Monday, January 26, 2009


First Juice in the LoftAfter spending two weeks in the motel, unpacking my juicer, setting it up and making my go-to drink, green lemonade, was a small step toward normalcy when I moved into the loft.

Rian reminded me of that when she posted about her new juicer and how she was putting kale through it. (Kale is surprisingly good when you juice it and terrifically good FOR you.) Green Lemonade is one of the recipes I've embraced from The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalie Rose.

People reacted badly to my photo of the bright green juice the last time I shared it, so here's what it looks like before it goes through the juices: apple, lemon, ginger, kale and romaine lettuce. Pretty, right?

Another recipe I like a lot from this book is :

Raw Carrot Blended Renew

2 cups fresh carrot juice
1 ripe avocado
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
1 clover garlic

Bend all ingredients in a blender on high until smooth. (makes
4 servings)

Sometimes I just juice the carrots with ginger and garlic and stir in some curry and skip the avocado, like this morning–it's pretty colorful, spicy, sweet and tasty good, too.

My Juicy Colorful Breakfast

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Celebrating One Month in My New World

I celebrated the passing of one month in my new world in Texas by attending the Dallas Symphony performance of Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, aka New World Symphony–how's that for for synchronicity?

It was part of a very interesting program which included Rossini's Overture to La gazza ladra and a premiere of a Harp Concerto by Bright Sheng: Never Far Away.

A man sitting next to me asked if I had come because Leonard Slatkin was conducting–I considered that a bonus. His expressive style sure was fun to watch.

Arts District SignThe weather warmed up enough that I decided to walk to Myerson Symphony Center. Downtown is pretty quiet on Sunday afternoon, but as soon as you cross into the Arts District, things are more lively, and people are out and about.

The Hall itself is fantastic–sorry, no photos allowed–the acoustics wonderful and, of course, the symphony was superb. I needed a break from all the tasks on my lists and this was a pretty terrific way to spend the afternoon and celebrate my one month milestone.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Maybe I Need To Add Blogging To My TO DO List

My list has become driven by my TO DO list. My TO DO list has become so long that it is now divided into sections:

The job hunt;
Things to find or research;
Thing to do (inside the loft);
Things to do (outside);
Things to buy (with subsections for IKEA and Sam's Club); and
Block Lotto things

While I was packing and moving Kate graciously took up the reigns of the monthly Block Lotto for me through the end of last year. Upon my arrival in the Dallas area, I've taken it back. I hand-stitched these four January lotto blocks in the motel room on New Year's eve--a great way to see in the new year.

Bow Tie Block #1 Bow Tie Block #4
Bow Tie Block #2 Bow Tie Block #3

The Block Lotto continues to be tremendously successful. We made more than 2100 blocks last year and this month we've already made more than 200 of these charming plaid bow ties. (You can see them all here.)

But, among the many tasks on my list and the sections, I haven't nudged myself to blog things and blogging, as you may have noticed as stopped. Maybe I need to add a Things to blog about section to my list? I do think about it (and take photos) . . . I just never get around to it these days.

I have made small progress finding doctors, someone to cut my hair, understanding how my Michigan medical insurance will work, updating my resume, networking, unpacking, rearranging, finally getting functional DSL, and figuring out what else has to be added to the list to research, find, follow-up on, buy, etc. I'm having some fun, too. I've even navigated my way around this place–Baylor Medical Center–a couple times.

I'll try to be better about blogging about all of it.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Flags Blowing in the Breeze
Last week, when I saw these billowing flags from my window, I had no idea to which building they were attached.

It turns out they are the three flags that fly in front of city hall. This is the view from city hall, looking toward my building (and some others).

View from City Hall

As I drive to new places and back home again, I realize that one advantage of living downtown is that if I get turned around, I can always point myself toward the skyscrapers ;-)

Call me gullible, but today, once again, I trusted google maps to find me a nearby US Post office and instead I ended up at an empty building.

Not A  Post Office

It wasn't a wasted walk–I wanted to find those flags; the friendly mail services people inside city hall mailed my letter; and I stopped in to check out another neighbor.

The Dallas Library

There was a display of hats on the fine arts floor from a recent product of Crowns, and an author is speaking tomorrow that looks interesting. I think I'm going to like living in the neighborhood.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Loving (and not Loving) Google Maps

When the cats and I were newly arrived and staying in the pet-friendly Motel 6 in Irving . . . and running out of cat food, I searched for Pet stores on Google maps and was happy to find one, with an unfamiliar name, in the neighborhood. I made a note of the directions and made it my priority of the day to return with some Iams Multicat for my hungry kitties.

As I approached my destination, I had doubts–I was clearly in a warehouse district; upon arrival, I was quite sure, this was no retail pet store.

Southland Dallas

I went inside this wholesale pet food distributor anyway and explained how I landed on their doorstep, and asked them if they knew who would be the closest retail seller of Iams. They told me and also gave me an 8 pound bag of my kittie's favorite food to hold us over . . . reinforcing my first impression of Texans and Texan hospitality.

Google maps generally serves me well; now that I'm downtown, I love the walking and public transportation options. But I really should have known better when I started to put my dining table back together again, noticed I was far short of hardware needed and used Google maps to look for a hardware stores in the area. I couldn't believe my good luck that to find a Home Depot within walking distance. I bundled up–the temperature had dropped into the 30's today–and headed out with my directions. At the address, I found . . . AT&T. Perhaps Home Depot formerly had offices in the building? I had to laugh at myself. I really should have known better and should have cross checked on the Home Depot site . . . which I did after I came home again, after a quick stop at the Urban Grocer. I thought they might have a few hardware supplies, but came up empty–one of the friendly staff did suggest a nearby (drive-able) Home Depot, though ;-)

Urban Market Inside the Urban Market

I picked up some fresh salad veggies and a yummy looking cheese and headed home.

Friday, January 09, 2009

I See Quilts in the Sidewalks of Dallas

Quilters see quilt designs everywhere--that's nothing new. So I shouldn't have been surprised, when I decided to escape the boxes for some fresh air this morning and started seeing quilts in the sidewalk.

The first quilty sidewalk I saw Heart blocks in the Sidewalk
Another quilty sidewalk

I'm sure this was part of some interesting public art project–I'll have to find out . . . or maybe someone will leave a comment and tell me what it's all about it. Whatever it is, I like it. It was a kind of dreary, wet morning and finding these gems in the side walk was delightful.

I see quilt blocks in side walks

I liked this one enough to take a close up of the "block." Wouldn't this be a fun block to hand-piece?

A single "quilt block"

But back to my walk . . . I was headed to a cafe whose menu was included in the welcome packet for my loft. I got walking directions from googlemaps, consider the public transportation option, but decided to put off learning DART for another day, and was on my way, walking.

My printer is still in a box, so I didn't have a printed map or directions and at some point, I wasn't sure I had gone the right way. I passed a familiar landmark, the Mosaic Building, where I had met the realtor who had helped me find the loft. I decided to stop for coffee at the Opening Bell, where I was already a regular and in their system, and make sure I was headed in the right direction . . . plus their Carmel Latté is as good as the Carmel Marvels I used to inhale on a regular basis at Beaners in Michigan.

The Mosaic Building Opening Bell Cafe

With reassurances and caffeine in hand, I continued toward my goal . . . I passed the Dallas Museum of Art–and was thrilled to realize I live within walking distance.

Dallas Museum of Art

And then I found the corner of the advertised cafe, where I saw, not a quaint cafe, but a monolithic office building.

My Destination

The cafe was across the street . . . in the ground floor of a smaller office building. My breakfast, a spinach and cheese quiche, was lovely. My walk home deviated slightly, enabling me to find another quilt block in the sidewalk–this month's lotto block, Bow Tie, in Lincoln Plaza.

Lincoln Plaza

Here's the "block" and one that I hand-pieced for the lotto in my motel room on New Year's eve.

Bow Tie Block in the Sidewalk at Lincoln Plaza Bow Tie Block #4

My "knot" is smaller, but the block is the same ;-)

I thought this sidewalk art was pretty interesting too, even if it doesn't bring to mind traditional quilt blocks.

More interesting sidewalk

It's part of Pegasus Plaza. Here's a larger view.

Pegasus Plaza

More Quilts and Weather

I'm impressed with how the weather here can bounce from sunny in the 80's to freezing (and icy roads) to back to sunny again in the matter of days.

After a beautiful sunny weekend last weekend, Monday arrived with temperatures around freezing and travel advisories to stay off the icy roads . . . so plans to go to IKEA were postponed. Late in the afternoon, I ventured out–mainly to retrieve a winter wool coat from storage. Afterward I went back to the Irving Art Center to take photos of the quilts there.

Today promises to be warm again and almost 80 again. I'll be inside waiting for the cable guy and unpacking boxes. It really doesn't seem like I made much of a dent yesterday. I need to see real progress (and assembled furniture) soon.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We're Moving On Up

Yesterday I signed the lease and moved into the new apartment–a loft in downtown Dallas. The cats, Grace Hopper and Johnny Be Good, were very vocal upon their arrival–I wondered if it was the live acoustics–as they checked things out.

The cats arrive at the new loft

The new space is less than half the size of the townhouse we left behind in Michigan . . . but it compensates with high ceilings and lots of windows and light.

Lots of windows

When Grace ducked behind the fridge, I decided that I would settle them into the bathroom before the movers arrived.

Grace behind the Fridge

When I returned with the movers, I discovered that she and her brother had opened one of the drawers and found a way to hide behind it--both of them . . . then they pushed the drawer open so far they couldn't get out. Poor kitties.

But today it was just us. I unpacked. They watched: Johnny, from various perches, when he wasn't underfoot demanding attention. Here he is, atop the fridge . . . something, he never did in Michigan.

Johnny, hanging out

And Grace–can you see her? She's in her new favorite safe place, on top of the very tall kitchen cabinets, napping. She spent almost all day there. From her high corner, she can see everything and feel very safe.

Can you see Grace Hopper on on top of the tall cabinets?

In other news today, I was reminded what happens when you drop almost anything on a concrete floor. It breaks. Even the most indestructable things . . . like this heavy glass Osterizer blender container.

What happens when you drop anything on a concrete floor

I know it's an oldie but goodie, but I really LIKED this blender . . .

Saturday, January 03, 2009


One day last fall, a job posting led me, via a google ad, to a web site for some lofts in Las Colinas which led me to more information about the area, including The Mustangs of Las Colinas. Fast forward to now and I find myself living, temporarily, in the same city as this beautiful, larger than life, sculpture of Mustangs running through a granite creek in a plaza surrounded by office buildings.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas

It was an incredibly beautiful day today, bright and sunny, with a high around 80, so I decided to go find these horses. They are fantastic. My camera battery died soon after I arrived, but I managed a few photos to share.

You know the drill, click the images for larger versions. You can also see professional photos and read more about the Mustangs and their museum here.

The Mustangs of Las Colinas The Mustangs of Las Colinas The Mustangs of Las Colinas

Something else I had tripped over when I was sitting in Michigan was a Quilt Exhibit by Texas quilt artists at the Irving Art Center. It's part of a collaborative exhibitionof a wide variety of quilts that started last Fall at 17 Dallas-area cultural institutions called Quilt Mania II. I have been driving back and froth past the art center since I arrived and today, I decided to stop and check it out. My camera battery was dead, so I'll likely go back again to take some nice photos of the 20 or so art quilts by Texas Artists that are hanging there, but I captured a couple images with my iPhone today to share a flavor of the place.

New Beginnings Quilt Exhibit

The quilt above is Firewheels (2006), by Judy Kriehn of Garland, Texas. The photo below shows the space in which the exhibit was hung. The quilt in the center is is Through Tuscany (2006), by Cynthia England of Dickinson. On the right is Safety First (2004) by Barbara Oliver Hartman, of Flower Mound, TX.

Three Quilts on the Landing

When I read about both of these places last fall, I thought to plan to visit–I never imagined this is where I'd land. It was a nice bit of synchronicity.

Friday, January 02, 2009

On the Hunt

Since my arrival, I've been on the hunt . . . for a new job and a new home. Last weekend, my blogless friend Jonna took me on a tour of some interesting Dallas neighborhoods to help me become familiar with the area. I had to stop and take a photo of this gift-wrapped house on Swiss Avenue.

Gift-wrapped hour on Swiss Ave in Dallas

I've since made a couple of trips downtown on my own to look at apartments and lofts. I was so thrilled the first time I managed to successfully navigate on my own back to the neighborhood with the gift-wrapped house that after I finished looking at a few apartments, I celebrated by seeking out the Dallas Farmers Market. I was on the hunt for fresh veggies and lunch.

Dallas Farmers MarketIt was New Year's Eve, a very quiet day in the city and at the Farmers Market.

But a few produce dealers were there and their stalls were filled with beautiful fruits and veggies the likes which I hadn't seen in Michigan since September.

I also found yummy tamales for lunch.

I wasn't looking for flowers (and there's really no place for them in the motel) but there were some lovely ones at the market. They made me look forward to finding a home and putting my dining table back together–did I mention that the movers disassembled much of my furniture in Lansing?–and buying fresh flowers.

And yes, the sky was really this blue and it was a beautiful warm sunny day. Mother Nature has been very kind to me since my arrival in Texas.

Farmers Market Produce Stall Flowers at the Farmers Market

The view of downtown from the Farmer's Market:

City View from Dallas Farmers Market

I saw more interesting downtown views today, when I drove into the city to meet with a realtor to look at lofts and apartments . . . OK, maybe not SO interesting . . . this would be a photo of the Cotton Bowl, if the fog hadn't rolled in.

Cotton Bowl through the fog)

The whole city wasn't shrouded in fog, though, so it was still pretty interesting out on that balcony.

View from Manor House Balcony

We spent almost three hours looking at great living spaces–I could easily live in any of the places we saw today. Decisions, decisions . . .

A Moving Tale

I drove a UHaul Truck towing an Auto Transport trailer (AT) with my Explorer on it. I managed to reschedule the truck and the movers who loaded it for me to the one nice day between winter storms, so everything went into the truck dry. Unfortunately, the movers arrived late and took twice as long as everyone expected. Then, afterwards, when I went back to UHaul with the loaded truck to pick up the trailer and, with their help, put my car on it, the trailer wasn't ready and the snow and ice made it hard to drive the car onto the trailer. And so I wasn't able to get out of town ahead of the storm.

I packed up some things the movers had forgotten in my car the next day, in the snow, and left. One of my neighbors asked if I had a back up plan. I asked what she meant.

She explained, "What will you do, if you breakdown?"
"Call UHaul," I told her.

Did she jinx me? Within 5 minutes of leaving my house, that's just what I was doing, calling UHaul, because one of the tires was flat on the trailer.

Two and a half hours later, I finally saw this in my rear view mirror: someone arriving to help.

Breakdown on I-96

The tech changed the tire in 15 minutes flat, took another 30 to do the paperwork and then, more than 3 hours later, I was finally on my way.

When I crossed the border into Indiana, it was as if someone flipped a switch, there was so much less snow. However there was ice on the highways and even more impressive winds. The weather forecast on the radio talked of windchill factors of MINUS 30 degrees and a high of ONE. Because of the breakdown and long wait for help, I only travelled about 250 miles on the first day. I stopped about an hour short of Indy. I had one thousand miles to go.

Illinois Rest AreaThe second day was bright and sunny. It was still very cold, but the roads were dry. I set my sights on Memphis–I knew it was probably further than I could reach, but I was motivated to make up some of the time lost sitting on the side of the highway the day before. On the radio, the weather reports warned of freezing rain "tomorrow." I began to feel as if I was trying to outrun mother nature. I felt if I could travel far enough south and or west I could escape that particular weather forecast . . .

My choices on the road were driven by two things: the two cats in their kitty carriers in the cab of the truck with me (who were INCREDIBLY well-behaved) and the turning radius of the UHaul truck and the AT.

How I travelled

I know I paid more for gas because I opted for Travel Plazas. I ate fast food because that's what was available at those Travel Plazas. I ate on the run because it was too cold to leave the cats in the truck for very long–it cooled off very quickly.

But back to outrunning Mother nature, I drove and I drove and I drove that second day. I crossed the Mississippi in complete darkness. I would have missed it completely if not for the well lit sign. I made it all the way to Memphis and beyond and stopped in Arkansas for the night, but I didn't manage to outrun that weather forecast. When I woke the next day, the entire state of Arkansas was under a travel advisory and all the highways on the map were color-coded magenta for ICE. The nice folks at the Holiday Inn allowed me to stay until 1PM when the advisory was lifted for the southern half of the state and I cautiously went on my way.

I made it to my destination very late on December 23, the third day of travel. I made it through Dallas on Highway 30, but had problems finding my way to the Motel. I called a friend who figured out where I was and talked me the rest of the way there . . . where I was told that they had a room for me but no room for me to park my truck and trailer. They wanted to send me to another motel in another town. I was way too tired to think (or drive). When I called my friend to share the news, she suggested we take the truck to her apartment complex and leave it there for the night. I was very thankful for this solution since it meant one less motel move for the cats, even though they acted like this whole thing was no big deal.

Motel Cats

The next day, Christmas Eve, I took the truck and trailer to UHaul where someone took my car off the trailer and told me that "it was a miracle" that I'd arrived safely because it had not be secured to the trailer correctly, nor had the emergency braking system been connected. I called a local mover who was willing to come unload the truck for me on CHRISTMAS EVE and put my belongings into storage.

Unloading on Christmas Eve

That little squid truck was like a clown car . . . the contents seemed to fill a much larger storage space.

It was so warm and sunny that day. While these guys worked, I just wanted to stand outside and let the sunshine warm my skin.
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