Monday, December 20, 2010

Fa----la---la!  Bah humbug all gone!

With the cedar pollen blowing up my nose and me putting everything off until the last minute, I have been pretty bah - humbuggy.  Until today.  For some reason it seemed like Christmas today.  As I walked through Dillards and looked at all the pretty holiday tableware I was suddenly transported back to my childhood.  The store was quite decorated, it was full of people, the candy area reminded me of Joske's for some reason and all of a sudden, my blahs were gone.  It was also 80 degrees, almost, which is more like the Christmas's I grew up with in South Texas.


I just about got everything finished so the hubs and I went shopping for ourselves tonight. Long gone are the days of sneaking around, wrapping presents and hiding things -- we now go for practical things and we don't see much reason to waste all that wrapping paper.  So, today was our day. 

The hubs did his shopping at Woodcraft where he bought a couple of hand tools for woodworking.  I had ordered him a pocket knife that he wanted but it is on back order so he won't be getting it for a little while but that was ok.

My shopping was done at William--Sonoma where I bagged these--


The color, Ocean, is really pretty and I just love Le Creuset so I am happy!
 
So, Merry Christmas, everybody and I am going to go  cook something!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It was Thirty Years Ago Today



I am a baby boomer.  I "grew up" during the decade between 1960 and 1970.  Even though my parents say that the 1940's were the best time to live, I know that the 60's were, without a doubt,  the most exciting time  to be a younger person albeit not the safest.

It was 1963 or 64 when the Beatles took the US by storm.  I was taking ballroom dance lessons at Bette and Glen Dance Studio when "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was released.  I remember the guy who had my interest at the moment telling me it was the "dirtiest" song he had ever heard.  Ha! We were just coming out of the 50"s -- no songs were dirty.  Since this was well before the advent of cable , satellite or the internet we had to rely on Ed Sullivan and movie and teen magazines to keep us up on what was happening on the entertainment scene.  We did ok, though, with our precursors to the ipod (called a transistor radio) glued to our ears we would spend hours at the magazine stand at the grocery store reading every article on whoever was catching our eye at the moment only taking out a bit of time to flirt with the package boys.

I wasn't a Beatlemaniac.  I didn't have a favorite although I guess I gravitated toward Paul -- "the cute one".  It was really interesting, however, to be able to see and hear young people from another country doing the same things that we did here.  I bought the records, saved the magazines and got all caught up in the British Invasion (especially the clothes) but I never lost interest in our homegrown groups. 


Time moved on, The Beatles broke up, I grew up and that was that.  My interest was piqued again in 1969 when it was reported that Paul McCartney had died in a car accident three years prior and was replaced with a double.  This news was only of passing interest -- however, I now believe the story to be true.  In any event, not much thought was given to the Fab Four or any of my other favorite entertainers until 1977 when Elvis Presley passed away at the age of 42 -- absolutely ancient to my 27 years.  I cried and tried to explain to my two year old what was wrong.  He didn't get it. 

He didn't get it in 1980 when I cried again on December 8 when a special news report broke into regularly scheduled programming to announce the murder of John Lennon at his home at the Dakota Apartments in NYC.  Suddenly the years melted away and I was 13 again listening to the "dirtiest song" ever.  This couldn't be -- not only couldn't John be 40 years old he certainly couldn't be dead -- especially at the hand of another.  The next day or so I sent my dear, long suffering hubby out in an ice storm to buy a copy of "Double Fantasy" -- I hadn't bought an album in forever -- and I was quite taken aback.  It was great - - well most of it anyway - pick up a copy and you will know what I mean.  I hadn't seen a photo of Lennon in a while and was surprised that he had aged nicely


and he still looked like himself, unlike Paul. There was lots of talk about him turning into a house husband and being a has-been but the album proved that as he aged he mellowed but he was still capable of producing fantastic music but, sadly, there would be no more.

Lately I have had a renewed interest in the Beatles and have done some reading and movie watching -- "A Hard Day's Night" to be exact, which I had never seen before.  I have watched some documentaries leading up to today and see this group in a whole new light.  Of course, I guess my aging has skewed my viewpoint as well.  They were a great little group that possessed a lot of talent and I am proud that they were part of my generation.

Rest in peace, John and yes, we are all still trying to imagine.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Change is In The Air

I have been playing around, changing things here and there on this blog. Don't you love my new header photo? It is the same as on my Wordpress blog but you can see more of it here. It is a little bistro in London. We didn't eat there so I don't know if the sign is correct when it says "great British food". I intend to find out if I ever return.

There was one place that had excellent food. It is the pub that my daughter's family goes to all the time. I believe the name is The George and Dragon. It was a cozy little (well, not really all that little) place where I had this lovely chicken and mushroom dish --- no photo.






I do, however, have a photo of what my husband ate -- he didn't manage the whole thing and ended up sharing which made everybody happy but it made a great photo!








Well, this was my experiment to see if I could do photos again on this blog and it appears that I can so I may be posting here more often.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ok, so I can now post pics on this blog -- wonder if I should move back or should I maintain two? Funny question since I can't maintain one but I will have to give it some thought.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Sometimes I really miss this blog but it won't let me post photos so I decided to move to wordpress. Come visit me there at http://brinkleysplace.wordpress.com. It is a bit lonely over there so Leave me a comment so I know you were there!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

come visit me at http://brinkleysplace.wordpress.com and give me a comment so I know you were there!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Blogging about food and quilting over at http://brinkleysplace.wordpress.com. Come and join me.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hi, there! Please join me at my new blog over at wordpress. The address is http://brinkleysplace.wordpress.com. I don't have a counter there to let me know I have had visitors so leave me a comment to let me know you were there!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Well, alrighty -- blogspot won't let me put up pics. Actually, I can't find the button to add the pics. It just isn't there. So,I have jumped on over to wordpress -- follow me there. You can find me at http:/brinkleysplace.wordpress.com.

I promise I won't move again. I don't have a counter over there so if you visit, leave me a comment so I know you were there. Please. Thanks.
Booking Through Thursday -- fini


32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? French

33. Most intimidating book you have ever read. "London"

34. Most intimidating book you are too nervous to begin. "War and Peace"

35. Favorite poet. A.A. Milne -- "Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers"

36. How many books do you have check out of the library at any given time? Not more than six.

37. How often do you return books to the library unread? Often. Quite often.

38. Favorite fictional character. Fr. Tim in the Mitford books.

39. Favorite fictional villain. Gentleman in "Fingersmith"

40. Boooks I am most likely to bring on vacation. Whatever I am reading at the time but it doesn't matter, I don't go on vacation.

41. The longest I've gone without reading. Don't know because I am always reading something.

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. "London" but I am hopeful -- "London" and I are just taking a break.

43. What distracts you easily when you are reading? TV

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel. "The Haunting of Hill House" -- the original in the theater, not on tv.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation. "Flowers in the Attic"

46. The most money I have ever spent at the bookstore at one time. Close to $200 but it was Christmas and I like to give books as gifts.

47. How often do you skim through a book before you read it? Usually choose books by their cover but I am doing more skimming now because Nook has a preview feature.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? BOREDOM but I am usually pretty determined to finish -- note "Bramwell Valley".


49. Do you like to keep your books organized? Yep

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away. I prefer to keep them but due to space limitation, I do give some away but it is a traumatic process.

51. Are there any books you keep avoiding? Countless.

52. Name a book that made you angry. See #48.

53. A book you didn't expect to like but did -- many

54. A book that you expected to like but didn't. Again #48

55. Favorite guilt free pleasure reading. I never feel guilty reading -- that is just silly.

VOILA! Done!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Booking Through Thursday -- 19 Aug 2010 -- Continued


21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? It really has to move me == really.

22. Favorite genre? I don't know that I really have a favorite. I get on kicks where I read certain things and then move on.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? Uh, if I wanted to read it don't you think I would?

24. Favorite biography? Well, this isn't technically a biography but I really always liked "The Diary of Anne Frank" but I would like to read "Kate" about Kathryn Hepburn.

25. have you ever read a self help book? Hahahaha! I am overweight -- what do you think?

26. Favorite cookbook. I don't like to cook

27. Most inspirational book you have read this year. Bible -- but not all at one time.

28. Favorite reading snack. I would have to say a nice cup of tea.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. I don't know that I would call it hype but I saw the movie version of "The Notebook" before I read the book and now I don't have the desire to read the book.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book. I don't read professional reviews. I read my cousin's reviews and go from there.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? Well, since I don't generally read bad books I would have to say that I don't feel anyway about it because I usually don't give bad reviews. Except for poor "Bramwell Valley". I don't know that it was such a bad book, it just wasn't for me.


Ok, more tomorrow -- wow, this is a very long meme.
Booking Through Thursday

I haven't done a BTT for a long time and, of course, when I visited today I found this super long questionnaire.  I will try.  It might take a couple of edits.  Ok, here goes.

1.  Favorite children's book -- The Bumper Book -- a compilation of stories and poems

2.  What are you reading now? -- "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress"

3.  What books do you have on request at the library?  None, they are planning on closing our neighborhood library which will leave this side of town without a library.

4.  Bad book habit -- buying because I like the cover

5.  What do you have currently have checked out of the library?  Nothing -- see #3.

6.  Do you have an e-reader?  Or does it have me is really the question.  Quite a tempermental thing -- but yes, I do.

7.  Do you prefer to read one book at a time or several at once?  One at a time -- I confuse easily.

8.  Have your reading habits changed since you started a blog?  Not really except now I look at books and think about whether they are blogworthy!

9.  Least favorite book you have read this year.  No doubt -- "Bramwell Valley.

10.   Favorite book you have read this year.  I have no idea -- I read so slowly that my readings can overlap years.

11.  How often do you read out of your comfort zone?  What does this mean -- location or genre.  I never read out of my comfort zone on either.


12.  What is your reading comfort zone?  Again -- my chair is my favorite place to read.  As to genre -- I like many things -- historical fiction, biography, current novel fare and how-to books involving my favorite things -- quilting and embroidery.


13.  Can you read on a bus?  Don't know -- never tried.

14.  Favorite place to read -- my chair, my house

15.  What is your policy on book lending?  I lend books to a select few. Namely daughter and daughter in law

16.  Do you ever dog ear books -- I try not to but I used to as a child

17.  Do you ever write  in the margins of books?  Not when reading casually.

18.  Not even with text books?  Well, of course, with text books but it was hard when having to chisel on the stone tablet.

19.  What is your favorite language to read in?  Well, I prefer my native tongue which is American English but I can handle a good dose of British English as well. 

20.  What makes you love books?  Ah, well, the love of reading was cultivated in me at an early age.  It began with a fascination of watching my mother read the newspaper and then watching my cousin read and get lost in her stories.  When I learned to read I was fascinated that books could take you to places you would probably never go and, if you didn't devour the book, you could stay in that place as long as you wanted and you could revisit without checking your luggage.  I love books that make me completely forget where I am when I am reading them.  Another place, another person, another life......and all for about $14.95 or a library card.

Ok, I will publish this now and finish later.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Melissa's Thoughts for the Week

It is Wednesday and time for a look at my profound thoughts for the week -- hope the sheer depth of these musings doesn't register seismic action -- joke, folks, joke.

This past winter, buried under snow and ice, powerless for three days, I swore not to complain about the summer and the heat.  Ok, I lied.  I think I am officially complaining now.

The building behind me is progressing -- they are erecting floor three of four -- I feel like I am living behind the mall.  Or something.  This place is for old people, how obnoxious can it be?  I will let you know -- they still haven't installed the dumpster yet.  When they do, we will see how obnoxious THIS old person is!

English paper piecing is, indeed, addictive and a wonderful diet aid -- want a snack -- baste fabric to little pieces of paper instead -- it is a wonderful diversion.

I have to learn how to put pictures on the computer with the new doo-hickey and operating system.  Blogs are much more interesting with photos -- especially photos of the aforementioned English paper piecing. Very colorful and festive.

Bean is growing like a weed and is becoming very chaming.  If you are good she will reward you with a glorious, beaming smile -- lights up the room! If you aren't good, you get a very evil, "The baby is  not pleased" look.   Certainly keeps me on my toes!

I am getting bored with facebook. I much prefer blogs.

I have learned the joy of washing dishes by hand.  Ha! I know, I know.

I can't understand why, in my old age,  I have decided the thing to do is have heat rash every summer.  It certainly is uncomfortable and puts a damper on the joy of summer fun -- oh yeah, there is no summer fun because we are all melting.  Forgot.

I am thinking that Delaney's Pub might be a nice place for dinner -- how can you not like a place that hangs out a sign "Finally open" -- guess it was a long time coming -- better try it before it goes!

I think it is time to get the day started.  Emails to write (again, got deleted accidentally yesterday -- touched the wrong touchy button -- tiny netbooks, gotta love em), toilet paper and paper towels to purchase, laundry to pop in --

Ta-ta!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Melissa's Thoughts for the Week


I think it is cruel how it can look so lovely outside but feel so dreadful.

I think it is appalling how we can't find things anymore -- what happened to leather goods stores and stationery stores -- and shoe stores -- not a Kinney's or Bakers to be found.

I have learned that English paper piecing IS addictive, just as promised on many blogs -- photos to follow.

I think I am finally learning to slow down, not be in such a rush, and enjoy the process.

I think the condo going up behind our house looks like the big black thing in "2001: A Space Odyssey".

I realize that I have to end my love affair with soda.

I feel content.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Wasps

We have big, mean, apparently very prolific wasps in Texas. My husband sprayed two nests in the back last night and when we got up this morning there was one lone wasp trying to salvage what was left of the nest. This afternoon we walked out the front door, I heard something buzzing around my head and we looked up and there was an even bigger nest above the door and he found two more under the eaves! Had I been braver I would have taken photos. Ok, I am not that brave. So, he used an entire can of spray on five nests -- hopefully tomorrow they will be gone -completely

I hope the spray didn't kill George, the lizard that hibernated in the garage last winter. He now lives in the yard and on the window screen -- I will have to check on him tomorrow -- note to self -- check on George. Maybe I will take a picture of George -- he isn't scary.

Oh, I ramble. Obviously nothing to blog. Think I will try my hand at some English paper piecing.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #188

1. Life is really, really good right now.

2. This horrible weather seems to just keep going. The question is do I prefer 100+ degrees or 10 degrees -- I have to say I will go with 100+.

3. My last text message (or IM) ended with these words: I am home.

4. Something that somebody else cooks is what I am thinking about for dinner soon.

5. on the 1st day of August I was in church enjoying Caroline's first visit to church.

6. I feel that, for my age, I am reasonably lively and energetic -- depends on the time of the day and the activity at hand!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to buying wasp spray, tomorrow my plans include spraying the wasp spray and Sunday I want to walk outside and see those wasps gone!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Melissa's Thoughts for the Week


I like doing memes so I decided to take a cue from my daughter (http://thewilcoxfamily.wordpress.com) and make up my own.  Each week she posts a list of her thoughts for the week.  It is great so I thought I would try it myself although I am sure her thoughts are much more profound than mine will be! So, here goes --

Melissa's Thoughts for the Week

It is hotter in North Texas than South Texas -- who knew?

I raised two really good kids and am so proud of them.

Loved seeing all three of my grandkiddos together -- wonderful group

Was dreading DH's looming retirement but, on further review, maybe not.

Is still not complaining about the dreadful weather but......

Is realizing she is never going to be thin again

Is accepting that she is ALWAYS going to fall asleep at 9 pm whether she is laying down or not

I realizing that her love/hate relationship with her Nook is definitely leaning more to the "hate" side of things.

And finally -- wonders when she is ever going to stop trying to get organized -- shouldn't I, at my advanced age, have already done that?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today would be my father's 87th birthday.  At this point in my life, 87 doesn't sound nearly as old as it once did.  The sad thing is, my dad has been gone for 10 years and 77 years old  certainly doesn't sound as old as it once did.  I think of all the things that have happened in my life in the last ten years and wish so much that he and my mom were here to take part.  I like to think that they know all those things anyway.

My dad was what I call a"public professional".  He was in the public eye most of life.  As a child he worked as a child actor on a local radio program in San  Antonio.  As a teenager he was a news announcer and a disc jockey for several San Antonio radio stations.  He took a break to help the Army out during World War II returning to join the new media sensation known as television.  He remained a newscaster in San Antonio, with one short detour, until 1969 when he became a full time cartoonist -- a career he enjoyed until his death in 2000.  There are any number of detailed bios on him on the internet - just google Pat Boyette and you will find them.

My dad has been called a "renaissance man" -- much of his knowledge was self taught  -- he was an avid reader and had great interest in the world around him.  Whether you were talking to him about religion, politics, movie making, art, aliens, ghosts, Egypt etc, he had something to bring to the conversation.  I miss those conversations.

My dad was a man of compassion.  He would  never walk away from somebody in need and gave many times when the giving wasn't so easy.  He was one of the kindest people I have ever known.
 
 My dad wore a lot of hats, professionally, but to me he was just Daddy.  he was a good father, a great grandfather and he is missed on a daily basis.   So, happy birthday, Daddy -- I wish you were here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sleeping with Bread


After visiting the meme site I found yesterday (http://thedailymeme.com) I discovered another suggested site for a Monday meme.  This is a different sort of meme -- not just another question/answer list so to speak.

This meme is based on the Examen prayer.  The examen prayer follows the spiritual practice of St. Ignatius which involves examining the previous week and studying what brought you peace, strength, consolation and what brought you concern, weakness or desolation.  It is a very thought provoking practice and sets you to thinking about your impact on those and the world around you as well as their impact on you as well.

In the past week, I think the thing that has brought me the most consolation is something diametrically opposed to what brought me the most desolation.  I listen to the news a lot -- I listen to mainstream media as  well as alternative media.  It all, in various degrees, is awful.  It is all doom and gloom and, as best as I can tell from what is reported, there is absolutely nothing of any good left on this planet.  The people are bad, the politics are bad, everything you eat is bad for you, we are becoming more obese and less productive, people can't find jobs.....and it goes on and on until you feel like you are at the bottom of a well with no way out and it is  flooding.

And then...

I look into the face of my newborn granddaughter.  As she lays in my daughter's arms, devouring the food in the bottle, she is  gazing at her mother with all the unconditional love and trust that only a child can possess.  She is dependent on her mother for everything -- the food she eats, the clothes she wears and the love and nurturing that she needs to grow and thrive.

I am reminded of another Child, the Christ child, that gazed at His mother in the same fashion.  I am reminded that we are taught to come to the Father as little children, with faith and trust and that He will take care of us.

As I watch my daughter with her daughter I realize that there is still much goodness in the world.  There is hope and freshness and a brightness of future.  I look at this grandchild and see wisdom in her innocence and am again reminded that all we need is the faith, trust and belief of a little child.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meme's

I like doing memes.  I like reading other people's memes. So, in a quest to find some new ones, I ran across a site called The Daily Meme (thedailymeme.com).  I ran across two, one I have done many times before, and the second is new to me so I thought I would participate in them tonight. 

The first  is called Unconscious Mutterings at http://subliminal.lunanina.com.  It is a word association game and can be quite hilarious, depending on your mood.  So, here is my unconscious mutterings for this week -- #391.

l.  inception -- beginning
2.  anticipation -- Christmas
3.  space -- travel, bags
4.  earn -- money
5.  .com -- the internet -- yay!
6.  hello!  -- goodbye!, The Beatles
7.  equivalent -- sugar to splenda
8. swore -- LANGUAGE! PLEASE!
9.  actions -- speak louder than words -- they really, really do
10.  expletive -- see #8 above


The second meme I looked at is called Word Beads at Catchwords (http://cfcl.com).  It is a writing meme and you have to use five predetermined words in a sentence.  So, here goes.

scheduable
pail
role
retract
lax

Because John was so lax in his role as pail carrier, we had to retract the offer because the plan was not scheduable.

So, there they are -- my memes for the day! 
Booking through Thursday


Do you ever listen to book related podcasts?  If so, why?

No, I don't.  It is simple -- I don't have an ipod.  Yes, I know they exist but I have never had much interest in having one.  I have thought about listening to books on tape in the car but I am afraid I would go to sleep or get distracted while driving and, besides, I am usually listening to alternative talk radio when I am in the car -- something to fuel the road rage.   I am afraid the most sophisticated I have gotten in the  electronic reading department is an e-reader which, to be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with which I am still trying to work out.  I mean, once you have named it, can you really just trade it in?

 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Fill-ins #186


1.  I feel a bit helpless right now.

2.  I will never ever be able to catch up.  Frankly, I don't know if I want to because then what would I do?  It would be like reaching the end of the internet.

3.  Do not mess with Texas! Remember that catchphrase?

4.  I would like to create quilts that are completely unique.

5.  It is hard to know how much  is too much -- of almost anything.

6.  I don't think I know what to do with this on.  Follows suit -- hmmm...

7.  As as for my weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching "Friday Night Lights" and watching hubby tear up the computer, tomorrow my plans include who knows what and Sunday I want to go to church and see our new little Bean.
Strange


On June 28 my daughter had her first child -- a girl.  The child looks so much like my daughter did as a newborn that we have joked that she  cloned herself.  However, it was such a strange feeling when I watched her rock this new life who looks like her -- it looked like she was rocking herself!  It was like a picture in a picture -- it was very strange.
Blogspot

I used to love Blogspot.  It was reasonably user friendly, it was simple, it was cozy.  I don't blog all that often but I really like it and would like to do it more often.  However, visiting my blog last week to post about my new granddaughter, I found that I couldn't post -- the new post window would never open.  Now I have to  publish a blank window, hit edit and then go in and actually write the post.  This can't be right -- whoever is in charge needs to fix it.  I have been searching all over for other blog sites but I haven't found anything I like as well.  I have a wordpress blog, a livejournal blog, a multiply blog, a typepad free blog, and I have been on weebly.  I prefer blogspot so I would like for somebody to fix it -- it is broken and needs it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ok, lets see if this is going to work! If it does, then I don't have to go elsewhere for a blog site!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bramwell Valley

I don't usually do book reviews. I don't do them well so I leave that up to JLSHall. However, I feel compelled to at least comment on my latest read.

When I received my Nook in January, I decided that, it being first generation and all, I would try some of the "free" offerings before I sunk a lot of money into online books. I think that was a prudent decision considering that I have had some issues with Tinklepaw Nook although some of those issues have been eliminated with the latest "upgrade". I digress.

The first "free" book that I downloaded was titled "Bramwell Valley". The synopsis described it as a story about a quaint small town with colorful characters. Right up my alley -- like "Peyton Place". Hmm..yeah, not so much.

This is a story of a small town called Bramwell Valley. The main characters are four women who have a couple of things in common -- they are all wealthy and they have all inherited a bit of the witchy from their foremothers. They aren't actually witches, as explained later, but rather sorcerers. Ok, whatever. Anyway, the subplot revolves around Lucifer (fondly known as Lucy). Lucy decides to resign as the devil, leave Hell, go to Florida, take up with an ancient crone in a hot body and drive a black hummer. That is bad enough, in and of itself. However, Lucy didn't tell anybody where he was going and, in an effort to find him, several demons decided to open THE DOOR and they all fell out of Hell into the earth where all sorts of havoc was unleashed. After a number of "events", Lucy decided he had to return and take the demons back -- it was hard leaving the lady friend and the hummer -- not sure which one more. In any event, all was well that ended well. I guess.

This book wasn't intellectually funny. No sophisticated humor, no innuendo -- just unadulterated silliness. It was a real effort to finish it and I wouldn't recommend it. I was just glad it was free. Even then I felt like I had to finish it -- a personal issue of mine -- have to finish books I start -- regardless. However, if you choose to delve into it -- be forewarned. Unless you like devils driving hummers.

Done here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The Enigma Known as Facebook

Sometime in late May will mark the anniversary of my high school graduation. It will be 42 years since the night I left the Municipal Auditorium basement after dumping the rented cap and gown into the big box at the door. I remember it well, the light blue linen dress was cool against the warm, humid breeze that whipped through my hair as I walked toward the front of the building to meet my family. The feeling of freedom was intoxicating and the promise of the future was stimulating. I didn't enjoy high school. I didn't fit in but I cared, I tried but I wasn't true to myself. But this particular night it didn't matter anymore -- this was a new beginning. I had THE BOYFRIEND and I had THE COLLEGE and life progressed.

I never looked back.

The boyfriend became the husband the college was replaced with a job I liked better and that was replaced with another job that I liked even more -- motherhood. Finally, I was being true to myself.

I never looked back.

My life was made of up of all the trappings of babies and homemaking and I was finally in my element and time marched on and we grew, as a family, with it.

I never looked back.

Then, as a family, we entered the electronic age. I remember my husband and my other little man spending hours on Saturdays at the computer store deciding on which model to buy and finally the day came when they brought one home. We even had our own computer room -- a closet that once housed all the toys that were strewn all over our den. There was no internet at the time and the fun was in learning DOS. Well, I didn't find that fun -- I would stick to my bread baking and book reading and cross stitching, thank you very much. The kids loved it. After all, what four year old could resist the allure of KinderComp.

Time went on and we moved to a different city and the kids, being in middle and high school were becoming computer savvy and I was becoming curious -- especially with the advent of the internet. My husband was no longer interested in DOS and, being on a computer most of the day at work, he really wasn't too interested in more of the same when he returned home. Seemed like an appropriate time for me to jump in. Kids went off to college and would talk to me about things they had seen or read on the internet -- I never even thought about it being a threat -- and I wanted to be a part of that world.

So, one night, the best hubby in the world asked what I wanted to do after dinner and I didn't have an answer so he asked if I wanted to go get my computer. I was ecstatic -- uh, yeah, I wanted to go get my computer! And, the next day, I wanted to get my internet access! And, I did.

And I never looked back.

Computerization of our home certainly came in handy. The internet was a wonderful resource for my favorite hobby -- genealogy. I was also helpful in my other pursuits like quilting and needlework. It was great. Then one day, my son mentioned Mundee's "blog". What was that, I asked? Speaking slowly so I was sure to understand he sounded out "weblog" and Mundee has one. Well, I wanted one too. I visited Mundee's blog and then other blogs dealing with my areas of interest and then I found out how to make a "blog" and I did. Great fun and "you are here".

And then....yep, you guessed it -- social websites emerged. First it was myspace which I jumped into for a while but once Facebook came into existence, myspace was history for me. I think I was one of the first people to sign up for Facebook and I didn't really "get it" but I was "on it" -- me and a bunch of teenagers. Over time, however, there were more and more "older" folks on there as well as groups and such.

Suddenly, I discovered the girls of my elementary school class. Not all at once, of course, and not all of them, but one by one a few emerged. These are the same kids that I left behind that night of graduation. I didn't know if I would ever see any of them again -- I didn't even think about it -- I just went forward and here I am, looking back. There are a half a dozen or so of us that have created a virtual elementary school reunion. We have talked about who we can't find, who we WON'T find, who we have lost.

It is a strange feeling -- could it really be 42 years since graduation? I haven't seen these women in years -- yet we talk like it has been only a few months. Have we changed? Are we the same? There are a lot of things from that time I can't remember and a lot of things I do and wish I didn't. It has been fun, this virtual reunion, talking about where our lives have taken us. Do I fit in? Probably not but I am now, without a doubt, true to myself.

So, at this point there are two questions. What about the people we can't find but would like to. Maybe they don't want to be found. Being well versed in genealogy, I do know how to find people but I respect the fact that if people want to reconnect with their past they will join a social networking site, such as Facebook. If they don't then it is safe to assume that they don't want to "look back".

And, the second question is -- should we invite those elementary school boys to the reunion? Hm....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yesterday -- Sounds Like a Song

I don't know what it was about yesterday. It was the most awesome day I have had in a long time. For one thing, nothing was wrong. Well, except for the swollen eye compliments of The Building Project and The Pollen. Other than that, a calm took over Brinkley Manor. I got up early and walked outside. For the first time in weeks the air seemed clear. It wasn't but it was better than it has been. It was cool and very quiet. No banging of heavy equipment on rock, no concrete trucks with their barrels whirring, no people screaming in foreign tongues. And, less dust.

I visited my garden for the first time this spring. Hubby did some gardening and washed the thick layer of dust off everything. Futile, I know, because today the project will be back "on" again and by this afternoon the dust will be back, my nerves will be on edge from the banging that causes the house to vibrate, and the constant roar of trucks will be in high gear -- more concrete today.

But, for a brief time, I was able to enjoy the peace that the garden was meant to bring. It has been weeded, pruned and watered and awaits another visit next Sunday when all is quiet again. While I wish I could somehow preserve this lovely spring we are having but it seems it is going to be measured by Sunday visits. Will that make it go slower or faster? I am not sure.

I am more than pleased with my awesome Sunday and my peaceful garden. It was a contemplative sort of day which I haven't had in quite a while. I was afforded the luxury to just sit and think about things, people, other times, how fortunate I am -- all those things that usually allude us or are taken for granted on a normal day. I can already tell that my awesome day is going to affect the rest of my week in a positive way. I am hoping to keep the spirit of my awesome day alive until next Sunday when I hope to have another.

My awesome day ended as it began -- in peace. My DOK meeting left me, once again, completely rejuvenated by the energy and power of the women of this group. I have never seen anything like this group and it is hard to describe but when I am in their presence I can't be anything but uplifted. I thank God that he has placed me, the least energetic and powerful of them all, in their group to reap the benefit of all they have to offer. I just hope that one day I will be able to give back in some small measure.

My awesome day ended with a dinner invitation from daughter and son-in-law. Palio's pizza, our new go-to pizza "place" was the restaurant of choice and, again, the peace and relaxation I felt was something that I hadn't felt in a long, long time.

Why was I given this gift yesterday? I have no idea. But, I took it, no questions asked and call it a blessing.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rest in Peace Baby June


Young people today have a whole load of handsome vampires to swoon over, drop dead gorgeous "mean girls" to emulate and "achy breaky" daughters to hold up as role models. Special effects are common in today's movies as well as realistic storylines -- well, except for the vampires. Girls of the 50's and 60's were different -- oh, we had our role models and our "crushes" (Russ Tamblyn comes to mind) but our cinematic satisfaction came in the form of the musical.

Movies during that era (could I possibly have referred to my life as an ERA -- ouch!) were gorgeous, costume clad, bigger-than-life romances with fantastic scenery and happy endings. Every ingenue could sing and tap dance her way through life's challenges and end up winning the guy and keeping her reputation in tact in the process.

I don't know too many girls who didn't want to "wash that man right outta their hair" or who didn't want to be one of those seven brides for one of those seven brothers (again, Russ Tamblyn comes to mind). The beauty of the Asian culture was depicted in "Flower Drum Song" -- who didn't just melt watching Nancy Kwan dance and who didn't just love the innocence of Miyoshi Umeki. It didn't matter if you were the "good girl" or the showgirl, everybody fell for the bad boy in "Guys and Dolls". I don't know one girl my age that didn't yearn to hang out on the fire escape and watch those tight-jeaned chorus boys dance their way through the West Side of New York telling their teenage angst Story. Did I mention Russ Tamblyn?

I am sure that every girl my age secretly pictured herself dropping that shoulder strap and pulling off that glove in "Gypsy" even though, being the demure, innocent things that we were ( we WERE!) we wouldn't admit it. What a life that movie depicted -- hard times, children working to support parents, sibling rivalry, the urge to "get away" and the determination to be somebody -- that is timeless and universal it would seem.

So, the world has lost one of those glamorous performers in the person of June Havoc. She was born Ellen Hovick sometime around 1912 (she didn't really know herself since her stage mom had lied about her age so much-- seems she had multiple birth certificates) in Vancouver, Canada. When her parents divorced her mother took her girls on the road living the vaudeville life in an effort to support themselves and be in the limelight, something their mother, Rose Hovick, always wanted for herself -- talk about living vicariously through your kids.

June was the talented sister with Louise taking a backseat. Louise only came to her mother's notice when Baby June, as she was promoted, ran away to be married at age 13 .. or 14 ... or 15...whatever. In order for the "show" to continue, Louise had to take over. By that time, Louise was no longer a child but a young woman -- she couldn't carry on the "Baby June" persona so she had to move on to the next thing which was burlesque which involved baring a little skin. After the initial shock and humiliation of this new act, Louise, now known as Gypsy Rose Lee, continued in this line of work the rest of her life. It is well documented in the movie "Gypsy". If you haven't seen it, which I can't imagine anybody on the planet not having seen it, rent it, get some popcorn and Kleenex and enjoy.

That, however, wasn't the end of Baby June. She married the boy she ran off with but the marriage didn't last. She moved to Hollywood in the late 40's and pursued an acting career that she would work in until as recently as 2003. She was also a writer. She passed away March 28, 2010 of natural causes at the age of 97.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Language -- Funny You Should Say That


I was in school a long, long time ago when chalk boards were black not white, when girls wore dresses and boys pants rested at their waist not their knees. I grew up doing homework having spelling tests, doing math problems at the kitchen table (evens one night, odds the next), I learned to write in longhand and I discovered great joy at doing book reports on books I took from the public library.

I learned a lot in a seven hour school day with one teacher but one thing stays in my mind to this day and that was the declaration that the English language is difficult to learn -- lots of rules and exceptions to those rules -- lots of "i's" and "e's" and "c's". We struggled to remember that "receive" isn't "recieve" and that "there, their, and they're" aren't even close to the same thing. We learned "principles" and were sure we didn't want to have to visit the "principal". It was fun, it was hard and we learned.

The present generation is having it's own problem with the introduction of texting language. Why spell out "laughing out loud" when LOL will do and EVERYBODY understands and can spell it -- I have never seen LOL mispelled. Young people text like our generation talked on our pink or turquoise princess phones. It has been reported that texting is replacing talking amongst tween and teens -- they prefer the "written word" -- the meaning of that debatable. So, I guess it is no small wonder that the verbal communicative skills among the young adults is suffering. Have you ever stood in a checkout line, making small talk with the young person behind the register and have he/she look at you like she doesn't understand a word you are saying? They don't. It is almost frightening to think that these non-communicative upstarts will be voting adults in the not too distant future. This is a "generational thing" not unlike the "generational thing" of the 60's -- we don't understand, they didn't understand but we could read, spell and speak -- possibly too much and too loudly.

But, I have to wonder what happens when dealing with a person of similar age -- why is there a breakdown in communication? Why is it hard to follow direction? How in the world does "I like it very short in the back and close on the sides" somehow translate into "ah, let's give M a modified mullet -- yeah, that will work".

I guess next time I will have to text my preferences -- what is the code for "short in back"?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Saturday Play Date


Saturday was our play date with the g-kids. They are growing up so fast and their personalities are developing rapidly. One likes to make funny noises and the other gets tickled at it and imitates -- quite well, actually. One like to build, the other wants to do the same. They both love books and enjoy reading the same thing over and over. Running is quite popular and time-out is routine. One can count to eleven and say MOST of the alphabet -- the other is quite fascinated by socks. One readily apologizes for any perceived misdoing and it usually involves a kiss. The other loves to bump heads and rub noses. Their vocabularies are growing by leaps and bounds. They are bright eyed and healthy and full of energy -- much more energy than we have.

The day included tinker toys, books, three mean games of Hi-Ho Cherry-O, books, lunch, books, puzzles, books, naps, quiet time, putting money in the penny bank and saying prayers. It was a good day. I need geritol. And knee replacements. I am happy to say that the eyes in the back of my head are still in great working order -- guess once a mom always a mom and when you acquire those back head eyes, they are there forever. Gramps was the reigning champion of building, I was the soother of hurt feelings and tear dryer. It was a good day as I watched these kids I could see my own at that age -- it was like I could do it all over again from a different perspective. Being a g-parent is great. My mom was right -- it is wonderful to be able to play and spoil and love them and then give them back!!

As much as I am shocked at reaching a proper grandmotherly age, I love it and really enjoy the time with them. I think today I am fully recovered. Ha!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Months ago I was using these sorts of fill-ins as a way to remember to post every day and I, somehow, got away from it. So, I am trying to start again so here I go!


Friday Fill Ins

1. The right word escapes me.
2. Leave and shut the door quietly, please
3. Up , up and away!
4. Behind the sewing machine is where you will find me.
5. Ooh, what is that cute little puppy in Monique's photo?
6. Spring finally springing is a good idea.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching "Who Do You Think You Are", tomorrow my plans include the two cutest kiddos on the planet and Sunday I want to relax and sew.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unconscious Mutterings Week #373

I haven't done one of these in a long time and, since I am obviously procrastinating doing the laundry I think now is a perfect time to do another! So, here goes -- don't expect brilliance.

1. burrito -- yum
2. spike -- railroad, Snoopy
3. tougher -- sirloin
4. mock -- turtle soup
5. slurp -- mock turtle soup
6. knock -- knock, who's there?
7. conference -- call
8. madness -- stop the madness, Susan Powter
9. minds-- are a dangerous thing
10. connection -- DSL

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bean's Quilt

While Bean is busy growing and practicing gymnastics and practicing her "Gig Em" sign, Nona is busy creating a baby quilt. Mommy and Nona went to the fabric store, The Quilter's Stash, in North Richland Hills a few weeks ago and spent two hours auditioning fabrics for this little quilt. We came home with twenty two different fabrics and a package of Quilter's Dream batting -- the most wonderful batting on the market, IMHO.




Bean's mommy has a wonderful plan for her room, I guess I would call the style "Americana Cozy" and that is all I am going to say about it. She chose a wide variety of fabrics from her inspiration wall decor and each, in it's own way, evokes memories for me as a lot of it comes from vintage or reproduction lines. The style of the quilt is very simple -- 4.5 inch squares, randomly set. The colors are wonderful and have a way of setting off each other. I arranged them in a truly random way, only making sure that I didn't put two identical squares next to one another.





I had been thinking about doing some Welsh quilting on this -- a technique I would like to explore -- but Bean's mommy wants it to be a soft, cuddly quilt and the extensive quilting found on Welsh quilts might make it a bit more stiff so it will be simple quilting. I am not sure how I am going to quilt it yet but I think, whatever I do, I will do by hand. Quilting by hand creates a softer drape and besides, I haven't done anything by hand in a long time and I have been wanting to do something so this project, not being too big, seems the perfect thing.




I had thought about finishing the edges with prairie points but, in a way, it seems too stark for a baby quilt so I will probably just choose one of the fabrics and do a simple binding -- maybe with the lovely rose fabric with the meandering flowers. I want this quilt to be used and soft and washed and dragged around -- a proper working quilt -- not something just folded and put away because Nona made it.

I will be backing it with muslin for two reasons. Muslin comes in very wide widths and I really don't like seams on the back of my quilts. Plus, muslin washes up very nicely and just gets softer with age and it needles well. So, that, coupled with my Quilters Dream batting will make a lovely little wrap for Bean!

Tomorrow will be the starting point. I hope to have it basted and in the hoop so I can sit back and be in hand quilting heaven -- the most relaxing hobby I can think of other than napping. I will post photos of the finished product when it is, in fact, the finished product.











Simple Woman's Daybook, March 23, 2010

Outside my window I see a cloudy sky with the sun trying to peek through -- it looks like it is going to make it.

I am thinking that I really haven't accomplished much today and I am wondering if that really matters.

I am thankful for the warmer weather.

From the learning rooms I am learning about traditional Welsh quilting.

From the kitchen absolutely nothing is going to come today -- it is my kitchen day off -- randomly chosen.

I am wearing black slacks and a striped shirt.

I am creating a baby quilt for Bean.

I am going to have to decide what my "quilt as desired" desire is.

I am reading "Bramwell Valley" -- silly, silly book.

I am hoping to get a better nights sleep tonight.

I am hearing Ellen Degeneres in the background.

Around the house I am systematically decluttering -- I have been watching "Hoarders" -- scary stuff.

One of my favorite things is my cat -- so demanding, forces me to think about something other than myself.

A few plans for the rest of the week is to finish the baby quilt.

Here is a picture thought to share with you:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh, Spring, Where Art Thou?

Today is the first day of spring. It is supposed to look like this:



This one of our pear trees, yesterday, when it was spring. However, today it is winter again, complete with snow and wind and freezing temperatures which could mean ice and probably the end of the lovely pear blossoms.

I haven't heard, officially, but I think this is probably the most peculiar winter in the history of, well, probably the entire planet. It isn't supposed to be snowing. We had the a/c on yesterday. I know this is Texas and the old saying goes "if you don't like the weather in Texas, just wait a minute and it will change". I think every state lays claim to that old saying but here it seems to be especially true, this winter at least.

So, I guess I will go curl up with my e-reader and finish the most ridiculous book ever published -- Bramwell Valley. I didn't say it wasn't a GOOD book, it is quite funny, but not my usual fare. It was, however, free from B&N and, until I have a little more faith and confidence in my Nook, I will continue to download "free". If you want to read something really, really silly, check out Bramwell Valley -- it won't disappoint.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!

It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood -- for sure! First off, I can hear -- praise the Lord! Secondly, it is sunny and dry (trying not to jinx things here)! And, I got my hair cut -- a little wonky but cut nonetheless.

So, I have energy and I am rip roaring and ready to go to work finishing up some projects. One I can't show you because it is a gift but just suffice it to say that it will be lovely.

The second I can't tell you about either because of the same reason. However, here are some of the fabrics involved in the creation.




The third I can tell you about. It is a baby quilt for Bean! DD picked out the fabrics -- all colors taken from a set of pictures they are using in the baby room. She chose 22 fabrics as seen below and, if my math is correct (which is always suspect) it will take 7- 4.5 inch squares of each to make up the top. It is going to be true patchwork -- just a mishmash of fabrics and wonderfully soft Quilters Dream Batting. I want it to be cozy and cuddly and just the right size for the baby.


The design decision that has me a bit perplexed is the finishing. I am thinking about prairie points but then, I see a solid binding as well to sort of frame all those prints. I was going to make the squares smaller but have decided on the 4.5 in. because enough of the print will be visible -- any smaller and I think they would mostly turn into "solids" or just "textures". Since there will be no borders or anything I think I am going with either a plain, solid binding or maybe plain, solid prairie points. I dont know but that decision is a way down the road, I will deal with it then.

I am thinking I am going to use my new accuquilt cutter for this. After all the deliberating over buying the thing, I have yet to remove it from the box. This might be the perfect time to try it but......on scraps first. I generally have a huge learning curve on things of this nature.

So, that is what is taking up my time right now. Lots and lots of sewing and planning and cutting and designing and not a lot of confidence even though I have been doing this for almost thirty years! I guess I will always be a novice. Hmm..

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Rebecca

Better late than never, as they say but since I was not feeling up to par, blogging was put on the back burner. However, now it is time to play catch up.

I was born on my grandmother's birthday -- February 28. I guess that was my one distinguishing factor. My name should have been Rebecca since there was ALWAYS a Rebecca in the family -- my mother broke the chain and named me after a popular tune. At any rate, I always thought it was special being born on MaMa's birthday.

My grandmother Rebecca Madge Foreman was born in San Antonio in 1902. She led a very unremarkable life being part of a large family with many aunts and uncles and cousins. She attended Lavaca Street School which I believe is where the current central office of the SAISD now stands as well as Pauline Nelson Elementary School, also SAISD. She won the Palmer's Handwriting contest for her outstanding penmanship. She left school at eleven to become employed at a store downtown -- I can't seem to recall the name of the store -- Joy? A bit later she went to work at the telephone company where she stayed until her marriage in 1918 to James W. Davis who was stationed in San Antonio during basic training in World War 1. Sometime later that year, after armistice was declared, she joined Jim in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I am not sure how long she lived in Scranton but the family had moved back to Texas by April of 1921 when my aunt was born. They remained in Texas the rest of their lives.

Rebecca had four children -- Velma, Bette, Jimmy and Linnie and four granddaughters -- Joy Lynn, Diana Jean, Melissa, Penny Gail, and Lori Ann. She was a good grandmother making clothes, costumes, taking care of us when we were sick, providing stability when things were shaky. She was always a pillar of strength in my mind. If there was a problem, MaMa and PaPa could take care of it.

Rebecca -- who, to my knowledge, never went by the name Rebecca but rather Madge -- outlived Jim by almost 20 years, passing away in the mid 80's. To this day I recall hearing the stories about how, when they moved to the "country" (which meant old Castle Hills, on Castle Lane) she had a cow that she milked. She also raised pomeranian puppies and had chickens. That was a side of my grandmother I just couldn't get my head around. Well, ok, maybe the puppies. I remember her having a huge, grey persian cat named Pretty -- it was a sad day when she lost that cat.

It was a sad day when we lost my grandmother but I have so many good memories of her -- going shopping and eating at Casa Rio -- EVERY Saturday, tea and toast at her kitchen table almost every day, her house, her Spanish Geranium soap -- yep, that was MaMa.

So, Happy Birthday to you MaMa. You would be 108 years old! Wow, that is a whole lot older than 60 -- you are making me feel good once again!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Buh-bye to the Most Miserable February I Can Remember

February used to be such a good month. It is my birthday month and, even though this year is a milestone birthday, I was looking forward to it. Operative word, was. Now, I am not looking forward to the birthday I am just looking forward to this miserable month being over!

When I started school, we were arranged in classes by our birthdays so, my classroom was made up of those whose birthdays fell from January 1 to mid-March. My best friend, Roger's, birthday was on the 24th, my friend Kathryn's was on the 26th and mine the 28th -- no wonder I can remember that. February was definitely the month of parties. Those were the days! Not this year, however. (Below is a photo of my 6th grade graduation with the majority of the girls in my class -- a couple were missing. )

This has been a horrible winter. We have had snow at least three times. My grandchildren have contracted some sort of illness that I believe they shared with me. My expectant daughter managed to contract some sort of stomach virus from her husband. The month is a complete blur. Complete.

So, with that said, I am quite anxious to see February depart and some warm weather takes its place. I would like to see everybody well and all my projects underway. I am getting way behind in the project arena. I want my ears to unstop and my chest to uncongest and I am willing to forego the birthday celebration in order to hasten the healing.

On that note, I am going to wish myself a happy birthday, drink copious amounts of water, swallow massive amounts of something to decongest me and take a nap!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010




King Aroo

I don't feel well today and even though I didn't feel like doing much, I didn't feel like being completely unproductive either. So, I set about cleaning off the desk. I feel badly about our desk. We have a perfectly good home office and yet my husband schleps the bills and payments to be made to the dining room table because he can't find the desktop. It is usually hidden under DAR papers, genealogy papers, old photos to be scanned and junk mail that neither of us looks at but feels that it might be important enough to not throw away. So, I decided to make the desktop a bit more accessible to him.

As I was clearing things out, I found the little yellowed comic strip shown above. I have been carrying it around with me for some time now because it is important to me. It is the final newspaper comic strip, "King Aroo", drawn by Jack Kent. My copy came from the April 17, 1987 issue of Comics Buyer's Guide.

Jack Kent was an artist in San Antonio. He began drawing the "King Aroo" comic strip in 1950 and continued for 15 years. When I was old enough, I never missed a day of reading it. I remember my father bringing me a copy of a little King Aroo book which I carried around until it finally disintegrated and is no more.

Kent went on to write and illustrate children's books. When my children were small, I joined a book club for them and many of the titles they received were Jack Kent books which we still have in our possession. I believe their favorite was "Socks for Supper". I have since gone on to collect more for my own library of children's books. I believe my personal favorite is "There's No Such Thing As A Dragon".

As I said earlier, this little comic strip is important to me because it was important to my father. See, Jack Kent was a good friend of his. In fact, my father was his best man at his wedding to his wife June. Jack and June have a son, also named Jack, who I have spoken with via email in the not too distant past. Jack Jr. is a nice guy which I wouldn't doubt because his folks were nice people. I wish I hadn't lost his email address.

I remember when my dad learned that Kent was ill. It was a sad day and when he passed away, it was sadder still for my dad who valued the friendship of all those years, it was sad for Kent's fans and for the children who loved his books and the thinly veiled messages therein. So, when I ran across the raggedy, yellowed copy of his last strip, I just had to share it. I searched "Jack Kent" on the internet and found a very recent article written in SA Current. It is written by a woman whose blog I follow - http://www.scribblinginsanantonio.com. The link to the SACurrent article is http://www.sacurrent.com/arts/story.asp?id=70905. It is a great article and if you are interested in Jack Kent, you will enjoy reading it.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the final strip of King Aroo.

The two photos above were taken at about 7 a.m.





Be Gone Winter of 2009-10! Please!

I am feeling a very negative post coming on. I am sick of winter, I am sick of cedar, I am really sick of snow/ice/wintery mix -- in fact, I am just sick, literally. So, I would love to see a little bit of spring -- please? However, I did take some photos the other day of the Fort Worth Blizzard of 2010 and thought I would put them up. They look oddly like the LAST pictures of snow I took because I only seem to stand at the same vantage point -- my garage door or my patio. But, in any event, for all you folks who wish for snow -- here ya go -- knock yourself out. I, for one, am ready to see the back end of winter!

I know these photos probably don't look like much to my northern friends/family but they were taken early in the day. The final amount of snow tallied for the day was between 10-14 inches, depending on where you lived.

I didn't take any photos of yesterday's snow because it didn't stick and frankly, it looked like feathers and felt like sleet. It wasn't really nice except that it seemed like you were in a snowglobe as my daughter in law commented. Today, it is cold but bright sunshine and I have opened all my blinds so I can combat my seasonal affective disorder -- yay, sunshine.

Now, if I could just get rid of my cold/cedar fever/rampant allergies -- whatever it is that has ahold of me, I would be a very happy person.

Thursday, February 18, 2010





February 18, 1923


On this day in 1923 a second daughter was born to Jim and Madge Davis. They named her Alma Elizabeth after two of her aunts, Alma Foreman Baker and Elizabeth (Betty) Davies Carroll. They chose to nickname her Bette, a name she retained until moving to Fort Worth in 1990 when she suddenly became "Alma" -- a name I never got used to.

Bette was short, blond and a bit on the chunky side. In this childhood photo she is standing on the left with her older sister, Velma, her cousin Florence who is holding her brother, Jimmy.

Bette lived her entire life in San Antonio, Texas where she attended Edison and Jefferson High Schools. On November 14, 1942 she married her high school sweetheart, Pat Boyett, and began a marriage that would last until her death in 1996. They were a fun-loving couple that lead interesting lives but the greatest thing my mother ever experienced was grandmotherhood --- she adored her grandchildren and, I am certain, would be quite enamored with her great-grandchildren. I am sorry she isn't here to see them -- she would love them -- I like to think she does.

I guess the word that would best describe my mother would be that of caretaker. We were a close-knit family and my mother took care of everybody -- me, Joy, sisters, mothers, and fathers. I don't think she knew the word "no".

She was a good mother. She was always determined that our house would be one that the kids wanted to come to and she opened our door to any friend or cousin that wanted to come over. Friday was grocery shopping day and she made sure the fridge was stocked with cokes, the pantry with snacks and the record player was in good working order. She was always there to celebrate my achievements, to sympathize with the broken hearts and to encourage me as I fought my battles. She sewed dresses and costumes, rolled hair and polished nails. She raised me with a strong sense of right and wrong. She instilled in me the love of God and home. She taught me that no job was too menial to be done correctly and she taught me to care about others and hold family dear. She was a good mother and I still miss her.

So, on this day -- her 87th birthday -- I celebrate her, mourn her, remember her and thank her for all she did for me. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it weren't for her.

Happy Birthday, Mamma!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Early Bird Catches the ....Tums

Yes, I am up bright and early this morning -- 2 a.m. to be exact. A nasty case of acid reflux. Here is how it started --

In anticipation of more "wintery mix" on Friday, I decided that A and I needed dinner out. I develop really bad cases of cabin fever very quickly so I do my best to circumvent the issue by running around a lot prior to a "cabin event" so that when said even rolls around I am ready to stay home for a day. Usually my running around in prep involves things like stocking up on groceries (generally milk, coffee and tp), a quick stop at the book store for a stack of new mags to recycle and dinner out. Well, since Friday might turn into a "cabin event", I opted for dinner out last night.

We went to this place --



This place had been there for a while before we tried it -- our favorites being Rocco's take out or Red Brick Pizza. One evening we tried it and discovered it to be pretty decent pizza so we have gone there several times now and it's quiet, Tuscan ambiance is very nice -- we choose to sit in the corner by the fireplace. I didn't realize that Palio's was a chain until I started looking for it's logo -- pretty good for a chain.

After dinner I made a quick run to --



at



The mall was very quiet, being Tuesday and all, but it was enough to last me through the "winter event" -- I am not a mall person. I was between 11 and say 30 but since then, yeah, not so much.

After that, we came home, made a cuppa and sat down to watch the DVR'r segment of my favorite show



I don't know why this is my favorite show -- I dated a Mormon boy once who was a believer in polygamy and I knew at the ripe old age of 14 that concept wasn't in my life plan but still, it is a good show.

However, while I was watching said favorite show I ingested a number of these



I haven't been enjoying chocolate lately so this wasn't a good choice. I went to sleep and about 11:30 I woke up needing these
I tried to ignore it but by 2 a.m. I was wide awake, in my chair, drinking yet more tea and reading "Hide in Plain Sight" -- my new book on my Nook. Nook's, by the way, are unbelievably easy to read -- I thought it would be like reading a glary computer screen but it isn't, it is like reading a book -- so nice.

Anyway, back to sleep about 3 a.m. -- up at 6 with a whole day ahead and behind about three days worth of energy. Sigh.

Ok, this is the most ridiculous post I have ever written. It reminds me of one of those story books when I was a child that had pics in the middle of the text to help new readers. Yeah, well, I feel pretty childish right now to tell you the truth. Plus, this post is all about my weakness, indulgence and lack of control so I am not going to post on FB that I am "blogging" - instead this is just for me to look at when I feel the need to over-indulge -- a record of just what can happen when there are too many olives, too many cookies and too little control.

What will I get accomplished today on too little sleep and still sporting a squeamish tummy? Probably not a whole lot -- I don't get a whole lot done on a good day -- but I will probably find time to reactivate my Weight Watchers account which I foolishly deleted about three weeks ago because I wasn't participating. Bad choice -- both lack of participation and cancellation -- so, today I will probably be back tracking and starting over. I wish I could, for once, just achieve and not constantly be starting over but that seems to be Melissa's way -- blah.

Ok, this is the end of the this post -- peppermint tea and a new beginning -- after a nap. Yeah.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ah, To Be Three Again -- I guess

Yesterday was spent at our son's house celebrating our grandson's third birthday. It was actually a pretty quiet little party. One invited family was suffering from "flu like symptoms" and decided they best not attend which is understandable and considerate. So, there were only three children there -- the birthday boy, his sister and his buddy. But, the three of them were lively enough.

The theme of the party was "firetruck" -- one of N's favorite things right now. So, Mom fashioned a firetruck cake from pound cake, oreo cookies, gumdrops and rolled fondant icing. Since she didn't want the kids to partake of too much red food coloring, she made this a Fort Worth firetruck which are blue and white. She also had "dalmation" cupcakes which were cupcakes with white frosting with crumbled chocolate cookies mixed in to make them look spotted and they were topped with icing fire hydrants made by birthday boy's dad. I didn't get a photo of those, however, but trust me, they were cute.

There were gifts galore


Balloons to be popped, friends and aunts

Gramps and Granny B


And a good time was had by all!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Am Impulsive and Weak

Ever heard that expression "the mind is willing but the flesh is weak"? I have heard that used in many contexts but never with quilting -- until now.

I love to quilt -- if I am in the mood and things don't get all glitchy. I also have a very, very short attention span. Right now I have a quilt on the machine, two on the cutting table and one in my head and guess who isn't in the mood to quilt? Yep. I think I do ok with the cutting (to a point) and the piecing but when it comes to spreading the whole mess out on a large, flat surface (the floor comes to mind) I just go all ughy. In the first place, if I put it on the floor there is a huge chance there will be a cat in the middle of it in a nanosecond. Again, if I put it on the floor I risk never being able to get up from pinning it assuming I can get down there to begin with. So, I asked for a lovely cutting table for Christmas a couple of years ago to help with the process which does help, provided I don't want to create a quilt for my king-sized bed. I may be employing Georgia Bonesteel's techniques for quilting as I go if I tackle that project again.

However, with all these drawbacks in my physical ability and my mental prowess, I still love to quilt. There is something about creating a blanket that just sends lovey feelings all over me, probably because it reminds me of my great-grandma who essentially got me to thinking about it oh, long around 1954-55. I mean, come on, the great-great granddaughter of pioneer quilters just can't drop the ball, right? So, on I go.

I have learned a few things along the way though. I have learned that with all our new fangled gadgets for making like easier, I still liked the evenings at g-grandma's watching her piece quilt blocks with nothing but a needle and a thread and a pair of scissors. In dull light, I might add. I have never attempted hand piecing although I would love to but figure the short attention span might not be a good match for it -- I am, after all, a woman of this instant gratification generation. Still, I am a purist and think the hand piecers/quilters still have it right. However, after cutting out a quilt with scissors one Christmas and finding that all my strips were off between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch, I gave up on the scissors and went back to the rotary cutter. That was better. However, the rotary cutter and ruler aren't my best friends -- I seem to be a bit ruler dysfunctional but it is still better than scissors -- I have just learned to jiggle things a bit to make them fit. Of course, I do lots of strip piecing and stuff like that, I don't really cut out quilt squares and piece things together -- I take the easy way out.

In any event, I caved in and bought one of these today.




It is called Accuquilt Go and is a die cutter for fabric. I have seen one used and I have watched the video. It all looks very promising and not nearly so messy as my rotary cutting. I have read many reviews and the only negative one I found was today, AFTER the purchase. I haven't tried it out yet -- I refuse to unpack it until I am further along with the ones I have already started -- otherwise I will just get even more distracted and have three more projects in various stages of completion.

I will report back in when I have had some experience with the thing but I will say that sassy pic of the lady holding it with one hand -- yeah, I had to have somebody carry the box to the car for me -- it only weighs 15 pounds but -- well, I'm just sayin'.

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Territory Explored and Books, Books and More Books

My hubby and children never have a problem buying me gifts. I have a running wish list of books, quilting/needlecraft supplies, DVD's and CD'S for them to choose from as well as one of my favorite things -- gift cards.

This year I made hubby a Christmas list of reasonable items. Ok, the Nook wasn't reasonable and probably not even logical (except in My mind) but the rest of the list was quite manageable in all senses of the word.

One of the things on my list was this book.


It is the cutest book of non-traditional baby quilts. It shows examples of quilts using free forms, non-traditional piecing, embroidery, gorgeous fabrics and many examples of "why didn't I think of that". It supplies patterns and templates and tutorials by the quiltmakers themselves.

The neatest thing it contains is websites, blogsites and etsy sites for all the contributors. I spent last evening visiting each of the websites, completely enjoying myself and have every intention of adding them to my blogroll. Such talent is a joy to look at. Linda Kopp did an outstanding job with this book -- it is full of information of all sorts and is a delight to read. For me, it makes me want to be brave and just cut into that piece of fabric and do something daring!

Then, right after Christmas we ventured from our familiar area and took a long ride to Frisco to visit Stonebriar Center.
Stonebriar Center is a very large mall with every store imaginable. There is a movie theater, a Cheesecake Factory, Restoration Hardware, Nordstroms, a Lego store -- you name it, it is there. So, where was the first place hubby and I went? Yep, you guessed it -- Barnes and Noble. This particular B&N wasn't any larger than the two I frequent in our area of town but it had a number of different things. It had Nook accessories. Of course, they didn't have any left since it was right after Christmas but they DID have them, unlike our B&N which barely has a display of the pamphlets for product itself. They also had a huge selection of craft books from woodworking to quilting and everything in between. Of course, I needed a sourvenir of my visit to this monumental mall so I chose this--
This is a lovely little book by Susan Briscoe showing examples of blocks done in the Asian inspiration. They look so complicated but when they are broken down, they are so basic! The fabrics are gorgeous, the instructions easy to follow and the end results for the quilts are just outstanding. I am thinking of making one for myself even though I had sworn off large quilts -- I might have to rescind that notion.

It was a fun day in Frisco. Now, my next trip is to North Richland Hills to one of my favorite quilt stores -- The Quilter's Stash.
I love this quilt store for lots of reasons. In the first place, it is bright! I have a couple of other favorites but they are so dark inside you want to take the fabric outside to see the colors well. Not at Quilters Stash, however. Another reason I love this store is that the people who work there are knowledgable and are more than willing to help you. I have learned a lot from them just talking to them while they cut my fabric. Also, it is a very well stocked store -- they have everything you need and they are the only store that I know of in the area that carries Quilter's Dream batting which is the very best batting in the entire world. I feel a visit coming on soon -- like maybe tomorrow!

So, all this talking about quilting has me inspired. I am off to work on my three projects and, hopefully, I will have something to show you before too long.