Thursday, March 30, 2023

It's all About Family!!

Late Wednesday morning, Louis Dean followed me over to Firestone in his truck to leave it for a front end alignment and to get the tires balanced while we spent the day in Fort Worth. 

We went straight to Deanie and Charlie's for a nice visit with them and Lonnie and Michele.
Michele had taken the day off so it was such a blessing for us all to be able to spend some time together.

Deanie and Louis Dean bonded tighter than Gorilla Glue on a road trip in 2012.
The quads had just been born and Deanie was taking Louis Dean back home to finish work on the camper while I stayed in Katy to be with Amber.
They laughed and talked all the way back and have been one another's best admirers ever since.

And they ALWAYS get their picture taken together.
It's a tradition!

I got a phone call from Firestone saying they could not do the alignment - our truck was TOO BIG!
Too bad they didn't tell us that when we spent 20 minutes filling out all the paper work and leaving the keys. We need to find a place that has an 'in ground machine' as they only have one where they raise the vehicle in the air - and our truck wouldn't fit on that!

No worries!!
We will find another place that has the right machine.

Our visiting continued and by this time, Mike was home from work early so we all went over there!

We wanted a photo of all of us but there was no one to take it so a selfie had to do!
Charlie held Mike's camera out - since he has the best one - and Deanie pushed the button.
We looked at it and Michele said, "Lonnie, you look like you're distressed!"
He jerk around and said, "I AM!!!! Look at all these crazy people I'm with!"

We laughed and talked and walked down Memory Lane together and had such a good time.

This is Nita's beloved neighbor Sheryl's back yard and we are standing by 'Nita's Garden' Sheryl has designed in her memory. Mike and I each put a wind bottle on the bottle bush.
Sheryl is a Master Gardener and graciously left the gate unlocked so we could stroll through her gardens.

Mike opened up his kitchen cupboards to show us how well stocked Nita had left them.
Only thing is - Mike doesn't cook.
Nita cooked nearly every night and baked weekly.
Mike has a sweet tooth so she kept him supplied with treats and every Saturday, Nita would bake cookies to take in to the drivers at her work to snack on while they loaded the trucks.
Once one of the guys asked her if she could make the cookies 'sturdier.'
That puzzled her until he explained how he would take a bite and then go back to loading while holding the remaining part of the cookie between his teeth. 
"No problem," she said, "I'll just bake them a minute or two longer!"

Back to the kitchen - Mike unloaded the shelves and we divided up the staples between all of us as well as the spice cabinet. Now nothing will go to waste and Mike has lots of space in his kitchen cabinets now.

Next time we are over there, I'll take pictures of how he's displayed some of his collections.
This was the first time I've been in the house since we lost Nita and it felt good to be there again.

Mike took a picture of we three siblings and our spouses before we all left to have dinner at Texas Roadhouse - one of Mike's favorite restaurants.

It was good to spend this day together.

Louis Dean and I got home before dark!

Mike gave me Nita's giant cake plate and this is how I displayed it.
It's another tangible reminder of our beautiful sister.

Guess what Louis Dean did after we got home?
He brought in all the boxes Mike had sent home with us and sorted and organized the pantry AND the spice cabinet! How he managed to get everything in there is amazing.
No one can pack more into a space than he can!
I went on to bed and left him up for a few more hours working on the pantry.

Thursday is Jam Session Day so I dropped LD off at the Senior Center and drove over to see Kimmy and June. I took them some of his goulash and a rum cake for Kimmy and fruitcake cookies for June.

I think she ate every single one of them before I left!

From there I went to ALDI for some perishable things such as milk, cheese, fruits and vegetables.
I timed it so I could pick Louis Dean up at 4:00 which is when I thought the music would be over.

Only one other guy was still there and he left shortly after I arrived.
Turns out they can play until 4:30!!!
He played FIVE more songs before I finally got to leave!

Yesterday I shopped Hobby Lobby for some art supplies and I hit the jack pot!
18 brushes and 2 dozen tubes of oil paints - for $130!!!

Laying the palette is not my favorite thing to do - but it's done now and I even got some paint on the canvas! This is a 12 inch square canvas with sides nearly 2 inches. I will be painting the scene and 'wrapping it around' the sides so it will not require a frame. 

I also started this canvas for Jesse to hang up in his coffee bar area.
He and I talked on the phone this morning and I enjoyed catching up with him.
It's a beautiful blessing to have FAMILY and I'm so thankful for mine.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Monday Food and Tuesday Treasures!

Monday's Food!

 Dean and Sherry sent us home with a dozen fresh eggs from the country!

There is a difference!
These country eggs seem so much sturdier!
From cracking the shells to the large firm yolks - they seem more 'substantial' than the store bought eggs.

My meal for Monday was breakfast - served at lunch.
Thick cut bacon and toast with apricot fruit spread and coffee completed the menu.

Louis Dean worked outside most of the day cleaning the back pond.
I should have taken a before and after pic!
The pond liner was coated with green stuff but Louis Dean drained, cleaned, and filled it up with water that was sparkling clean!

That's not all he did on Monday!

He's been talking about making his goulash for weeks now.
Monday was THE day!
While he forgets some things - making his favorite recipe was NOT one of them!

We were out of some of the important ingredients - like green bell pepper and celery.
Not to worry!
Our sweet neighbor, Stephanie , emptied the veggie bin on her fridge and Louis Dean's eyes lit up!
He had such a good time cooking.
I need to remember how much he loves spending time in the kitchen.

My only contribution to the meal was a salad and garlic bread.

He made a HUGE pot of what I would call 'Hamburger Stew.'
To me, goulash should have pasta in it.
My sister, Deanie, and I were talking earlier this evening and she reminded me that this dish was called Slumgullion back when Mother made it...except it was totally different.
Mother cooked hamburger, onion, bell pepper (if she had it) and added macaroni and tomato sauce.
That and peach cobbler, pinto beans, meatloaf and cheesy potatoes make up the foods that Mother cooked for us when we were young.

Louis Dean's recipe was delicious AND he cleaned up the kitchen! (Pretty much, anyway!)
He still gets credit!

While he was in the kitchen, I redid the dining room table for spring.

I love pairing vintage pieces with my plates and the whimsical napkin rings and napkins I have had for years and years.

After I took pictures of the table - I pushed everything to one end and pulled the tablecloth - which is actually a bedspread - over it and set up my art table on the other end.

While I did not put my brush into paint Monday night - I DID lay everything out and set it all up to do a mountain scene from the cabin in New Mexico where son Jesse took us last August.
I am hoping to go back there again this year if possible.
The scene I will be painting is in the fall - just as the aspens are turning.
Perhaps next year we can visit there for that season.
I will be painting the scene on a wraparound 12 inch square canvas.

Now that the art table is ready and waiting - it won't be long before I can start painting!
Preparation is the key! All that follows is easy!

Tuesday Treasures!

My normal thrifting partner, Brenda, retires on Friday so this is her last week of work and she didn't get off early on Tuesday as was her normal schedule.

Louis Dean has been wanting a new coffee pot - as in a regular sized one as opposed to the four cupper he has now. He's talked about this a LOT lately so today was the day to shop for one.

First we hit up Irving Thrift.

Right off the bat - he found one!!!
Plus a couple of good quality whiskers!
The bouquet was my find!

More faux florals, a brand new insulated picnic bag, two beautiful new cylinder lamps which replaced the two vintage ones in the guest room, and a brand new cushion for Louis Dean's chair in the gazebo.

 I found a nice green tablecloth for the baby grand in the den and a curtain that I will repurpose as a table cloth for the den table. As I stood in the check out lane - I spied my sweet Easter Lady! $2.98 less 30 %!
I added the lamps again accidentally. 

New pillowcases in the perfect shade of green for our bedroom.
The blessing sign is now hanging on the wall in my sewing room as I write.
That cool wine bucket was perfect for one of the floral bouquets I got today.

It was a wonderful day of 'Goodwill Hunting!!'

Our first stop was at Irving Thrift and then we went on down the street to Goodwill.
Louis Dean is 6 feet tall so I felt sure we could each take a buggy and meet back up.
Except we didn't.
I finished shopping and looked around for him - he's head and shoulders above all the racks - but I couldn't FIND him!  I got in line and was still looking for him, checked out and asked everyone in line after me if they had seen an older guy in brown overalls - NO ONE had!
I went out to the car thinking he MUST be there - but he wasn't.
BACK in I went and the PA system there was not working so they couldn't make an announcement.
The bathrooms are locked so my friend at the checkout assured me he wasn't in there.

I walked up and down every isle and FOUND him in the book corner!
The book cases are higher there and that's why I couldn't see him!

Be still, my heart!!!
I had freaked out for no reason and had to calm myself down.
Our imaginations can take control of us and throw us for a loop!

It was a blessing that our next stop was at Hollywood Nails for a His and Hers pedicure.

I was in dire need of a relaxing hour......

A pedicure for me is a luxury.
For Louis Dean it is as necessary as a medical check up.
His diabetes - as mild as it is - has affected his feet and these pedicures have made a huge difference.
As opposed to his previous podiatrist appointments which cost three times or more as much as a pedicure and was not nearly as beneficial. 

It was a good day for us and we came home ready to get a few things done.

Louis Dean went out to the gazebo and finished getting all the lights down.
Our replacement parts have come in so we will be working to get out gazebo back in shape!
I'm all excited about new ideas to decorate it!

While Louis Dean worked outside - I was baking inside!
I did a couple of cookie sheets of fruitcake cookies and a batch of rum cakes with a rum/sugar/butter glaze.

Louis Dean and I are doing a Fort Worth Day tomorrow and will be visiting family and friends and taking some baked goodies to share with them,

I walked over to our sweet neighbors to leave them a few rum cakes on their front porch....

Tamara is a gardener extraordinaire!
These beautiful bluebonnets are by her front door and I had to take a pic of them!


Sunday, March 26, 2023

A Great Weekend!!!

 We have had a really great weekend.
Both of us had a few things we wanted to do around the house on Saturday - I was still working on laundry and Louis Dean is always organizing his room.

We met back up at lunch and watched a program in the den.
Sherry taught me how to make Spanish rice last week and my first try turned out good!
Quesadillas, refried rice, a salad and burritos rounded out the meal and when we finished eating, we both decided to take a nap!

I woke up at 4:10 and had a text from Amber.
For Christmas, she and Mike had gifted us with a Stars Hockey game with all the bells and whistles and excellent seats!!! 
She said she wanted to give us the Total Package Experience and they would pick us up at 4:30!!
Oh, my! I thought they were coming at 6:00 so we compromised with 5:00 and threw it into gear getting ready in record time!!

Here we ARE!!!!
Mike dropped us off and went on to park while we took pictures and people watched.

The very first thing they did after we went through the doors was to take Louis Dean over to the Hangar where they bought him a cool Dallas Stars cap!

We had such great seats and the game was exciting, the food good - burgers, nachos, and beer.
We had so much fun!!!
Louis Dean leaned over and told me, "This is truly magnificent!!"

This was our first big outing since the Christmas show back in December - when Louis Dean fell on our way out to the parking garage.

They were not taking any chances this time and watched him like a hawk!

We stayed in our seats until the crowd had time to clear out some before we stood up to leave.

I noticed the police officers wearing their white hats and smiled!
Remember the old westerns where the good guys always wore white hats and the bad guys wore black ones?

Since Louis Dean had been to the Father/Daughter Dance on Friday night and the Stars game on Saturday, we decided to watch church online this Sunday morning and rest up a bit!

That didn't last long - the rest, I mean!

I needed to order a new gazebo cover, rain curtains and mosquito screens but I do better when Louis Dean is sitting beside me, so I order the right thing. Two heads are better than one!
We have a 10X12 Roth and Allen gazebo from Lowe's - our FOURTH gazebo since we've been married. LD has used pieces from all of the previous gazebos to reinforce the present one and it has proved to be sturdy enough to handle the storms we've had recently.

Once we ordered the replacements, Louis Dean felt compelled to get out there and take down the tattered remains. The wind and hail of last Thursday ripped up the rest of the top and shredded some of the netting and rain curtains as well.
He decided to take down all my lights since the hail had broken so many of the bulbs.
It was a lot of hard work! He even took up the rugs and hung them out to air.
Can you see the one on the back rail of the gazebo? It's not really a rail but the parts of an iron bedstead from an old home in Commanche.
The other rug is hanging on the line to the right.
I kept checking on him to make sure he was okay.

The only way I enticed him to stop and come in was to bribe him with popcorn, an icy cold bee, and a movie!

A Harrison Ford film is always good!
This one is from 1993.....

So what did I do all afternoon??
I cleaned and prettied up our bedroom!
Before we left for the ranch, I had changed out the flannel sheets for the pretty lemon themed light ones for spring and summer.
Pretty but I didn't like the 'feel.'
I remember when Benjamin was little, he was picky about his socks.
He couldn't wear them if they didn't 'feel' right and I can so relate!
Not only the sheets but the covers were not comfortable either.

I took all that off and replaced it with the down filled comforter, over some quality cotton blend sheets, and topped it all off with a floral cover.

I had put this in the guest room but then switched it out to here and added back the pillows.
Turns out I really LIKE them!
Perhaps I just wanted a change from all the white I had for so long.
Louis Dean is on blood thinners, so all that white posed extra work using the peroxide spray on all the blood stains on a daily basis. He can just walk by something that touches his arms or hands and before he knows it - he's bleeding. 
I'm loving the feminine floral look for spring and summer of 2023.

I brought home all the vintage looking floral textiles I had used at the camper/cabin for the last few years and have found places to use them here.

Some years ago, Amber said to me, "Mom, I love how you make your home so personal and how it's designed to work for you."

“If you wait until you have enough money to decorate and make your home your own, it will never happen. If you wait until you can afford to buy everything new, you are missing the point. It is the old, the new, the hand-me-down, the collected, the worn but loved things in your home that make it your own.” —Stacy Risenmay, Not Just a Housewife

And I do love my home!
 It's an eclectic blend of all the 'Lindas' I have been through my life.
I am a collector of tangible memories and other debris!

I close tonight's journal entry with this memory of me and my sister, Nita, on this day in 2015.

All of us who love her miss her every day.....
Now instead of crying at every memory.....and I still do that sometimes.....I can smile and thank God for all the years, months and days that our sister was here with us on earth,

I recently finished the book 'My 90 Days in Heaven' by Don Piper and it has blessed me greatly, as has 'Healing After Loss' by Martha Whitmore Hickman.

All the love and prayers of so many is slowly healing parts of my heart and I thank all of you, my sweet cyber friends for your friendship, love, and concern.
I pray to God that he will hug Nita and let her know how much we love and miss her.

Friday, March 24, 2023

A Catching Up of Days.....

I don't know how I have let so many days catch up with me lately.

I think my age is beginning to slow me down or something.
We slept late on Tuesday - as we usually do every day - and enjoyed watching our cats play.
I'm loving these 'retirement' days.
I went out on the side deck and saw Louis Dean out by the rose garden and thought to myself, 
"I have arrived. We are now truly living a country life."

I've always been an accomplishment-oriented type of person, but lately I have been doing more 'being' than 'doing.'

The one thing I did do on Tuesday was go down to Sherry's and cook up a big batch of taco soup for our Hill County Beekeepers Fellowship - aka - The Sting of the Bee!
This is such a good soup and the recipe came from Deanie but Nita is the one who wrote it out for me.
I made a copy and took it with me to the ranch - I love seeing her handwriting.

Another member brought this good Mexican dessert, and several other members contributed the sour cream, chips, guacamole, tea and such. 

It was such a good meeting and the fellowship is wonderful!
We watched a program on capturing swarms that was absolutely fascinating.
The beekeeper was from Ohio and in most of the video, he did not wear even a veil!
What we learned is that a swarm of bees is simply that - a swarm.
They have no hive or brood, honey and 'home' to protect - so they don't sting you.
Now, IF they have comb in the tree or wherever, then that's a different story.

Not that we intend to chance it but it's good to know.
Sherry and I always suit up - just in case!
She ended up in the ER once and we are NOT taking chances.
Still, this guy wore those blue plastic gloves and I intend to get me some of these!
It would make working with the bees so much easier than the cumbersome gloves we have.

Monday night I had a bad dream of sorts and I talked to Sherry about it on our way to and from the bee meeting.
In the dream I was overwhelmed by this huge Christmas party that was taking place in a mall.
I lost all my people and wondered how I would ever find them again.
The mall was trashed by the party and children got separated from parents and it was all a big chaotic mess.

What brought this dream on was I had 'forgotten' about Easter.
Not really forgotten but I did forget that I usually host a family gathering on Good Friday and if not then it would be Easter Sunday or the Saturday preceding.

I've been giving this some thought, though, and it is hard to part with traditions and NOT do some of the things you've done for years.

When we got back to the ranch, I sent text messages to my four children telling them I would not be hosting one of my traditional gatherings over the Easter weekend this year.
Nothing stays the same forever and as Louis Dean and I are growing older, we are adapting to this new time in our lives.
Louis Dean is doing well since being diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer's.
I am beginning to doubt the latter, but it doesn't matter because it is what it is.
And I am not scared like I was at the beginning of this journey.
He is comfortable down at the ranch and our intention is to spend half our time there and half in the city. I'm being mindful of what I plan to do these days.
Sometimes I think we should go and DO while we can -
and then I wonder if it's not best to keep life simple and uncomplicated.

I admit to there being some challenges - as in disposing of the trash!
I have to be clever and creative in getting things out to the curb these days.
All in all, life is still good and continue to live well and laugh a lot each and every day.

All my children responded graciously - as I knew they would.
This is harder on me than it is for any of them.
I'm grateful for all the celebrations at Easter when the grands were all younger.
As my son, Jesse, said - "Traditions may change, but memories will still be created and cherished."

Wednesday was our last full day at the ranch, and I confess - I did very little!
We got up and did our morning routine and then we both went back to bed for a little while.
I did clean up the camper in preparation for us leaving the next day.

 We met our friend, Rosey, that evening at a great Mexican food restaurant in Marlin - halfway from her place and ours! 

Sherry and I arrived first, and I ordered my first ever pitcher of margaritas.
Sherry and I had not seen Rosey since last October. Or was it September?
We talked and laughed and caught up with each other and had the very best time.
I could have lingered even longer at the table - but son Dean was out of town to attend a funeral and Louis Dean was 'home alone.'

We all hugged and said our goodbyes and made plans to meet up at our place at the ranch on Easter weekend.
I love making plans at the end of a visit for the NEXT one!
So while it won't be my usual kind of gathering, I am thrilled and looking forward to spending that Saturday with Dean and Sherry and Rosey - my 'country family!'

Louis Dean was waiting for me back at the ranch with a nice campfire for our last night there.

We don't do anything in a hurry these days unless we have to!
It was a little after 2:00 on Thursday afternoon when we left for home.
There was a slight detour as we had to go back to Marlin to pick up my credit card I had accidently left at the restaurant. Still and all, we managed to get home before 6:00!

Everything was pretty much as we left it.
Some of our outdoor light bulbs had been shattered by the hail last Thursday night.
The already torn gazebo cover was even more damaged.

This morning I called my roofer and Brenda and filed a claim as we will be needing a new one now.
It's a blessing as the front porch has some rotted wood and needs some serious attention.
While it may prove to be costly - still it is something that needs to be done and soon!

Louis Dean didn't sleep very well last night and I had gone to bed before he did.
His restlessness finally woke me up at 4:00 this morning.
He has a song about that!

So I was up from 4:00 to 6:00 before going back to bed.
When we woke up at 10:00 - the power was out!
By 12:00 the power was back on and Spector was up and running by 3:00.

I gave Louis Dean a trim on his hair and eyebrows - ever notice old men's eyebrows??
I 'mow' Louis Dean's!!

He took a bath and dressed up for the Father/Daughter Dance tonight at Fellowship Church.

We were sitting out on the driveway ready and waiting for Mike to pick him up!

Mike and his three daughters!
Granddaddy (Mike's dad) and Louis Dean made three father figures for the three daughters!

Look how beautiful and grown up they are!!!!
I am loving watching them as they grow from infants to toddlers to preschoolers to elementary schoolers to MIDDLE schoolers!

Such sweet girls and precious and kind!

Off they went to the dance!

I stayed busy cleaning the guest room up!
No more Christmas red in there now.

This is the top of the kitty litter house - all decked out for spring.

After I finished in there, I made a big pitcher of tea and picked some fresh mint to flavor it.

I keep thinking the winter weather has killed the mint but every year it comes back strong!!!


Candles have been lit today since the power was out but this one stayed lit because it smells so good.

Louis Dean is home now and he had a wonderful evening!
The girls and Mike and his dad all came in for a little visit.

My heart is full tonight as I close this journal entry.
God is good all the time and in every season of Life!