It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Friday, August 29, 2014


I went to therapy after work today.  It was great!  No, no, no, it was not that kind of therapy.  It was much was fabric therapy!  If you are not a fabric person, then this will not make sense.  If you are then you understand how good it feels to run your fingers over the fabric and imagine it running under the needle of that little Singer.  And you understand the state of mind that you enter as you wander around the shop with your arms loaded with bolts of fabric.  Not to mention the mental challenge and stimulation you get from imagining the fabrics you are looking at and seeing them in the finished project.  Even when this is frustrating, it is therapy! You feel so good afterwards!

Made in 1957, I love this little beauty!

I don't know when was the last time I went in a fabric shop, at least several months.  It  has been just as long since I even tried to go in the sewing room and actually sew.  I did recently order some fall flannels and a pattern to make pumpkins. When the fabric arrived oldest grandson was here and he pulled the package out of the mailbox, puzzled about what was in the fat, squishy envelope.   When I pulled the fabrics out he commented, "Why did you buy those?  You probably already have them somewhere in your stash"! LOL what a wise 10-year old.

I decided this week that it was time to get started with projects again.  I decided that a small applique Halloween wall hanging would be fun (I have a tight deadline, I know) and pulled out a pattern for a little cat on a pumpkin.  I really wanted to do another one, but have no idea where the pattern is and did not want to look for it. I also looked through the container of fall fabric to see what I had that I could use for this project (part of the therapy process, looking for scraps).  Due to the fact that I was tired that evening I decided that I did not want to dig through the scraps and then try to get everything to coordinate.  Nothing to do but just take the plunge and buy everything I needed.

After work today I hit one of the quilt shops on the way home.  It is a small shop and after browsing I saw nothing I wanted, so I moved onto the larger one nearer my house.  When I walked into the store I felt like I hit the Vegas jackpot as all the Halloween fabric was right by the front door!  I walked around the store a bit before I started collecting fabric (this is part of the therapy process).  I managed to stay focused on the project and did not even think about another one (also part of the therapy, very hard to do). Soon I had a lovely stack of an orange print for the pumpkin, black for the cat, green for their eyes, a purple, a gold, and a green plaid, plus the black print for the border.  So now it is ready, set, sew! Great therapy session, will probably need another one soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday 08.27.2014

Bench along the rock wall built by the WPA in front of the Witte Museum
San Antonio Texas

Monday, August 25, 2014

Affect vs Effect

(Before I start this post I have to say thank you to all the congratulation messages I've received after my last post.  Thanks for them all!  I realized on Friday that I did not have to spend my lunch hour doing school work and that I did not have to plan my weekend around doing school work; it was a strange but pleasant feeling!)

I've always struggled with when to use the word "affect" and when to use  "effect".  I would always have to look them up and even then would often be unsure if I was really using the correct word.  The dictionary always explained that one was a noun and the other verb.  While I understand the difference between a noun (person, place or thing) and a verb (action) I was still confused. 

While finishing up my last presentation for school I had the affect/effect dilemma and, as usual, wasn't sure which one was correct.  This time I searched on the internet for help and I found an answer that triggered an easy way for me to remember.  So easy that I wondered why this never clicked with me before, but then again we sometimes miss those easy things when we try to make it hard!

Here is the explanation:

Affect is the verb and it means to cause a change (also, to influence or to pretend).
Effect is the noun and it shows the result of something that happened.

Here is how to remember which one is correct:

Affect = cause

Effect = result

And that concludes this little grammar lesson!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm too numb to celebrate

I should be celebrating, but I'm just too numb.  For weeks I've been anticipating this night, and all day long I've been thinking, "this is it, tonight is it".  So, why am I numb?  I think the answer to that is because it has taken me 40 years to get to this night.  You see, 40 years ago this spring I graduated from high school and tonight I completed my undergraduate degree (yes, now you know my age, but that's okay).  I didn't do this the right way, but I know that this was the way God intended it to be for me.

I started out on the right track after graduation.  Two years at a junior college and one year at a major university, and then life got in the way.  I always wanted to go back to school, but it just wasn't meant to be.  And, then I found out about Concordia University's local campus that offered an Accelerated Degree Program one night a week.  Even then I think it took a year or two before I finally finished the application.  Three and half years ago, on a very cold February night I sat down in a classroom and started back to school. 

It has not been easy, but I stuck with it.  It was hard to work all day and then go to school until 10 p.m. knowing that after I got home and would get to bed that my alarm would be ringing all too soon to start me on another day.  It was hard to come home at night and spend my entire evening on homework.  It was hard to give up my weekends.  It was hard to abandon my sewing room, my books, and my yard.  It was hard and it took discipline.

College was different the second time around.  No lecture halls with lectures and final exams.  Now it was small classes and, in most cases, interactive learning.  I learned that I learned a lot from doing a final paper and presentation, much more than I would have if I had crammed for a final exam.  I learned a lot from classmates, too, in the discussions that we had in most classes.  There was no smoking in the hallways (thank heaven, I hated that), but we didn't have a cafeteria or coffee shop to congregate in either.  And, sadly, the bookstore was in Austin and they delivered our books to us, so no trips to the bookstore this time around (I loved the bookstores with books, supplies, t-shirts, big spiral notebooks, etc.).  The internet has changed college, too.  I had two online classes (very interesting and enjoyable to interact with students all over the US) and in most classes I submitted work online and/or took quizzes online. It was different, but not all bad either.  It worked for me anyway.

Tonight as I drove home I had a flood of emotions.  A little joy, a few tears, and a thankful heart.  Thankful for my dear Daddy who left me enough money to go to a small private university; how he valued education and I appreciate the fact that while he struggled to put himself through Ole Miss he put all of us through school, too. Thankful for family, friends, and school staff who supported me.  Thankful that God helped me through it and sent the little voice to remind me to "stay the course" whenever I got overwhelmed.

Tonight, on a very hot August night I walked out of school and knew that I did it, I did it.  I made it through and it only took me 40 years!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Three lessons I learned today

I learned three things today, three little lessons in life.
Lesson 1

Homemade ice cream will NOT freeze without rock salt, no matter how much ice you use and how long you let it turn. 

Lesson 2

Never assume that you have what you need for a project.  Do not assume that the rock salt is in the garage; you must take the time to go look in the garage to make sure that you have everything that you will need to complete the project.

Lesson 3

You must keep your house and garage organized if you are ever to find anything that you think you have.  You can not expect to be able to easily find the rock salt if you are so unorganized that nothing is where it should be.

Friday, August 15, 2014

What's missing?


Sadly, with much regret the time had come for the leaning Monterrey Oak tree to come down.  It was a large tree, much larger than the two Live Oak trees it stood between; however, it was leaning more and more.  Plus it was choking out the Live Oaks and they were choking it, so the net was that none of the trees could grow properly.  It was time.

This morning before work I decided that it might be a good idea to do one more "poop patrol" of the yard, just in case.  As I walked by the tree (do not laugh here) I had to reach over and touch its trunk and silently I apologized for the fate it would meet today and thanked it for the shade it had provided to the yard and the harbor it provided to the squirrels and birds that inhabited it for all these many years.  Silly, I know.  But still, I felt bad about destroying such a big tree.

Now my yard is filled with light and I'm amazed at how open it feels. It is almost like having a whole new back yard.  I suspect that now I can re-sod the yard and have a grassy back yard.  And, I have a feeling that the plants that I do have will begin to thrive.  In time the remaining trees will begin to grow together, but for now I have light. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tut, tut looks like rain

This is exactly what you want to see on an August afternoon in South Texas!

Friday, August 8, 2014

There's nothing like fresh herbs!

Fresh oregano and basil
Several Saturdays ago (yes, I'm a little behind here) my neighbor rang my doorbell and said that he was trimming their herbs and asked if I would like any.  My response was what do you have?  He had oregano and I didn't have any growing, so over to his yard I went.  He also had some nice basil, nicer than my scrawny little plant, so I picked up some of that, too.

I had just returned from an early morning trip to the Farmer's Market and had a sink of vegetables to wash, so the thought of fresh herbs to complete my food stash was very satisfying.  But the best part was to come.  I put the fresh herbs in this little plastic container with a little water and covered them with a wet paper towel.  I left them sitting on the kitchen counter while I did other things. The aroma that filled my kitchen was unbelievably wonderful!  The fragrance of the oregano and basil combination was very pleasing.

Reluctantly, I finally stashed them in the refrigerator.  But not before I wrapped several of the basil leaves around grape tomatoes that I had bought that morning and enjoyed them with my lunch!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday, 08.06.2014

Lenticular truss bridge
Brackenridge Park
manufactured by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company
East Berlin, Connecticut

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is never easy.  This week I had to say goodbye to one of my dear companions.

Last Saturday morning I thought it was odd when I realized that Baster had not slept with me the night before.  He was a cuddler, snuggler and always slept close to me.  He was puny on Saturday, but I honestly thought it was just one of those cat things that I've experienced with them where they lay around for a day or two and then get up and decide that they are fine and resume their normal lives.  By Monday morning he was very weak, so I loaded him in the carrier and dropped him off at my vet's office.  The diagnosis was that his kidney's weren't working and his body temperature was extremely low. I went by after work on Tuesday to see him;  while I talked to him and scratched his ears I could see his lips silently moving in a "mew".  I left, dreading the decision that I thought I would have to make on Wednesday.

I came home, teary eyed and just prayed for him.  Silly as it sounds, I prayed for Baxter that he would slip quietly from this life during the night.  Maybe I was selfish because I didn't want to have to say the words to put him down and then hold him in his final minutes of life.  I just couldn't face doing that to my big kitty-boy that I had loved so much.  God was good.  As I was calling the vet at 7:10 Wednesday morning he was calling me.  Baxter was slipping away and had only minutes to live.  Baxter went quietly, although not with me and I was spared the gut wrenching decision.  I am thankful.
Baxter (on left) and Mitzie
Bax and his litter mate, Mitzie, had come to me as tiny kittens.  Their feral cat mother had ended up in the backyard of friends from church that live not too far from me.  We still laugh about how surprised everyone was, myself included, when I went over to look at the kittens and said, "I'll take the two little creams" (I already had two cats at the time).  They were totally wild and it took some work to calm them down and tame them, but it was worth it.  I've had 10 wonderful years of companionship with them. 
Baxter spent most of his time sleeping on my bed, day and night.  Sweet Dreams, Big boy!