Thursday, September 3, 2020

I Do Love A House Dress


I think when I was deciding how to best be comfortable in the house, I may have time traveled. 


As in BACK in time.


For household lounging,working, or slinging, I am not a fan of girded up athletic wear, tight jeans and a tucked in top, pajamas or coordinated around the house outfits.


I am a fan of the house dress.

This is something about me that is widely known.

When my dear friend Anna calls, she usually asks, "Are you in your bata?"


Here is why I love them... 

Nothing touches you. You float everywhere you walk.

If my house dresses were a little more sophisticated , and if you squeezed your eyes really tight, they could look a little Babe Paley and Truman Capote by the pool..

Their pluses are endless.

If you get sleepy, you can take a nap without changing clothes.

You can play hide and seek with your neighbors while running to the mailbox (in your house dress) in broad daylight.

And finally, the work you can accomplish while wearing one is in another dimension of productivity.

It must have something to do with all that looseness and the freedom you feel.

And the most wonderful house dress day of all is when you stay in it from morning until night.


My mother left me a wonderful legacy when she told me early on-

"Laura Ellen, sometimes you just need to stay home in your gown all day."


Why yes I do:)


PS. If I do need to leave the house (sigh)... you will probably find me in this- my town dress:)


I bought my yellow house dress (above) on Amazon because our youngest daughter Katherine had one. Sadly, it is sold out.

That means there are more of us:)


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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Things That Are Making a Difference


Here are a few things that are making a difference in my day to day living.

They make perfect sense to me in context.

This is not a lofty list of daily goals.

I wouldn't like them if they were, and besides...nobody's got time for that.


If not for the current state of affairs, I don't know that I would have discovered/rediscovered these things, but I am sure glad I did. 


I am just as surprised by how eclectic this list is as you may be.

These things have been distractions in the very best way.

In no particular order, here is my list:)


My continued love of YouTube :

Yes, I still watch YouTube videos on the smokey eye. In fact I have a blog post draft waiting to be published.

Now, however, I am looking for the perfect eye makeup tutorial on an AGE REVERSING, MAGICALLY ENHANCING AND MAKES YOU LOOK YOUNGER SMOKEY EYE. 

I will let you know as soon as I find one:)

Other YouTube video obsessions include watching professional barrel racing (search Hailey Kinsel Lockwood from Cotulla,Texas on her horse Sister), organizing a pantry with two weeks of groceries, making South Texas cheese enchiladas that are in the same universe as Taco Ole, and everyone's favorite list of Amazon purchases (I am easily influenced).


New Rules House Cleaning:

I am keeping a tidy house during all of this, the laundry is usually done , the sinks are usually clean, and I am a wiping machine. It is all about WIPING.

How you might ask?

Attention Wandering Disorder.

I sit a bit and investigate serious topics on the internet (not), my attention starts to wander, and I hop up and clean something.

I also bought exotic smelling cleaning products with names like Eucalyptus Mint, and it is like being transported.

And finally my Dyson cordless vacuum is my new best friend. If I can figure out how to attach it to me with a harness, my New Rules Cleaning Method will be complete.

British Crime/Procedural Shows, Audio Books, Amazon Music, and Instagram Posts That Make Me Laugh Out Loud:

These things fall under entertainment:)

British Crime Show Favorites:  

Line of Duty, Vera, The Bay, Silent Witness

At the beginning of all of this, I gave myself permission to add whatever streaming extras that Netflix didn't cover.


Audible Favorites:  

Anything Louise Penny , and the good news is her newest book comes out September 1st. Audio books only work for me if the narrator is good and does not get on my last nerve (Princess and the Pea Syndrome) .


Amazon Music: 

My August 2020 playlist includes:

Something About You by Level 42 

I'll Take You There by The Staple Singers

Green River by Creedence Clearwater Revival          (best song if you want to dance the Bus Stop)

Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress by The Hollies

This list makes perfect sense to me, and it plays well with vacuuming:) 

Making playlists of songs that transport you out of that "at risk age group" label is a game changer.

And Instagram Posts That Make Me Laugh Out Loud

Any funny posts by @cattlebaronincashmere make me laugh out loud , and the double whammy is her fashion, jewelry, and entertaining posts are amazing. She has exquisite taste.

And @thelesliejordan     There are no words:)                       



I hope you have a list.

Let me know what is on yours.

We MUST have a list friends:)

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Dear Daughters: August 2020


Dear Daughters:

First, may I say that you are the kind of people/thinkers I would want on a sinking ship. 

You inherently know what I was taught as a child growing up on a ranch in South Texas which is: 

watch for snakes. 

Due to our current health crisis, you are all facing work and career challenges.

You do not need my advice .

Our world seems to have changed, and the stakes are high.

You are Texas educators returning to work on campus or an attorney meeting with clients.

Both are slippery slopes during a pandemic.

However, the good news is YOU have not changed. 

You are smart and feisty and alert.

You know exactly what to do and how to do it- one day at a time.

You do not need me to help you figure this out.


However ...

For whatever it is worth...

If you get in a bind...

Dad and I can be there in a New York minute. 

We will pull into any parking lot at any time, roll the window down and say, "Get in."


Love, Mom


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Friday, November 16, 2018

A Turkey Tale

Does anyone else have turkey cooking memories from years past?

I do.
At this point you may be thinking 'of course you do Laura'.

I began my early marriage cooking history thinking that someone else older and turkey wiser than I would always take care of the turkey.

I helped in the kitchen of course, and I contributed some sort of side or dessert, but I was not in charge , and it never dawned on me that I ever would be.

I postponed that thinking because I still had one foot in 'sitting at the kid's table thinking'.

Oh the blessed cluelessness of youth. 

I remember my mother talking about how the Riverside brand of turkey at HEB was just as moist as a Butterball and how lucky I would be if I ever had double ovens in my kitchen.

I cooked my first turkey in a tiny rent house on Glasscock Road in Mission, Texas with an even tinier kitchen. 

While standing in the middle of the kitchen, I could rest my elbows on the counters on either side.

I used the handwritten recipe of a new colleague at Sharyland High School- where I had just started teaching.

Her name was Martha Louise Kendrick.

Martha Louise's recipe was certainly a method different than what my mother, grandmothers, or aunts used.

She wrapped her turkey in a cheesecloth that had been soaked in melted butter. 

This sounded very exotic to me, but I was determined to try.
This was of course long before cell phones, unlimited long distance, or Butterball hotlines.

I can't tell you if it was a success.

It was more like wrestling...

very slippery, buttery wrestling. 

But one thing happened that day.

I took a giant step away from the kids' table.


November 16, 2018
40 years later.

I just got back from the WalMart near our house after stopping by Albertson's and a WalMart in a different location.

I was on the hunt for a 24-25 pound Butterball turkey.

I learned years ago that if I am going to cook a turkey, we are going to have plenty to share with family members and to have as leftovers.

The nicest meat department manager was unboxing Butterballs.

I asked him for the size I wanted, and he found a 24 pound turkey , and it was on sale for 98 cents a pound.

At this stage in life, I think I am finally past worrying about poisoning everyone because of my rebellious thawing techniques. 

I have also learned in the last 40 years that at 5:00 am Thanksgiving morning when I am wrestling (once again) with the turkey, that that is a solitary sport.

I am grateful for that young woman wrestling in that kitchen 40 years ago, because she was learning then and gaining her adult footing.

I am grateful to Martha Louise Kendrick, and for all of the turkeys since then-

wrestling and all:)


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Monday, November 12, 2018

Finding Delight in Simple Things

The motto at Saint Mary's Hall- the girls' boarding school in San Antonio I attended for four years and graduated from was
Teach Us to Delight in Simple Things

That was and never has been a hard concept for me to grasp.

I think it was in my DNA when I was born.

And so jump ahead many , many years from that graduation date to this blog White Spray Paint that I created long ago , and my tag line says it all. 

Here at White Spray Paint I share how I enjoy

Finding Delight in Simple Things.

Now please don't misunderstand.

This message of simple things is not about minimalism.

I do love simple things- all dolled up that is:)

And I may have used the expression 'more is more' a time or two in my life.

But this current holiday season reminds me of what this all means to me.

And so what does finding delight in simple things look like in my daily life?

Yesterday was a perfect example.

I woke up at 4:00 am ( a quirk in getting older), and I fixed a cup of my favorite coffee- Wal Mart's Colombian . 

I had several cups while sitting on my closet floor and sorting through my shoes.  

Everything hurts my feet these days (another quirk in getting older), but sorting my hurting shoes into donate piles felt right.

I was hungry around 6:00 am so I cooked bacon and eggs for breakfast. My husband was pleasantly shocked when he woke up later to a big breakfast.

And then the fun began.

A garage door repairman was due to arrive to replace our garage door opener , but first the garage needed to be emptied.

His words when he came by for an estimate may have included 
'M'am...I can't get to the garage door opener to replace it...'.

I hired two men that have worked for us many times to empty the garage because I just can't lift heavy things like I used to (another painful quirk in getting older- with the positive benefit of hiring someone).

And so the day went.

Days like this really make me happy.

I got to speak in Spanish , I laughed at what was found in the garage, I drank lots of icy cold Diet Orange Crushes that were in the garage refrigerator, and we were all working hard.

What a great day it was- for me and my personality-finding delight in simple things.


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