Saturday, January 30, 2010

Silver Sunday V : Chafing Dishes Revisited


        My fixation on chafing dishes was fueled by reading three of Julia Reed’s books: Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena, The House on First Street, and Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (with recipes).

        If you have read any of her books or essays on southern living and entertaining, you will understand.

        Plus chafing dishes are pretty, treasure-filled  when used, and evidence of family/friend shared recipes and cooking.

        This is proof.



        The only time in chafing dish history where we may have gotten a little confused was during the 70’s and the era of fondue.

        Although fun, the idea of dipping our food INTO a common serving dish, rather than taking it OUT, was interesting.

        I am not a purist, and I will never make this.


        However I have served artichoke dip, scalloped pineapple, broccoli cheese dip, and multiple cream cheese concoctions- all in shiny, silver serving pieces and chafing dishes.


     I just love them so.

     I know… Little House on the Prairie one day and silver chafing dishes the next…

     It’s just the way my mind works.

      Go visit other Silver Sunday samples at the wonderful Gypsyfish Journal.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Little House on the Prairie Fantasy



        Writer’s block wakes up all sorts of thinking that often represents the real me and even the real longings of my heart.

        Why would Little House on the Prairie trigger such a heart fantasy? 

        Because deep down inside there is a part of me that wants to:

*  find a small piece of land somewhere

*  build a small frame house on this land

*  walk to a creek on this land and sit and stick my hands and feet into the water

*  go to town and stock up on monthly supplies

*  stock a pantry with staples like flour and sugar and shortening and salt without fear of falling off some diet wagon

*  work physically on this land until my neck sweats

*  sit on the porch of my little house ,and when I am not reading books that I got when I went to town and stocked up, I will shell peas 

*  use chipped floral china, have white scratchy clean sheets (from hanging on the line to dry), and place wildflowers in a jelly jar on my old kitchen table 


*  write letters using a fountain pen.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Garden Denial, An Amends, and a List


        I have blinders on . I have been avoiding all peripheral and direct views of my yard since late November.

        I know. That is wrong on so many levels.  After all, my yard stood by me in 110 degree heat last year.

        I need to stop acting like we have never met!

        I can imagine the mumblings-

Plants: Why won’t she look at us? We are trying so hard and are sooo tired.

        This is a photograph of my esperanza plant, which is right outside my front door. Charming, right?

        So this morning I decided to look, make amends, and make a list.


*  Plan clean up in February – after the last chance of colder weather.

*  Trim rose bushes back in February and give them a good feeding. My friend Aissa, who is an extraordinary gardener , said she does this every February, and it makes a huge difference.

*  Continue to stock up on peachy pink caladium bulbs.  I am going to outline all of my flower beds with caladiums to continue my color scheme of: peachy pink, pink, and yellow.  The pinks are from caladiums, begonias, and the colors in my crotons.  The yellows are from my crotons and my esperanza plants.

*  Plan my  front yard flower bed along the fence line.  This will be a huge task.

*  Doll up the area in front of my garden shed.

*  Paint the stenciled rug in my garden shed.

*  Add repaired and new fencing to my wish list ($). I have tried to convince my husband that we could do it ourselves- even with his bad shoulder.  His response?  Eye rolling and this comment:

Now don’t get yourself all stirred up.”

*  Plan my zinnia bed. I want a cutting garden.

*  Plant tomato plants.  I am still undecided about this.

        But first things first.  This morning I have some apologies to make. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Visit Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer for more gardening hopes and dreams.

outdoor wednesday


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Laredo’s KHOY 88.1

Catholic Radio

        When driving through, in, and around Laredo, I like to turn my radio dial to KHOY 88.1.

        Why? Because as an easy listening radio station, sponsored by the Catholic church, the benefits are endless- and indeed heavenly.

        Every soothing, relaxing song you could ever imagine is played on this station, all without interruptions or commercials.

        All without one or two interruptions, that is.

        Throughout the day, at designated times, Catholic prayers are recited and personal stories of triumph and spiritual recovery are shared.

        The term catholic, after all, does mean universal, and as an Episcopalian my liturgy of choice votes for that.

        And what about road rage?  For those listening to this station while driving, it would be impossible to act in anger and frustration when a voice, speaking through your car speakers, quietly and reverently says,

Gracias a Dios”.

(Thank you God).


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Silver Sunday IV


        I know that you- like me- have all rounded a corner, wherever you are exploring, and honed in on a box of something that seemed too good to be true.

        It is the unexpected perfect storm- the SOLD feeling in junking and thrifting- what I call EXPLORING- that matches wonderful with quantity with ‘I can’t believe the price’ with the amount of cash in the pocket.

        The flea market I frequent did just that one weekend about 2 years ago.  Boxes (I bought 3) of mismatched, tarnished silverplate, all for $80.

        And so my treasures sat, until I began the process of going through the boxes and pulling out what I wanted to clean first.

         Those boxes produced most of this.



        This pattern is one of my favorites.


        But then so is this.


        But then I also like this (and these, and these…).



        I have a real fixation on bread and butter knives, completely unrelated to the fact that I enjoy bread and butter. That is NOT a good fixation.


        And then there are teaspoons. I have a real respect for teaspoons- the workhorse of all flatware.

        But then I love salad forks- and serving pieces.


        I mean who thought of creating slots in this spoon in the shape of a flower?

        Sigh…I give up.

Go see Beth at Gypsyfish Journal for more Silver Sunday treasures.  Thank you Beth.



Friday, January 22, 2010

Exploring Laredo Part I


        On my way into Laredo Tuesday, I made a planned stop at La India Spice Company- one of my favorite places to visit.


        This tiny little storefront produces wonderful, authentic Mexican spices. I bought several things.

        While in the shop I had a chance to look at some of the local art work displayed on the walls.


        I loved this bench that was by the front door.


        And these are the spices I bought.




        And my favorite- for no other reason than the packaging-



        And if you have been using a piloncillo mold as a candle holder, this is its original purpose.


          to form sugar.

And finally, I love the Spanish names for these spices.



Visit Designs by Gollum for more Foodie Friday entries.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I am headed to Laredo Tuesday to train mentor teachers for Laredo ISD.

Laredo is one of my favorite places to work.

Why?  Because the exploring is great, the teachers are gracious, and-

They doll up.

That makes it especially fun.

I plan to follow their lead.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Slinging: Football Version

 IMGP1082        When my brother-in-law called to see if he could come over and watch Dallas play Sunday afternoon (2 hours before kick-off), an adrenalin rush surged through me that doesn’t often visit on Sundays.

        Not, you see, because my brother-in-law was coming, but rather because his wife was too.

        I admit it. I don’t entertain to impress men.  There I said it.  I want my home at its best because another woman/or women are coming for a visit.

        My dear friend JB and I call this moving into action slinging. 

        This goes back to our junior service league days when JB convinced her motley food committee in our small town membership that yes- we really could prepare brownies in the shape of Texas for our annual style show and luncheon.

        Meanwhile I was choreographing dance moves for a second  crew of members to move gracefully down the catwalk ,modeling local clothing stores’ newest fashions, all while keeping the beat AND a straight face.

        Having the beat became as important as, say, getting your children immunized.

        In retrospect, this time in our lives- because we did it multiple years- could have been a made for television movie.

        I know that JB would agree; we were stressed, and we had a BLAST.

        By necessity, we HAD to sling.  After all we both worked, had children, and were slightly crazy.  Our children also modeled in the show.

        So my slinging for football Sunday produced this.

        I started with the requisite chili con queso.


        I then dug in my pantry and found a package of cornbread mix.  I modified the recipe by adding a can of corn, some grated cheese and about 3 tablespoons of melted butter.


        In the refrigerator I found some links of polish sausage that I sliced, browned in my cast iron skillet, and drizzled with BBQ sauce.


I had one semi ripe avocado that I sliced and sprinkled with garlic salt.


        I also had a container of pico de gallo and a sack of chips that I opened.


        We have two steaks in the refrigerator that my husband will cook and slice thin.  I will then serve the steak in fresh corn tortillas that I bought yesterday at the tortilleria when I went to the vegetable co-op.

        Topped with pico de gallo and avocado slices, it should taste great.

        That’s my Sunday afternoon adrenalin rush.


Silver Sunday III Odds and Ends


        Did I plan to show everyone parts of my hall bath for Silver Sunday? No, but here is why I am.


        The walls are painted a charcoal metallic silver.  (Ralph Lauren paint)



        This is just another example,a little off the beaten path, from my quirky house that I love. I also like to use silver plate pieces from India. I like sparkle.


        And finally, two of my favorite pieces: a heart box that is in my study, and a vase that I use often in my living room.



        Go to the wonderful Gypsy Fish for other Silver Sunday examples.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Favorites Part I

Disclaimer:  I would never create a list of favorites assuming anyone would be interested or follow my advice.

Time Out:  How about that for a statement of LOW EXPECTATIONs.

Which leads to…

Favorite Movie Line I Can’t Remember:  Julia Roberts in Something to Talk About, sitting in a kitchen with her date , saying something about being raised to have low expectations.

Favorite Movie Dancing Scene:  Harry Connick, Jr. and Sandra Bullock dancing in Hope Floats

Favorite Eye Makeup Trick for Drooping Eyelids:  Use charcoal eye shadow and apply it from the lash line to above the crease

Favorite Teaching Expression: “Snap out of it!”

Favorite Place to Not Spend Money:  the public library, except for the fines

Favorite Thing to Say to Daughters After Sizing Up a Store or Booth at a Flea Market:  Vamanos

Favorite High School Perfume:  Fame by Corday

Favorite Expression for Looking for Treasures: Exploring

Favorite Winter Clothing Color:  Black

Favorite Summer Clothing Color:  White

Favorite High School Beauty Tool That I Want To Try Again:  False Eyelashes

Favorite High School Eyeliner:  Cake

Favorite Current Eyeliner: Chanel Aqua Crayon

Favorite High School Handbag:  Anything From the King Ranch Saddle Shop

Favorite Current Bag: Anything in Red Leather That is On Sale 

Favorite Notebook Paper:  Wide-ruled




Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday


        When I visited Rhondi’s blog Rose Colored Glasses this afternoon, and I saw she was hosting Thankful Thursday, I thought-

I want to do that.

No- I NEED to do that.

In no particular order:

*I am thankful for grace.

pictures 141

*I am thankful for my husband, daughters,grandsons, son-in-law, face-to-face friends, and blog friends.

*I am thankful these special people ALL GET IT- whatever IT happens to be.

*I am thankful that I can read and write.

*I am thankful for words and how they can be arranged and switched and how we are all using the same words DIFFERENTLY.

*I am thankful for my home- not because of its appearance , but because  I believe it has a heart. It is welcoming and relaxing , it never judges, and it has HEARD IT ALL and still opens its doors daily.

*I am grateful my home was across the street from where I taught and that my teacher friends could walk over every December for my annual Christmas party.

When I am away from it, I crave it. Although the axiom, ‘when you are in get out, and when you are out  get in’, can apply to easing the anxiousness we all sometimes feel, I prefer IN.

That works every time.

*Finally, I am grateful that this list could go on forever, that I have a chicken stewing in my new red cast iron pot, and a new book to read.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Red Yarn and Note to Daughters

IMGP1055 (2)

        There is nothing like a pile of yarn to create a sense of expectation.

        It took me a while, but I think I now have enough skeins to start my afghan.

         Why?  Because I didn’t realize this.


        No dye lot?  When did that happen?  Apparently during the last 15 plus years that crocheting was not on my TO DO list.

        Note to Daughters:  A To Do list can rob your soul. At the very least it creates a hurried memory loss about the joy givers in your life. Crocheting does not have to be on your list, but figure out what is.

        Note to Daughters , Part II: You can ‘work outside the home’ and still have soul feeders on your list, with one caveat.

Don’t measure your raising children, crocheting, cooking, tending, gardening, reading, Christmas decorating , and cleaning by anyone else.


        I bought this plastic container of knitting needles at the flea market a few years back.  The container even has a top which is attached with string.

I love things like this.

        This testament to one woman’s (the previous owner’s) ingenuity is my kind of feminine, cultural icon.

        Apparently knitting was on her list.


I am linking to Rednesday Wednesday at


Monday, January 11, 2010

I Have Questions

question mark

        I have questions, and I know you have answers.

*  If a gracious blogger signs on as a follower on your blog, and she doesn’t list her blog’s name in her profile or her email address, how do you contact her to say thank you?

*  How do you organize your photos that are on your hard drive?

*  Do you save your photos on an external hard drive?

*  Do you print your pictures periodically?

*  Has anyone ever spray painted an installed light fixture – as in mid air- because you don’t want to remove it? This would involve a step ladder, spray paint, and some sort of tenting…

*  What is Blissdom? I know it isn’t a ‘kingdom of bliss’, even though that sounds wonderful…

*  When you are taking a photo of a shiny object , how do you keep your reflection holding the camera out of the picture?  Do you hide?

*  Do you ever hide?

*  Do you just ignore your garden in the winter?

*  Does anyone remember that (crazy) book Total Woman?

*  Does anyone remember that (crazy) book Stop the Insanity?

*  Does anyone just want to dance?

*  Why can’t there be a once a year blog reunion, with lots of covered dishes and baked goods for sampling, and a Motown live band at night?

If you have time and are willing, I am really interested in your answers to any of these questions.






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