Monday, January 31, 2011

Working Class Pyrex and Chocolate Sheet Cake


Text message conversation:

Me to my nephew Trey:  What is your favorite dessert?

Trey:  Chocolate cake.

Me:  I’ll bring one to the game Tuesday.

Trey:  Thank you Aunt Laura.

(I wish I had a room service cart with white linens I could push into the game. 

That would really push the other men in my family-

my husband, my father, and my brother- over some fine edge.

That makes me laugh thinking about it.

Crazy Aunt Laura.)



I used Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe.

It is delicious and absolutely no fail .


During the reading, measuring, and mixing process,

I wished for a miner’s head lamp.

Can you all see clearly when reading a cookbook these days?



                             I then began to day dream about the
sturdiness of working class


I am a proud Pyrex user.

Note to Daughters:  I know so many cooking utensils in

today’s complicated world have become designer in nature,

but that is not your legacy.

So relax, spend less, and let that mumbo jumbo go.

That is not who we are.

PS.  Sift your confectioner’s sugar and Hershey’s cocoa ( the working class cocoa brand).

You will be amazed at the difference.


And finally, I will never forget one of my first

dry’ ingredient baking lessons from my mother:

leveling the flour off the top of the measuring cup with the straight edge of a knife.


Life is good, and I am having fun.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

At Risk List


I have two projects at the top of my list.

Project I

1.  Pull out step ladder that has seen better days.

2.  Ask husband to ‘spot’ me while I am on ladder under outside trellis.

3.  Ignore mumbling sounds from below about projects

during sports events on television.

4.  Grab bougainvillea branches (full of thorns)

and attach them to the trellis above.

5.  Take a break because my arms hurt.

6.  Maintain balance on ladder , ignoring continued mumbling below.

7.  Tie branches to trellis with fishing line to train the


8. While fumbling with thorny branches,

feel suspicious nudge.

Is he trying to push me off the ladder?

9.  Ask spotter husband how it looks.


Project II

1.  Put on gas mask.

2.  Take chemical bleaching concoction I have mixed out to

limestone patio- that has been neglected all winter.

3.  Spray patio.

4.  Enter house and pass out on couch due to fumes.

5.  During hallucinations, hear husband mumbling while watching TV.

6.  Am I back on a ladder?

crushed limestone 007

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sit Here


I followed an urge to sit here today.


As a result,

I was inspired this afternoon,

to look at something from a different perspective.

During the last few days I have walked into this same area of my home

and looked around

trying to decide

what to change.

I was looking for magic.

I was looking for something to fix,

to share,

to include in a post.


The message this afternoon, however,

was different today.

It was

’sit here,

take a closer look-

nothing has changed other than your

attitude about it’.

And so I did.





The bells, the book, the cut glass pieces,

the small bowl,

the lamp,

and the side table

are all flea market finds,

and they have served me



Now I am



Linking to

Debra’s Vintage Inspiration Friday




Monday, January 24, 2011

Basketball, Chicken Pot Pie, and a Pastry Cutter


There is nothing that I enjoy more than taking

my nephew food to enjoy (with his Dad-my brother) after his basketball games.

This season I am off to a late start, but tomorrow night I am making up for lost time.

The absolute most fun of all is taking the unexpected.

Last year for one game it was an entire spiral sliced ham.

Tomorrow night I am taking

Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pie

(which is covered with her Perfect Pie Crust Recipe)

Two bags of Sister Schubert rolls
with two sticks of real butter


a pecan pie from Sweet and Tasty Bakery in McAllen.

I want to knock his socks off.

He knocks mine off every time I watch him play.

I want him to think,

“That crazy Aunt Laura brought a huge chicken pot pie to a basketball game.”

That makes me smile.

To ensure the pie crust is flaky and tastes delicious,

I am using my mother’s cobalt blue pyrex mixing bowl

and her pastry cutter.

Even if it is less than perfect,

it won’t matter.

Aside from the fact that you

could wrap pastry dough around a rock and my family would line up for a piece,

this is all about love

and the quiet way this young man always says,

“Thanks Aunt Laura.”



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Design Attention Deficit Disorder


I used up all of my markers for asking

my adult daughters design questions about my house

long ago.

I can’t understand why they wouldn’t want to

discuss changes I want to make in the study,

a gazillion times,

for over a year?

I woke up one day,

looked around

and thought,

‘I can do better than this.’

The problem is the study contains some of my favorite things.


chinoiserie prints and white wicker






Indonesian silver plate


books and mirrors



blue and white transferware


saltillo tile


framed prints



crown moulding, plantation shutters, and white metal


But it also has this nap haven of a couch

in a soft,soft

very dated

cabbage rose chintz.



And so I have made this more complicated than it is.

The changes I am thinking about are:

gray walls with white moulding

a silver gray velveteen couch

silver leafed mirror

mercury glass lamps

a small crystal chandelier

and a lighter,larger rug

And then I feel overwhelmed…

and I try to call one of my daughters…

to talk about the study…


I am linking to

Metamorphosis Monday.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Messages


This morning while cleaning out a closet,

I found this shell.

My mother gave this to me when I was a little girl.

When I find forgotten treasures in my home,

I see a message.

This message is simple and twofold.


take it down off the shelf-

whatever it is-

both literally and figuratively.

Find it, fix it, enjoy it.


I thought of a few expressions

from important people

in my life.

My husband ( at our daughters’ volleyball games).

“You’re ok.  Nobody’s hurt.”

My dear friend and roommate in college:

Everybody is just doing the best they can.”

My mother:

“I hope your team wins.”

So ,as you make your way into your Wednesday,

may I say

take it down off the shelf-whatever it is

you’re ok, nobody’s hurt

everyone around you is just doing the best they can


I hope your team wins.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Note to Self: What Blogging Will Not Do


Note to Self:

Blogging does wonderful things for the creative soul, the mind, and the heart.

The rewards are wonderful,

but it will not:

*wash dishes, organize a pantry, clear away clutter, or rearrange the garage

*plan menus, go the grocery store, put groceries away, or cook dinner

*write a thank you note, invite a friend to lunch, bake a birthday cake

*plan a project, gather the needed supplies, or  finish a project

*walk for 30 minutes, drink 8 glasses of water, or avoid eating out.

Does this make sense?

How do you manage your blogging ‘time’?

Do you block time for it?


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Wonderful Day


The formula for a wonderful day

for me


rainy, cold weather,


nothing important to do,

phone calls from my girls with

updates on their lives,

Big 12 women’s basketball games

playing on television,


tortilla soup.

Thanks to my friend Mary Jo,

I now know about this.


I bought this jar at HEB in the specialty food section

by the ‘talking chef’.

Mary Jo is one of the best cooks I know,

and this soup starter is wonderful.

I added shredded chicken that I stewed (boiled slowly),

sauteed onions,

frozen whole kernel corn,

and black beans (rinsed and drained).

It was that simple.


I topped each serving with

shredded monterrey jack cheese,

and my all time favorite food,


It was delicious.


I pulled out my talavera soup bowls

from Dolores Hidalgo,

sat in my favorite chair with a blanket and my soup,


I was in heaven.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Orleans: So Mom Can Dance

IMGP1599 Royal Sonesta Hotel Lobby

New Orleans

Christmas 2010

Ever since I ran down the hall each Saturday morning,

after watching  American Bandstand,

to lock myself in my bedroom

to practice all of the latest dance moves

in front of the mirror,

I have loved to dance.

In fact,

I still do.

There is just one problem.

The opportunities to do so

are almost non-existent

in my day to day world

(other than wedding receptions-

where the guests should be a little lower profile).

So traditionally, when schedules permit,

we go to New Orleans after Christmas,

’so mom can dance'.


This morning as I write this,

while drinking my Louisiana Community Club coffee,

(which may be a truth serum!),

I want to say thank you-

*to my husband -

who has never tethered my needs or interests,

who gets it that Motown runs in my veins,


who has always been a willing partner,

in dance

and most of my other adventures,

*to my daughters-


*who don’t roll their eyes

*who have Motown running through their veins

and are

the best


I’ve ever seen.


Monday, January 10, 2011



This is a photo of my father at my nephew’s

(his grandson’s)

basketball game.

This is how he shows he is excited.


This is a photo of my brother at my nephew’s

(his son’s)

basketball game.

This is how he shows he’s excited.

There is no photo of me

because I am

pacing under the bleachers

with my eyes closed

and my fingers in my ears.

Periodically one of them might think to ask,

“Where’s Sis?”

Then they remember.

They’re used to it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Market Days,Reflecting Accurately, and Junk


Pictures from our booth.

One of the things I emphasize in training beginning teachers

is how to

reflect accurately.

This is not an easy task.


What does that have to do with

selling at a local Market Days?

I did some of my own reflecting this weekend,

and this is what I discovered.


I like to sit and watch people.

(You will never find that on a list of successful selling tips.)


I like to sit and watch people while having


little snack…

Although I brought something healthy,

I really wanted a funnel cake…

and a bowl of nachos…

Oh well.

I’ve had my share.


As I’ve shared before,

I am a better shopper than seller,

but this time I held back.


I could write an entire post about

what many people in the outside world

call ‘stuff’.

It is like saying

physician heal thyself’

when you tell someone who likes to explore,

find treasures,

and do something with them

to NOT do that.

If someone in blog land said

‘I love good junk’,

I would nod and say

‘I do too.’

But if someone else said

Why do you like all of that junk?’,

I would have to turn off the

hot lava button in my big toe.

Does this make sense to anyone else?



My mother, who was a great

explorer and finder

(our family words for junking),

always said she regretted getting rid of things,

almost as soon as they’d left.


She was a very smart lady.


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