Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thank Goodness I Was a Young Wife in the 80's

Just one more thing about IRONING....before I leave the subject alone.

I found this book years ago at Half-Price Books and it's full of great tips and household tricks.

And it's the perfect red that caught my eye in the bookstore's vintage book section.
Yes, I judge a book by its cover. 

It's important to note that it's Copyright 1947.
This book was probably a God-send to the housewives of that time.
It even has a section about how to get Mercurochrome and Iodine out of fabrics.

If you don't know what those are then you are not in my age group.
Mercurochrome was bright orangish-red and was the "cure-all" for all scrapes and cuts....much like Neosporin is today.  Only Neosporin is clear in color. 
Iodine and Mercurochrome stained.
I still have an orangish stain on my knees from
all the scabs that lived there my entire childhood.

Back to ironing......

This is the book where I found the photo of
 the extremely satisfied housewife doing her ironing.
She looks content and knows she is a good wife.
And she was having a Good Hair Day.

She's dressed for the day, has her apron ironed and is ready for the basket of dampened clothes to be pressed and folded.  The roast and potatoes are already in the oven and the children are roaming the streets on their bikes.  Except Little Tommy.....he's down by the Alone.  It was 1947.
She would finish her ironing,
polish the silver,
 get those Mercurochrome stains out of Becky's Sunday School dress,
 rinse out the baby's dirty cloth diapers, hang one more load of clothes on the line
and then call the children in for dinner. 
She liked for them to be bathed and dressed in their nicest clothes
when her husband came home from a long day at the office.
She didn't mind the extra load of laundry this caused.
It was her pleasure.

Poor guy, he worked so hard.

(read this with a huge hint of sarcasm)

Thank goodness she could refer to this book
 if she ever had a question about how to iron certain items.

Her husband was a complete bear to live with if his shorts (underwear) was wrinkled.

Are you kidding me?

All I'm saying is ......


We've come a LONG way.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My new favorite place.... blog land.  I have a terrible habit.  Well, okay, I have more than just "a" terrible in just one terrible habit.   But my current, newest bad habit is spending way too much valuable time reading blogs.  I tell myself it's still "reading" and surely reading is not a bad thing.  But the time just disappears when you're sitting at a computer and then before I know it, I've been on here.....well, a long time. 

One new blog I came across a couple of months ago is now my new favorite.  This blogger has inspired me in so many ways.  She has opened my eyes.  Her photography is unbelievable.  Her writing is easy to read.....and makes me feel what she's feeling.  She's a young mom and the pictures she's capturing of her daily life with two under three years old makes me so jealous that I didn't have this venue when my kids were little.  Who could have imagined blogging when personal computers and cell phones were so new to the horizon? 

This world will be a better place when we can learn to love our own thighs and bottoms
like we love the sweetness of these "cheeks" on a baby.

This photo of hers on her post yesterday just spoke to my heart. 
 And I had to share with you....
 and start catching up on her life the last 6 months. 
Start with Nella's birth story. 
Then you will be hooked and want to read every post. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Will has the day off from his job at the Y, so he just left to go to the movies with a couple of friends.  Five minutes after he left, he came back, ran upstairs and back down again, and threw a wadded up tee shirt in the dryer. 

Me:  What are you doing?

Him.  I'm fluffing up this shirt.

Me:  Why?

Him:  Because I have to wear it tonight to Parent's Night.

I said nothing as he ran back out the door....I'm getting really good at saying nothing...but it's 2:10 p.m. and he's fluffing his shirt to wear tonight...which by then, the shirt will be cold and wrinkled again in the dryer that stopped hours before. 

Of course, he will start that dryer up again as he's getting ready to go.

And this makes me think about ironing.  A lost 

When I was about 5,  I can remember sitting in the living room of our house in Midland, and helping my mama mist the items of clothing that went into a big bag before we took it to the Ironing Lady.  We would all pile in the car.......and not put on seat belts....because there were none.......and drive to the other side of town to drop the big bag of damp clothes off at the lady's house.  That must have been a real luxury for my mother.  We didn't have a maid but we had an ironing lady.

By the time my sisters and I were in upper elementary, my mother had taught us how to do laundry and iron our own clothes.  My mother was working outside the home....had a maid off and on, but no ironing lady.  Although I can't remember being taught to iron, I can't remember not knowing how.  And I also can't remember not ever thinking my clothes didn't need to be pressed before I put them on.  I am a crease girl from way back.  I guess as permanent press and synthetic clothing came along, ironing wasn't as necessary.  But I'm the girl that melted that synthetic clothing because I ironed it anyway. 

When I was a single girl, I would take my jeans to the dry cleaners to have them heavy starched.  The ultimate.  But everything else I ironed myself.  Ironing was just part of getting ready....another step in the process.

One time when I was in high school, I went to pick up my friend and co-cheerleader before a football game.  Our uniform in cooler weather was to wear a long sleeved white cotton blouse under our sleeveless top.  Of course, mine had a razor sharp crease going down the sleeves because I had ironed and starched it that way.  When my friend got in the car, I was shocked at her wrinkled blouse.  This was the wadded up wet for a week wrinkled.

I calmly asked her if she wanted to go back in and iron her shirt.  Yes, I did.  I thought maybe she was running late and didn't have time...but I was willing to wait and be late....and I mean, her shirt was ridiculously wrinkled.  And it was daylight.

Her response appalled me....." mom's not home."

Meaning she didn't know how to iron?  She didn't know where the ironing board was?  Her mom ironed for her?  I never!  And she was so totally not bothered by it.  Obviously I was bothered by it...I still remember it after all these years. Huge chunks of my childhood memories are missing but I remember this.  ha.

So all this is to say, while I never ironed pillowcases....I do like my clothes ironed.  I'm an "iron it as I wear it" kind of ironer.  Although my mother-in-law had the basket of clothes to be ironed...and would spend an afternoon ironing.  That, I have to admit, seemed like way too much of a chore.

My children?  They know how to iron.  I always made sure there was an ironing board and iron readily their own for upstairs.  But do they?

No.  They prefer the dryer method.  And they tell me nobody irons.  Clothes are supposed to look wrinkled.  Alrighty.

Apparently the gene for desiring sharp creases didn't get passed down.  Or I'm older than dirt and need to get with it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How You Know It's Time to Stop Taking the Children..... The Children's Museum.

If there is a Dress Up Area ....and they dress up and take their own picture....
it's probably time to stop taking them.
Especially if there is a line of small children waiting their turn with the dress-up clothes.

If they take the props and act out with them....
long enough for the other "children" with them to take their picture...
it's probably time to stop taking them.

If they weigh more than 30 pounds and get inside the hand-made basket and
 try to pull each other around...
it's probably time to stop taking them.

And lastly, if they are old enough to go in by themselves while the fathers....who were supposed to be with them...went another's time to stop taking them.

Spring Break, 2004
Cruise Stop at Grand Cayman Island

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bill's Pecans

Chuck - 10, his daddy (Bill) and baby Michael, 1967
I love that Bill is "letting" Michael hold his if he can. 

Chuck's baby brother, Michael, came to Houston today for a business meeting tomorrow.  He and his co-worker drove out to see us this afternoon....way out of their way, so it was very appreciated.  Houston is so big that it's a lot easier to not tell people you're in town. 

Michael, Will and Chuck.
Posing reluctantly for me.

But Michael did tell us he was coming in and would drive out to see we cooked a late lunch/early dinner....a 5:00 p.m. meal.  On the menu,  The Pioneer Woman's Best Lasagna Ever, Caesar Salad and Garlic Bread, Iced Tea and Brownies. 

(Rave reviews from everyone on the the way.  Chuck, especially....who doesn't get a cooked meal very often anymore.  I dont' know if it was that the lasagna was that good or he was just excited we didn't have to pay a tab at the end.)

Oh, and Bill's pecans.  Sugared.  To go with the brownies.

Bill is Chuck's sweet daddy who passed away in April, just 2 days before his 81rst birthday.  He had been sitting under his pecan tree just a half an hour before reading his book.  Then he wandered around his yard to pull weeds or look at his garden and that's where he died. 

I miss Bill, although honestly I think it hasn't really hit me yet.  Living 500 miles away and only seeing him twice a year...I think it will take me a little longer to realize he is really gone. I have the luxury of pretending he's still in Mississippi. 

The two tangible things I will miss most about Bill are his pecans and his Chex Mix Snack Mix.  Every year at Christmas, Bill would send us home to Houston with 2 large bags of his shelled pecans and 2 large containers of his Chex Mix Snack Mix (with his pecans in it).  The shelled pecans would go in the freezer and last all year long.  The Chex Mix would never make it to the Louisiana/Texas border.  We're eaters in the car on long road trips.  It's just what we do. 

Today I pulled the last bag of pecans out to make Sugared Pecans to go with our dessert.  The last bag that Bill gave me.  I'm sure there are more in their freezer in Cleveland, but this is the last bag he handed us. 

But the good thing is....I used the pecans.  I talked about Bill.  I thought about Bill.  We ate Bill's pecans.  And Bill is remembered.   And isn't that what all of us want? 
 We just want to be remembered. 


Bill, you are forever loved and always remembered.  Your pecans were delicious.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Life is maintenance.  And around this house, Saturday's Maintenance Day.  Chuck is busy fixing our money  And I've been hanging shutters.  The dogs are chasing cats in their dreams. 

I feel like I should explain to any cat-loving readers out there that while I say I hate cats....I would never ever hurt any breathing animal....ever.  Cockroaches and fire ants aren't animals. I take care of our cats....and even occasionally pet on them.  But just in general, they are like small children.  Thankless. The only time they look at me in the eye is when the cat bowl is empty.  You know, like when you walk in the door after being gone for hours....and all children and the husband come out to greet you...only it's not really to greet you....they want to know what's for dinner.  Sort of like that.  I love our cats.  But I hate cats.

Okay...just felt like I needed to clear that up.

While in Galveston, I picked up a couple of old shutters.  Sharman took me to a great place......and all I can tell you is it was huge, un-airconditioned, and on a corner in the outskirts of The Strand area.  Rooms full of old shutters, doors, sinks, hardware......and antiques.  I'm going back there.  It was like a indoor salvage yard and the owner was so friendly and basically gives the stuff away.

Today I hung the shutters.  

There's the first shutter...years of sun and water and coats of paint....perfect.
I also want to point out the H (from Debbie) is hanging by a piece of iron on the right side of the picture.
Debbie gave me 2 pieces of this iron......years ago. 
So let's call that our Little Debbie alter.

The rectangle frame above the bunnies is total glare in this picture
but it's an antique needlepoint piece that says.......


And really, doesn't that just sum it up?  Whether you're working around the house
 or sitting in a hospital waiting room.........just pray for the strength needed for the situation.

My favorite quote is very similar...

Do not pray for an easy life. 
Pray for the strength for the life you've been given.

This quote changed my praying.  I used to do the begging prayers...the easy life.
But this turned my prayers around. 
Love that.  Which is why I bought the needlepoint when I saw it years ago.

The second shutter is in the dining room.  Which is really just an area
 This is the hardest room for me....because it's square and only has 2 walls. 
Dang open concept. 
 To center the table under the chandelier means you can't center the hutch. 
 So that leaves a huge open spot on the wall. 
 I'm loving this shutter here..........for now.   

And just as I was heading out to the garage to look for some screws, I saw Maggie sitting on top of the rocks by the spa.  Stopped to get the camera......because I'm always trying to capture this sweetness.

Lion King....or rather Lioness Queen

She was looking towards the sun and just couldn't keep her eyes open. 
Her eyelashes were fluttering. 
Yes, I'm obsessed with this dog. 
She's my favorite of all the 2 million animals running around here.

So I moved to the other that's better. 
Yes, I know she has major eye drainage
 and a dirty chin.....
but we love her.......and don't really see the flaws.

 Debbie told me to take beef out of her diet and it would go away. 
So the next bag of dog food we're going to try that. 
Of course, we had just purchased the largest feed bag they sell when she told me that. 

Sweet Potato Vine.......loves this heat and humidity.  This was hanging on in the shade but I repotted it and put it in this spot....which gets the afternoon brutal sun.  It's gone crazy.  I have it wrapped around a wire topiary frame.....but it does really great as ground cover or in hanging pots. 

 I love low maintenance....plants, houses, friends, children and husbands.
Do a maintenance check on yourself. 
Are you low maintenance?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finally Friday

I don't know why I titled this post that....mostly it's for my working family and friends.  I know how glad they are that Friday is finally here.  But if you are, like me, a school employee, it only means we are that much closer to the beginning of school.  Duh press ing.  And the quiet house is fixing to get loud.

Some random thoughts:

  • One of the reasons I hate the cat hair on my white Corian kitchen counter.  I never see the cats on the counter but they leave their hair.  And it disgust me.  I just wiped it down with Clorox Cleaner....and I swear there will be more when I go back in there.

  • Will called me this morning...and woke me ask me to bring him a clean shirt.  He had to dress up as food this morning (Fridays at the Y Summer Camp are apparently themed and messy) he was a bowl of ice cream.  We cut the bottom out of a plastic bowl last night for him to wear, then this morning he put it over his that it hung around his neck and get ready.....squirted canned whip cream, chocolate syrup, cherries and cut up bananas over his hair running down his face and into the bowl. Apparently by 10:30, the shirt stunk so bad it was making him nauseous.  Yes, he woke me up at 10:30....don't judge. 

  • The best part about taking Will a clean shirt....after I got frustrated with him for not thinking to pack a clean one...was seeing him at work with all those cute kids.  They adore him and he deals with it.  They all waved to me and he turned to them and said "On the count of 3, shout your name to my mom......1,   2,   3........"  And they did just what he said.  I've been very proud of his work ethic this summer.  Work ethic is a quality you certainly want your children to have.  And after the teen years you wonder if they'll ever be able to hold down a job.  I mean, picking up their shoes is incredibly hard and requires all kinds of moaning and complaining.

  • My morning routine is to go through the downstairs living area and kitchen and pick up everybody's stuff.  One of the joys in my life.  So just now, I grabbed shoes, flip-flops, the dogs' frisbee, and a cat toy....and on my way to throw the shoes in the shoe basket, something pinched the heck out of my lower, inner arm. You know the pinch that hurts like heck...and immediately pops up...into a welt and will be a full blown bruise in an hour.  What the heck pinched me? Two flips?  The plastic frisbee?  Who knows.  Housework is dangerous.

  • Jordan and Chris.....the newlyweds....have a sweet mutt...I mean Boxer/Beagle mix....named Mia.  That makes Mia my granddog.  So that would make Cameron... Mia's aunt.  Aunt Cameron sent Mia a package the other day.  It was an A&M dog bed and a Longhorn chew toy....with one of the horns off.  Take a trip over here and see the rest of the story.
That's all I've got.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I'm back from Galveston and finally sitting down to share some pictures of my friend's family homestead that she and her husband have been working so hard on repairing and bringing back to life. 

This friend's name is Sharman and we go way back.  Back before cell phones and personal computers.  We worked for the same company but in different departments.  We were fast friends who shared the same sarcasm and dry wit.  Many breaks were spent in the coffee shop lounge discussing how lame our bosses were.....not to mention those pesky co-workers.  She got me, I got her. 

Then our company filed bankruptcy and one by one, the 200 plus employees all went their separate ways.  My way was to the suburbs to become the stay-at-home mom....who had lots and lots of odd jobs through the years.    Sharman opened her own store and became a mother.  She stayed in the city. 

This was in the 80's.   That's so sad to think that was over 20 years ago.  I was a young woman in the 80's. Single, then married, then a mother of one, then a mother of two....and eventually the mother of three.  I had the big hair, the preppy clothes, the add-a-pearl necklace and thought things couldn't get more modern. 

 But things always get more modern. 


It was fun to spend two days in a house that was built before 1900.  It survived The Storm of 1900, over a 100 years of people walking in and out its door and then Hurricane Ike.  The house survived but has taken a beating never the less. Visualize soaking wet sheet rock, water logged wood, the heat and humidity adding to the damage and the first floor sitting in this moldy, mildewy brew for months before work to restore it began. 

It's now habitable....but it's taken months and months of weekends of Sharman and her husband Larry's hard work to get it to this point.  The reason Sharman and I  went down  was to fluff and puff it...because out-of-town relatives were coming in for a week's stay. To fluff and puff means to rearrange some things, put sheets on the bed and make it cute and welcoming.

It took 2 days because Sharman and I worked hard for an hour, talked for two.  Worked another hour, stopped to eat for one.  Worked a little more, then made our beds and said goodnight.  Got up early, talked, cleaned, made a Starbucks run, cleaned, talked, swept the floors and locked the doors behind us.

The house....fluffed and puffed and ready for company.....

Coming in the front the first room....

Front room looking back to the kitchen.

This is the perfect place for a margarita and a card game.

Maybe next time.

Well, hello cute chair.

Old marble top table with iPod station sitting on it. 
 1920 meet 2010.

Sharman has done a wonderful job of creating this "home" with used furniture and finds. Things that are beautiful and pleasing yet comfortable and not expensive.
 Recycling things she already had or bought new or used with a low price tag.
This pine piece was in Sharman's house for years. 
It's right at home here.

Now to the middle room... the t.v. room...the family room
...or the striped room.

The khaki slipcovered sleeper sofa is from Cindy Crawford/Room Store.  The striped roman shades are from Pottery Barn Kids.  Let that be a lesson to all of us to look there next time.  The other things are just "finds" to make this space cute and comfortable. 
Some finds are from the upstairs quarters of this house.


 The upper cabinet was in Sharman's house forever...
but now it has found the perfect place to hang.
  The vintage suitcase belonged to a girl named Camille...
bought for her by her brother. 

They grew up in this house. 

I love the embossed gold initials....and the traveling tag still attached. 


 A requirement for all beach, cards and puzzles for the people....
and tennis balls and frisbees for the dogs.

The best organizing solution ever.


 A wine crate....the perfect chair holder.

We "slipcovered" the rattan sofa, that belonged to Sharman's mother, with a white blanket.  The white slipcovered ottoman is a twin bed waiting to happen. 
How great is that?  
 You just throw off the cover and fold out the bed.   

 Oars, of course.

 Fishing poles and bright and shiny lures become art.
And the greatest part about having cracks in the wall? 
You can stick photos in them. 

Now we head into the kitchen....


I wanted to steal the lantern while Sharman was sleeping but I think she would have noticed.
Lanterns are so current and I have no lanterns.
  Makes me feel behind the times.

Double sinks sitting in Corian....Craig's List. 

The marble back splash....from Sharman's grandfather's barbershop in Galveston. 
His history kept alive.
His story.

The bottom cabinets were ruined in Ike so they were rebuilt.
But the upper cabinets survived...Sharman just took the doors off to make them look more current.
I look at this open shelving and want to go take my kitchen doors off.
Chuck is hyperventilating as he reads this.


Easy access.   

People who belonged here at one time or another.

Sharman's mother with her mother-in-law (Sharman's father's mother), the mother of this house.
Aunt Rose calls this house, "Mama's House."

There's the rattan sofa in its younger days.
Proof that rattan holds up.

Open shelving with labeled baskets.

I instructed Sharman that she could put her canned goods between the baskets....
she replied, "You mean canned good."
As of now, there is only one can.

As there is still progress going on, they will have a pantry one day
....but for now the one canned good is on the shelf.

This little alcove behind the curtain is the future pantry...but for now it is where we stashed all things "construction"...and the brooms.  The step ladder becomes hanging it.  It's totally a necessary item as the kitchen shelves are so tall. 

Sharman painted the Port of Galv on the curtain.  People, it's in the details.

Now to the yellow of the kitchen.

      This is Aunt Rose's bed.  Rose grew up in this house.
         She is 96 years young and still lives in Galveston.
                                                                    Aunt Rose has an iPod.  I don't.

 A peek at the bathroom.  No one really wants to see the bathroom....
but I thought you should know that there is one.
Monogrammed towels even. 


This is the house. 
 The survivor. 

 As I said, it's still in progress....
but it's come such a long way.
The original door is on the right...then somewhere along the way
 this house was turned in to a duplex.  Hence, the 2 doors.
Children were raised here. 
People grew old here.


In my last post, I may have said something about Galveston not being so pretty. 

 I take it back. 

There has been a lot of work going on since Ike took Galveston to its knees. 
The Strand looks great.
Lots and lots of places have been re-done, repainted, renewed.
The people of Galveston have worked hard.

I saw lots of "pretty" and I took pictures to prove it. 

This is the one I want. 

Stunning.  So much detail.  And the colors of the sea and land.

Look again.  Can you believe that architecture?

I know. You can't see the house for the tree.  The Christmas tree. 
 How cool would that be to have in your front yard come December? 




Imagine that you're the painter on the ladder
....painting that detail in all those different colors. 
 Hard to imagine.


I love the symmetry.  And the sweet potato vine in the baskets caught my eye. 
 I love the bright neon green of that vine. 
Every yard could use a little of that vine...color. 
 And it's very low maintenance.  My kind of plant.
It loves the heat.  Houston's kind of plant.

Apparently there are sculptors that are taking damaged, fallen trees from Ike and carving them into animals, things and such.  We stopped so I could take a picture of the dog. 
This was from a tree trunk. 
Recycling goes cute.

The water was really pretty.  And the sand was clear of seaweed and oil.
  Just a beautiful day.
Deep blue water on the horizon.

This can sits near Sharman's favorite fishing spot.
Great color...don't you think?

The last two days were full of hard work, lots of sweat,
non-stop talking, great food and loads of fun.  
Thanks Sharman....I'm ready to do it again.

I have always.....always loved to clean other people's houses.  And rearrange their stuff. 
 But it's the truth.