Galveston Beaches and Cemeteries

I’m one of those who has been very hesitant about getting back out there since the pandemic. I’ve been moving slow. Still haven’t gone back into the movie theaters; thank goodness for streaming services. Anyway, when my friend Sabina Gartler decided to take a weekend away at Galveston to look at cemeteries and tour some of the sights, I decided to go. I used to go to Galveston all the time. This was my first visit in three years.

As you can see, my time there started out a bit foggy. This is the view from my hotel room. Seawall Boulevard is just down below, but it is barely visible. Unlike some of my sun-worshiping friends, I really enjoyed these low lying clouds. It gives the city that air of mystery and charm. I sat on the balcony one afternoon and watched the fog roll in and slowly cover everything in a grey mist. Of course then I was ready to go on a tour of Old City Cemetery. Well, we went the next day after the fog had lifted.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the Old City Cemetery, it is one of the oldest in Galveston and actually is made up of seven different cemeteries that were merged into one. It is at least 200 years old, but I suspect older since I saw one gravestone that was dated in the 1700s. After the Hurricane of 1900 when so much of the city and the coast was destroyed, the ground of the cemetery was raised as was the entire sea wall. That’s one of the reasons why some of the graves go down three burials deep. Families were given the chance to move loved ones before the ground was raised. Most loved ones took advantage of this, some did not.

Some of the graves are new and spotless and some do show their age. It is obvious that surviving hundreds of years and several hurricanes since 1900 takes its toll on grave markers. But I think they are kept up as well as any other historical cemetery I have seen. Several years back I took a ghost tour of this cemetery at night around Halloween. I didn’t see any ghosts, but still found the stories of the inhabitants fascinating. As one can imagine, Galveston is one of the most haunted cities in America and there are many ghost tours scheduled throughout the city.

Later when the sun came out, I did venture down for a walk on the beach. I collected some shells. Why? I don’t really know why. I collected 5 of these marine specimens. Is there some gene within the human body that compels us to collect shells whenever we are at the beach? This must be true for me.

But I also found this creative structure on the beach. It fascinated me and I studied it for some time. How was this made? And by whom? My first thought was that this was a Galveston version of Stonehenge. But what genius mind did this? In no order whatsoever, here are my guesses for the builders: Architects, Engineers, Pagans and/or Aliens.

What’s your best guess? Whoever built it knew what they were doing. I looked at this for a long time to see if the solstices and equinoxes would make themselves known. But apparently, I am not as smart as any of the aforementioned categories of geniuses. Okay, I must go back and check to see if this structure is still there. Maybe I should go for the Spring Equinox next week. What do you think? 

Until next time.……

Kites and Creativity

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, it’s not Superman. It’s a kite. Actually it is a bird kite. I took this picture on a warm and windy day on top of what is now referred to in Houston as the Land Bridge. It is one of the nice spots here that gives the impression that there are people in this Bayou City that care about environmental matters. In fact there are really two land bridges that span Memorial Drive and provide a great place for walking, jogging and flying kites.

One nice feature of this area is all of the green space that surrounds it. This includes an arboretum, jogging and biking trails and picnic areas. These land bridges connect two of the largest sections of the park. Even though I went there in the middle of the day during the week, there were lots of others enjoying the space. I was resting at the top of one of the bridges when I spotted this one gentleman walking along with a kite that appeared to be taller than himself.

Since it really was quite windy, I had to watch the skill involved with flying this beautiful piece of art. As you can see in two of these pictures, he flew the kite quite successfully. I watched for a while and when I moved on, the flight of the many colored bird was still in process.

These are the kind of things I like to do when I need to take a break from writing. I step away from staring at a screen and look out as far as I can see. I watch all of the funny looking people as they are looking at me thinking I must be the strange one. As windy as it was that day, it really felt like all of the cob webs were being cleared out of my mind and essence. I was ready to go back home and write some more.

There is much more to see about these new creations in the park. I will definitely go back and give you a full report in future posts.

Until next time.….

February: What Is This Month For?

Oh my, what time of the year is it? I am beginning to see red heart decorations everywhere I go. It’s got the skeletons all kinds of excited. They have started trying on costumes to decide what they want to wear when I decorate my balcony for Valentine’s Day. It’s so much fun to watch their excitement.

I understand that there are other parts to February that some folks seem to enjoy. There is Ground Hog Day, which seems to be very important in the northern parts of this country. Here in Houston, We are enjoying winter weather with the temperatures resting around 40 to 45 degrees. It’s been rainy and grey, but since I spend most of my time writing stories about ghosts and grim reapers, the weather seems perfect to me. Some parts of Texas are getting ice and snow, but so far the Texas power grid is holding up.

There are two other February holidays that I don’t celebrate. The first one is the Super Bowl. Since I am not a football fan, all I know is that this is a big game with a big half-time show and lots of commercials. Really, that’s all I know. One of the teams will win and everyone will have a party. Then there’s also Mardi Gras. This is another occasion that I know little about except it’s very big in New Orleans and Galveston. There are parades and lots of people party and throw beads at each other. So far the skeletons have not shown an interest in either of these two occasions. I have never caught them tossing a football back and forth; nor have they ever expressed an interest in throwing beads at any of my neighbors.

What I have been spending a lot of time with is my health. A couple of months ago I fell several times. I checked with a neurologist who suggested that I stop doing that and sent me to physical therapy. I also got a lot of tests like MRI’s and an EMG. If you’ve never had an EMG it’s the next best thing to being electrocuted. I still don’t know what made me fall, but I have a long list of things that are not wrong with me. I haven’t had any strokes recently, I don’t have a brain tumor and I don’t have neuropathy. Good for me. Physical therapy is working and I have been using a cane. The fun part is using a cane. I already have one with the head of a skeleton on it. People are nicer to you when you walk with a cane. That alone is reason enough to keep using it. Plus I plan to make it a grand fashion statement.

Picture, if you will, an old broad walking down the street with flowing white hair going out in all directions, dressed primarily in black and using a cane with the head of a skeleton for a handle. Sounds like fun to me and the skeletons and skulls inspire my work.

I saw this picture of Patti Smith on the Art Issue of Harper’s Bazaar and immediately felt inspired. While I don’t think she uses a cane, she has the rest of the look down. In this publication she is quoted as saying:

I’ve survived [because] I want to live. Even in our troubled world. Even with all the greed and stupidity and terrible things that we’re all facing…I want to be alive. I want to breathe. I want to do my work.”

I have never had any desire to grow old gracefully and I’m certainly not going to start now. With role models like Patti Smith, I know which roads to choose in my journey.

Until next time.….…

Hitting the Ground With the Written Word

My first blog for 2023. I would say “Happy New Year”, but that phrase is getting a bit tired now. Many folks are already looking forward to the Super Bowl, the Rodeo and Valentines Day. I am working a bit slower, because I feel like I am still getting my year started. Even though it feels slow, already the calendar is full and some days have more entries that there are lines to write everything down.

I am always trying to make time for some reading. There are currently three books on my to be read right now stack. The book, A Salem Witch, was a gift from my niece, Becca. She actually traveled to Salem, Massachusetts this year. (No, I’m not jealous at all!) This book is about Rebecca Nurse who was actually tried, convicted and killed as a witch. It’s really interesting, because it gives the back story on the town of Salem, Salem Village, Rebecca Nurse herself, and her neighbors.

The second book, Wayward Girls, is written by Claire Matturro and Penny Koepsel. I don’t know Claire, but did meet Penny while organizing Haunted Holidays reading last year. The story here is good, because it follows some girls that went to the same boarding school and the myriad of ways their adult lives are affected.

A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross is the third book. This one is also from niece Becca. I haven’t had time to start on this one yet; however, I think it is about witches, elemental spirits and the like. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted.

Moving from reading to writing, I have already finished the first of two Writing Projects Weekends and the second one begins this Friday. These weekends are led by the one and only Max Regan. Since we meet via zoom, we have folks from all over the country. So many writers, so little time. Also, so much to write and so little time. After writing so many short stories last year, I am back to working on the Great American Novel. Well, maybe not Great, but a novel is what it aspires to be. It’s all about a Grim Reaper, a team of ghosts, a monster, a few humans and an Art Deco resident theater.

Also, I am once again Literary Chair for the Women in the Visual and Literary Arts. We have lots planned for this year and for the first time we will have a writing competition. Thank goodness, Fern Brady can help with that. There’s also a poetry reading coming up in April called Poetry by the Bay, in honor of National Poetry Month. I hope, I hope, I hope I can coordinate another Haunted Holidays reading. Then there is always the month of November where the members of WiVLA get together during the monthly meeting and read a wide selection of essays and poems.

I have much to do and am worn out just thinking about it. So, I thought about ending this blog with a picture of Hannah, my cat. Unfortunately I woke her up from a nap. Doesn’t the look on her face seem to tell me to go away and while I’m at it, turn out the light? Now she is napping once more and I have finished this blog.

Until next time.…..

Some of My Holiday Traditions for 2022

Happy Holidays one and all! My skeleton friends wanted to get in on some Holiday action, so you can see what they look like when they start getting festive! I, personally, stopped celebrating the actual holiday of Christmas years ago, but my friends here never want to pass up an opportunity to say “Hello” to all of you nice blog readers. Actually, I used to have an annual tradition in December. Once all of the office parties were completed, I took vacation for the rest of the year. I would always go to my favorite Austin Resort where children were not permitted, there were wonderful walking trails and a spectacular spa complete with a hot tub. I did that for at least 10 or 12 years. Unfortunately, the spa I used to go to does not exist anymore. Some hotel chain bought it up, added more rooms, a second pool, and cut down a lot of trees. It became a part of the luxury division for this particular chain. Oh, and with all of the so called updates, the prices went up significantly as well.

The good news is that ever since I retired, I am not as stressed out by the time December rolls around and I don’t need to look for a sanity-saving escape. Also, with the pandemic, I stopped traveling at all and have not picked up any wanderlust to get me back on the road.

So now on Christmas Day, it’s a full Holiday take out meal from Govinda’s that Jim and I enjoy outside if possible. Since this is Houston, we can eat outside as much as we want as long as it’s not July or August

I have another end of the year tradition in the form of getting my eyes checked and every two years I treat myself to a new pair of glasses. Actually I have three pairs of glasses which include everyday glasses, computer glasses and sunglasses. Sometimes it makes me feel old having so many pairs, but then again, I didn’t use to spend hours a day on the computer. I even use the computer for medical appointments now. Unless you plan on taking my blood, there really is no reason to see you face-to-face. With the pandemic still going strong all around the country, I prefer these techno doctor visits.

You can see in the above picture that I am enjoying my new glasses for everyday wear. I think they make a bold statement, don’t you? I think you can tell that I now spend a lot of time interacting with many writers and artists and I am trying to look like a trendy creative. Have I succeeded?

I hope everyone enjoys their Holidays in whatever way you choose to honor them. It is so cool that we have the overlap this year of Winter Solstice, Hanukkah and Christmas. So many celebrations to choose from, so little time. Maybe I’ll just take a nap instead.

Happy Holidays!

Until next time.….

Art Openings and Armadillos

The weather has been so nice and cool lately. It has inspired me to do some hanging out at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. What did I find? Armadillos. These are usually nocturnal creatures so I could not pass up the chance to talk to one of them. The Nature Center will tell you that conditions have been dry and that the cute little critters are just looking for insects, but I suspect they just wanted to see what all the humans were up to. I kept my distance while taking some pictures and as I walked away I could swear I heard the ‘Dillo say, “Have a nice day and come back soon!”

Yes, I did. I really heard that. The Armadillo spoke to me, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. If I see him again, I will ask his name.

When I am not conversing with my forest friends, I am getting ready for the WiVLA Art Exhibition. The opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, December 3rd, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the theme for the exhibition is “Reflection”. Here is the card being distributed to advertise the event:

Both visual and literary artists paired up to submit collaborative artwork pieces and literary writings to the exhibition. I paired up with two separate artists; which means that I have two literary pieces in the show. Wonderful artist Marie Casamayor-Harvey painted a wonderful picture to go along with my story entitled, Lorelei.  Here’s a hint for appreciating this collaboration: We both like the color red.

My second piece of fiction writing was done in collaboration with artist, writer and sister RoadBroad, Fernanda Brady. She developed an intense collage piece while I wrote about Different Women; Different Paths. Both collaborations are different and both are inspiring. Working with other such talented people really ups my level of creative energy.

This is all happening at Lee College , in the PAC Art Gallery. The address is 801 West Texas Avenue, Baytown, Texas. Believe me, it’s worth the drive to see all the amazing creative results.

I hope that you will be able to join us on December 3rd or make it out to the exhibition sometime before February 7, 2023.

Until next time.….

Haunted Holidays: The Haunting Continues

Just when you thought Halloween was over and it was safe to go back out after dark.….…It’s time for Haunted Holidays! Yes it is definitely time to call the neighbors and wake the kids! As you can see from the banner above this exciting event is scheduled for this Saturday. Yep, this Saturday, November 5th. It will take place at the wonderful Brazos Bookstore located at 2421 Bissonnet Street, in Houston, Texas!

This event consists of several local writers reading their best work about how haunting holidays can be. Any holiday. Ghosts and goblins don’t just go away and hide once Halloween is over. Sometimes it’s just hard to see them behind all of the bright shiny holiday lights.

Both the Houston Writers Guild and the Women in the Visual and Literary Arts have joined forces with Brazos Bookstore to find the writers who are scheduled to share their work. A great partnership indeed.

Here is a list of writers that will so graciously favor us with their creative brilliance:

  • Gabrielle Langley
  • Sabina Gartler
  • Sandi Stromberg
  • Margo Stutts Toombs
  • Brenda Preuss
  • Penny Koepsel
  • Fernanda Brady
  • and yours truly, Ellen Seaton

Are you as excited as I am? I hope so! Please join us this Saturday, November 5th, at 6:30 p.m. at the Brazos Bookstore for haunting tales and spine-chilling verses.

See you this Saturday!

Last Halloween Blog Of 2022

It’s a little sad. This will be the last Halloween Blog for 2022. It also saddens me that some of you still do not know how to decorate for the season. Below you will find some sample of the kind of decorations that should be displayed in October:

As you can see in this following picture, even Starbucks knows how to celebrate the season. This picture was taken on October 27th and there weren’t any patches of red or green, no Christmas holiday cups, and no Cranberry Bliss bars. I have discovered new respect for my overpriced coffee. I will go back sometime before Monday.

I will note that I did vote for my favorite decorated pumpkin. I won’t tell you which one I voted for. We will just have to wait and see.

Now for the real scary abomination that I saw this year. This picture was taken on September 22nd. Yes, you read that correctly. September 22nd. That was before the start of the 31 days of Halloween that most of us observe. I like to celebrate October by watching all of my favorite Halloween movies on television. Why else would I subscribe to Disney Plus except to see Hocus Pocus 2? Now the Hallmark Channel has started airing Christmas movies 24 hours a day. How rude!!!!!

I also noticed one other sad state of affairs when I went to at least 5 local stores looking for some Thanksgiving decorations. I did not want a pumpkin and I did not need any fake fall leaves to scatter around. I need turkeys! No, not the kind you cook in the oven. I have been looking for silly hats and other turkey accoutrement, because the skeletons want to dress up after Halloween and commemorate the fowl holiday. They always enjoy dressing up for all holidays, but this is the first year they have asked about Thanksgiving. Finally I found a few items on Amazon. DO NOT JUDGE ME! I shopped locally first, but could find very little in the way of the November feast day. Amazon was my last resort. Anyway, you have to admit these skeleton turkeys are awfully cute. Next week, I should have received the Turkey Hats and will let the skeletons model them for you.

Except for overeating, parades and football it seems as though Thanksgiving has less and less importance in our fall holiday schedule. What will all of the live turkeys do who want to receive a place of honor in the middle of the dining room table? How will we burn down houses if we don’t deep fry the turkeys? So many questions and so few answers.

Until next time.….……Happy Halloween!


October is here and I couldn’t be happier! Both I and several of my neighbors are in the midst of pulling out our Halloween decorations for all the world to see! Grim Reapers, hard of hearing Skeletons, Ghosts, Goblins, Witches and all variation of spooky creatures are popping up everywhere. Have you and your neighbors started with this annual tradition? Scary and spooky movies are beginning to pop up everywhere as well. The weather is beautiful. Why not go outside and try to scare somebody?

Of course, if you’re like me, you’ve had decorations up all year round. I just add a little bit more every year and tweak a few things. However, witches and skeletons remain my favorites. It is always fun to see how many ways I can include Halloween decorations in all aspects of my home decor. Then when September 1st comes around, I slowly begin to move things outside. Slowly at first. Nothing too showy. Until Now!!! Once October 1st shows up, then all bets are off.

Here are a few of my friends just sitting outside enjoying the beautiful (for Houston) Fall weather. As long as the days are sunny and the temperatures stay below 95 degrees, I decree that Autumn has arrived. Up until now these skeletal folk have remained pretty quiet. That’s all going to change this weekend. I have lights and I have sound effects and I intend to use them! It used to be that I never saw Halloween decorations in the stores until September. This year I found really cool stuff out early — which is fine as far as Halloween is concerned. For years people have chided me for decorating too early or too much. My dreams have come true. I am now the crazy old cat lady with just a few too many skeletons and I don’t care. Enjoy!

It gives me hope to see my neighbors enjoying this Holiday as much as I do. I personally always think about Halloween as that time when we can look at scary things and enjoy them. Maybe have a good laugh. Share the joy with friends. Some might say that there is so much to be scared about this year, that we have to have Halloween so our own ghosts and goblins can scare away the frightening events that we can’t control. Enjoy the season! My biggest regret this year is that I don’t subscribe to the Disney channel. I am working on ways to see the movie Hocus Pocus III might have to come up with a spell in order to get it on my television. Or will I break down and subscribe to the Disney Channel? What would you do?

Have lots of spooky fun! Halloween is here and I plan on enjoying every second of it!

Until next time.….

The End of a Royal Era

Back when I was about 12 years old, I became a feminist. Part of that process involved looking around at the world both local and global and noticing how many women were in positions of power. One of those women was Queen Elizabeth II. There were a few others, but she managed to out last all of the women and most of the men as well. This is a book I read about her back in the 1990s and I still use it for reference material today.

In 2018 I was visiting the Museum of Fine Arts here in Houston and came across this picture of Queen Elizabeth II and Governor Ann Richards. Both women were wonderful role models for feminists everywhere. Maybe it is a sign that I am getting older that I remember so much about the lives of these women, but it is knowledge that I am glad to have.

In the meantime, I believe it is now proper to say “God Save the King”, However, I will always remember Queen Elizabeth II.

Until next time.….