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.