Monday, August 31, 2009

Just Say Yes


        When my father called this past weekend and said, “Do the girls want any of this stuff on the shelf above the washer?”, I said yes.  I always say yes. 

     This offer did not produce the treasures she had in her garage closet, but I didn’t care.  I always say yes, and not because I am a collector or because my daughters are as well.

     I say yes because it was my mother’s. He could call and say, “Would the girls like this sack of dirt?”, and I would say YES.

     The cookie cutters were part of that small stash, along with her bundt pan, and a hammered aluminum serving bowl.


          She would love knowing that Daughter #1 can now use these to make cookies for her boys at Halloween.


              Here are 3 of the 4 cookie cutters she used for her bridge club luncheons.  I wonder where the diamond is?


     Here is her biscuit cutter.

And my favorite-


Aren’t these wonderful? Wouldn’t jewel toned icing look good on these cookies?

Just say YES.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Unit

     Thank you Chari at Happy to Design for another Sunday Favorites where we get to go green with our previous posts.  This is one of my favorite kinds of recycling.

Sunday Favorites


Progress report on the list:  I am slowly but surely making my way through it all.  I am not sure why I thought this was a good idea.

I loved Lavender Chick’s idea of NOT putting something on the list until you do it.  I almost collapsed laughing when I read her idea.  That is exactly the kind of  thinking I love.

Now to The Unit.

     You know and I know that a powerful demographic of society, who can single-handedly impact world events, including national defense, has not yet been discovered or utilized.

     Who are these people, unknown to the general public?
Women and men who go to flea markets, garage sales, or simply pull  onto the side of the road, if they spot something interesting.

     Their special forces-like skills include:

*the ability to size up a situation , to do a sort of junk recon, without revealing that they are

*the ability, once triggered , to move fast, regardless of age or athletic ability

*the ability to grab with lightning fast movements ( although not a particulary social skill or a skill that wins new friends, it is extremely useful nevertheless)

*the ability to stretch small amounts of money into huge pay-offs

*and finally, the ability to mobilize quickly, with multiple offers from like-minded friends and family of-

"I'll drive."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Public To Do List

      I am publishing my to do list for this weekend.  Would I rather read The Help, blog, and generally act like Her Majesty the Baby?  Why of course.  However, duty calls.

     I promise I will complete these tasks by Monday morning.

* Contact each of my 11 beginning teachers by phone to see how they did their first week of school.                            completed

*Buy fabric and trim for tunic and evening pants for wedding reception.    completed

*Deliver fabric to seamstress.

*Pull up all dead as doornail plants and throw them away. It is time.

*Paint wrought iron table and chairs black. completed

*Move bonnet and irrigation tubing to our house for Monday’s irrigating.

*Gather magazines that have been read (or not) and donate them to the Home Economics Dept. at the high school.

*Clear path in garage.  Need I say more?

*Empty car, wash car, vacuum car interior.                           completed

*Hang shower curtain in little house. Prepare little house for grandsons’ visit.

Now I’m really nervous. I think I will go read my book.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Library Caper


     Visiting the public library to check out books has always been one of my favorite things to do. In fact I have library cards at 4 local, city libraries. (That is probably against the law…)

     On a recent trip, quite by accident- because I COULDN’T SEE – I selected books from this section.


     Let me just say that a new world explodes when you open a LARGE PRINT book. 

     Mercy. I then began to speed read.  It’s hard not to.  

     While in New Normal earlier this week, I finished Ruth Reichl’s Comfort Me With Apples , which is a wonderful autobiographical tale about her life as a restaurant critic in Berkley in the 60’s.

     Yesterday as I yearned for something else to read , I thought again of my Amazon shopping cart, now a mile long with a bottom line total of a million dollars . No, I decided, I am not doing that.

     The quest began.

     I visited one of the 4 libraries I mentioned and found out that they could order this for me-


       I got a call the next day that it was in.  I picked it up , ordered Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and because I am a more is more person/collector, I went to library #2 the next day , and they located this at another library.

IMGP0408       They called today to say I could pick it up. 

      While driving home, I started thinking about the Tara Frey blogging book , and it became very clear.

     I am in over my head.

Pen Pals

    I am not quite sure what to write about; therefore, I am going to write about writing.

     You see I realized that I do this (blogging) because of many reasons, but primarily because of the writing and the subsequent fellowship it brings.

     This transplants me back to the age of the pen pal and that time when communicating with others through writing created friendship and fun.

     Responding to my mother’s  request of “Laura Ellen- would you go out and get the mail?” brought on all sorts of moments of hope and excitement. Maybe I will get a letter today.

     I crave the writing, even when I can’t think of a starting point.

     The thoughts of what I could write about are a wild jumble and completely unrelated. I find myself writing ideas on the backs of envelopes and within the pages of whatever notepad I am using.

     This list currently includes ideas about pan de polvo (a traditional Mexican wedding cookie), my four years at boarding school, wide ruled notebook paper , and even a to do list (because by making it public, I will feel more compelled to do it).

     The writing that I am doing is devoid of perfect, finite grammatical structure. I am claiming my run-ons, fragments, and comma splices.  They are all intentional ,and they are all mine.

     To the purists, may I say that as an English teacher, I know that. 

     Trust me; I know that.

My response? I don’t really have one.

     I may even write a book on how I think grammar is really just another form of manners and courtesy and that sometimes we do the right thing and sometimes we do not.

     Sometimes we want to say, “Hello, it is so good to see you,” and sometimes we want to say “Hey! Oh my gosh!”

     So this morning, for those pen pals of mine that are out there , thank you for going to your mailbox and reading my letter to you today.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It’s a School Night

This morning I woke up in New Normal, Texas ,where my husband will have another surgical procedure, but regardless, family things stay the same.

We had dinner at Daughter #1’s house last night, and it just happened to be at the end of the first day of kindergarten for my grandson.

I tried to ask all of the usual questions about his first day, to no avail, but it didn’t matter because his refusal to answer silly questions was as endearing as answering them.

I did get to love all over grandson #2 , when he wasn’t wrestling with his brother.

My daughter had oatmeal cookies sitting out that she had baked for her boys, and we had her wonderful tortellini casserole for supper, which is delicious.

After supper, as their little family headed into that wonderful time of the evening when everything is governed by

It’s a school night,”

we headed to the hotel.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Dire Warnings


     With absolutely no disrespect in mind or inappropriate reference to the bombing at Pearl Harbor, this is the landscape of my thinking at times.  My daughters have even referred to these occasional lapses as Mom/the Voice of Doom.

     I really did feel I needed to warn all three daughters, while at Texas A&M, to beware of someone hiding under their car in the campus parking garage who could slash their Achilles tendon with a knife and disable them.

     I really did think that I needed to sit with my back to the wall in public places, as I have previously shared on this blog, perhaps time traveling to the era of shoot outs with Bonnie and Clyde.

     I really did nod at my husband in complicit agreement, in our hotel room in New Normal, Texas tonight, when he returned from locating the exit with  the count of the number of steps from our room to the stairs.

     I really did , while growing up on a ranch, walk with my head down looking for rattlesnakes because my father told me to.

     I have so many wonderful warnings stored in my memory bank- both precious and extreme that I would love to share.

     Oddly enough, I ignore warnings  directed at my own behavior ( specifically associated with cholesterol, exercise, bone loss, weight gain/loss, hormones, artificial sweeteners, Diet Coke side effects,dry skin, crossword puzzles for maintaining my thinking- including brushing my teeth with my left hand ,and Pearl Harbor really does come to mind). 

     My office is now open for advice , solutions, opinions, and dire warnings.

(I need a distraction!)


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mosaic Monday/Blue Monday Secrets

Mosaic Monday

     It is no secret that I love blue and white, and I love it best in dishes of all shapes and sizes. 

     From Spode’s Blue Italian, that I started collecting after my daughter selected it for her wedding registry, to a beautiful etched bowl that was a gift from a dear friend, to the great low end pieces I have found at Marshall’s and Ross, it just does it for me.

     I believe that blue and white, like the right color of yellow walls , makes everything look good, food and furniture alike.

     It is also no secret that I enjoy all of the planning associated with entertaining more than the actual event itself.  Strange but true.  Blue and white has always been part of all of that planning fun. I used blue and white exclusively at at engagement party my daughters and I hosted.

     Join in the fun at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday and Smiling Sally for Blue Monday.




         I’d also like to give a shout out to Valarie at A Glimpse of My World.  I won her giveaway, and it is wonderful.  The vintage apron is so soft it reminds me of my grandmother ; it feels like her.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

It May Be A Crazy Flea Market But It’s My Flea Market

Flea market 2

      When I have mentioned the flea market in previous posts, I may have created a mind’s eye impression of what it looks like.  Trust me.  It doesn’t look like what you may have pictured.

     At the flea market in my area , I spend more time BENT OVER digging than I do standing up and leisurely walking around. The vendors are not too concerned with merchandising and organization.

Flea market photo

     This may not appeal to you.  Is that an understatement?  However, digging appeals to me. It is a search after all, right? There ARE treasures hidden there somewhere.


    The search includes interesting sights at times, but I like that too.  I love the fun of it all.  Once my daughter saw a man, after purchasing a live goat, throw it in the trunk of his car. That makes me laugh.


     And then there are things like this that are wonderful and exciting to find.


     And on several occasions I went home with a case of these for my husband.  Cold mango slices are wonderful on cereal in the morning.

     I have to cut this short.  It’s that time of the morning .  These photos reminded me I need to get moving to see what is out there this weekend.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Survivors and Thrivers and Outdoor Wednesday


     Yesterday while watering, all I could think to say (and yes I do speak to my plants) was -

     “Bless your heart; it is so hot out here.” 

     Regardless of all of my incessant complaining about the impact of this summer’s heat on my garden, I really want to emphasize how strongly I feel about the amazing feats of survival I have captured in these photos.

     Have I cried wolf too often? Are you currently thinking,

“Enough already- we’re tired of hearing about how hot and dry it is in South Texas!”

     Just hang in there with me a little longer as I give a huge shout out to the survivors and thrivers in my yard , who in spite of my swan song saga about how hot it is, while sitting in the house with the air conditioner huffing and puffing , are still in the fight.





     Thank you dear plants/friends for all of the pleasure you have given me this summer.  When I saw your hearty beauty yesterday, in the face of such harsh conditions, the words of my Grandmother Mills came to mind, on those occasions when she expressed shocked, unbridled joy and amazement.

“Well, I’ll declare.”

outdoor wednesday

Go see other gardening treats at A Southern Daydreamer. Miss Susan is an amazing hostess.

Pillows in the Kitchen and Ruby Tuesday



     Pillows in the kitchen? Sure- why not.  My Ruby Tuesday post is all about that this morning.

     If you want to see more red, go to the wonderful Work of the Poet.

Ruby Tuesday


     My daughters and I all have a set of  Martha Stewart creamy white wicker ,and we have all used these pieces in different areas of our home. 

     Daughter #1 has it painted black and out on a balcony of her two story home. Daughter #2 has moved hers all over her apartment (go visit for a great new post), and daughter #3 is using it in a small study area of her apartment.

     Mine is in my kitchen, covered in red pillows.



     This is one of my favorite places in my home. Why? I can still see- in my mind’s eye- my teacher friends sitting here visiting during my yearly teachers’ Christmas Party.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder


     It’s Monday again and time for Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures at Southern Hospitality. One of my favorite, recent finds at the flea market proves it really is all in the eye of the beholder.

     I found this, sitting out in the dirt in a pile of other people’s junk, and I just couldn’t resist.     IMGP0092

     Originally published in 1948, it is a Reader’s Encyclopedia that includes all sorts of explanations of literary references and allusions. While reading the preface I learned the editor’s intention in compiling such a book,

“I have tried to maintain balance and proportion between the modern world and the world of antiquity.”

     He was one of us! He loved the old and the new!

     As I place old, wonderful things in my cabinets or share them with my daughters, am I not doing the same thing- balancing the modern world and the world of antiquity?

     If one morning while having coffee,  you were dying to know how ‘friars’ played a role in important literature, just turn to page 371.


     Remember Romeo and Juliet? Friar Laurence got himself into a real jam through aiding and abetting historically famous star-crossed lovers. 

     Books like this really float my boat.  Someone devoted their professional life to researching, writing, editing, and alphabetizing (not an easy task prior to word processing programs) 1118 pages of literary information for our reading knowledge and pleasure.  Bless his (the editor’s) heart.

     And finally- I love books like this because of their weight. When I leaned over and rescued it from the dirt, I almost said ‘ahhh’ as I felt its importance.

     Price?  $1.00.

Time For A Change

     Yes, this is White Spray Paint, and yes it was time for a change.  I wanted a minima stretch layout with a white background for brighter and larger photos, and I wanted to organize my 160 plus posts ,since most of the time I forgot to even include labels. 

Confession:  I do not have the technological skills many of you have ladies, even when you have responded to my millions of questions with,

“It’s so easy.”

     So I enlisted the help of a wonderful blog magician named Jackie.  She is patient, and creative, and patient, and affordable, and patient.  Thank you Jackie.

     Her link is posted at the bottom of my sidebar.

* I now have a button, and if you would like to have it in your sidebar, help yourself.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

School Clothes Shopping


     I have surfaced for air this afternoon- long enough to write this- having been spit out of the vortex of shopping for school clothes for grandson # 1, at the mall, on a Saturday in mid August. 

     I really think there must have been an eject button hidden somewhere in JC Penney’s because before I knew it, I was driving home with a sack full of varying sized clothing that my daughter will have to return. I was completely dazed and confused, wondering how I got to my car.

     My naivete, as I set out this morning full of intention and shopping energy, amazes even me.

     First a preface. Many years ago going school shopping with 3 daughters was a wonderful rite of passage that combined all of my favorite elements:  my girls, shopping, and a trip. In the years before our area grew by retail leaps and bounds, we drove to San Antonio each August to shop.

     We got to combine the high and the low by going to Joske’s and Solo Serve. Everyone came home with new things to wear, especially for the first day of school, and as a teacher, I did too.

     Second preface.  When my girls were babies and then toddlers, my mother on occasion would buy them a ‘big sack of clothes’ with brand names like Carter’s and Health-Tex. It seemed easy, fun, and was certainly appreciated.

     My goal this morning was to combine both memories.  What I failed to take into account however was my lack of cool, and my grandson is very cool. I know that the window of opportunity for me to buy him clothes is really, really small. It may have just slammed shut.

     At one point in desperation, I simply asked a stranger who had a son about grandson #1’s size, “which one’s (jeans) are cool?” She held up two pair: light wash and dark wash.

     I didn’t want to seem like stalker-grandmother by saying ‘can you be a LITTLE more specific’, so instead I asked the little boy his age.

     He said 5. Bingo.  My grandson is 5. I bought both in 5 slims. Does he wear 5 slims? He can either wear a 4 if they are long enough or a 5 if the waist is small enough… Yesterday I bought 4’s. Are you getting a picture here?


     Then there is little brother, grandson #2.  I can’t send a package for one and not the other. He wears a 3T or 4T.  Since his things were pretend school clothes (he is only 2), I got bogged down in t-shirts with GI Joe, Transformers, and Batman scenes on the front. I think I ended up buying him pajamas. Go figure.

     Also on my list was a wallet for grandson #1. I knew that buying a little boy ,who will be in kindergarten , a wallet was kicking the parental ant bed. 

     Picturing him pulling out his wallet with money in it that I gave him, made the risk worth his parent’s displeasure.  Unfortunately there were no children’s wallets.

     At least it wasn’t tax free weekend. I am now off to TJ Maxx to look some more.  This time I may buy size 6.

PS.  I blame my lack of confidence in knowing what is cool or not on my adult daughters.  You can just hear “No ,Mother” or “Keep walking Mother” so many times while out shopping , before you are completely demoralized. It is all their fault. Now that I have a rationale for all of this,  I am off to buy more clothes that need to be returned.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why Didn’t I Think of That?


I left the movie theater , like so many of you, inspired and smiling at the chameleon talent of Meryl Streep/Julia Child, the wonderful world of daily blogging, the frustrations and joy of the ‘servantless ‘ cook Julie Powell/Amy Adams, and how food really does mean love.

Growing up in South Texas, the love I felt via home cooking came my way from the kitchens of my mother, my grandmothers, and later my friends’ home cooking.

I love a good recipe, I love family food, and I love blogging- so why didn’t I think of preparing one of Julia Child’s recipes each day and blogging about it?

About a month ago I realized, when my daughters gave me a copy of the book to read, long before I saw the film, that I own two of Julia Child’s cookbooks.

Something about the description in Julie Powell’s book about the cookbook’s cover had me wandering around the house asking, “Where have I seen that book?”

While in the laundry room, where a large stash of my cookbooks is stored, I happened to glance up and lo and behold, there sat both volumes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking resting on top of a corner hutch.

Apparently I bought Volumes I and II at the flea market (who knows when), and I was using them- not for their French culinary secrets- but rather as props.



Regardless, I thought , as I imagined cooking from these cookbooks on a daily, weekly, monthly, or more realistically, a quarterly basis, “It could happen.”

Like so many things, it just takes a Day I. I have had a great deal of experience with Day I’s. Those are the days that are supposed to be the first day of the rest of your life, starting Monday, and so on.

So, why didn’t I think of that?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ruby Tuesday


Mosaic Foot StoolRuby Tuesday 2

Ruby Tuesday 3

A sampling of my red glass collection

On another hot day in South Texas, after training mentor teachers today, it’s nice to relax, take a few photos of some of my favorite red things, and participate in

Ruby Tuesday.

Check out the most amazing button in my sidebar. When I first saw it, I thought I must have this.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thrifty Blue Mosaic

mosaic monday

In order to participate in several Monday get-togethers , I created a mosaic of blue bargain treasures I have found the past two weekends.

The crystal candlesticks were $2 at the flea market. The center medallion ($4), white cow creamer ($2), and blue and white plaque ($3), all from an antique market in Burnet. The small blue vase was 50 cents from the flea market in my area.

I had so much fun finding these treasures.

Join in the fun at:

The Little Red House for Mosaic Monday,


Smiling Sally for Blue Monday ,


and to see Miss Rhoda’s wonderful finds at Southern Hospitality for Today’s Thrifty Treasures.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We’ll See

Sunday Favorites

Thank you to Chari @ Happy to Design for another Sunday Favorites. This post was written during the spring before the hot weather effected everything.


Dear Daughters,

I hope some day very, very soon you have the time and the space to dig in the dirt. It has become one of the great pleasures of my life. Today I planted tomato plants while country western music played on the radio.

I danced and dug.

I want to be able to say to a friend or neighbor, “Do you need any tomatoes?” I want to be able to make my all time favorite Mills meal of beans, cornbread, and sliced tomatoes.

This old time menu will have a little valley twist to it. We’ll have Dad’s frijoles a la charra instead.


Mr. Segura, the gentleman who remodeled the little house, built me the box. He dropped it off one day as a surprise.

He calls me Maestra (teacher). I like that very, very much.

I wanted to ‘paint the barn’ , as your great-grandmother used to say, so I added this.


This just may work out well.

We’ll see.

Remember when I used to say that to you when you were little ,and you asked if you could do something?100_0558

Have a wonderful week.

Love, Mom


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