Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Bean and Me Book Club -- Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Di Camillo

My granddaughter is an avid reader.  I am proud of this and thankful for it because it is my belief that if you can read you have the world in your hands. 

She is now 8 and is reading fairly advanced and sophisticated books (i.e. Harry Potter).  She has asked me to read some of the books that she has found particularly compelling.

So, we started the Bean and Me Book Club.  This is how it works.  She reads the books, recommends them to me (and loans them to me sometimes -- the kid has an impressive personal library) and then I read them.

Our most recent read is "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo.  I saw the movie years ago and enjoyed it and am really looking forward to starting this book.  I am sure it will be one of those I can't put down and it will probably be a quick read.  It is on my Kindle and I always read faster on the device. 

The queue is growing and I was told this morning what I will be reading when I am done with this.  It looks like a good variety.  I love that we are able to share this love of reading.

I might even start a blog devoted completely to his book club.  I have to think about that.

The Water Tower Club

I just finished reading "The Water Tower Club" by B.K. Mayo. I discovered this book when it was reviewed on my cousin's blog (  Michael gave it a very positive review and it sounded like something I would enjoy so I purchased the book for my Kindle.

Now, it didn't hurt that the author, B.K. Mayo, was an alumni of my high school that I had met once when Michael married my cousin Joy in San Antonio.  It also didn't hurt that the book had San Antonio ties.  So, forth I charged.

The main character of the story is Darryl Coombs, a transplanted San Antonian who was in a rather complicated relationship with Charlotte.  The story revolves around Darryl Coombs returning to his hometown of Grotin to try to save his sister, Libbey, who had, for some unexplainable reason, decided to attack City Councilman Bobby Hobson with a nail file and had been arrested.

Along the way, as Darryl tried to uncover the reason for the bizarre attack launched on Bobby by his sister,  he was forced to revisit his difficult youth and come to terms with all the ghosts he had shoved in his the back of his mind. 

And what did he learn about the attack waged on Bobby?   I am not going to tell you. You will have to  read the book but it is well developed and isn't at all contrived and chock full of secrets as well.

As the book progresses he deals with this past demons, gets his sister out of jail, makes amends with this mother and journeys home to San Antonio and to Charlotte, anxious to share his new  feeling of freedom from his past.

But, Charlotte isn't there.

I am not going to tell you where she is either.  You will have to read the book. 

I didn't know what to expect when I started this book but I have been very impressed.  It is so well written it just flows well.  So, I purchased another of Mayo's books -- "Tamara's Child" and am looking forward to it. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It Is Wednesday and What Do We Have?

A relapsed Bean.  Temp of almost 101.  No headache, no sore throat, no body aches.  Just a fever and general malaise. 

I took her temperature myself.

I gave her ibuprofen at 1 p.m. and before it could even get into her system, the temp had broken and she was bright eyed and bushy tailed.

I said before this was the oddest flu and strep I have ever seen.  She has run fever for just a few hours twice since this started a week and a half ago and she didn't have a sore throat.

I am one baffled granny.

So, here we are. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Good Morning, Monday!

It is Monday, the sun is shining and all is well in my world --I think.  The Bean is on the mend and destined to return to school today, we have a new clock which is helping Hubs with his sleep inertia -- I think, and we have sunshine and warm temps in our immediate future.  I couldn't be happier.

The weekend started with a Girl Scout meeting held in a local park.  The theme of the meeting was "letter boxing".  It is sort of like geocaching but without the co-ordinates.  Instead, it used instructions that you get off the internet.

 It was cold and it was dark and apparently, somewhere just beyond our route was a cow with glowing eyes.  They squealed with delight and "udder" fear -- get it?  We were only out there for an hour which was good since most of them had been battling illness and didn't need to be out in the damp, foggy weather.

They were cold and scared but they had so much fun.

Yesterday we spent at our other house doing some cleaning and getting ready to meet with our realtor.  Finally.  I have some observations about it that only come with age.

I grew up in post WW2 housing that had 8 ft. ceilings in the rooms, hardwood floors, tile kitchen counters and bathrooms and bathtubs that would not be confused with a swimming pool.  My mother was very short -- 5'1" -- and all she had to do was stand on a kitchen chair to change a light bulb.

Young people, when buying houses today, should recognize that they won't always be young and agile and they should assess whether what they are buying is going to be "do-able" when they aren't young anymore.

My poor husband was on a step stool and almost on the bathroom vanity to change out the light bulbs in the fixtures. One of those handy dandy gadgets that allows you to stand on the floor and grab the light bulb won't work in these small fixtures.  So, with his diabetic neuropathy, his arthritic hip and knees, there he was teetering around trying to put in a light bulb.

I climbed into the 18 inch deep jacuzzi tube (that I have always hated) to clean it out and I couldn't get back out again.  Climbing in was easy compared to climbing out.  The tub is a two person affair (laughable) and it is almost  impossible to clean by just wiping down.  I can no longer get on my knees to do that sort of thing and even if I could, my arms are too short to stretch across because it is a corner unit.  This doesn't address the massive glass shower enclosure that has to be cleaned constantly because of the lime scale. 

I know my mother complained about tile and cleaning grout and she was thrilled when formica became vogue.  I agree with the grout issue but I am not thrilled with the granite/marble used today either.  In my bathrooms at the other house there is black marble.  We have hard water.  It is impossible for water marks to not show up on that black marble.  Granite takes a lot of care and the pattern we have doesn't allow you to see anything that might be stuck on it.  You have to clean by touch.  My current home has formica in the kitchen and honestly, while not as fancy and impressive, I love it.

The floors in the "old" house are travertine marble which is very easy care and looks lovely but it has done a terrible number on my arthritis and is contributory to my current condition.  But, it looks impressive.

So, as I prepare this house to sell I am thinking longingly of those 1950's houses that were so simple and easy to take care of.  When we bought the house 14 years ago, it was advertised as being a community of garden homes, minimal care, perfect for retirees and empty nesters.  Well, it is a garden home community and they (the HOA) Do do the yard but as far as that minimal care -- not so much.

So, youngsters, if you can fast forward yourselves to an older, yet still awesome version of you (look at your parents or grandparents) make wise choices or one day you will be longing for a simple little bungalow with a plain bathtub and shower curtain and light fixtures you can maintain without having to hire somebody to do it.

Jumping off the soap box now.  Oh, wait, not jumping -- more like hobbling. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

By Now I Am Sure

you are tired of seeing my latest obsession hobby of cardmaking -- I am enjoying it but you are probably bored with it so I will make it quick.

This one was inspired by a dress I had in the 60's.  It was black pique with white stylize flowers with yellow centers.  I wore yellow patent leather sling back shoes with it.  It was a "tent" dress that was popular with the baby doll style at the time.  It had a white, organdy Peter Pan collar with a long organdy bow.  I was so cute.  I really miss those clothes!

I just couldn't let go of the Fiesta flower stamp quite yet

This was inspired by another outfit that I had that was green and white stripe -- two piece -- with cute little bee pins on it.  I have a photo someplace -- I will post if I can ever find it. I should have used a green background.    

So, that is what I did today.  I did do a load of laundry.  And I sewed on a bunch of Girl Scout patches.  And I went to lunch and took a nap.  But this cardmaking has taken on a life of it's own. 

Now I am off to have some ice cream and watch Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


In April, in San Antonio, Texas, there is an event called Fiesta.  It is a week long event with several parades with impressive floats.

 There are carnivals and something called Night in Old San Antonio.  NIOSA is held in the historic old city of SA called La Villita.  There are food vendors and booths with fun and games.  The thing that is so notable about Fiesta is color -- everything is very colorful.

One thing that has become very popular since we moved from SA is a Fiesta wreath.  You see them on the doors on many houses, especially the houses in the older, more historic areas of town.

Many of the businesses sell Fiesta pins as collectibles.  Here is an example of one of those.

See what I mean about a lot of color?  So, today I was inspired by a card I saw online so I was trying to make something similar.  My finished product didn't look anything like the one I saw but it did remind me of a lively Fiesta season!

I definitely need to find my water pen and work on my watercoloring skills!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


It is cold and raining.  My allergies are bothering me and I have had a headache for days that I can't get rid of and it is just time for winter to go away.

So, what does one do with her time under these circumstances?  Nap? Not yet but maybe.  Craft?  Of course.

I got some advice from my friend Mary that I have tried to apply to these latest offerings.  I also decided to try to use up some scraps instead of just throwing them away -- it is like fabric, scraps are still yardage and cost money.  So, I decided to try some color combos that are non-traditional and to work on my clean an simple approach to cards.  I have put these away for future use and I might add some embellishment later but for right now, this is what I have.
I can see adding some die cut snowflakes
The sentiment is going to be Ho Ho Opps

posted this earlier but added the bow that I learned to make on a fork

might not add anything to this

twine?  Nothing?

A non-valentine for my daughter.  She was annoyed because she didn't get any Valentines so I am making her this, along with a Starbuck's gift card, to show her Valentines is any day!    

So,  this is what I have been doing all day.  Now it is aspirin and nap time!

Well, we ALMOST made it!

It is disease season here in Funkytown.  Apparently the Disease Devil descended upon St. Elizabeth's School this week and I believe almost one whole class is out.  Yes, it would be Bean's class.  I am not sure of the state of the other classes as there hasn't been an official statement to my knowledge but I can only imagine.

This is what a flu and strep combo looks like.  Oddly she hasn't had a great deal of temperature but a trip to the good doctor, and a traumatic throat swab, revealed that she is positive for both flu and strep.  And yes, she had a flu shot.

And it is cold and going to rain.

How miserable is that?

I think her teacher is going to have a free work day because I think at least half her class is out with something or the other. 

Well, she said she didn't feel good!

And have I mentioned that I hate winter?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Happy Birthday, Mama!

Yesterday there was a cardinal in my backyard.  I hadn't seen one in a while so it caught my attention.  Immediately I could sense it reminding me of my mom's birthday today.

So, I took my Mama flowers, in the 36 degree weather. 

Happy Birthday, Mama. 

Just when you think you are over it -- you discover you are not.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cardmaking -- Again

Here are my latest attempts at cards -- I love doing this, it is such fun, and I don't even plan on mailing them!

Cutting and pasting and watercoloring is fantastic therapy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Bean and Me Book Club -- First Book

The Bean and Me Book Club has completed reading the first book in our queue.

The book is "The Cricket in Times Square" by George Seldon.  It is a Newberry Award winner and boasts illustrations by Garth Williams. 

This is the story of Chester, a cricket who traveled from Connecticut to New York City.  He became the pet of Mario Bellini and the fast friend of Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse.  They had a great time together, a few mishaps and an awesome discovery -- Chester was musical.

He was promoted and performed in the newsstand owned by the Bellini family.  He had an article written in the newspaper and people would come from far and wide to hear him "sing".

But, the more famous he became the more unhappy he became.  He missed his simple life in the Connecticut countryside.

Then one day, he decided to retire and return to his home.  And, he did.

This is a great book with a great moral.  The animals were so engaging and the Bellini's were so typical.  I recommend for all ages.
Next up -- "Because of Winn Dixie". Stay tuned.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

Conundrum and Quandry

Yes, it is a conundrum and a quandry -- our home life is all wonky, no routine, no schedule and no groceries.

I don't like to cook or grocery shop.  With all the delivery services, shopping shouldn't be a problem these days and I really should try one but with a major grocery store walking distance from my house, well, it seems sort of silly, doesn't it? 

I don't like to cook.  Well, that isn't completely true.  I do like to cook but I am a plain cook and I like plain food and I like vegetables.  The man of the house, however, doesn't.  We have been married 46 years and he doesn't like my cooking.  I don't think he ever has.  It is rather disheartening to stand up on my gimpy, painful knees and cook a meal only to throw most of his away fifteen minutes later and watch him get up and make a snack.

We have also gotten to the age that eating a noon meal is more appealing than a heavy evening meal.  Neither of us seems to digest well anymore and that makes us very grumpy and we don't sleep well.

So, a couple of weeks ago I quit.  I told Mr. that I wasn't cooking anymore.  That we would just eat out and we would eat lunch and he could choose.  I just didn't care anymore.  I don't really have much of an appetite anymore -- I think it is due to a med I am taking -- and you would think I wouldn't have a weight problem but I do.  So, since he doesn't like what I fix, I doubt he would like what eatery I would choose so it is all on him.

That has been our routine for two weeks.  I haven't been to the grocery store either.  Is that bad?

It is when the weather is dreadful and you don't want to go out to the restaurants!  There is nothing in this house to eat.  So, I am re-thinking the whole thing.

While I am not crazy about getting out of bed and starting lunch, I know people used to do just that.  Maybe I should cook ahead but that means "leftovers" which Mr.'s delicate palate can't seem to handle.  Maybe I should just bundle up and head out. 

I have no clue.  How could two people who have lived together the majority of their lives be so different?  It is a mystery.

But, in other non-whining news, I have been making cards again.  Here are a few of my latest creations. 

Every time I make a card I sit back and look at what it looks like and how I could have made it better.  The little koala needs more background "stuff" and I will probably remake it with more "stuff" but I think he is cute, just the same.  The teacup mice -- well, those just went really tacky really quickly but I think the recipients will like them anyway.  The music inspired one was pretty much copied from one on pinterest (I think) -- thank you whoever did it for the inspiration because sometimes the creative part of my brain is like a dried up desert. 

So, yeah, that has been my week -- hoping this one starts out better.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Unlikely Book Club

I have been reading a lot lately and have happened upon some really good books.  Currently reading "The Water Tower Club" by B. K. Mayo and it is turning into a real page turner.  I will review when I am finished.

I have also found myself part of a very unlikely book club consisting of two members -- me and the Bean.

Bean is an avid reader and has advanced to the likes of Harry Potter and similiar things.  She reads a good deal, at a good pace, and enjoys an advanced level of enjoyment.

Lately she has been sharing her books with me.  I am not a Harry Potter fan, I don't think, I have never been interested in starting the books but maybe I should check them out.

However, we are now reading "TheCricket in Times Square" by George Selden.  It is about Chester Cricket who has been adopted as a pet by Mario Bellini.  Mama Bellini doesn't like Chester but Papa Bellini has a soft spot for the little insect.  Chester and Mario have great adventures, like visiting Chinatown, and it is really quite the engaging little book.  Written in 1960 it won the Newberry Honor Award in 1961.  The illustrations are by my all time favorite illustrator, Garth Williams.

The next book in the queue is "Because of Winn Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo.  It was published in 2000 and won the Newberry Honor award in 2001.  In 2000 it won the Josette Frank award and in 2003 it won the Mark Twain award.

Bean has finished the book already and I have yet to start.  She said it was amazing although it had a sad patch, but got better as it neared the end.  I remember watching the movie but don't remember the details.  I am sure the book is better and I will be starting it shortly. 

I am very thankful that Bean loves to read and that she likes a wide variety of books.  She reminds me of me as a child and I might recommend the next book -- "The Good Master" by Kate Seredy -- one of my favorites as a child. 

I remember visiting the library and checking out the books in this series and I distinctly remember curling up on the couch and reading it through as it rained slow, steady, and abundantly as it is want to do in San Antonio.  Such a good book.  I hope she likes it as well.

I am quite happy with my little book club.  It suits me!

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Mayhem and Matrimony by Hope Callaghan

I just finished reading book #11 in the "Made in Savannah" cozy mystery series by Hope Callaghan.

It is the latest in the ongoing story of the Garlucci family who moved from New York to Savannah to escape their "family" connections. Carlita Garlucci, the main character, is always finding her way into some sort of an uncomfortable situation with some mystery to solve.

And she is getting really good at it.

With a cast of secondary characters -- Mercedes, Shelby, Violet, Elvira, Reese, and the Garlucci boys -- there is always a lot of activity and close calls.

These are great little books -- murder mysteries, yes, Mafia connections, yes, but there is nothing off putting about them.  They are very sterile and just a lot of fun.

I definitely recommend.