Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Kodak Moment and Me Without a Camera

About three minutes ago our local NBC affiliate broke into regularly scheduled programming to announce that the space shuttle Endeavor was coming to land at the DWF Joint Reserve Air Base. They said it would be visable in about thirty seconds. Well, since I live across the road from the JRB I decided to go looking for it but I figured it had already landed. Much to my surprise, I heard a roar to my left (I am used to the military air base roars) and there is this gigantic plane with the shuttle perched piggy back! What a sight and me without a camera! Man! Oh well, I am sure it will be on youtube but it was very awesome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I am adult. Yes, I keep telling myself that. I am an OLDER adult --- well, I try to forget THAT. My DH and I don't go to movies anymore, except for any new James Bond offerings. We are strictly premium cable channel/video on demand (when it works) sort of people. However, last year I was invited by my also-an-adult daughter to go see "Wall-E". Even in spite of the political innuendo that youngsters wouldn't "get", I was completely taken in by the little rag-tag, scruffy robot named Wall-E and his lady love Ev-a. It was delightful and the animation was fantastic.

So......I don't need to tell you that I have been waiting very impatiently for it's release today and I am proud to say that I was one of the first at my neighborhood Target to obtain the DVD. I can't wait for DH to see it.

And, on that note, I will be seeing "Bolt" with the same daughter next week. Isn't it great to be able to see something with your adult daughter and not be embarassed? I think so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Times They Are A'Changing

It seems that autumn has really arrived in North Texas. Even though we have been flirting with the changing season for a couple of weeks, this morning the weather seems to have taken a turn around the corner. At 39 with a brisk breeze, we have definitely rolled over to my favorite time of the year. So, with fires in the fireplace and a stack of good books and needlework projects, I am ready to face the brisque weather and say that change is good!

With early voting winding up this week and the election around the corner, another kind of change is on the horizon. I think we all know how the tide is turning on the election but I guess we never know until it is a done deal. I am anxious to see the effects of the election, whoever wins, on the stock market. I will probably be up early on Nov. 5th just to watch it on the news! Change can be scary, too.

We also have daylight savings time to look forward to next Sunday. I always feel better from November (formerly October) until April (now May?) -- I guess I really do need that extra hour back. But, it just makes the autumn evening so much nicer getting dark earlier. Again, did I mention this is my favorite time of the year? So, change is good when we can get some much needed rest and push aside the trappings of summer and cozy up for the winter ahead. Hm....makes me want to bake bread. Ok, so maybe I have had enough change -- I really don't want too much of a good thing!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun---ny! Funny! For a little humor in a particularly tense campaign/election go to Find Sarah Palin's Baby Name Generator, follow the instructions to find out what YOUR name would be if your were Sarah Palin's child!

If I use my maiden name then I would be Froth Moonshine Palin.

If I use my married name then I am Pick Beef Palin.

Hmmm......funny yet ever so slightly disturbing!

Have fun! Cheers!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New San Antonio pics at

Thursday, October 09, 2008

New blog on quilting --

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

What's Really Happening in Fort Worth?

New blog from young Episcopal priests! If you are interested in reading opinions from these young men associated with the Fort Worth Episcopal Diocese, just go to and check it out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Evening -- Remembering San Antonio

What am I remembering now? Come check it out at -- my new blog. Would enjoy having some visitors!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday Evening -- Remembering San Antonio

I just posted a new post about San Antonio on my OTHER blog -- I have a few pics and wouldn't find a few visitors!

Monday, September 08, 2008

How 'Bout them Ags?

Saturday was spent at dear daughters for her birthday. She planned her own party this year -- well, after all, she is 29 so I guess it is allowed. She had friends and family over to celebrate with tamales, beer and Aggie football. I am so glad that A&M beat UNM -- a wonderful birthday present for the daughter and a houseful of potentially volatile Ags!

Good game, good day -- Happy Birthday, girlie!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

News --

The baby is to be Kathryn! Finally, a name. I am sure she is quite tired of hearing "Sweet Pea" and "Sissy". Even though she isn't here yet I am sure she can hear us and is probably saying "hey, folks, it's Kathryn -- get it?" So, Kathryn it is. And now the embroidery begins.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12

How in the world did it get to be August 12th? What happened to July? Is it really possible that the Christmas decorations are out at Hobby Lobby? How can it be that the school supply bins are already picked over? I guess it is true that as you get older the time seems to go by faster. I used to relish the never ending summer -- walks around the neighborhood counting "round" windows, carrying Granny's cherry tomatoes and a salt shaker, sitting outside with the neighbors, palettes on the yard watching the clouds, kites, the "unacceptable" next door neighbors, playing in the hose, watching the pigeons come home. Summers aren't like that anymore -- we roast for three months wishing our lives away waiting for a "better" season. What a shame. However, yesterday while running errands in the 90+ heat I felt a breeze with a definite change in the air -- I could get a hint of autumn. It was brief and almost non-existent but it was there so I guess I can quit wishing for something better, more comfortable, because it is on the way!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I have reviewed "A Covington Christmas" at my OTHER blog,

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

My Friday Fill-Ins can now be found at

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Check me out at aka Brinkley's Place. Don't know if it is a permanent move or not but am giving it a go!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

New Blog

I am trying to begin a new blog over at Wordpress. I don't know why -- I guess I am just bored. So, visit me there, too, at Brinkley's Place! I don't know if I am going to stay there but I am keeping my blogger one, too, just in case. I dont know, I am just trying to confuse my life -- things are just too humdrum!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings

1. crankiness: sleepy
2. backpack: school, hiking
3. Clone: kitty
4. high ground: flood
5. dreams: sleep
6. lovingly: tenderly
7. mistake: bad
8. Carson: Daley, Johnny, Kit
9. Errand: chore
10. Dozen: eggs, dirty, twelve

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday Fill-in #83

1. If I could travel back in time, I'd go to 1906 Scranton, Pennsylvania -- or 1886, Blaina, Wales -- that is a tough decision.

2. Give me liberty or give me death -- uh, no, already been done -- give me money or give me power!

3. I am listening to a program on the History channel about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake/fire.

4. Somewhere, someone is thinking something.

5. I'll always be 15 years old in my mind.

6. My idea of a good time includes my family -- well, and tamales and beer.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching a movie (something I have been trying to do for days and days), tomorrow my plans include a family reunion in Elk, TX, and Sunday I want to read but I will probably be working on an upcoming baby shower.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings #287

1. Memory: loss, childhood, song
2. original: special, first, rare
3. exclusively: special
4. listings: telephone directory
5. bucket: Hyacinth, lard, Bucket of Blood -- a 50's "b" horror movie
6. knight: in shining armor, England
7. dusty: my house
8. choice: a good thing
9. sunlight: happy
10. change of plans: inevitable

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

1. I believe whatever doesn't kill you -- doesn't kill you!

2. If you are good at something -- you should try to make a living at it.

3. Why so --depressed?

4. Something is out there, it's ---coming to get you!

5. If my life were a sitcom, it would be titled Dazed and Confused Housewife

6. Sitting on my back porch I see -- a lovely little yard, some hanging baskets, some bird feeders, a bird bath and a cute metal gazebo called a "folly".

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to getting a good night's sleep if my children will PLEASE quit partying with the bridal party, tomorrow my plans include a trip to the museum and some posh mall I have never been to and Sunday I want to see Chrissy and Doug get married!!!! Yay!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Stitch In Time

My interest in textiles, fiber art, quilting, needlecraft began a long time ago, sometime before the age of six. My mother, grandmother, "other" grandmother and great-grandmother all had a hand in nurturing this natural-born fascination I had with handwork. I think it must have come to me about the age of 5, all at one time, because each experience I had with some aspect of the needle arts/handwork transpired about that time.

The first thing I remember is wanting to embroidery. So, my mother went to the five and dime -- Winn's in San Antonio -- and bought me a pair of pre-stamped tea towels and the proper needle and embroidery thread and a wooden hoop. I remember working on them, getting tangled up and never finishing them. I kept them, with the intent to finish them, until I was grown and they somehow disappeared after a house fire.

About the same time, I was completely taken with my "other" grandmother's (Granny) crafting skills and would wart her to death about including me. I was especially fond of watching her weave potholders on those little red, metal looms with those awful nylon loops. Finally, one day, she told my mother to go to Winn's and get me a loom and she would teach me. My mother did and Granny did and to this day I still love those looms. She would also cut old sheets into strips and macrame them about coat hangers and make wonderful padded hangers. Some of these still exist -- I have two or three myself. I know how to do it and one day I will make more. Granny isn't my real grandmother, she was my aunt's mother-in-law, grandmother to JLSHall and they all lived across the street from us. I, however, claimed her as my own.

My own grandmother, the one Joy and I share, did gorgeous crochet and was an excellent seamstress. She made costumes for Joy and me and she even produced two hand-made baby dresses for my children. She decided she wanted to learn to knit so she and I went for knitting lessons and a place called "The Knitting Bowl" at the local mall. I can't knit or crochet and apparently can't learn. I got frustrated, she didn't, I gave her all my supplies and then I gave up.

My great-grandmother, Granny Giles, was a pioneer quilter. She made utility quilts for everybody in the family on a quilting frame hanging from the ceiling. Her sisters, Lura and Ella made beautiful appliqued quilts. This is where my love of quilting and fabric began.

One evening, while visiting my Granny Giles, she and my grandmother were piecing quilt squares by the dim light of a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling of an old, victorian house. I wanted to learn. They gave me some tiny patches, a needle and thread and let me go. When I was done and had received the appropriate praise for my accomplishment, I decided I wasn't done. Fishing through the drawer on the treadle sewing machine I found some rick rack and sewed it around the edges of my square with a tail hanging off. Well, it still wasn't done so, after more searching, I came up with a jingle bell -- the kind we used to sew into our petticoats at Christmas -- and I sewed it on to the tail of rick rack and pronounced it finished. I kept it for years, until the house fire and it, too, disappeared. But, my interest in quilting didn't. Over the years since age five or six, I have dabbled in all sorts of needlework and have loved all of it. I prefer hand quilting to machine but my hands aren't cooperating. I love cross stitch but am now working "in hand" because
the same contrary hands balk at trying to hold on to hoops. I have tried my hand at "art quilts" and have even produced an ACEO quilt. It doesn't matter to me, though, as long as I am doing something with needle/thread/fabric.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reader Rantings --"The Bumper Book"

In my opinion, reading is, by far, the best pasttime. It is portable, if you read in the daytime it doesn't require electricity, you can read as long as you want or stop when you want -- not subject to network programming schedules and definitely NOT preempted by a "special report" and, if you use the public library systems (which we all should do), it can be free. What more could anybody want in the way of entertainment?

I was a voracious reader as a child and young adult and my love of reading was "inflicted" on my children because I began reading to them the moment they were born. We would visit the library every two weeks, tote home armloads of books and read and re-read our favorites.

One of my favorite books was "The Bumper Book" by Watty Piper and illustrated by Eulalie. It was published in 1946 by Platt & Munk. To my young eyes, this was the most gorgeous book imaginable. The illustrations are very old-fashioned, rich, colorful and interesting -- the more you look at them, the more you see. The stories and the verses are familiar and can be read over and over again.

This book is, sadly, out of print. It can be obtained, for a pretty penny, on Ebay but I found a copy at our local antique mall. I just felt that our Moochi would lose out if he didn't have a copy of this book so I searched until I found one. I think I got it for a reasonable price (define reasonable!) of under $50. It was in pretty good shape and I was pleased that I was able to find it.

I have read the book to Moochi several times and while I think he enjoyed it I know I did! Everytime I read the alphabet verse I get tickled and I still know "Christopher Robin" by heart -- such wonderful memories -- every child should have them!

So, the next time you are looking for a special gift for a child, try to find a copy of "The Bumper Book". It might not be perfect anymore but that worn cover will just be an indication of how much it was loved and used by a child before.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Happy 18th Month Birthday To You!

Today is Moochi's 18 month birthday! He is the cutest little guy and we love him so much! He is really growing up so I am including a more recent photo, too. However, the most recent photos are still on my camera -- NOT MY FAULT -- I am upgrading my OS, well, my computer genius son is, and I can't put anymore photos on right now. In the first photo he is just a couple of months old. The second was taken in this past spring.

Moochi is an absolute joy! He is all boy, a bit of a roughneck and the loviest and cuddliest little thing you could want to be around! In case you are wondering about the nickname Moochi -- that is my nickname for him. Nobody else calls him that -- just me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Evening -- Remembering San Antonio

It has been a long-standing tradition in our family to stop by the bakery on our way home from church on Sunday afternoon. Our purchase would be our dessert after Sunday lunch. We visited many bakeries through our married life. The first photo is of a donut shop on Fredricksburg Road close to Redeemer Lutheran Church.

The second bakery is by far our favorite and most frequently visited. It is Los Cocos on West Avenue. They have the most scrumptious Mexican pastry, always fresh and the proprietors still remember us after all these years of being gone. When we visit San Antonio there are a number of regular stops and Los Cocos is one of them. Next time you are in San Antonio, check it out -- not the most gorgeous place in the world but I guarantee you, you won't ever notice once you taste their products.

Thank you Miss Elizabeth J

Thank you for the quick delivery of my ACEO's and the nice note. I hope you enjoy your trip, especially your visit to the American Girl's store. I purchased these ACEO's because they remind me of my cat, Rollie. I have added them to my ACEO collection so that when you are famous, one day, I can say I have an original Elizabeth J! Have fun, stay safe!
Unconscious Mutterings -- Week 286

1. flicker -- candle, light, electricity

2. styling -- gel, tools

3. episode -- serial, soap opera, fainting

4. sexier -- Liam Neeson

5. studious -- serious, college

6. mushroom -- sautee, pizza

7. 8 minutes -- Huh?

8. bald -- Kojak, Yul, eagle

9. immunity -- flu shot, healthy

10. sectioned -- orange

Saturday, July 19, 2008


For anyone who might be interested -- there is not a Wii on the planet. Well, not for purchase in a store at any rate. You can get them on but you can't just go get one. I am bummed. The sports package with the bowling and baseball is great fun. The duck shooting is fun too but I guess I will just have to wait. I can see myself being one of those people camped out at the door of Target waiting for the doors to open so I can charge in and fight for my game console.


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Secret of Roan Inish

You know how there are some things in life you just know you are going to love? Like spring and fall and good enchiladas and great movies and a drive in the country? Well, my DVR is on that list. I always liked my VCR and the first one we had was fantastic -- easy to program, etc -- and the last one we had was, well, not. So, when we acquired DVR, I just knew I would love it and I do. I go through the tv listings and program away and there is always something to watch. With that said, however, I had to delete all my "Baby Borrowers" because that show is just too painful!

I digress.

Last night, A was at his bosses house for a yearly shindig -- spouses not included -- so I was home with my frozen pizza and DVR. Not a bad combo, if I do say so myself. So, I went flipping through my line up and settled on a movie that I had seen in the bookstores but wouldn't let go of the cash to buy.

The movie is "The Secret of Roan Inish". It is the story of a little girl, Fiona, who is born on the island of Roan Inish and whose mother dies with the birth of her younger brother. During the course of the movie, the baby drifts out to sea in his cradle, the family leaves the island, the father can't cope with the loss of his wife and child and Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents who had also left Roan Inish due to lack of work. Life on the mainland, Donegal, Ireland, is steeped in folklore and beliefs and Fiona learned them all and believed in them. She is also fascinated by the seals that inhabit the waters around the area. On a trip to the island with her grandfather, Fiona bonds with the island and also discovers that the island is not completely deserted. As the movie progresses, Fiona learns the secret of Roan Inish and she and her cousin set about reuniting her family with their beloved homeplace and opening up the secret.

I won't tell you the secret but I will say that it has a very happy ending. I didn't know what to expect from this movie but it is delightful. The setting is beautiful, off the coast of Ireland. The actors, unknown to me, were very good. The story was endearing. A bit of reality, a bit of fantasy, it held my interest and I will probably be buying it for my DVD library because it is something I would watch again.
Friday Fill-Ins

1. If I could be a fly on the wall, I would be getting the $^&# outta Dodge because A would be coming after me with something to relieve me of the burden of life.

2. Jealousy is an unattractive fact of life for teenage girls.

3. When I see a shooting star my wish would be that it wouldn't disappear so quickly!

4. I'd rather be too busy than bored any day.

5. Certain songs, when I hear them, make me wanna be 15 again.

6. If time were in a bottle -- well, I have to agree with JLSHall here -- big fan of Jim Croce but the whole time in a bottle thing makes you get into the "is the bottle half full or half empty" thing and then all of a sudden you are in a deep psychological/philosophical debate and the song is over and well .... time isn't in a bottle anyway so who cares.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to pizza and a movie with A, tomorrow my plans include seeing Nathan and Sunday, I want to go buy a Wii!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Booking through Thursday

"Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday? Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip? What/where are they?"

I don't vacation much -- A travels for work so his idea of a vacation is NOT traveling. However, we do enjoy short trips from time to time -- mostly to the San Antonio area. I have been to Arkansas and California but I was a child so this question really doesn't apply. With that said, however, I spent some time in Dallas in 1961/62 when my dad was doing some film work here and the one thing I did buy was a copy of "Tom Sawyer" at a drug store. So, I guess I did begin the practice of buying vacation books then.

Yes, I do buy books when I am vacationing. The last trip to San Antonio I bought four books dealing with local history. I had been looking for those sorts of books for some time but I hadn't been able to find any north of Austin so when I discovered them in a bookstore -- Betano's -- on the Riverwalk, I seized the opportunity, bought four and then picked my DH up off the floor when I handed him the receipt for $134. In my opinion, it was well worth it to sort of round out my local history section of my personal library.

While visiting in and around Texas, I don't really have a favorite bookstore -- I mean, B&N and Borders is the Starbucks of the literary world -- they are on every corner so it isn't difficult to find a place to buy a book but I do like to frequent book areas in museums and gift stores of tourist sites. For instance, when I visited the UK, I hit every bookstore/gift shop in every tourist place I went. I have to say the sales people at the gift store at Westminster Abbey were more than thrilled that I visited there!

I find books to be the best sourvenir of a vacation, followed closely by art work and postcards. So, yes, I do buy books while on vacation.
Gone but Not Forgotten -- My Genealogical Search

Aside from my family and my faith, I have four interests in my life -- quilting, cross stitch/embroidery, reading, and genealogy. I wouldn't call them passions, I am passionate about my family and faith but I would say that I am drawn to these activities from somewhere deep inside. They are activities that have rooted themselves in me, planted and encouraged by others and I find no better way to spend my "alone" time .

The two activities that have the deepest meaning to me are genealogy and quilting and they are linked. My interest in quilting began with my great-grandmother, Maggie. One evening in her home, watching her and my grandmother hand piece quilts was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. They even let me join in and the fire was fueled forevermore.

This same great-grandmother was the basis for the love of genealogy. My father's family had always held family history in geat esteem and had kept the family story alive. I grew up hearing historical accounts of my family's migration from Tennessee to Texas in covered wagons. I learned about our family's place in the founding of this country and this government. It was pretty awesome as a child and the interest never left me. In fact, it just expanded to include my maternal family and my husband's family, as well.

I have decided that this blog is a good venue for collecting and sharing these stories, maybe some photos, for family members that might be interested either now or in the future.

A few of the names that I research are Boyett (and all variations of the spelling), Cocke, Watkins, Conn, Davies/Davis, Webb, Palmer, Brinkley, Rantz. This isn't a complete list but the most immediate list. The areas that I research are Texas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, England, Wales.

So, if you are interested, come back and join me on my travels through my family search.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dear America -- A Journey to the New World -- The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple -- Mayflower, 1620

While browsing through our neighborhood used bookstore, I discovered a couple of "Dear America" books. I had noticed this series of books before but they seemed to be completely overshadowed by the "American Girl" series. So, I decided to give them a go for the Young Reader's Challenge and bought both. The first that I have read is "A Journey to the New World -- The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple -- Mayflower, 1620."

The book is written in a diary format which makes it very easy to read. The main character is Remember Patience Whipple, a young girl of about twelve. The book is an account of "Mem's" journey across the Atlantic, the landing at Cape Cod, and the building of the Plimoth Settlement. The depictions are graphic enough to get the point across but not so graphic to be unsuitable. The language is a bit advanced to be realistic for a young girl in that time period but it reads well.

The things that I enjoyed most about the book were at the end! The epilogue, of course, finished the story of Mem and how her history evolved. Then, there is an addendum entitled "Life in America in 1620". This is comprised of actual historical facts as well as pictures, census of sorts, maps and a copy of the Mayflower Compact.

I would recommend this book for ages 8+. It is a tidy little book, great cover, hard-bound with a ribbon bookmark. Very suitable for a library shelf. I am going to donate this copy to my daughter's 8th grade American History classroom.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tinklepaw Tot

Monique has Cheese. JLSHall has Kayla. I was feeling lonely and left out so I went on a quest to find a companion for myself -- one that be slipped into a purse or bag and doesn't require prescription pet food from the vet.

I visited several places looking at Lil Kinz. Then I looked at Beanie Babies. They were all cute but none were "speaking" to me, drawing me in.

Then, on Friday while shopping at Central Market, I heard a voice -- a small voice which came from a wooden shelf near the cosmetics area. There, on the bottom shelf was a little Jellycat sheep. He didn't have a name, the tag just said "Sheep tot, please take care of me". Well, how could I pass that up -- no name and a pleading note? I mean, really, ME, the nuturing freak of the world. So, I checked his "pursability" and didn't get arrested for shoplifting so into the basket he went. I think the check out boy thought I was crazy as he set my newly purchased buddy on the check writing stand and grinned at me as only a twenty-something male with Fabio hair can do. I felt old and crazy but was happy with my decision to adopt this diminutive sheep.

A name. What is in a name? Well, everything. Our identity. This little sheep had no identity except that he is part of the Jellycat family and he hails from the UK. That is a good thing since all my ancestors do too -- he will fit in nicely. So, the first thing that I thought of what the name my father gave my fledgling craft company -- Tinklepaw -- and since he is a "Tot" I have named him Tinklepaw Tot.

So, here is my new family member~

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Evening -- Remembering San Antonio

Again, I am taking a bit of time this evening to trip down memory lane to my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. The photos I am sharing tonight are of the San Pedro Public Library. My first experience with the library system was at this library, which is located in the historic San Pedro Park. Usually the end of the school year was celebrated with a picnic at a local park. In May, 1959 our picnic was at this particular park and at the close of the picnic our teacher and parent volunteers marched us to the library to get a tour. Those of us who were already eight years old and had a parent with us were able to get a library card. I was thrilled because I was an avid reader and, with the long summer ahead, I knew I would make good use of that card. That visit began a life-long affection with books and libraries and this library in particular.

For some reason, when I visited the library in April, I was struck by this water fountain. It is original and I remember the water being very cold. As a child I didn't take much notice of this necessity but as an adult, seeing it again after at least 40 years, I saw it for the piece of architectural art it really is. For some reason, it struck a sentimental note and I was sorry that it was no longer operational but it does make a lovely planter.

The final photo I would like to share is that of the children's section of the library. It is no longer the children's section -- it is now the adult section and the children's section is currently where the adult section USED to be. I spent many afternoons in the far, right hand corner seeking out my favorite books -- usually a Kate Seredy or a Lois Lenski. It seems that all my favorite were clustered together and as I visited this time I went straight to that corner looking for them but they weren't there. Realizing the flip-flop of the arrangement I headed for the other end -- they weren't there either. When did Seredy and Lenski fall out of favor? Could I really be that old? Well, yes, I could and changes are inevitable but I think there is still room in our lives for the old books and I think it is a shame that they aren't there, even in the far corner.

So, that is where my love of reading began. It was the greatest thing in the world to go to the library after school on a cold, blustery fall day (yes, it does get cold and blustery in the fall in south Texas) and bring home a handful of your favorites and curl up on the couch and just let yourself get lost in the story. One of my greatest memories of all time.
Unconscious Mutterings

1. intimidated: scared
2. brush: Hair
3. masquerade: ball
4. procedure: avoid
5. tattoos: nasty
6. square: peg
7. tuck: nip
8. boyfriend: Charles
9. badass: cool
10. thousand: dollars, Anne of a Thousand Days

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

1. Oh, I can't wait until I have a laptop even though one isn't on the horizon!

2. A chaotic assortment of goodies is the first thing you see when you open my refrigerator.

3. I never leave home without my shoes.

4. If I were a condiment I would be the newly discovered White Balsamic Pear Infused Vinegar because it is fabulous.

5. The irresponsibile overuse of paper in unnecessary junk mailings is really high on my list of pet peeves.

6. The last thing I though of before I went to bed was that HGTV House Hunters wasn't good enough to keep me up so late.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to my hubby coming home, tomorrow my plans include baby shower planning and Sunday I want to go to church and maybe just chill and read.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation it made me stop and think:

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it's a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop...what would you do? If it was a local business would you try and help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other bookstore? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

Hmmm....this question certainly paints a vivid picture of an idyllic small town where residents can actually walk to the town center, where there are still locally owned businesses and where the impact of something so devastating as a fire in the local bookstore could actually affect the town economy maybe prompt residents to rally together in a socially conscious effort to help.

Back to reality -- I dont live in a place like that. We have neighborhoods, most certainly, but the concept of mom and pop stores is almost non-existent, except in a few cases. So, one would have to assume that, in my case, we are talking about B&N or Borders. Well, since they are like Starbucks and are positioned just a few miles from each other and other branches of the same store I would have to say that it wouldn't make much of an impact on me personally because I frequent all of them. Of course, this could bring us into conversation about the effects of big business on our lifestyle -- especially for those of us old enough to remember the independently owned business of our youth and who still prefer them. That, however, is a different blog.

If the library were to burn down -- now, that is a different subject. Yes, I could visit another branch but the impact that it would have on the neighborhood environment would be much more important. The children of the neighborhood, as well as the older folks, would be impacted greatly and I would be supportive of efforts to rebuild. Regarding the library, I don't frequent the library enough. I am a slow reader so I tend to purchase my books so that I am not rushed by deadlines. However, I do like to donate books to the library since our library has resale shops that help sustain the system.

If we DID have an independent bookstore that I visited regularly which, if we DID have one I would, I would certainly try to help in anyway I could to put it back! We have lost enough of these sorts of businesses as it is but they seem to have just disappeared, evaporated not destroyed by some natural disaster -- just a big sucking sound made by big corporate entities.

As far as the internet goes -- well, I have to admit that you can buy anything from Amazon and if it disappeared, I don't know what would replace it. However, with that said, I browse ebay from time to time and there is an elderly gentleman from down South Texas way who can pretty much supply me with anything I am looking for so, I would continue to correspond with him.

At the end of the day the fact is, I am a reader and I would find some venue to feed my habit. I mean, just looking at my reading habits from childhood show adjustment and adaptation. I went from the classroom library shelf to the public library. Then, I discovered the paperback racks at our local convenience store and grocery store. Now, in my mid years the bookstores are a comfortable place to spend the evening and the internet is always open. So, all these changes have taken place in the last 50 years -- we adjust and I am sure we will continue to do so. My suggestion would be, however, is to put a sprinkler system in all the bookstores across the country so we wouldn't have to suffer such devastation to one of our most precious resources.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sunday Evening -- Remembering San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas is the place of my birth, my parents births, my children's births, my extended family's births -- it is home and always will be. I haven't lived there for the last eighteen years but everytime I return I long to stay yet know I never will again.

My last trip to SA was in April. My husband, who still does business there, had a meeting so I tagged along. He took some vacation time and we made a long weekend of it. Of course, my over productive genealogy gene won't let me get out of the city limits without some form of documentation of my life there. In the past, I have trekked through cemeteries, scoured libraries and cursed myself for not going to the health department to retrieve vital statistic records for every one of my relatives. This time, however, I decided to do something different. I decided to photograph places that were of some importance to me during my years there. Most of these places don't look like they did during my childhood and most have different purposes now. Sadly, a number of significant places in my growing up time just aren't there anymore at all. Most of these places are very old and time hasn't been kind to them. However, I think it would be fun to share these photos in my posts here. I might even throw in some from past visits.

We stayed at the Marriott Rivercenter which is a lovely hotel right on the San Antonio River. In fact, the River is accessible from the lobby of the hotel. We were on the 15th floor so I was able to get this lovely picture of downtown San Antonio.

It just so happened that we were there during the week of Fiesta de San Antonio. Fiesta is a week long celebration honoring the heroes of the Alamo. It began in 1891 when a group of citizens decided to honor both the heroes of the Alamo and those of the Battle of San Jacinto with a "Battle of Flowers" -- a parade where floats were bicycles and horse drawn carriages that were decorated with flowers. Over the years it has expanded into several parades including a night parade called The Flambeau, The River Parade and The Battle of Flowers Parade. There are other activites going on also such as A Night In Old San Antonio -- a food fest in La Villita -- the original San Antonio and the carnival. Below is a picture of the carnival as taken from our room. Fiesta has a Queen with a Court made up of the young women from old society families and every year a King is crowned King Antonio. In my youth, he would go to all the schools and give out King Antonio medals to all the school children. I think I still have one but I don't know if he does that anymore.

So, just click on the photos for a larger view and enjoy!
"The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place" by E. L. Konigsburg

For another entry in the Young Readers Challenge I have completed "The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place" by E. L. Konigsburg. This book is about Margaret Rose Kane, her two great uncles Morris and Alexander Kaplan, the towers and probably the most eventful summer in Margaret Rose's life. It begins with her first visit to summer camp. Her parents had gone to Peru for an archaeological dig -- and other things -- and had planned to leave Margaret with her great uncles for the month. Margaret stayed with her great-uncles a great deal and even had her own room so she was looking forward to the stay. However, her uncles suggested camp. It didn't go well. Margaret was rescued my her uncle to remain in their care for the duration of her parents absence. She loved her uncles house because it was special -- it had the towers. The towers had always been there and were magical. And there was Tartufo, the dog that had come from Italy and her new friend and conspirator, Jake. The story is centered around the changing town of Epiphany -- urban renewal and renovation -- and how the new "neighbors" didn't think the towers were appropriate for the new look of "Old Town" Epiphany. The uncles had fought the city council decision to have the towers demolished but it took Margaret, her mothers childhood friends, her camp enemies, her new friend Jake and Tartufo to turn things around, make everybody happy and save the towers for future generations. There were things, however, that couldn't be saved and some very ironic twists but I won't tell you about them, you will have to read the book yourself.

This book is labeled for 10 yrs. and up but Konigsburg has such mature characterization that I think more like 12 -14 would be a good starting point. I completely enjoyed the book and didn't feel like I was reading a children's book. The characterization is impeccable, the settings so well depicted that you recognize them immediately, the mood is consistent with the action and flow. It is a good read and I would recommend it for the aforementioned age group as well as adults.
Unconscious Mutterings (284)

1. notification: principals office, information

2. cheat: game, test

3. top ten -- those record rating sheets we used to get from the record stores that came out on Friday or Saturday

4. draft: beer, board, pattern, quilting

5. unbelievable: my age

6. cheap: nothing

7. spontaneous: fun, trip, outing

8. harass: annoy, bother

9. lipstick: ugh

10. transpire: happen, event

Hmm....these all sound like definitions! Are definitions my first thoughts? How dull!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Unconscious Mutterings --

As a holdover of our childhood, anything JLSHall does, so does boyett-brinkley. Except for climbing and hiking -- I draw the line at that. So, here is MY Unconscious Mutterings --

1. lonliness -- sadness

2. Traffic -- DFW hell

3. Chaos -- DFW traffic

4. Burp -- baby

5. 500 -- Miles, Sonny and Cher

6. movie -- "Saturday Night at The", date

7. coma -- unconscious

8. Bark -- dog

9. Stare -- dazed

10. Angelina -- Jolie, Ballerina

Hmmm...not very interesting. Blah.
Friday Fill-Ins

OMG~ I forgot the Friday Fill-In! Well, it isn't my fault -- yesterday didn't feel like Friday -- it felt like Saturday which would explain my confusion today. Anyway -- here goes!

1. Holidays in the summer are much, much easier to plan for.

2. Filet mignon and shrimp are my favorite things to grill.

3. My thoughts are usually pretty random -- just ask anybody trying to understand a conversation with me.

4. Seeing Nathan is what I'm most looking forward to this weekend.

5. My favorite book so far this summer is the one I am reading now, "The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Street" by E. L. Konigsburg. It is on my Young Readers list but I am just now getting around to it and it is really pretty good.

6. Sitting outside on the patio with a cuppa tea is the best way to begin a day. Well, actually, waking up is the best way to begin the day and then, after you are thankful that you DID wake up, sitting outside with the tea is fabulous.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to spending the fourth of July with my kids, tomorrow my plans include going to the shooting range and Sunday I want to go to church and then to Bri's house to see her new fans.

Ta - Da!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Texas Summer in 1956~

Doesn't this look like fun? Don't you wish we could do this again? Well, I guess, theoretically we COULD do it but it wouldn't be the same. There was just something about playing outside in the hose/sprinkler -- not worrying about getting sunburned or washing off the sunscreen, not worrying about germs but tasting how great that cold water was out of that hose, laying on big towels drying off in the sun, eating cherry tomatoes that Granny grew just outside that fence. Life was good in 1956.

Happy Anniversary to me -- Again!

Today is my wedding anniversary. A and I have been married for thirty six years. We "went together" for seven years before that so we have been in each other's lives for forty three years. My, that sounds like a very long time. But, it has been good. We have been healthy, have two healthy, accomplished kids, one really cute little grandson and a granddaughter on the way. Life has been good to us.

However, looking back over the "special day" I think of all the things I would have done differently. I wanted a different kind of wedding -- I wanted a private wedding with just parents, immediate family, jlshall and M and then have a big, party like reception. I wanted to wear a short dress and preferably no veil. However, A and my mom thought I would regret it if I didn't have a traditional wedding and reception so we carried on with their plans. Now, thirty six years later, I still like my original plan and, if I could do it over again, I would have my way.

In thinking back over the way things went, however, if I absolutely had to have a traditional wedding, I would still change some things. I wouldn't get married on the fourth of July weekend. People complained that it conflicted with plans like barbecues and trips to the lake. I wouldn't wear a long sleeved dress in July in South Texas. Why? Well, it is inevitable that with a l/s dress in July, the a/c in the church would break down, now isn't it? It did. I would choose a photographer whose pics wouldn't change colors. Now, of course, these pictures are in b/w because my scanner is a b/w scanner but they are in color. The bridesmaids wore lovely peach colored dresses and white gloves and cute bows in their hair. They were all a little past the "bow" age but hey, it was the early 70's, bows were popular.

The one thing I wouldn't change is the groom. He is a good guy and takes really good care of me and always has. So, I guess, at the end of the day, where it happened, when it happened and how it happened doesn't really matter -- the only thing important is that it DID happen.

The first photo is of my bridesmaids -- l to r : My cousin, Penny; Sheila, A's sister; me; JLSHall (also cousin to Penny); and the little one is Sheri -- the flower girl who didn't want to throw the flowers -- typical.

The second photo is obviously of DH and me.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Rollie Update

I haven't had much to say about Rollie lately so I thought I would update. Rollie has grown since he came to live here. A lot. He is on a diet but I don't see that it is going all that great. We will find out at his next vet visit. At any rate, he continues to be the sweet kitty that he was as a kitten even though he doesn't sit on our laps as much. I used to really enjoy settling in to watch a good movie with a cup of tea and a warm kitty on my lap. Now, he doesn't join us quite so much. I think he has outgrown our laps and he has found much more interest in staring out the back door at any sort of wildlife that might come rambling through the yard -- he was mesmerized by a tiny toad night before last.

At any rate, I though I would share a couple of "now" (top) and "then" (bottom) photos so you can bask in the gloriousness of G. Rollie --
Friday Fill-ins

1. Birthdays are better than the alternative.

2. Autumn is my favorite season because of the cool, crisp temperatures and the beautiful fall foliage.

3. I feel my best when I have eaten well, exercised some and accomplished something (this means not siting in front of the tv all day!)

4. Soup is my favorite food.

5. First impressions are one thing you don't get a second chance to do.

6. The best piece of advice I ever received was to stay true to myself.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching "The Other Boleyn Girl", tomorrow my plans include going to the other house and doing some work there, and Sunday I would like to go to church and enjoy my family at a belated Father's Day gathering in the evening.
Happy Anniversary to me!

Yesterday was my anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary -- that is on July 1. Rather, it was the anniversary of our first date! I remember it well. I wore a pink Bobbie Brooks skirt and we went to the Olmos Theater. We double dated with A's friend, Ronnie Holland and my friend, Penny Kuykendall who were dating. We saw a double feature -- "Dr. No" and "From Russia With Love". Little did we know then that 43 years later I would be sitting here blogging about it. What is even more amazing is that I actually remember that pink Bobbie Brooks skirt!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

"What, in your opinion, is the definition of a 'reader'. "A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what is?" Or, more specific. Like the specific person who is reading something you wrote."

In my opinion a reader can be all of those things or just one of those things. A person who reads everything in sight -- a voracious reader -- while maybe not particularly discriminating, is still reading and probably a great deal. A person who reads BOOKS is indeed a reader. A person who reads for school or work is also a reader.

However, when I think of a "reader" I think of a person who truly loves to read, regardless of the genre. I think of a "reader" as one who becomes involved with the characters and plotlines and plunges into the story (or article) completely.

In my opinion, a "reader" is someone who is passionate about the pasttime, regardless of what he/she is reading but gets into it, enjoys it, looks forward to the next adventure and realizes that the ability to read is a life changing gift.

"Like the specific person who is reading something you wrote". Yes, she defines the term "reader".

Friday, June 20, 2008

River D

I have become reacquainted, through myspace, with a girl that I went to school with. She lived around the corner from me and her name is Myrtie. She is the daughter of the well known c/w singer, Leon Payne. I haven't seen her for years. However, we have "commented" a few times on myspace and I follow her blog -- she is very big in the c/w music scene in the Hill Country.

In January her mother passed away. The same day her daughter announced her pregnancy -- I get the feeling it was a long awaited pregnancy. In any event, the baby was born a few days ago -- a little boy named River D. He arrived much too early -- 24 weeks. He weighs 1 lb. 8 oz. and is 14 1/2 inches long. Myrtie says his head is about as big as a tangerine. There are pictures on her blog -- he is really a cute little guy. Her reports are all good -- he is doing well He is getting help breathing but he is holding his own and all the news is good. He has a long way to go but, from the way it sounds, he is going to do well.

This family could use all the prayers that are available out there. He is doing well, under the circumstances, but he could always use a little help. So, please remember him and his family. They would really appreciate it.
Friday Fill-Ins

I love these things!

1. A smile is just a frown turned upside down! Cheesy!

2. Skipbo is my favorite board or card game.

3. I would love to have more time with my kids in my life and less tension.

4. When I think of the Summer Solstice I think of my junior high school friend, Delphine.

5. I just remembered I need to go to the cleaners.

6. One of my favorite song lyrice goes like this:

"There are places I'll remember,
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all" Free Blinkies

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to going shopping and for a bite of dinner, tomorrow my plans include going to the shooting range and Sunday I want to go to church and then a trip to the airport to pick up the wayward travelers.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thrush Green -- Miss Read

"Thrush Green" is the first novel in the Thrush Green series by Miss Read. It is a very cozy, comfortable book depicting the lives of several village dwellers in the fictional Thrush Green which is the neighboring village to Fairacre of her first series.

The book is centered around the traveling fair that came to Thrush Green every May 1. It details the interactions of the villagers with the travelers as well as with each other. There is young love as is seen with Molly Piggot and Ben Curdle and old love as evidenced by Dr. and Mrs. Bailey. There is comedy involving Ella Bembridge and Dimity Dean that is reminiscent of Hyacinth and Elizabeth (if you are a fan of Britcoms, you know what I mean). There is loss --" "I'll take those flowers to the larder shelf," said Mrs. Bailey, advancing upon them. "No," said her husband and something in his voice made her turn and look at him. He sat very still and his face was grave. "I'd like them left out." Mrs. Baily could say nothing. "We shan't see the old lady again," said Dr. Bailey. "I doubt if she has three months to live."" There is controversy as seen in Molly Piggots drunken, abusive father but none of the negatives are presented in such a way to mar the general impression that this is an uplifting book.

This book is a fast read because the reader is drawn into these characters lives -- it is like you are sitting on the village green watching their days unfold. It is very charming and I would definitely recommend it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Random Thought -- Reality Check

You know how you can tell you are middle aged? You open your email and find an ad for hoverounds and the next ad is for sexy singles! LOL!

Friday, June 13, 2008


I had the most wonderful idea for a post yesterday that required the use of a vintage picture. I have a handy dandy new three in one printer -- not color and not photo which is fine since this a vintage photo -- so I scanned in the photo and then proceeded to blow it up, save it and get on with my post. When I tried to insert the picture it wasn't big enough or bright enough. Well, I went back to square one, made it bigger and brighter and carried on. Still not right. After about 30 attempts at this I thought I had it perfect, scanned, saved, wrote the post, inserted the picture -- still too small. Consulted A on this. His response was "that just seems to be the way they scan". Not a suitable answer for me. So, do I blame the picture? Do I blame the scanner? Do I blame Linux? I am beginning to have a love/hate relationship with Linux so I am ready to blame everything on it. So, today, I am going to try to take a photo of the photo with the digi camera and see if that works any better. Maybe one day you will actually see the post.
Friday Fill-in #76

1. Losing weight is high up on my bucket list.

2. My favorite quote is "if it's not one damn thing it's another": it's from my Aunt V.

3. The desire to keep a journal inspired me to start blogging.

4. Strawberries are best fresh and unmessed around with.

5. Nathan was in the last dream I remember having.

6. The most enjoyable time to go for a walk is on an autumn morning.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to just crashing but I think A has other plans in the form of Cabela's, tomorrow my plans include going with A to B's house so I can see Nathan and continuing to straighten up the guest room and Sunday I want to go to church, out to lunch and have a quiet afternoon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Young Readers Challenge

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2, The Seeing Stone

While I am aware that I have met the guidelines for the Young Readers Challenge, I find that I am drawn to children's books more than ever. So, I will continue to add to my list of completed reads.

My latest completion is "The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2, The Seeing Stone".

In this book The Grace Children, Mallory and twins Simon and Jared continue to explore the rickety, ramshackle house they have moved into that actually belonged to their grand-aunt. Simon isn't too concerned with the discovery of the secret library and the books by the patriarch Mr. Arthur Spiderwick concerning the existence of faeries, that is, until he goes missing! In the previous book, the children are introduced to a brownie named Thimbletack and in the second book, Thimbletack is responsible for helping Mallory and Jared find Simon who had been kidnapped by the goblins. Thimbletack gave Jared the seeing stone -- a stone with a hole in the middle of it that, when looked through, allowed Jared to see the goblins that were, otherwise, invisible to him.

It was a perilous effort finding Simon, encountering a troll and sprites and a band of goblins along the way. When they finally arrived at the goblin camp they found Simon trapped in a cage along with many cats, a goblin with green cat eyes and an injured griffin that they took home to nurse when the whole ordeal was over. A battle ensued in which Mallory had to make use of her fencing sword but, at the end of the day, the children made it back to their home where their mother was very concerned about their disappearance -- it was, after all, 1 a.m.

These books are well written, although a bit gross in areas. However, they are drawing me in and wanting me to read the next installment. The illustrations are great and I am enjoying them. I would recommend them to the older ages in the group and I would try to find them in discount stores or second hand bookstores because they are a little pricey at the big name stores -- especially since they can be read in about an hour.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Have your book tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easys? How to books over novels? Mysteries over romance?

I honestly have to say that my taste in books has stayed pretty much the same, just more grown up versions. As a child I read a great deal and the children's books I read the most were those that took me out of my time period or my locale and now, I real lots of books that are historical fiction or at least are set in a different place. I also read a lot of family based, generational books. A good example of that is "A Woman of Substance" or some of the Beverly Lewis serialized books.

I still read a lot of fiction but I do read non fiction too. My favorite non fiction reading is genealogically based and I love reading about British royalty. I am very much an Anglophile so that is always something that attracts me. As a child, I was completely taken with the new World Book Encyclopedia set that I received and would sit for hours reading the encyclopedia and was quite content to do so. For Christmas I received a copy of the Archaeological Bible which I am finding very interesting except the type is very hard to read.

I am generally not great with dark, serious reading but I did like "The Memory Keepers Daughter" which was a bit dark and, in my opinion, pretty serious. Last night at the bookstore I was eyeing a new V. C. Andrews series but, after reading the first chapter, I decided to put it off for a while. The early Andrews books ("Flowers in the Attic") were pretty good but the later series, after her death, I find to be disturbing, so I passed on it.

I have never really considered whether I read challenging books over easy books, I guess I read both. However, with the Young Readers Challenge I am reading many childrens books -- I can't seem to stop, actually -- and some of them are easy but they are still really interesting. Right now I am reading "The Spiderwick Chronicles" and it is very easy to read -- I can get through one of the books in about an hour -- but it is really good. Great writing, good illustrations -- it is all there but I guess it would be considered easy. Some of the children's books that I have read are simple but not simplistic. They handle very serious subject matter and are well written. They are easy to read but the subject matter is such that they are serious to controversial depending on the age group you are looking at.

Yes, I read how-to books. I read lots and lots of needlework books. I have read Joyce Meyer's book "100 Ways to Simplify Your Life" -- good advice even for the non--religious.

Romance? Mysteries? When I was younger I read a lot of what would be considered romance although I wasn't a big Harlequin fan. I haven't read it much in the recent past but, because of a new challenge, I will be starting again. I am not sure how it will go. I like certain types of mysteries. "The Haunting of Hill House" and "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" are mysteries to me. I haven't read many real mysteries like Miss Marple, etc. but I would like to.

Generally, it is a rare occasion that I can be found without a book in hand, or at least nearby. When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, we had three television channels. Sounds bad? Well, not really because tv watching didn't take up all our time. We had the time to read and did a lot of it -- a favorite pasttime in the long, very hot summers of South Texas. I found that books were always available, thanks to the library, that you didn't have to wait for them to be "scheduled", you didn't have to dvr them, you could "rewind" them and read parts over and over again, you could take them with you and often did, you could imagine the scenery, people, places, etc. without having somebody think it up for you -- the perfect diversion.
Friday Fill-Ins

Ok, I know it isn't Friday but I am off a day -- or two. I will do Thursday's thing in a little while.

1. Idle hands are the devils playground, or something like that.

2. I love Aveeno Colloidal Shower Gel in the shower.

3. My favorite time of day is when A nudges me from my chair slumber and says it is time to go to bed -- usually right after the Leno monologue or maybe the Leno headline funnies.

4. The last tea I drank was Stash Peppermint Herbal decaf, last night before my chair slumber.

5. I like to stay inside during the summer.

6. My mother always said "don't do anything to embarrass me". I didn't -- she wasn't.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to absolutely nothing, tomorrow my plans include going to the gun show, and Sunday I want to go to church and celebrate A's birthday with my family.

Monday, June 02, 2008


1. My father made a movie once and I had a part in it as a screamer -- off camera.

2. I feel that my junior high school years were my favorite school years.

3. I used to paint ceramics.

4. When my children were small, I took a creative writing correspondence course because I have always wanted to be a writer.

5. I have always wished I could draw.

6. I can't quit buying quilt fabric or embroidery floss -- it is a sickness!

Yay! I have been tagged! This is my first tagging and I am thrilled because I love, absolutely love, all these questionnaires and bulletins and things. So, here goes!

1. Who is your all time favorite author and why?

This is difficult to answer because I have several authors that I gravitate toward which is bad, because I probably ignore many others that would be very good. Jan Karon comes to mind immediately. The Mitford series was very captivating for me although some reviewers found it to be milque toasty. I loved every minute of it and couldn't wait to get the next book. Barbara Taylor Bradford is another favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed all the "Woman of Substance" series. I will also read and re-read Shirley Jackson. While I read "The Haunting of Hill House" more than once, I really enjoyed "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" more. I received my first copy of it for Christmas when I was about 14 and loved every page of it. I can't leave out Grace Metallious of "Peyton Place" fame. I seem to really like books that are soap opera-like. Doesn't say much for my reading taste, does it?

2. Who was your first favorite author and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?

I think the first author that I remember being struck by was Kate Seredy --"The Good Master". Every year we had required reading lists -- a thing of the past, I am sure -- and she was the first author that I remember reading most of her books. I really enjoyed her books because they took me into a different culture than my own and I found her descriptions -- mostly of the clothes -- to be quite enchanting. While I haven't read her in a good number of years, I am looking to collect her books if I can find them of the same vintage that I read them.

Other authors that I enjoyed as a child were Doris Gates "Blue Willow" and Lois Lenski "Strawberry Girl" and I do have those books in my library.

3. Who is the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors and why?

Well, I have to say that Barbara Pym, introduced to me recently by JLSHall is a new favorite as is Miss Read. I am enjoying them because they write "comfortable" books. I am not good with science fiction or deep intrigue, although I am beginning to enjoy mysteries other than Nancy Drew but I tend to read books that are either historical fiction or more family drama sorts of things.

I have never been to "into" romance novels once I moved out of the "Gidget" stage but I am involved with a Romance Challenge that is allowing me to revisit the genre. I have chosen a couple of Debbie Macomber books for that. However, I have to add that I did obtain my daughter's name from a Harlequin novel that I was reading at the time so I guess romance novels really don't deserve the discredit they so often get. I will let you know how it goes.

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would pop out of your mouth? Are there any you would add on a moment of further reflection?

Spontaneously, I would probably mention the ones I have already mentioned above because I am reading some of them now. However, I would have to add Beverly Lewis, Henry Winterfeld (can't leave out "Star Girl"), Larry McMurtry, JD Salinger, Barbara Delinsky, Belva Plain, Rosamunde Pilcher, James Howe (you gotta love "Bunnicula"), Kim Edwards. Oh, I don't know, there are so many out there it is really hard to say.

I don't know six people to tag so I will probably tag Monique and Mary Kathryn.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

1. For me dullness is the opposite of creativity.
2. I have been reading so many good books lately that I can't tell you what was the last excellent book I read.
3. I like fill-ins because they remind me of mad libs.
4. In nature, I like looking at trees and stars.
5. I don't have a clue who should win the US elections.
6. The lst time I laughed with all my belly was obviously a very long time ago because I can't remember it.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to dinner out, tomorrow my plans include absolutely nothing and Sunday I want to go to church and read the paper and not do anything at all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- What is Reading, Fundamentally

IMHO -- reading is feasting your eyes upon the written word and ingesting the meaning therein. I think all of the examples, except audiobooks, constitute reading. There are many types of reading, for example, reading for pleasure, reading to gain information or instruction, required reading as in a classroom, necessary reading as in street signs but for it to be "reading" it has to include the visual action of looking at the written word.

I think that "reading" changes with different stages in our lives. As a child, reading comic books for instance is reading as much as reading textbooks. As an adult, one may read for his/her job or education. People read novels and literature for pleasure. It is still all reading and all beneficial.

I think that reading is the single most important skill a person can acquire. If a person can read, he/she can accomplish anything.

Did I actually answer the question?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Earlier today I opened my email and found an invitation to join a group called Americymru -- a group primarily for people with Welsh ancestors. Since my great-grandparents immigrated at the turn of the 20th century from Wales, I decided that I qualify for this group and decided to join.

These same great grandparents are the people responsible for my interest in genealogy. My family always had a strong interest in family history so I grew up with the concept but I was always particularly fascinated with my Welsh family. I was close to my grandfather but he never talked of his home in Pennsylvania very much -- just snippets -- so, of course, by the time I decided to embark on my search of family, my grandfather was no longer with us to help. However, I did have some help along the way and I did find out a lot of information but, more importantly, I found family.

My great grandparents came from Blaina to Pennsylvania and remained there the rest of their lives. While they didn't leave much of a paper trail for me to search I did get lucky and find a cousin, Jim Slater. He has been very helpful over the years by sending me pics and asking his dear little mother, Jean, for information for me -- without him I wouldn't have been as successful. I also wouldn't have the most wonderful Welsh cookie recipe on the planet -- thanks Jean!

On my quest, I made a good friend, Len Clark of Blaina, and found a cousin, Michael Webb, living in Coventry. Both of these gentlemen have been very helpful and have really given me a link to my "homeland". One day I hope to meet them both.

So, I am looking forward to the Americymru group -- who knows, I might even find more cousins!


Since I have discovered the blogsphere, I find I am reading other people's blogs more than writing my own. There is a reason for that -- they are much more interesting than I am. I gravitate toward the blogs on stitchery, quilting, reading and genealogy -- all interests of mine. I admire all the photos that are up of the work that people do and wish I could be as crafty.

So, as a result of having a very boring blog, I have picked up the pace with my quilting and stitchery and reading and genealogy. I have a couple of WIP's that I can't show right now because they are SURPRISES but I do have a few pitiful pics of past projects that I could put up so here is one of them.

I became quite interested in ATC's a while back and bought a lovely little quilted number which I prize. I decided that I could make my own little mini crazy quilt, too and did and then sold it on Ebay. However I did keep a picture of it that I am including here. I only make one of these little things as I prefer to make bigger quilts so this is a one and only!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Miss Read Tales from a Village School

I just finished the first book in my self-imposed Miss Read challenge. For my first book I chose HER first book, Tales from a Village School. This books is not actually short stories nor is it written in chapter form but rather, it is episodic. Each episode depicts an event or maybe an entire day in the life of Miss Read, a village school teacher.

Even though this book is set in the English village of Fairacre in the mid-1950's, it is strongly reminiscent of my kindergarten year at our neighborhood Methodist church, also in the mid-1950's. As I read along, I visualized not this village school in a faraway land but rather the large, pink, asbestos shingled barn-like kindergarten building that I attended. The activities were quite similiar -- like going outside for recess and pretending to be horses, or balls, or pins. Or, perhaps, getting ready for the Christmas program. Or maybe the orange juice and dreadful gingersnaps. At any rate, this book had a very familiar tone to it and a very comfortable feeling.

Also, parents reading this books will recognize the antics of ALL children, EVERYWHERE -- boys will be boys and girls will cry. Yet, it was all handled with the deft nurturing of Miss Read and all was well in the end.

Very good book, makes me look forward to the next.
Young Readers Challenge

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1, The Field Guide
Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1, The Field Guide is about Jared and Simon Grace, identical twins nine years of age, their older sister Mallory, aged thirteen and their mother Helen Grace.

In this first book of the series, the Grace family, sans the father who has left the family, moves into a crumbling Victorian house belonging to Mrs. Grace's aged Aunt Lucinda. The children aren't happy about much of their life since their father departed and having to move to Aunt Lucinda's creepy house isn't helping things at all. Mallory is into fencing which helps her cope with the life changes she is going through and Simon has an affinity for all things crawly like tadpoles and mice and such. Jared, however, doesn't seem to have an outlet for his anger and frustration so he has had a few angry episodes of acting out which has landed him in trouble and has really diminished his mother's trust in him. When strange things began happening in the house, Helen was quick to blame Jared.

Odd things began from the first day they moved in. They thought the noises they heard was a squirrel in the wall so they went on a hunt to find the squirrel but they found a very curious nest instead -- not of the squirrel variety. This discovery led them to explore the house and discovered a note, a riddle, a chest with a false bottom and, most important of all, they discovered that the noise was not a squirrel but rather ... well, I won't spoil it for you.

This was a VERY quick read -- I had it done in an hour. The age group I would suggest it for is about 8 to 12. While it is a mystery is isn't frightening at all and the illustrations are fantastic.

I have to admit that I was drawn to these books because of the covers and the illustrations. They are gorgeous little books and I am definitely going to add more to my collection. I would definitely recommend this book.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Fill-ins

1. On my laziest day I like to do cross stitch.

2. Vacuuming makes me feel like I'm being productive.

3. I love little kids and big cats.

4. This summer I want to lose weight and get in better shape.

5. Pent up creativity made me start my blog.

6. Red roses and orange marmalade.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching "National Treasure 2", tomorrow my plans include helping A to build a base for the gazebo, and Sunday I want to go to church and work on the back yard.
Booking Through Thursday

Ok, I recognize that it is no longer Thursday. I am slow, ok? Here goes.

"Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what is the difference between a book and a movie?"

Well, yes and no. Both books and movies are forms of entertainment so, in that regard, yes, I want to be entertained by both.

Both books and movies have the capability of being thought provoking, insightful, mood altering, shocking, and emotional.

Movies, however, are instant gratification and require very little "participation" from the watcher. They are relatively quick so there isn't much time to languish in the mood, scenery, language, etc. They can be very stimulating visually, obviously, and with today's movies that can be very powerful. I do think that movies based on books are generally lacking -- especially if you read the book first.

Books, on the other hand, are slower and the reader has the ability to linger over passages, re-read sections and visualize the characters and settings -- make his/her own "movie" in the mind, if you will. With books, the impact unfolds over the course of the read rather than have it "in your face" so to speak.

So, I would have to say that I want both to entertain me but my mood, available time, and situation would dictate which form would be more appropriate at certain times.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shopgirl by Steve Martin

On a random trip to the second hand bookstore across the road, I picked up a copy of Steve Martin's "Shopgirl". I only paid $1 for it but I was, again, drawn to the cover and the size. It is small -- a novella -- but it powerful.

It is about Mirabella Buttersfield, a budding artist who works in the glove department at Neiman's. Mirabella is a conflicted young woman, quite complex. She catches the eye of Ray Porter, an "older" gentleman of great wealth, also conflicted and complex.

They fall into a relationship -- selfless for one and self-serving for the other. As the story unfolds, the characters grow in their emotions and understanding of those emotions and emerge far different individuals than they began.

The book is flawless -- it flows smoothly from one relationship to another, it unpeels Mirabella's conflicts like an onion, and you can actually feel the emotions as they are presented. It is easy to read, very straightforward and draws you in.

The book is comedic, also. How could it not be, given the author. Even if the reader was unaware that it was penned by Steve Martin, you can "hear" him in the narration as he has been heard in many movies. This book is very much the author.

As I read the book, my moods changed to mirror Mirabella's. At the conclusion of the book I have to say I was tired, emotionally spent. I would say that as good as this book is, it isn't for anyone who tends toward depression. It ends well, with a twist, but the process is a struggle in places. I have to mention that the book is rather graphic, also, so this wouldn't be for a young person.

All in all, I enjoyed it even though it was sad, depressing and bittersweet. It ended well but I have to say that I felt a bit like Anne Sullivan with Helen Keller in the dining room scene, emotionally speaking.

I would recommend "Shopgirl". It is short, a quick read, definitely holds one's interest -- just don't read it on a gloomy day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- Manual Labor Redux

Again, for some reason, can't cut and paste topic so I will just go with it.

Uh, manuals -- yes, I do read them but generally not until something happens to the "gadget" and I have to figure out what I did wrong. And then I generally only read the section that involves what I did wrong. I usually leave the manual reading to A who does a much better job of it than me.

Self help books -- Oh no. There is no help for me by my self or anybody else, I fear.

How-to books -- Well, if cookbooks fit in this catagory then I would have to say yes. I read cookbooks. Now, that doesn't mean I actually do anything with the information once I read it but I do read cookbooks.

I would have to say that I do read needlework books. All the time and they are sort of how-to books with patterns and all and definitely self help books because needlework is the best therapy I know of.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Pocket for Corduroy

by Don Freeman
Viking Press, NY

A Pocket for Corduroy brings us back to our little bear friend, Corduroy who is living happily with Lisa. Again, a classic story containing all the elements that make it timeless. The artwork is great, the story is logical and has more text that Corduroy did. More of a story but still a great bedtime story that a parent would enjoy reading.

by Don Freeman
Published 1968
Viking Press, NY

I have chosen Corduroy by Don Freeman as my next book for the Young Readers Challenge.

What can I say about a classic? The story, while simply told, is not simplistic. It possess all the elements of a classic story -- a plot, protagonist, antagonist, a problem, a solution and an ending. The art work is timeless as is the story -- any generation can identify with it. A parent can read this to a child and not be mind numbingly bored yet even a young child can be entertained by it. It is long enough to get the story told yet short enough to make a good bedtime story. All in all, a very good little book.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Booking Through Thursday -- Manual Labor

"Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-to' you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries--if any--do you have in your library?"

I have a dictionary and a thesaurus. I HAD a Strunk and White but my daughter confiscated that. I have a number, maybe six, writing guides from a creative writing course I took a number of years ago. I still have some texts from college, also.

Do I read them? No. I reference them, from time to time, but I don't sit down and read them. I have been known to read encyclopedias for pleasure, however.

I have found that as I am reading more and blogging more that my need for such material is, once again, more viable. However, I am finding a new resource for that -- my daughter, who is a communication/journalism major, comes in most handy for that sort of thing. In fact, she has told me that I am entirely too liberal with commas which is evidenced in the previous sentence. So, while, I don't read these sorts of books, I probably should.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday Fill In's

1. Two of my favorite ingredients in a drink are water and a tea bag.

2. Life often amazes me.

3. You can keep doing that forever, the dog is watching tv.

4. Cookie mix, egg and water, mix it together and, voila! you have instant gratification for your chocolate chip/oatmeal cookie addiction.

5. If I had a yard with a garden, I would love to grow fern.

6. Water is best au natural. (not what you were expecting, right?)

7. As for the weekend, tonight I WAS looking forward to a simple supper, a good movie and a big dose of benadryl (not happening by the way), tomorrow my plans include absolutely nothing -- haven't really thought about tomorrow but maybe a trip to Costco, and Sunday I want to go to church and have a VERY quiet afternoon and evening. Please.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Mayday!

Ok, for some reason my computer won't let me cut and paste the description of the challenge so I will just go ahead with it.

Cell phone ringing in the grocery store -- hmmm -- well, if it is at the bottom of my purse I won't hear it and if I DO hear it, the person will have already hung up.

If it is a family emergency, I won't be thinking about reading.

If it is a family emergency like in the DC area, I would have to get on a plane and be worried out of my mind about the family so I wouldn't be able to concentrate anyway -- I mean, really -- how can one try to help drive the plane and go into severe family emergency crisis mode AND read? Get real.

Of course, if the emergency were in DC, M would be saying "no, don't come, I have it covered. We are fine".
Fine, right. How could they be fine without me? Well, ok, they HAVE been fine without me but, well, you know.

So, if it were a local family emergency I would be involved in dealing with the emergency and therefore, would not be reading. In the DFW area, it isn't advisable to drive on one of our many congested, fast paced highways and read simultaneously. Texting, however, seems to be perfectly acceptable.

So, in my case, reading and family emergencies don't go well together.

So, I wouldn't take anything.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins

This looks like fun so here goes!

l. When I fell in love I was a mere child!

2. I sneeze when the flowers boom and it heat up outside.

3. Oh no! The internet is down, what do I do now?

4. I have no idea what is the craziest tv show ever -- maybe Mork and Mindy.

5. Cheese and crackers make a great meal.

6. I don't need a garden.

7. As for this weekened, tonight I am looking forward to going to sleep, tomorrow my plans include houseework and Sunday I want to go to church.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I *Heart* Kohl's

Remember the days when we looked so forward to getting a new straw bag for spring? Well, it has been years since I have had one -- probably high school. So, I went out looking for one and found one that works perfectly for me! I am so proud of it -- plus, it was on sale so even MORE perfect.

I am now participating in several reading challenges -- Young Readers, Romance Readers, Miss Read and my own personal goal to see how many books I can read that aren't on either of the above lists! And, of course, the Ultimate Challenge -- to finish "London" sometime in my lifetime.

So, I just thought I would take a break from all this reading to show you the Perfect Spring Straw Bag!

Romance Readers Challenge

On April 1, 2008, The Bookworm officially began the Romance Readers Challenge. The only rules are that you have to read five books in 2008 and they can be of any time period or style -- Harlequin, historical romance, modern romance, Jane Austen, chicklit, as long as there is a romance between the two main characters.

This sounds like a light-hearted challenge and one I could take on -- five books doesn't seem to be much.

So, I signed up and will start soon -- however, I don't think "London" will count in this challenge.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Typical Texas Evening

It was a beautiful day here but, as usual, a line of thunderstorms -- with rotation-- fired up late in the afternoon. This is what blew through from the west and pounded our house. I guess I will be making an appointment with the insurance adjuster tomorrow because this was bigger than a quarter. However, it isn't baseball sized like it was when it hit the areas before us.

All is quiet now.