Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here’s Your Chance

question mark

I have some questions, and I know that you have the answers.

Don’t worry about thinking ‘I can’t believe she doesn’t know the answer to that’.  I taught high school English for a zillion years, and I can not be embarrassed anymore than I was in the classroom . So go for it- it is OK to think it.

I still need answers.

In the sidebar blog lists/rolls of many blogs, a photo appears by the new post title.  Why does it appear on some and not others? (Like mine for example…)

If I would like to consolidate my labels into about 6 key terms (instead of the current 862 I now have), do I need to go back into each post and re-label? I think I know the answer to this question, and I don’t like the answer.

Do you write several posts at once and date them, or are you writing each day as I am? I enjoy (love) writing each day, but there are other things in life…right? I mean there are, right?

If I want to have a link in my sidebar that leads into archived posts for a specific label (example ‘home’), should I just give up and take up the violin?

And finally, are you as amazed as I am at the constantly morphing number of creative, intelligent, funny, heartfelt, informative, kindred spirited blogs there are?

This Foot


Oh the joy of being a grandmother and being able to deal with this foot.

To dust off the bottom of it before putting on tight stretchy socks.

To try as hard yet as gently as I can to somehow fit it into a shoe.

To check for injuries, real or imagined.

To watch it sometimes stomp in anger.

To know that in order to do any of these things, the owner of this foot is sitting in my lap.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

wordless wednesday






Remember These?


     After four days out of town, for the engagement party we hosted and my husband’s shoulder surgery, I came home to this.


And this.


And this.


     This is the absolute power of the South Texas sun, temperatures reaching the low 90’s , and dry, relentless wind.

     Back to watering daily and telling my plants how sorry I am.

     The engagement party was a great success, although it didn’t quite look like my planning.  Why?

                                   It rained.

So although these items were used out on the lawn on tables and under tents , everyone had to gather on the patio and in the house.



100_0628 100_0626

             Oh well.  We are home safe and sound, my husband’s surgery went well, and (here comes my favorite new expression)

                            It is what it is.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Favorites

I am out of town this weekend, so I thought it would be a good time to participate in Sunday Favorites, a great idea hosted by Chari at Happy to Design.
My selection is one of my early posts.

To Obsess or Not to Obsess- That is the Question

It is too bad, I think, that obsession has become a dirty word. What is so wrong with training one's sights on whatever floats your boat? True, I have spent some time in my life on the dark side of all of that, certainly, but it was not all for naught. A little unhealthy thinking goes a long way in prompting one to 'snap out of it'.

So what is acceptable obsessing? Could it be the drive I feel to locate every pair of cropped pants I can find with ties at the hem? How did that one start? Who knows, but I am on a quest.

Was it my search , at one time, for milk glass, particularly milk glass cake pedestals, narrowed down to square milk glass cake pedestals? Or milk glass punch bowls? Really- how many occasions are there to serve punch? My daughter Lauren has extended that search to include turquoise, pink, and black milk glass. Those colors fit her Hollywood Regency esthetic.

Or how about hammered aluminum from the 50's or Waterford Waffle glassware (specifically dessert plates) or Franciscan Hacienda pottery or milk glass dessert sets, or Blue Danube or Blue Italian ,or red octagonal sided goblets? Or Franciscan Platinum Renaissance china (platinum rim, grey rim, and gold rim, take your pick- my daughter Katherine collects the gold rimmed pattern- may I say it is to die for?). How about anything associated with Christmas or home fragrance? Lately I have been stockpiling candles that are on sale.

And then there are the chafing dishes. Oh my. Chafing dishes are self-limiting , however, because storing a large quantity of chafing dishes is like storing wire coat hangers. They lose their lustre pretty quickly (not really).

I even have a chafing dish cookbook , first published in 1950. It includes recipes for Cocktail Cream Puffs with Clam Filling, Sausages in Potato Bathrobes, Sherried Ham and Sweetbreads, and Tongue Burgundy.

On what planet? I can just hear my grandson saying- "that's not my favorite". No kidding. Yet when I saw that cookbook at the flea market, in a box of books, I almost flipped, I was so excited.

And then there are the cookbooks. I am currently weeding out my collection, but I love any cookbook produced by a church group, home economics teachers, a small town, or by Southern Living. My dear friend Mary Jo recently replaced my La Pinata cookbook (my alltime favorite), because she had seen the disreputable condition of my original one. I was storing it in a zip-lock bag because all of the pages were unbound and out of order.

And so what obsessions sometimes create are memories and laughter and the fun I have when someone asks at a party planning meeting, "Does anyone have any punch cups?"

I just giggle and say , "Yes. I have millions."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ode to Saltillo


Saltillo tile, traditionally created from the clay of the clay pits around the area of Saltillo, Mexico, is the flooring I have throughout my house (with the exception of the bedrooms).

I love it, I have always loved it, and I will always love it.

I love the way it looks under rugs, especially rugs that have red in the pattern.


Here are the reasons the experts say you should not love it:

It is extremely porous and must be sealed thoroughly.

I don’t care.

If you ever make a mistake with the sealer, you will need to have the floor stripped and re-done. Good luck with that.

I don’t care.

When installed, it must cure and be washed with muriatic acid. The term ‘proper ventilation’ doesn’t even begin to address the issue of muriatic acid.

I don’t care.

If saltillo doesn’t dry fully after installation and sealer is applied, salt may rise to its surface, becoming trapped under the sealer. Charming.

I don’t care.

Saltillo is either called super saltillo or regular saltillo. I like regular. It has character. Because it is dried outside, rather than fired in a kiln ,you may even find paw prints in its surface (from the neighborhood dog who ran through the drying racks).

I don’t care.

Saltillo is fairly hard on your feet, if you go barefoot in your house as much as I do.

Guess what? I don’t care.

I love saltillo.

Note: The most recent load of saltillo that I purchased cost about 90 cents a tile. I have never paid more than $1.00 a tile. Installation is usually $1.00 a tile. Because it is a 12 inch square, that is a cost of $2.00 a square foot for the tile plus installation. Other materials needed are thin set and grout. I have always used the regular concrete color for my grout. My mother stained her saltillo. I do not recommend that. It was beautiful, but it increases the need for maintenance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Attitude of Gratitude Award

I am so pleased to receive this thoughtful gift from my  friend Cathy at The Stylish House. I have had her button posted on my blog since I first started this fun, endearing, amazing journey.  She is gracious and supportive and talented and creative. Thank you Cathy.

The Rules of Accepting and Sharing this Award
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.
Tell us how you've come to have an attitude gratitude.

     I am grateful for so much this evening.  First and foremost that life does do a quirky flip from day to day, and it is perfectly fine that these flips are sometimes startling and wonderful and scary and even sad.

     Isn’t that what gives our days color and texture and life? It is the same wonder I feel in having three wonderful adult daughters with unique qualities and gifts, having friends-new and old- that are consummately alike yet different. We are all alike and we are all different. I am so grateful for that.

So here’s to the flips!

I send this Attitude of Gratitude Award to:

Karen @ Ladybug Creek

Mrs. DD @ Domestic Designer

Kim @ My Domestic Bliss

Dixie @ French Lique, Texas

Marty @ A Stroll thru Life

Terrie @ Terrie's Lil' Piece of Serenity

Rechelle @ Walnuthaven Cottage

SusieQ @ SusieQ-A Work in Progress

Kathy @ Life in the Slow Lane

Dawn @ Life at Eventually Cottage

Lauren @ Three Hermanas

Elizabeth @ The Percival's

Wordless Wednesday

OK everyone, I am new at this, but I love Dixie’s blog

French Lique,Texas , and I wanted to join the fun.

Earth Day


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God Visited Today

The knock at the door this morning was after a crying drive home from the rehab center where my father was scheduled to stay for another three weeks. It has been two short weeks since his quintuple bypass. My husband is having shoulder surgery this coming Monday. We are hosting an extravaganza of an engagement party this coming weekend that could not be cancelled, and my father said that he was leaving ‘that place’ and going home today. His doctor, the son of my parents' dear friends, said he could.

I just told a dear friend on the phone earlier this morning that my spiritual condition was running on empty. I have been doing too much thinking, planning, listing, reporting,fantasizing, fixing,daydreaming, eating,organizing, criticizing,joking,procrastinating,prevaricating,forgetting,re-membering.

The two young women at the door were total opposites in appearance. The first one I noticed had on giant white- rimmed Chanel-like sunglasses, short, stylish bleached blonde hair, a long funky skirt, rhinestone chandelier earrings, and a turquoise scarf looped around her neck. She was clutching a Louis Vuitton satchel. Her elfin features and soft eyes were highlighted with metallic navy eyeliner. She had the kindest smile I have ever seen.

Her friend was in complete contrast. She was a young woman who was the essence of demure. She wore a long -sleeved white blouse , a long navy skirt and sensible shoes.They began to speak completely in Spanish. I invited them to sit on the wicker chairs I have on my front porch. A gentle force outside myself extended that invitation. I just gave up.

Then I began to cry. They were there to say that God loves me and that the answer to all of my troubles today and forever is stated in God’s word- the Bible. That the words of the Bible are living, they give strength, they work when nothing else does. They were there to say that helping in my father’s care, regardless of what he may say or do, is a divine gift.

The entire time the first young woman spoke in Spanish , quoting scripture and writing references for me to read later, her partner knelt by my chair and rested her hand gently on my knee. They talked about fear and how we will all face difficult things and that God knows exactly what is happening in our lives and that He cares.

When a neighbor stopped her car at my mailbox to ask how things were going, they smiled and said that God wants us in relationship with one another. They asked how long my mother has been gone, and I cried even more.

List making and living life on life’s terms are not the remedies to ease the cause of tears. I am just so humbled and grateful for this precious, absolutely surprising, take your breath away, in the flesh gift . Thank you God.

La Pulga Part II


One of the wonderful things about going to La Pulga (the flea market), in addition to what I have previously written (archives March 1st) is

the produce and the food.

I was amazed at the beauty of these


                                        and these.


                         Which prompted me to eat this.


I was uncertain about these, but I learned they are called chayote.


I also saw something I never thought I would see in this area.


Hydrangeas in South Texas?

This is more like it.


                                Fuchsia bougainvillea.

          They even had white, which is rare. I should have bought this plant. The white is so beautiful. I really really regret not buying it.


         I also wish I had a fresh mango right about now.

100_0593 I

          This is just another thing which soothes my soul. Laughing out loud with a full heart does that too- especially when a young boy at La Pulga asked me in Spanish if I was

                              una turista (a tourist).

          I know I looked like one. I had on my baseball cap, my small, red money pouch hanging around my neck, my camera in one hand- all balanced with my cup of red, juicy watermelon.

                             I laughed and said yes.

 Note: A special thanks to all of you who offered menu suggestions for the engagement party. I was overwhelmed at your generosity.  Thank you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Engagement Party Prep


     No I am really not that messy…well, I do seem to have a giant stack of unread magazines by my chair that morphs each day into something taller.  My reading of blogs, I guess,  has become my favorite magazine reading.

    My daughters and I are hosting an engagement party for a dear friend’s daughter in a week, and I am stockpiling things to take.  I have party items stacked all over the house.The party will be at my oldest daughter’s house ,and she lives seven hours away.

     Everything will be outside. We are having round tables, white chairs, and we are using white tablecloths and white cloth napkins.  I am taking every piece of blue and white I own- all shapes and sizes- to cluster in the middle of each table.

     The blue and white of all sizes will look chunky and generous- not little or small scaled. My daughter has rented white tents for the serving tables and the bar.

      We are serving dinner on our joint collection of Spode blue and white.


We will use Blue Danube and milk glass if we need to ,but I have about 50 plates, and my daughter has a big stack as well.


     The menu is:

Crab dip on toast or smoked salmon on toast or crackers with sour cream and capers

Crawfish Etouffee and Rice

Stuffed Chickens- with broccoli and stuffing/ or etouffee

French Bread

Beverages including Hurricane Punch served out of a crystal punch bowl

Pecan Pie for dessert with a dollop of whipped cream

Question:  Do I need to prepare a side dish?

If so, what?

Should the bread be plain?

Here are the cocktail napkins.


And we will serve the punch in these


     I have 24 of them, which is not enough by a long shot, but it will  be enough to get things started and create the look we want as the party starts. I found these at Salvation Army in Dallas for $3.99 each.

     I also collect old silver/silverplate serving pieces.  I’ll take these as well as others.


Let me know what you think about the side dish. I am old school, and I feel like we need something green or colored on the plate.

     More serving dishes.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Name That Thing


This weekend at the flea market I found this. I think it is some sort of drapery contraption. I just couldn’t resist it for $4.00.

I also found this for $2.00. I plan to remove the green glass and hang it outside under our new arbor. It reminds me of San Miguel de Allende.


These ‘things’ of little money and funky purposes somehow sooth my soul. I enjoy this kind of thing so much, don’t you?

Sparkle Sparkle


What was so wrong with the era of bedazzling? I love sparkle, don’t you?

The 80’s and early 90’s were great for sparkle lovers.

If I couldn’t find enough t-shirts jazzed up enough to meet my standard of more is more , I’d heat up my hot glue gun and


it myself.

What was I thinking? I know that jewels and glitter weren’t enough. I then added the amazing architectural fashion element of…

the shoulder pad.

Goal:  to bring the eye up…

And so logically, in recent years- when I found large Venetian glass mirrors at a very reasonable price, I went for it.

Once (above- in the entry).

Twice (below- above the tub, against a chocolate colored wall).

master bath

And a third time in the study (below).


     Baby sparkle works for me too.


                  Then of course I can’t resist chandeliers.

100_0570 100_0571

Master Bath                               Dining Area

                 And finally, I am always looking for an occasion to wear rhinestone earrings- work? the grocery store? working in the yard?

                                      Why not?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flashback Due to Withdrawal

{Setting: Room 136, AP American literature class, March 2008}

Good morning students.

Please take out paper and pen for notes. Our focus this morning is an introduction to the philosophy of Ralph Waldo Emerson-

One of the coolest guys you will ever meet.


I know, I know.

Work with me here.

Turn to page 288 in your American literature book.

(Note to teaching self: ask someone to read the quotation, but do not call on anyone in particular. Wait…wait… wait for it -as my grandson would say- bingo! Someone inevitably begins to read- without being called upon to read. I love that. It puts students on edge, which is a really good place for students to be. It’s like saying, “Snap out of it, now let’s get after it.”)

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”

So Christopher…(now start calling on them- they’re ready)

Where are you in this?

Grocery Shopping


When I was growing up, my mother used simple ingredients to create delicious food. We travelled to the nearest grocery store, which was 45 miles north of the ranch, loaded up several baskets, signed the ticket and headed home- breaking into a sack of cookies along the way.

Note: The long term effects of signing tickets and eating cookies randomly is a topic for another day.

My mother had a gold Toronado (remember those?), and she drove fast. Can you picture this? We certainly didn’t want the ice cream to melt.


We had one of these waiting in the garage when we arrived home, so unloading was not a big deal.

grocery cart

She somehow persuaded the manager at HEB in Falfurrias, Texas to lend her one for the duration. Unloading was easy and efficient, especially since the sidewalk from the driveway to the back door was about 50 yards.

Once inside, we put things away- not in a pantry but in a shallow, three can deep cabinet, from the floor up about six feet, that she had built next to the refrigerator. She taught me that a shallow cabinet for canned goods was better. Canned goods were not the no-no that some cooks profess today.

Confession: I love Del Monte whole green beans with a hamburger patty, grilled onions, and a glass of tea. When I am working on it ,that seems to off-set cookie jamming spells.

whole green beans

When you live on a ranch 45 miles from town, stocking up is important. I love to stock up. Most collectors do, don’t they?

(I’m off to the hospital to see my father. I stuck his hunting flashlight into the bag I am taking him- in case he needs to check things out after dark.)


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