Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sorry 'Bout That

Earlier I used my blog for a minor rant that I have since removed.  I was completely aggravated about not being able to find things in retail establishments like we used to be able to find and how the internet, Pinterest and Facebook were ruining us as a  society.  Pinterest makes us long for things and places that, for the most part, are unattainable for just average people.  I believe that Facebook has disintegrated into a venue for politics, religion and arguments mostly about one  or the other.  I don't like to argue -- it makes me nervous.  The internet has given us the gift of instant gratification -- information now, the ability to purchase most of whatever we want now, the ability to communicate instantaneously.  As a result we have lost the sophistication and grace and, to some extent the ability, to pen a note, to go on long shopping trips where we buy nice handkerchiefs and lunch in classy department store restaurants,  to go into a store and actually find what we are looking for -- nice stationery, little girl's under slips, heaven forbid, gloves! 

Ah, yes, it is time for me to get my foot out of the last century and carry on with the here and now -- to accept that we will never again wear gloves except for winter items and it is highly unlikely that any childish tears will be wiped away with a beautifully embroidered Irish linen hanky.  I need to realize that "times they are a'changing" (thanks BD) and move on but lunch in a classy department store restaurant sure sounds nice.

Reading Update

First off, I got flowers! I GOT FLOWERS for absolutely no reason! Yellow roses, my favorite because I am, after all, a Texas gal!  Ok, I just had to share.  Back to the books.

I have completed two books for my challenges this week.  The first one, a gift from my daughter, is The Cross Country Quilters by Jenifer Chiaverini, the third in the Elm Creek Quilt series.  The second was a 1959 Bobbsey Twin book entitled The Bobbsey Twins at London Tower.

I started the Elm Creek series a couple of months ago after receiving the first book as a gift from my daughter and son-in-law.  These books are right up my alley as they deal with current events, contemporary problems, yet they do it with humor, camaraderie and determination. This book, like the prior one, explores the lives of several women, delving into their unique situations, their problems and solutions.  The underlying theme is their connection through their quilting and their association with Elm Creek Manor.  These women, from all different walks of life, have one connection -- quilting -- and that connection is all they need to provide friendship and support through all the ups and downs of their lives.  These books are realistic yet uplifting.  I can't wait to start the next in the series.

The second book I completed was The Bobbsey Twins at London Tower.  This was a re-read for the 2013 Pre-1960 Children's Challenge that I am participating in -- sort of.  This is only my second book so I am clearly not clipping along at a good pace.  At any rate, I received this book for Christmas when it first came out and had it read, even then, in a day.  I have always had a fondness for all things England -- it is my motherland, after all -- so this was of huge interest to me even back in 1959.  It involves the Bobbsey clan getting to go on a trip of a lifetime when their father had to represent his company at a convention in the UK.  Of course, there is a mystery involved that began near their home in  Lakeport and followed them all the way across the great pond to the UK where the pursuit of a couple of thieves continued.  Of course, the mystery was solved, the thieves apprehended and the family returned home feeling accomplished and pleased that they were able to help their friend, Mr. Warwick recover some of his property and they were able to acquire some special miniatures for the castle they built for the local children's hospital.  In re-reading these books in adulthood it is sort of comical that these children possess such adult characteristics and are so in control of situations that most children wouldn't be.  They aren't, for the most part, realistic but they are enjoyable for sure and this won't be my last re-read for this challenge.

So, with that, I am off to make potato salad for Easter supper and dust my furniture.  A Happy Easter to all!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

It is Palm Sunday -- the first day of the most holy week of the year.  I think this is my favorite week of the year because of the promise it holds.  Yes, we see the death of our Lord but we see the Resurrection of our Lord -- the ultimate promise of God to His people. It just takes my breath away every year -- it never becomes mundane or ordinary to me.  The idea that when I look at Christ on that cross I see my sin on that cross and the fact that someone would do that for me is just the  most awesome thing in the world. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Baaaaaccccck! That Would Be Winter!

I have lived here all my life and I KNOW the weather is changeable but really?  We have gone from summer to winter more times in the last six weeks than I can count.  It is just a bit hard on the old joints and the allergies as well.  So, today I am sitting here doing really almost nothing.  I am marginally cold even though I am in jeans and a long sleeved shirt and SHOES! I never wear shoes! However, the stone floors are not being nice to my plantar fasciitis so I am trotting around in my croc flats which make my right foot swell up.  Ain't being a grown up grand?

Anyway -- it hasn't been a very eventful week.  My commute to babysitting is miserable because some brilliant city planner has decided to tear up every highway in the area all at the same time.  I went a new way yesterday which wasn't good because I didn't know my way and, in the process, I almost killed a huge, HUGE, red pick up.  The truck flew out of a convenience store driveway between cars and I couldn't  see around the monster truck next to me and never saw the guy.  I didn't hit him but it really shook me up and the seat belt hurt my chest.  If I ever go that way again, I have to remember about that driveway.

On my struggle journey to get home in the afternoon, I see some really amazing drivers.  While standing in the queue to get through the major  intersection that is torn up (it takes about an hour to travel two blocks) I have seen a person drive across a median and up the wrong side of the road to get out of line.  I have seen a person make a left hand turn from the far right lane in front of two lanes of oncoming, albeit non-moving, traffic and the best of all -- a woman in front of me decided it would be a good idea to turn on her hazards, do a bit of work, phone calls and then get out, open her hood and close it immediately, open her truck and close it immediately, get in, turn off the hazards and drive off after keeping traffic stopped for almost 20 minutes.  I have always been able to honestly say that I have never, nor do I now, hate anybody or anything but I am coming close with this afternoon foray into traffic hell.

I have discovered, on my journeys, that I can no longer listen to music on the radio -- it is too distracting nor can I listen to conservative talk radio -- it is too infuriating (and I am a conservative!).  I can't sit in the car with nothing going on because that is too boring so I went to our neighborhood used book store the other night in search of an audio book to see if I could listen to that and not get distracted or angry.

I came across "Folly Beach" by Dorothea Benton Frank.

It is twelve discs.  I have started the first and have listened to two chapters.  I had never listened to an audio book before so I didn't know what to expect but it is a bit like listening to a radio program and I found it to be quite enjoyable.  I look forward to my commute next week so I can find out more of what is going on with Dorothy Heyward and Cate Cooper.

While I was at the used book store I managed to find a copy of The Bobbsey Twins at London Tower.  I used to have this book and even remember when it was purchased.  My mother was Christmas shopping at Toudouze Market and I found it and asked for it.  She said yes but that I had to wait until Christmas for it.  However, as I followed her around the huge store, I read most of it so she just gave it to me when I got home.  I am not sure what happened to that book -- I will probably find it now that I have replaced it -- but I intend to read it for the children's book challenge I have joined and only read one book for.  I am not good at challenges!

I also managed to score a very nice hard back copy of The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe.  I enjoyed a previous novel that I read of hers -- The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and hope this one is just as good.

However, right now I am reading The Cross Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini and completely enjoying it.  I am three fourths the way through it and I know I am going to hate to see it end.  I wonder if there is a challenge for reading a series?  I could probably do reasonably well with that since I am hooked on this series.

So, let's see,  that is about all that has happened this week.  The Hubs has killed the computer three times this week and can't seem to get it back into working order this time. I am protecting my little netbook from him -- he is dangerous.  I also signed up for a one week free trial of  So far, it is looking good -- has a lot of stuff on it but we will see how much we watch it during our free trial.  At only $7.98 a month, though, I think it is a better deal than Netflix streaming.  Just saying.

Well, that is all my news.  Think I will get back to my book before the urge to take yet another nap gets the better of me.  I am so ready for summer!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


We are in that awkward time between winter and spring -- you know, that time in Texas where you wake up in winter and go to bed in summer -- going from heating to a/c during the course of the day.  This week has been a good example -- near freezing one day, 88 high another, windy, cloudy -- all changeable in a matter of hours.  I have always lived in Texas and will never live anywhere else but sometimes the weather is just, in a word, annoying.  I was raised in South Texas and lived there the first 40 years of my life and I honestly say I prefer the climate there. It is hot, but not as hot as North Texas, it is tropical with breezes coming off the gulf -- not a dry heat like here.  It is humid for sure and I had lots of allergy issues there but I am not devoid of the allergy issues here and sometimes I just miss being able to sit out on the porch, watch the stars, feel the breeze, I miss the vegetation, I miss seeing the things I grew up with --our houses, my grandmother and great-grandmother's houses, my schools -- maybe I just miss home.

Another thing that I miss is NOT having Daylight Saving Time.  I really don't enjoy the time change and I don't find it that appealing having so much daylight in the summer.  It is just jarring to my system and I don't really think it is necessary.  I guess I just don't understand it but it seems to me that there are just 24 hrs. in a day and roughly 12 of them are daylight and I don't care what the clock says, you just can't change it.  From 1945 to 1966 there was no uniform time law in the US with some states adhering to DST and others not.  In 1966, in an effort to reduce confusion, the US passed a law that all states would subscribe to DST.  I remember it well.  I didn't like it.  I still don't.  I don't know what is wrong with just living on God's time and not having to sacrifice an hour of sleep -- I need that hour. Really.

Went out this evening to check on the mint and it is growing quite well in the grass -- not so well in one of the flower beds.  The basil that died ever so dead last year is coming in thick as well as is something else that I can't remember what it is.  The pear trees are blooming, the crabapple is too and the verbena has gone

I just hope we can enjoy all of it before the 104 temp hits and decimates it all and the West Nile carrying mosquitoes come and keep us from going outdoors.  Love/hate summer.

Ok, I think that is all I have to rant about today.  You don't even want to get me started on the traffic and the insane drivers who see nothing wrong with driving over medians and up the wrong side of the street to avoid sitting in a queue for five minutes. 

Ok, done.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

This and That

What a Saturday this has been.  Usually my Saturdays are really lazy days -- REALLY lazy days -- in that I do pretty much nothing.  My weeks are busy what with babysitting the not-so-much-of-a-baby girl and driving back and forth so I always feel like I should just "rest" on the weekends and I have decided that I get more tired relaxing! Plus, I have been staying in and staying quiet a lot due to the allergy issues and not wanting to catch anything else, like the flu, and I pretty much feel like a hermit and not at all well.  So, I decided today would be different.

I got up a little before 7 a.m. -- I am  usually up at 5:30 a.m. and I ate a bit of breakfast and checked email.  I woke up hungry which is unusual for me but then, I didn't eat dinner yesterday so I guess it would be expected. Then I decided to revisit an activity that I hadn't really done for years --  now, don't let your imagination go wild -- I am talking about couponing!

When my kids were little, I tried to have a coupon for everything in my grocery basket (we were young and on a budget -- I had to make my fun wherever I could find it!).  I guess I was one of those crazy coupon ladies before it became trendy.  I even had file bin that I would carry with me.  It was chock full of coupons and sadly, one day, I left it in the basket at the store and I never saved another coupon after that.  I have clipped them from time to time and left them at home or dropped them on the floor or whatever -- my heart just wasn't in it.  However, today I decided to see if I could get back on the bandwagon to some degree.

Things have changed a bit since those "old days" of couponing.  Now you can download coupons on to your store reward card! Now that is my kind of coupon clipping -- sitting around with a cuppa and ticking off a box on the computer!  I wasn't sure if it was going to work so I had a plan.  At one store I was going to shop for just those items to make sure that the concept worked and it did.  The
next store it worked as well and as I perused my receipt I realized that I got multiple discounts on some items -- the sale price, the e-coupon savings and, on some things, a senior citizen discount.  I still smart at that "sr. citizen" thing but on several items it was like 10% so I guess I can suck it up and be a big girl about it.

So, here is what my savings looked like --

Tom Thumb   $10.39
Kroger  $16.98
Target  $11.20

That doesn't look too shabby for less than an hour at the computer and sorting coupons.  One thing that I plan to do differently now than I did back in the day is I am only going to use coupons for stuff I really use and be careful not to go off buying stuff just because I have a coupon for it.   Oh, and of course, I  got a few
coupons with the receipts as well.  One of them is for a free dessert with coffee at the Starbucks in Target.  I can handle that, for sure!

The next thing I am going to do is get a Target Red Card.  It is a debit card linked to my bank account, just like my bank card, and it automatically takes 5% off everything you purchase there,  in addition to any coupons.  Sounds like a good deal to me.

In the middle of our runaround, Hubs decided he was hungry so we went to Cooper's Barbecue down in the middle of the Stockyards.

They have really fantastic barbecue -- the first bite of the brisket was pure heaven.  I had chicken (even though I nibbled at Hubs beef), potato salad and beans.  There was enough left to bring home for dinner and we refilled our bean bowls (the beans are self-serve) and brought  those home as well so dinner is done! I love it when  I go out and end up with two meals for one.  That is one perk to being a bit older -- we can't eat as much and we have learned to ask for to-go boxes and it is certainly profitable.

So, what is usually a lazy day turned out to be a get up and go day and I feel so good for it!  Three stores and lunch out! I am almost giddy.

What else has been going on -- let's see.  Well, I am currently reading "Round Robin" by Jennifer Chiaverini -- the second in the series and I am having a hard time putting it down.  As I said before, small town, quaint quilt shop, characters you can relate to -- all the makings of a good story.

And besides, the covers are just so great.

Hubs and I have been enjoying our Roku and haven't really missed the half of our cable service that we eliminated a month or so ago.  We really like British mysteries and comedies so we subscribed to Acorn and have already enjoyed a Poirot, a Cadfael, and a Callan.  I have watched several episodes of "A Fine Romance" with Judi Dench so I definitely think we are getting our money's worth there --$29.95 a YEAR. 

Oh, yeah, I have taken to playing the lottery.  When I win big I will be sure and give you the address of my Swiss chalet (no, too cold) or my beach front house in Hawaii (hmm..too expensive even for a lottery winner) or maybe my NY penthouse!  You can see it has gone to my head, for sure -- wonder what would happen if I actually won something! LOL!  I am probably never going to have to worry about finding out!