Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good Music, Good Food, Good Friends!

That's what life is all about, RIGHT??? Tonight we had a wonderful time with our good friend, Tim!

He is the pianist at First Christian Church.....a Pianist EXTRAORDINAIRE!!  He and Louis Dean were practicing 'If That Isn't Love' for special music this Sunday. It sounded GREAT!
After dinner we played a round of Chinese Checkers. Tim played years ago in the summertime when he would stay for a week at his Grandmother's house. They made memories THEN that he shared with us this evening! Hope MY grand kids will remember good times with MiMi!

Midway through the game.....I am yellow...Tim is black and Louis Dean is red.

Not wanting to brag on myself or anything .......but I WON!!!!

However....we then played a game of Checkers and I had to admit defeat! I was toppled from my throne!

We ended our evening with two rounds of NUTS! I this card game! Tim was a worthy adversary! I won one and he won one! We will save the winning round for NEXT time!!

From Blue to Green.....can you tell??

It is hard to see the WALLS behind all the STUFF I have hanging ON them! I have collected and painted things all my life and it shows when you visit my home! I have often said, "You can't put your open hand on any of my walls!" And that is so scary but so TRUE! In all the years I raised children I NEVER cleaned handprints off the walls! The mirrors and glass doors...YES! Walls? NO! No room even for LITTLE ones!

You can see the green at the lower edge of the wall.....I wanted to try it out first!
The 'After' pic....not sure if the color change made much difference but it DID give me a chance to CLEAN everything as I had to take it all down and then put it all back!

I will need to get a couple of new LARGE round tablecloths for this corner table. The cloths must reach the floor to hide all the STUFF I store UNDER the bottled water, paper towels....

I have had this cow FOREVER and plan to re paint the pink welcome sign soon. When my children and I homeschooled we would play the dominoes in  the 'Cow' box after lunch every day. Then we would read out loud. I still miss those days!

These racoon paintings are dear to my heart. They survived the fire which gutted my house in 1983. You can still see embedded ash in the wood.

I painted this Fruit of the Spirit on an old grape tray. Tuesday night is art night here and we painted many of these in class back in 1987. They made great gifts.

'Matilda' was another popular painting project! Though I grew past the Folk Art stage....I kept my 'friends!'

Can't wait to decorate for FALL!! This painting done in the 90's gives me a head start!

I had this fun sign hanging outside on the house. YES! I decorate my outside walls, too! It reminds me not to take things too seriously!
While my home is a nice place to visit you would probably NOT want to live here! I, on the other hand, could live NOWHERE else!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


That's what I did this morning after our coffee/reading/stupor time! After four years of yoga and walking due to arthritis/joint issues, I was beginning to feel the need for EXERCISE! The old fashioned kind! When I looked through my collection of old fashioned VHS videos....this one jumped out at me! 'Blessercize' by Marie Chapian made in 1983. That was the year my house burned and was completely gutted. That was also the year I began to EXERCISE! I had to divide this 30 minute work out into 2 parts but I DID exercise! The time was when I could do this SO easily! But then again...that was 27 years ago! I am just happy I could do HALF of it and still go on about my day feeling GOOD about myself!

Then I got to thinking about the blessing of being ABLE to exercise after three joint replacements! I am grateful I can walk normally! A few years ago I could not! My grandson once ran up to hug me and my knee was so unstable I nearly fell over! I could get DOWN on  the floor to play with him but it was a real challenge to get UP! Not to mention the effort it took simply to walk from here to there and do it as normally as possible! I used to think twice before going all the way from the bedroom out to the den!
I am forever grateful to God and the doctors who made this possible!

 I am also grateful for people like Marie Chapian who promoted EXERCISE for the body as well as the heart and Spirit! I was curious as to how SHE was doing, lo, these 27 years later.....and I found she has a blog! Small blog world, isn't it? You can catch up with her at /

Now I wonder what Charlene Prickett and Denise Austin are up to these days?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Purslane......Weed or Not to Weed!!

Our flower beds are FULL of this weed which closely resembles Rose Moss,
Portulaca grandiflora, which you grow ON PURPOSE! I was reading about purslane this morning in a book by Edwin Way Teale, 'A Walk Through the Year.' He wrote this in diary form and I read it day by day.  This morning I read ahead to  July 27th where he describes gathering the purslane for his wife to cook. Come to find out you can actually EAT this weed fresh in salads or cooked as you would spinach!
I mentioned this to Louis Dean and he declared he wanted NOTHING to do with eating WEEDS!! I also found out this plant is an annual reproduces from seeds and stem pieces. This means you do NOT use a tiller (as we did earlier in the year) NOR do you chop it up with a HOE as Louis Dean did a month ago! This only insures purslane MULTIPLICATION! So what shall we do? I have left it alone before as it is not altogether unattractive....but it does get leggy and spreads into the territory of other plants I am growing ON PURPOSE! The article I read on the Internet suggests pulling it up by the fleshy roots. Louis Dean is setting up some soaker hoses to make the ground soft enough to do some weed pulling this evening after the sun sets. We used to have Nut Grass (weed) by the thousands! Now it is the purslane! Wish our cultivated plants did half as well as these WEEDS do!
Just in case you want to try these EDIBLE weeds.....for recipes go to:

Friday, July 23, 2010

A CLEAN House.....MORE or less...........

AND from TOP to bottom! Louis Dean is on the roof as I write cleaning off the 'firewood' and other debris. He has had the ladder beside the house for over a week just trying to get the 'umph' to climb up there and 'GET 'R DONE!' We have spent the last 3 weeks CLEANING! I still don't know how I got so far behind! I managed to do FOUR rooms top to bottom and side to side cleaning EVERY square inch! Now I must admit TWO of those rooms were bathrooms and one was a hall. STILL! You would be amazed at how much there was to do! My home is extremely HIGH maintenance and add to that a dog and 2 cats with LOTS of hair.....and a husband who is still 'in training'.....well, keeping house is a FULL time job for me!

I tackled a major project- at least ONE- in each and every room! I even got rid of old encyclopedias from the den bookshelves and replaced them with photo albums....which are already obsolete what with the digital albums people archive their pics in now.
The fireplace is clean and covered with a large round mirror which reflects my little water candle lights. I like it! It may not be the comforting flames of a fire but it fits the bill for summertime.

I decided to use my shell collection in the den this year......and I am longing for some beach time in the near future!

This part of the collection features carved fishermen, shells and driftwood from San Francisco.
One shelf in the den bookcase now holds my collection of Country Diaries. I have kept a Country Diary and various journals/prayer journals since 1985.

Summer bought the very first one as a Christmas gift for me....little did she know I would continue to fill a volume a year for the next 25 years and still counting!

I ended up doing a pine cone/woodland theme in the dining room......

I love the scent of I have added FRAGRANCE to these!
This is the table topping for the sewing room featuring wine, grapes, the special  wine glasses from Doug and Raeoma when Louis Dean and I married, a Dr. Pepper mirror my son gave me when he worked for DP in his college years, a 'Love' painting I did after being inspired by a page on one of my calendars....and a 1929 Vogue's Book of Etiquette...embellished, of course! Written in pencil on the first page you read, "List of under clothes linens etc P 439."
That should just about do it!
So everything is more or less clean around here! Louis Dean is OFF the roof so I think I will join him in the gazebo for a tall glass of iced tea! Now that the cleaning is done....I think I will start painting a section of my kitchen....can't wait to see how it will look!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I cannot imagine my life without BOOKS! I love to read and have a book with me at all times. I never leave the house without one tucked into my purse or bag! All four of my children have inherited this love of reading and I am sure their life is much richer because of it! I KNOW mine is!

I finished Jeffrey Archer's A Prisoner of Birth along about 1:30 this morning! This was a great read and Archer is a brilliant writer. I can highly recommend every book he has I have read them ALL!

Now......on to another book!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Have I Told You Lately......

..... That I Love You?"  That is the song Louis Dean is playing and singing to me in this photo on a recent July evening on our front porch. That particular evening our young neighbors across the street had invited us over for dinner. Josh is tall, blond and handsome.....Sophie is tiny, dark and beautiful. Both are YOUNG (in their 20's) so we were flattered they wanted to cook dinner for US! Sophie is from New Mexico and her bloodline is  Spanish and French.....and her cooking is mouth watering! She prepared the most delicious chicken enchiladas I have ever tasted....complete with all the toppings and tasty beans unlike any I have ever cooked! We had taken a bottle of wine over so our meal was complete! Louis Dean and I ate every single bite on our plates and then she gave us containers of food for the next day! We walked BACK across the street about 9 pm.....just cool enough to sit on the front porch while I watered the yard and flower beds. I set the hose up to spray a particular area then I sit on the porch for awhile.....change the hose....sit some more...this can take quite a bit of time. We have tried to leave the water on and go inside but invariably I FORGET and water the street and sidewalk and driveway! SO while we were waiting for all things green and/or flowering to have their daily drink of water,  Louis Dean brought out his guitar and began to play. The torch Summer gave us keeps the mosquitoes away!

And thus we ended our day with a little wine....a little music...and the gentle sounds of a July evening in Texas. Next time you are in the area...won't you join us? We love company!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Parents With Broken Hearts by William L. Coleman

If you are a parent you know you are susceptible to heart aches. Some hearts are completely broken while others are badly wounded and still others are only mildly damaged in places.

I bought this little book back in 1996. Actually the book in the photo was purchased on eBay last year after I loaned out my original and forgot to whom I had lent it! I found the book to be out of print at the time so was relieved to find a used
replacement! I have read Parents With Broken Hearts over and over. I have read portions of it  aloud to my mother and husband as well as shared the wisdom gleaned from it with  friends, siblings, neighbors and ......last night an 'Eat, Pray, Love' group.

This morning I searched for additional copies of this book and found them NEW and readily available from a variety of sources from to Barnes and Noble. I apparently was not the only avid reader of Parents With Broken Hearts!

 I must tell you that Motherhood is worth any and all heartache.....even if you end up with a broken heart. I have always felt that being a mother has been God's highest calling in my life and prayed for long years to have more children. "God granted me that which I requested." ~I Chronicles 4:10~

In our land of books on every subject I was so very grateful THIS one was written. It has and continues to help me cope with less than perfect situations. The wisdom is priceless. As I close this post I wish there were more books out there to help me in my role as a mother to 'grown ups.' As long as I draw breath and my children live I will forever be a MOTHER.

"The Lord is close to the Brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."    Psalm 34:18

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The World of Synchronized Swimming....

I recently revisited the world of Synchronized Swimming.....a sport that was a huge part of my life for nearly a dozen years! The city of Irving and The Pirouettes of Texas hosted the US Open Synchronized Swimming Championships July 15-17 at the North Lake College Natatorium. Eight countries were represented including Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Great Britain, Korea and Mexico as well as teams from all over the United States!

It was interesting to see all the posted information in several languages. Notice the sign "No Gelling PLEASE." If you are not familiar with Synchronized Swimming you may not know how the athletes keep their hair all neat and tidy during the competitions. GELL! Knox Unflavored Gelatin! Mix about 3 packets of that to 1/2 cup of boiling water.....stir til smooth and apply with a paintbrush to  hair which has been put up in a ponytail and braided or twisted into a bun, pinned securely and covered with a hair net which is pinned yet  again!  (You need LOTS and LOTS of bobby pins!) There is a real art to 'Knoxing' as we call it! It is a bit like sculpture and a bit like making candy! Timing is crucial! There is a magic moment when the gel is cool enough to apply and yet hot enough to comb back smoothly from the forehead after you get all the hair covered well. A good Knox job will last through a couple of swims. It IS a bit messy and can be very uncomfortable for the swimmers.....especially if you drip it down their neck and it DRIES and then they turn their can PULL the skin painfully! This can take awhile for the inexperienced! However by the time you reach this level of competition one is amazed at how swiftly and deftly it can be done! There is also the problem of messing up the bathrooms with all the hairnets, bobby pins and rubber bands and the GOOK of the gell itself! I noticed the City of Irving had set up portable bathroom buildings aptly labeled "Gelling Station." All this gell can be washed out in really warm water and is actually GOOD for the hair!
This is my daughter, Amber, who swan for 11 years....please note the excellent hair gelling!
The girls swim to a wonderful array of different music and wear beautiful suits ablaze with sequins, crystals, and jewels that catch the light as they swim!

This is Team TEXAS and they are ready to practice!
Now they are ready to compete!
There were nearly 200 athletes at this competition!
Amazing lifts....the water is deep and NO SWIMMER touches the bottom at any time! They boost a swimmer up by egg beater-ing with their legs. It is exciting to watch these athletes!
She is standing on other swimmers who are supporting her but NOT touching the bottom of the pool....they move constantly and there is never a dull moment!
There are lifts and throws and pattern changes.....pretty awesome!

This is my good friend, Candie, who is the scoring chairman. A huge amount of work is required to get the scores accurately recorded! Did I mention it was ABOVE 100 degrees during this meet?
These swimmers are from Team Alberta in Canada and they could not believe this is NORMAL Texas temps! Note the lady on the right behind me in sunglasses....she was the 1984 Olympian silver medalist.....USA's Tracy Ruiz won Gold! To learn more about the history of Synchronized Swimming go to
A LOT of work AND expense goes into hosting a meet of this caliber and on this scale! Walter is in charge of so MUCH in the city of Irving! He has a ton of responsibilities!
And a host of special people from guards to the most important person of all.......the one I did NOT get a photo of.....THE MEET MANAGER!!! Beth Evans! She did a splendid job and is probably still asleep as I type this! She had to be one TIRED lady!

I will end this post with my all time favorite pic of my all time favorite team....The Pirouettes of Texas....and my ALL TIME favorite swimmer....Amber! I saw several teams doing similar lifts at the recent meet. This pic was taken at a National Meet in 2002. I would recognize those legs anywhere!!