra had met her husband, described as a Philadelphia blue blood, while traveling in the Himalayas.They lived here and entertained lavishly before selling it in 1910 and moving to the ranch with their two small boys.

Owned now by Historic Fort Worth, you can tour this home that was saved from the wrecking ball by a private organization who raised $38.000 to do so. It is also available for weddings, receptions and private parties.Below are a few of the photos I took.
I was most impressed by the entry and staircase.
The impressive and huge entry was the scene of many parties. The rug pictured was a recent purchase, covering what was the perfect dance floor. I will show you the rest of my photos without a lot of description.

The mansion, is now surrounded by our medical center...note the emergency helicopter landing on the roof just next door!

Tickets for a tour of "Thistle Hill" can be arranged by contacting Historic Fort Worth. Your ticket will also include another Quality Hill home which will be my next post.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dreamer Series part lll

This is third in a series (on Mondays) of murals commissioned by a gallery here in Fort Worth
to inspire the locals to dream

To see other murals from around the world click: HERE

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Race Horse

In the last two posts, I have written about the famous (and illegal) casino that existed on and under a hill between Dallas and Fort worth. I  also introduced you to a young lady that entertained there so many years ago. Well, let me tell you about a special racehorse that lived there. A rather large horse barn sits on the property,but this star required his own quarters,
which present day is the College's Alumni office.
Look closely, and you will see his name craved in stone still displayed between the door frame and the alumni sign.

That was a lot of money back in the 1930's....and is today!
Vicki Bryant(tour director and wife of the college president), was so happy that someone gifted her a picture of Royal Ford.

The plaque says that the horse was purchased (by Mr. Browning, founder of Top O' Hill Terrace)), from W.T. Waggoner,owner of nearby Arlington Downs Race Track.W.T. was a  wealthy cattle baron turned oilman. He was a very interesting gentleman who might just deserve a post all to himself. Seems every time Waggoner tried to drill a water well on his ranch, he only hit black oily stuff....What a shame. Oh, did I mention that Waggoner's ranch was 535.000 acres? Larger than the city of Los Angeles... He died in the late thirties and his estate last year sold the ranch for $725 million to the owner of the LA Rams professional football team.
Meanwhile, back to Royal Ford
Recently, the gardener on the property realized that the bucket he was using in his garden had a name on it.  That name was Royal Ford. Seems it was the horse's feed bucket.

Horse Racing was voted in in Texas in 1933.....but NOT Gambling
The Texas House repealed that in 1937 when they discovered that gambling was going on at Arlington Downs. It wasn't until 1989 that betting on horses was  legalized in Texas.

Speaking of Mr. Waggoner my next post will be a tour of his daughter's home  in Fort Worth. A mansion  saved from the wrecking ball, and sits today as a reminder of the glamorous days of yesteryear!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Surprise Visitor

If you read my last post, then you know all about the Tea Garden and Restaurant that hid it's shady secret, and the Baptist College that made sure you would never ever know about it....that is until Mrs. Bryant came along.
Vicki Brant was conducting her tour of the property, and few years back, when a feisty little elderly lady spoke up and informed her that she had been a dancer at this very place.
At that time she invited Vicki to her Dallas home where she gave her this beautiful photograph.
That is Willetta in the middle.
Willetta, so it seems had a rather exciting and long life. She danced on Jackie Gleason's New York Stage, was for a short time a Rockette, lived in Hawaii ,dated Al Capone's cousin, and even took a Hollywood screen test.
A high school dropout from Dallas, Texas she joined a vaudeville group and entertained across the country, only settling down in one place for the eight years when she was a chorus line dancer at the famous old Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. There she rubbed elbows with a lot of the same celebrities that frequented the Top O' Hill Terrace in Arlington, Texas.
 Her third husband brought her back to Dallas where she lived out the rest of her life in this stately mansion that is registered as a Texas Historic Landmark
Hold on, life wasn't exactly boring for Willette in Dallas. She was granted a lifetime supply of Cook's Champagne when she informed Cook's she had been their 1940's poster girl.....that is until she drank so much they withdrew the offer. Willetta was also a landlord....part owner of an apartment building in a not so nice part of town, She ran it with an iron fist they say (and a gun in her waist band). In order to rent an apartment you had to sign a contract that you didn't own a motorcycle, would park your car only head in, and had no facial hair..There are all kinds of stories about this ladies run in with burglars and drug dealers,(usually handling these guys herself without calling for help), and one she had herself...when a certain cop questioned her right to carry that gun. Apparently, she won that battle as at that time you could carry a gun on your own property.
A very beautiful and colorful lady, Willetta lived well into her nineties and had checked off most of her bucket list...