Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Father and Son Time

I tell you what! These two guys are so much alike it really IS funny!
They are pretty fun people to hang out with.
 Dean returned from a trip to Canada and stayed long enough for a visit with his dad before returning
home to the Waco area yesterday afternoon.
We met over at a Thai restaurant for some adventurous eating.
Louis Dean ordered Sesame Chicken and when asked HOW spicy he wanted -
rated 1 to 5.....he chose 5!
His mouth is still burning! Probably because he ate his leftovers for lunch today!

Louis Dean had made his son a couple of music CD's and then of course they sat and visited.
It was a good afternoon.

This pic is of LD's music room. The ONE room in the house that is totally his and his alone!

The picture makes me smile.

Now it's back to work for us today!

We unloaded fall on Monday and I dabbled in it a little bit last night.

Today I scoped out my theme and between painting trim and running errands and cleaning house and looking after Louis Dean.....I decorated a LITTLE bit!

The tree is up in the den....a small 4 1/2 foot one which is sitting on a table.
This is the box of decorations for it.
I LOVE this fall tree!!!!
I may well hang these up tonight if we watch a TV program.
I am a multi tasker!

But for now.....I must go out and supervise Louis Dean. He is installing our new window A/C unit.
We will be sleeping COOL tonight!
Still 103 degrees as I write!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Odd Couple!

That is what Louis Dean and I are! I could be Tony Randall's Felix to
 Louis Dean playing Walter Matthau's Oscar!

I admit I am a neat freak. And Louis Dean is so NOT!
We make a perfect team!
He makes messes and I clean them up.
Of course these messes - or at least SOME of them - are made while doing things I simply cannot do!
Like carpentry work....or electrical work....or anything requiring a good bit of MUSCLE!

We always have projects going on....the latest of which is our bedroom redo.
We were wanting to put in the new window (big time heavy duty version!) A/C.
However, LD decided to go in the attic and run a line down in the guest room wall so we can relocate our CURRENT window A/C to THAT room AFTER he puts in the new one.
Actually he wanted it done so he could simply walk the old one from  one window to the other.
Win! WIN!


there was an 'OOPS!'

Which resulted in a MESS!

This is about the time I 'lost it.'
I cried.

Now I have to be fair in saying I was in an emotional state before all this happened yesterday.
Over the weekend we had a personal disappointment and then early in the afternoon I received some distressing news on another front.
Add in a mess in an otherwise clean ready for company coming guest room....
and I was set for a meltdown!

The grand finale to this story is.......
Louis Dean can CLEAN!!
He went in there and cleaned up every single bit of the mess!
Vacuumed, wiped things off with a cleaner and water using a CLOTH!
Rehung the closet door.....after I told him NO, you cannot put a plug for the A/C on the far side of the closet where we would have to UNPLUG the unit every time we wanted to open the closet door!!!
To which he replied, "Well! You don't USE the closet that often!!"
He even patched the hole in the wall.
Never mind it is pastered white!
(I am now planning on redoing the guest room!)

He has since thought of another way to accomplish his goal.

In the meantime.......

He decided since it was a TAD bit cooler today to go ahead and unload all my fall decorations!

He IS amazing and now I find out he can CLEAN!!!
Who KNEW?????

My MUSCLE man!!
Now the dining room is full to overflowing with tubs and sacks of fall leaves, wreathes and all things AUTUMN!!!

I can't wait to get started!
It won't be OFFICIAL until Thursday when I break out Neil Diamond's 'September Morn.'
I'll bake pumpkin muffins and it will LOOK and SMELL like FALL!
We are still in triple digit heat here in Texas but I am hoping (and praying) for rain and a cold front!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wrapping up the Week End!

We had a great weekend and were paid the nicest compliment!

Invited by friends to their son's football game!
We felt so special! They were standing at the entrance of the ballpark when we arrived and walked us over to the field where Tray (our young friend) was playing.
Never mind that his team didn't win. We had a wonderful time watching and visiting with our friends and their relatives! We kind of felt like one of the family!

Is there anything so 'Friday Night' as a football game?
I think not!

It came complete with a concession stand and cheer leaders!

And parents cheering from the sidelines!
It was really good for us to get out of the house and enjoy some time with young people!
Did I mention how flattered we were to be invited?

That was actually SATURDAY evening! (my bad!)
Then on Sunday, Summer called and invited us to go with her and Sabrina to look at what will most likely be........

 their new house!!!
It is a BEAUTIFUL home!
 Comes complete with a swimming pool and close to a HUGE lake! Louis Dean is already in hog heaven just thinking about the fishing he will get to do!

We celebrated with dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse!
This is Louis Dean's FAVORITE place!

I enjoyed some 'Raynie' time!

When we got home Raynie was SO happy to be OUT of her car seat!
She LOVES jumping on a bed full of pillows and I had just the spot for her!

I know I am a grandmother but isn't she ADORABLE?

She also had her FIRST music lesson!
She strummed on Louis Dean's Fender and he SWEARS she made her first chord!

Here she is clutching a doll I made for Amber's 2nd birthday.
The doll is Emily.

This was a perfect ending to a good weekend!
Hope everyone had a good Monday!
A new week with new beginnings and possibilities!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CHANGE is the only 'Constant!'

Everything changes. Everything. Nothing ever remains the same. I have often been slow in accepting change. At other times I can't seem to wait for it. There are seasons in life and each season brings additional changes. I believe it is best to accept change gracefully and even to embrace it at times. For some reason I have been thinking about this a lot the last few days. WE change and when we do - relationships all around us change as well. As children grow up our relationship changes with them.....evolves into friendships. Even our relationships with our spouses change over time.....if we are honest about it. A counselor once told me that NO relationship remains the same. As we evolve in personal growth and character so does our marriage. We would become stagnant otherwise. I am so enjoying the journey Louis Dean and I are on together. We make a good team.

I believe what prompted all my THINKING this past week was my Mother.
She got really tired last Friday and has not seemed to recover yet.

This picture is from 2009. Mother hasn't seemed to age a day since then.
She is actually in pretty good health.....disgustingly so to hear her tell it!
She told me she is ready to 'go' but God must still have plans for her.
She is a prayer warrior.....the best one I know!
She and I have always been close and I am trying to prepare myself for the day when God does call her home. Is one ever so old they don't need their mother?

Anyway, yesterday she kept telling me she didn't know what was wrong with her but that she didn't feel well!
My sister said she had been tired and disoriented on Wednesday.
Every day I called her and she sounded weak.
All we did yesterday was get her hair done and go out for lunch.
It totally wore her out.
When I left her she had to walk me to the door so she could push the button to close the garage door.
I could see what an effort it took her to get up and walk over there.
As I left I was struck with the sudden fear  - would THIS be the last time I see my Mother here on earth?
It scared me. And what was even scarier is I could tell Mother was having this same exact thought!
I held her face between my hands and told her how much I love her.
She did the same for me. We both cried a little.

I drove home with a heavy heart! What had I been thinking? That I would have Mother FOREVER?
I was so NOT prepared when she suffered a massive stroke in 2005....shortly after I married Louis Dean.
I was devastated when that happened. I need to be a grown up and realize that one day she will go 'home.'
She will join loved ones gone on before and I know with a certainty of spirit she will be in heaven with them. Louis Dean and I went on with our errands and chores of the day.
Finally at 5:00 I decided to call her and see if she was feeling better.
No answer.
Dread filled my heart!
I called again a few minutes later and was so relieved to hear her voice!
"Yes! I am better!" she said.
I told her I was scared when she had not picked up on my earlier call.
"Was that YOU?"
We laughed and had a nice little phone chat.

I enjoy our Fridays together. Louis Dean has always told me to treasure them.
I suppose in light of the recent earthquake and now a hurricane bearing MY middle name....
I am simply reminding myself to make every moment of every relationship count!
We never know how long we have with each other.

Prayers for those whose lives are being impacted by this storm as I write.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Duck Eggs!

Duck eggs and beautiful brown hen eggs!
Gifts from my stepson who lives in the country with a variety of critters!
I am going to do some baking with the duck ones.
Perhaps another pear cake or some mincemeat bars.
I plan to bake on Monday so it will all still be fresh on Tuesday when he returns from a trip to Canada.

Oops! Looks like there is a broken one. I best deal with that now.

Louis Dean has been up on our roof again this evening. This is getting to be a regular thing for him!
This afternoon when we returned from our walk at the Senior Center and a trip to Home Depot
we noticed branches had cracked under the weight of the pecans. Several had completely covered the pipe from the fireplace. He cut those down and will buy one of the 'chain saw on a stick' things tomorrow to cut other low hanging branches. The good news is - it looks like we will have a bumper crop of pecans this year. We had NONE last year and a pretty good crop the year before.
Shelling pecans is one of Louis Dean's favorite things to do.
Baking with pecans is one of mine!

As I write this the entire East Coast is bracing for Irene. Irene just happens to be my middle name.
Prayers for safety during this scary time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I am liking WHITE!!

We have been hard at it! Paining and papering in the bedroom. We started this redo back in the spring and I hope to be finished by the end of September. I have NEVER liked WHITE.....before!
I do now! I am embracing it actually! The trim above is not even nailed up yet but I was dying to see how it would look!! It is pretty white! I also painted both sides of the bedroom door. Need to do yet one more coat on them tomorrow. Then?? not sure. I may add some molding interest or something. It is such a BIG white reminds me of a blank canvas!

Everything I look at these days I think, "That would look better painted white!"
As in this frame. The white works!

And I have a GREAT idea for trimming around the ceiling!

Cover the trim with leftover pieces of wallpaper!

I think this will give a finished edge as well as a bit more dimension!

While we have made some HUGE progress we still have a long way to go!

This is above and to the right of the bathroom door. That crack is beyond what I can repair so it will a job for Louis Dean. The hole up there is an 'oops' from when LD was threading down the cable or wiring or something from the attic. He assured me, "I can FIX it!" And he will!

Then we have the rest of the north wall where the back door is.
That, too, is a 'Louis Dean' project!

BUT....we ARE making progress and I love the way the bedroom is shaping up!
I think WHITE is my new favorite color!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

UP on the House TOP!!!

We have had a critter in our attic! A rather large loud one that has been making 'thumping' noises.....
not 'scratches' like rats or mice! So yesterday an even bigger critter went up on the roof!

Louis Dean took the cover off the turbo vent and dropped down some poison.
Let's hope the critter gets thirsty and escapes BEFORE it dies in my attic!
One end of our house has been open for most of the of the projects LD started BEFORE we discovered it would be the hottest summer on record here in Texas.
He simply can't work in the attic in this heat so we have put off finishing this until it cools down.
WHEN that will happen I have no idea!
Next Wednesday we are getting up at 5 am so we can go up and unload all my fall decorations OUT of the attic! Guess I will find out then if and how much damage has been done to them.

I jokingly told Louis Dean he could NOT play on the roof! AND he had to put away all his 'toys' (like that huge extension ladder!) before coming in the house. But how could anyone resist this face?
I know I can't.

Today we have continued to work on the bedroom project. He is building a stand for the new super duper window unit and will install that soon. I am continuing my wallpapering. Two complete walls done - 2/3 of one and I am rounding the corner on another! He is in the bedroom now resting. Hopefully when I finish my post he will be awake and I can start painting. I am doing the door jams and the door - both sides of the door. I am so tired of these big dark hulking doors. I am painting them an off white and then we will see where my creative juices will take me. The back side of the bedroom door is only visible to US when the door is closed so I am looking at it as a blank canvas and just waiting for inspiration! I do have a few ideas in mind!

I could complain about the heat in Texas but after watching Fox News this afternoon I have decided to praise God instead! As I write there were still no accounts of injury in the earthquake that hit the east coast.
How awesome is THAT?? I have also decided complaining doesn't help so I am grateful to have A/C and the ability to pay the electric bill. I also appreciate the simple pleasure of drinking a cold glass of water.
And that is exactly what I am going off to do right now!
Fill up a clear glass pitcher with ice cubes and filtered water and float some thin slices of cucumber in it.
I will pour me a tall glass and prop my feet up and read a chapter or two in my book!

"Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as to not injure future ones."

Roman philosopher
Mid - 1st century AD

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sights and 'Sounds' From Sunday.....

Sunday afternoon is a good time to enjoy friends, family and some music.
Louis Dean is in hog heaven!

His nephew and a couple of friends came over and I wish you could have heard the beautiful music they made! LD is putting together a music/video titled 'I Just Drove By to See How Things Have Changed'.
He is doing this WITH the help of his nephew who just so happens to play the Dobro.
He taught himself to play it in THREE DAYS!
The pianist is from our First Christian Church here in Irving.
We used to get there early for services just so we could listen to him play!

This is our friend from China and his daughter. He just returned from a month long visit to his family in China.
It was a 19 hour flight home and he arrived back on Friday!
Here he is playing on Sunday!

He was tired and decided to rest. But he could not help himself and was soon playing again!

They are doing 'You Raise Me Up' by Josh Groban.
I WISH you could have heard her sweet voice and his beautiful violin!

Louis Dean and Jane did some pretty harmonizing!

A real perk to having international friends.......
Jane read the poem that is on this silk Chinese tapestry for us.
I bought it at a Goodwill and had no idea what it said. Just that it is beautiful.
It speaks about looking up at the moon from a high hill and remembering your family.

Friends, Family and Music.
This made for a perfect Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wringing out the Week End!

It has been another hot HOT weekend here in the DFW area! I am so tired of this heat!
It takes a toll on our life style and what we can and cannot do!

Friday is hair day in Fort Worth after which Mother and I had lunch at MiMi's Cafe.
She likes to order something different and invariably trades with me since I already KNOW she won't like it so I order one of her favorites! She traded HER Quiche Lorraine for MY clam chowder!

After lunch and a session browsing Facebook and looking at the latest family picture postings she and I headed to Khol's. We had looked forward all week to a shopping day. We each scored on shoes! I got TWO pair to her one!

But she trumped on bath items as well as some lingerie.
We both WANTED to get some cute tops and things but nothing looked good to us today.
Still did well on our tax free shopping day!

The only thing about the day was having to walk to and from each place across a burning hot parking lot and returning to a super hot car interior! Even with the foil windshield thingy on! 107 today!
We were both pretty worn out when I left her to take a nap and drove home to do the same.

The plan was to get up EARLY this morning and do the yard.
In this triple digit heat there really is no 'Cool of the Day.' The ' low' temps have been in the 80's since May!
This is officially the hottest summer on record!
I began edging at 9 am and LD started mowing.

I gave them all a good haircut! No way those crispy fried and scorched ends would ever be green again!

Louis Dean has kept the grass green by using hoses.
The flower beds have struggled.

The Mexican Heather started blooming so I am in hopes this summer will end.....soon?
Lantana seem to thrive in the heat and this bush is doing better than it has ever done!

We spent three hours out in the heat and we were truly 'SPENT!' As I slowly carried the edger and weed eater back to the storage building I realized I had seriously overdone it!
If I had.....I knew Louis Dean had too!!
When I got back to the front yard he was sitting in a lawn chair watering the new grass he put our earlier this season. I spread a newspaper out to rest my head on and stretched myself flat out on the ground!
Louis Dean literally hosed me down! I thought I was going to pass out!
When he worked in the bakery years ago he said it would get so extremely hot! To cool off he would run water on his wrists and pulse points. So that's what he did for me by hosing me down! It did the trick!
The sad thing is that by the time we gathered our remaining tools up and shut the gate and finally came in the house.......I was already dry!

Have I mentioned it is HOT in Texas???
You can wring us out in this heat and humidity!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I was reading my Simple Abundance book the other day.......

A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.
My niece, Leah, gave this copy to my Mother for Mother's Day 1998.
My mother read it and then gave it to me and I have been reading in it daily ever since!
The following quote is for July 28.......

"What is your hobby? Every woman ought to have some pet interest in life, outside of the everyday routine which composes her regular occupation. What is yours?"

- The Mother's Magazine, January 1915

The next day's writing is 'The Home as a Hobby.'
And that is so true of me. I have loved all things warm and cozy and ANYTHING that looks pretty or smells good all my life! I can remember when I was about 5 or 6 years old and taking a nap on my Granny's living room floor. I would gaze at the lace curtains fluttering at the window and marvel at their beauty.

On her wall hung a much larger copy of this art print. I loved that picture. A perfect picture for a little girl to look at before drifting off to sleep! I knew when I grew up I would have lovely curtains at all my windows and pictures on ALL my walls! The pictures on the walls certainly came true! You cannot put your spread palm out on very many places in my house! The walls are FULL!!
 'Highly occuppied' is one way to describe it!

Growing up I was the one who was in charge of cleaning and some of the cooking as well as doing most of the laundry. Something inside of me must have embraced this as my calling. My mother knew how much I loved CLEANING SUPPLIES and she would try to fit a few of them in her grocery budget.
You can SAY anyone can keep a home clean but you really do need the cleaning agents to make it possible!
Pine Sol, Fabuloso, Pledge, Lemon Oil, Windex, Comet......all  products I love.
Joy and Tide! Air fresheners. I love the Glade plug ins!

When I was newly married I would unwrap bars of bath soap and pile them in a bowl just so I could SMELL them! My youngest daughter had a friend who loved to visit our home. Once I gave him some cookies in a Baggie and then dropped the bag in a brown paper sack.
I left this by the door for the next time he visited. Later Amber found the paper bag still in his car and he remarked, "Don't take that out!! It smells just like your house!"

So I suppose - other than my dearly beloved husband and my greatly loved children - the thing I am most passionate about is my home. I am a HOME maker!!

"Only a very exceptionally gifted mind could cope singly with all the problems which present themselves in the perfecting of a HOME."

- Arnold Bennett