Friday, November 30, 2018

Bye Bye November!

Well, I missed October completely and now November is gone.  How can this be?  I simply don't know where the time is going. 

This week has flown by as I had a dentist appointment to finish my root canal re-do on Tuesday. 

I had little Emily on Wednesday for the day.  It was fun but she was so sleepy! She went with us to get Caroline from school but her Mom and Dad arrived at the school to pick her up so she didn't get to visit with Caroline.  Well, another time.

Yesterday I did a bunch of cleaning and getting packages off the porch.  I really hate that I can't go into stores (except Target) and find what I am looking for but it is so frustrating that I just succumbed to online shopping and it has all arrived and I am actually relieved.  I am taking a new approach to life -- it is called "don't make things harder than they have to be". 

I am joining Karen of Pom Pom Ponderings in a challenge to post everyday starting tomorrow.  It is in celebration of Advent.  I love Advent.  My favorite time of the year.  I love the quietness of the season, the time of reflection and gratitude.  I don't know what all I will have to say everyday for a whole month but we will see. 

Today -- well, let's see.  I am not sure what today holds yet.  I do know there is a Girl Scout meeting this evening and it is Friday! Hopefully it will be a good meeting and we can plan for our Christmas party coming up soon.

So, on that note, I am going to bid adieu to November by continuing to clean today, hopefully go buy some wrapping paper for gifts, maybe head to Target -- oh, I am so optimistic -- my knees need to loosen up before all that activity! Haha!

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Card Making

I have been making greeting cards lately and have been enjoying the process although the area around my table looks like a complete disaster.  No photos to document, however. 

I have been doing Christmas cards but had the occasion to make a birthday card for my daughter in law.  I am never going to be so skilled, or have enough supplies, to create these gorgeous, over the top cards I see on the internet but that is ok because part of my desire to make my own cards is to keep them simple.  I have a problem with commercial cards because they have too many words.  I often buy blank cards  for that very reason.

So, I broke from my Christmas card creating to do this --

I made the envelope to match and then learned that it is against post office rules to use heavily printed envelopes.  It was fortunate then that I saw the recipient in person and could just hand it to her.

I was pleased with the way it turned out.  I have been buying paper packs at Tuesday Morning and love how they all coordinate.  Makes it much easier.  Next up, along with the holiday cards, is my son's birthday.  I will have to go through my packs and see what I have that is masculine.  Or silly.  Silly usually works!

So, that is my latest creation.  I can't show the Christmas cards yet because they are going to a few people who visit here and that wouldn't be fun.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tis the Season and All That Jazz

I always loved the Christmas season. I grew up in the South but our weather was always seasonal enough that we could enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas appropriately.

Then, I grew up and had children and suddenly Christmas became really stressful. Why?  I don't know.  I think there was always so much to do that I became overwhelmed easily.  That happens to me a lot.  But, instead of dialing back and repacing myself I forged ahead and suffered a huge burnout.

Then there were the years with sick and failing parents.  There were years that they were either sickly or hospitalized or not with us anymore and I would be lying if I said that didn't impact our holidays.  We were a small family and when things started happening, huge holes were left -- we didn't have a ton of brothers and sisters and kids to fill the void.  And the void just got bigger and I didn't care anymore.

Grandchildren came along and that helped but there were issues there as well and sometimes the holidays weren't nearly as much fun as I had hoped.

Last year we moved to a new house, promptly got the flu and bam, Christmas was on top of us and I was done.  I didn't even send cards.  I had a really bad case of the bah-humbugs.  I was actually glad when it was over and I could just sit down and try to get well -- that little bout of flu, while not severe, seemed to hang on a long time.

Fast forward to this year.  After last year I decided to rethink the whole thing and re-evaluate my expectations.  I think I have come to terms with decorating and shopping and over-doing.  I have two children, two in-law children and four grandchildren.  They are all difficult to buy for.  For a long time I gave my son and son in law socks as a gag gift.  That's how bad it is.  The girls are picky.  That's ok.  The children -- well, I don't like to compete with parents and Santa.  So, I just decided, without apology, that I am gifting them with money.  Problem solved.  Do I feel bad about it?  Absolutely not.  The kids are all big enough to want to shop and maybe they don't want to shop right then, maybe they will want something later.  Maybe they will hate it but for me, it works.

My decorating is done and the gifts are decided.  Food will be what the food always is so I feel, for the first time in a LONG time that I have a handle on it.

So, I went grocery shopping today.  It isn't my favorite chore (I don't have a favorite chore-- they are all chores).  But, I realized that I was singing to the music (Jingle Bell Rock) and I was looking at all the things that my mother used to buy (cordial cherries, specifically) and I felt like it was 1965 again, I was in HEB and I was in my happy place.  It was major deja vu and I felt so good and free and happy.  It was like the Christmas's of my youth.  I can still feel it.

So, if I get all down again, I guess all I have to do is go to the grocery store!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Have I Ever Told You About Autumn Joy?

We all have things happen in our lives that are unexplainable.  We all have things happen to us that get our attention and that we revisit in our thoughts trying to figure it out.

I recently had a similar "thing" happen to me.

My husband and I were at the neighborhood office supply store.  I am a bit mobility challenged these days -- more some days that others -- and this particular day I was sporting my cane.  I have a love/hate relationship with that thing but that is another post.

My husband was checking out and since I had been standing as much as I thought I could I excused myself and said I would meet him at the car.  As I approached the exit I sensed a person behind me. I glanced behind me and it was a rather tall, nicely dressed lady.  I apologized for being in the way and slow and she struck up a conversation.

We chatted about getting "old" which she clearly wasn't -- I would say early 40's but it was hard to tell, maybe younger.  It was a nice chat as she walked along with me to my car.  I assumed she was getting in the car next to mine as she walked with me all the way to the car.

As I turned to open my door and get in the car, she asked if she could pray for my knees.  It was then that I looked at her, REALLY looked at her.  She was tall, slender, dark complected with short hair.  She had a beautiful face and really beautiful eyes.  I am not one to look people in the eye, really, especially people I don't know but I couldn't help myself, her eyes were really pretty.

So, anyway, she asked if she could pray for my knees and I said sure, I could use all the help that I could get and she asked me my name.  I told her Melissa and she said "ok, Miss Melissa, I will pray for you".  I asked her her name and she looked at me, with the enthusiasm of a little child and said, with a big grin and a look of joy-- "my name is Autumn Joy".  I guess I can imagine somebody naming a child Autumn Joy -- not different than naming December babies things like Merry Carol and Noel.  However, it seemed almost contrived--like she just thought it up.

I thanked her and we parted ways -- I fully expected her to get in the car next to me but she didn't.  She turned around and walked back into the store.  It was then that it occurred to me that she didn't have a handbag, a name tag, any sort of identification linking her to the store.  It was just her. 

I wasn't afraid of her, I felt quite at peace talking to her, I didn't feel that the situation was odd until after it was over and I thought about it.

Who was this  person?  What was she doing?  Where did she come from?  I will probably never know -- I haven't been back to the store so I don't know if she is an employee there or not.  I have no clue.

So, thoughts?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday 9

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Black Magic Woman

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!

Saturday 9: Black Magic Woman (1970)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune: Hear it here.

1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 23, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?

No, I don't "do" black Friday.  I did go to Hobby Lobby to get antlers and a reindeer nose for my car but they were out.  So, I bought a box to store my paper cutting dies in and I had a 40% off coupon.

2) On busy shopping days,  carts often litter parking lots. After loading your items into your car, are you careful to return your shopping cart to the store or the designated cart receptacle?
We routinely park next to the cart return place so we always put it back.
3) Who on your gift list is hardest to buy for?
Everybody --that is why we give the gift that fits all tastes and sizes and almost everybody likes green.

4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include enjoying leftovers or watching a game?
No leftovers this year because we ate away from home but football -always.  Big Texas A&M fans, here, Gig 'em, Aggies! Whoop!

5) Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is an annual event. It began in 1924 as a local event in New York. Today it's nationally televised. Did you watch it?
For the first time in my life I sat down and watched the whole thing through.
6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2018?
My health, my family, their health, the weather, just life in general -- it is a blessing.

7) At the first Thanksgiving, there were no forks. Pilgrims ate with spoons and knives, and forks didn't become popular until the 18th century. Think about your Thanksgiving place setting. Did you have both a salad and a dinner fork?   

8) Pies are a popular Thanksgiving dessert. What kind of pie did you enjoy? Or did you have ice cream? Or did you skip dessert?

Pumpkin pie
9) This week's featured band, Santana, was named for its founder, Carlos Santana. He was born in Mexico. When at a Mexican restaurant, what do you usually order?

Last  night at Baha I had chicken tinga street tacos.  At our usual place, Mi Cocula, I have been getting a plate called La Condesa -- it is chicken with spinach and mushrooms in a creme sauce.  Very nice.


Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us on next Saturday for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!"

The Holidays

Well, Thanksgiving is almost a memory now and Christmas is quickly approaching.

We had a nice Thanksgiving.  We had dinner at our son's home and it was a nice evening.  No leftovers, but that is ok because we always get tired of the food quickly.  Our daughter and her family took the week to vacation at Disney and I am so glad they did.  It sounds like they had a lovely time and we really enjoyed the daily photos.  We are also glad they are home safe and sound.

Over the week, since there was no huge cooking going on, we decided to put up our Christmas village and pull things together for the holidays.  It is lovely.

We chose not to put up a big tree this year -- we don't have room with the village -- it is one or the other and since we really don't buy gifts anymore (they all prefer money) then I don't need a tree to put packages under.  This works well for us. 

I have been making holiday cards this year and have been having a good time of it.  I have a few more to make and then will start mailing them out.  One I will mail this week because it is going overseas and I want it to get there. 

So, it has been a quiet week and a productive week.  I am looking forward to going into Advent next week (Dec. 2) and the quiet time that goes along with. I am glad we put the decor up already so we can just enjoy the serenity of the season. 

Friday, November 23, 2018


Good morning! Today, here in the US, is Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving, the retail day that causes people to run amok shopping "fantastic deals" to obtain lots of material goods -- after spending a day being thankful for all they already have.  It is laughably sad.

I don't participate in Black Friday.  There is nothing in the world I want bad enough to fight the crowds of people who are overtired, haven't digested the food from yesterday and are generally disagreeable. Not my idea of a good time.

However, I do want a set of antlers and a Rudolph nose for my car.  I saw them a few days ago and passed on them, now I want them, but I will wait until the crowds are down -- or maybe tomorrow -- to see if there are any left.  If there aren't, I can certainly do without. If I get them I will post a photo -- and one of the embarrassed hubby who doesn't understand why his ancient wife would want to dress up the car.  I can't explain.

 Anyway, I started out this morning reading blogs like I always do and there were several from my British friends concerning Thanksgiving.  One, in particular, brought my mind around to gratitude.  I remembered that I had started a gratitude blog a while back -- quite a while back -- and I decided to resurrect it and make short entries each day as to what I found to be grateful for.  Full disclosure, this will be a religious faith based blog so if that isn't something you might be interested in you might just want to pass.  However, I feel compelled to write this blog for myself, to remind myself of all that I have been given and if it is helpful to anybody else, then so be it.

I have already written a post today and I invite you to visit Diolch -- loosely translated Welsh for "gratitude" -- I think.  Diolch won't be  discussed here -- two different focuses and two different vibes but I am using this time and this place to invite you to visit Diolch if you so desire. There is a link down the side of this page.

So, with that said, I am going to start my day by finishing picking up from the Christmas decorating and get read to go hunt for those antlers/nose! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

These Is My Words by Nancy E Turner

"These is My Words-- the diary of Sarah Agnes Prine -- 1881-1901" -- a fictional piece based on the family history of the author Nancy E. Turner.

It is the story of Sarah Prine, a spirited woman who grows up and comes of age on the frontier.  During the course of the book she goes from an uneducated child to an educated adult and from a young woman finding her way in spite of loss and turbulence to a loving mother and wife of cavalry captain John Elliot.

I enjoyed this book but it was rough and harsh and didn't gloss over any of the events that occurred during those times in those places to countless people.  It was happy and sad and a struggle.

It made me glad I live in my time. 

I recommend as long as you realize that it is a tough book to read.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Gotta Love Texas Weather

October is my favorite month.  However, somehow I missed it this year.  We were still having summer in October so I was indoors a lot.  It finally felt like fall fell on Halloween.  It got chilly.

It is now November 11 and we are in winter.  We have been near our first freeze.  The weather man was saying something silly like "stray flurries" on Monday.  So, it appears we have had about 10 days of fall.   Bother.

So, between the time change and the weather, I have been a bit out of sorts.  Allergies kicking up, joints aching, just sort of blah.  I haven't been getting much of anything done but I have been playing with card making.

Here are a few of my recent efforts.  I was trying to design a card for a small boy who is at St. Jude's for about six weeks receiving radiation for a tumor.  It is a difficult thing to think about making for a child -- get well cards can be so -- depressing.  So, I decided not to make a get well card -- I did something different.

Tell me what you think.

 Then I didn't know if it was too bland and not colorful enough so I made this one.

 And then I saw an anniversary card similar to this one and I made it just to compare.

I love the stamp set and it is easy and fun which I thought "fun" was exactly what the little boy needs.

So, I am probably going to send the first one.  I am thinking that I am going to send one once a week until he is home so I need to come up with some more ideas.  I have some cute digi stamps that I love to color so that may be my next project.

I will share whatever I do -- card making
is very therapeutic and a bit humbling.  I have two new "toys", if you will, a stamp positioner and an envelope maker.  Well, yesterday after hours of sitting and coloring and cutting and gluing I decided to play with my new toys.  I couldn't get either of them to work and was so disgusted.  I was tired and tired of sitting so I just closed everything up and left the room.  After a few videos on you tube and a couple of embarrassing "ohhhhhh" moments I realized that the toys were not at fault but rather operator error.  See what I mean about humbling. 

So, today is a new day and I will approach this activity with new knowledge.  I have some ideas!  I will share later.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Thoughtful Post -- Random This and That

The seasons are changing.  The time is changing (yuck).  Things are getting cozier.  I am looking forward to Christmas. 

Halloween was quiet.  We had a spaghetti dinner at my daughter's house.  It was raining so we didn't think any trick or treating would be going on so as we ate we watched "Harry Potter".  Alas, the rain stopped just in time for the Bean to hit a few houses right next to her and she made a rather large haul.  Here she is in her regalia -- what else would you expect with a British Dad? 

Hermoine Bean
 Last week we had the Brownies first backyard camp out.  It was organized chaos.  There was good food, good friends,  a nice fire and a really good bunch of girls.  Here are a few highlights.

setting up camp in my backyard

 hot dogs with the grill meister -- our troop Grandpa

activity stations -- the wind chimes are adorable -- more pictures later

Our campfire -- so enjoyable

I have been doing some cardmaking but I have nothing completed to show.  I have been doing a lot of coloring in preparation and mental planning.  I have seen so many good examples that I don't really know what I will come up with.  I am looking forward to getting started though.  

I am reading a book called "These Is My Words".  It is written in diary form and is the story of Sarah Prine, a woman living on the Arizona frontier, her family and her life.  It is a compelling book, I don't want to put it down, but it is really brutal in places.  I am not done but I already recommend.  It is really good.

So, that has been my week.  I have just about recovered from the camp out.  Just for complete transparency -- I did NOT sleep outdoors, on the ground, in a tent.  My idea of camping is a hotel with at least a complimentary breakfast and a bathroom.  But, I did enjoy the campfire.  We might actually do it again.