Monday, February 29, 2016

Brief Break

Hi! It is February 29th! Leap Year! Leap Day! If I had been born two years later I would only be 16 1/2 years old! Golly that sounds great, doesn't it.  Well, I bet I would still be cripping around like the 66 year old I actually am.  It doesn't matter, it is a beautiful day and I feel fantastic and all is well in my world!

My posts, however, are going to be non-existent, sporadic or very short for the next few days.  I am helping my daughter this week and time (and energy) will be at a premium so I might not be able to get back here right away. 

At any rate, it is temporary and I will be back with all sorts of interesting (yeah right) things to say and photos to share!

So, see you later alligator!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted by Jenn at Books and a Beat (  It is a way to showcase what you have "found" this week.  Here is my "find".  I seem to enjoy reading "series" books and am currently involved in -- well, more than one -- and I have them on rotation. 

My next title in the Elm Creek Series by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I completely enjoy this series and the next in my queue is "The Quilter's Homecoming".  I haven't started it yet but soon.

I also stumbled across "Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon".  It is several down in my list but I snatched it up when I saw it because I know I will get to it eventually.  The next one in my list is "Agatha Raisin and Love from Hell" and I think I am going to check it out from the library via Overdrive.  At any rate, I have quite a bit of reading lined up!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday

In the words of Sophia Petrillo -- Picture this, San Antonio, Christmas 1979.

Here you have my handsome son, age 4, and my beautiful daughter, age 3.5 months.  That is my mother with them.  It was Christmas Eve and we were at my mother's house for Christmas Eve festivities because that was our tradition. 

Seems like it was yesterday.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

This 'n That and Monkey and Dog

This weekend -- beginning on Thursday -- has been busy and yet not busy.  It was a good mix of the two.

 Bean didn't have school on Friday so we were scheduled to babysit.  However, I had another plan.  I decided we would pick her up from school as usual, take her to her doctor's appointment and then bring her home for the night rather than us getting up at dawn and driving to her house.  She loves to come here because I make her chocolate chip pancakes. 

my assistant reading me the recipe and that is Scout, her Daisy troop Bear that goes on adventures with the girls.

enjoying the fruits of our labor and yes, that is the Christmas village you see in the background -- I can't talk about it

Yum on the griddle
Then, after breakfast was consumed and the kitchen put in order we went to one of the most magical places I know of.  It is an independent bookstore called Monkey and Dog.  It is owned and operated by Shelley Lowe, a friend from church and it is housed in the corner of a catering business called Feastivities owned by Charissa Christopher, also a church friend.

Monkey and Dog is just delightful -- it is a bookstore solely dedicated to children's  books and there is a huge variety of books to be explored --- some even from my childhood days.  We spent a large chunk of the morning there and Bean didn't want to leave -- I can't say I blame her -- I was enjoying the cozy lounge chair and all the books that I would have loved to have taken home with me.

The cozy lounge chair with Gramps trying to stay out of the photo! Gotcha Gramps!

Just look at that assortment of books!

So charming!

Fantastic find!

More for the collection of Magic Tree House books

And for my personal library -- I have started reading it and it is just magical

So, after we finally pried B away from the bookstore we headed to Zeeba's to get her bangs trimmed.  Thanks, sweet Falan for being so accommodating!

B loves to sweep the floor because Falan has this really cool machine that you sweep the cut hair up to it and turn it on and it sucks the hair right in! B loves it and Falan doesn't mind letting her take care of that little business for her!

Then it was home for a nap -- yes, there is a real bed for her to sleep in but nothing quite like improvisation, is there?  Who knows, next trip over she might just sleep here.

And then a quick go at this game.

 It is fun but you really need to be in good light because the cards are so dark.  I have been looking for pick up sticks but there are none to be found so I will have to order them online.  Ugh.

That was all we had time for since Mom and Dad were picking her up after dinner.  They were going on a short road trip yesterday and today so she had to get home to get ready.  After all that activity, I needed to rest a bit but it was such good fun!

This morning I had a look around my house to see what needed tidying up and I realized that I hadn't been outdoors in a few days to see what this lovely spring-like weather is doing to the garden.  So, I decided to share a few snaps with you of the garden and some other things around here.

I have no clue what this is -- a weed I think -- but it has lovely purple flowers on it.

The Redbud tree coming out -- pretty pink blossoms -- more photos when they open up

A lap quilt I made lest you think all I do is read and blog

a really cute bottle I purchased for my homemade deodorant --yes I don't use commercial deodorant

my new obsession -- flavored water -- isn't it pretty?  Cucumbers, lemons, strawberries and mint

Hubs and his latest project -- a second tv antenna for the tv in the bedroom

And this is something I am looking to buy --

It is on sale and it folds up.  I have a Tony Little Gazelle but Hubs uses it and it just about kills my knee so I thought I would buy this and we could exercise together in front of the tv with the new antenna! Sounds like a plan, don't you think?

Starting Over Sunday

Wow, it is Sunday again! The time is really flying by and, since we have opted out of winter this year, it seems like we are just racing toward summer! I can handle summer.  Just not mosquitoes.  But, the mosquitoes haven't gone away anyway so I am not going to let that to deter me from enjoying this really, really early spring.

So, this last week I made an effort to try some new things, tweak some old things and see what worked and what didn't.  So, here is what I learned...

After 43 years of marriage I have finally conquered the laundry.  My new approach has been working well -- washing each and every day and smaller loads.  I am finding that if I do smaller loads I can get them done and put away and it is much preferable to staring into the "face" of a pile of laundry  that consists of everything we own.  So, this approach is a keeper.

I have not conquered emptying the dishwasher at night but I have managed to get it emptied in the morning and just fill it during the day.  I have also learned that a sink full of hot water at the ready makes it very easy to quickly wash things as you use them.  I know it sounds ridiculous to say these things -- a mature woman who has been keeping house for a LONG time but some things are not easily disciplined.  I had a perfectly good role model in my mother.  She never had a dishwasher but she wasn't one to let things sit around either -- those dishes were washed immediately after use and the light turned off in the kitchen -- there was no revolving door like in our house.  But, anyway, I have pretty much conquered the kitchen "issue".  Next I am going to try to cook without using every dish/pot/pan in the kitchen! That sounds like a challenge, doesn't it?

I am loving my Bona floor system (no, not getting paid to say that) and I have also learned that I don't have to mop the entire house at once even though it is a large, flowing expanse of solid flooring.  I can do it in sections and that is fine.  So, that is a new "tweak" and it is working.

These things have made my life easier.  I am the sort that can't play until the chores are done and that breeds lots of contempt for the chores when you can't get them done in a timely manner.  With my new approach, I feel like I am giving myself permission to read or sew or quilt or whatever and I am still getting stuff done.  It is amazing how quickly these chores really take when you just get up and do them.  Duh.

I guess we are never too old to learn!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Today would have been my mother's 93rd birthday.  I miss her and find it hard to believe she has been gone from us for 20 years already.  Happy Birthday, Mama, wish you were here but I know that you are well and healthy now and that is a comfort.

Throwback Thursday

 Throwback Thursday -- 1977- I Think

My baby boy, circa 1977, with his very first ice cream cone -- EVER -- after seeing a Micky Mouse show at the local mall.

I have been blogging for a long time but I don't think many people know I have a son.  I don't post about him and his family because they don't allow me to include photos.  That makes me sad, though, because he was such a beautiful child who has grown into a handsome man with a lovely family. 

He is the father of my three grandchildren -- Nathan, age 9, Kathryn, age 7 and Emily, age 15 months. 

I remember the day of this photo so well.  I had bought his outfit at Joske's and he absolutely hated it and I think this was the only time he ever wore it! He got so excited at this Micky Mouse show that he was literally hyperventillating! He had such a wonderful time and then......he got his first ice cream cone.  He loved it! And he didn't get it all over my mother's car!

It was such an exciting day and I really like looking back at those "old" photos! I might have to start posting some of him "back in the day" -- I don't think they would have a problem with that.

Anyway, this is my TBT for today!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This N That

Well, I can already tell it is going to be one of those random, meandering days.  I woke up before 6 a.m with my knee killing me.  I went to bed with both feet and ankles swollen last night -- something that never happens to me and I was concerned but this morning they are better but the knee is giving me grief. I am used to that.  My left knee was diagnosed as useless with I was 34 -- the years haven't made it better, that is for sure.  I have even thought about getting a cane.

As I realized, at 5:45 a.m. that I was not going back to sleep I laid there for a while and took stock of my upcoming day.  I needed to do something but I didn't have a plan. So what else is new -- I never have a plan.

The laundry is going well doing it everyday.  You wouldn't think that just two people could generate enough laundry to wash everyday but you would be surprised.  Also, I am trying to get back to my youthful activity of getting the bedsheets washed every Monday.  When I was a new bride that was my routine -- sheets on Monday.  Well, somewhere in the last 43 years that got put to the bottom of the list of priorities but I am trying to bring it to the surface again.  Routines are good.  I am just not good at them.

I said in a previous post that I was going to try the swiffer again and I did.  I was appalled at the dust I picked up and I had just vacuumed a couple of days ago! So, I guess I will be swiffering more often -- better than dragging Ruby out.

Ruby can be a bit heavy and unwieldy so I try to only bring her out when I absolutely need her. 

I have also started -- AGAIN -- a food journal.  I have a Jawbone activity tracker which I am finding to be so inconvenient because I can't put my hands in water while wearing it.  I am not a neat housekeeper and I will get it wet and that is a no-no.  I have also tried calorie counting using MyFitnessPal.  I even bought a new ipad that would sync all of it together.  Epic Fail.

I am not a novice at food journaling, calorie counting, being completely obsessed over food -- no, not a novice.  I have been doing this since I was about 17 years old and thought I was fat.  I wish I was as fat now as I was when I thought I was fat!  Anyway, I read an article last night about not counting calories, just journaling what you eat, when you eat, how you feel when you eat -- blah, blah, blah -- psychobabble, you know, just to make yourself aware of what you are doing just in case you are one of those people who go to look for the cookies and find them gone and realize that you are the one who ate them and you have no recollection of doing any such thing. Indeed. 

So, at 5:45 this morning as I lay in bed wishing I could go back to sleep I started thinking about the perfect journal to start this amazing journaling in. I decided I needed to jet to my neighborhood half price books and pick up the perfect journal.  Then I realized that I have a whole shelf full of partially used journals that all represent false starts so maybe the prudent thing to do is to pick out one of those and begin.  Beginning is always the hardest thing especially when you need supplies -- like journals and colored pens. 

So, this is the journal I chose -- off my shelf -- with some pages torn out.  It is by Foray and you can actually buy replacement journals to fit inside the cover. 

Mine is the brown one and it is small enough to carry in a purse if I so desire.  I doubt I will desire but who knows. 

In any event, I have no intention of weighing and measuring my food -- I have done that enough to be able to tell what a portion looks like.  Or do I?  So, that took my thoughts to scoops -- like ice cream scoops.  I need a scoop to measure out 1/2 cup of whatever.  That immediately sent me off on an internet search for a #8 (4 oz.) "disher" - available by mail order only.  Of course.  I will never get my charge paid off if I can't go to a store and actually buy something with, you know --  money -- and bring it home without having to pay shipping.

All of this before 7 a.m.  Do you see what I mean about it being a random day?

So, let's take stock -- I have folded the laundry from yesterday that took forever to dry and it is put away.  I have put the sheets in the washer and loaded the dishwasher with my toast plate.  I have gotten dressed, tossed my hair around (I wear a little bob that doesn't require much to fall into place -- I look like something out of the 1930's) and gathered some World War 2 memorabilia together for my daughter's history class on that era.

But, that brings us to the dishwasher.  My goal was run the dishes after dinner and empty it before I retired for the night so the morning would find me with a clean sink and an empty dishwasher -- does anybody remember Flylady?  Shine your sink?  Get dressed to your shoes?  Ok, so no shoes.  Anyway, last night I was so confused because I had three dishes in the dishwasher.  They were dirty.  Should I wash them by hand and have a clean dishwasher this morning?  Should I run the dishwasher with three dishes in it? I think not.  What should I do? Was there a right answer?  I went to bed and left the three dishes in there to be combined with todays dishes.  Don't you just hate major life decisions?  Why can I make huge decisions concerning other things but just completely crumple when trying to figure out what to do with three stupid dishes?  Honestly, sometimes I don't understand me at all. 

So, since I am having a completely random day, I think I will go cook some rice for dinner and defrost some chicken to make some chicken strips tonight.  Maybe a salad would be nice.  I still have some pears to use up so I can toss those in there too. We have Bean this afternoon so I think I should give some thought to dinner early so when I come home complete knackered I won't have to think about it too much.  Plus, if I do it early I can clean up the mess early! Yay! Thinking outside the box! Novel for me.

I will let you know how it goes later.  By the way, I cook my rice in the oven.  It works great.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Starting Over Sunday

Ok, so, I know it isn't Sunday and I needed to have written this yesterday but yesterday was Valentine's Day, which is lame excuse because we don't "do" Valentine's Day.  The better reason was I felt wretched all day -- allergies for sure and something was giving me indigestion  so I was a real woof-woof all day.  So, I am going to give it a go today.  Starting Over Sunday is a meme of my own creation to sort of re-start myself for the next week.  Never having been one to plan ahead much, this is a stretch for me but hopefully it will help me focus.  Want to join in?  Leave a link to your blog here in the comment section if you would like.

So, here I go--

1.  Continue with my new approach to housecleaning.  I absolutely hate to clean house and I am not good at it so I decided to take a lesson from one of my favorite books -- "A Woman of Substance" and follow Emma Hart's example of assigning a time to each task for it to be completed in.  I have been doing this, setting the kitchen timer and giving each task a 20 minute window of time.

Seems that the chores that I find to be so daunting (vacuuming?) and time consuming can actually be done is a very small amount of time if one gets up off her bum and actually does it.  Very enlightening.

2.  Meal Planning was a bust last week.  I had all the ingredients in the house for a number of meals but for some reason I couldn't find where I stashed my energy.  We ate out a lot.  Bad, bad Melissa.

 So, last night I started over.  We had a pork loin simply seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven.  I actually managed to not over cook the thing and it was really tender.  With it we had couscous, green beans and pear and cottage cheese salad.  I had also made some bread so we each had a slice of that.  Not sure what we will be having tonight -- must get on that soon so something will be defrosted.

3.  Laundry is now under control.  Laundry seems to be my nemesis.  It is prolific.  It multiplies itself in the night.  So, even though I am trying very hard to be frugal and green, I have been washing at least one load a day.  It might be two -- this morning it is two --but they aren't large.  I have an HE machine and I remember the salesman telling us that it was ok to wash small loads as this machine uses less water to begin with so that is what I am going on.

 It is working well for me because I am actually able to get it washed, dried, folded and put away all in the same day.  Did I mention that I am lazy? I might add that I am using the dryer again but in a much better way than before.  I just got so tired of wet laundry hanging everywhere and it never feeling like it was done that I had to go back to the dryer but I am very careful not to over dry and I am taking clothes out immediately and putting them away properly so nothing is over drying or sitting in the dryer until I remember that I put it in -- sometimes that could take days.  So, as of now I am up to date on the laundry and am actually working on my two loads for today as we speak.

4.  Dishwashing has become a non-issue because I have now trained myself to wash the dishes immediately upon use. Hmmmm.... I wonder if Hubs was done with his dinner last night when I took his plate?  Well, he shouldn't have left the table if he wasn't done.  I love my dishwasher but it is noisy and I really don't like unloading it.  So, I have figured out that to wash the dishes for the two of us isn't exactly time consuming so I have been doing them immediately instead of letting them sit there until I empty the dishwasher.  Maybe soon I will have disciplined myself to empty the dishwasher before bed so I can just load the dishwasher throughout the day and run it after dinner.  I am working on that but for now, I wash 'em as I see 'em.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a Bona floor system to help with the floors -- I have a lot of solid flooring in this house -- only two rooms with carpet and those are soon to be history. 
I really like this because it makes mopping really easy.  I don't do well with heavy equipment anymore so this is just perfect.  The dust mop is good but nothing much seems to stick to it.  So, today, I am going to go back to Swiffer for a bit even though it goes against my sensibilities because of all of its disposability.  I already have it so there isn't a purchase to be made.  I do use the furniture duster anyway so what is the difference?

Sleeping Beauty (aka the Hubs) and I are on two completely different schedules.  I get up early and go to bed early.  He sleeps very late in the morning (at least I think it is late) and he goes to bed later.  So, I am ready to get on things in the morning because by lunch I am more or less done.  I need to be able to get my stuff done and still be quiet lest I wake the sleeping monster.  So, dust mopping the floors, washing the dishes by hand, getting the laundry going all make it much easier for me to get on with my business while he is ......sleeping.  Shhhh!

A couple of goals this week are to train myself to empty the dishwasher before bed, do a bit of organization in the closet and get back to some sewing.  All of this rethinking the housework was in an effort to get me back to sewing and doing needlework.  I went to school with a girl whose mother would get up at 4 a.m and do all the housework -- top to bottom -- and the laundry each and every day.  She even wore a uniform.  Then, she would make breakfast and get the children off to school.  When they were gone she would retreat to her bedroom to shower and do her beauty routine (not to be disturbed during this process).  She would emerge, dressed to the nines, ready to go about her business of shopping.  Every. Single. Day.  It must have worked for her because she only recently passed away at the ripe old age of 90+.  So, there you go.

Well, the dryer is buzzing so I must go.  Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Maybe It Is Just My Age

I think I am getting old.  I don't mean chronologically old -- that is a given and I am thankful for the opportunity considering the alternative.  I mean emotionally old.  I have always felt young -ish -- settling somewhere on 19 years old.  I didn't look past too much and didn't look forward too much, I just sort of basked in the glory of 19 and that is my paradigm.

Fast forward a few decades and my interest in genealogy was sparked.  It was always there, somehow smoldering in the recesses of my mind but then it ignited and became a burning desire to know from whence I came.

I went through the motions as outlined in the genealogy how-to manuals.  Start with yourself and work backward.  Write down all you know.  What you don't know, find out and, if at all possible, obtain documentation.

I remember the first piece of real documentation I received.  My great-grandmother's death certificate.  Yes, it was a death certificate, the woman was dead, in 1937, 13 years prior to my birth -- most decidedly dead but that piece of paper brought her to life for me.  I was thrilled.  My mother thought it odd.  She held that piece of paper as if somebody had just dug it out of Great-grandmother Davis's coffin. It came from the Scranton Health Department, not some dark corner somewhere.

This process occurred time and time again and each time I marvelled that the person in question, that I most likely had never known, had a back history other than just a name I had heard.  Several times I learned that what we KNEW absolutely without a doubt about a person was WRONG.  Yep, wrong.

So, anyway, I digress.  The thing is this is all just factual stuff.  It never gives you an insight into what the person was like, their hopes, fears, likes, dislikes, etc.  But what it does give you is a timeline.  That, coupled with some photos if you are very, very lucky, will give you references to time.

Time is what I have been thinking about lately.  I have been going through some old photos -- well, actually, trying to tidy up the photos that fell out of the photo box and needed picking up.  Suddenly I was so aware of the photo subjects ages.

There is one that particularly strikes me -- my 2nd birthday party.  I am with my grandmother.  She appears to be an old lady.  The reality is she is 50 -- 15 years younger than I am right now.  I don't feel like I look as old now as she did then.  Then I look at my wedding photos in 1972 -- she doesn't look any different than she did at 50!  Well, maybe a little different but not much.

I am watching my daughter be a girl scout leader and thinking about my own mother.  I was seven when my mother had our troop -- she was 34 at the time.  My daughter is now 36 and doesn't look any different than she did in high school.  Was my mother ever 34?  Why didn't my mother seem young?  Did my mother look like she did in high school?  I have photos and I have to say no. 

I think about my teachers in school who all seemed like ancient crones to me.  Since I have access to it is very easy to research some of these teachers.  Oh my goodness -- they weren't ancient -- some of them weren't even 40! And, the odd thing is, my mother and I attended the same junior high school and had some of the same teachers -- Mrs. Chappell comes to mind.  My mother talked about them being old and then I had them twenty years later and they still weren't old so how old were they when my mother was in their classes.

I find age to be fascinating and disturbing all at the same time.  What makes somebody old?  Not old?  Attitude?  Good face cream?  Good genes?  It is amazing to me when I look at family history and see that those "ancestors" who seem so far flung weren't all that long ago.

Another thing that is amazing to me is familial appearance.  I have met a cousin from England named Sharon.  She is a true cousin -- my great-grandmother and her great-great-grandfather were brother and sister. She still lives in England although she has lived in Texas as well (small world).  When she looked at my photo she told me that I looked just like her mother at the same age.  How could I look like somebody I had never known?  Then, once while visiting Fredericksburg, Texas, I was in a gift shop looking at a historical book of the families in the area and a sales person asked about my interest and I told her -- I turned around full face to her and she went white and told me I looked just like some lady who had just been in the store.  She knew the woman and knew that she was kin to my family and I LOOKED JUST LIKE HER!  I never saw the woman so I don't know but the lady in the shop looked like she had seen a ghost.

Then, as I walked out of the shop I struck up a conversation with a lady who was a local and I told her I was interested in researching the name "Banta" because my grandmother was a Banta.  She looked at me and asked about my line and I told her I didn't know, I hadn't gotten that far.  She gave me her card and said to contact her because she was a Banta and we were surely cousins.  Now, years later, I am sure we are but I lost her card.

My Banta lineage has always been a mystery because of a series of unfortunate events.  I cannot prove, through documentation, that I am a part of it but the DNA test connects me to the Banta line without doubt.  Will that work for membership in the Mayflower Society for which there is a connection?  Not yet but at some point they are going to have to accept DNA testing as conclusive evidence.  It doesn't work for DAR either and I can't become part of a Native American tribe either but it answers my questions.  Seems my undocumentable family line is the most interesting of all because it takes me to Native American lineage, Mayflower lineage, even British Royal lineage.  All unproveable but there nonetheless.

So, what is the purpose of this little rant?  None except that I have been having this surreal look at time and place and realize it means very little.  What seems so long ago really isn't, what seems far away isn't, what seems old really isn't, what seems like it ends doesn't but actually comes full circle. My friend Mary, in England, wrote on her blog that America seemed like a land as far away as the moon to her five year old self.  I would have to agree that England was just someplace far, far away that I knew my family came from long, long ago -- a place only to be imagined and never to be seen.  Now, sixty years later England isn't very far away, it wasn't that long ago that my family came from Wales to the US, those "old" people who got on that boat and sailed to America back at the turn of the century were just young people looking for opportunity.  Somehow those numbers just don't have any meaning anymore. Did they ever?  Maybe we just viewed things differently.

A lot to ponder.  I feel like I have somehow been channelling my father because he used to think about things like this.  Now I think my brain is tired so I am off to help sell Girl Scout cookies. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Simple Womans Daybook

A long time ago I used to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook ( but somehow I just got away from it.  I think it was around the time that Facebook became so "interesting".  Well, I decided to come back to it and was so glad to see it was still going strong.  So, here is my Simple Woman's Daybook entry for today.
For Today... 
Outside my window... The sun is shining and the birds are singing
I am thinking...about the things I would like to get accomplished today since the last couple of days haven't been too fruitful
I am thankful...being allowed to have today, for my husband, my kids, my grandkids, my church, my life in general, the sunshine
I am wearing...opps! Still in pjs! Maybe I should be sure to get dressed for the day before I start writing these things -- I forgot they asked this question!
I am creating...two quilts, one for a child (a 40 year old child but MY child) and one for a grandchild
I am go to the toy store or Target to find some pick up sticks -- remember pick up sticks?
I am wondering...if winter is really over for us?  Sure seems like spring to me!
I am reading... "Dune Road" by Jane Greene.  I am reading it on my Nook even though I have a physical copy of it

I am do better today on my sugar detox -- darn those Girl Scout cookies anyway -- can you imagine how fantastic Thin Mints are frozen?
I am do housework.  At my age after 43 years of marriage I am learning to do housework without making myself crazy
In my garden...things are coming out and blooming.  I have been noticing that Arlo and his friend (can't remember his name), my little gnomes that have a fairy door into a big rock in my garden, look like they need a bit of sprucing up and there are a lot of fairy garden things on sale at Joann's right now. that a good expenditure of money?

In my kitchen...I will be starting some bread in a little while and thinking about dinner -- maybe fried chicken strips and mashed potatoes?  Comfort food for Friday night -- sounds good

In the homeschool room...I don't have small children so I don't homeschool but I do help my granddaughter with her homework.  Yesterday we did quite a bit of makeup work from when she was sick last week.  Also, because she goes to parochial school, there are several projects for Lent.  She made a little chaplet and we have been doing that for her prayer log.  Who knew she could race through the Our Father and ten Hail Mary's so quickly!

A favorite quote for today..."But in my life, I love you more"
A peek into one of my days...if you would peek into one of my days you would find me doing what I have always done, taking care of home, Hubs and children.  I would be cooking, cleaning and sewing and pretty much running my house as my mother ran hers during my childhood in the 1950's.  With the except of the computer, I do things pretty much the same way
One of my favorite doing all sorts of needlework
That is my daybook entry for today, 12 February 2016.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throw Back Thursday

This is a photo of Zipp's Pharmacy located in the "new" shopping center of Allena Village in San Antonio in the 1950's.  This shopping center, built in around 1953 was in the "suburbs" but still not far from our house so we started shopping there.

The shopping center was also home to HEB grocery store, Kelly's Barber and Beauty shop, The Juvenile -- a children's clothing store, a ladies clothing store, a shoe store and, of course, Winn's -- the best 5 and 10 cent store ever.

Saturday was our shopping day for the most part and we would hit this shopping center early.  My mom would get her hair done, we would shop the clothing stores and Winn's, have lunch at the lunch counter at this very drug store and then grocery shop before going home.

We used this pharmacy until it closed -- I remember getting my pre-natal vitamins there because we lived in the neighborhood attached to this shopping center.  I also remember buying many bottles of Presco Nose Drops which I used to combat the perpetual stuffiness from perpetual allergies!

I remember the mobile library coming to this shopping center and my husband remembers a truck that would park in the parking lot and you could have your feather pillows cleaned, fluffed and restuffed.  I don't remember that.

The HEB Grocery Store was not a huge store but it was a great store -- it had a bakery, it sold records (remember records?), cosmetics and perfume -- it was one stop shopping and, sometimes, you could even get a date! That is where I met my husband way back in 1965.  Saturdays were so cool then!

So, anyway, I have fond memories of this drug store and this shopping center and this entire side of San Antonio.  It was a really nice place to grow up.

Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam by M C Beaton

Yesterday I finished reading "Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam" by M C Beaton.  I have to say that one of my favorite things is a series of books to read -- I like the continuity and the Agatha Raisin books don't disappoint -- may I say the omnipresent James Lacey?  I have to say, though, that I have been disappointed in a couple of the "episodes" if you will but not this one.  I thoroughly enjoyed the "fairies".

This episode takes Agatha to Norfolk to run away -- again -- from James.  It seems she is always running away from or toward James and I am not sure why except he seems to be a challenge for her in one way or another. Personally, I don't see it -- but to each his own.

In any event, she winds up in the village of Fryfam and smack in the middle of another mystery -- and she has fairies in the back garden of her rental.  Or does she?  She may never really know.

This book follows much the formula of all the others -- Conflict (usually James) causes Agatha to depart her cottage in Carsley.  She finds herself in the middle of some local drama -- murder seems to be a common thing in small English villages -- and she, of course, out does the local police in finding the killer and solving the mystery but not without coming quite close to finding herself pushing up daisies as well.  There is always a sub-drama as well -- in this case -- the fairies.

At the end of these books she is always suffering from some amount of regret, shame, or embarrassment and this book was no different.  She always has a moment that she chastises herself for her flight from home and swears to never leave again but, of course, she does.

These books are very formulaic but still quite enjoyable.  They are "cozy" and easy to read and nice to curl up with by the fire for a long evening of reading. However, this title ended a bit differently -- a cliff hanger in a way and....what about those fairies?

I would recommend this series to anybody who is just reading for pure pleasure.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Birds In the House and Superstition

My mother always told me that birds in the house were bad luck.  I believe this idea came from my grandmother who tended to hold dear to some specific superstitions -- probably coming from her Native American ancestry.  One day my grandmother walked into her living room and found a little owl that had fallen down the chimney and she told my grandfather to phone his family because she was sure his mother had passed away and she was right.  Of course, the death was expected but never mind that! Then, the day my grandfather passed away I was up before anybody else, I made a cup of tea and some toast and I kept hearing a noise that got progressively louder.  I investigated and found a sparrow flying repeatedly into the dining room window glass.  It was frantic.  I am sure he was seeing his reflection but, as luck would have it, my grandfather passed away a few hours later.

Do I believe in this superstition?


I love birds.  I love birds in cages, in the yard and the decorative variety as well.  I didn't realize how many birds I have around my house but today I took notice and took photos.  So, welcome to my aviary!

I just love this funky blue bird -- came from Pier 1 several years ago

This beautiful duck was parting gift to my husband when he ended a long term project in Montreal

Had to add this -- Hubs painted me a picture of a little red tree that was outside his dorm window at Texas A&M University back in around 1970

My crazy fat chickens

 I received these ducks as a Mother's Day gift from my children when they were little.  The blue bows were added by my mother

Little bird in a birdcage craft project I made a long time ago

The swan on top of my computer desk.  Way over my head -- I had to sort of guess where to point the camera.  This bird belonged to my mother.

My mother in law had a chicken collection.  My daughter asked for a couple and these were left homeless so I took them.  They are a little retro.
The newest addition -- two tiny birds I found at Apple Annie's a couple of weeks ago.

I seriously don't like a bunch of stuff sitting around so most of the things I have usually have some sentimental value to me (the birds from Apple Annies were an impulse moment).  I was looking around my house today preparing to dust and I couldn't understand why it appeared so cluttered and now I know why.

There are birds everywhere!