Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year! and....the ugly truth

Tonight is New Year's Eve.  As a couple the most we have ever done is stay up late, at home, and watch some of the local fireworks.  We are not the party type, we don't drink, and staying up late for no better reason that to watch the clock tick just seems like a big waste of good sleep time to me.  I know, I sound like the New Year's grinch but I am not, I just like to sleep.

Tonight we will be doing something different, though.  We will be babysitting three of our four grandchildren.  It should be fun but definitely something that we don't usually do.  Their parents want to stay out past midnight which means a late night for us -- again, something we are not used to.  I am sure I will be passed out on the couch long before the kids are -- that is just how I roll.

We won't be spending the night there but rather we will either come home which is a 45 minute drive in the middle of the night with all the drunken crazies out or we will go down the road and spend the night at my daughter's house.  That is probably what is going to happen.

Yes, we need to move.

So, that is how we are ringing out 2016.  I am ringing in 2017 with a heavy dose of exercise and dieting using My Fitness Pal.  I am still going to be doing my "normal eating" approach but I am going to document what I eat so that I can show the doctor who probably doesn't believe me.  I need to exercise because I just sit here on this computer all day.  All. Day.  My first exercise is walking and I will be doing that here in my house.  My floor plan gives me a really good "track" to walk a circle through the house and it takes me about 100 steps to make one lap.  I have reactivated my Garmin fitness tracker and am wearing it -- too bad that it irritates my skin. 

What is precipitating all this?  I had my 4 month dr. appointment yesterday and as far as the cancer goes, all is well.  Apparently my numbers are good, my exam was good and it was thumbs up all around.  However, my blood pressure was off the charts --183/120/90.  I have always had low blood pressure but the medication I am on is known to raise blood pressure and make weight loss nearly impossible.  So, the bp is on the rise and the weight is as well.  I have to do something.  So, since I have already adopted this "normal eating" style -- three meals a day, a snack in between and nothing after dinner -- all normal portions -- the only thing left is exercise.  So, exercise it will be.  It is time to nip this in the bud.  I don't think getting off the medicine is an option so exercise is the best line of defense.  I do need to work on getting past "white coat syndrome" -- maybe it would help if my dr. didn't wear a white coat!

So, wish me luck in the new year.  I am not waiting until tomorrow to start -- I have already started.  I took my bp this morning and it was still high but not THAT high.  I was still a bit anxiety ridden this morning -- I have been having anxiety problems lately which I noted to the doctor but nobody addressed it.  So, I guess I am just going to have to walk or bicycle through it.  I think I can do something about this other than medication, I just need to make the effort.

So, I think I will go take a walk.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Goodreads 2016 Challenge

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and the day that I will wind up my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  Last year I did well reading more books than my goal.  If you look at numbers that is a good thing.  However, I can honestly say that I don't even remember reading some of the books.  That is not such a good thing.  Granted, some of the books are may not be  memorable but seriously, I think I was just reading too fast to really enjoy the process.

This year I signed up to read 25 books.  I am not going to make that goal as I have only read 18.  I am currently reading "Christmas Bells" by Jennifer Chiaverini and am about half finished.  However, with my schedule for the next two days I seriously doubt that I am going to finish -- and it isn't a long book!

So, after giving some thought to the reading challenges I have decided to make my own reading challenge.  It won't be based on the number of books I read during 2017.   It will be based on meaningful reading and reading from my own shelves.  I can't begin to tell you how many books I have unread on my shelves.  I have even stopped going to bookstores for fun because I can't say "no" to a book calling my name and I have plenty here to read -- I probably wouldn't have to buy a new book for quite sometime.  When you factor in the number Nook books and Kindle books I have, well, the numbers grow exponentially.

With all these things in mind 2017 won't be a year of reading for quantity but rather quality.  I will start on January 1,  I will probably still be reading the Chiaverini book and it will be my first finish.  What is next?  I don't know but I do know that it will come from my personal library -- either a physical book or an e-book. 

A while back I decided to arrange my books alphabetically by author.  I even left room for new additions -- clever of me, wasn't it?  I am finding it much easier to not duplicate books that way -- something I have been known to do. Now looking at my own personal library is much like going to a bookstore.  I am also learning that not every book that comes into my house has to stay in my house.  I either take advantage of Half Price Books buy back program or I donate to charity.  Sometimes I just pass them on to others.  I only have a certain amount of space and we have several bookcases already along with a book closet so I really don't mind paring down now and again.  Some titles will never leave.

That is how I see my reading going for 2017.  I feel like I have been rushing through everything lately and that isn't how I want things to be.  I want to slow down and really enjoy what life has to offer and that includes books.  So, that is my plan!  You can see my accomplishment list here and I will take more time to review the books that I read.  They will be listed on Goodreads as well. 

Now, to finish this Christmas book and move on -- I see some Dorothea Benton Frank in my immediate future!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Haint Blue Ceilings of the South


I am from the south but the Texas south -- not the deep American south like South Carolina and Georgia.  I have an accent - or so I have been told - but a Texas accent, not an American southern accent.  However, lots of my ancestors took the usual migration routes across the country from the New England area through the southern states to Texas.  Many of them lived in North Carolina and Alabama so I have an interest in the lifestyles of those areas.

Every area has its customs and traditions peculiar unto itself.  Obviously Texas has lots of cultural and historical customs and traditions which are completely ingrained in those of us who have lived here all our lives.  However, many areas have just as interesting and compelling backgrounds and one that I have been fascinated with, since I learned of it, is the blue porch ceilings of South Carolina and Georgia.

Many people paint their porch ceiling a shade of blue or blue green referred to as "haint blue".  "Haint" is the Gullah word for haunt or spirits. 

 Here is a definition of Gullah from Wikipedia:



And here is an explanation of the painted porch tradition from the Sherwin Williams Paint website:

"Southerners, especially in the area of South Carolina, have a name for the ceiling paint used on porches – the soft blue-green is referred to as "Haint Blue." "Haints are restless spirits of the dead who, for whatever reason, have not moved on from their physical world," says Sawaya."

Now, I don't much believe in spirits that haven't moved on -- well, I do actually but I don't think any of them are living on my back patio.  However, what does live on my back patio are wasps, yellow jackets and mud daubers.  According to some, the blue ceilings will appear to be the sky to these little varmints and they will not want to build their nests in the corners of your patio or porch.  That was reason enough for me to do this --



Since we were painting the house anyway thanks to the installation of the new gutters, I asked my husband to paint the ceiling of the patio blue.  He looked at me a little concerned about my mental well being but I told him the history which didn't make much of an impression but when I told him about deterring wasps and flying things, that shed a whole new light on it and voila! we have a blue ceiling.  

It looks a bit washed out here in the early morning light but it is actually a very lovely, light turquoise blue.  It is very spa-like -- beachy actually.  It looks very relaxing from inside the house and I think it is going to be very relaxing during the summer and maybe we won't have so many flying beasts to contend with.  It is hard to maintain a relaxed summer atmosphere when you are armed with Raid to get rid of the wasps and yellow jackets -- we have mostly yellow jackets.

So, that is what we have been doing in this wonderful warm winter we are having.  It was 82 yesterday so the painting got finished, the ceiling is blue and we are quite pleased with the way it turned out.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Winding Down the Year --Reading Challenges

2016 is winding down.  It hasn't been a bad year for me personally but then I am not a celebrity or person of notoriety, thank goodness.  The year was actually pretty devoid of monumental events which is just fine with me.  I have reached the age where average, ordinary, undramatic works well for me. 

This year I have come to terms with the fact that I have lost interest in a lot of the things I used to love to do and I have figured out why.  Pressure.  I used to love to quilt but lost interest because 1) I couldn't just get creative and play without the pressure of having to make something for somebody else and there was always a deadline and 2) I can't crawl around on the floor to pin them anymore.  I used to love to do needlework like embroidery and cross stitch.  I remember when I was expecting my daughter, I went to JC Penney and bought a crewel embroidery kit.  It wasn't for anybody, it wasn't a gift, it was just for me to do.  I loved it.  Now I have gotten myself into the mindset that I MUST make Christmas ornaments or greeting cards or sell my finished cross stitch pictures on Ebay.  Somehow I have lost the ability to just do something for the sake of doing it without some sort of ulterior motive.  This is why I have lost interest.

I have now taken up coloring and it is very enjoyable because there is absolutely nothing to do with the end product but to enjoy the process.  Nobody wants a coloring sheet I have done, nobody is going to buy it and there is absolutely no worth in it except for the enjoyment that I get from doing it.  I see a lot of coloring going on in 2017.

I still read.  I love to read.  However, I have joined several reading challenges -- mostly on Goodreads -- the last several years and while it did prompt me to read more books, I think it has had a negative affect on my reading.  I feel like I have to read faster just to meet my "goal" and I don't necessarily enjoy the books as much if I am rushing.  I also don't like the feeling that I have "failed" to meet my goal -- like this year.

So, starting in 2017 I don't think I will do anymore Reading Challenges.  I think I am just going to read and keep a list -- my own reading challenge so to speak.  Some books just require more mulling over, some books aren't meant to be finished or need to be put aside for a while, some books are quick reads and maybe aren't so monumental.  I think I am just going to enjoy the books as they come to me and document it here on this blog just like I am doing with the 2016 Goodreads challenge this year but there isn't going to be a goal or a limit.  It will just be what it is.

And that is about as close to a resolution as I am going to get.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas is Over

Today is the day after Christmas.  I had a good Christmas although it didn't seem like Christmas at all.  I suspect that all the frivolity got lost in my "to - do" list.  Toward the end of summer I made a list of all the things I wanted to get accomplished before the end of the year.

My list was comprised of lots of household things as well as my own health to take care of.  It was all complicated by my mother in law falling and breaking her hip in September.  She had surgery and was in rehab for an unbelievably long time -- 'till mid-November.  In the middle of her stay there my husband had cataract surgery which, between both eyes, took six weeks.  Not complaining as his vision is much, much better which I would have expected but it is sort of amazing to see it.  Anyway, after all that was done, I had several health care appointments to keep.

We also had scheduled for our new roof to be installed.  Every roof in our neighborhood has been replaced due to hail damage from storms last spring.  While we were waiting for that to happen, our a/c decided to go out and that needed to be replaced.  Of course, with the new roof came new gutters so after the old gutters were taken down the husband decided we needed to go ahead and repaint before the new gutters were put up.  So, he has been painting the exterior of the house.  There isn't much and the way the house is built it isn't too difficult -- or so he says and since I am not the one doing it, I choose to believe him.  That is almost complete.  We are painting the patio ceiling blue like they do in South Carolina.  It is supposed to keep wasps from making nests in the corners.  Oh, and it is supposed to keep the spirits away!

So, in the middle of all this home caring and health caring and mother in law caring came Christmas.  Christmas is pretty quiet for us these days.  The children are grown and gone with children of their own and plans of their own.  We celebrate with them but it isn't the same.  My shopping has changed as the grown ups don't really need anything and they are all picky (sorry, just telling the truth) so they get money and they can go get their own present.  The kiddos, well, I try to do the four things -- something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read.  I guess I just didn't want to wrack my brain (is that even a word?) so the something they want turned out to be money, the something they need was pajamas, the something to play with are games and puzzles and the something to read ended up being a Barnes & Noble gift card.  I usually like buying them books but there were a lot of restrictions this year so I just opted to let them pick out their own.  So, there wasn't much shopping going on for sure.  It makes me sad that I don't shop like I used to but, with all the other stuff going on, maybe it is better.  I probably would have been a blithering idiot by now.  Also, I didn't send many cards this year.  I don't know how I feel about that -- I will revisit that next year.

I did like it that Christmas was on Sunday.  Somehow that just seemed right.  I wasn't prepared for no mail delivery today though, that seems NOT right.  But now it is business as usual which, honestly, I am ready for.

I don't know why but I  tend to get sad over the holidays and I am not sure why.  My parents have been gone a long time now.  I am used to my children being gone.  I have no idea but the melancholy just seems to set in.  I almost took the Christmas tree down today but I usually leave it up until Epiphany.  Not sure I will make it this year.

Tomorrow I am going to continue de-cluttering my closet and making a bag of items to be donated.  I also need to go through the magazine basket and start recycling those things.  I guess you could say I am starting an early spring cleaning.  The weather has been so warm here that you would think it was spring -- I wonder if this is going to be another winter-less year.  Bad for us -- good for a bumper crop of disease ridden mosquitoes.  We need several days of freezing weather to get rid of those.

We had two snakes on the patio today.  That is all I can say about that.  I only saw one of them -- very small little grass snake.  I went back in the house.  I don't do snakes.

So, that is all that is going on here at Maison Brinkley (haha -- that cracks me up).  Hopefully the paint will be done tomorrow and then we can start on the inside.  That I am not looking forward to at all.  Hate the smell of paint.  And we are going to replace carpet.  It is all exhausting and I am not even the one doing it.

Ok, enough of this, I must go get the cedar pollen off of me and try to continue reading the book I have been stuck on for over a month now.  Slow going, very slow going.

Be back soon!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Today is WHAT?

Oh dear.  I am behind, it seems.  I can't believe it is already December 15th! Where has the month gone?  Actually, where has the autumn gone? 

September, October and November were ridiculously busy.  My planner had something on each and every day.  I hadn't been that busy since I had kids at home.  I put a lot of things off because of the priority of other things and I have spent the last two weeks playing catch up.  It is going well and all I have left is to get a crown scheduled and a doctor appointment at the end of the month.

So, I don't guess I need to tell  you that Christmas has sort of taken a backseat to all the catching up.  I haven't mailed any Christmas cards out yet.  I have a couple of gifts left to buy which I will try to do tonight.  I have to make a list of food to buy and order a ham -- yay! for Honeybaked Ham Company. I haven't wrapped a thing although I did buy paper.  I don't really like buying Christmas wrap so I try to buy something that I can use for other things.  The Container Store is good for that. 

I have a quilt project that I have been working on and that I was hoping to get finished today but it wasn't meant to be.  I need to work on it tonight and maybe, just maybe I can get it done by the weekend.  That would be phenomenal. 

So, yeah, it is ten days until Christmas and I am so far from being ready it isn't even funny.  Guess I should go get read.  Ta!

Monday, December 12, 2016

A Slothy Sort of Day

Yesterday was a very nice, albeit busy, day.  The weather was great but a bit too windy for my liking (itchy eyes today).  It started out with church at 9 a.m. followed by coffee hour where we sit at our usual table with our friend Jorge and chat while the kids are in Sunday School and the other adults are in Bible Class -- yes, we are a little lax in the Sunday School area.  Our bad.

After church we headed to our favorite Mexican food restaurant, MiCocula's Grill, for a bit of lunch.  It is so nice having a great, family owned, neighborhood restaurant to go to.   It reminds me of a cafe called Micheli's in San Antonio that we used to frequent when I was a kid. 



After lunch we headed to the Will Rogers Coliseum to see "The Nutcracker" performed by North Texas Ballet Company.  It was a special day for the girl scouts and our Daisies love it.  Everybody was dressed up and it was so festive.




After that, since we carpooled with DearDaughter, we headed back to our house for Bean to help set up the Christmas village.  She had never helped before and she wanted to so that is what she did.  Dinner was rolling around so I fished around in the freezer and found a lasagne which I heated up for a quick dinner.

After that, DD and the Bean went on their way and I crashed.  It was a lovely, sunny, busy day!

I will have to say, though, that all that activity has rendered today just a slothy sort of day -- not doing much and not feeling the least bit bad about it either!  Everybody needs a slothy day and today is mine.





Friday, December 09, 2016

Too Old For Addictions!

Hi! My name is Melissa and I am an addict.

I am addicted to Facebook.

I need to break this addiction.

It seems that the more I try to break the sugar addiction the more I am on Facebook.  I would assume that is in an effort to avoid eating.  I used to shop a lot to get me out of the house and away from food.  Now I hate shopping.

The natural progression of thought is that eventually I would hate Facebook.  I am getting there.

 I wish I could channel all this addictive behavior toward exercising.


Maybe I should think about trying to make that happen.

Hmmm......can you pick and choose your addictions?  That would be nice.

Yes, my name is Melissa and I have an eating disorder and I am addicted to Facebook.

Bother.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Photo

How do you like my Christmas themed header photo.  All credit goes to my daughter. They are her ornaments and she decided to have an artistic moment.  I did ask permission to use her photo.  Maybe today I will get in the mood? Maybe?

Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent.  Need to find my Advent things and buy new candles.  The rush is on!

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Life -- Funny Thing It Is

Ok, I am not going to beat around the bush.  The holidays make me sad.  I have never done well with Thanskgiving probably because bad things seem to happen to our family in November.  I always really liked Christmas but the past few years  haven't been stellar.  I miss my kids being little, I miss my parents, I just miss a lot of things.

So, the day after Thanksgiving is usually the day I put up the Christmas tree and I didn't do it.  I am going to force myself to do it tomorrow.  It doesn't even seem like it should be Christmas.  Shopping is going to be a non-issue this year -- everybody is getting money.  Christmas shopping has sort of become an agonizing event for me -- never knowing what to buy, picky people, expensive taste-- yep, they are getting money.  but I will wrap it up really cute.

I am reading a book called "Christmas Bells" by Jennifer Chiaverinni and it is good but still not putting me in the spirit.  I have been looking at people's lovely trees on Facebook but it isn't helping.  I am hoping this passes soon because if December goes as fast as the rest of the year it will be gone before I even get around to getting the ornaments down.

I have watched a couple of sappy, Hallmark Christmas movies and that hasn't helped.  maybe I should try "The Bells of St. Mary's" or "Love Actually". Or music, maybe?  I will have to try that.

I guess you could say I have a case of the Bah-Humbugs.  What to do, what to do.  I can't let this get the best of me -- if I do I will really regret it.  I have a list a mile long of things to get done and I can't seem to get started.  I have lost my mojo, I guess -- never really knew what "mojo" was but I think mine is gone.

Well, I think I will take my Christmas book to bed and see if I can get a little more inspired.

Hmmmm.......this isn't good!




Saturday, November 19, 2016

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's 95th birthday. Tonight the family gathered to celebrate at a local barbecue place.  Here are a few photos from the festivities.

Granny and her daughter and three sons

my daughter in green and my two nieces

my son and daughter
my granddaughter and my great-nephew

Granny and my daughter, son-in-law and, of course, the Bean



It was a good time for all.  There were others there, of course, and lots of kids.  The weather has cooled off considerably so it was all very fallish and festive!

Happy Birthday, Granny!

Happy Birthday! Very late post

 I was looking through my "drafts" and discovered that this has never been posted.  I have no clue why unless I got interrupted.  So, I am posting it now.  Granny has gone on to glory just a couple of months after this but at this moment in time she was having fun.

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's 95th birthday. Tonight the family gathered to celebrate at a local barbecue place.  Here are a few photos from the festivities.

Granny and her daughter and three sons

my daughter in green and my two nieces

my son and daughter
my granddaughter and my great-nephew

Granny and my daughter, son-in-law and, of course, the Bean



It was a good time for all.  There were others there, of course, and lots of kids.  The weather has cooled off considerably so it was all very fallish and festive!

Happy Birthday, Granny!

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's 95th birthday. Tonight the family gathered to celebrate at a local barbecue place.  Here are a few photos from the festivities.

Granny and her daughter and three sons

my daughter in green and my two nieces

my son and daughter

It was a good time for all.  There were others there, of course, and lots of kids.  The weather has cooled off considerably so it was all very fallish and festive!

Happy Birthday, Granny!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Man Called Ove

Life has taken a hectic turn these days so a lot of things have been put on the back burner.  My reading is one of those things.  I signed up for 25 books for my Goodreads Challenge and chances are I am not going to make it.  I am going to try, however.

I just finished "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. 



 
I picked it up after reading another of Backman's works - "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry", which I thoroughly enjoyed, even through the sad parts.

"Ove" wasn't as sad -- it was funny.  It was a good study of the human condition, what makes us tick, what makes us vulnerable and what makes us keep on keeping on even when we don't know why.

I would recommend this book to anybody.  It ends well, predictably, neatly tied up like you would expect and that is ok - it was so Ove.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Cranky


HA! This made me smile today!  My daughter posted it on her FB page early this morning -- something to do with jeans not fitting.  Perhaps if she hadn't partied so hardy at a wedding reception on Saturday night this morning would have been different.  I feel that excess wine make you retain stuff -- water, wedding cake, reception fare -- whatever.  It made me laugh.

I also reminded me to not let the day make ME cranky -- I need to practice "going with the flow". 

We are getting a new roof and it was scheduled to be installed in December. Well, they called last week and said they would be installing today and tomorrow.  I am so excited.  However, it is raining.  They haven't showed up with the materials yet and I am getting bummed.  Hopefully the rain will go away, the materials will, well, materialize and I won't have to get cranky.

My favorite way of cleaning house is to walk through the house with a trash bag and just tossing everything that has stacked up, fallen down, doesn't have a home or has lost it's usefulness.  You would be surprised how quickly things get better.  I especially like doing this with my vanity which seems to get messy very quickly.  And the coffee table  in the den.  Makes all the difference in the world.  Anyway, that was the first thing on my to-do list today, after we watched the roofers deliver the roofing material. 

So, no roofer yet so no trash bag cleaning.  I seem to be just sitting here waiting.  Don't you just hate it when that happen?

Tomorrow is election day.  I can't wait for it to be over. 

I have been doing more reading on hygge-- the Danish lifestyle idea.  It sounds so lovely and calm and quiet. And cozy! Sounds wonderful.  I am looking forward to fires in the fireplace and warm, thick socks but we seem to be stuck in late summer here.  There was a fall feel in the air yesterday and I actually got chilled so maybe fall is finally on it's way.

I tried some refrigerated organic cinnamon rolls this morning.  Immaculate Baking Company cinnamon rolls.  They were ok.  Not as good as mine but then not as time consuming as mine.  They are in a tube just like Pillsbury and such and I had to laugh, I couldn't get the stupid tube open.  I banged it on the counter, I poked it with a spoon -- it just wouldn't pop.  Well,  seems I hadn't taken off all the wrapper! Duh!  Such a dumb bunny.  Anyway, I will buy them again.

I miss buying processed convenience foods.  I mean, I grew up in the 50's where convenience foods were new and very popular -- I don't remember my mother ever making a cake from scratch -- they all came from a box and honestly, I still prefer them.  I have been trying to cook more from scratch and not use convenience foods but the organic food industry is getting better and I am finding that I am, again, turning to convenience foods albeit the organic choice and they aren't bad.  Horizons or Amy's mac and cheese come to mind.

The thing I can't get around though, is canned green beans.  Green Giant kitchen sliced green beans, specifically.  Frozen green beans are just soggy and fresh go bad before I get them cooked it seems. Sprouts does have green beans in non-BPA cans but they just aren't the same.  Guess I am going to just have to suck it up  for the Green Giant variety. 

My reading has sort of gone south lately.  I am still reading "A Man Called Ove" and I am enjoying it -- it isn't draggy or anything but I keep getting interrupted.  I don't think I am going to meet my Goodreads 2016 goal.  In fact, I don't think next year I am going to participate in the challenge but just keep a list of the books I read on here for my own information.  I find that when I try to keep up with these challenges I am just reading as fast as I can to complete the challenge and not necessarily enjoying the book.  I want to enjoy the books more than complete the challenge.  So, I think that is going to be my goal for next year.  sort of goes along the whole "hygge" thing, doesn't it?

Well, the roofer isn't here. The rain has stopped, I have no more excuses so I must get up and grab that trash bag.  Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What's On!

It is now October -- autumn, my favorite month of the year.  There is a crispness in the air which makes we want to settle in to my usual autumn lifestyle.  What does that mean?

It means reading.  I love to read and have flirted with tablets and e-readers and while I still use them from time to time I really just love books.  Right now I am reading "A Man Called Ove" by Frederik Backman.  It is all about Ove who has endured a good deal of sadness and loss in his life.  After the loss of his wife, all Ove wants to do is die at his own hand.  However, life has other plans for him, it seems.  While it sounds like a dire book, it is actually pretty comical and I am enjoying it.  I would recommend it, so far.  I will see how it ends.  I doubt Ove will die and his or anybody else's hand.

It means stitching.  I haven't cross stitched in quite a while.  In fact, I haven't done any stitching in quite a while but I am getting the urge to start something.  I have some lovely bird pictures that I would like to complete.

It means cooking.  I don't cook anymore.  I cleaned out my pantry the other day and you can't imagine the amount of expired food I had to toss so I guess I am not very good at stocking up either.  But, on cool evenings I sure look forward to a nice pot of stew or goulash and cornbread.  And pumpkin bread.  Love pumpkin bread.

It means art, to me, as well.  I have been dabbling in the craft of cardmaking and I have been enjoying it but I have also been coloring.  I have a couple of coloring books and love to sit down with them and my pencils and just lose myself in the art of it all.  Last night we had to run a couple of errands and I found myself at Michael's looking for some art supplies.  I added a Prismacolor Premier blending marker to my stash as well as several more pencils.  The blending marker came with several other little items -- a pencil extender, two erasers, a pencil sharpener, a colorless blending pencil and an ebony pencil --a nice little set.  I also added a water brush to the mix so I could try it with my water color pencils.  Nice little purchase there.  Then we went to Barnes and Noble.  I had two coupons so I bought a coloring book, an adult dot-to-dot book and a new book by Jennifer Chiaverinni -- "The Christmas Bells".  I love her books and am working my way through the Elm Creek series.  This isn't part of that series but I am sure it is going to be delightful.

I have also been looking to order some cozy clothes.  I am still in shorts and t-shirts but I know the day will soon come where a flannel shirt will feel wonderful so I have a nice little list started to place an order.  Yes, I order most of my clothes -- it is just easier that way and since I am a little, white haired lady with gimpy knees, I don't have to pretend to be a fashion maven.

So, there you go -- a glimpse into my little world of autumn!





Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sometimes I Wonder

yes, sometimes I wonder -- about the world around me, politics, art, literature, humanitarian efforts, religion -- and sometimes I just wonder about......my brain.

I sometimes wonder if I have ADHD.  Not because I am physically hyperactive because trust me, I am not active -- at all.  (That is actually a problem.)  My brain, however, is never still.  My family thinks I am crazy because I can be sitting there, minding my own business, thinking about whatever I am thinking about and I break into a conversation (usually with a question about whatever I was thinking about) and expect them to know what I am talking about.  Can't they read my mind?  What is wrong with them?

I was always a prolific daydreamer.  When I was in junior high school I used to sit in our gorgeous school library during study hall and look down the street at the houses.  The school was located in a historical district










and the houses were all mini-mansions (and some not so mini)






 
and I would make up stories in my head about the families that lived in each house. They were all lovely families with well-kept secrets and mysteries and lots and lots of money and gorgeous clothes -  probably not so far from the truth, actually.


I don't do that anymore.  Or, at least I didn't think I did.

We are taking a new route home from Bean's in the afternoon.  It takes us through a neighborhood very much like the one we lived in the first 16 years of our marriage.  Yesterday I found myself looking at the houses and making up stories about the people in them.

Hmmmm.......is this a sign of ADHD, impending senility or literary brilliance?

Yes, I think so!

Monday, October 17, 2016

October Surprise

If you have been following politics surely you have heard the catchphrase "October Surprise".  I assume it refers to Wikileaks email drops.  Some places I have heard it refers to impending war.

Here is the truth, at least in OUR reality.

October Surprise

New roof $26,000
New HVAC  $12,000
Eye surgery $10,000

Oh, the new fan works well and the pull chain works fine after further review.

And to think that October used to be my favorite month.  I  might should rethink that.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Joys of Homeownership

Happy Sunday, all! I hope today is being good to you.  It has been a lovely day thus far in spite of the fact that things are falling apart at a rapid rate around here.

Bear in mind that our house is only 12 years old.  It was new construction when we purchased and we have been the only occupants.  We were thrilled that everything just worked and we had no desire to knock out walls, re-do tile or add anything on.

It has been fine except now age is creeping in and things are getting wonky.  We have to have a new roof.  Now, that has nothing to do with age but rather the extreme hail storm we had in the spring.  Huge hail.  Destroyed roof.  However, since we live in a gated community we have an HOA which is a good/bad thing.  It keeps us from having to deal with turquoise paint and pink flamingos in the yard but on the flip side, everything we do we have to have "approved".  It wouldn't be bad if our architectural committee didn't have "control issues" and "power issues" and, well, you get the picture.  So, we got the almighty approval and got on the docket with the roofer.  We will have a new roof in December.  Yes, December.  I am underwhelmed and just hoping we aren't solidly into ice/snow by then.

Then, a couple of weeks ago our ceiling fan in our bedroom died.  It is remote controlled, no pull chains, and apparently the thingy in the fan went out and there is no way to make it work.  We researched a new part to make the remote work.  Apparently they quit making that new part.  So, we went out and bought a new fan today.  Why you ask?  Why today?

Because sometime Friday our air conditioning went out.  My husband thought it was a capacitor.  He replaced the capacitor.  Not the problem.  He called the hvac guy.  The guy said they could come but being a weekend it would be twice the amount of money and they couldn't fix it until Monday anyway.  He said to try to hang in there until Monday and they would be out.  Nice guy.  Saved us some money.  It is 90 degrees today.  Upon further review, my husband thinks the yard guys, who seem hell bent on destroying everything in the path of their lawnmowers, has cut the freon line because there is very apparent damage to the compressor box.  Now, these lawn guys have messed up window facings, they have broken yard decor and they have actually ripped the gutters off the house.  I really don't like these yard guys. 

So, we went to Lowe's and bought a new fan and a spanking brand new 12' ladder so he could get to the 14 ft. ceiling.  We made sure we didn't buy a remote control fan but rather one with a pull chain.  It has taken him six hours to install this fan.

The pull chain doesn't work.

The joys of home ownership.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Latest Card and Trip I Forgot About

I think it must happen to everybody.  We forget things.  Maybe we are tired, too busy, just ditzy but we forget things.  Seems I forgot an entire trip we took. 

Early September we were invited to join our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in San Antonio to celebrate our daughter's birthday.  We ate good food, had good fellowship with friends and visited a local mall, North Star Mall, to see a fanastic Lego display.  Pictures can describe it better than I can.





















Sorry about the sideways photos -- I don't know how to turn them around. It was a really amazing display and I would love to see it again when half the population of San Antonio wasn't there.

And now, for my latest card --


A cute little birthday card for a cute little girl.  Hopefully one of these days I will grasp the concept of getting the elements straight and centered.  But, until then, this will have to do.

Today has started out better.  I have been off social media for most of the morning which is a good thing.  I took my blood pressure and it was quite normal.  I have gotten laundry done, the card finished, a gift wrapped, the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded, I am dressed and enjoying the rain.  It has been raining since about 5 a.m. We need the rain and the lower temps are very refreshing.  Sunshine this afternoon - sounds like a good day coming up!

Happy Friday, all!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Month?

I cannot believe it has been a month since I have posted anything.  What can I say?  Have I been busy?  Yes.  Have I been lazy?  Yes.  Do I really have anything to talk about?  No.

I guess everybody has lags in their blog lives and I have had in the past as well but never this long.  So, let's see, have I been doing anything at all?

Well, first off, I have been keeping up with politics on Facebook.  It is awful.  It is ALL awful.  I have to say that I am depressed and defeated just seeing what is going on.  I need to quit paying attention to it but it is hard when that is all that is on my FB page.  So, I posted a picture of a kitty.  Did it help?  No. Not a bit.  In past elections we had the crummy stuff and then after the fact life went on.  Is that how it will be this time?  I am truly not sure.

I finished a book by Frederik Backman entitled "My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She Is Sorry".  It was a slow start for me but it picked up and, like many other books I have read. it became difficult to put down.  It was funny and sad.  I rarely cry over a book but I shed tears over this one.  It goes without saying that I identified with Granny and I have my own Elsa so, 'nuf said.

I have been busy with Girl Scouts a bit.  Last week we made dog toys for donation to a local human society.  It was fun.  The girls learned to braid.  Not sure if the dogs are going to appreciate their efforts but the girls had fun.

I went to our annual church dinner last night.  It is held at a local Mexican food restaurant called Joe T. Garcia's.  The food was good, the fellowship outstanding, and the weather cooperated.  A good time was had by all.

My mother in law fell in September and broke her hip.  She had surgery and after a week was placed in a rehab center.  She is still there.  I think she is getting too comfortable there, even though she doesn't like it.  So, all the visiting and laundry is keeping us busy.

I have made a couple of cards.  My grandson had his first piano recital last week.  Has only taken lessons for four months and he was outstanding. I didn't know what to take him for his achievement -- flowers didn't seem right -- so I made him a card.  I should have taken a photo.  Today I made a card for my eldest granddaughter who is having a birthday party tomorrow night.  I will take a photo of that when it is complete.

Other than that, there isn't much newsworthy going on.  We had fall for a few minutes and it is pretty summery again.  That is ok.  I can handle it, at least it isn't 107 degrees.  Hopefully I will emerge from this depression I have gotten myself into soon.  It is exhausting and annoying -- even for me! I am sure I will feel better after November 8.  Or maybe not.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Falling is Getting Closer!

I can feel it in the air!  It has been a bit cooler in the mornings although it is still summer in the afternoons!  We had a bit of rain this evening with lots of lightening.  I don't like driving in the rain but I love sleeping in the rain so I am ready for some over night showers.

I have been having some problems with my feet.  I think I might have hurt them while exercising but not sure, it might have been from some shoes I was wearing.  At any rate, about three weeks ago I noticed my right ankle started feeling like it was sprained.  Well, it kept on and then it just started swelling.  And it hurt.  My entire foot hurt.  I could touch my toes with my other foot and it hurt all the way up my ankle.  We went to San Antonio and walked all over and it just got worse -- what a surprise.  So, finally I decided to rub it with some Absorbine, Jr.  Remember Absorbine, Jr?  Well, it worked!  No more swelling and the pain is almost completely gone.  It still hurts but I haven't worn the offending shoes anymore (bye bye $125) and I bought some new shoes.

I bought some Tieks!  You know, those cute little ballet flats with the ridiculous price tag?  It took everything I had to order these shoes because I just don't spend money recklessly.  I am very judicious when I shop and I rarely buy anything that isn't on sale.  I buy basic stuff and don't replace things very often.  But......I had to try these shoes. 



My feet have been miserable for a long time and I finally figured out why.  When being sized I am right on the line between two sizes.  Vanity always causes me to buy the smaller and I think that is a mistake.  I also require "wides" -- on my right foot.  So, I buy wides and the left foot swims in my shoes.  Not much can be done about that.  However, I have high arches and every time I try to buy trainers or any sort of lace up shoe I just about go crazy until I get them off.  They are just plain uncomfortable.  One night it dawned on me that I remember a conversation with my mother about my father's feet.  He always had to wear slip on shoes because he couldn't stand lace up shoes because of his high arches -- problem explained -- I have my father's feet. 

So, between wide feet, high arches and vanity I have a shoe problem.  I have one pair of shoes from SAS Shoes that work pretty well --  they have a wide toe box which accommodates the wide feet (Flintstone feet, I like to call them) but they go across the top of my foot and that is annoying.  So......

I am hoping that these little ballet flats with the ridiculous price tag makes my feet happy.  I started to say "my little feet" but that would have just been wrong on so many levels.  There isn't much shoe to them, no support and no padding but there are also no straps, ties, high sides, etc.  I mean, something has to work doesn't it?

I clearly was meant to be barefoot. Like the Flintstones.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Hello, anybody out there?

I can't believe it has been a month since I have been here.  Reading blogs is one of my favorite things and writing one is therapeutic.  I can't believe I have been away for so long.

So, what have I been doing?  Well, I have dabbled in cardmaking which is a wonderful activity.  I will continue with it although I am sure none of my cards will ever come up to the standards of those I see on a couple of the Facebook groups.  They are lovely, indeed. 

I have also been busy with Girl Scouts, getting ready for the meetings and crafts and such.  Seems that the crafts have become my territory and that is fine, I like projects.  Also, we are back in the routine of after-school pick up for my granddaughter and a bit of babysitting after school.

Then, a week ago my mother in law fell and broke her hip requiring surgery.  We were told of the possible complications of a 94 year old having to go through surgery and she experienced all of them.  She is tough though and came out alive and well on the other side and is now in a skilled nursing facility for some mild rehab before returning to her apartment.  She isn't happy.  I hope that improves.

The weather is sort of changing -- we have had several days in the 80's and then it shoots right back up to the 90's.  I am sort of tired of the 90's now.  I need a little of that crisp, cool air.  I would like to open my house up and let it air out without the pollen and yucky air blowing through.  I just might do that over the weekend.

So, anyway, there isn't much going on that is blog worthy.  Hopefully I can get my routine back together and get back to my blogging.  And reading.  I haven't been reading much lately and I miss that.  Such an escape.  I need to work on that. 

Anyway, just checking in -- hopefully there won't be another month between posts.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Catching Up and Sit-upons.

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity getting ready for school and Girl Scouts and after school activities.  Yes, I know, I am a retired grandmother -- how does this affect me?  Well, when  you are the after school pickup of a suddenly active child, it affects you.

The duty of being an assistant Girl Scout leader has fallen on me as none of the troop mothers could do it.  This is odd for me because I was only a Girl Scout for a short time -- a LONG time ago -- so I am having to wrack my brain to remember much of anything about it.  We were discussing projects and my daughter mentioned the cushions for the girls to sit on.  Back in the deep crevices of my brain I sort of remembered these and when I did a google search I was reminded of the name of them -- sit-upons! So, we decided to gather the goods for the girls to make sit-upons.  While trying to find a photo of one to put here as we haven't done ours yet I discovered a number of new ways to accomplish this task including using extra large ziplock bags.  Using those you simply fill the bag with whatever stuffing you choose (we will be using my daughter's 250 saved plastic grocery bags), zip them up and seal with decorated duct tape.  The girls also decorated a piece of paper with their name and decorations and put it on top of the stuffing so the stuffing didn't really show.  Now, mind you, when I saw this I had already purchased materials to use -- plastic tablecloths and yarn.  I have plans to cut them into 18 inch squares, punch the holes and let the girls lace them shut.  More hands on than just stuffing a bag and more cost effective, too.  I had to laugh at myself for wanting to take the easy way out -- when my mother and our other leader were going through GS training and they wanted them to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, my mother's friend promptly pulled out her cigarette lighter and started the fire.  They failed fire starting and had to start over and they weren't allowed to go home until the mission was accomplished.  They finally managed to get a spark and were allowed to leave but it was a long, long day.  So, me wanting to just fill ziplock bags reminded me of my mom -- funny the things that jog memories.

Ours are going to be red with white yarn for lacing.  Walmart didn't have a huge selection of plastic tablecloths -- especially when I was looking for the PEVA or EVA options.  Before I cut anything out, though, it has to pass Leader Bri's muster though.  Hmmm....maybe she will like the ziplock bag idea.

Looking for ziplock bag coupons.  I think that idea is a winner.  I will post photos.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Will I Ever Get Tired Of It?

I haven't been feeling all that great the last few days.  Seems allergy season has started early for me -- actually, it never ended LAST allergy season -- seems all my allergy seasons are running together.  The last week-end just about did me in -- a family reunion in Waco on Saturday, family things Sunday and Monday which included meet the teacher day, house hunting, lunch out and a movie.  By the time I got home Monday evening I seriously thought I was going to die I was so exhausted and.....my feet hurt.  So, yesterday was spent trying to recover after my 8 a.m. dental appointment.  I hope I remember to NEVER make another 8 a.m. appointment -- this was my second in a month.  I am not an early morning person anymore, it seems.  Today, however, I was more or less back to my old self so I got some laundry done, managed to actually thaw something for dinner and cook it and I made a couple of cards. 

So, without further adieu -- the cards

The first one was not good.  It didn't have enough "stuff".  So, I improved on it.  I added the bat.

 It still wasn't right so I just did it over again and here is that attempt --





This one was a great improvement so it will be the one to be mailed.  There is a learning curve to this and I am having difficulty remember to pay attention to the small details.  Up to this point I have been putting things together and not paying enough heed to the little things and then the end result is just a bit wonky and I have to think about it.  When I think about it I can discern what is wrong and re-do but I am going to have to be more careful to do that BEFORE the thing is a finished product.

Anyway, that was today.  After a bit of vacuuming tomorrow I will be back at it because for some reason I just can't get enough of this craft.


Saturday, August 06, 2016

Family Reunion

I am sorry to say that I am not a "reunion" sort of person -- our family reunions when I was growing up were too fraught with drama for my liking.  My husband's family, however, loves to have reunions and they do so every two years.  And we go.

Now, bear in mind that they just buried my husband's aunt two weeks ago and you would think the mood was not be particularly celebratory but we did  have the reunion today.

My husband's maternal family is Czech from Moravia.  His grandfather, Adolph, immigrated when he was about 6 along with his siblings and his parents.  Adolph's father didn't survive the trip to the United States and his mother, a midwife, passed within the first year of being here.  My husband's grandfather and his siblings were adopted or taken in by a doctor in the Halletsville area who raised them, educated them and helped them with citizenship.

Adolph didn't stay in South Texas but settled in Central Texas -- an area rich in farming with a large Czech community.  He married Marie and had four children.  Marie passed as a young woman and he married Annie, a young widow with two children.  They went on to have five more children together, my mother in law being one of them.  Between the eleven of these children there were many children and grandchildren.

There are only two of the original group left -- my mother in law and her brother.  They are in their mid-nineties. There have been five burials since the last reunion two years ago, the most recent two weeks ago.

Today we had the opportunity to go through boxes of papers and pictures belonging to family members long gone.  We were encouraged to take what we wanted, the cousin who had these in his possession didn't really want to have to take any of it home.  I managed to bring home some meaningful paper work involving the farmland that Adolph acquired when he relocated to Central Texas, some photos of the original "homeplace" as my mother in law calls it, some family portraits -- there was so much stuff -- some of it relevant to my husband's life and some not so much.  It was quite the genealogical find.  It fills a box.  It still strikes me oddly sad that a piece of paper, a bill of sale, a list of purchases at the feed store can outlast people.  These common everyday items seem to have so much meaning.

The next reunion will be in two years.  Is this going to be just a "cousins" reunion with all the old folks gone to glory?  Are we now the old folks? Is it going to be in the country again like it usually is or will it be at the new venue that we were at today.  Changing, changing, things keeps changing. 

Whatever it is, wherever it is -- I am sure we will go. 






Friday, August 05, 2016

Paranoia Strikes Again

Does anybody ever make their blog private?  It seems like such a hassle.  I am beginning to worry about the safety of posting certain things and wonder what you all think. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Card making

I am at it again but I have a lot to learn.  I see so many gorgeous cards on the internet and each one sends me off shopping for supplies to make them.  Yet, when I sit down to make them the creativity just seems to be lacking.

However, here are some of my latest attempts.



So much fun! So pricey! So messy! But so much fun!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Genius!

My husband is a genius.

I have been going "green" for sometime now.  Some of my practices have become second nature, some I have ditched, some I have tweaked to be more practical for my family.  One of my pet peeves has been the toilet paper cores.  I don't do crafts that require toilet paper cores and I don't have a hamster.  So.....what to do?

I discovered this!

This is my husband's preferred product -- nothing terribly soft in this house, no siree!

So, I figured this would appeal to both our sensibilities.

I was wrong.  Apparently being coreless results in it not "rolling smoothly".  I have no idea why that is a problem, it doesn't bother me but the resident handy man came to the rescue.

Yes, a piece of pvc pipe the length of the paper holder and the width of the "core".

A permanent "core".  Problem solved.

The man is a flipping genius.