Thursday, July 31, 2008


I saw the following quote a little while ago and thought I might share it with you on this hot summer day:

Despite all the gloomy economic news these days, now is a good time to show gratitude for whatever good fortune has come your way. Whether you're a glass half-full or glass half-empty person, you can probably find something to celebrate. A good place to start is with those dearest to us. So, find a cool, shady spot and concentrate on those things you're grateful for. It's a sure antidote to those "dog days of summer." - Larry Lehmer

And I am also grateful that grandchild #7 is on the way--tomorrow we will journey forth and spend some time with the new little one and his sister, Miss Ella Bella, and his parents. Stay tuned for pictures this proud Grandmommy will surely share with you ASAP!

Today, consider making a list of things you are grateful for and write a paragraph about one each day for a week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


We are so excited that Son #4 is going to graduate from college next week. He was our son who told us his senior year in high school that we would be wasting our money sending him to college. He told us that he was going to join the Coast Guard so that he could develop some self discipline. We did a double take on that one because we lived in the Texas Panhandle at the time and did not even know where one went to join the Coast Guard. However, he found a place to go and came back--having enlisted. Gulp! We sent him off that summer to Cape May, NJ and he spent the next seven years doing search and rescue and learning many, many skills that have served him well. After several years in the Coast Guard, he decided to enroll in some college courses, developed a deep interest in a particular field, and continued until this momentous event--GRADUATION!

The road he took to graduation has not been easy. He has worked at least one job and sometimes as many as three jobs while whittling away on his coursework. He often carried a load that I did not believe a human being could manage, but he did it with great determination. During his journey to graduation, he married a lovely girl who has eagerly supported his desire to get his college degree, they have had one little girl and on Monday they will add child number two. This next week will be a week of great celebration in our family!

Congratulations, Son #4!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Last week I received a delightful book, Elder Expectations: My Life in Rictameters, by Marlys Marshall Styne in the mail. Rictameters are unrhymed, nine-line poems with a regular pattern of two, four, six, eight, ten, eight, six, four and two syllables. The first and last lines must be the same.

I was first exposed to Marlys' poems on her blog last March when she decided to do one rictameter a day for the full month and I became hooked on the poetry form. I have never really cared much for writing any type of poetry but I began writing my own rictameters and encouraging my writing groups to do the same. It is fun and a bit of a challenge for the ole brain to write a rictameter!

Another intriguing thing about Marlys' book was that she self-published her poems through The poems were written in March and the book was in my hands in July. Amazing! Marlys says "As for self-publishing (Print on Demand), I'm a great believer in it. Traditional publishing is about making money, and my books don't have the sales potential to attract a publisher's financial interest. Besides, I'm too old and impatient to seek agents and publishers and wait years for a book to come out. I didn't even try that route. I guess I'm the ultimate do-it-yourself person and I enjoy doing the book layout myself. Self-published books have had a poor reputation in the past, thanks to the old "vanity publishers," but things are gradually changing."

Thanks, Marlys, for encouraging me to self-publish a book of my own stories, and also for the gift of your rictameter poetry!

Here is my own poem:
Thank you,
Marlys, for the
gift of your poetry
that you have shared with us via
your lovely rictameters in your book,
Elder Expectations, and your
blog, where I first saw them,
then tried my own.
Thank you!

They are tricky, but they are fun to work with!
By the way, you can buy the book on

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I am thankful today that I am visiting my sister. We have spent most of the day dodging rain showers as a result of the remnants of Hurricane Dolly. However, we have had a great time shopping and visiting and eating. I am also thankful that I have finally gotten a chance to see her new house. It is beautiful, as you can see from the following pictures:

Anne at the front door.

In the living room.

Jesse's office.

In the library.

The indoor kitchen.

The outdoor kitchen in their backyard. Jesse is doing the cooking this evening. Yum!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 42nd wedding anniversary. And, here we are, 4 children and 6--almost 7--grandchildren later. It is a great feeling to celebrate all of these years that we have lived together, and to ponder all the events that have happened--births, moves, tears, laughter, happiness. All that rolled up into one thought--it has been a lovely life being married to this man for all those years. Here are some pictures of that wonderful day, 42 years ago

There we are at the rehearsal dinner. I am on the left with my dad behind me. Mother is beside me with my brother peeking over her head and my sister in the middle. My future mother-in law is beside my mother, and my future husband's brother and sister are to the left with my future husband on the end.

My future husband gave me a necklace--a pearl with two small diamonds on either side of it. I still have it and treasure it. And I gave him gold cuff links which he still has.

The bridesmaids are getting ready and I believe the woman on the chair is my mother pinning my veil on my head prior to the ceremony.

And here is a picture of the wedding party, after the wedding. Barbara, my roommate from college is on the far left, my husband's sister and my sister are next. My husband's friend, Lawrence, was best man (still is!), my husband's brother and another friend, Bob, are the three groomsmen.

The beginning of a new life together--42 years ago today! I am grateful for those years that we have shared.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I grew up in Pampa, in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle in the 1940s and early 1950s and my summers were full of fun. There were few rules or worries to govern my activities as I played with friends in our neighborhood. Our mothers turned us loose and trusted us to use good sense in our activities, and we had many adventures in those days when we created our own entertainment as we went along.

During my treasured summer vacations, I was allowed to roam freely with my friends as far as we could travel by ourselves. We played tag and chase in our neighborhood and built playhouses in backyards. We climbed up on the garage roof and jumped off with towels tied around our necks—playing “Superman.” Short sticks became our pistols and longer ones were rifles as we played cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians, chasing each other down alleys, around lilac hedges and between garages. We skated for miles around and around our entire block, walked tall on stilts that Daddy built for all of us, and rode our bicycles far and wide.

Since we had the insatiable appetites of growing young people, we snacked from house to house, and foraged for food from yard to yard. We picked and ate Mustang grapes, plums, peaches, mulberries, and cherry tomatoes growing in nearby yards, but we usually left tart cherries on the trees. We enjoyed treats from Mrs. Robinson who lived on the corner. Mrs. Robinson had no children of her own, but she always had Saltines, apples, and cookies for us as we played throughout the neighborhood. We always made it a point to stop and pet her big bird dog as he slept in a corner of the kitchen where she always seemed to be cooking. Come to think of it, I never remember seeing that dog awake.

On hot afternoons with the dry wind blowing against us, we walked down to the creek and gathered tadpoles in glass pickle jars on our way to the local swimming pool. At the pool, we spent long, lazy afternoons dog paddling around in the water and doing belly busters into the deep end—until the polio scare came along. Our mothers thought that polio might come from the swimming water, so the pools were closed, and our swimming days ended for several years. One of our friends did have polio and spent the summer in Dallas in an iron lung. That really put the fear into all of us! After that, our mothers made us take naps, or at least long rests in the afternoon. That became our time to read on those long, hot afternoons of enforced inactivity.

In the cool of the summer mornings, I was allowed to walk to the library in the basement of the courthouse. I was always mesmerized by the walls lined with books on tall shelves in that musty-smelling place. My dad introduced me to the library and his rule was that I could only check out two books at a time and could not go back to the library until I had read both books. During our required summer rest periods, I loved to sit under our backyard plum tree, or lie on a blanket under the big elm trees in our yard to read. I finished the entire collection of Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books during those summer reading times. Ah, summer freedom!

On a recent return visit to Pampa, I once again caught a whiff of the sulfuric odor from the natural gas wells and the vinegary sweet scent of the Celanese plant just outside of town. The familiar smells, the glowing refinery flares at night, and the soft staccato sound of those pump jack engines—pump, pump, pumping the oil and gas in the still of the hot summer nights—were just as I remembered them. The carbon black plant was still there but it no longer puffed out black clouds of soot and smoke that I remembered from my childhood days. As I took in the many sights, smells, and sounds in that small Panhandle oil town, I realized that it is a place of many memories for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today I am thankful for my Yoga class. Although being graceful has never been my greatest talent, I have always been relatively flexible and limber--we called it being "double-jointed" when I was young. In the past ten years or so I have exercised a lot because I was having multiple hip problems which finally culminated in two hip replacements. At first I was led to believe that strengthening my "core" or hip girdle area would make the hip pain go away, so I began a frenzy of exercise programs, work with personal trainers, water therapy, and so on. However, I shied away from Yoga and Pilates because I was fearful that I just could not do those things. Unfortunately, I just never checked them out.

Despite my frenzy of exercise programs, I ended up with two hip replacements. After my second hip replacement my wonderful physical therapist sent me to a place called "Core Power" for further strengthening. It was run by a physical therapist and her husband. Their specialty was a combination of Yoga and Pilates to strengthen the core muscles. I exercised with them for a delightful year of learning how to strengthen muscles to help my aging body work better without wearing out my joints. Now, this summer, I am taking a Yoga class and just loving it. The instructor started out with some simple moves that I was able to do--perhaps not so gracefully, but at least I can achieve the poses and hold them now. The last couple of weeks she has "ramped up" (her words, not mine) the routines and I have struggled to copy her graceful poses. There have been several times when I thought I would collapse due to exhaustion, but I managed to hang in there. My competitive spirit kicks in and I look around thinking, "If they can do it, so can I--huff, huff, puff, puff, breathe, breathe!"

And, so today I am thankful for my Yoga class. And I am even more thankful that my husband is doing it with me! In fact, the class is almost all male--I, as a female, am a minority in the class. That really surprised me when I joined the class, but it made it a good class for my husband to join also and I am thankful that he is there, paying attention to his own strength and flexibility.

Monday, July 14, 2008


My first job, aside from baby-sitting, began the summer I was fourteen—that was in 1955. I was bored to tears at home and was trying to learn to knit, but mostly just tangling up the yarn on two pointy needles. However, about two weeks into the summer, Daddy called from the wholesale hardware company where he worked. He had just heard that they needed catalog stringers and wondered if I wanted a job for the summer. The pay would be the marvelous sum of a dollar an hour. I was ecstatic and agreed immediately!

I was to start my first job the next morning, so I got up early, ate a good breakfast, dressed in my finest clothes, and rode to work with Daddy. I had my purse and my sack lunch with me. I felt so excited that I had hardly slept the night before.

At work, Daddy introduced me to my new boss, and my new boss introduced me to the time machine where I punched in each morning and punched out each evening. The time machine kept track of my work hours and determined my pay for each two-week pay period. My job consisted of standing up for eight hours a day before head-high racks (you can see the racks at the very back of the picture on the right) of catalog pages to string together new weekly price sheets and inserts for the salesmen’s catalogs. These pages were printed on huge printing machines in the department where we worked. We then inserted the packets of pages into brown envelopes to be mailed out each week for the traveling salesmen to show to customers across a five-state area.

This job was easy—a real “no-brainer.” My two co-workers were Thelma, an older woman who lived out in the country with an invalid husband, and Anne, a college freshman. Thelma cheered us up and kept us fed by bringing in wonderful snacks she made for us and gorgeous flowers from her garden for our workroom. Her delicious baked goodies fed us well to keep up our energy and her remarkable dahlias brightened up our rather dreary workspace. Anne kept me entertained by talking about her college life. She also talked about her boyfriend who taught swimming at a camp in Kerrville. Her boyfriend’s job sounded so exciting that those tales planted the seeds of an idea for a future job for me.

Our task of stringing catalog pages was easy, fun for me, and my first paycheck was one of the great delights of my life! That very day, Daddy helped me open my first bank account and I got checks of my very own. Then I went with Mother to Fedway and bought the first two blouses I ever had that Mother had not made for me. My first job was such an exciting adventure and it opened up the world of work for me!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Passing It On

I borrowed the title of this post from Larry Lehmer who has a blog called Passing It On. Lately I have been thinking about the many things I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren. There are many family keepsakes that I have identified, written their history, and want to pass on to my children and grandchildren. I also try to tell the grandchildren stories about what it was like when I was a little girl. I pass recipes on to my daughters-in-law, and I have begun writing the stories of our family history. One of the things that I had not considered was passing on family resemblance. However, a couple of summers ago I took a picture of my mother standing next to my brother's son. I did a double take when I saw that picture because my brother's son looked so much like my dad standing next to my mother.

Recently someone said that our granddaughter, Em, looks a lot like me. That surprised me because, of course, I cannot see the resemblance, but I had taken a picture of Em when she made her First Communion in April. Today I was going through some pictures my mother had of us as children. I found the picture on the right. Mother had written "Taken on Pat's First Communion Day" on the back of the picture. I was amazed at the resemblance to the picture taken of Em. We both seemed very serious on our First Communion Day. These pictures convinced me that we are also passing on a family resemblance.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I am thankful to know that today is International Happiness Day. I came across this information on Sharon's blog where she goes into more detail about Happiness.

July 10 is International Happiness Day. You can find out more about the official undertaking by viewing the video at the International Happiness Day website.

I tend to agree with Sharon that I have not thought much about happiness in the past, but I do know that happiness is often a choice that I can make. When I wake up in the morning I can choose to be grumpy or I can choose to be happy. There are stressful times when I am not exactly happy, but mostly, I prefer to take a happy view of things. Doing these Thankful Thursday posts on my blog have caused me to focus more on the positive aspects of my life--the aspects that cause me to be happy and content.

I also agree with Sharon when she says that "the idea of an International Happiness Day especially appeals to me because I believe that happy people are peaceful, productive people, and the world just has to be a better place if more people are happy."

And so, I am thankful that we now have an International Happiness Day!

For those of you who are writers, Sharon encourages us to "write for ten minutes about your happiness level. Are you generally happy more often than not? What conditions contribute to your happiness or unhappiness? What would you change or do to be happier? Describe an especially happy time in as much detail as you can recall. What did the moment mean to you? What was going on? What memories are connected with it? "

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Recently I was on a committee planning a reception and the time of the reception kept changing, depending on the person or persons we were talking to at the time. Some of the committee members were becoming a bit testy with the changes. However, one member sent out an e-mail that said:

Change is the only thing constant in our lives.

I really liked that saying and decided that I needed to be more flexible to accommodate the constant changes in my life. Every day brings a new set of changes that I have to deal with and sometimes I resist those changes. It also brings to mind the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Today, I pray for Wisdom!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Back Home Again

We are home again after spending the 4th of July weekend with Son #3 . We had a wonderful time visiting, soaking up sunshine while lolling about in his wonderful, heated pool, eating and resting up. It was great! Son #2 and family joined us on Saturday and the grandchildren also enjoyed the pool and Nero, the very loving Lab, who adores Son #3.

There's Nero asking Son #3 for permission to get in and swim with the rest of the family--

We were enjoying the pool--and Nero got in to retrieve a Frisbee.

Daughter-in-law, Kara, having a serious conversation with Nero--

Soph, our "Dog Whisperer" grandchild, relaxed Nero after our swim--

Son #3 taking a picture of Little One and Nero having a conversation at the edge of the pool. Little One loved Nero and the feeling seemed to be mutual.

What? No pictures of us eating? How unusual! But we had a great time. Thanks, Son #3, for having us all at your place!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Today is my birthday and I am thankful that my parents allowed me to be born on their 4th wedding anniversary, lo, those many years ago today. That always made for a nice 4th of July celebration for our whole family when I was growing up. We lived in a small town, so the 3rd of July was usually a combined celebration of my parents' anniversary and a celebration of my birthday. In the evening, as soon as it began to get dark, Daddy took us out to a fireworks stand and bought Roman candles, firecrackers, snakes and sparklers. We then drove out to a dirt road and had our own fireworks display. My brother particularly liked the firecrackers and my sister and I loved the snakes and sparklers. Daddy usually helped us shoot off the Roman candles.

Our family gatherings around the 4th of July have continued and some of our family always tries to get together and celebrate birthdays since we now have a granddaughter born on the 4th of July and a daughter-in-law born on the 6th of July. It seems like we have now moved into celebrating the first week of July as Birthday Week for our family members who can be together. This year we will journey to the Texas Panhandle and celebrate with family gathered there. Fun!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Clothesline

I have written a couple of times in the past about hanging my clothes out to dry. Much to my surprise I received a present from my sweet daughter-in-law, Kara, yesterday and it was a delightful clothespin bag made out of wonderful vintage reproduction fabric. On the left is a picture of the bag itself. And the picture on the right is one of me using the bag of clothespins to hang a couple of loads of clothes on my clothesline in my special "retreat place" in the back yard.

Kara told me that she ordered the clothespin bag from a fellow blogger she knew who is marketing a few things that she makes. Her name is Debbie and her place is called Firefly Farm. Check out her wares at The stitching on this bag is just beautiful. I believe it was made on the sewing machine, but it looks hand embroidered. Thank you, Kara.