Monday, August 30, 2010

Football and Me

....don't mix.

It's not that I don't like football, it's that I don't really understand it.  I can't ever seem to follow the ball. And it's extremely hard to watch those players falling and tackling each other.  But I know it's a whole lot of fun for a lot of you to play, to watch, to follow and support with tailgating and betting and wearing the team colors. 

My fondest memories of football games would be the years that Jordan and Cameron were in the drill team.  Now that I loved to watch.  I loved to watch the 100 girls in the stands and I loved to watch them perform at half-time.  So my fondest memory of football turns out to be the drill team really.

My worst memory of a football game happens to be an A&M game.  We were invited to attend by some friends and we were so excited.  We tailgated before and then headed to the game.  I should mention that it was early September and hot.  HOt.  HoT.  hOt. With 100% humidity.  As we were climbing the ramps to our upper level seats, our friends said, "Don't forget we stand the whole game!" 

Yep,  Aggies stand the entire game.  Which works for those die-hard 20 year old college football fans.  But I was about 48 and hot.  And remember....not much of a football fan.  You would more than likely catch me reading the program during the game or shopping the gift shop or concession stand.  And in fact, I did leave a few times during that game to do just that.  I was still standing but at least I was moving....and not having to act like I was watching.

The very best part of this worst memory (or would that be the very worst part of this worst memory?) happened after the game.  We stopped at McDonald's to get something to drink and use the restroom before the drive home.  The place was full of the opposing team's fans.   They were from South Carolina, I think....if I knew football, I would be able to tell you the team....but we already know that I don't know much about the game much less the teams. They did have on bright orange, if that helps.

Anyway, this team had lost and I guess I felt responsible for making them feel better because I talked to everyone in the line.  Lots and lots of small talk.  "When are y'all headed back?"  "Good game"  "Blah, blah, blah"

After getting our drinks, I headed to the restroom while Chuck waited for me.  Like all good girls do, I laid toilet paper down on the commode seat.  Extra long lengths of toilet paper. Fast forward to finished my business. Stood up, pulled my pants up, washed my hands, came on out and took my drink from Chuck.  

Walking out, I waved bye to all the fans from the other team.  Smiled here and there, telling them to have a safe trip home and goodbye and blah, blah, blah.  About the time we got to the door, Chuck asked, "What's that hanging out of your pants?"

Yes.  A very long length of toilet paper had stuck to my sweaty thigh and then been pulled up in my pants.....with the extra hanging out like a white tail....all the way to the back of my knee. There was no missing it.  I'm sure it was blowing around behind me. 

And my back side was facing about 30 out-of-towners who had just lost a football game to The Fighting Texas Aggies.  Can't you just imagine the fun they had at my expense?  

Yeah, I don't really do football.

But I hope your team wins this football season 2010.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Not on the Bucket List

I don't even have a Bucket List......officially.  Of course, I have lots of things I want to do before my time's up, but I try so hard to "stay in the day" that I sort of take life as it's thrown at me.  Grabbing opportunities here and there.  Like my trip to London and the arts and craft adventure called Silver Bella.  I didn't go looking for either of those they weren't on a list.....but I can look back and say they are definitely highlights of my life...
and would have been on a Bucket List if I had one.

Silver Bella was a whirlwind weekend of food, shopping, fun, conversing with other artists and just being around so many talented people.  I got involved in a few artists' swaps in the months leading up to the big weekend....and this is what I really think of when I think of my Silver Bella experience.  

I wanted to try a swap.  A. Swap.  One.  But I wasn't sure how to sign up for one on the Silver Bella site, so I asked my childhood friend, Doojies, to sign up for one for me.  Or maybe two if she couldn't pick just one.  She so graciously did....but every time she clicked on one, it wouldn't show up, so she would go to another one and click it as "me" and again, my name wasn't showing up.  Eight clicks later....I was signed up for EIGHT swaps!  To say I was overwhelmed and challenged and scared and excited would be an understatement. 

I know now that I could have backed out of one or two of those swaps but I'm glad I didn't.  It was a challenge but I loved every single swap I was involved in.  And after all Doojies put me through, I still speak to her. (Just kidding D.)  I don't think Chuck ever figured out where all our money went that fall...but Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's had a record year. 
I didn't even know back then about all the other fabulous places to find incredible paper arts and such.

Okay...honestly, I didn't even know what a swap was
or what an ATC was at the time.
Do you?

One of the swaps was to create a page for a book of the 12 Days of Christmas.   The colors and the size of the pages were given to us by the Swap Hostess Gina well as our "day"...I was Day 8.
 And the book was to be called
 The 12 Sparkly, Vintage Days of a
Most Glittery, Glamorous Christmas
so I knew I would need lots of glitter to complete my page.

Fifteen books were made, if I remember correctly, so that means I made the same page 15 times.  I sent my pages to the Swap Hostess by a certain deadline and she bound all the pages together into an unbelievably beautiful book. 
Twelve days of pages
 and the glittery cover
plus a couple of extra for the leaders
of Silver Bella make up the 15.

One of the other artist in the swap is Kim Allistair Caldwell.  She submitted the details and pictures of our finished book to Somerset to be put in their Holiday publication.  This swap was done in the fall of 2008.  She submitted in the spring of 2009.  They turned her down.  We were all a little disappointed but were so appreciative of Kim for even trying.  It was a huge undertaking for her. 

Oh well, it wasn't on my Bucket List
 to be published in a magazine anyway.




The 2010 Somerset Holidays & Celebrations
 just came out. 

And guess what is on Page 17?

I would love to show you the picture of my art on Page 21....but I really want you to get your own issue.  I will send you back to my blog post about it and if you go to Gina's blog, you can see all the pages there, too.  Not all of the pages were featured in the Somerset issue but I was one of the lucky ones that got chosen.

So I'm feeling very proud.  Very appreciative.  Very lucky.  Thanks Gina for your incredibly cute idea and to Kim for getting it published for us.......and to Doojies for signing me up for this swap.  Now I know how those Oscar winners feel.  There's way too many people to thank.  I really need to thank my mom for always allowing us to paint and glue at the kitchen table.  And Chuck for supporting my habit.  And my 7th grade Arts and Craft teacher who I have long since forgotten her name or face. And of course, my ...............

Time's up.  Go to commercial.  Actually.....go get the magazine.

POST SCRIPT:  You can find this magazine at JoAnn's or Barnes & Noble.
This publication includes Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter and 4th of July will not just look at Page 17 -21, I promise!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day Trip

Will moved back to Nacogdoches on Thursday for his sophomore year at Stephen F. Austin State University.  He took just the bare essentials and Chuck and I took the rest up to him today.  We left the house at 9:15 and got home at 9:30.....12 hours later.  Chuck loved being trapped in a car with me for the best part of the day.  Almost as much as I loved being stuck with him. 

Last year, I was already back at school/work when Will moved in to his first dorm, so Chuck is the lucky parent that got to help him move in.  It was nice to help today and see where his home away from home is.  Let me take you on a little tour of his dorm room. And I do mean little. It's as clean as it will ever be.  And the sheets are fresh and clean....and won't see a washing machine for a year. 

The Dressing Area/Vanity.

The Kitchen Pantry.

His half of the room/bed....
one of the dressers being his.

His Kelly.

His study.

The essentials.....dvd's, refrigerator and microwave.
And Febreeze.

The sign on the back of the door
about his roommate....
a list of How NOT
to be like the guy....

Oh, yes.....I saw these.  But how nice of them to hide them.  Such gentlemen.

And within a one mile range of his dorm......

Shipleys and Smoothie King and Quizno's


KFC, Dairy Queen, Cotton Patch

Whataburger, Pizza Hut, Subway, Sonic, Burger King

Dear Will,

I had the most wonderful summer with you.  You worked hard at your job as a Day Camp counselor at the Y.  And because you would come home each day completely drained from the kids and the heat, you hung around the house more than normal.  Yea for me! 

I loved listening to your work stories and hearing the maturity in your reactions and responses to the kids.  You loved your job and you were committed to those kids.  You will never know how proud this made me.  I know you were growing up right before my eyes.

I hope you have a wonderful sophomore year and meet more new friends and enjoy your classes.  I know you are so ready to get in to the classes of your major and you're getting closer.  Hang in there and just enjoy the process of learning.  Set your goals high and do everything to achieve them.

Call home........on I can see your sweet face and hear your voice.  Try to eat vegetables and fruit when you can.  Stay away from Fast Food Row some.......but who am I kidding?  It's not like the campus cafeteria is that much healthier.  Just do your best to eat healthy. 

If it feels wrong to do, it probably is.  There's always a point when you can turn around and walk away.

I love you.........and thank God for the joy you have brought me.  Except that one time, when you jumped out of that moving car. 


Friday, August 27, 2010

God Must Have Had Some Time on His Hands

I stopped at Target last night to pick up some toiletries.  While on the aisle with facial cleansers, I was standing next to a couple of girls....probably sisters....who looked to be about 16 and 11ish.  The oldest one was searching for some pad refills for a battery operated facial cleanser.  They went up and down the aisle...but kept coming back to the spot next to me. 

Older girl:  Dang, I guess they're all out of refill pads.

Younger girl:  Well, Ashley....I guess God just didn't want you to have pads today.

Then the older girl looked at me, over the younger girl's head, and we shared a smile because she knew I had heard that.

I would love to think our God is so big, our God is so grand, that he can prevent Ashley from finding her refill pads. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What Else Would You Call It?

I work the car duty in the morning and the afternoon at my school.  Each family with students that are  going to be car riders in the afternoon is assigned a number...which is put on a tag which is hanging on their rear view mirror.... and that number is what's called out in the afternoon to let the children know their car is here. Car numbers are called with a color....the kid goes to the color pad....when all 8 colored pads are filled with waiting kids, they are released to the next station/colored cone where their car is.  It takes about 19 of us to load up over 100 children safely in to their cars. Comp. LUH.  Kaded.  But the end result is safely loaded kids into cars. 

I'm just a little over heated and exhausted after this grand finale to my day each day.

But the days are going great.  The new kindergartners seem so little....they always do, but by May we forget how little they were...until August rolls around.  They are young....some just turning 5 this last week of August.   They've only been on the earth 5 years.  The first week of school they have to learn where their classroom is, what their teacher's name is, what Large Group Letter they are, what squad they sit in in P.E., what table they sit at in Art, what row they sit in in Music, how to go through the line in the cafeteria after they've chosen white, strawberry or chocolate milk, then what table in the cafeteria is theirs.  They have to learn their bus number or car number....unless they're a Hiker/Biker, in which case they get a pink ticket.

A lot of time is spent on helping them learn all this information in the first week.  So it's no wonder that we hear some crazy stuff this first week when we're trying to help them figure it all out.

For Large Group (P.E., Art and Music) they are assigned a Letter A, B, C or D.  The Large Group teachers refer to their groups as Alligators, Bears, Caterpillars or Dinosaurs to help the kids remember.

Her:  What letter are you?

Him:  I don't know.

Her:  Are you a Caterpillar?

Him:  No, I'm a Hiker/Biker.

And all of us on car duty do all we can to help the kindergartners learn their car number quickly. The other morning, the teacher standing by me while I helped a boy out of his white SUV, asked.....

Her:  What's your car number?

Him: 357

Her:  That's right!  Good job! he's walking off, he turns around and yells out....

Him:  Why?  What else would you call that white car?

Love the way that kid thinks.

And before I sign off..........

Public Service Announcement: for  parents of kids who have not learned how to write their name yet

  Teach them to use an Uppercase letter for the first letter and then switch to Lowercase for the rest of the letters.  I'm so sure I didn't do that with my own, but now it's an assessment on the kindergarten report card. 

This:  Jane              NOT this: JANE

Monday, August 23, 2010

Knock on Wood

Today was the first day back at school for most Texas children.  And at my school, it went incredibly smooth.  I hesitate to even write that much less say it out loud.   Knock on wood....and all that.  I suspect most of them were scared and tomorrow they will all come out of their shell. 

I had one kindergartener tell me it was her very first day of school.  I don't think she even realizes that all the other kids around her are there for the first time, too. It doesn't get much cuter than a kindergartener on their first day.

At lunch, we tell them to raise their hand if they need help opening anything.  I head over to a raised hand.....

Me:  Do you need help?

Him:  Are you Mrs. Jones? (changed the name to protect others besides myself)

Me:  No, but I do look like her.  I'm Mrs. Hackney.

Him:  Okay, Mrs. Horny......

Whoa!  I've never been called that before.  Ever. Even in my younger days.  I didn't bother correcting him....just opened his milk.  But it definitely is worth repeating on here.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roman Shade

I, along with my assistant, Chuck, worked on the Roman Shade today.  It's now hanging and I thought I would treat the two of you who are dying to see it with a couple of pictures. 
 The rest of the windows will be treated over the next few weekends.

Here it is.

I'm going to tell you a secret.  We used that bonding stuff to put the new fabric over the existing Roman Shade and then I made the little valance.  I did sew the edges before we wrapped them around, so to a child under 15, it would look professional.  Two hundred staples later and it's finished.  Honestly, it would have been easier to start from know buying the Roman Shade kit, rings and string and pulleys....but halfway in, it seemed too late...and we had a shade with all that stuff already on it.

My assistant took a picture because.  I love how the silverware drawer is open.  Those curious forks are at it again.

Let's discuss the fabric.  Black, golden yellow, reds, greens, a little cream and GRAY.  The winning point.  Now it makes the gray cabinets BELONG. 

Is it the fabric of my dreams?  No. But it works. 

It's 7:00 p.m.  Chuck and I are headed out for a date.  Yes, I date my assistant.  He said if I cleaned up my potty mouth, we could be on HGTV together. Ha.  Like that's going to happen....the part about cleaning up my mouth.

I sometimes say a bad word or two when I cut myself with the scissors or poke the pins in my fingers or can't find the ruler or my assistant doesn't move fast enough.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plain Vanilla

A few people have been wondering about my kitchen.  I hesitate to post any pictures on here until it is complete because I don't want you to see it before it's all done.  Like trying on the prom dress without the shoes and jewelry.  But I am trusting that you won't judge it yet. 

The wallpaper has been covered over 4 times.  Four.  Times.  There is no turning back now.

  1. Oil based Kilz.
  2. Textured with drywall compound.
  3. First coat of paint.
  4. Second coat of paint.
Let me say at this point that I have very tall ceilings in my kitchen.  So take the 4 COATS x 18,000 trips up and down the ladder while breathing in all kinds of fumes = DONE AND NEVER DOING IT AGAIN.

I have found some great fabric which is going to tie it all together...or not...and plan on starting on sewing the window treatments this weekend. 

I miss my crazy, busy, colorful wallpaper.  But the calmness of a textured wall painted Benjamin Moore Lancaster Whitewash is growing on me.  I could never go all white and neutral because I have way too many accessories that I can't part with...that happen to be very colorful.  But for me this is pretty white and neutral. 



Here goes.


But first.



And now.....plain vanilla.

Cute new dog bed....moving it around to find the perfect place.

And because this blog is mine and I sometimes need to document what's happened around here.....I need to write about something that really hurt.  Physically and emotionally.  My favorite dog of all times....
and there have been many, many dogs in my life....hurt me the other day.

When I got home from being gone all day, Maggie greeted me at the back door as always.  As always, she jumped for joy over and over because I was home.  She followed me to the bedroom and the bathroom (I'm just going to go here...she sits by me while I take care of business) and then followed me back in to the study where I sat down at the computer. She laid by my feet as she always does, but Dixie, the other dog, was already under the desk.  Immediately they began to fight.......growling and biting one another......jaws clamping down on each other.  

This happens occasionally and it usually plays out rather quickly, but suddenly I got bit!  Maggie chomped down on my foot for just a split second and I screamed.....they stopped....and Will came running down the stairs.  

YoW.  It really hurts to get bit by a dog.  

I know she was trying to bite Dixie.  And I know they were fighting over me.  I know my foot just happened to be in the way. And I know she's had her Rabies shot.  And I know she didn't mean to, but hurt and it all happened so fast.  

Lots of Neosporin and Bandaids later...I'm going to make it.
Just thought you should know.

After the window treatments are finished I'll post more pictures.  But that could take a month. 
School begins Monday and I plan on it kicking my behind.
I will be in bed by 4:45 on Monday afternoon and probably sleeping in my clothes.
Somebody better set the alarm for Tuesday.



Monday, August 16, 2010

Ready or not....

It takes a lot of work to prepare for the first day of the school year.  It's probably alot like opening night of a Broadway play.  Lots and lots of preparation before the curtain goes up.

We have one week to do about a month's worth of work.  Bulletin boards, class lists, schedules, stamping and numbering loads and loads of new textbooks, arranging classroom furniture, unpacking manipulatives, making new tags for car riders, meetings for team building, meetings for safety training, meetings for reviewing attendance procedures, lesson plans for the first weeks, meetings about more meetings, celebrating with cupcakes for wonderful test scores, meetings about the nurse's clinic procedures, consuming a wonderful lunch provided by the PTO Volunteers, and finally team pictures.

Whew!  And this was just the first day back.  Ready or not, we will open the doors with smiles on our faces to greet the kids next Monday.

Bring 'em on.  That's the part I love.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


My oldest child, Jordan, turned 25 today.  I is that possible? 

I've said this before....being the oldest is like being the first pancake.  It's the one you practice on....then throw away.  By the second and third pancake...or child, you've perfected your skills.

I know Jordan didn't always have it as easy as she thinks her brother and sister did.  And I know we might have fought every battle with her when some of them could have been ignored.  But she was our first child and we were first time parents. There's no point now in second guessing all that we did....just know that she was loved and that she was the first.  On a wing and a prayer....we got her raised.

Jordan, I will tell you that you had a fully packed diaper bag at all times, with enough bottles to last a week even if we were only going out to eat.  By the time your baby brother....Number 3...came along, we would get half-way to the restaurant and realize we didn't even bring a diaper bag.  So sometimes you really did win. You never had to wear hand-me-downs.  And we paid way more attention to your school work than the others. Our brains weren't quite as fried when we had you.

Jordan has the stubbornness of both of her parents....and has to have the last, one of us.  But she also has a huge heart for her family and friends...and is so strong in her faith...something I so admire and wish to emulate.

She was an easy first baby and while not always perfect at home...she was certainly an "angel" during her school years.  Her teachers used to call her that...and I would hesitate and make sure they knew that I was Jordan's mother.  You know, in case they had me mixed up with someone else.  But no, they were talking about her.

This past year was a true reflection of the wonderful young woman she's become.
  She met and married a great guy,
 planned a beautiful wedding,
 got off our payroll 
 and we can officially say,
she's all grown up.

We're not throwing this first pancake away.  She turned out just fine. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cover Up

Last week flew by with lunch dates, doctor's appointments and happy hours. 
Oh, and tackling The Kitchen Dilemna 2010.

Remember I had Chuck put up bead board to cover up the wallpaper disaster caused by my sweet dog when she tried to claw her way out of the kitchen during a thunderstorm. And then I decided to paint the lower cabinets gray...which resulted in my hating the wallpaper.  Meaning we probably didn't need to put that bead board up....but let's not talk about that. 

I spent the first 3 days trying my best to love my wallpaper with the gray cabinets.  Most people would just deal with it....or paint the cabinets back to Dover White.  A few people might even put new wallpaper on the list for next year.  There might be one or two of you who would just live with it but get a little agitated every time you walked in the room with the hated wallpaper. 

And then there's me.

I got on it after 3 days of trying to love it and another week of having to live with it because life got in the way....lunch dates, doctor's appointments and happy hours. I sat on the fence for a couple of days about whether to cover up the paper with paint or just re-wallpaper.  But wallpaper is so least the ones I like. So cover it up won the mind battle.

 As of 6:00 p.m. the wallpaper has been covered up with oil-based Kilz.  I bought the odorless kind because I am so sick of the fumes.  The odorless kind smells like cat pee.  I'd rather have the fumes.
I have started texturing but stopped for the day to run a few errands with Chuck. Hopefully by the end of the week, there will be paint on the walls....and some new window treatments in a week or so after that.

The worst thing in the world is taking down the home improvement department. 
The second worse thing is painting over it with oil-based Kilz that smells like cat pee. And knowing the whole time you are painting, that you have several more steps in the process to go.

 I can honestly say, I have the worst part behind me.  Now, I'm texturing with drywall compound.  Step 2 is way more fun than Step 1.   Step 3 and 4 will be 2 coats of paint.  Step 5 will be Like it No Matter What.

 This part of the wall has some drywall/texture on it.

The same wall "before".
I'm going to miss that wallpaper.
But's it's too late now.

My kitchen as of right now.

Just last week. 

I think the end result is going to be worth it.
  But it certainly wasn't on the agenda for the month. 
This is where I've been, this is where I'll be.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stoppity, stop, stop....

For all of the married's  a good laugh.

I would like to add a verse to the song.....

When she says she needs new wallpaper, don't say no you don't.
Don't do it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Domino Effect.......

Domino effect - from Wikipedia

The domino effect is a chain reaction that occurs when a small change causes a similar change nearby, which then will cause another similar change, and so on in linear ...
The last four days I have been working hard in my kitchen.  Not cooking but painting.  Not just painting, but painting with oil-based paint.....which is painting at a much higher level.  Because so many more products are involved and ruined as a result.  The most expensive brush is worth throwing away because cleaning it with Mineral Spirits or Turpentine is way more trouble than the cost of the brush.  And then there's the fact that I get the paint all over me and ended up practically bathing with Turpentine...which can't be good for me.  And every cute kitchen towel I owned was grabbed and now ruined.
I painted my lower kitchen cabinets.  They were once white and pristine but after years of wear and tear, they were nicked and dirty.  I think crumbs from meals from the turn of the century (2000) were fossilized in the ledges of the trim on the cabinet doors.  No amount of bleach or Spic and Span could soften that crud and get it clean.  So, I decided to paint only the lower half of the cabinets a gray color.  Why?  I don't really know.  It just struck me one day and I actually sat on the idea for over a month.  I try to do all major projects only in the summer....when I am off from work.  Because, honestly, I don't have the time or energy during the school year.  So...part of the reason for painting was like a last minute urge to do something around here that needed doing.
Well, then the red painted island looked stupid.  Because white cabinets on top.  Gray cabinets on the bottom, black fireplace, black desk, black screen door....and then RED? Even me...who loves color...knew it was too much.
  Count the colors.
1. Black 2. Gray 3. Yellow
4. Red. 5. White 6. Green
7. Brick (that's a color in here.)
So I painted it black.
And now I hate my wallpaper....
but I have window treatments that match it.
They were made for me by my friend and neighbor, Peggy,
who is a wonderful seamstress.
Gray floors.......and gray treadmill. 
Which is really what I was trying to match.
Although it is the biggest thing in the room. 
It's upright now because I moved it to vacuum
 and couldn't get it back down.
Oh, I could have but I'm sure I would have broken it. 
So I thought it was wiser to wait for Chuck.
So I could paint over the wallpaper.....
But then I would want to paint the ceilings.
And of course, then I'd have to get new window treatments.....
But one day, in the far future, we want to get a new sink.
So if we get a new sink, we will get new counter tops....
and because this will be a huge hit in the wallet's far, far away. 
So maybe I should paint my walls now.......
Or maybe I should just go back to work and quit staring at my four walls. And quit reading all of those decorating blogs where everything is neutral, neutral and did I mention neutral? 
But if I did paint my walls a cream or ivory or khaki color...
then I might make some window treatments from this...

or this...

or even this.

It's highly unlikely any of this is going to happen
....but I've never been known to wait patiently
so there's a slight chance it might.

Let me make one thing clear....  I know there is nothing really wrong with my kitchen.  And I know that if I don't change a thing, the earth will still revolve around the sun.  But I love change.  LOVE it.  And I've had this wallpaper and window treatments
 for almost 8 years which is a long time for me. 
And I painted those dang cabinets gray.
And now my wallpaper looks ridiculous

....the Domino effect.


I do want to show you one really cute thing
that came out of this painting adventure. 
 Chuck made a cute dog bed for Dixie and Sadie to share.
I had to rush him to finish it while I had all the paint out so I could paint it to match.

                                             16" wide by 36" long
It's long enough for them to share but today, when I was getting them to try it out....they were not going for "sharing." 
So I threw the old bed beside this one for now.
  If I told Chuck we need to make another one,
he might just get a little bit fussy.
Wait 'til he hears about my plans for the walls....
(then making another bed will seem like a cakewalk.)