Monday, August 30, 2010

Turquoise Necklace Giveaway Ends September 1st

This is just a friendly reminder about my turquoise necklace giveaway.

I am still traveling with my husband as his sidekick.
This time we are in New Normal.
Right now as I edit this post, I have cinnamon rolls in the oven at my daughter's house- waiting for my oldest grandson to wake up for school.
You KNOW that makes me happy.
All you have to do is
*Comment on this post and let me know that you are a follower,
*If you would like to participate by becoming a follower of the crazy, straight from the heart ramblings at the core of
White Spray Paint,
please join in.
*If you post about the giveaway , I’ll do some other sort of mathematical wizardry and count you in again. Just let me know.
It is always a new day here!
The giveaway ends September 1st.
I appreciate every single person who stops by here.

I will check all giveaway posts to count entries.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

If We Were Riding in the Car

        If we were riding in the car somewhere and this song came on the radio, I would shout

   “Oh listen!”

This is my new favorite song.

You may recognize it as the music playing during the new Diet Coke commercial.


Promise you will listen till at least 1:25 into the song- then hang on…


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Blogging Photography, Journalism, and Harry Quin


Early on in my coursework as a journalism minor, I learned 2 powerful lessons.

The first dealt with writing the lead of any good story.

The key facts, the important information, are all front loaded so that it sort of tumbles out and reaches a calm end.

This makes for one of those impressive run-on sentences that tells you the whole story- right up front.

Some would say the purpose for this is to accurately inform the reader as quickly as you can because chances are, they are not going to read to the end.

What a shame.

(Please keep reading!)

In any event, I love writing leads.

They are what I like to call dice throwing sentences.


The second journalistic experience I had that was life changing was Harry Quin’s photography class, my senior year in college.

Mr. Quinn required us to complete a photo essay for our semester project, and we had to develop our own film, from a 35mm camera, in a darkroom.

I was terrified and exhilarated all at the same time.

There was something so down to earth, so demanding and exacting about Harry Quin, I didn’t want to disappoint him.

It occurs to me as I write this that his personality modeled what is the best of journalism-

the down to earth-the demand for high standards-and the unadorned.

Several years later I realized the magical mystery tour God had me on when I visited a church that would later become my church home, and lo and behold, there was Harry Quin and his wife Betsy.

In describing them, Pillars of the Church does not suffice.

Pillars of the Earth does.


And so , back to my current world of photography and blogging.

The photo above ( that you saw earlier this past week) is the top of this.


This ability, regardless of how simplistic, is so much fun for me.

I have a Canon Xsi and 3 lenses:

Canon 18-55 mm lens

(the stock lens that came with the camera)

Canon 55-250 mm lens

(that I purchased during my nephew’s basketball season- I should have purchased Scott Kelby’s book on photography first, and I would have realized my folly in trying to shoot live sports shots in a gym- I did however learn one important tip-

if you know where the athlete is headed- ie. the basket- aim there and wait)

and a

Sigma 17-70 mm lens

(that Kat from Low Tide High Style recommended to me)

I would also like to recommend the following as something new bloggers might want to try.

You DO NOT have to have a huge camera.

Just post larger sizes of your photos and


Larger photos make the viewing experience so much easier for the reading glasses ‘set’.

I use Windows Live Writer instead of Blogger,

and I use Picasa as my photo editing program.

All of these are free.

I never use flash, and I get as close as I can.

Every blogger handles their photos differently.

Right now my focus is on clean, accurate photos,sharp images (nowhere near tack sharp yet),

and clear color- all without too much editing or accessorizing.

It’s a blast!

Oh- and I ask other

blogger/photographers a lot of questions.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talking Across Texas


I have been my husband’s traveling sidekick since this past Tuesday.

For the last two days we have been in a small South Texas town that is currently experiencing an oil boom.

(there is a post brewing in my thinking on this topic, but that is for another day)

So, left to my own devices, while my husband and his colleagues took care of business obligations, I explored , sat in a window booth at a local restaurant multiple times, drove to another town 40 miles away to explore some more, and read James Lee Burke’s latest Dave Robicheaux novel titled The Glass Rainbow.

While sitting in my booth one day at lunch, as my friend JB would say,

I got into

some more of my business”

which translates to

NONE of my business.

I couldn’t help myself.

It is that edifying compulsion.

Later, after I told my husband what I had done,he said I should have my own radio show, offering advice to all who call in,


Talking Across Texas.

Call in folks! You didn’t know you needed advice, but Laura’s in the house, and


This is what I did…

I noticed the attire of the three young waitresses in the restaurant as well as the predominantly male clientele.

I also noticed a little too much familiarity.

From my stake-out position, I observed this on multiple occasions.

I made my decision.


I may as well have changed clothes in a phone booth- from my cropped pants and Yellowbox jeweled flip flops to

my Superwoman alias stern faced English teacher voice of doom persona.


I motioned for the waitress assigned to my booth to come over-


Me:  (smiling) Hi.

You’re doing a great job.

How old are you?

Her Answer:  22

Me:  That’s wonderful- you have so much to look forward to- what are your plans?

Her Answer:  Nothing right now.

Me:  Well, you have your whole life ahead of you, and there are all sorts of ways to get an education, and you have choices.

Her Answer:  Really?

Me:  Yes of course- you can do it- but I am VERY worried about something and as the mother of 3 adult daughters I feel like I need to say this. 

This restaurant is filled with men of all ages all day long and there is too much flirting going on. It can create false impressions.

You need to be careful.

Promise me you will be careful.

Tell the other girls too. Do your job, smile, and save your tips so when those choices come along you are ready.


Answer:  Yes m’am.


I ALMOST said something to the owner who was sitting at the cash register about looking out for these young women throughout the day,

but I didn’t.


Call 1-800-Talking Across Texas

with Laura…

My daughters are saying- right this minute-

Welcome to my World!”





e r

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Gift


The gift that I want to give, more than ever at this time of my life , is the gift of






I say this not because I need it returned, but rather  because it is freeing.

How does it sound?

What does it look like?

In no particular order…

you look great’

that looks amazing’

‘I love your house’

that means so much to me’

you are so talented’

that is so smart’

I could not have done it without your help’

I enjoy your blog so much’

thank you for your friendship’

Out of context, these statements sound gratuitous.


It doesn’t matter ‘how’ they sound.

It just matters that I say them.


I am linking to Emily’s

Chatting at the Sky

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear First Grade Teacher

 (This is a modified re-post of what I wrote last year at this time.)

Dear First Grade Teacher,

     Monday, August 23rd, will be a big day for you because that is the day you will meet my grandson Harrison.  

He will be excited to meet you, as will his mother.  

     I know this because I took her to school on her first day of school.
It is now her glorious, wonderful turn. Thank you God for ongoing, inherited, ancestral blessings.

     There are a few things that I would like you to know.

*He is very, very smart. 
This is not bias. This is fact.  By knowing this ahead of time, you will be able to enjoy it when he says “well, actually...”  
This usually prefaces a very polite correction.

Enjoy it. It can be great fun waiting to see where his thinking will lead. As adults we don’t always have to be right, do we? 

The smartest teachers I know, and I know quite a few, actually enjoy it when their students are right.  Just something to think about. 

One of my favorite teaching memories occurred when one of my high school students said,"No, that’s not right either”, after I answered one of his questions. 
That makes me  laugh thinking about it. 

I hope you are laughing reading about it.  

You are, aren’t you?

*He is very kind and generous.  He enjoys the company of others , and he will never intentionally hurt another’s feelings. His nature is inclusive, not exclusive.
He enjoys order, and he will follow the rules. 

You know there is a difference between a rule and a procedure.  Procedures are the way to go; they make all the cylinders click in a classroom. 
Rules are all after the fact and punitive. Rules become abstract- procedures build self-discipline. Again…just a thought.

*He is great with his hands, and he is very analytical- which we both know is a powerful combination.  He can take an advanced Star Wars Legos kit, labeled far beyond his age, study the illustrations, and assemble it completely- all without reading the instructions.
He also has a large collection of Pokemon cards, and his knowledge of various Animal Planet series will help you teach your other students about animals- especially your lessons on fish and the occasional river monster. 
I hope you will ask him about these hobbies and interests.

*He loves to fish with his Dad and his younger brother.  
He goes fishing often.  If he wants to talk to you or his classmates about his fishing experiences and prowess, please let him do so.
He DOES NOT exaggerate.  He ALWAYS tells the truth.

*He is an 'old soul' of the best kind. Allow that to grow unfettered. You will be amazed if you do.

     Oh- and one last thing.  
His mother and I like to ask questions.
You know- the usual-
“How was your day?” “Who did you sit by during lunch?” “Did you enjoy your lunch?” “Who did you play with on the playground today?”
     Please encourage all of your students to answer their mother’s and grandmother’s questions cheerfully.  That is such an important life skill, don’t you think?

     Good luck.  You are in for the greatest teaching year of your life.
                                        Ma- Do

PS.   Let me know if you need anything.  I am just seven hours away, and I can be there at a moment’s notice.
PSS. He gave me my grandmother name, and I will treasure it always.  In case you need to know, it is pronounced Ma (short a sound) and Do (long o sound- as in Just Do It!) His little brother calls me Do. 

I treasure that too.  Wait till you meet him!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dear Daughters: Dad, His Parrilla, and Saturday Afternoon


Dear Daughters:

Remember Dad’s parrilla (grill) that I had built for him last summer?


This afternoon after we worked on different projects (he said I needed to stop thinking of projects),

he grilled chicken, ribs, and sausage-

just a little of each- for the two of us.


And because I asked him to, he made a pot of beans.

His one stipulation?

He needed to watch Dallas play at 7:00 pm.

So we sat outside – even though it was hot, and I brought this out of my garden shed.


My IPod was playing,

Dad was saying

Turn it up,”

and all was right in my world.

I really am a woman of simple needs.

I just have complicated thoughts!



It may not make sense now, but a time really does come when you are still 18 years old in a much older body.

That is why when the song you are hearing right now started to play,

I started to dance on the crushed limestone patio with my garden hat on .

My 18 year old inner child was saying

Woo Hoo.

Dad understands.

I hope you always have someone in your life who understands that you will always be 18.

Love, Mom

Have a great weekend!



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Wonderful Blog and a House: ranch dressing


Several months ago, at what should have been bedtime, I found a blog, and I was so floored by the house, and the sort of “hey” (insert finger snapping) personality of its owner, I stayed up for hours reading and nodding YES.

This is my house.

This is what I want to see when I look around my house.

This is the kind of house my girls like.

This is the kind of house my mother liked.

This is Dana’s house-

as illustrated in her wonderful blog

ranch dressing.




I thought , as I read, ‘she’s got the touch’,

a term my girls and I use to describe what someone has done to their home, when we really, really like it.

And finally, Dana is a pleasure.

Go see her blog right away.


What do I see that I speaks to me?


blue and white

the entry hall wall color

the balance and symmetry in the lamps and the corresponding prints

the fact that this house makes me want to read a book or take a nap

the traditional lines, with a kick

the leopard print pillow

the high and the low

the low slung ranch structure of it all (I live in its twin)

the interesting lamp shades

IMG_6388 IMG_5683


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Taking a Second Look


This afternoon, while making King Ranch Chicken, my eye was caught by what I saw the second time I looked.

In taking a closer look, I was reminded of something important about the things I love that are in my home.

This white ceramic charger is a favorite, but it is the edging that really makes me smile.

I noticed that again when I looked closer.


On the same dining table , this iron pedestal tray holding my Spode bread box, is another favorite.

I began to look closer.


And so I made a little vuelta (round) around my house,

taking a second look,

looking a little closer,

and thinking about the process and the method and how looking at something all at once doesn’t always


the process in creating it.



Things are rarely what they seem.

This sculpture-to my eye- is about pulling pink tights on 3 little girls with chubby legs and brushing out tangles and putting giant bows in their hair, to take them to dancing lessons at Melba’s, year after year.


My milk glass collection has a story too long to tell, but it is its carved detail that tells the real story.


As does the cutwork on an old headboard in the guest room, or the fretwork in a mantel piece, or the simplicity of a spray painted basket.







I am linking to White Wednesday. Thank you Kathleen.



Don’t forget about the giveaway.


Just click to enter.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Turquoise Necklace Giveaway and Texas Blogging Gals

Texas Blogging Gals

I am excited to be participating in a giveaway at Texas Blogging Gals to celebrate the 400 Texas bloggers who have joined Diana’s wonderful blog.

She has dedicated so much time and effort in organizing us all so that we can find each other.


Texas Blogging Gals today to read the details and guidelines for entering. Four Texas bloggers are offering giveaway items.

Mine is a turquoise necklace.

(Make sure you keep reading!)



Because I couldn’t stand it, and because it seems like the thing to do…

I am offering this same necklace as a giveaway on my blog as well.


All you have to do is

*Comment on this post and let me know that you are a follower,


*If you would like to participate by becoming a follower of the crazy, straight from the heart ramblings at the core of White Spray Paint, please join in.


*If you post about the giveaway , I’ll do some other sort of mathematical wizardry and count you in again. Just let me know.

It is always a new day here!

The giveaway ends September 1st.



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Bedazzling


At every special opportunity this summer, I have worn my new favorite forms of bedazzling.


It is a testament to my version of the expression Less is More- which should read-

More is More.

So sparkle was my friend at summer weddings, showers, and dinners.



And even though this straw clutch wasn’t bedazzled, it was the perfect choice with all of my white linen.

Bedazzling True Confession Quiz:

Who owns a bedazzler?

Who owned a Collins bag?

Who owned a  jeweled t-shirt?


Monday, August 9, 2010

Leading the Band


This afternoon, after a day of training teachers, I decided to sit outside on the patio behind the little house, to drink iced tea  and to write in my black journal.

I love the color of the new bougainvillea I bought this past weekend.

It is the hottest of pinks, and I like the way it looks against the crushed limestone. .


  So as I pondered and wrote, I began to wonder when the high school band would start summer band practice.

For you see, when the band plays, or the football announcer announces, I can hear it in our backyard, and I am in heaven. 


That made me think about growing up in the country- on a ranch- far, far from town.

One of my favorite fantasies involved marching around our yard, twirling my baton, blowing my whistle , and giving orders to my imaginary band mates.

It was so much fun.

It was either that or pretending I was in the spotlight dance on American Bandstand (in my lavender bedroom with the lavender carpet) staring in the mirror.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Franciscan Renaissance : My History


My relationship with Franciscan Renaissance began in the early 70’s, and it has never ended.

First I fell for Platinum Renaissance.

And because my husband could somehow see down the road of my collecting nature, and even though we were only in our 20s and did not have china in our budget (that’s an understatement), when the small gift shop in Falfurrias, Texas called to say it was being discontinued, he agreed that we should get 12 place settings.


Notes about china to young brides, according to Laura:

*select something beautiful that you love that your family and friends can buy without hyperventilating (you can buy your own sheets and towels and other disposable items that only have a brief life anyway)

*avoid china serving pieces- cut glass and crystal serving pieces look beautiful with everything – whereas china serving pieces are wildly expensive and may even someday ‘date’ your china

*my version of a place setting in those days was more streamlined- it was the dinner plate, the salad plate, and the cup and saucer (my family was never going to eat cereal, ice cream, watermelon, chili, or vegetable soup out of a small china bowl)


Years later I discovered Franciscan Grey Renaissance. It had a gold rim. Oh my.


Because this discovery happened during the good old days of Ebay, when you really could treasure hunt and not spend Replacements’ prices, my quest began.

My youngest daughter discovered the third pattern in this amazing line which is Gold Renaissance.

This one was VERY HARD for me.  I collected this for her, again with Ebay’s help,  without getting it for myself.

That is a big step in china collecting growth.

(Although it is still at my house…  I am holding it hostage.)



I linked to the wonderful Silver Sunday.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Getting Ready: School Is Startng


The time I spent this afternoon in my office was glorious.

It was a bookend to a day where I had visited with all three daughters, it was a productive day, and it was a day of getting ready.

This room became ‘my office’ after many years of being claimed by one of our girls.

The ‘getting ready’ is my default setting after many years of teaching and now working with new teachers.


Tomorrow I will meet my new interns for the first time.

I can’t wait.

I have so much I want to say to them.

So this afternoon I worked on getting ‘my nest made’.


My materials are organized, and seeing everything in its place makes me feel calm.


I like the robin’s egg blue, white, and black.


There is a great place to take a nap, if you need one.

This bed was used by all of our girls.


In my mother’s imagination and sentimental heart, these worn places may have been made by them getting ready too.


I use plates in every room.


I have my supplies ready. There is nothing better, in my book, than the feel of a black Bic pen.




My inspiration board is right above my desk, topped by my favorite saying.


And now I am off to pick out what I am going to wear.

Remember doing that?




I am linking to:




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