Friday, February 27, 2015

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Winter in North Texas -- white out conditions -- at least 45 wrecks -- highways closed down due to snow and congestion.  I really wish we could deal with this better.

Anyway -- here are the the pics to prove it --

These are from early this morning

 These are from just now --

Yeah --

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Still here!

If anybody is wondering, I am still here.  Just up to my eyeballs in tidying up some very untidy spaces, babysitting and watching our ridiculous weather.  Only in Texas would the entire winter spectrum try to happen in one week! I will be back soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Thundersleet Pics

I was hoping to sleep in this a.m. -- like a hibernating bear but it wasn't meant to be.  The thundersleet started -- heavy on the thunder -- but the lightening was jolting -- no pun intended.  I woke up to this very bright, oddly flashing light -- more like a strobe light.  I thought maybe we were losing power and the street lights were flashing but no, it was lightening.  I tried to go back to sleep but being the creature of habit that is moi I couldn't so up I get to turn on the kettle, grab the glasses and peruse the outdoors.  It was pouring sleet and much too dark to take photos so these were taken a little later.

I know that my friends and family that live in areas much more to the north are going to look at these photos and wonder what in the world has come over me -- this is nothing.  And, by the standards set by the winter of 2015 in our northeast, it isn't except this isn't snow -- it is solid ice.  AND......because "this doesn't happen often" as per our weather officials (note, it only happens EVERY YEAR), we don't have the resources to get rid of it.  They are putting down chemicals on the highways and sand to help but if you do a google search on the highway system in DFW you will see that our highways are four levels in some places so they are treacherous on a good day -- never mind this sort of thing.  They only treat the highways and nothing is done for the city streets so we are iced in -- for days.  It is really yucky.

So, anyway, for your viewing pleasure, here are my Ice Storm 2015 photos.

Right outside my front door -- what you can't see is that the brick is covered in solid ice

My driveway

Also out my front door at a quirky angle

My front wall -- about 1/ 2 inch of ice

My patio turned ice rink

More patio

Somebody on tv said maybe a few snow flurries a bit later?  Hmmm...always good fun -- snow on ice.  Ok, well, I think I will vacuum.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


I got up this morning knowing that by 6 PM we would begin experiencing a soaking rain ushering in a cold front which promised to give us a few days of yucky weather.

I combed my hair and put on my make up.  Donned a suitable outfit for church with my cute litle khaki flats.  Grabbed up my coat and purse and charged out the door only to be drenched before I reached the car.  Yes, the car is outside the garage because we can't get the car IN the garage.  Long story and it isn't MY fault (quietly nodding in the Hubs direction).

I was more than a little aggravated that my shoes were wet and my hair was wet but on I went.  We got to church and I managed to get in relatively in tact and then, after Sunday School, we went to lunch.  Getting in was ok, leaving was another matter.  Drenched again.  Cute little khaki flats full -- repeat FULL -- of water.  I was going to go to Sephora.  I was going to stop at the grocery store.  Needless to say I didn't make either of those stops as my shoes were now boats, my slacks were wet to my knees, the inside of the car needed to be towelled off and my hair -- well, just use your imagination.

It has been an ongoing deluge all day -- all. day.  My patio is filling up with water and if it freezes (which it is supposed to) we will have an ice rink.  I decided that we did need to get some more milk so off we go to Target for a milk run. I bundled up, Hubs drove, he dropped me at the door, parked and waited for me to call him on the cell phone when I was done.  It looked like a real covert operation and I was the shady character swathed in black.  Anyway -- I was pleasantly surprised that they were well stocked, the store was almost totally devoid of customers and I was thankful that Target is right across the street.

However, I am a bit dubious about the prediction of thundersleet.  We have had thundersleet before and I don't like thunder and I don't like sleet so chances are I am not going to be thrilled by thundersleet.  We aren't having snow or anything lovely and wintery like that -- it is ice.  Fortunately it will be gone by Wednesday --or so they say.  Hopefully they will close the schools so my family can stay safe.  But one thing is for sure -- I now have lots of milk.

A little dark but this is my patio puddle which could become an ice rink

You can't see the rain -- lots and lots of rain

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Standing Folded Clothes

In my last post I talked about tidying up vs. straightening up and how to store clothing properly -- according to Marie Kondo.  It was difficult to explain how to store folded clothes standing up -- the clothes standing up, not me -- so I took a few snaps to illustrate.

Jeans and shorts

better shot of the shorts

unmentionables -- sorry! But it is a good illustration of what I am talking about

t-shirts and a polka dot blouse - I have added more to this drawer today
It takes a bit of fiddling to figure out how to fold them to get them to fit in the drawer without essentially wadding them up into a little ball but it seems each piece of clothing has a way it wants to go -- a natural fold.  I have tried with dress pants that are slipperier fabric and I am not sure about that so I am thinking of just hanging those with the appropriate blouses as a set.  I have started on pajamas and have folded the two pieces together so they are stored as a unit.

So far so good.  I have put more things in the donation bag and am starting on a third bag.  As I fish through the closet I am realizing that I don't wear hardly anything that is in there and it is so smashed that I can't really see anything I have -- whether I wear it or not.  Hopefully by folding the clothes I will be able to see them more readily and have more hanging space.  Once I sift through the hanging clothes, I hope to have more hanging space.

It will be time to go shopping.  Hahahah!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Doing the No Snow Happy Dance

Good morning!  I am so doing the No Snow Happy Dance! Our illustrious weather people have been teasing us all week about the possibility of snow and very frigid temps.  Weatherperson fail!  No Snow!  It is cold but it isn't what I would call frigid and it is going to be in the 50's this afternoon!

Babysitting today but planning my next "tidy" project for tonight.  It has to be something small and easy to get accomplished.  I think the trick, for me anyway, is to choose projects that can be finished and don't become monumental.  I have a very large window seat in our bedroom which sort of acts as Junk Central -- I started on it yesterday and I might just continue with it tonight and if I can get it completely cleared that will be a win!  Keeping it clear will be a challenge because it just roars at me "come set stuff here instead of putting it away properly".  I will have to ignore the voices in my head but I think that will be my goal for this evening.  Maybe I will set a timer and see how much I get done. 

The closet still needs work but I am getting there.  My friend Jane said she can't visualize "standing" clothes so I will take some photos and show you.  When I was ready to get dressed today it was so easy because I didn't have to search for my clothes -- it worked really well.  I can see where it will be helpful in not accumulating too much because I only have so much drawer space.  However, as Kondo said in her book, by rearranging everything and sorting I got a real good idea of what I have, what needed to be discarded and what needs replacing. 

I think the reason that Kondo's book resonated with me so much was that it shows that cleaning is an ongoing process.  I guess eventually you get done, weed out enough so that you really know what you have and what you require but it isn't the rushed project that so many people who promote minimal, clutter-free living make it sound.  Like my friend Rhonda says -- housekeeping is never ending so there is no sense in trying to finish it.  I think my problem is having things in a logical order and things stored away in logical places.  I am finding the oddest variety of things in the oddest variety of places so I think if I can bring order to the chaos I will look at housekeeping completely differently and finally allow myself some time to do the fun stuff without the guilt.

Speaking of chaos -- whoever said "a load a day keeps the chaos away" spoke the truth.  I have found that by doing at least one load of laundry a day keeps the laundry under control and it becomes a much smaller job.  It doesn't pile up, it doesn't mean hours of washing, drying, folding.  It makes things manageable.  So, that is my tip of the day which I blatantly stole from somebody else.  But, it is good advice.

So, on with the day! With no snow, it has to be a good one!

Oh, my Tidy Score is 2 bags for donation and one for trash.  Will update.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tidying -- New Definition

I will be the first to say that I am an odd duck.  A bit eccentric, a bit set in my ways, a little quirky and I pretty much live by the concept of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". 

However, one of my quirks is driving me crazy. I am completely incapable to doing something like read or craft if I have something hanging over me that needs to be done.  Generally, as long as I am doing SOMETHING -- like a load of laundry -- I can justify reading or doing a bit of stitching but when I notice that things have gotten out of control then I am done -- I have to do something about it before I can enjoy the fun stuff.

So, I have been reading a lot of "minimalist" blogs which, in essence, really don't say much.  It is mostly "throw everything away", "only have 33 pieces of clothing" (yeah, right), "you can't organize clutter" -- all of which are correct statements -- well, except for the 33 pieces of clothing.  However, none of them tell you HOW to do it! There are no tips, no hints, no guidelines, NO PICTURES -- nothing.

I happened across a book the other day titled "The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying" by Marie Kondo.  I bought the book for my e-reader completely expecting to read the same ol', same ol'.  I was wrong.  Marie Kondo is Japanese and the book is infused with Japanese ideas of life style.  A lot of what she has to say is calming and promotes a peaceful way of living.  It sound wonderful.  A lot of it, however, borders on guilt! Like, how can you mistreat your socks!  Well, this is right up my alley because if there is something that needs to be felt guilty about I am the person to take care of that.  I am the most guilt ridden person on the planet.  I digress

The thing that I noticed right off was that her definition of "tidying" is different than mine.  Her idea of "tidying" is going through everything, tossing, donating, whatever then finding a place for everything and keeping it there.  When I was a kid, that is how I cleaned my room -- I would go off on binges, throw things out, rearrange my bookselves, re-do the closet but to me that was cleaning.  Tidying, to me, means making sure all the stray dishes are picked up before going to bed, hanging the towels up, putting the laundry in the hamper -- you know -- straightening up.  As Kondo talked about "tidying", I remember how great it used to feel when I would go on one of my binges and "re-do" the linen closet or the pantry.  It felt good.  So, even though Kondo suggests doing all the cleaning out -- of the whole  house -- at one time, by category not taking an area at a time. I decided to tackle "places" and see what happened.

Let me just say that my husband loves drawers.  We have lots of drawers in this house which is good, we should be organized.  However, not so much.  The drawers are just a convenient place to stick stuff randomly with no plan.  So, I started with my nightstand.  There are three drawers.  I cleaned them out and organized what stayed.  I am happy with the way that turned out. 

I then turned my attention to the closet.  We have a very large closet -- it could be a bedroom and we have three chests of drawers in there as well as hanging space.  I have one side -- haha -- the small side and Hubs has the other.  I find that my side of the closet is always a mess.  Now, granted, my side houses other things besides my clothes -- like blankets and pillows and other stuff but it shouldn't be the mess it is.  I have a really bad tendency to drop things on the floor.  Why?  Well, it is because, in spite of having all this space, my clothes are hard to put away because I am in the habit of hanging everything and even though I have culled a lot of clothes, the hanging space gets really crunched.  Kondo says, in her book, that most clothing should be folded and most people think it should be hung.  She also said that clothes, once folded, should be stored standing up, pieces next to each other rather than stacked on top of each other.  She says that when you stack the clothes one top of each other they act as a press, insuring wrinkles.  However, if you stack them next to each other it avoids wrinkles.  I was very doubtful until I started folding the clothes and stacking them next to each other. I was amazed that you could actually stack them like that! Plus, you can see each piece without having to sift through the stack messing it up when what you want is on the bottom. Time will tell if there are less wrinkles.

So far I have worked through half of one dresser in the closet.  I have filled two bags of donation items and one bag of trash.  My socks are organized -- oh yes, never ball your socks up -- it ruins the elastic in the top -- Kondo rule.  My jeans are all folded and standing up and I have more room in the drawer.  I have started folding t-shirts and blouses.  Yes, you can fold a blouse small enough to stand up.  I will let you know about the wrinkles tomorrow!

Even though I am not following Kondo's advice exactly, I am having a good time "tidying".  My mom used to call it a "clean out" but whatever you want to call it -- it feels good.  I am finding it rewarding to tackle one area and actually completing it rather than running all over doing things hit and miss.  Kondo says to tackle things by catagory beginning with clothing (photos and sentimental things last) but I am accomplishing what I need to accomplish by doing it an area at a time.  I think you have to be flexible to get the job done. 

So,  that is what I have done today.  I have learned to fold all my clothes, stand them up, throw things away and discover that I really have a lot more storage space than I thought -- it just all depends on how you arrange it.

Now I have to figure out what to do with my vintage handkerchief collection -- keep it, sell it, toss it -- such decisions.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Spring? No, I don't think so.

I had to share the photo (my header photo) of my crabapple tree blooming.  All these little leaves have come out just over two days -- I just love the color. 

So, is it looking like spring?  Well, yes, it is LOOKING like spring but Mother Nature if fickle and we are expecting snow on Tuesday.  Supposedly not enough to mess up traffic which is good -- traffic in DFW never needs any help being messed up.

But, I am sorry for all the spring foliage sprouting forth.  Maybe it won't destroy everything.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Word-Full Wednesday

I am sure you have all seen blog entries assigned to "Wordless Wednesday"  -- usually a lovely photo is intended to convey feelings.  Well, here is my take, all words and no pics, and it is a bit of a rant.  Sorry.

When I was a child the most offensive television commercials at the time were probably cigarette and beer commercials. While some people might have found fault with those on religious grounds I doubt many would have been embarrassed by them.

Then, when I was a teenage, many of my "dates" took place at my house with my boyfriend and I watching the weekly Saturday night movie.  At some point during this time I became aware of commercials for personal feminine products of all sorts.  I was beyond embarrassed and tried to talk over the commercials.

I got over it because clearly they weren't going away.

However, in the last few days I have been aware of a new sort of offensive commercial -- during prime time tv.

I wasn't embarrassed but rather angry when a commercial came on promoting the "morning after" pill.  I was livid.  This was during prime time when young people would be watching.  Call me old.  Call me prudish but I think this was highly uncalled for.  Seriously.

Then, last night, I got to view -- on prime time -- the steamy commercials promoting the upcoming show "Fifty Shades of Gray".  I have never been one to be in favor of censoring books -- I don't believe in book banning -- I think parents should be involved enough with their children to know what they are reading/watching/surfing, etc.  But, the fact that this commercial was being frequently run when children could be watching was not a responsible action for the network.  Again, I was angered. 

I am well passed the age for needing anything "morning after" and in my world, the fifty shades of gray could describe my hair color but I found these two commercials being offered during prime viewing time on television to be an invasion of parental rights.  It seemed to me that the networks are taking on a position to "educate" their viewers even if they are only trying to sell products, never thinking that the viewers are children and that right to "educate" should fall on the shoulders of the parents.

I know that there will be people who disagree with me but I found the commercials to be offensive and possibly dangerous

Ok, I am old now.  Tottering off my soap box.

Monday, February 09, 2015



Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you have people in your life (face-to-face) that are readers like you? Or, do you find that you have to reach out to those online in order to find like-minded folk?

I haven't done a Musing Monday in a while so I thought I would start out the week talking about one of my favorite pasttimes -- reading.  The rules for the meme are posted above and I will try to answer most of the prompts.

I am currently reading "The Sugar Camp Quilt" by Jennifer Chiaverini.  It is one of the titles in the Elm Creek Quilt series and I am enjoying it as I have all the preceding titles.  This title will count toward my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge and my Finish the Series Challenge.

Up next I am not sure what I will read next but I am thinking about one of the Kate Morton titles or perhaps I will start the Cousins O'Dwyer series by Nora Roberts.

I haven't bought any books in the last week but I am thinking of purchasing The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

I am really upset by the ending of "The House Girl". I wanted to know more about Lina's contact with her mother.

I can't wait to get a copy of Jan Karon's new book.

I blogged about my childhood home and dreams this past week.

Do I have readers in my life?  Most definitely.  Most everybody that I am friends with read for pleasure -- either books or audio books.  I love having many reading friends because I get such good recommendations.

So, there you have it -- my Musing Monday.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Dreams and Memories -- Memories and Dreams

In my  previous post I shared some of my memories of one of my childhood homes.  It was a small, white tract house, vintage 1950's, with a dark blue roof and royal blue shutters.  I called it "my little blue house" and I felt so secure there even though my mother was never fond of the house.  She loved the house I was born in but for some reason, unknown to me, we didn't stay in that house but moved to the "little blue house" and she was never really happy there.

I was, however.  I loved to go out into the huge back yard and chase horned toads -- lizards common to Texas that are now practically extinct.

 I loved to pick the buttercups that grew wild

 and I was fascinated by the twisting, sinewy mesquite trees -- two of them -- that just grew naturally in the yard. 

This little house was my world, as most kids houses are, so it is no surprise that when I started having recurring dreams, the house would figure significantly in those dreams.

I have always been a dreamer -- not a day dreamer but I dreamed a lot -- I still do.  One recurring dream that I had regularly until I was about nineteen revolved around the house.  A bit of back history -- when I was still very little my mother would warm my pajamas in front of the bathroom heater

so that after my bath I would have warm pajamas.  I was still in diapers and I wore plastic diaper covers that were common at the time. 

We would run the bathroom heater on really cold days to just help warm up that part of the house so one day, clever little me, decided the thing to do would be to "warm up" my plastic pants so I laid a pair over the bathroom heater and toddled off.  It didn't take too long for my mother to notice the odor of melting plastic and again with the panic.  I was fine, not even in the room but I surely could have burned the house down.  I am sure my mother said something to that effect, probably in a high pitched voice and I am sure that is where the recurring dream originated.

In the dream my mother, father, cat and I were standing on the curb looking at our house and it was on fire.  I even drew a picture of it at school which was very disturbing to my mother.  I was afraid of fire -- I didn't like the gas stove which made cooking in home economics class really difficult -- and the dream continued on a regular basis.  Then, when I was nineteen, the "little blue house" caught fire and was gutted.

I never had the dream again.

After I became an adult, my dad and I talked a lot about this dream and I finally told him of another dream I had been having for a long time.  It was then that he mentioned a concept he had read about called DNA memory -- the idea that it is possible to inherit memories from our ancestors through our DNA.  I hadn't heard of it and didn't pay too much attention to it -- it was a little "out there" for me.  However, as I continued to have the second dream I started thinking about it because this dream took place in a different time period.  Each time I am on the bus going downtown.  The bus stops at a stop sign before crossing a railroad track.  I look out the window and see my grandfather talking to another railroad employee as they stand on the track -- even though that incident is in my dream, it really did happen when I was about 6 or 7  and it just kept on showing up in the dream.  As the bus crosses the railroad track we are no longer in current time but back in the 1800's.  In the dream I am travelling down North Flores Street which runs behind Fox Tech High School and as I look to my left the school is there but as I look to my right there is a row of old, white Victorian houses -- with black trimmed window screens and I stop in front of one of the houses.  There is a horse and buggy parked in front of the house and I stand and watch.  People come out of the house and get into the buggy -- the woman was dressed in a long, calico dress with long sleeves and a high neck. I feel like I know these people but I can't see their faces.  I can't identify them.  Then the dream is over. husband and I were planning a trip to San Antonio, just the two of us, and I asked if we could travel that route and see what was there since it had been years since I had been in that area. I got very curious when we reached the stop sign at the railroad track.  As we ventured across the street the school was to our left and yes, to our right was a row of old, white Victorian houses.  My eyes came to rest on one house and I knew that was the house of my dream.  I came home and did a bit of research and, to the best of my knowledge, none of my family ever lived on this street -- at least on any of the censuses.  Why would I know this house?  Why would I be drawn to this house? 

I never had the dream again. 

I have found other memories to come to the forefront of my mind through dreams -- things I had forgotten about but felt I should be able to remember and then there it was in a dream and suddenly I remembered -- and continue to remember these forgotten memories.

I could talk about dreams that I have had that I believe are visitation dreams but that is another post altogether and maybe someday I will share those but I think it would be hard to convey those dreams in words but they were very special at the time and they continue to be vivid and relevant.

So, do you dream?  Are you memories linked to dreams?  

Friday, February 06, 2015


One day at work, years and years ago,  there was a conversation about memories and the question was asked of me "what was your first memory".  Of course, the lady asking the question was one of the disagreeable sort so she immediately disputed me saying that I  most certainly couldn't remember "that" -- I just remembered what somebody had told me.

She was wrong. 

I was born in San Antonio, Texas in February, 1950.  We lived in a house on a street named Zilla.  The name of the street was later changed to Clower but that was after we had moved. I don't remember living in the house on Zilla as we moved when I was ten months old to a house on Lee Hall Street, about five blocks away.

  The neighborhood was typical of the time -- small white houses clad in asbestos shingles with colored roofs and matching window shutters.

My cousin who lived across the street -- if you look to the left in the distance, you will see our white fence
 Each house was approximately 950 square feet and was placed on a very large lot with two Arizona Ash trees in the yard, at the curb, and a couple of bushes by the front steps.  These houses were part of the post-War housing boom -- after all, all those soldiers had to have someplace to hang their civilian hats and VA loans were plentiful. 

Me at about 2 in front of our house -- blue roof, blue shutters
The same house in about 1985 -- light green roof, no shutters

 I do remember moving day, however.  There was an "event" and I remember it vividly although it was a fleeting moment.  We had two bedrooms in the new house and my mother set me on the floor in the "back" bedroom as they moved in a large plate glass mirror.  Whoever was doing the moving -- I have no idea who it was - leaned the mirror against the largest wall and left.

Obviously not the same mirror but a close approximation

 I don't know if there was some movement or vibration or if they just hadn't been careful when placing it in the room but the mirror slid neatly onto the floor and shattered into a million pieces.  It must have sounded like a bomb going off because I distinctly remember my mother running into the room yelling "my beautiful baby" as I sat in a sea of broken glass.  I don't remember crying but my mother was terrified that I had been injured by the flying glass.  I wasn't.  Not a scratch.  I think I was a bit bewildered because things happened very quickly but I was fine.  I think, however, that was my mother's first step to becoming a very nervous woman.

I have one other memory that is quite vivid.  This is the one that my co-worker disputed but I know better.  The front bedroom of the house was my parents room.  It was about 12 by 12 with two windows and a very small closet.  These houses were very well built and servicable but very plain -- no grand mouldings or trims of any sort -- generic, common baseboards and door facings (although all the interior doors were panelled doors with faceted glass doorknobs) and everything was pretty much painted white.  My crib was in my parents room.  I remember their bed was on the large wall that was also the living room wall and my crib was in front of the window.  My mother always kept the venetian blinds at a tilt to let in a bit of light and my mental vision of this particular memory is swathed in a milky blue light that you would associate with, perhaps, early morning.  I had a bottle, it seems, and I remember holding my mother's hand through the slats on my crib.  I remember feeling happy and content and I remember loving my mother.

Me in my crib -- sorry for the state of the photo -- my pics have led a hard life

Many things have happened to me in my life -- mostly good, nothing horrible just normal life "things" -- some I remember well, some memories are vague but these two memories have always been with me and are strong in my mind.  The mirror incident doesn't incite anxiety in me but rather a feeling that it is incredible that I wasn't hurt.  The hand-holding memory I hold dear.  Whenever I think about my mother my thoughts invariably go back to this memory.

So, I have to ask, what is your earliest memory? 

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The House Girl by Tara Conklin

My latest reading finish is The House Girl by Tara Conklin.  It is, again, two stories -- one historical and one contemporary -- running side by side and overlapping in a very interesting way.

It is the story of Lina, a young lawyer.  She lives in NYC with her eccentric artist father.  Her mother died when she was four -- or did she?  Her life began anew when she left her job and made the call.

It is the story of Josephine, a house girl on a dwindling plantation.  She had her first child at 13 -- it died -- or did it?  Even though she had lived on this plantation her entire life and knew nothing else she was determined to run -- twice.  Her life ended at 17.

As someone who enjoys delving into family history, this was right up my alley.  However, I have recently read several books on the Civil War era and decided, after reading one particularly brutal book, I wasn't going to read anymore.  This one wasn't quite as extreme but enough to make me very uncomfortable.  However, in spite of that, it is a cleverly interlaced storyline that was engaging.  The only thing that I would change is that the author brought closing to Josephine's story where she left Lina's story quite open ended.  The reader can only assume the next leg in Lina's journey and I would have liked a little more info there.  Or a sequel.

I would recommend this book if you like reading historical fiction and you like plots that twist and turn.