Showing posts from August, 2009

A Line of Blue

When Melanie was pregnant with Mei-Ling I shopped both pink and blue until we knew for sure that it was a girl. So today I went through the baby storage bin I had tucked away in a closet, taking out the little blue clothing. Some of it, actually lots of it, little smocked bubble outfits, so very English looking. Certainly reflecting my taste in baby clothes. I suspect Melanie and Casi will opt for a more modern look, but Grammie can still play dress up baby when he comes to visit.
I washed a load of little blue sleepers and blue blankets and stood back when I was done, trying to imagine the joy of another baby in the family. Tiny smiles and the profound beauty of a sleeping baby in my arms. They grow up so fast, each moment cherished for exactly what it is, precious.
I wandered around a bit after the baby clothes were hung up and marvelled at the small changes that come from one rain this time of year. Things perk up so fast. I am looking forward to fall planting, playing in the dirt in…

Fantastic News !

I better stock up on blue yarn and blue fabric, and more than a couple spools of blue thread. The ultrasound today showed a boy for Melanie and Casi. And the best news is, this little one has two kidneys, and his heart looks good, blood circulation looks great and the spine looks normal. All the things we worried about due to Mei-Lings heterotaxy polysplenia and other health issues.
Melanie said that when they had a straight on look at his face, this little one looks just like his sister with a fat round face. For my side of the family, this is the first boy in a couple generations. My father is actually the last one bearing his line of the family name. I had all sisters and I had two girls and my sister had one girl. We are feeling very blessed tonight !

A Bit of Rain and some thoughts

A few sprinkles are falling this morning, and from the radar pictures, it looks like the rain might stick around for a few hours. I couldn't be happier. We need the rain for the garden. It's all tilled and ready for fall planting next month. The grayness of the morning has however made me feel lazy and thinking about spending the morning with my head buried in the pages of a good book, a cup of Old King Cole tea by my side. Miss Mei-Ling will be coming for a visit this afternoon while mommy and daddy go to the Doctor. Melanie is seeing a high risk pregnancy specialist, same one she saw periodically when she was carrying Mei-Ling. We are hoping they do an ultrasound so we know for certain if its a boy or a girl. Melanie is still experiencing very bad low blood sugars but is sick less often now. My dad was fitted for his mask for the radiation therapy. 7 weeks of treatment, both chemo and radiation. My heart aches thinking about him having to go through all that. He is a fighter …

Endless Summer, or so it feels

By the end of August, a lot of the talk around these parts is how anxious everyone is to have summer gone and the heat replaced by temperatures you feel like you can bear. Today its 100 degrees F and it feels hotter than that. The ground is dry, the garden looking more like a waste land than a place of hope. You get excited when clouds build and one can only hope for a stray shower to refresh not only the ground, but you. We have more than a month of hot temperatures ahead of us here in north Texas, and I am praying it goes by fast. I was just outside with my camera, thinking there isn't a whole lot I feel like photographing. It all looks brown and dry. A shell of a cicada, shriveled green bean vines. Tilled soil that feels more like fine dust than dirt. It just doesn't seem pretty to me, and that is partly due to my distaste for this heat. The kittens are cute and follow me around like I am a second mother, no doubt from all the goats milk I dish out to them each day. I find mys…

Our Evening Meal

It looks like it was a fussy meal, but it wasn't. Apricot halves for first course, filet mignon, baby carrots and leeks cooked in butter, and roasted fingerling potatoes, tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and rosemary. For dessert a simple piece of chocolate served in a tiny cordial glass. Candles, a handsome man across from me and the Bernardaud "Cafe Paris" dishes Emery gave me last year that I love. I only have two place settings, but that works now that we are empty nesters.Since getting back to my "French Women Don't Get Fat" lifestyle, the pounds are coming off. 8lbs in two weeks. Life is good, simple but good.

Lots of Cooking and Baking

The last couple days have been busy ones. Had a little party at my house on Sunday, all girls so the food was "girlie" too. Since Julia Child's recipes have gotten me out of my "same old same old" slump I used her recipe for Chicken Salad, which was fantastic and made little sandwiches for the ladies and for dessert we had French Macaroons (used Martha Stewards recipe) and a simple to make Chocolate Hazelnut cookie that was made with Nutella, flour and an egg. They were really yummy too.I tried to keep the sweets in the color theme of the party, brown and pink...even filled a big bowl with chocolate malted milk balls and the strawberry malted milk balls, creating the perfect polka dot match to the table covering. It was fun and honestly, stepping up the cooking a notch has been fun and it sure seemed like the food was a hit, nothing was left !

And the Winner Is !

Emery pulled a name out of a hat, his hat and the name is ....... Hazel just email me at and we will work out the details of getting the give-away to you. Thanks everyone for participating and for all the kind comments.

Final Day for Give Away

The drawing will close at 5 p.m. central time and will enlist the help of Emery to pick a winner. I will be announcing the winner this evening...stay tuned : )

Give Away Has Arrived

Finished the projects for the give away celebrating 900,000 hits to my blog since I started keeping track of them . Just finished the fall apron and tea towel and along with that I will include a pair of my hand dipped bees wax candles, two bars of my home made soap and a ball of my homespun wool. To enter, leave me a comment or send me an email at You should be able to click the photo to get a closer look at the fabric. Its a fall print and not a Halloween print. I will keep this post up the top for one week and have the drawing on Monday, August 24th. Feel free to link this post to your blog The new posts will be below this post until after the 24th

Charleston Cycle Chic

This is a good way to go green and be cute while doing it

Cycle Chic

Its time we brought this to our own neighborhoods... I am planning on getting a local group of Chic Cyclers together

Free Patterns For A Week From the Commercial Pattern Archives

For those who love to sew the University of Rhode Island, Commercial Pattern Archives is offering a free week.... Patterns that are amazing
here is theLINK follow the direction on how to log in as a guest that they provide on the site.
It's simple Log in as Guest and password is Pattern
this is what it states on the web page....There are handwork patterns and quilting patterns too !
"Commercial patterns are full-scale tissue paper clothing patterns used by the home-sewer to create garments and accessories issued in the States as early as 1854. Originally full-scale patterns were included as supplements in fashion periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine and sold through by mail order."
Make sure to have a new print cartridge in your printer so you can print all the patterns you will want and Happy Sewing !

"Julie and Julia", an Inspiration to many

As you may have read, Melanie and I went to see the movie Julie and Julia just a short while ago and I have to admit, the movie ignited a spark in me to step up my cooking a notch or two. I had like so many other women, gotten in a cooking rut. Making the same things over and over and thinking when I sat down to eat..."another ho hum"meal. Just a few days after seeing the movie I was regretting that I had sold my copy of Mastering The Art of French Cooking at a yard sale several years ago. I looked up Julia Child's recipe for boeuf bourguignon and set off to get all the ingredients and spend five hours preparing the meal. It was more than worth the time. Sitting down to that meal, was an experience I will never forget. I felt accomplished and something else happened. I noticed that you could taste the flavor of the mushrooms, the distinct taste of the onions and of the beef. The mushrooms didn't have an onion taste or a beef taste etc. Each bite distinct. I realized …

Daughtry - What About Now

A good reminder that we can make changes....often just one step at a time, but if we all take that step, there is profound movement

Life Isn't Always Easy

One thing I know for sure, life isn't always easy. I have had some really difficult things to go through in my life, one of the hardest was hearing the words from the Doctor nearly 20 years ago say, "we don't think your daughter will make it through the night." I pleaded with God at that moment and bargained with Him, "whatever it takes God, let her live" and then I watched them call a code on her, ready to inject her heart and at that very moment I prayed, "your will God" and hated that I prayed that. Within in second, her vitals returned to normal. I have never viewed God as some sinister character that watches us from above wanting to know just what we would do if it took it all from us. I just don't like that kind of concept. I sure wouldn't test my children's love for me that way, I love them too much to do that or play that kind of game. But whatever...we were able to take our precious child home from the hospital and feel very l…


Let there be many windows to your soul, That all the glory of the universe May beautify it. Not the narrow pane Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays That shine from countless sources. Tear away The blinds of superstition; let the light Pour through fair windows broad as truth itself And high as God. Why should the spirit peer Through some priest-curtained orifice, and grope Along dim corridors of doubt, when all The splendor from unfathomed seas of space Might bathe it with the golden waves of Love? Sweep up the debris of decaying faiths; Sweep down the cobwebs of worn-out beliefs, And throw your soul wide open to the light Of Reason and of Knowledge. Tune your ear To all the wordless music of the stars And to the voice of Nature, and your heart Shall turn to truth and goodness as the plant Turns to the sun. A thousand unseen hands Reach down to help you to their peace-crowned heights, And all the forces of the firmament Shall fortify your strength. Be not afraid To thrust aside half-truths an…

Serenity amid Thunder

Sometimes I read through the old posts on my other blog, which is now set to private and see what I have learned, or what I still need to "get" In March of 06, I was dealing with a person consumed by worry and fear. It was a lesson I am grateful for. I learned a lot from that experience.
I read this post and thought that I am still on the quest for serenity, full and deep serenity that nothing can shake, the kind that can be found even during the most trying of circumstances. Here is what I wrote then.....
Rain is falling in copious amounts this morning. Thunder is shaking the silence, but still there is a feeling of serenity.I thought about that while I was quietly reading. The sound of rain beating on the windows, the wind stirring the new leaves as if they were tiny green kites stuck to tree branches, trying to break loose. Cars passing with that unmistakable sound of driving through deep puddles.Music softly playing in the background, a CD titled "Spa". Relaxing…

Thinking about stressing out over things that never take place

Today as I was stripping wallpaper off my kitchen walls, I was thinking about life and how strange it is when folks over-react to a situation before it even takes place, sometimes within that situation anger arises, tempers flare, words are said or inferred that just bite to the core....and when the situation never manifests, all the worry and the frantic behavior was all just a terrible waste of time. Ugliness for nothing....but the reaction to the "maybe's", the results of what was said and felt cannot be forgotten. Forgiven but not forgotten. I think perhaps there is profound wisdom in taking a wait and see attitude. So many folks spend a lot of time worrying about things that never take place or things they cannot change and in that process they often loose more than just time. Maybe its a control issue. Actually I am pretty convinced it is. Perfectionism seems to be tied up in that a bit too. Lessons learned in life by mistakes as well as by victories. I wrote a b…

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

There is something very calming about going out to the herb garden and the vegetable garden and picking all the things you will need to make a certain dish, or at least the majority of the ingredients you will need. Its a time that can clear the cobwebs out of your mind, especially in the early morning while the air is still cool and the breeze is gentle, as if to give you a gentle hug around the shoulders. Comforting you.This morning with much on my mind, I opened the green gate and entered into the fragrant little herb garden, to carefully pick just the right basil leaves and just the right amount of the most tender oregano for my tomato and fresh mozzarella salad. In no time at all, my mind felt freer . There were garlic gloves in the basket in the kitchen, picked from the garden and fresh tomatoes, a little less than perfect from the harsh summer heat, but full of flavor non the less. Mozzarella, fresh and delightful. Some olive oil, a bit of red wine, salt and a sprinkling of re…

Frankie J - Daddy's Little Girl

this is how I dad's cancer is spreading fast and there is just nothing fair about it. I hate cancer

50 Things That Make Me Smile

What a wonderful weekend I had. Saturday evening friends and family came to help me celebrate my birthday and the party theme was rather hippish, since it was also the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. We had pizza from my favorite Italian restaurant and a wonderful Italian Cream Cake and Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato. All my favorite things !
The gifts were all wonderful and the evening was filled with good conversation and many laughs. The wee girls played so well together, it was great fun watching them interact. I felt so blessed in so many ways. When it comes down to it, life is really about the people that love you and that you love...being friends with them, enjoying spending time together. Sunday Emery and I did some work around the house. In the kitchen, we took the cabinet doors off where I keep my dishes, it gives the area over my sink a more open feel to it and now I am moving things around so that we can take down some cabinets so we can put in a kitchen window. When we put an ad…

How Time Flies ~

Here I am with my mom, 55 years ago...well, almost 55 years ago. I was 5 days old in the photo. It was the day I came home from the hospital. When I was looking at the photo I though, wow, my mom looks good there, hair all fixed and looking trim as ever. She had on a black pencil skirt and heels on too. I look a little scrawny but I was 7 lbs 15 1/2 oz, you'd think they would have given me that 1/2 oz more and made me 8 lbs even !

Mei-Ling reading her book about the cho cho

A little video clip of Mei-Ling telling me about her book. This child adores books and already knows her letters and the sounds they make. She has a collection of books with her at all times.

It Took 5 Hours but boy was it worth it

If you want an extraordinary meal and have about 5 hours to spend in the kitchen, this is the meal for you. It was worth every single minute of my time and there was a profound sense of accomplishment when it was done and the first taste was taken. Celebrating my shared birthday with Julia Child with her recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon a La Julia Child
Inspired by Julie and Julia, the movie

Saturday Morning Ramble, thoughts on turning 55

Sunshine, warm temperatures, summer heat actually, not a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze. Goats calling me to feed them, and chickens clucking. Herb garden vibrant once again with all the new growth from recent rains. Watermelon plants spreading out further and further, melon's ripening on the vine. Roses in bloom once again, with their deep pink flowers showing off to the world just how beautiful they are. My little world is quiet this morning. A few birds singing and the same unfriendly squirrel yelling at me from the ash tree by the water spigot. Morning chores are my favorite, I am not in such a hurry and the day is new and everything seems fresh and new like the day. I am a bit excited today, like a child....its my birthday, and I love birthdays. 55 sounds old to me, but I sure don't feel old. How well I remember thinking as a child that anything over 30 was ancient and that at my parents 25th wedding anniversary party, I kept thinking that they didn't have much…

Blogs That Have Inspired Me This Week

Cycle Chic from Copenhagen Has me planning on getting a group of chic ladies together for bike rides along the trinity river

Une Femme d'un certain age has gotten me to step it up a notch

Fashionally Fab at 50 plus need I say more....

French Essence beautiful

Fat, frumpy & fifty... a great look at life

Parisienne Farmgirl lovely and a combination of life I can relate to

Paris at a Certain Age ah yes

Paris Breakfasts breathtaking photography and paintings, that inspire me to eat beautifully


This past Sunday morning I was sitting on the sofa, head in hands, complaining to Emery that I was feeling uninspired. "I need to be inspired" I kept saying to him and God love that man, he has the patience of a saint and the wisdom of Solomon, he just asked me calmly, "what can I do to help ?" and I was still in my woe is me sort of mood, feeling uninspired about my life. To be fair on myself here, I have a rather, artistic sort of temperament, which really is a comfortable way of saying that at times I feel led more by the mood of the moment than by reason. Such was Sunday morning. I felt fat, (well I am) and I felt bored with the meals I have been making, and I wanted to transform the house in an instant into a well matched chic country home. And at the same instant I wanted to be thin, chic and wear what I wanted, not just what sort of hid what I was trying to hide ! I wanted to go someplace that would inspire me to get my inspiration back...inspiration to live…

Longing for Cool Weather

Sunshine all around me, and a bit of excitement in the air as whispers and plans are being made behind my back for my upcoming birthday celebration. This morning, breakfast on the porch, fresh fruit, iced coffee, fresh bread and of course music of nature playing in the background.
I have a full day planned. Time to go through the closet and "dump the frump". And also time to go through the sewing room and pass along the things I will never use. Fall is approaching and with that comes a time for me when I get major projects done. Get some painting done in the kitchen. We decided the room needs to be lighter in color and so that means a bit of painting. And I have not finished putting down the new flooring in the living room. Summer is a lazy time for me, the heat just takes away my ambition and although I do what I need to do, I don't feel much like going beyond that. Fall time, makes me feel alive again. I love a chill in the air and the comfort of a good sweater and wool…

The Cycle of Life, History repeating itself

At present I am dealing with what I am afraid has to be called, "the same old thing". It's not a good thing in this case, it's just history repeating itself, and sad to say, its happened way too many times. It was two years ago yesterday that I wrote a post about having "toxic people" in your life and knowing when to cut the ties. When I wrote the post I was thinking about my in-laws but this time its not, its my extended family.
Life is not always easy, not always pleasant but there seems to always be a solution to whatever comes up. The solutions are not always pleasant or easy but they do, do the job. Right now I know that I have to forgive her, but forgiveness does not mean you have dinner with the offender, or even talk on the phone, it may just mean you just don't hold on to the hurt in a way that causes you pain. I am reading my own words from the post The Toxic Factor and realizing what I need to do. Family relationships are what they are but som…

Love After Love

Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Feast on your life.
~Derek Walcott ~

Having It All...Chic and Homesteading

This morning I was out doing chores and thinking that with a little planning and some careful attention to the details of life, you can really have it all. By having it all I am thinking about living life spherically, in many directions....all at once, without being scattered and unsettled.
There are times in my life when I need a kick in the seat of the pants to get out of the slump of being a bit lazy on how I dress. For me, its easy to get back to the jeans and tee shirt look and be a bit frumpy looking. I wrote about this very same subject in 2006 in a post I titled There Was A Man in My Closet and another time a few months after that when I wrote My Style is Slipping It appears I haven't quite learned my lesson. I am back to the jeans and tee shirts, forgetting to comb my hair some mornings and just not working at looking good. But the other day on a shopping trip to Goodwill, I felt that tinge of desire to be chic, to dress with a little more care. It does something to a woma…

Taking Time To Smell The Flowers

There is a list of things I should have been doing, but the sunshine was glorious this morning. Sunshine and shadows just fascinate me, the contrast of color, how one side compliments the other. Realizing this very moment in time will never be again, I opted to head out in the sunshine with my camera and try to capture some of the beauty around me. Flowers, critters, silly kittens, new growth in plants, insects and then there were the places that just begged to be explored.....beckoning me.