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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 Table


It’s done- in all its laughing, eating, hugging, thanking glory.

We just finished watching Jurassic World on dvd, the second load of dishes is in the dishwasher, and all of the millions of dish towels and hot pads are in the wash.

Thanksgiving 2015 Tablescape

As I work on my ‘do the next right thing ‘ list for tomorrow, I will be thinking of you.

Here was today’s menu:




Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes

Sparkle Salad

Cranberry Sauce

Fresh Green Beans with Sliced Almonds and Butter

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Pecans, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pecan Pie

Fresh Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dear Daughters: Papa


Dear Daughters,

So here we are in this newly changed world without Papa- or as I called him, Daddy.

Hard is hard no matter what month it is, but it feels especially hard to lose someone during this time of year.

So here’s what might help. 

Let’s keep a tight rein, and do the next right thing until we feel better.

Here is my list of things on my ‘do the next right thing’ list:

Tomorrow I am going to check the frozen 30 pound turkey I bought which is thawing in the refrigerator in the little house.

If it is still frozen, I am not going to use inappropriate language,  and using the common sense I learned from my parents as a child, I am going to break every Butter Ball rule known to man to get it thawed.

I am going to crumble the pan of cornbread I made tonight for the dressing,  so it dries just a little.

I am going to set the frozen pie crust I made tonight out on the counter to soften.

Tomorrow after I go to the flea market (because that is my therapy- especially when I am sad), I am going to roll out that dough and make a fresh apple pie and a pecan pie.

I am going to pray for traveling mercies for those of you traveling, and when you pull up in the driveway, I am going to squeeze your neck hard.

That is my ‘do the next right thing’ list for tomorrow.


Years ago, after Papa listened to me carry on once about things that were bothering me, he said,

”It sounds to me like you need things to be hard for a while.” 

And so it is.


I love you.

If you need something to make you laugh picture your mother wrestling with a frozen turkey.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dear Daughters: Wrinkles

La Senora Zinnia 2015

Dear Daughters,

First of all, I wasn’t about to include a photo of a wrinkled face in this letter. 

This is a zinnia variety called La Senora.  Isn’t it wonderful?

Back to wrinkles.

I didn’t listen to my mother who often said , “Laura Ellen, you better take care of your skin.” 

I confess I gave her cause for concern.

Each summer I slathered myself in my homemade baby oil and iodine suntan mixture
and then stretched out in the hot South Texas sun at the Kelsey Bass Exxon Camp pool,

a mile from our house on the ranch.

(Aside:  Did any other baby boomers do this? I had a friend at boarding school who added  sheets of aluminum foil to her routine to increase the results!)

While there, when I got hot, I dove into the water, cooled off in the pool, practiced my water ballet a la Esther Williams, raced my brother to the pool drain in the deep end, jumped out, slathered on more baby oil and iodine and stretched out for another round.

And even though, sweet daughters,  this is a cautionary tale about the adult after effects of sun tanning, this
time in my life was also great fun.

I drove a stick shift jeep to the pool, tried to get KTSA on the radio in hopes of hearing the Four Tops,
pondered in angst  if ‘he’ liked me or not, probably threatened to leave my little brother if he didn’t hurry up, and I had a library book in tow. 

At the end of our swimming, I also knew we were going to stop at a tiny store situated at the entrance to the camp, where we would buy ice cream sandwiches that we charged.

I learned early about signing charge tickets-which is a topic for another letter.

I was in heaven.

So here is my mother’s (Nonnie’s) ‘Laura Ellen’ speech to you.

You need to take care of your skin.

You may not have wrinkles now, but they are sneaky little devils who surface when you thought you were home free.

Trust me- I know.

You need to cleanse your skin, apply sunscreen, and any other potion you find that works for you.

Contrary to what people may say, these products do not have to be expensive.

I have gone that route, and the guilt of spending that much money on a problem I caused, I believe, cancelled out their good effect.

(I know… that’s a stretch.  Just agree.) 

Go to Ross or TJ Maxx or Marshalls and look through their ever changing stock of face creams.

Find serums that contain vitamin c or hyaluronic acid or alpha hydroxy acid
or if you are brave, retinol.

Spend $20 instead of$200.

I know you love all of these tidbits of great advice.

I also know you have been making faces during the reading of this letter and you need to stop right now.

That causes WRINKLES!

I love you, Mom



Linking to:

Simple Sweet Fridays

Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop


Thursday, July 9, 2015

If We Were Having Coffee


                                                             Talavera Bird Bath in my Esperanza Garden

If we were having coffee this morning, and once we talked about my favorite coffee right now- specifically Gevalia Columbian, Community Club Columbian , and Eight O’Clock Columbian- I’d bring up the following:

We are headed back to El Paso this morning . 

Didn’t we just get back?

It seems like it, but it doesn’t matter because I miss my grandsons desperately and this time we are going to fly.

Our other daughters will be there too, and we have some adventures and exploring planned, so I can’t stop smiling.

I hope you have some exploring  planned this summer too.

In my book, that is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

800 Miles


We just returned from a week in El Paso where we helped our oldest daughter and her family move.

Allegedly it is a 12 hour drive…

If I am in the car, it takes us about 13 hours- and that is driving 85 mph most of the way.

There is even a time change.

Having grown up on a ranch 45 miles from town, I am a fast driver from way back, but I am here to say no

speed makes this trip shorter.

From: Mission, TX To: El Paso, TX


It is 800 miles no matter what you do.

None of that matters though because our two grandsons are at the end of the drive .

And now we are home, and I am already planning our next trip.

I think we need to fly, don’t you?

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