Friday, June 15, 2012


Friday Fill-ins -- June 15, 2012

1.  It is always nice when the nighttime rain is over by rush hour.

2.  I like to hear nice comments on my blog but that doesn't happen often as nobody but me reads my blog.

3.  positive -- good, negative -- bad, unless you are talking about weight then it is a whole different story.

4.  This is the oddest friday fillins I have ever done.

5.  What I heard Stevie Nicks say this morning was, in my opinion, sort of sad. But maybe not for her.

6.  Often I search for information on ancestors.

7.  And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to absolutely nothing, tomorrow my plans include absolutely nothing, and Sunday I want to go to church and ponder why my Friday and Saturday are so lame!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ursuline Academy

Ursuline Academy -- June, 2012

The Hubs and I decided to take a few days to visit our hometown of San Antonio, Texas.  We decided to make a point to visit some of the places that we have wanted to see but somehow have failed to make it to over the last few visits. One of those places is the Southwest Craft Center housed in the old Ursuline Academy building.  I am sorry to say that we didn't see much of the art and crafts of the center but, instead, got caught up in the history, museum, architecture and beauty of the building and the grounds of the Ursuline Academy.  I have included a link at the end of this post if you want to do some more reading on the academy but I think I would like the photos to tell their own story.

Lunch at the Copper Kettle, the cafe that is operated in the original dining hall of the school

Original window facing and hardware in rather thick limestone walls

Hallway seating

Old and new -- interesting juxtaposition

French style architecture and light fixture -- and I really shouldn't try for "arty" photos

Fenced Courtyard

Large Courtyard

Rear Grounds

Very large gazebo now used mostly for weddings and special events.  

Original wrought iron arched sign

Gate in the back garden with large light fixture

You don't readily see this cross but, when you look up and see it, it seems to be silently watching over the entire campus

Turntable to pass items, probably communion wafers, from inside the convent to the outside world

Gothic window


Balcony outside original dormitories

Three sided clock tower -- story goes that there was no clock on the north facing side because there  was nobody on the north side to see the clock!

For more information on Ursuline Academy check out the website below


14 June 2012

The question(s) for today is --

Have you ever bought a book, started reading it and then realized you have already read it?  If so, how far did you get? And did you keep reading?

I might have done this once or twice but I usually realize that I already have the book before I begin reading.  I spent a good deal of time over the course of a couple of days alphabetizing my personal bookshelf and ran across duplicates then.  I don't know that I have ever gotten to the place where I have started reading a book and then  realized that I have already read it but, if I did, I probably wouldn't continue because I don't tend to re-read books.
A View From A Window -- 14 June 2012

I haven't posted photos from the backyard in a while, what with the work going on in the front so here is an update --

So, there you have it.  The sunflower is an addition complements of the birds -- I guess they decided to join in the gardening because they were so grateful for all the food they are getting.  It was so charming we couldn't bring ourselves to pull it up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

12 June 2012

Today's teaser is from Below Stairs  by Margaret Powell, page 119,

"Christmas in domestic service was nothing like the Christmases we had at home.  I remember the excitement there was at home even with little money, the excitement of waking up early, the rush into our parents' room for the presents and stockings.  We didn't have turkeys or Christmas trees, but had plenty of laughter and there was always enough food to eat."

This probably isn't the most captivating snippet of this book but it gives you a glimpse of the "other side" of domestic life -- home was such a contrast to their place of employment but, according to this book, much more "real".

Monday, June 11, 2012

11 June 2012

Today's question is  What is the longest book you have ever read?  How long did it take you to read it?

I think the longest book I have ever read was "From Here to Eternity" by James Joyce.  At a hefty 800+ pages it was a challenge for a 13-14 year old girl.  However, I think it was a summer read, if I remember correctly, and it must have taken me all summer.  I remember getting bored with it toward the end.

The second longest had to be "The Thorn Birds".  I read it  during a summer while waiting for kids during piano lessons and such.

And then, the next on the list would probably be "Gone With the Wind" which I read about the same time as "From Here to Eternity".  I read that over a summer as well.  It seems that in my younger days, I sat aside an entire summer to  read an epic novel!  It was great to have the luxury of time to just sit and read for hours on end and, in San Antonio, Texas, where summer days are long and hot, there was no better way to spend time.

So, that is more information than the question asked for but since I loved all the books, I can't leave any out.  Oh yes, I did leave another long book out and would be remiss if  I didn't mention it -- "Marjorie Morningstar" -- but I will save that for another time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friday Finds -- 10 June 2012

Yes, I realize it isn't Friday anymore but I as I had the opportunity to browse more than one Barnes and Noble over the last several days looking for a cookbook Hubs wanted for his birthday, I ran across a number of things that interested me and, perhaps, they will interest you as well.

 Nancy Atherton's "Aunt Dimity" series is a favorite of mine after running across one of the books on my Nook, buying it, reading it and then realizing that it was completely out of sequence and that these books are better read in order of publication.  However, reading that one book was enough to make me want to start at the beginning and I have been systematically working my way through the list ever since.  The paper backs have very charming covers (it is always about the covers with me, isn't it?) but this hardback caught my eye and I almost bought it except that it is several titles away from where I currently am on the list so I resisted.  Of course, then I started searching ebay and to find the other titles in hardback because  this is a series I would like to keep in my library so I became totally distracted by can see where I am going with this.

Anybody who has read any of my  bookish blogs knows that I am a huge fan of Barbara Taylor Bradford since reading A Woman of Substance and the sequels.  This book caught my eye (again, the cover) and I have to add it to my wish list.  I always love books that delve into peoples pasts -- it is like a mystery!

With the advent of  the television programs, "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" and "My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding", the fact that I live very close to a sizable gypsy community here in North Texas and have been scammed once and almost scammed a second time by the SAME people, I have developed a real fascination with this group of people.  When I discovered this book, I almost impulsively bought it then and there but decided to do the smart thing, read a sample on my Nook and then decide.  After reading the two chapter sample, I was hooked and had to have the book so now it is a permanent part of my library.

Since I had been looking for a cookbook that Hubs wanted, I spent some time on the cookbook aisle and discovered this.  When I was a new mom, I purchased a similar book outlining how to make your own "mixes" (I guess that was really the beginning of my "frugal" living quest) and this book is a reminder of that book although a bit more sophisticated.  When I looked at this book I realized that there were several things in here I would actually use so now it is part of my personal cookbook library.   The first thing I started with was breadcrumbs.  Breadcrumbs???? you are probably saying to yourself.  This chick needs a cookbook to make breadcrumbs?  Well, no, I don't but it did remind me that I COULD and since I was out of ready made breadcrumbs and I needed to do something to the boneless, skinless chicken breasts my husband hates, I decided to make my own, season them, bread the chicken with them and I have to say the chicken was 100% better than it usually is.  Of course, 100% better than yuck -- well, I don't know what that means! In any event, the cookbook looks like it is going to be very handy because I would rather have a pantry full of raw ingredients to make several things out of rather than buying a bunch of individual, processed foods.

Then, there were these two magazines.  They are gorgeous, big, glossy and, while I am used to paying double digit prices for foreign cross stitch magazines,  not so much for domestic ones, even special editions like these.  So, the FrugalMelissa presents herself in my head and says "wait a minute, that is almost $30 for two magazines -- TWO MAGAZINES".  So,  I back off, put them away and came home to reconsider.  They each have a number  of really cute projects that I can see me doing so it might not be a bad purchase but I may have to look for another, cheaper source, possibly used.  I am still thinking about them so it is possible that at least one of them will end up in my ever growing magazine stash.  You know, the one that multiplies itself in the night.  Yep, that one.

So, those are my Friday Finds -- quite a varied list, I would say.  Hope this review is helpful!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

7 June 2012

Today's question is -- "Favorite secondary characters?"

When faced with these sorts of questions it seems I am always reverting back to a few of my all time favorites and this time is no exception.

The first that comes to mind is "Blackie" in A Woman of Substance. hat is my  I saw the movie before I read the book and that is when I discovered Liam Neeson, one of my very favorite actors.  As I read the book, I saw Neeson and that just brought the book to life for me.

The second is "Cynthia" in the Mitford series book as well as the Father Tim books.  She is what I would like to be -- very real, very strong yet vulnerable at the  same time.  She is a natural, unassuming character that just sparkles.

Last but not least, I would be remiss if I didn't mention Aunt Dimity.  While the Aunt Dimity series is about Aunt Dimity, she is definitely not the character in the forefront yet, without her, there wouldn't be a book.  If I were dead, I would like to be Aunt Dimity -- she possesses qualities that are top notch -- logical, calm, resourceful, helpful and always available! Yes, if I had to be a ghost, she would be a great role model.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

6 June 2012

It feels good to get back to some of my daily posts -- I haven't done them in ages! So, for this week's w.w.w. Wednesdays, here are my responses.

I am currently reading Below Stairs by Margaret Powell.  It is the memoir of a classic kitchen maid whose story was the influence for "Upstairs/Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey".

Just prior to this book I read The House I Loved.  It was the story of a woman who refused to give up her home during the renovation of Paris.

I am not sure what my next read will be.  I have taken a break from my Aunt Dimity books and would sort of like to get into another mystery but I still have three birthday books to read and they all look wonderful so I am  not sure which way I will go -- I might just have to close my eyes and grab one!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays -- 5 June 2012

It has been awhile since I have done a Teaser Tuesday so I figured it was time to participate once more.  This teaser is from Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, page 44.

"I don't know what bell it was.' 'You must be quicker,' she'd say, 'otherwise all hell will be let loose upstairs." But what could you do?  If you were in the middle of something you couldn't drop it straight away.  I was always in trouble over those bells at first, but at last I mastered the art, and nobody shot out quicker than I did when they rang."

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig!

The past few days have been spent getting ready for a brief vacation in the town of our births, San Antonio, Texas.  It took about three days for us "old" folks to get our gear together and we traveled very, very light which is a good thing since books were the souvenirs of choice and the suitcases were very, very heavy on the return.

We left our house at 6:30 a.m. for the 1- 1 1/2 hour drive to the airport for a 9:00 a.m. flight.  It took the entire hour and a half because of rain and road construction.  It was amazing how much traffic was out at that early hour but, since it was a work day, I guess it was to be expected.  Departure time was pushed up to 9:50 and even at that we sat on the tarmac for quite a while as there was lightening in the area and they won't let any planes leave if there are thunderstorms within a 10 mile radius so there were a number of planes ahead of us to take off.  So, all in all, we were two hours late for the 45 minute flight!  We were supposed to arrive at 10 a.m. and, instead, got there just in time for lunch which was ok.  It seemed to all work out since the flight home was faster, uninterrupted, and early so it all evened out.

It was a good time in that we visited some places that aren't on our usual itinerary -- more about that later.  The downside was that the Hubs got sick the first night and I felt poorly the second night.   In spite of that, we had a good time but are glad to be home.  I will post photos as soon as I get them off the camera.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and that summer is in full force wherever you might be.