Friday, March 27, 2009


We used to go out to eat on Friday nights and then on over to Barnes & Noble for coffee, dessert and a few books to add to our stash to read. However, lately we have been pinching our pennies a bit tighter and have cut back on eating out and buying books. Instead we have made a couple of changes.

Last Friday my husband called from the grocery store and said they had some lovely salmon. I told him to get it and I would fix it for our evening meal. I figured out the cost of that meal and found that even though the salmon cost $7.28, our entire meal cost less than $15 and was delicious (although I did have to cook and clean up!). That is at least half what a good meal might cost at a nice restaurant. We also skipped going to Barnes & Noble because I have been checking my books out of the library. My husband likes to write in his books, so he either goes to sales for his books or goes to the library to buy his books--they have a large room of used books for sale there. My books cost nothing now and his cost a fraction of what they sell for at Barnes & Noble.

Occasionally we still go out to eat, but we pick less expensive places to eat or we share a meal (better for the waistline, too!) when we go to an expensive restaurant. Also, the dilemma of where to store books has lessened because I do not buy so many anymore. Less clutter! Whee!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


About five years ago we visited friends in Corpus Christi in January and they had a GORGEOUS plant all along their fence in full bloom with orange flowers. I asked if I could have a cutting or two from their plant and they told me to take what I wanted. I brought home five cuttings and put them in two separate pots. I don't know the real name of our plant, but we have always called it "Charley's Plant" because he is the friend who gave us the plant.

The first spring the cuttings began to grow and send out runners. We kept them in the shade and protected them in the winter but the plants never bloomed. Finally, last summer my husband said that we had to take them out of the pots and plant them in the sun, so he planted them near our fence and put up chicken wire for the plants to climb. They climbed up the chicken wire nicely but never did bloom, even though my husband has watered them faithfully through our drought.

This past February I noticed a touch of orange at the top of Charley's Plant and ran out there. Sure enough, the vine had two gorgeous blooms. Over the past 3-4 weeks the blooms have grown and multiplied beautifully.
I don't think our plants will ever be as beautiful as the ones along our friend's fence line, but I am mighty proud of our plants--and the flowers!
Thanks, Charley--and Gwen!

Monday, March 23, 2009


We have returned from a weekend with kids and grandchildren. We attended the Baptism of our youngest son's youngest son and it was a grand time with five of our grandchildren there--ages 7 months to 9 years old. Here are some wonderful pictures we took of the Baptism and the party afterwards. The Godparents were Son #2 and wife, Kara, (Little One decided to join her parents during the ceremony), plus the priest, and Son #4 with wife and our youngest grandson at his Baptism.

Little One waiting with her cousin, Miss Ella Bella, for the Baptism to begin.

Our families after the Baptism.

And then we moved outside for a party that lasted all afternoon. What fun the cousins had playing together at the party!
Cousins bouncing in the "Bouncy House." Wait, I believe I see Uncle Son #2 in the left corner! How did he get in there?
Em is playing "kicking ball" very gently with Miss Ella Bella. Actually, Em was trying to teach Miss Ella Bella to kick the ball. So sweet!
Em and Miss Ella Bella going for a "wild" ride in the pink jeep!
Youngest Grandson looks very comfortable with cousins, Em and Soph, who were taking very good care of him. Future babysitters?? You bet!
Little One wanted to "hold" Youngest Grandson (with Kara's help). Does he appear to be a doctor-in-the-making, Uncle Son #3??
We had such a grand time and I was sorry to have the weekend end so quickly. Where did the time go?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


You will notice a new statement on the top right sidebar of my blog. I have added a copyright notice to alert any of my readers who are thinking of using my words or reposting my pictures that they need to ask permission first and be prepared to credit me if they do use my materials.

Recently, I was reading a blog and began to think that some of the entries seemed familiar--like I had written them myself. I pulled out my book, Growing Up in the Texas Panhandle, and found that a whole paragraph had been taken from one of my stories and inserted into the story I was reading on this blog. I scrolled down a bit farther and found a picture I had taken being used on that blog with a story similar to one I had written on my blog. Next I found a recipe and accompanying story that had already appeared on my blog. This continued through six different blog entries. Some of the materials came from my book and some from my blog.

Needless to say, my dander was beginning to "get up." I was mad, hurt and puzzled by this use of my materials without my permission. I have had several days to calm down since this discovery. I have done everything from rant to my family and fellow writers to consulting a lawyer about my rights. I am not quite sure what my next steps will be, but I feel compelled to share this story with my fellow bloggers as an example of what can happen when our writing is put "out there."

For more information on copyright infringement please go to Sharon Lippincott's blog at In addition, Jane Ross, a freelance editor, says that “the material we post on our blogs is copyrighted as soon as we write it (even without registering it). Fair use would permit someone to use a very limited excerpt without permission—the main thing about fair use is that whatever copying is done must not damage the interests of the original author in their work. And if the copying is not fair use, then that is plagiarism, a dirty word in publishing and academic circles.”

Jane Ross says that many people just may not understand what copyright means on the web. After all, there is an awful lot of copying and reposting (especially of pictures) that goes on, on the web. People do it all the time, but, strictly speaking, this copying is often a breach of copyright.

Jane believes that, as bloggers, we should commit to using only pictures that we have permission to use. They could be pictures we have taken ourselves or that we have explicit permission from the photographer to repost (and that covers Creative Commons-licensed pictures, such as those on the creative commons area of the Flickr photo-sharing website). It is wise to always add a caption to any picture posted, saying who took it, and if it wasn't you, perhaps you could add a note: Posted with permission.

Says Jane, “I know all of this may seem unnecessarily pedantic, but as I say a lot of folks are blurry about what is acceptable copying. I feel that those of us who know what is or isn't acceptable need to educate our readers. We can set an example by always asking permission and crediting the author or photographer and making clear who is the creative mind behind the material we are publishing, whether pictures or text.”
© At Pat’s Place

Friday, March 13, 2009


For many years I have used the plastic bags from the grocery store for several things:
1) I line my trash cans with them and never buy liners for my trash cans,
2) I give them to Mother to loop over her walker and carry things hands-free,
3) I used them as packing when I mail packages,
4) When traveling, I put my shoes in bags to protect my clothes in the suitcase,
5) I carry a couple in my suitcase for dirty clothes when traveling,
6) I use them to carry my knitting projects with me in the car, and
7) IF I have a large supply of plastic bags, I take them to the grocery store for recycling.

Now that I have three reusable grocery bags, I am not getting as many plastic bags in the store. I also decline bags when I know that I can carry my purchases without the need of a bag. My supply of free plastic bags is dwindling. Does that mean that I will now have to purchase plastic bags to line my trash cans--and what will that do to the landfill?

For another interesting discussion on such matters go on over and read what Linda at My Own Velvet Room has to say about "frugal dilemmas." She says that she does not have all the answers and I don't either. I am just trying to be more aware of ways to help out our planet!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


My computer is back and I am so glad to be back in my own little nook with my own computer and all of its resurrected files!
Thank you, Son #1! You are a genius in this technology world in which we function today!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, March 6, 2009


Today I am going to talk about buying books--or, rather, not buying books. My husband and I love to have a date night and go to our local Barnes & Noble store for the evening. Up until the fall of last year we went 2-3 times a month and always came home with $25-30 worth of books or more.

One day I was cleaning off my shelves and began picking out books to give to a neighbor. These were books I had already read and did not want to keep. I made a stack of books in a paper bag and then wondered how much money those books had cost me. I added up the price on the books and was astonished to see that I was giving away over $200 worth of books! I was astonished and amazed!! That was the moment that I decided to use our very nice library.

Now I go, check out books I want to read on many subjects, renew them online if I have not finished them by the due date, keep them as long as I want--even if I am traveling, and return them when I am finished. I have found only one book on oil painting that I would like to keep and may order a copy for my shelves. Otherwise, the library is a great place for me to save many, many dollars. It is also a great way to de-clutter my house. No more unwanted books to dispose of when I finish reading them.

For more money-saving ideas go to Barbara's post on ways to be prepared during this difficult financial time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I remember summer days as a young girl when we children ran freely through neighboring yards playing our very serious games of chase, tree tag, hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, Superman, Red Rover, dodge ball and probably other games that I have forgotten. Intermingled with all these games were shouts, sighs, groans and gales of laughter as we were caught or tagged or as we caught another dashing through the neighborhood yards.

We ran hard, played intensely and laughed until we fell down on the prickly Bermuda grass yards and lay there in such pleasant exhaustion. Once we caught our breath we laughed with glee as we called out the name of the next game, declared ourselves "not it," and ran off to protect ourselves from the unfortunate one who was "it."

These were fun-filled evenings that ended as the sun began to set. We often gathered with our families on quilts to watch the thick, multi-colored thunderheads billowing up in the sky or to see twinkling stars begin to pop out overhead. In our family each of us children tried to be the first one to discover the Big Dipper in the darkening sky.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


My computer is still under the weather. My #1 Son, aka Computer Guru, had it up and running and ready to ship off to me when it crashed again. He said he just decided to insert a NEW hard drive and dump all my stuff into the new hard drive. Whee! However, that will take more time, so I am still without my Photoshop to create new pictures to paint, my mouse to help me navigate more easily, my files to consult for things I am writing, my e-mail addresses, etc, etc, and so on!

However! I have reminded myself that I am quite lucky to have a laptop, clunky though it is, to use in the interim. I can check my e-mail, read my blogs, do blog entries, and stay in touch with my computer world to a certain extent. Mainly this will make me appreciate my computer, my #1 Son, and the backup computers that have helped me this navigate this cyberspace that has become so important to me.

Ah, technology! How did we ever live without it??