We have one of the top 10 Castles!

Go Galveston!

 

http://travel.yahoo.com/ideas/12-awe-inspiring-american-castles.html

 

Bishop’s Palace

Of all the Gilded Age Victorians built by Nicholas Clayton along Galveston’s Gulf Coast, the Bishop’s Palace (née Gresham Castle, 1893, after its original owner, Santa Fe railroad magnate Walther Gresham) remains the grandest—and not just because its steel and stone hulk survived the Great Storm of 1900. Its small lot and oversized proportions with château-esque detailing of steeply peaked rooflines and sculptural chimneys still dominate the street, while inside the 14-foot coffered ceilings, 40-foot octagonal mahogany stairwell, stained glass, plaster carvings, and Sienna marble columns exude richness. Keep a lookout for the bronze dragon sculptures. After serving as a Catholic bishop’s residence for 50 years, the house is now open for tours. Book a private guide to see the usually off-limits third floor. 1402 Broadway, Galveston, TX, 409/762-2475, galveston.com. Admission $10, private tours from $50.

Regrets and the lessons that rain from them…

I am sitting here trying to write an essay on “

If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be? No, you can’t go back in time, but here’s the next best thing. Think of a decision that you regret—anything from a ridiculous choice of prom date to a serious lapse in judgment—and tell us what the mistake taught you about yourself.”

And for the moment all I can think of and first feel the need to write about is….all the decisions in my life that I do NOT regret?

I was young and flew off to New York, I learned to live …spread my wings, think for myself and surrounded by people who thought outside the box…I can never regret running through the city on early mornings after it had rained the previous night, my thoughts clearer than they had ever been before.

I can never regret the moment I found adulthood.

I was not much older and still not even drinking age when I ran off to the West end of the country, California. Moved in with a boyfriend for the first time whom lasted for two years. But I can not regret the great adventures I was taught, the bear hug of a great friend on the first day of meeting her who has since gotten me through some of my hardest times, no regrets on seeing where my food grows or learning to play chess or how to surf.

I cannot regret being twenty two and marrying too young, too fast…too head over heels in love and in the same passion and the same short time we married with we also divorced with. But I cannot regret the feeling of such young true deeply passionate head over heels in -love. That amazing rush to the head…even if it came later with the greatest hurt of the heart. The lessons in life I also learned, the opening windows of who I am during that time, knowledge I soaked up…How could I possibly regret that?

I cannot regret even marrying for my second time because as I divorced and entered into womanhood and out of my twenties it was all a very large part of knowing my true strength , wishes , hopes and wants in life. Finally the petals of the bloom of the woman I was to become had finally begun to open softly. One day this flower that is my life will truly and fully bloom.

I do not regret moving back and now living in Galveston , coming home from years in my four corners of the earth, all as far away from home and family as I could be. I wake to the beach, a bike ride, meeting a friend at a coffee shop. I meet new people, I have a garden to put my hands in the dirt in, I have a place to explore my creativity to no end. It is a beautiful place in my heart.

I have so many things that I could list of which I do not regret and almost do I wish to write that I simply have no regrets…however that won’t work for my essay but…the reality is I am human and there have been times I have cried out to god that I am sorry. And thought those moments may have been something meant for me to go through….I can’t honestly say that there isn’t a single regret…or at least a time of which in I regretted it, in my entire nearly thirty one years….

So at the moment of this essay to be written, I have a lesson of facing truth and reality .

And I have yet to turn down the opportunity of learning a lesson .

Regrets and the lessons that rain from them…

I am sitting here trying to write an essay on “

If you could change one decision that you made in the past, what would it be? No, you can’t go back in time, but here’s the next best thing. Think of a decision that you regret—anything from a ridiculous choice of prom date to a serious lapse in judgment—and tell us what the mistake taught you about yourself.”

And for the moment all I can think of and first feel the need to write about is….all the decisions in my life that I do NOT regret?

I was young and flew off to New York, I learned to live …spread my wings, think for myself and surrounded by people who thought outside the box…I can never regret running through the city on early mornings after it had rained the previous night, my thoughts clearer than they had ever been before.

I can never regret the moment I found adulthood.

I was not much older and still not even drinking age when I ran off to the West end of the country, California. Moved in with a boyfriend for the first time whom lasted for two years. But I can not regret the great adventures I was taught, the bear hug of a great friend on the first day of meeting her who has since gotten me through some of my hardest times, no regrets on seeing where my food grows or learning to play chess or how to surf.

I cannot regret being twenty two and marrying too young, too fast…too head over heels in love and in the same passion and the same short time we married with we also divorced with. But I cannot regret the feeling of such young true deeply passionate head over heels in -love. That amazing rush to the head…even if it came later with the greatest hurt of the heart. The lessons in life I also learned, the opening windows of who I am during that time, knowledge I soaked up…How could I possibly regret that?

I cannot regret even marrying for my second time because as I divorced and entered into womanhood and out of my twenties it was all a very large part of knowing my true strength , wishes , hopes and wants in life. Finally the petals of the bloom of the woman I was to become had finally begun to open softly. One day this flower that is my life will truly and fully bloom.

I do not regret moving back and now living in Galveston , coming home from years in my four corners of the earth, all as far away from home and family as I could be. I wake to the beach, a bike ride, meeting a friend at a coffee shop. I meet new people, I have a garden to put my hands in the dirt in, I have a place to explore my creativity to no end. It is a beautiful place in my heart.

I have so many things that I could list of which I do not regret and almost do I wish to write that I simply have no regrets…however that won’t work for my essay but…the reality is I am human and there have been times I have cried out to god that I am sorry. And thought those moments may have been something meant for me to go through….I can’t honestly say that there isn’t a single regret…or at least a time of which in I regretted it, in my entire nearly thirty one years….

So at the moment of this essay to be written, I have a lesson of facing truth and reality .

And I have yet to turn down the opportunity of learning a lesson .

These days…these days…

You know what a writer needs? I have a studio…a beautiful one that this winter is going to be even better….I need a desk! lol. Just sayin. Next on my list. Plus then I will have my place at home to hide from everyone…with just m dog at my feet….as Beth Punches said yesterday….her relationship with her dog is prob her best relationship in years. lol. Photoshoot #1 got postponed but soon…soon. Have some more coming otherwise…all nudes ( before this body loses it=) . Screenplay for summer class is coming along….kinda…sorta…doing my best not to scrap it and start all over. First novel begins this fall….true challenges of my hearts desire. I can see dirt in my garden…finally…weeds ) Peggy !….did you know my garden has dirt under there?! Have roomies…and a turtle, a cat and a couple of two legged ones too….busy place these days…busy life always. Many changes and dear God daily I must remind myself of a Hindu saying ” Adjust” . Not all bad…not all good.

My focuses coming up, especially with a lot of changes that bring me back to me, will be my writing and projects and crawling up that ladder continuously . I am also on the project of refurbishing desks and other furniture. Need a desk for my studio and decorate it up…make my place of creativity. And my garage is my furniture studio.

My garden. I love it…hard work, blisters and all , I do. I am making progress in the cleanup phase still, today I begin the planning phase and soon….tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, pumpkin, herbs herbs herbs and peppers and so much more….put it this way…I for see salsa’s and chutney’s galore. To come home after a day at work and spend about an hour or two working in my garden, dog on my porch, then a cold drink and read a bit on my porch and then shower and dinner cooking in my large kitchen…this is my life. My focus.

Speaking of kitchen. I am developing back into the habit of shopping and cooking and even preparing breakfasts and lunches to take to work as well as having company over and entertaining…my other kitchen project is one I had touched base on last fall/winter in the complicated old fashioned takes hours to make meals…and more with meats, though I may not be the largest meat eater I do believe in knowing how to make a good proper meal of it. Think very Julia Childs in that category. I also, however, want to learn new things…Indian ( saag and somasa’s would be great) and chutneys and get creative with stir fry’s and take my vegan cooking further as well as begin to finally piece together my recipe book that still sits empty . Having my friends over cooking together would make it even better. Looking very forward to my Christmas cakes! And as far as decorating this is my fun process of treasure hunting among antique shops and Williams and Sonoma ( and soon Kitchen chick in Galveston when they open) .

I have picked my yoga and my running back up….need to be a bit more consistent and swimming as well now that summer is over ( yes, backwards you would think but best here). I have been learning more about yoga and somehow my once thought of “it’s too boring” has apparently found my age in a calmness that it brings.

Anyone know of essential oils’?

Always busy…but always filling my life with greatness. Find me head buried over my laptop or in a pile of books…Digging in or planting in my garden, reading , feet up on my porch with a cold drink or a hot tea, riding my yellow bicycle or running down the seawall or in my garage studio sanding and painting or in my kitchen cooking and tasting.…..That’s about it these days.

A Kind Of Single Lady

Divorced two years ago…for the second time…before the age of 30.

I would be lying to say I am not jilted, jaded and a slight bitter.

Love. To hell with it…and yet…I say it. I love . I have fallen in love again…and Dear God it’s exactly the struggle of which I do not need…and yet the best feeling in the world is laying in his arms, my nose nuzzled into the crook of his neck early in the morning .

For the most part though I am now 30 and a woman of myself. I live life…and life means loving…and losing… and risking hurt and giving a chance at love again and….yeah. I sigh heavily right now.

My life now…as a kind of single woman….is pretty full. Busy and often quite grand.

Kind of single? You ask what this means….well…I am divorced. I stand on my own. I am in a place where marriage…is a not so sure thing in my future. Would I ever again? And I had been single for two years…sure I had my catch of the game along the way but lived on my own, loved no one and was able to grow into a bit of selfishness but now I am dating…only five months in…so I mean…reality is….I am kind of single….not go out and date other guys single…hell yeah we have made a commitment of actual exclusive dating….even moved in together ( yes soon, I know) but when it comes down to it…I told him to move out just a week ago. Everyday I could be single…even marriage didn’t solidify that. And when I want my me time and so forth…I take it. It’s still about me….and that’s where I stand with my kind of single life.

When does this change to me not being a single lady anymore? Well…I think after two divorces I will just always be on a chance of any possibilities…and sure those possibilities can swing the entire other direction and who knows, one day you’ll catch me married ( for good even!) with two kids in diapers , wanting nothing more for Christmas than an awesome dog hair picking up super vacuum cleaner.

But along the path of my life there will always be a little bit of me standing on my own two feet alone, even as someone may be walking beside me.

Life happens, this is a lesson more than well learned.

So as I walk in my high heels and short summer dress down the street and know I turn some heads I can delight in being my very own person…me, myself and I. If someone fills my life in any of that….it’s as delightful as a nice new Tiffany’s bracelet …..I can live without it…but I may prefer not to….

Missing being young and stupid…

The sadness of the jilted 30’s. The stolen romance of being young and the stolen ability to have your heart broken…even if he was a complete asshole. Sigh…to have had that stolen from me by age and life well spent, trial and error , such tragedy.

I recently moved. This means going through and sorting through and repacking through a bunch of….scraps of paper.

For me these scraps of paper do not any longer include albums put together of two years with my first love., the man who taught me much. These long ago literally tossed when I married my second ( and biggest love ever) and first husband ( Yes, I said first, don’t judge me.) and thought that I should go into my young marriage with a clean slate…no ex’s remembered. They no longer mean a box taped up and marked Peggy’s Past , filled with letters and notes and inscribed books and jewelry including my rings and Christmas ornaments and pictures from my second and greatest love, my first young husband, as was lost in a fire. My scraps of paper do not include cards signed with a well known signature and thousands of photos that make me look so happy at one time….wondering when that really changed, from my second husband and childhood crush, because when I left that marriage I left every scrap behind along with it. Since then I have accumulates some scraps here and there , however. A short term young boyfriend who doted slightly in the love notes aspects, folding them into origami and making amazing artful five page pieces of watercolor artwork listing thirty reasons he loved me.

Going through my scraps and then listening to a young friend cry over the breakup of she and her boyfriend, reminding me that I once cried like that too….remember that end of the world loss of the love of your life cry?

God I look back now and think how terribly ugly that cry is. My jilted self has a moment of repulse at the thought of it…and then I am saddened , I believe my friend is lucky to feel that…the feeling of what it’s like to have loved so much that it hurts so bad when you lose it, because one day I know that she too, will be jilted and older and hurt so many times her heart will be scabbed well over and no longer will she even be able to love quite as deeply and passionately because….she will no longer be able to be hurt quite as deeply…to feel sadness for a loss of a lover quite as deeply either.

That passion is amazing. This passion is what movies are made of.

Now we are an age of divorced and broken up so many times over that there is a breadcrumb trail of men left behind in my path. Now when someone wants to break up and acts young and dumb I simply find them immature and a waste of my precious time. I have no more passion to throw myself to my bed in a fit of throat hurting ugly tears. And this scares me, worries me that it also means that I also no longer have the passion to give the heart felt throw my heart into everything love of a person and be swept off my feet of it either.

And this let down of life and what it’s like to get older brings my shoulders down in a weight of the knowledge that life has lost a little bit of spark.

I nearly cried at the wham of the thought and realization of it all. That maybe I have given all of my passion. That I am simply too old, lived and wizened and scabbed over for such passion. And the scariest thought of that maybe all my future relationships would be won over in logic and not love of the heart. Ok…I actually did choke up a bit.

A Night in the Underbelly of Houston….

I visited Underbelly in Houston last night with my good friend and fellow foodie, Vic. On a Wednesday night this place was hopping, all tables full and the community tables ( two long wide tables with a front view show of the smoothest running kitchen I have ever seen) where not overcrowded and comfortable to sit at this mid-week.  I first walked in to be greeted by a highly professional flare and friendly maitre d, a great change from restaurants usual much too young much too dumb, quiet and unsmiling summer time hostess type I seem to find and be highly annoyed about ( a pet peeve) . We where seated at the community table straight away ( upon asking our preference of course) . Vic had been here before and wanted to show me a cool new place. We had an amazing well spoken and menu knowledgeable as well as customer service satisfactory cute with thick glasses and a ready easy smile waitress who through the night was attending every need right on time without hovering or over-approaching or interrupting conversation once.. Being the end of the night she didn’t look tired, annoyed or hurried, not dirty or unkept in any way and moved throughout the dining room with smoothness and ease as she cared for her guests and well represented her place of work. She readily explained the restaurants menu and how it worked, was wine knowledgeable ( I chose her recommendation of a white wine , well given that I enjoyed greatly) and described items clearly and with natural flare and love for the dishes herself. The family style served dishes of the restaurant had me already in love. The portion size was perfect ( I chose the nights corned beef) the sides where like a pan fried red cabbage which was a perfect match to the what seemed like sweet sauerkraut ( I actually forget the proper menu explanations) my only wish was that the sweet  sauerkraut like part was about double the amount, not because there wasn‘t enough but because it was so damned good. And both pared perfect with the most amazing, delicate cut , perfectly med-rare and not too salty by any means corned beef I have ever tasted and served in a cast iron skillet. I couldn’t help but moan delightfully with each bite as well as eat more than was lady-like ( I still took home a doggy bag) . We also ordered a side of fried bread ( Again sadly I can’t remember much of the description other than three fried freshly baked on site balls of bread and goat frencshetta but rather describe this as heaven in the mouth for this bread loving foodie) In fact the bread at first seemed to need a dipping of olive oil and balsamic…until bitten into and you get a sudden burst of such flavor that it needs nothing at all and even surprised me very much with it’s need of…nothing else.

Even more than the couldn’t complain about it food and great waitress and front door greeting, and even past the eye pleasing atmosphere and wine closet display was the show of the kitchen…not one beautiful chef was sweaty, hurried, stressed or seemed incapable in the least bit. They all where clean in their white chef‘s jackets, pleasant to watch and worked together and in their barely a step needing to be taken out of their turning point spots along the line so smoothly I couldn’t have been more impressed, their faces never unpleasant nor hair out of place spilling from under hats nor a drop of sweat on their brows it seemed , their faces set in concentration of their creation . I was impressed that servers didn’t mill about in clumps chatting, not a cellphone or unpleasant grumpy face in sight and not a one needing to take a plate back to the kitchen, complain or have any altercations with the kitchen staff on the least. Not a wrong seemed to happen it was truly that smoothly ran…of course standing running the line and heading up the entire place the restaurants chef and owner  himself ( I love seeing owners working just as hard as every underdog) Chris Shepherd. He ran the line with ease, not once annoyed, irritated or yelling at his staff . He stopped by to check on us himself and was incredibly friendly, not at all “staff like” waiting for a complaint or hurried, very much a twinkle in his eye as he listened to my compliment that sincerely seemed to tickle him, obviously not a big headed arrogant man in the least who‘s customers really matter was the impression I was left with.  And to add to this amazing place is the fact that it holds it’s very own butcher on site and every single item is made on site and from scratch and the freshness could be tasted through and through.

Underbelly Restaurant of Houston is a place I will return to over and over again.

http://www.29-95.com/restaurants/story/chris-shepherd-launch-underbelly-next-hay-merchant

http://www.facebook.com/underbelly