Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thread of Life


There is a thread in my life

that seams together

the simple things-

the simple joys of life-

such as my nephew’s basketball games,


and family and friends.

When it dawns on me that ‘that’ thread is surfacing,

there is no other word for it…

I get to feel


Last year it looked like this.

My nephew’s play-off game was against Burton where

my daughters and I had a wonderful breakfast and fun at a few garage sales on our way to Warrenton

the previous year.


Daughter #3 in Warrenton after stopping in Burton

I wrote about that here.


This year it looks like this.


At a play-off basketball game Tuesday night-

where I spent most of the fourth quarter in the hallway pressing

cold Ozarka water bottles, purchased at the Poteet High School concession stand,

to my RED cheeks and wild eyed anxiety,

the thread surfaced again.

When my nephew was benched for foul trouble ,

my father (his grandfather) who is in his 80’s,

who was sitting right behind the bench,

leaned down,

tapped his grandson on the shoulder and said,

“Gimme your shoes.  I’ll finish it for you."


They will be playing Calvert on Friday.

About 15 years ago, while at A&M for a Thanksgiving football game,

I went to Calvert looking for treasures,

and I found these.


I used them recently at a birthday club dinner

at my friend Anna’s house.

In taking the photo of the bowls,

I noticed this on the same counter.


Anna gave me this cookbook.

It is all seamed together in the simplest way.

I’ll be taking off early enough for the game to do some junking in Floresville,

Stockdale, Seguin, La Vernia, and Geronimo.

As my father of few priceless words said,

There’s a lot of old stuff up around there.’

I am looking for more threads.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Does Anyone Else Water Like This?


Does anyone else water like this?

This is what I meant when I said that we purchased a water ticket, and

the canal rider was going to turn on the valve.

We purchased 3 hours of water for $17.00.


I cast fertilizer while walking around in my baby blue rubber boots.

I asked my father if it was a good idea and in his simple way he said,

“It can’t hurt.”


It is exhilarating for me.

It makes me feel like the farmer/rancher’s daughter that I am.

In gardening, there is nothing I like to say more than

“I need to go water.”

It means

I am on the move,

doing the next right thing,

tending to something in my care,

doing the best I can.

It is so satisfying.

Note to daughters:  Regardless of where you live, buy a hose.

It is wonderful therapy.


It can get a little dicey…

especially when the water covers the front porch.


When the three hours is up, the canal rider turns off the water, and within an hour,

most of the water has been absorbed.


My gardening list is growing.

I pruned my roses and fed them today.

photos 266

I am planning a new bed with a limestone border behind the little house.

photos 270

And I am off to find tomato plants later this week.



I received a wonderful, concerned email from Kim at Happiness Farms

regarding my refrigerated caladium bulbs,

which was a terrible idea on my part.

After an exchange of emails from an expert, I will be buying all

of my caladium bulbs from her in the future.

Do not put bulbs in the refrigerator.

Isn’t Happiness Farm a wonderful name?

Saturday, February 19, 2011



This week my winter hibernating ends.

There is work to do-

in all of the usual places:

my garden, my closets, my garage, and even in my car.

Work is an interesting thing.

It creates itself.

At least it does for me.

I work by working-

not by thinking about working.

Does that make sense to anyone?

Just as creating breeds creativity,
working creates work.

So I am coming out of my snug , winter cave.

*The water ticket has been purchased.

*The bonnet for the irrigation valve is ready.

*I am going to cast fertilizer before the water is turned on.

*Our grass will get a ‘good watering’ as my mother would say.

*I am going to walk my yard in my baby blue rubber boots, with water swirling all around.

*I am going to work.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

An Apology to My Plants


Oh dear.

Just a few weeks ago,

this bougainvillea looked like this.


I feel guilty.

I should have done more

to protect my plants.

I lost my gardening focus.

Instead, I was enjoying delicious bowls of chili,

and a blanket, and my laptop

by a wonderful fire in the fireplace.



As my father would say,

my yard looks like it was

ridden hard and put up wet’.

This is what I need to do.

1.  Go to the water district office and buy a water ticket to irrigate.

2. Fill bags and bags and bags of leaves and other debris .

3.  Pry my caladium bulbs out of the refrigerator in the little house,

where I am sure they have sprouted and attached themselves to

the Diet Cokes.

4.Plant them asap, even though the timing is wrong.

5.  Smile and talk to my plants and say how very sorry I am…



Monday, February 14, 2011

Ranch Recipe #2 Corn Salad

I have officially given this recipe
Ranch Recipe
This dish may not have been ‘there’,
(‘there’ defined as my parents’ patio,
under a grapevine arbor my father welded
out of pipe,
covered in lush grapevine to ward
off the hot South Texas sun,
or as a delicious by-product of my mother’s kitchen,
during the 60’s and 70’s),
but it could have been.
It would have fit in perfectly.
High praise indeed.
Side dishes on my mother’s menu
had to have a little sass,
a la Jalapeno Cheese Rice,
and the ability to stand up to

print recipe
Corn Salad
My Mother's recipe
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn - drained
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • chopped red pepper
  • chopped green pepper
  • medium size bag chili cheese Fritos
Mix together and serve with chili cheese fritos

To set the stage even further,
follow the entertaining doctrine of my parents:
1.  If you take a bottle to someone’s house, leave it.
2.  Offer to bring something, but know you
will graciously be told ‘no thank you’.
Besides.. you will have your turn to shine in the kitchen for the next get-together soon enough.
3.  Allow your children to run around and play in the yard and fall asleep
in the back seat on the drive home.
4.  Play great music on the stereo.
5.  Walk people to their car when your guests begin to leave.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Faux Twitter: Goldfish

(Babysitting Grandsons)


2:00 pm    Decided to drive to WalMart to purchase goldfish for my grandsons as a reward for

good grades (my oldest grandson) and good behavior (my youngest grandson).



2:10 pm    Moved car seat from one car to another.

2:20 pm    Decided it was a cruel and unfair intelligence test.

2:25 pm    Decided to sing songs in car. Began singing Old McDonald.

2:30 pm    Looked in rear view mirror. Grandson had hands over his ears.

2:35 pm    Switched to phonics lesson.

Me: fi-fi-fi-fish.

Grandson:  fi-fi-fi- BISH.

2:45 pm    Pulled into WalMart parking lot.

Realized (too late) that the day before Valentine’s Day is not a good day to buy fish.

3:00 pm   Asked Grandson if he wanted to buy Valentine cards.

He said  “YES.   I LUB Mama, and You, and Nona, and the Tias, and Milo (daughter’s pug).”

I became energized and determined.  

I would NOT fail. Off to the fish we went.

3:15 pm  Wal Mart fish person ‘fishes’ out three tiny goldfish and bags them.

3:16 pm   Slight meltdown when grandson says ‘No not those- I want THOSE.’

3:30 pm   Arrive at register.  Place bag of fish on conveyer belt.

3:35 pm    Pay and turn to leave.

Checker panics and says “M’am!”

“Hold the bag of fish above your head. If they go through the scanner at the exit , it will kill them!”

3:36 pm    Started laughing, raised bag of fish above my head, and grabbed a sweet little hand.

Life is good!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thinking, Remembering, Rule Breaking


I can liken that click that comes,

when inspiration hits,

to the fumbling of a key in a lock.


When it clicks it clicks.

In fact the thoughts were there all along-

or more accurately-

the source of inspiration was there all along.


The thoughts just needed my

3 step process.



Rule Breaking.


Here is how it works .


…I just love my new rattan chargers and I wonder if my green Bordallo plates with the bamboo edging would look like late winter?



… then there is my favorite all time curtain tapestry panel…

and the pairs of green things I have…

…and the mossy garden artichoke that belongs to my daughter…


(Rule Breaking)

…but the greens don’t match…


Note to Daughters:

Tablescaping is really about dressing a mantel.

Think of it that way and you will never

lack for ideas


you can use things you have in your home-

not just in your kitchen.









I am linking to the following parties:




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cheaper Than the Emergency Room

IMG_2381 One of my favorite things is happening today,

and no, we are not moving.

For a very affordable rate,

two men from Chapa’s moving will

be here this afternoon to

*move everything out of the garage

and rearrange it so that my gazillion boxes of Christmas decorations are

against the wall

*move all of our Market Days inventory to the center of the garage

for Market Days this Saturday


*move pieces of furniture around in my house.

(my favorite!)

Here are the advantages of this plan,

including the fair cost.

1.  Chapa’s moving men do not scowl.

2.  Chapa’s moving men do not ask ‘why in the world are we doing this now?’.

3.  Chapa’s moving men smile when I change my mind and say

try it there’.

3.  And above all…

Chapa’s Moving is cheaper than the emergency room.

I concede that the days of moving a piano around my


with my right hip

are a thing of the

not so smart past.

So my advice is…

If you love to drag very heavy things home from the flea market,

or you have that ‘I can’t stand that piece of furniture there one more second syndrome’,

or you know what a pulled back, sciatic nerve,

or a stumped toe feels like,

head to the Yellow Pages and start getting rates.

You will be glad you did.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Penguin Classics: A Frugal Alternative

penguin classics

There is nothing prettier than a collection

of the newly designed covers of

an old standard,

Penguin Classics.

Two of my daughters asked for several editions for Christmas

the last two years, and I happily agreed.

I have an alternate option , however,

for the thrifter in you.

Do these look familiar?


All you need to do is get rid of these-


and you will find beautiful colors

and designs that are just as pretty as Penguin Classics,

and just a little more ‘stately’.

Who knew Reader’s Digests looked like this?


or this,


or this,


or even this.


It isn’t visible in the photo, but there is an edge of gold on the pages.

One last selling point (literally)?

The last time I looked at Reader’s Digests at

a local thrift store,

they were




I am linking to:

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch


Amaze Me Monday


Tabletop Tuesday



Nifty Thrifty Tuesday.


Just click on the button to visit.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Ranch Recipe #1: Jalapeno Cheese Rice

My Parents 1950

This is my mother’s
Jalapeno Cheese Rice Recipe.
If my friend JB is reading this she is thinking…
“I can’t believe she is sharing this recipe.”
As I work in earnest in finishing the cookbook I am doing for my daughters,
I thought I would share some special recipes with you.

These recipes are what I like to call
Ranch Recipes.

They are all from my mother’s collection of recipes,
and they are reminiscent of
my memories of my parents and their
entertaining of friends and family,
all on a
in deep South Texas.

This first one is a
Although you may have had versions of this,
this worn recipe was my mother’s
and my gift to you.
To set the stage and the menu I remember,
you need to imagine
Ray Price, Jim Reeves,  or Ray Charles playing on the stereo,
delicious thick steaks being grilled,
a wonderful salad or side vegetable,
hot bread slathered in butter,
Jalapeno Cheese Rice.
1 large chopped onion
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 cups rice
Cook rice and onion in oil in a skillet until the onion is translucent and the rice is light tan.
Heat and add the following to the rice mixture:
1 can beef broth
2 cans of water
Then add:
1/2 pound velveeta cheese
salt and pepper
1 stick butter
3 seeded and chopped jalapenos
(do not touch your eyes!)
Cover the mixture after a light stirring
and simmer for about 30 minutes.

I am linking to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.


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