Saturday, December 30, 2017

Creeping Up On NYE

I can't believe the Christmas holiday is almost over and we missed almost all of it.  I am feeling some better now but not going to push it.

Tomorrow is NYE and we are supposed to have Bean's First Communion which we had to cancel from Christmas Eve because everybody was sick.  Everybody is better now but we can have ice.  What a thrilling break.

As I said, I am feeling improved but still not wanting to overdo -- I know, that sounds lazy -- so I decided to start a new book even though it is highly unlikely I will finish before tomorrow night to add it to my 2017 Goodreads challenge.  However, it is going pretty well so I might -- we will see.

I chose "Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate" to be my quick read.  I love these little cozy mysteries and Agatha Raisin is such an identifiable character.  The character in the book is nothing like Ashley Jensen of the tv show fame and I really prefer the Agatha of the books.

I might have to branch out in the new year and try some of the other cozies out there and I do have the new Jan Karon book to start.  I decided I would wait for the new year for that one though. 

I really do enjoy Overdrive -- I really like checking the books out of the library through Amazon and not even having to worry about taking them back.  It is wonderful! And, there are more and more titles all the time.  I am reading this Agatha Raisin book that way and I love it.

So, I guess it is off to find some breakfast.  I can actually feel my appetite returning even though I can't really taste anything.  I have been drinking apple cider vinegar and it is helping but I need it to help a little faster.

I will review the book when I am done.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Come and Gone -- and Where Were We?

Christmas 2017 has come and gone and where were we?  Well, we were sick with the flu that is having a good go here in Texas.  This is the first year we didn't get flu shots -- we meant to but time just got past us -- and we came down with the dreaded illness.  I am not sure the shots would had made much difference, though, as this year they seemed to be high ineffective.

So, we have spent the last week feeling awful with no energy and surrounded by yet unpacked boxes.  A couple of days ago I felt better than I do today and I did manage to get a lot of boxes unpacked so it is happening -- it is just a little slow. 

We were doing pretty well trying to get everything done with moving and Christmas and such -- birthdays have gone by the wayside for the moment though but I will catch up with that -- the recepients know they weren't forgotten-- and then we got sick. 

It seems that I have been so focused on either moving or Christmas or being sick that I haven't really thought about reading.

I finished "The Winding Ways Quilt" a few weeks back and decided not to start another book until after the move.  I purchases the new Jan Karon book back when it first came out and I think my new year with start with that.  I am looking forward to it.

I wasn't going to do a Goodreads challenge this year but finally did sign up.  Unfortunately I didn't meet my goal but that is ok because one of the reasons I didn't want to do a challenge to begin with is because I wanted to enjoy the books, not just read for the sake of reaching a goal.  I did enjoy what I read this year and I didn't fall too short -- not sure if I will do another 2018 challenge but rather just keep up with my progress on my own.

So, yeah, we are going to try to finish Christmas up tomorrow and I think I will take the tree down.  It has been a non-Christmas with all the flu and sickness -- the Lost Christmas as my cousin, MLHall refers to it.  Lost indeed.  But, now that it is over, I am ready for spring as I am not a winter person.

Looking forward to the new year with new reading, new projects (going to try to get back to some cross stitch) and new adventures in our new neighborhood!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I Am Sick So It Must Be Christmas

Christmas has never been my healthiest holiday.  This year is no exception.  I am sick.  I feel like I have a really bad head cold but I am running a temp which is going up and down.  It is probably viral.  I am going to try to go to the dr. tomorrow.  I have to be well by Sunday.


Monday, December 18, 2017

Moving is Enlightening -- The Upside to Hoarding

They say you never really know a person until you live with them.  I believe that to be true.  I can expand on that -- you never really know yourself until you move.

Twelve years ago we moved from Wakeland Manor to Maison Brinkley.  It was a disaster -- we only moved what we needed and we held on to the rest way too long.  We finally hired a skip and tossed and tossed and tossed.  It was cathartic.

Moving along to the current move from Maison Brinkley to Brinkley Cottage.  We had acquired more stuff, of course, we are human after all.  But, since I have been trying to organize my home more logically things weren't as helter skelter as they were at Wakeland Manor.  I packed like things with like things and labeled the boxes very well.  The movers were great about putting the boxes where they should be.

I didn't pack my kitchen though, until yesterday, and it still isn't done.  I did bring home six boxes of things and have managed to put most away.  Surprisingly, the new kitchen, which I thought was smaller, actually has a lot of storage so I am pleased.  In any event, dealing with the kitchen stuff really makes me wonder what sort of disease I have.

There is no reason for a person to have four cookie sheets, two mini-muffin pans, three regular muffin pans and a miniature bundt cake pan I have no recollection of buying.  It has never been used.  What in the world is wrong with me.

However, hoarding tendencies -- if well, organized and stored neatly -- do come in handy once in a while.  The Bean needs a shepherd's headdress for Thursday.  She doesn't want to be a shepherd but that is another story.  Well, since I am the only person who sews those sorts of duties fall to me and I was stressing a bit since I don't live across the street from Joann Fabrics anymore and all my stuff is packed up in big boxes.

So, I did what everybody does and went to pinterest and noticed a lot of these sorts of costumes are made with towels or just rough cut fabric so I got to thinking.  I like to embroidery cup towels -- the old fashioned muslin sort and I knew I had a package of them.  Someplace.  So, I limped up the stairs, went to the box labeled "needlework" and started rummaging through all the cross stitch fabric and voila! There it was.  A brand new package of muslin cup towels just ready to be transformed into a shepherd headdress.  How will I do that?  Open the package, take it out, place on child's head and tie it on with a random piece of fabric.


Hoarding isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Moving -- the Agony and the Ecstacy

We are moving.  I keep questioning this decision.  I am sure I will feel differently when all my possessions (i.e. junk) are under one roof again.  But for now here are my thoughts --

Moving is exciting -- a new house is exciting -- being closer to my kids with less driving is exciting.

Having to learn a new phone number is not exciting.

Having to pack up everything you own -- a lot of which you have forgotten you have -- is not exciting.

We have lots of boxes -- most of which are books and stuff that goes in the curio cabinet.  We also have lots of dust it seems.

Don't buy books.  Go to the library or get an e-reader.  Same goes for magazines. Books don't have the same value they used to -- and they are so easy to hoard.

Arrange your home in some sort of logical manner -- like things with like things -- putting things where you are going to use them.  If you don't have room and have the urge to stick your children's baby photos in with the cup towels step back and re-think.  If you don't have enough room maybe you should get rid of something .

If you arrange your home logically then the movers can pack up for you.  If you don't then you run the risk of them whispering behind your back "what is this broad thinking" or "OMG, why does she have this here".  I am sure they don't do that but that is a real fear.

Ok, time to go take the cover off the bed and throw it into the back of the car.  Day 1 went well with the movers and I am sure day 2 will go equally smoothly.  The rest is up to us and I am sure it is going to take days and days and probably not go nearly as smoothly.  I will let you know.

Let the moving commence.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Crazy World

I grew up in South Texas.  We had one major snowfall there in all my life.  We saw snowflakes once in a while but nothing significant. 

I now live in North Texas where ice storms are common.  We don't get much snow but more than we did when we lived south.  I can do without both.

Yesterday a major snow event happened over the southern half of Texas from the Valley all the way across to Houston.  The photos are lovely.  I am so thankful I am not there trying to get ready to move.

Be aware the citrus prices will go up because everything they are growing in the Valley is probably ruined.

I hate winter.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Checking In

I haven't been here for a few days because we have been knee deep in house moving "stuff". While it seems that this was a quick decision and things have moved along at a rapid pace it also seems like it is taking forever.  I think I am the one taking forever.

Once we took possession of the house, and the previous owner's stuff was out, we finally got a good look at some things that really needed to be done.  The glaring issue was carpeting in the living room.  I would have to say that somebody had an issue with red wine on a beige carpet.  There was also a red wine issue with a lamp shade on the light fixture above the breakfast table.  I am not sure if I want to know about that.....

So, we swapped out the shades on the light fixture and headed to the locally owned flooring store around the corner from the new abode.

We were just going to have the carpet switched out but on further review opted to do a bit more.  The very back bedroom will become our study complete with a rolling desk chair so we decided to put some solid flooring in there rather than carpeting although there isn't anything wrong with the carpet that is in there.  We also chose to remove the carpet from the hallway and continue the solid flooring through there just for a good transition.  

We chose a product called Core-tec -- one of these new modern engineered things that is rapidly replacing laminate.  It is 100% kidproof, waterproof, and pet proof.  And since we don't have too many red-wine issues here I assume it will hold up well. 

We have also opted to remove the wood flooring from the entry and dining room and put this Core-tec flooring there as well.  The wood needed to be replaced and we were keen to do it all at once. 

So, here is that product --

not my house!

Since we are currently living with real travertine floors I think this will be a good transition for us and much easier on my knees as one of the layers is cork.  I feel that twelve years on stone floors has gone a long way to make my knees much worse than they really need to be so I am hoping this will help.

In the living room we thought about going with the same stuff but I really wanted carpet -- again for the legs/knees.  I don't especially like carpet because it is just one big dust ball as far as I am concerned but I do like the coziness of it.  We chose  a Mohawk product called SmartStrand which I was told was one of the lowest VOC products available.  I am all about that, you know.  I would show you a sample but I can't find it on the website and I can't remember the pattern name.  It is a low nap carpet and the color is Antique Light so you can have some idea of what it is -- it blends very well with the Core-tec.

Installation of the floors begins tomorrow and will be done by next Tuesday for sure.  The products are having to come from Georgia but they are due here today and I am ready for work to commence.

I am trying to pack but packing all the wrong things!  I need to be emptying out the furniture but instead I am emptying out the cabinets!  I need to regroup.  That is what I will be doing today as we are carrying a lot of our breakables ourselves and it is taking a lot of trips even though we have a truck.  I think we have too many breakables! I think we have too much stuff, period!

And, I have lost the charger for my Kindle.  Blah.  I am sure I will lose a number of things -- hopefully not my mind.

So, that is my quick update on the transition from Maison Brinkley to Brinkley Cottage.  More later.  Oh yes, tomorrow we get internet at Brinkley Cottage as well!  Yay!  Life will feel much more normal!

More soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

November Family Gathering

November is a banner month in our family. My parents were married on the 14th in 1942, my in-laws were married on the 13th in 1942, my mother in law was born on the 18th in 1921, my daughter in law was born on the 28 in 1977 and my youngest granddaughter was born on the 17th three years ago.  Lots of celebrations and yesterday was no different.

We started the day with a party at my son and daughter in laws house for the three year old, Emily.  She had a Care Bear cake and received a lot of presents.  We got her a nap mat and a tent all in the ever popular "zebra" pattern.  Black and white goes with everything, doesn't it?

After that party I came home and took a much needed nap to rest my knee and my mind.  Too much going on right now.  After that we went to a local barbecue place called Cousins to celebrate my mother in law's 96th birthday.  All of her four children and their spouses were there.  Out of her eleven grandchildren, six were there -- four with spouses and all 13 of her great-grandchildren were there.  It was a large group and the majority of it was running crazy playing tag and hide and seek.  It was a bit rowdy but I rooted myself in the back corner where I could stretch out my knee and just observe.

And what did I observe?  Well, one lost a colored pencil in the groove in the floor, one was running crazy and ran smack into the wall, the rest of them decided that crawling around on the floor under the tables was a fun thing to do wallowing in all manner of yuck under there.  And, Bean decided to share her science experiment, a lava lamp, with all who would observe.  Very lively group.  The rest of us were complaining about aches and pains and my niece was giving helpful information about my knee.

It was a long day but since I spent the majority of it sitting I didn't get too tired but tired enough that I hit the sack the minute I got home.

My daughter did share these photos  from this year and the past couple of years so I thought I would share them here.  I have to wonder what these girls are eating or drinking that is preserving them so well -- I see very little change in any of them.  I wish I had known their secret about thirty years ago.
Jan Brianna Jill -- 2015

Jan Brianna Jill 2016

Jan Brianna Jill 2017

There are three more girls -- Sarah, Rachel and Rebecca but they were unable to be with us.  Love them all!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

That Was Then and This is Now -- Comparing Apples to Oranges

Picture this -- 1973 -- San Antonio, Texas.  Factor in two young people with zero experience in house buying.  Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, right? Not so much. 

When we married in July, 1972 we moved to a really cute little apartment with a sunken living room, a miniscule galley kitchen, a nice sized bedroom and several really decent closets.  Apartment living wasn't really great for my husband, however.  I came home one day to find the closet housing all my wedding gifts emptied, everything piled up in the corner of the dining area and a work bench had been constructed in the closet. 

I knew my apartment days were numbered.

So, close to the end of that first years lease, my mother spotted a house in a little local, neighborhood paper -- the Northside Recorder -- and suggested we look at it. 

We did.

It had a living room/dining room combo, a big eat-in kitchen, three bedrooms and one bathroom. It had new carpeting (gold) and new draw drapes (also gold).  It was enormous in our eyes.  It was close to our families.  And -- it had a garage. 

So, we started negotiation if that is what you want to call it.  The family that lived there at the time had only been there for six months.  The husband was military and they were in and out in a blink of an eye. 

Here were the terms and conditions -- $1800 down and assume a 30 year VA loan that still had 29 1/2 years on it.  We sat on the living room floor with a piece of notebook paper and wrote a contract that we (Hubs and I) would bring her $1800 by a certain time on a certain date, we would assume the loan and a week later we moved in.

Fast forward to now ---

Not. So. Easy.  We have loans and papers and warranty policies and inspections and on and on and on.  While moving to this new house was sort of a quick decision, getting there is slow and painful.  So much to do, so many people to talk to, so many papers to sign (did I just sell my first born?).  Just so much.

I won't be doing this again.

I promise.

All I want to do is move.

And, my knee hurts again -- seems I moved too much yesterday.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Moving Right Along -- Literally

Movement -- that seems to be the focus of my life these days. 

For the last three weeks I have had very little movement, choosing to sit curled up in a chair writhing in pain.  I finally moved myself to the doctor, got x-rays and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon.  The conclusion is that I have severe arthritis in both knees and I was having a lot of inflammation in my right knee so action had to be taken.

I didn't know this doctor but she put my mind at ease and was easy and pleasant to converse with.  She drew a lot of fluid off the knee (I could feel a difference immediately) and then administered a cortisone shot.  She then prescribed Aleve twice a day for two weeks which I am a little cautious about but I am following orders as laid out.  I am doing a few exercises to try to improve my range of motion in that knee because after sitting curled up for three weeks I am almost unable to straighten my leg which makes walking pretty difficult.  I am seeing some improvement and am SO grateful because more movement is in my future.

We have decided to move from our current home to a new-to-us house with some much needed changes.  We moved here about 12 years ago -- new construction, a garden home with the yard done for us, in a small gated community.  It has been nice but it lacks some things we need.

When we moved here we didn't have four grandchildren.  Our house has two bedrooms and a study.  When I have the group over and need to put them down to sleep I have no room.  It also has a larger garage for my woodworker husband and a place for me to sew which is a plus.  It is also in closer proximity to both our children which will be nice. 

We will close on the property on the 20th and I am ready to get this show on the road.  We (that means the Hubs) have started packing and will continue today.  I don't look forward to this part of it but will be glad when we get it accomplished.  I am ready to be settled.  The fact that we are moving into the bad weather season hasn't escaped me so I am ready to get my stuff in the new place just in case we do something silly like winter.

So, that is what has been going here.  I will update as time goes on and hopefully we won't run into too many glitches! 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Just Checking In

I have been away from here for a bit but things have been a little hectic around here. 

The first thing I have done something horrible to my knee.  I think it is an arthritis flare but it might be bursitis.  One thing it is for sure is miserable. I went to the doctor yesterday for it and he is sending me for x-rays to see which of my knees is the worst and told me to quit taking Advil.  I asked what I should do about the pain which has been very bad (I have a high pain threshold and this has literally brought me to my knees.).  He suggested that I use a Salonpas patch since it has lidocaine but since I am allergic to adhesives I passed on that. So, I tried Aspercreme with Lidocaine this morning and it actually helped.  I was surprised and relieved.  I have only used it once today and I am still experiencing a manageable amount of pain. 

However, now I feel like I am coming down with a bug.  I can't be less thrilled.  I had two dr. appointments yesterday and was spiking a low temp at each so I don't know if I really feel bad or if it is just in my head but I feel cold and clammy and my tummy is a tad dodgy. 

All of this complicates our latest project.  We are considering a move to another house. We are working on it and I will say it is a much more complicated process once you are retired.  We aren't completely sure we are going to go through with it but we are forging ahead with a positive attitude. 

We celebrated my eldest granddaughter's 9th birthday today. It was a nice gathering and she is growing up way to fast.  The four cousins were together and it was a good time had by all.

Our weather has changed and our 20 minutes of autumn has passed and winter is upon us -- until Monday when summer returns. No wonder everybody feels bad. Yck.  I don't like season changes and then next weekend --I think-- we have to face the time change.  Hopefully they will stop that -- I heard talk about it and hope they carry through with it.

So, I thought I would check in with what is going on -- not much yet a whole lot all at the same time and we are at the point where we hurry up and wait.

More on the move later.

Friday, October 06, 2017

You Are Never Too Old To Learn -- Sort Of

I have been embarking on a new idea to eat better.  It is called intuitive eating.  The general premise is to only eat when you are hungry and stop eating when you are comfortable -- not full.  It sounds easy, right?  Actually, it is once you learn your hunger cues.  In order to do that you have to let yourself get hungry so you know what it actually feels like.  Then, if you need to, eat until you are full -- you know, Thanksgiving-I-can't-believe-I-ate-that-whole-turkey full.  Then you know what "full" is.  You only have to do it once.  Then, you know your goal is pretty much the halfway point between ravenous and #OMGIAMGOINGTOEXPLODE!

There are a couple of visuals out there to help as well.  One is a graph that shows hunger on a scale of 1-10 -- you are aiming for 5.  Once  you realize all these feelings, that isn't hard to do.  The second is visualizing that your stomach is about the size of your clenched fist.  It only takes that same amount of food (a fist sized clump of mashed potatoes) to get you from 0 to 5.

I would also suggest following the old "manners" guideline of putting your fork down between bites and thoroughly chewing your food.  That way you give your brain a chance to tell your body that you are getting full.  If you use your fork like a shovel and approach food with your plate close to your face with your fork/shovel at the ready -- you are going to miss your cue.

OK, I have been working on this for a couple of weeks and it has been really easy.  No dieting, a better relationship with food and I feel normal -- not always trying to figure it out.

Enter -- exercise.  I need to exercise and I really think walking is the best thing for me.  I really do.  As long as nothing is in my way it is the one thing I can do without hurting myself.

I should not do squats.  Over thirty years ago I started on my journey to arthritis by doing squats -- with weights -- badly.  Totally whacked out my knees.  So, why then, do you supposed I would think that doing squats in my dotage would be a good idea?  I think I was feeling so empowered by the eating thing that I was totally undaunted by the idea of the squats.

I was humbled -- actually, brought to my knees -- literally.  I couldn't do them safely and effectively 30 years ago and nothing has improved since then.  I whacked out my knee again.  I have been hobbling around in pretty significant pain for about a week.  Yes, I should have gone to the doctor or maybe a chiropractor but I chose to sit here and cuss and cry because we all know how effective that is.

I really felt like something was "stuck" or out of place so I decided I had a dislocated knee.  I googled it because that works well.  It didn't appear to fit the criteria so I sat with an ice bag on my knee all day, rubbed it with Salonpas which stinks to high heaven and took extra-strength Tylenol -- aspirin and Advil did nothing.  I hadn't slept in days because I couldn't get comfortable.

So, last night I went to bed with my poor knee propped up on a pillow -- that lasted about three seconds -- so uncomfortable -- but I finally got in a decent position and went to sleep.  Sometime in the middle of the night I tried to turn over, something in my knee popped, I screamed -- hubs asked me if I was alright.  Say what?  I am just dandy -- I just always scream out in excrutiating pain in the middle of the night.  Don't mind me.

So, what did I do?  I turned over, went back to sleep and slept the rest of the night.

This morning I am actually able to sit in this chair and move my knee around.  It is plenty sore and I can see an ice bag in my future but it feels different and I think something was shifted out of place.

So, what did I learn?  Squats aren't my friend!  Quit trying to do them.  Go back to walking and be happy to be what you are and quit trying to be something you aren't (19 year old thin to be exact).

However, there is something else and I feel I really must share this.  A year or so ago I bought a pair of Tieks.  In taupe.  They aren't my friend either even though I love them dearly.  I can't walk in them.  Every time I wear them I get cramps in my feet, my ankles get really sharp pains in them and I am pretty sure they have been contributory to the knee problem as I have absolutely no support in them.  Yesterday I put on a pair of SAS loafers and I could feel a difference in my knee -- before the popping.  I guess I have just moved into the realm of orthopedic shoes.   So, sad.  How did I get this old and crippy.

I don't know but I guess I will just continue to be content with my intuitive eating and walking for exercise.  Our weather is supposed to change sometime next week so maybe I can go outside and walk if the knee has gotten better since then.

So, yeah -- that is what is going on here at Casa de Brinkley.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

October Is My Favorite Month!

And it is here! Even though the temps are still high, it is my favorite month and I have done a few things to celebrate!

The first thing is this....

and the second thing is this...

I love Pier 1!

So, welcome to my house in the fall!  I will be baking pumpkin bread soon as well!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came

Just finished reading "Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came".  Typical Agatha, typical cozy mystery but it was good, as usual.  I love these little mysteries because they are easy to read, not long and you can just immerse yourself in them.  I have enjoyed all of them so far and I am reading them in order of publication. 

This particular title I borrowed from the public library via my kindle.  I just love doing that as I don't have to worry about taking the book back and it is so easy to check them out with Overdrive.  I love it.

My next title?  Hmmmm....not sure.  My daughter was talking about "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway.  Might have to give it a go -- maybe from the library!

It is raining out and a quiet day -- need to get another title going.  What a perfect day for it.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Smoothies, Books and DAR

I have been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) for a number of years.  I used to go regularly as the meetings are held at my church and they were in the morning so it all worked out well.  I was even the recording secretary for two years.  There were a dozen or so of us that met and it was a very rich and rewarding time.

Then Bean arrived and I began my time as a child care support person.  That eliminated the morning meetings for me.  I could have taken her but it is quite the distance from her house to church and I wasn't comfortable with it.  So, I gladly gave up the monthly meetings to care of the Bean.  Then Bean started school and I thought "oh, I can attend the morning meetings and still be done in time to get her from school".  Hmm.....they changed them to evening meetings timed right while I was driving home.  So, I haven't made much effort to get there.

Last night, however, a friend of mine from church was being installed and she asked that a number of us who are church/DAR members be there so I high tailed it back to this side of town to get there in time for her installation.  I made it, she got installed, and I realized that I actually missed those meetings.

In the seven years that I have been away, the member ship has grown from just a few to 134!  I don't know how many were there last night but Mitchell Hall was full to the rafters.  It was a much younger group than I remember and very lively.

The program was all about All Church Home -- a FW organization that started out as an orphanage and has become more of a foster care organization.  They do a lot of good work and it is something to be supported.  We also learned of a preservation project that one of our ladies has undertaken.  There is a small, hidden cemetery right around the corner from my house.  My husband discovered it one day and we have been watching it.  The property around it is being cleared for -- wait for it -- a parking lot.  (Sounds like a 60's song!) Apparently our DAR lady got involved, I assume because she feared it might be paved over, which it might have been, and has now saved the cemetery from destruction. We are going to be involved in a project to revitalize the area, cleaning up, doing some painting and planting.  My husband and I were trying to find out the name of the cemetery -- it seems it is Thompson Public Cemetery and quite a few members of the founding families of White Settlement, Texas are buried in this cemetery.  It is quite old, the most recent burial around 1949, and it is comprised of a couple of large families.  It is quite interesting and I will post some photos when my husband and I go poking around some Saturday morning.

I have decided I don't like breakfast.  When I was a youngster it was all my mother could do to get me to eat a piece of toast for breakfast.  Toast and tea -- true to my UK roots.  Then, when my kiddos came along I decided I needed to be a good example since breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day.  Well, I started eating breakfast and I started gaining weight.  I have been reading "Thin Within" and realized that I am not hungry in the morning when I first get up but I eat anyway.  That is not good.  Even when I get hungry I am not ravenous and we eat our big meal at lunch so I don't want to eat a huge breakfast just to not be hungry at lunch.  So, I decided to revisit smoothies.  This morning I had one with yogurt, a little milk, frozen cherries, flax seed, wheat germ, a little cinnamon and some vanilla.  It was lovely.  I was up about an hour and it was just enough to satisfy what little appetite I had.  I think it will carry me through until lunch.

I have been reading a lot lately.  I just started another Agatha Raisin mystery and I just purchased the new Jan Karon offering the other night.  The Agatha Raisin title is "The Day the Floods Came" and the new Jan Karon book is "To Be Where You Are".  I borrowed the Agatha Raisin title from the public library on my kindle so I will be finishing it before I start Karon's novel but I own it and can take my time.  I think it is so clever how we can check out library books on a device.  It makes it so easy and you have them the same time as if you went into the library and checked out the physical book. don't have to make the effort to return them.  They just automatically expire -- no rushing to the library to return, no late fees -- it is really nice.

So, that is what I have been up to this week.  I have no idea what the weekend holds -- we shall see.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Fifth Petal and Anne Frank

I have just finished reading "The Fifth Petal" by Brunonia Barry.  It is the sequel to "The Lace Reader" and it was equally as good.  It is the story of Rose Whelan, the Goddesses, and Callie.  And Salem.  It is a great ghost story, a murder mystery and a romance.  I should have waited until October and cooler weather, however, to read it.  It is a perfect fall read -- but it isn't ever going to be fall in Texas so I decided to go ahead and read it.

I recommend.

Now I am reading "The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition".  I read the Diary of Anne Frank years and years ago so I decided to revisit this new, expanded edition.  It is a lot different than I remembered.  Maybe I should go back and reread the one I read originally.  There seems to be a lot of added material that was omitted from the original edition.  It is good, it seems more realistic.  It seems to be a fast read.

I will let you know.

Old School

Have you ever thought that doing things the "old school" way was better?  Easier?  We have so many labor saving devices and computer apps to help us do things that one wouldn't think doing thing the old fashioned way would be acceptable anymore or even desirable. However....

I have one of these --

Only mine is red and her name is Ruby.  I love Ruby, we get along very well and she is holding up well for her age.  The problem is, I don't like pushing and pulling Ruby around.  She is a little on the, um, portly side for her size and it is exhausting getting her go where I want her to go.  I love her, though, and would never get rid of her.

However -- I also have this --

Meet Big Wooly  -- Big Wooly is an American made dust mop with a washable, all wool head and a lacquered handle.  It has a 12 inch swivel action head that makes it very easy to maneuver around furniture. 

Since most of my floor are solid surface either option works but shhh....don't tell Ruby ....but Big Wooly and I have a better working relationship.

Then, my next big booger bear is dusting.  Since my house has every window covered in plantation shutters I have a lot of dusting to do.

Sometimes I use this --

or this

or just a microfiber cloth.

However, the other day on my soap opera (hey, they CAN be educational!) I was watching somebody dusting with an ostrich feather duster.  So, I did a little research and learned a lot.  I have had lambswool dusters and chicken feather dusters and I didn't care for them but I have never had an ostrich feather duster.  Apparently they are completely different. 

So, I took my sassy self to BedBathandBeyond and bought this --

Considering the price of the Swiffer duster refills, $12.99 isn't bad for this little jewel.

I got up yesterday morning and dusted all the furniture in my living room and my den and I dust mopped all the floors.  I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was.  The dust mop makes the floors really shine and the feather duster really did pick up the dust -- my mother always said they just throw the dust around but -- sorry Mom, you were wrong on this one.

I have been reading a couple of blogs that promote doing things the "old school" way and generally living a more simple existence. They take me back to my childhood sometimes so when  I pulled out that dust mop  I could see my mother cleaning house -- she loved dust mops -- in her white shorts and rubber flip flops.  She wasn't big on lots of appliances -- give her a broom, a dust mop, a wet mop and some Lysol and she was good to go.

And it all worked! The house is clean and I am not exhausted!  The moral of this blog is -- pay attention to your mom and your soap opera -- you can learn a lot from both!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Car

In case you have been wondering what I have been up to well, our car has some sort of seizure and now we are looking for a new car.

About a week ago we were on our way to pick up Bean from school.  We were stopped at a light on probably the busiest, most miserable streets in North Texas.  The car died.  It just quit.  Hubs tried to start it, it would turn over and run for a couple of seconds and die.  We managed to get it out of the street but we never could get it to start again.

Enter tow truck.  Please take said car to the dealership.  We followed later and couldn't find the car -- we weren't sure it ever made it to the dealership.  The next morning we were assured the car was there and they were looking into it.

After several tries they got it started and went through the process several times and pronounced it cured.  They kept it one more night just to make sure. 

We were told to pick it up.  There would be no charge.

We asked what happened and nobody knew.  They couldn't find anything wrong with it.  They thought there might be air in the fuel line.  How did it get there?  Could it happen again?  Questions answered with shrugged shoulders.

We are driving it but with much trepidation.  We just don't trust it.  We are also very annoyed that this is a 2014 Subaru Outback --supposedly one of the safest, most reliable cars on the market. 

So, that is what we have been up to -- test driving cars.  Fun?  Not. So. Much.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Finally, Saturday

Thank goodness it is Saturday.  We can finally put the last few, terrible days behind us. 

We had an eclipse that I think really started it all -- not my first eclipse but it made my skin crawl. 

Then we had a hurricane on the Gulf coast.  Most of my husband's family lives in the Houston area so we were sitting and waiting to make sure they were all ok.  One niece had six inches of water in her house, another niece spent considerable amount of time in her laundry room because of the tornadoes in the area and my sister in law spent the week in a hotel so she could park the cars in the parking garage.  I was concerned about my San Antonio friends and my Austin family as well.  Pins and needles and nerves. 

Then a young lady from my daughter's school had a tragic accident and lost her life.  There was a week for waiting to see if she would pull through.  The entire school was an emotional wreck over this and it isn't completely over yet.  Lots of time spent praying.  Very gut wrenching.

Last night our Girl Scout meeting was a complete bomb.  Sassy little girls just added to my daughters frayed nerves and we were done.  Didn't get anything done except a lecture about respect.  Ugh.  Well, maybe the meeting really didn't need to happen last night in the first place.

So, here we are at Saturday.  I think it is time to expend some of this nervous energy cleaning house and getting ready for the new week.

So tired.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Prepping and the Weather

All our lives we have heard how the weather and the skies affect us.  More babies are born during a full moon because of the moon's affect on water -- all water.  Humidity messes with our hair and gives us headaches.  Cold weather causes us to want to hibernate and hot weather makes us sluggish.

In the past several days two major weather events have messed with us -- our minds and our bodies.  The first was, of course, the eclipse.  We only had a partial showing here in Fort Worth but it felt strange and looked strange -- an unusual cast on everything outside.  Supposedly wildlife could behave differently but I didn't have any wildlife around to try to judge that.  It did get very quiet and still and there was just a creepy vibe.  I was actually glad when it was over even though I harbor no superstition about such events.

The latest event is Hurricane Harvey churning around in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the Texas coast.  It has already caused mandatory evacuations and boosted the sales of plywood and duct tape.  My poor sister in law is having to move everything upstairs from a low level storage building and garage.  Fortunately they have one of those beachy houses up on stilts since they live right on the beach in Galveston.  I hope they are ok.

Now, this weather isn't going to reach us, in any big way, here in North Texas.  However, from my years of living in South Texas, in San Antonio, and having experienced a number of hurricanes, my first instinct was to go to the grocery store and stock up. 

Back in the day when I had kids and cooked a lot, I always had a fully stocked pantry.  Now, as years have passed and it is just the two of us, we eat out more than we should and I shop less than I should.  However, I decided yesterday was the day to go recreate my pantry.  The problem is, however, that I used to buy lots of canned goods and now we eat more organically so I was a bit stuck on what I would buy -- fresh doesn't last long it seems.

As I looked at my pitiful, existing pantry I realized that most of the canned goods I buy are organic, GMO-free, bpa free and there is generally a good variety.  So, I decided I could actually have my pantry of old with my new mindset.

So off I went and I am feeling very comfortable with my stash.  I figured out a long time ago not to buy stuff that I don't really use so I stuck to what I know we will eat -- I only forgot a couple of things -- and this is the final result with the new and improved pantry.

I should have wiped down the shelves but I haven't done that yet. working more toward getting stuff re-arranged.  I haven't tackled the bottom yet because that is where my husband-the-hoarder keeps every paper grocery bag that comes into this house.  I don't know what he is saving them for but he is diligent.  Grrr.

So, anyway, I have managed to purge a lot of out of date things and I realize that I really need to visit my pantry more often.  My goal is to cook more and I am doing that and maybe now it will be more enjoyable with a more concise pantry.

Thank you Mr. Hurricane Harvey.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fitbit Charger 2 and Podcasts

I started using my new FBC2 yesterday.  I had set my step goal to 8000 and then later changed it to 5000 which was a much more rational goal.  I still didn't make it but I only missed it by a couple of hundred steps which I just couldn't make myself take before midnight.  So, I got off to a better start this morning and we will see how it goes.

I just want a badge.

I climbed the stairs at my daughter's house but it wasn't enough to register.

I am probably never going to get THAT badge.

But, I am trying.

As you know I love to read.  I love to read most anything -- books, magazines, blogs.  I just learn so much.

Today I started dabbling in the world of podcasts.

My niece is a podcaster and a contributor to Forbes Magazine.  She is a writer and has always been.  So, she started a podcast about writing.  It has been going for a good while now but I decided to listen to it today for the first time.  I am not done, I will pick it up later and finish but I am enjoying it.  If you are interested her name is Sarah Rhea Werner and her podcast is "WriteNow".

This has been a very lazy morning.  I was able to sleep a little later today -- a blessing I am sure I received in celebration of all the walking I did yesterday.  Plus, we had a rainstorm which made sleeping in all the better.

I have caught up on the laundry, thrown all the trash away and cleaned the kitchen.  So, now what time is it?

Lunch time and reading time.

Lunch will be at MiCocula's -- our go-to neighborhood, indi Tex-Mex restaurant. Reading?  "The Fifth Petal" by Brunonia Barry.  It is the sequel to "The Lace Reader" but it is scarier.  I should have waited until October to read it but that would have just been silly.

So, it is hump day.  We have had a cold front (hahaha!) come through which will keep our temps below 90.  We had a lot of rain and are expecting more from the disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico.  I doubt I will stock up on duct tape because it isn't supposed to advance this far north but I might have to stock up on toilet paper and milk just because that is what we always did when "the 'cane was coming" -- words from my three year old son.

Have a wonderful Wednesday and do whatever you love!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Starting Over -- Again!

For some reason it is impossible for me to stay on an even keel.  Whether it is cleaning my house, doing my laundry, trying to maintain a reasonable eating routine, I am generally all over the place -- a hot mess.

I was doing really, really well with all of it until I wasn't.  I don't know what turned the tide but in the blink of an eye I was all adrift again -- with five extra pounds on me. 

So, I went out yesterday and bought a Fitbit Charge 2 in teal.

 I bought it because my friend Gill has one and she earns cute little badges and, because I like cute little badges, I wanted one as well.  This tracker has more to offer than my garmin vivofit in that it doesn't fall off my wrist in unfortunate places like the parking lot at the grocery store.  It also has cute little badges.

I have signed up for a fitbit challenge -- Goal Day.  My goal is 8000 steps. Ha! This should be good.  We will see if I can meet the challenge -- even remotely.  I will let you know.

So, today I start over.  Again.

On the literary front, I am reading "The Fifth Petal" by Brunonia Barry.

 She is the author of "The Lace Reader" which I really enjoyed and another title I didn't read, and can't recall, because it didn't get a good review from my own personal book reviewer.  So far it is really good but making me long for October, my favorite month of the year.

 I think I should still be reading beach novels because it is still very much summer here.  However, I am into this one and will continue.  I have the hard copy but had to buy the Kindle version of it because the book is so large it is hard to hold and I wasn't enjoying the hassle.  Much easier on the device.

Television watching has certainly changed for us, especially during the summer months when everything has gone on hiatus.  We are watching Acorn and Britbox almost exclusively.  We have finished these series -- "Doc Martin", "Poirot", one of the versions of "Miss Marple", "George Gently", "Mum" and we are now working on "William and Mary".  Now, these are entire series -- not just a show here and there so you can see why I need the fitbit and the challenge -- too much sitting, too many cookies -- yes, you can have too much of a good thing and then you can wind up with too much of you.

Have been doing some reading on fashion for old women.  That is a blog post in and of itself.

So, I am off to do Tuesday and walk 8000 steps on a gimpy knee.  No use waiting for it to get better -- it hasn't gotten better since I was 34 and diagnosed with arthritis.  Hopefully the walking will help.  Guess I will be dragging out the gazelle glider because walking around my kitchen island is about as boring as watching paint dry.

I will report in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The End of Summer for All Intents and Purposes....

It is mid-August and summer is drawing to a close for all intents and purposes.  My grandchildren are back in school, my daughter is back at work, the weather seems to be a bit changed although that is really just a "feeling" (still triple digits here) and people on the innerwebs are talking about Christmas.  Yikes!

There has been a lot of stuff going on here at Maison Brinkley, mostly  pulling together loose ends and trying to go into the fall season with some idea of accomplishment.  There has been some thought given to how I want to spend my time and what I want to be doing. 

There is one thing that I was determined to accomplish this summer.  My parents passed on a LONG time ago -- my mother in 1996 and my dad in 2000.  When my mother left us my father couldn't travel back to our hometown to bury her.  So, the plan was to cremate and we would hold on to her until my father passed and then we would commit them together.  That is what we did except for one small thing -- it took me until August 4, 2017 to actually see the plan to fruition.  Now, before you decide that I was just lazy or uncaring let me explain.  They had bought burial property in 1957 in San Antonio but my mother always disliked it.  My father always wanted to be buried in the family cemetery in Harper, Tx -- the one you have to use dynamite to dig a grave. Our other option was a military cemetery since my dad was a WW2 vet.  My cousin, a pastor, was supposed to do the honors but unfortunately he was killed in a car accident about six years ago. I was very conflicted over choices -- none of them felt right -- enough so that I got stopped every time I tried to move forward. After our brief vacation to San Antonio, I had sort of decided to place them in the military cemetery in San Antonio but I couldn't get the military to answer the phone.  As I sat and waited for the military it occurred to me what my problem was.  I am an only child.  I lived all my life around my parents, they even moved to Ft.W to be with me and the kids.  I couldn't imagine burying them somewhere away from me and I will never move back to San Antonio.  So, when that light bulb came on I immediately made a call to the local, large, heavily wooded cemetery that is just down the road from my house.  Appointments were made, plans set, our dear rector agreed to do the religious honors and before I knew it, it was done.  We chose a spot in the curve of a clump of oak trees with a lovely shaded canopy.  It is in a new section so it is still being developed and it is still a little new looking but it won't stay that way for long.  The spot is at the top of a small hill with a sweeping view of the rest of the cemetery, looking one way, and town looking the other.  It is green and lush and the most peaceful place I have ever seen.  It was a private burial with just immediate family present.  It was perfect, it was just what they would have wanted.

I was surprised to discover that even though it took me seventeen years to bury my parents the feelings were the same as if it had just happened.  I didn't expect that.

Entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, Fort Worth, Texas

So, that took up some of July and August.  There was a lot of soul searching, it was gut wrenching, there were no tears, however, but great relief at finally paying my parents the respect they deserve.  We decided to also make all those decisions in regards to ourselves for our children -- everything bought, paid for and planned out.  We will be buried in the same plot as my parents, the headstone will already be there and all they will have to do is make the call. Part of the reason I had so much trouble is because my parents were not sure what they wanted even though they had purchased property.  I spent all this time trying to get into their heads.  When I finally came to the conclusion I did, I knew it was the correct decision because peace just washed over me.

On that note, I intend to move forward into the autumn of the year with my sights set on new interests, bringing back old interests and trying to be a better me.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Charm Bracelet by Melissa Hill

As you know, if you have read previous posts,  I have been reading this book over the last few weeks.  It was recommended to me by my daughter and she has really good taste in books.  I have to say it was a page turner from page one and I had a hard time putting it down.  It is one of those books that I am sorry to see end.

So, let's see.  What are the elements of this story --

mystery?  check.  romance?  check.  tragedy? check.  happiness?  check.  New York City? check.  Christmas?  check.  jewelry? oh yes, check.  vintage clothing?  sigh -- check.  Cute little indi boutique?  Yes, please, check.

So, see, what isn't to like? 

The only thing that was a bit odd -- and not in a bad way -- is that the author is British and even though the setting was NYC and the characters were American some of her wording was British.  It wasn't a bad thing, it didn't detract from the book, I just noticed it.

Recommend?  check.





Sunday, July 30, 2017

Saturday 9

Ok, I have done this once or twice but can't remember to do it so I missed doing it yesterday.  So I am doing it today.  Don't judge me -- I seem to be permanently off schedule.  If you want to jump in just go to the site and follow the instructions.  So, here I go.

Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we've committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do "random questions," so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don't have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today's meme!
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Sarah McLachlan wrote this song about someone she barely knew. She read the obit of Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard player for the Smashing Pumpkins, who died of a heroin overdose. What's the most recent news story that touched you deeply? I try very hard not to watch the news because it ALL touches me.

2) Ms. McLachlan performed this in tribute to Linda McCartney at the 1999 Concert for Linda. She was expressing her hope that, in death, Linda found relief and peace after a long and painful battle with cancer. What do you think happens to us when we die? I believe only our physical body dies and our soul goes to meet our maker and come to terms with our earthly lives.

3) Daytime dramas General Hospital and As the World Turns used this song on-air after a major character died. Do you follow any "soap operas?" I watch Days of Our Lives and have done so since 1975
4) In 2007, Sarah donated her recording of this song to the ASPCA. Do you have a pet? If yes, how did you get it (shelter, pet store, etc.)? I don't currently have a pet but I did have, for 14 years, the privilege of being furmommy to Tessie, a wheaten Cairn terrier -- the best dog on the planet and I got her from a family that owned her mommy and daddy -- they weren't breeders, just a family with a couple of dogs that had puppies.

5) She admits she can't watch those ASPCA commercials, where her recording of "Angel" plays over sad photos of animals. Is there a TV commercial that really gets to you (in either a good or a bad way)?  I feel the same way about those animal commercials that she speaks of.  Can't watch.  Or the commercials for St.Judes although that is one of my charities of choice.

6) In 1994, Sarah was stalked by an obsessed fan. Tell us about a time you were really frightened. In retrospect, was your fear commensurate with the threat? I have never been threatened and never really felt fearful.  I am lucky.

7) Sarah was adopted by Jack and Dorice McLachlan. Though she has a friendly relationship with her birth mother, she always considered Dorice her mother and sees herself behaving with her son the way Dorice did with her. Is there anyone in your family that you feel you resemble, either physically or by behavior? Haha!  ALL of them -- I am multi-faceted!  I see aspects of many of my relatives in me.  I am not turning into JUST my mother.

8) McLachlan is one of the founders of Lilith Fair, a summer concert series designed to showcase talented female performers. Do/did your summer plans include an outdoor concert? No, no concerts.  It is too hot and mosquito ridden to go outside here.

9) Random question: Which of these men would you most like to be seated with at dinner -- Clint Eastwood, Prince William or Jimmy Fallon?  The Prince, thank you very much!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pillows,Pillows Everywhere

Let me start by saying that Hubby doesn't care for home decor that serves no purpose.  What comes immediately to mind is throw/toss pillows.  He also thinks that every flat surface is a work surface.  It could be an Ikea table or an antique dining room suite -- no difference.  Work Surface. Annoying. However, in spite of his opinions, we have never really had a lot of problem seeing eye to eye when furnishing a house.

Until now.

Going back in history -- when we were married in 1972  I inherited my bedroom suite that was lovely hard rock maple in the Early American design.  I had a dresser, chest of drawers, night stand and beautiful four poster canopy bed sans canopy.  This was our beginning.

When we went to purchase furniture for our first apartment we carried the theme through and bought a BUNCH of Tell City Early American furniture.  It is well built furniture and we still have it and we use most of it. 

However, something happened along the way.  Oh, I know what it was == they quit making Early American furniture as it fell from favor.  I was grossly out of style but hey, this furniture wasn't going to fall apart anytime soon.  So, we tried to incorporate different styles over the years  but we either found new homes for those items or went back to buying pieces that, while not technically Early America, did blend well.  Maple was a thing of the past but cherry was quite popular so we have a good deal of that.

Fast forward to the move to our current home.  The space here is different than our old house.  Fewer rooms but larger spaces which meant that our little drop leaf maple table was dwarfed in our breakfast/dining area.  So, off we go to the Amish furniture store to choose a new table.  It is large, it is cherry, it is lovely but it is dark.  We bought a sideboard to complement - black -- black tends to be a good transitional finish between older and newer furniture and styles. 

We also bought some new furniture from the Amish store -- a sofa and two chairs -- don't ever buy anything you sit on without being able to sit on it.  The chairs are fine, the sofa not so much.  It is cherry furniture with dark brown leather cushions.  Operative word -- brown-- dark brown.

We also have two chairs that are brown Coach leather.  They are really pretty and lovely to sit in if  you want to watch tv on the ceiling or have no intention of speaking to the people on the other side of the coffee table because they recline very far back.  But, I am keeping them because  -- well, because. 

So, I have it all arranged in a "pit" sort of arrangement with a large coffee table in the middle with chairs and sofa surrounding it.  And what do you see?

A sea of brown.

Dark brown.

So, my design sense is stuck somewhere in the 70's along with avocado green and harvest gold so I resorted to pinterest to see what to do about an all brown room.  I tried to get my husband to replace the uncomfortable couch but I got "the look" and just moved right along. 

So, after all of that explanation, here are some photos of what I did.

unadorned chairs -- yes that is a crayon box on the table -- don't judge me -- I have grandchildren

I added two white throws as per Pinterest -- they are really nice, very reasoable, from Target

enter two stripey down pillows from Pier 1 -- they were having a nice sale -- still have to cut the tags off

sofa with old ticking striped pillows -- I made them -- they are comfy to sleep on

bringing in two brightly colored embroidered pillows from Pier 1 along with light beige throw from my cousin JLSHall

added two delightfully fun fuzzy pillows also from the Pier -- throw in a couple of pieces of mail that needs to be thrown out  

So, tell me -- have I successfully diluted the brown?  My husband had to compromise-- throw pillows (on sale) or a new sofa (not on sale but doesn't matter -- way overpriced either way).  He was ok with the pillows as long as I don't put them on his chair.  After I do a bit of picking up and re-arranging I will take another photo from another angle and see what you think

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I Am So Confused .... But It Will Be OK

You know how sometimes there is a holiday or a vacation day or something that throws your routine out of kilter and things don't feel quite right?  That is where I am today.

For all intents and purposes yesterday, for me, was Sunday.  It wasn't, it was Monday, but all day long I felt like it was Sunday.  So, needless to say I got up this morning thinking it was Monday....I really have to get this resolved or I am going to end up losing half a weekend and that can't happen.

However, as summer is drawing to an end -- yes, I know, doesn't seem possible, does it -- I am looking forward to things getting back to normal (whatever that is).  My traveling children and grandchildren have all returned from their journeys.  My calendar is filling up with appointments to be made, syncing with my daughter's work schedule and juggling babysitting schedules.  Officially school starts for my daughter and granddaughter August 14 and my daughter will actually be at work a week earlier for professional development which then puts us back in babysitting mode.  All of this is too early.  It is too hot for these back to school shenanigans -- when I was a kid, we went back to school the first Monday after Labor Day and, in my opinion, that was still too early.

I think my children had lovely times on their vacations.  My son and his family went up the Eastern seaboard to visit such places as Maryland, Boston, Cape Cod, and NYC.  I haven't heard much about it but I am sure it was lovely.  At least it was cooler!

My daughter and her family went back to her husbands home in Tadley, England to visit family.  They went to Center Parcs -- a resort type area not unlike Great Wolf Lodge or The Gaylord.  They went to the seaside, to Highclere, Corfe and to Basildon.  The photos were lovely and the weather was a good deal better than here.

We went home to San Antonio for a week and took care of some business and did some sightseeing and some shopping and way too  much eating.  Usually when I go "home" I either get homesick and don't want to leave or I hate it and do want to leave.  This time was different -- I enjoyed it.  I think this change of attitude was primarily due to the fact that we spent more time there this go around -- we weren't rushing and were taking our time.  It was actually quite good.  And I have to say I do miss the gulf breezes.  We don't have those here in the oven known as North Texas.

So, I am thankful that everybody had fun, did what they wanted to do and did it all safely.  I am looking forward to seeing photos and hearing stories and am getting a little anxious for the first nip of autumn in the air -- but I have quite a wait for that.

In the meantime ----

Saturday, July 22, 2017

If The Instructions Say "Buy Advanced Tickets" Then I Would Advise You To Do So

Indeed.  Following instructions, if provided, is usually the way to do things.  However, we didn't.  We had made plans to go to Davis, Oklahoma to a place called Turner Falls.  It is a park that is the home of a rather impressive waterfall.  It is a popular place, apparently, and the website suggests that you buy advanced purchase tickets (yes there is an entry fee) because when the park is full they close it.

We didn't believe them.  We drove the hour and a half and what do you know, the park was closed.  So, we went to eat lunch instead.  We went to Smokin' Joe's Rib Ranch. It was a very popular place as well.  It was ok but I think it could have been better. It was an interesting site though as there was also an RV park attached.

Anyway, it was a lovely drive up Hwy.77, through the small towns from here to there, and I did take some photos so I thought I would share.

Welcome to our Saturday!
Wind turbines were everywhere and they were scary! Very futuristic looking and not in a good way

Taken from the car -- lots of people enjoying the water -- I wouldn't have gotten in it

more swimmers with a very tall slide -- must have been scary because everybody who went down it screamed

hills in the area

This is a two meat plate for one person -- it could have fed four

This was on the ceiling.  Even the dog.  Click on it and you will see the dog.  I thought it rather odd

Water feature in the garden of the restaurant

isn't this the most perfect Christmas tree -- I am sure they decorate it for Christmas

cute little gift shop

this little fella guards the door of the gift shop -- isn't he cute?

rock where the road is cut through, with a forest on top
Even if we didn't get into the park it was a lovely morning drive.  The only two problems were -- no phone service and no Starbucks! We will go back.