Thursday, December 22, 2011

You Said What?

I’d told my family about a movie I had watched with my grandmother on the Hallmark Channel that I thought was really cute. As one of my sisters was taking off from a Christmas tea, she came over to me, sitting next to my sister-in-law, and leaned down and said in a quiet voice, “I’m going to Harkins* to get A Boyfriend for Christmas. Do you want to come down to the well house and watch?”

Mrs. B.T.’s head came up, “What did you just say?”

It was too perfect and I burst out laughing, “You heard her correctly!”

We then explained that we were refereeing to a movie, not a plan.

Which was good, because Mrs. B.T. couldn’t recommend Harkins* to get a boyfriend.

I really enjoyed A Boyfriend for Christmas, and would recommend it with a mild caution. All in all, for a light hearted, “chick flick” it was funny, but with character to it. Fairy Tale Alert: The lawyer is good. And they give you the impression that Santa Clause is real. I just thought I’d let you know - fair warning and all. :)

*Name changed to protect the guilty, the innocent, and the unconcerned.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's an Epidemic

So I had a new experience today,I worked selling SpaLiving sheets. At one point I was talking to a woman and her husband is standing there bent over, saying, "basketball." I'm thinking, "are there supposed to be basketballs here, are you looking for basketballs, are you crazy?"

It eventually all came together: he was trying to see my shoes beneath my long skirt to figure out if I was tall and, was I a basketball player?

At least he didn't offer me a job modeling jewelry.

You know what, I did once get a basketball into a hoop while holding a toddler. I was quiet determined to do it, and felt a great sense of accomplishment afterwards.

That's life,


Friday, December 2, 2011

A Mugger and a Maid

As told by T.W. as closely as she remembers it being told by Mrs. D. who may or may not have heard the story first hand.

Mrs. D. and her husband (of “The Boondocks”) were involved in medieval reenactment, and though they’re older, most of the people involved in the society are younger college age kids.

A young woman was walking to an event in medieval attire and a man jumped out at her with a switch blade, “I have seven inches of steel, give me your purse!”

She pulled out her sword, “I match your seven, and raise you thirty.”

His knife is framed and mounted on her wall - he dropped it in his haste to run.

So, in lieu of an Irish Wolfhound, I can also now recommend a thirty seven inch sword (give or take a couple inches, I suppose.)

To arms...swords or dogs....! Let not evil prevail!


P.S. Happy Birthday to my older brother Mr. S.Q. - I hope you're aging well, because I'll be there in a couple years. ;)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

Wow! Are we really 11/12 of the way through the year? Shocking.

First, Happy Birthday to my sister!

Second, I enjoyed a fabulous visit around Thanksgiving with a special friend and faithful blog follower Miss Hannah Moss!

Third, while said special friend was here, above mentioned sister was in a car accident. Praise the Lord she wasn't seriously hurt though she is bummed that she'll be going to a chiropractor (a doctor!) for the first time in her life. (Dentists don't count ;))

Fourth, I made another trip to "The Boondocks" to help with puppies again! They are so cute and I wanted to bring one home with me. If you hate dogs, stop reading here. If you're neutral, think about stopping, if you like them, go ahead and read. My mother had pick of the litter, which essentially meant that I did because she knows I'm interested in getting another wolfhound, but now IS NOT the time. Oh, and are they going to be gorgeous dogs! Sad. But not as sad as the fact that the mother of the pups wanted to go home with us. She has a wonderful home where she is, but, well, she's a Wolfhound and we're her first masters. (She used to be ours).

Mrs. D. told me a story about a woman I know by name. Ms. Blaney (so we’ll call her) was driving downtown in a big city, her Irish Wolfhound lying on the back seat when at a stop light, a man yanked open her passenger door and got into the car.

The Irish Wolfhound stood up. The man got out of the car.

The moral of the story is either lock your door or keep an Irish Wolfhound in your back seat. Or both.

So that's that.


P.S. I have another terrific (non dog) story coming soon - A Mugger and a Maid as told to T.W. !

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Checking In

Hello my good readers!

I'm going to try to type this with my nephew on my lap since I took pity on him and got him out of his car seat. :) It promises to be an interesting experience!

I must do a post about the house I stayed in "Timbuktu" - it was a phenomenal place. Medieval English Manor anyone?

And that is that! Hello, and goodbye for now. Blue Eyes and I need to head to the library and then home for him to have lunch and go down for a nap. :)



Sunday, October 23, 2011

I got home yesterday evening. I might be leaving sometime on Tuesday to head off to Timbuktu (figuratively, not literally).

If I do go, when I get back, I’ll be leaving again. Probably.

At least I’m staying pretty local. At the moment.

My life is even less predictable than usual lately:

I headed back to my home state from my grandmothers because of a jury summons, but though I was trying to think positively and decided it would be an interesting experience if I was chosen, really, the chances seemed pretty slim. Especially by the time there was only about three days left in the month. Not so.

While jury duty was still in limbo, I wasn’t sitting around, I applied for an office job.

I got the job.

And then something came up and I said, “uh, no, thank you.” I may sometimes be dumb, but I'm not stupid. Actually, in this case, just unwise.

Poof, the trap door job opened up and I started the caregiver job with Bessie.

Jury Duty

Two of Bessie’s daughters decided that they wanted to stay with her over the weekend and see if she needed more care. When I got that call, I had a feeling that door might be closed.

About a week later, on a Sunday evening, one of my brothers called and his wife had been put on partial bed rest for the rest of her pregnancy. Because I wasn’t currently gainfully employed, I was able to head into town the next morning and stay with them through Saturday.

Her mother and little sister are there through this coming Thursday and then I think the plan is for me to go back again .... And try not to frustrate Mrs. B.T. too much.

“Put the butter in the microwave and turn it like every 5 seconds.”

I looked at her and say, “the microwave?”

It’s true, I did things like that to her a few times. Sometimes I’m just in that kind of mood. But then, she’s married to my brother who has got to be a minimum of twenty times worse.Really. Believe me, I'm his older sister.

My nephew is not quite sure about this arrangement, and he occasionally looks at me like I’m a “most strange and unusual” aunt. Maybe he’s onto something.

Perhaps if I take him for enough walks and play with him in the yard enough, he’ll decide I’m not so bad after all.

I on the other hand, always find myself caught a little bit off guard when I realize he has a sin nature. How can a little feller with such adorable blue eyes and wavy blonde hair not be an angel?

“Oh, he’s not perfect.” And then it seems silly that I should be surprised.

Well, I’m not sure what’s around the corner, but I think this should be my new motto: “Having a positive attitude one catastrophe at a time.”

In everything give thanks.


P.S. I got myself a cup of hot cider! :)

Blue Castle Update

For Sale:

It's bittersweet, but we've decided to sell. Now, if only a buyer would come along...

We have our reasons:

First, we don't really have a house to live in this winter. Second, you can only beat your head against a brick wall so long. This isn't working for us.

That’s just two of them.

Mostly, it's just time to let go.

The mudslide did cause damamge to the building. It raised up a corner of the slab that is under the structure and pulled some of the walls up several inches above the concrete. Is the building ruined? Well, no, not exactly. We did consider having someone move it to a different location on the property, and that is still a viable option, just not for us.

We need to get a place to regroup, reassess, unpack our suitcases, and cook a meal.

It's going to take a miracle. That is just the long and the short of it.

Living the adventure of life,


Fall Walk

One of my sisters and I decided to take a walk up the mountain. We detoured to an apple tree that I thought was plums and it was a great disappointment. It would have been fine if the apples weren't tiny miserable orbs of lousy flavor. I wasn't in the mood to confront potential bears, so we didn't explore down the road where I know there are plums. This was not cowardice, this was wisdom, I assure you.

I love fall. I wish I had a cup of hot cider in my hands, sausage and crackers to nibble on, or perhapsjust a caramel apple. Or maybe something spicy and pumpkin. I need a good fall food fix. It's time.

Savour the seasons,


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Two Tone

I rarely, rarely, wear yellow gold jewelery, but I do have a few nice pieces, and some fun costume stuff that mixes well. Every rare once in a while, I pull it out and usually, since yellow gold is not me, I go dramatic with it. It's fall, and I was in the mood for a little variety, so I pulled my gold pieces out yesterday, but kept them more subdued. Today, I was still in the mood, but decided to kick it up a notch. Somehow though, the twisted yellow gold rope just wasn't striking a cord with me, so I was going to switch back to silver, when I thought, well, why not mix them? It is done occasionally. I did ask my sisters opinion since I just wasn't sure, but her feedback was positive, so I kept the look and headed off to tea.

Layered the bracelets as well to keep everything harmonized. I mean, if it's all wrong, it better at least be all wrong together.

My nephew thinks jewelry is for play. If we forget to wear any, he asks us in his young voice, "where's your earrings?" He decided this bracelet was better as an anklet, and with the color of those socks? It really was in the spirit of fall. My niece on the other hand, is a true girl. "Nope, I don't want that chain. Nope, not that one either. How about the one with the diamonds?" That'a girl.

Speaking of footwear, don't you think rubber boots were the best footwear accessory for so much bling and gold? Chunky black down vest, jeans tucked into rubber boots, why not?

Would you ever wear gold and silver together?

Loving fall,


Are You Sure About That Now?

This is, I think, what I try not to be. Crab-apple!

Think happy thoughts,


Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm Thinking About....

Marrying a chocolate.

I mean marrying a Swiss chocolate.

I mean marrying a Swiss like a chocolate.

Oh, whatever.

I make sense when I explain, no?

Probably no.

I sum up. Okay?

Because of a random picture I came across of two men, I decided that the Swiss aren't such a bad looking lot....


What if I could find a Swiss man like a chocolate? A Lindor truffle to be precise.

Hard on the outside, but in a good way. Firm....

Soft on the inside.....

Ah, and so sweet..... sigh.

I could make him melt....

And he'd be rich :)

That is where the similarities must end. I mean no offense, but round is not what I have in mind.

If he has an account in his homeland, will that mean I have a Swiss bank account?

Perhaps if we have a boy first we can call him Lindor. Hmmm, Lindor James? James Lindor? I don't have a last name, that puts such a crimper in naming a nonexistent child.

But if we have a girl first, she can be our little Swiss Miss. Of course that wouldn't be her real name, we'd actually call her something like Nutella.

Please raise your hand if you think I am suffering from chocolate deprivation.

Thank you.

You can now send the Marines with a large shipment of chocolate. Somebody needs a'saving and I think it's me.

Financial Friday

Doesn't that sound smart?

Well, what would have been smarter is if I had figured everything correctly in the first place so it could have been Thinancial Thursday. Actually, I did figure it correctly and then I forgot what I had done. But it has all come back to me. What I did. Not the money.


I went to the bank on Wednesday to cash my paycheck and I told the teller, "you better double check my math."

"One of those days?" He asked.

"No," I replied, "one of those years."

.....Let's change the subject.

"Did you have a good weekend?" Give him points for trying.

I knit my brows together, trying to think what in the world I had done over the weekend.

My reply was eventually something along the lines of, "I think so."

"Did you get a three day weekend?"

He shouldn't have asked that. My brain was running at about half speed and I was trying to be perfectly honest. "Yes. No. Maybe. Sort of."

"Well, at least you're decisive." (Hey, he has a sense of humor.)

I tried to explain, but my brain was still turning at half speed. "Well, I was going to work this weekend, and then I didn't, and the job I was doing ended, and so I've been helping my mother."

He said now it made sense. Which is more than it made to me. Perhaps he just didn't want me to try and explain further.

Living life, one slow brain cell at a time,


Bessie Stories

One day Erma Jean came out to the ranch, and she was one of those people that thought she knew everything, and she didn’t know a thing. So I was told.

Janet was making butter and Erma Jean wanted to do it. So fine, Janet went off and found something else to do. On a ranch, there are always plenty of things that need doing.

Erma Jean finished the butter and called out loudly, “now what do I do?”

Janet checked, and the butter was indeed done, so she told Erma Jean, “now you wash it.”

“Okay, fine. What kind of soap do I use?”

A panicked Janet said, “never mind! I’ll do it.”

To the good ol'days,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I've been spending the last couple days in the storage unit trying to sort, condense and get rid of my stuff. I already did this once a while back, but I'm doing it again.

Did I not get rid of enough the first time? Yes and no.

De-cluttering can be a process, and I've found that it is often multiple steps for me. Should I get rid of everything the first time? Maybe, but I'm usually not there yet on the first go round.

The first time through, I get rid of everything I don't want. When I do the whole process over again later, I'm ready to get rid of even more. Sometimes because I'm more desperate, sometimes because I'm more focused.

Do I want to get rid of more things?

Yes. But I'm not sure just what it is yet. There are a few things I want to get rid of RIGHT NOW, but unfortunately, with our unsettled living situation, I'm not quite sure it is a good idea. Those black wool pants that don't fit well, don't make me feel good and I've been wanting to pitch for a couple years? They are on top of the "get rid of" list. So why am I hanging onto them? Because last winter was very cold, and I was almost more concerned about being warm than looking good. Almost, some days were better than others. The pants and a very sad down jacket are staying in the "keep for emergency but I don't want you anymore" pile. Just till I can think of a better solution, because I'm not in the camp of wearing things that depress your spirits.

I was going to clear out my collection of china pieces and only keep things that would fit into a tea set, but when I inventoried, I figured that it all could work, somehow, for a tea. Which really meant, I just didn't want to get rid of any of it. So I repacked it neatly, and all the china is staying. For now. But I have it all neatly organized into one box, so it will probably stay with me. I do however like to keep things pretty condensed and I only have one tea cup at the moment, so if I collect more tea cups and need to make more room, I'll have to reevaluate. The simple solution would be to add another box, but I try to just repack and condense so my storage doesn't mushroom.

I was pretty much down to one box of "treasures" but with the decision to keep all the china, I decided to officially expand to two storage boxes. It was actually a good decision in the overall scheme of things because I was starting to amass a collection of "smaller treasure boxes." Now, I pretty much just have two boxes that everything fits into neatly. For now. I'm either going to have to stop buying, refuse gifts, or re-work the system at some point, but it's pretty good at the moment. :)

Can you get rid of everything at once, or do you have to do it in stages?

Happy cleaning,


Monday, October 10, 2011


My newest niece's name is Anna. Bare that in mind.

I was telling my sister that Kate (Anna's older sister) was sick with the stomach flu and her immediate thought was to worry about the brand new baby.

But I reassured her, “Fogwood” had a sore throat the day before too, so she should pass along the antibodies.

I pronounced it a little bit funny anyway, and then it hit me: Ha, ha, “Anna-bodies.”

Get more sleep than I do,


Reporting on the Civic Duty

I was selected, selected again when they narrowed down the options, and then selected to serve.

Jolly interesting being a juror. Did you know that whenever the jurors entered or exited the courtroom everyone had to rise and face them out of respect? I think even the judge did. I will not lie, when I figured that out, I thought it was kind of nice, if you know what I mean.

I’d rather not go into the details of the trial even though I am at legal liberty to do so, those are rather mundane and a bit depressing, but I’ll tell you about some of the extra curricula incidents.

At one point during the course of events, all the jurors were waiting in the deliberation room and I knew we were going to be called soon, so I decided to nip into the ladies room real quick.

But when I got out, the female bailiff was standing at the door of the deserted room. The five male jurors had declined her offer to wait for me and had gone out. I stepped quickly and entered the courtroom, where everyone was standing and waiting for me.

Thanks a lot, men. I shall put no gentle before that, for you didn’t earn the title.
Perchance any men might read this, it would have been polite, and kind, to have waited a few moments. It would have been the conduct of a gentleman. I won’t be too hard on them, they probably were not taught any better. And it was a lesson to me not to procrastinate. :)

While we were sitting and waiting, and waiting, for them to finish the jury instructions, we were starting to worry about just how long we were going to be stuck there. There was an adequate supply of snacks, so I suggested we could dump out the coffee in the pot, fill it with water, chop up the vegetables that were available for snacking, and make ourselves some stew. One of the other guys suggested dumping in some of the tomato sun chips for flavoring.

We liked our idea. And then they called us back into the courtroom.

Life is like that,


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Good Times

I didn't sleep in this morning. I don't know what time I got up, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't late. Instead, I was up and cracking to go into town and walk along the river. With fall just turning the leaves, the air crisp, vibrate rose hips in reds and oranges, it was a beautiful morning full of the beauty of life. I was walking to support a charity my sister works for and it was neat to meet some of the people she knows from her job. Plus, it has been awhile since we had to clarify that no, we are not twins! Really! There is in fact a brother between us to prove it. :)

I love old people. My mother introduced me to one of the board members and then his wife came over, only she thought I was my sister, but we finally clarified that. But she is a hoot, really hilarious. She's met my dad, but she does have Alzheimer’s apparently and towards the end of the event was asking my mother, "is that your husband?"

"No, my husband is the one over there."

"Oh, well I have to figure out just who you are living with. The man right there, the one with the silver hair?"

My mother just simply said yes. My father's hair has long since qualified as grey, and is now more silver. I claim no responsibility for the gray or silver. My dad isn't very much older than my mom, but a couple minutes earlier this same lady had been part of a conversation and agreed that she looked like his daughter.

Cheryl squinted and looked across at my dad for a moment and then declared, "He's a good looking old coot."

You don't say. I have to believe her when she said her husband had to adjust to her sense of humor. But he chased her, so he'll just have to get over it.

Rather than heading back to the mountain and doing something dutiful, I decided to hang out with my sisters for the afternoon! Between work, being out of town, work, more work, our housing situation, and life, we don't really spend that much time just being in the same "zone" together anymore.

I hung out with my un-twin sister, hit a couple garage sales with her and Mrs. B.T. and Little Nephew Blue Eyes, picked up another sister to run her to get lunch, hit an estate/garage sale, dropped by my sister's house even though she was gone and had a cuppa with Mrs. B.T., picked up one of my sisters from work and headed to a field to play Ultimate Frisbee with some friends, and then some of us headed to the Dollar theater to watch Cars 2!

They were sold out, but if we wanted to stand in the back and watch, okay.

So we bought tickets. And we didn't even ask for a discount!

We went into the dark theater. There was a row of empty chairs in the back, but of course they were sandwiched between people, so we decided to just climb over the back of the seats so we didn't disturb anyone.

I climbed over. I don't recommend it, it was uncomfortable. One of my other sisters climbed over. We were settling in when the people on the end finally noticed us and told us that there were some little kids coming and those were THEIR chairs. Sorry. We climbed back over.

My sister handed me my wallet. Apparently I had dropped it and a friend had tripped over it twice and then looked down and picked it up and it had made its way back to me. Praise the Lord that I didn't lose it. I forgot to check if the money was still there. JK :) I trust him.

We sat in the very back of the theater on the floor and watched Cars 2 and passed a bag of popcorn down the line, and then back.

It was so hot when we got back to the wellhouse ( & our current bedroom). So we changed our mind and decided to go ahead and have ice cream after all!

Savor the good times,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


“I’m going to go have a smoke, because I’m mad.”

So finally, I tell you about Bessie. Becoming a live-in caregiver, or companion, was not the career move I had in mind, but it’s the door that opened. The door being of the trap variety, it opened, and I just sort of fell through. Life is like that.

Bessie is 95 and has lived through a great deal of change in her lifetime. No electricity, unpaved roads, riding a horse out to the field to take lunch to her father with a gallon of boiling hot coffee, churning butter, riding a horse to school in the snow and her feet getting so cold they hurt. Now she lives in a modest house in town, has electricity, a microwave, running water, a furnace that turns on automatically, pizza can be brought in from the pizzeria, and coffee percolates by simply plugging in the pot (though I admit the coffee pot is still old fashioned by most standards.) It is incredibly amazing and really just makes history come alive and seem not so very far in the past.

I’m off for a couple days, but she was sleeping a lot better before I left and I hope that is a trend that continues when I return. Getting up three or four times during the night is a lot. I signed up to be a caregiver, not a mother. :)

So far I have found Bessie to be very sweet, at times hilarious (to me), but I have seen a feisty side to her too. I wasn’t there, but I hear tell she threw a cookie at one of her daughters recently. I was there when she was complaining about her awful doctor that had prescribed nausea medication, which she didn’t need because her stomach was fine and if it was upset, it was all his fault because “he’d make a maggot puke.”

On Monday before I left, her oldest daughter was over visiting and helping in the garden, or trying to help as the case might be. Bessie was becoming more and more convinced she didn’t have a clue what she was doing.“Poor girl,” she said sadly of her seventy year old daughter.

While Bessie and I ate lunch, Janet, who had declined a meal took one of the Jam Thumbprints I had baked the day before and which Bessie had informed her earlier weren’t very good, “so we had to eat them all.” And she said it with a straight face too. But Janet ate one of the two remaining cookies and told me they were very good and said to her mother, “no wonder you ate them all.”

Her mother looked at her and asked, “Do you want another one?”

“No, this one’s fine.”

“Then shut up.”

I think the whole gardening situation had made Bessie less patient.

So far I haven’t got into trouble with Bessie, and I’m hoping it remains that way. It was a little hard on Bessie in the beginning not being used to people in her house, but now I think she’s adjusted to us and likes the company and security that our presence brings. (One of my sisters is trading off with me.)

One time late at night, or early in the morning, Bessie told me I was an angel. And the other day when I was helping her to her “smoking bench” she told me that my little hands were such a comfort to her. I’m pretty certain that she said little, which considering I’m not exactly a petite person, would have been figurative.

Sunday afternoon she did tell me not to bother her, but she didn’t mean it. She was feeling blue and she was trying to tell me not to be bothered if she was crying. I knew what she meant, even before she corrected herself. That’s okay, I told a lobbyist the same thing once. I had meant to say, “don’t mind us,” but it just didn’t quite come out right.

I have noticed Bessie and I are a lot alike in many ways. I haven’t thrown a cookie at anybody yet, but when I’m ninety-five, I might take the liberty. Consider yourselves sufficiently warned.

Pleasant lives to you,


Baby News

Three nephews, four nieces!

Anna: My newest niece that is adorable,beautiful,and born early this morning!

Baby is healthy, mama is healthy. God has blessed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Civic Duty

I wanted to write a post about Bessie. I also wanted to sleep in again tomorrow morning. But I just finished smartening up a skirt with a curling iron, because it was the only available instrument, and since that didn't work, I've tried dampening it a bit to try and relax the wrinkles. Fortunately it is a style that doesn't have to be pressed to look okay, but still, I would prefer it ironed.

At any rate, I have to report for Jury Duty tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A New Take on a Comfort Blanket?

The other night I slept with a mouse. Really, truly. I think I subconsciously knew it was there, but I thought it was my alarm clock. I don’t usually sleep with an alarm clock either, but I strangely have been lately, just in case I wake up in the night and want to check the time. Or, more likely, in case Bessie wakes me up in the night and I want to check the time. Bessie is a whole other story, or post. Or several posts as the case might be.

Back from that little sidetrack: The mouse didn’t have a tail, or a cord, more accurately. The mouse was named Dell, I think, at least that is what the writing said. In this case I’m going to believe the writing.

Why there was a cordless mouse in my bed, I haven’t the foggiest. But at least it didn’t have fur and a tail. Although I am slightly troubled about the Dell. It just doesn’t sound as cute and friendly, as let’s say, Freddie….

Once upon a time, there was a little girl, who would stay up late into the night, her pen scratching across the paper, line upon line building itself into a suspenseful tale of murder, mystery, and ancient family feuds. Sometimes it got chilly in the little attic room, sometimes she got sore from sitting on the hard wooden floor. The old house would be quiet, everyone else in the family fast asleep, and the story she was writing would scare its very own author. But then she would hear scratching in the walls, it was a lone mouse that she never saw, but sometimes would hear. She named him Freddie, because Freddie seemed like a good name for a comforting mouse that you never saw, but scratched around, traipsing through the walls, keeping you company late at night.

I was that little girl. Well, teenager really. Writing such suspenseful stories was such a break from the monotony of real everyday life, that included evil politicians, shady lawyers and passing knowledge of someone who would one day be become a killer*.

And it is entirely possible that it wasn’t a cute little mouse but something horrible like a bat. I’m glad the thought didn’t occur to me at the time. Did I have bats in my attic? Frightening thought indeed.

Dell? Doesn't that sound like cold hard plastic to you? Almost like a robot, or whisper "computer."

This is T.W.

I'll be back.

P.S. Any mention of Dell is not to be taken literally, or figuratively, positively or negatively, I may or may not like computers called D-E-L-L, I may or may not like people called D-E-L-L. I may not know what I'm talking about. That's not likely, but I thought I'd throw it out there. :)

*Note: What I said about evil politicians and shady lawyers was said in slight gest. However I did indeed in my life unfortunately cross path with someone who down the road killed people in what was, really, a type of terrorist attack. I do not think that is anything to joke about. Good people lost their lives that day, spouses lost their loved one, children lost a parent. Justice will never bring them back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Suggested Reading

I saw an add today in the personals that looked promising.

Hey, don’t judge.

Really, if you want some diverting reading, you should try it. I think I even read one once where they were promising a possible set of new teeth. I kick myself – why don’t I ever think to take advantage of these opportunities at the time?

Back to the promising add….He was thirty. Okay, not bad. He was a country boy. Hmm, possibilities. He was currently incarcerated. Shakes head, smacks forehead, I FORGOT TO WRITE DOWN HIS CONTACT INFORMATION!!!!

he. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


If you don't knock

no one will know

you're standing at the door.

Carpe Diem!

Inspiration for the day,


Thursday, September 15, 2011


…The story is this:

Mrs. C. has been thinking about getting some sort of fireplace so she has a mantel to hang her stocking on at Christmas, and really admired the neighbors “electric” (?) fireplace. A description wasn’t quite enough, so we ended up traipsing across to the neighbor’s house, ringing the bell so we didn’t startle her in case she was home, and then going over and peering into her windows to see the mantle through living room window.

Is that even legal?

Is this a true story? I plead the Fifth on the grounds that it could incriminate me.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What I Learned Today

I’m a very mean, horrible aunt! At times. And I didn’t mean to be, it just happened.

You should not mix: your darling little niece and a Groucho Marx nose/glasses mask. I put it on, thinking she would try it after I did, and of course be adorable. It didn’t happen that way, one look at me and she freaked. I truly did feel bad, but it was also very funny. I’m sorry, really I am, but it was.

I was a horrible, bad, no good aunt. She sat on her mother’s lap, sucking her thumb and giving me the evil eye. I did try, but she was having no part of forgiveness. Those beautiful big brown eyes of hers just kept staring at me.

I didn’t want to leave with her mad at me, so I made a cup of tea with the express purpose of sharing. We drank it together, I was forgiven, and all was well with the world again.

It’s a family trait, tea makes just about everything all right.

Still, poor little girl!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pop Pound Cake

I've renamed this cake - because I can. :) It was originally 7-Up Pound Cake, but I made it with Ginger Ale, and I think just about any carbonated beverage would work, so why feel limited by a title? That's my theory at any rate, and I'm stuck with it.

If you would like to be like me, you can cream the butter and sugar the required 15 minutes by hand. However, in this instance, I'm not even sure I would like to be me and would encourage you to use a mixer, hand or stand, if one is available to you. If not, I've given you options.

Pop Pound Cake
3 cubes real butter (1 1/2 cups)
5 eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
¾ cup Ginger Ale, Sprite or 7-Up

Cream butter and sugar for 15 minutes; add eggs, one at a time. Blend in vanilla. Add flour slowly while continuing to mix. Fold in pop. Bake at 325° for 1-1 ½ hours in a greased and floured bundt pan. Two loaf pans may also be used instead of a bundt pan.

Edited from a cookbook in my grandmother's private collection. (He! Aren't most cookbooks in "private collections"?)

This is T.W. - over and out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


It seems hard to believe that ten years have passed. Ten years.

I'm sure there are some amazing posts today from people who haven't forgotten. I thought this post from Thrifty Decor Chick, with pictures of some of the quotes from people who experienced it so closely, was a fitting tribute.

I knew what they were talking about when they mentioned how much a firefighter’s helmet means to him. I've seen tears in a guy’s eyes when his helmet was returned to him, a token of his service. To so many of us, it's just a helmet, but not to firefighters. It really makes me stop and pause to realize how few of the helmets were recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers.

To the loved ones of every victim the attack left behind, my thoughts go out to you today especially, but I haven’t forgotten through the intervening years either.

God Bless America!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Story I Haven't Told My Sisters Yet

The girls have been sleeping in the “well house” since we got it painted in the nick of time for a visit from a special friend. It really does make a terrific slumber party location. However…. It does tend to get warm during the day so come evening when it has cooled off outside, it’s still warm inside our current “bedroom” which can put a damper on sleeping. In order to save electricity, I decided that rather than turning the air conditioner on, I would just leave the door open so the cool night air could come on in. I even propped a piece of foam up so creatures couldn’t just wander in at will (though there was still a gap) and left the light off so bugs wouldn’t make their way inside.

All fine in theory.

My sisters were out on the town and I was doing some reading I had to get done before bed. The overhead light was off and I was reading by flashlight when I heard some noise. I thought, “Oh, dear, I let a whole slew of months in and now they were fluttering around making a racket.” I shined the flashlight around, and I didn’t see moths. What I did see was a mouse eating something off the floor and looking at me. Hmmm. Nightmares of chasing the little varmint around the well house flashed through my mind. He gave me temporary hope, although a somewhat sinking feeling all at the same time, when he ran over and tried to escape through a gap under the door. If he could get out, that would deal with the problem, but it also would mean he could get back in.

His attempts didn’t prove to be successful, so I needed to deal with him. I tried the easiest thing that came to mind.

I opened the door for him.

This is T.W. – showing mice the door.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Girls Party

We had a girls party today to watch the newest(?)version of Sense and Sensibility. I made Jam Thumbprints as my contribution to the tea. I didn't have mini muffin cups to bake them in, so they weren't as cute as these, but at least I had a pan to bake them in period. Even if it was only a 9-inch round cake pan. And I had an oven that wouldn't heat the camp trailer kitchen to uncomfortable temperatures. All things considered, I should be counting the small blessings. :)

To Clarify....

I realized that my post “Paraphrasable” could be misunderstood, which might be a good thing, because saying just exactly what was running through my mind is probably best left off the record.

In the best interests of being more gracious, and etc., I hope that this will explain what I was thinking without becoming a full blown rant.

On to the point…

I didn’t mean that I’m hoping to be somebody’s first love as in, “where are you? I’m WAITING!” But more, should someone come along, I want to be their first choice. Not, “Well, all the other girls I was interested in didn’t work out, so I guess you’ll do.”

“Oh, take a damper, mister.” I don’t think I’d say that to their face, but I’d probably feel it, which would be worse - for them I imagine. My brother once said that I had a nitrogen cooled cold shoulder.

So in a nutshell, to clarify, I’m not pining for love. It’s just when I saw this blog post, the words resonated with me for a multitude of reasons. One being that I know a few girls that have sort of been left in the position of feeling they were second choice. I personally feel that is simply awful.

It brings Rachel and Leah to mind. Can you imagine being Leah? Really, think about what she must have felt! She may not have had any choice in the matter of her marriage, but it seems clear to me that she desired her husband’s love. She was always “the one he ended up with.” The late Princess of Wales springs to mind as being in this exact position. While I’ll cut Jacob some slack (wouldn’t he be relieved!:)) since he was tricked, I don’t give the Prince of Wales so much leniency.

It’s possible that Leah fell in with her father’s plan of deception willingly, and suffered the consequence of it, but it’s still sad. My advice to the ladies would be to think twice before in desperation to get married, settling for being second choice. I’m not saying absolutely don’t, because I won’t tell you what God has for your life, but do think about it.

That’s all I’m saying for now, I’ll save all further rants and good advice for a book. :)

A lovely Friday to you my readers!


I'll be back

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thought Provoking

My mother and I were in an antique store talking to one of the owners when the three hour train trip she would be taking soon came up in the conversation. Both her sons were flying in to meet her, only a few hours of flying in comparison to a three day ride on the train. But the story is….

One day when she was in Europe the plane was having a rough time of it and she told God, “if you get me out of this, I’ll never fly again.”

People ask her, “and you’ve never flown since?”

She looks at them and says, “Would you lie to God?”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I would say, quotable, but I don't remember the exact quote, so I'm paraphrasing. Good? Good.

I would like just once in my life to be someone's first love. - Paraphrased from a quote in some movie. I think.


This is T.W.

over and out

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I’m home now. I acutally have been for over a week, but that is beside the point of this story. Let me tell you about my return trip. Uh, huh. Before I even left my grandmother’s house I was given strict instructions, several times, not to talk to strangers, men or women. Sigh. As a side note, I’ve found it mildly amusing that family members that have in the past given the impression that they thought my parents were overprotective, overbearing, etc., are the ones that treat me as a child, or something. Before I get carried away on that whole subject, let me return to my travels…

I had one layover, so on the first segment of my flight I sat next to a very nice college girl and we chatted the entire flight, we even exchanged contact information, and the thought did occur to me, ‘my grandmother would never approve.’ But then if she is leading by example, she strikes up conversations with strangers all the time. I even got a little Dutch shoe key chain from one of her chats with an older man in the grocery store. She got a pair of little wooden shoes. I’m just saying.

After my first flight I trooped across the airport, with a carry-on bag over one shoulder, and a large purse/briefcase/bag over the other shoulder. Don’t worry, they were coordinated to my outfit. Between the two I had: a notebook computer, a portable printer, two books, assorted other paper work, a few pieces of clothes, shoes, etc. To sum it up, they were heavy. After I got to my destination, I was sitting debating what I should get to eat when two men walked up to the waiting area where I was sitting. At first I thought they were together since they had come up at the same time, but apparently not. Or they weren’t speaking. One never knows… One of them was younger, the other probably in his fifties, tall with curly grey hair. Just hold that thought.

Since there was a bit of time before my next flight I was deciding on getting something to eat, and since it was near tea time, after some procrastination, debating if I was or wasn’t boycotting Starbucks at that particular moment, I decided, no, I wasn’t and went over and got myself a cup of tea and some Walkers Shortbread. The whole point of getting tea and cookies was that it was around “foursies” (four o’clock tea) and I was going to call my grandmother while I was having it, to see if she’d had her tea. A connection sort of thing you know, just in case she was missing me. :)

I returned with my tea, not spilling any, a miracle itself, helped by the plastic lid, but still…..and as I was unloading my bags which had made the journey with me, and sitting down, the older man stood up into a half crouch and taking a few steps towards me asked if I was on my way back to college to play basketball. No, I told him, I didn’t do basketball. He then commented that I was tall, which I’m sure I acknowledged, because there really is not use denying it, and I am tall, even when I’m not wearing four inch heels. He then said something about tall being a good thing and sat back down.

I called my grandmother, had a very interesting conversation, told her that drinking tea out a paper cup was simply ghastly, the shortbread wasn’t as good as hers, etc. End of story. Right? Wrong.

Not by half.

I went on about my business, and that eventually led to my drafting an e-mail to my grandmother’s Bible study group. It seemed the perfect time, since traveling can be interesting and I wasn’t exactly sure what to say in the first e-mail. So I’m typing away, which was probably unique in itself, since I will often be very expressive and talk to myself when I’m writing. It helps me think. I may look like I’m crazy, but I assure you that is a completely misplaced opinion.

But that’s not the point, the point is, I was typing away, minding my own business, overhearing the older man’s conversation on the telephone, but not entirely tuned into it, when suddenly, I did tune into his conversation. The man was telling the person on the other end of the phone that he was about to send them pictures of a really tall girl, that had to be over six feet and should model their jewelry. A few seconds into this, I realized just exactly who he was talking about, gulp, me.

I was concentrating very hard on my typing, hoping my face was turning to no shade of red that would admit I had even heard what I had heard. Oh, my word.

My mind was turning rather quickly, he finished his conversation and then he –started-taking-pictures-of-me! Wait! Apparently the angle wasn’t right, or he wasn’t close enough, because he moved several chairs down, to almost across from me and was taking more pictures! At his point I did look up at him, gave him a look of surprise, and then returned to my work, completely ignoring him. At some point in there, my peripheral caught that the younger guy had popped his head up and was taking in the situation. What he was thinking I haven’t a clue, but I can jolly well hope that if I had in any way appealed to him, he would have stepped up to the plate.

I gave the older guy what I intended as a look of surprise, however, people don’t always read my looks right, and he may have taken it as one of displeasure. At any rate, while he may have been watching me after that at times, he completely ignored me.

I have that effect on people, one time a guy gave me a Valentine and then he didn’t speak to me for a month afterwards. And I had tried to be so gracious, too.

Not sure exactly what I was dealing with, I came and went from the waiting area quite a bit, and didn’t sit in the same row anyway. I also called home and gave them a heads up that I might have company, because I just wasn’t sure how this was going to play out. I was also prepared to send a text message, just in case I couldn’t talk, telling them to send my TALL brothers to meet me at the airport. And that made me smile, because I’ve seen them in security mode.

I didn’t have any further encounters with the guy and I sat next to a very friendly lady on the airplane that was telling me all about her farm and the different young people she had employed over the years. Now here is the bad part about that, she asked me where I was from, and that guy was at that point sitting right behind us (he afterwards moved to the front of the plane), not a great security situation. But, back to the lady, when the flight was almost over, I discovered that the homeschoolers she was raving about were family friends – and relatives, if you count sister’s husband’s sister’s husband’s siblings!

Anyway, I thought it was a strange, rather interesting travel anecdote, though I decided to give my sisters a heads up, just in case that guy was really creepy. My parents didn’t think it was so interesting, they didn’t like it at all, and I ended up giving a report of the whole situation to a law enforcement officer.

It was an interesting trip home. Not perhaps as interesting as sleeping on the floor in the middle of a travel trailer, but you know what they say, home is where your heart is – and I’m home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fresh Fruit Pie

I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Mrs. B.T. and it is a wonderful, refreshing summer pie! The sauce you put over the fruit is really good on its own too - I know, I licked the spoon. :)

It's simple, goes together quickly and is tasty - what's not to like about this for a summer dessert?

Pie Crust:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup flour

To Make Crust: Mix melted butter, sugar, and yolk. Add flour and mix until crumbs form. Press into pie dish and cook at 400° F. for 8 minutes. Cool completely. (You can replace ¼ cup of the flour with whole wheat.)

½ cup sugar
3 to 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ cups orange juice
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
6 cups fresh fruit
(I used approximately 2 cups quartered strawberries, 2 cups red grapes, 1 cup canned pineapple pieces, 1 cup raspberries and blackberries. That is just an idea, there are so many wonderful possibilities.)

For Fruit Mixture: Mix sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Add 1 ½ cup orange juice until mixture is smooth. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat and add lemon juice and lemon rind. Cool completely. Add fruit and pour into cooled crust. Chill for 4 hours.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A-1 Cheese Cake Pie

This is from a cookbook published I believe sometime between 1976-77 by the Tarzana Aides in California. The recipe was submitted by my grandmother’s sister-in-law, the daughter of a United States Senator (at the time of submission, I believe he was a former US Senator). My grandmother reminisced that when they were having company, Marjorie would volunteer to bring this cheesecake for dessert, and the best part was she always left the extras. But my grandmother did wrap up a piece to send home with her.

I’ve done a little clarifying on the original recipe since apparently graham crackers used to come in a smaller size, the equivalent of half of the current size, so I edited it to half the amount and now it is 9-10 of the modern day size sold. I did a little more editing on some other measurements as well, just to make it a little easier to follow.

The interesting thing about this “cheese pie” is that it is cooked at a higher temperature for a shorter time, something I think is unusual with cheesecakes, but it worked very well; moist, no cracking and simple. Bake this pie the day before you intend to serve it.

A-1 Cheese Cake Pie

9 – 10 Graham crackers, made into crumbs
3 Tbs. sugar
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ lbs. pound butter (1/2 cup!)
Mix all, pack firmly into a 10 – 12 inch pie dish.


Beat 4 eggs until creamy, add:
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Crumble in 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, beat until creamy. Pour into crust and bake 25 minutes at 375°F. Cool 5-10 minutes.

Topping: Mix-
1 large (16 oz.) carton sour cream
6 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Spread on pie and bake at 400°F. for 5 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Serves 12 – 16.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh, the luxury...

My grandmother and I got a Caribbean Spa Manicures this morning at James (thanks to a Christmas gift to her from one of my cousins!) and it was lovely! I chose a beautiful color that is somewhere between burgundy and purple with a nice silvered overtone.

I would love to go again.

That being said, here would be my problem: I really enjoyed the lady that did my manicure and she did a lovely job, except, she didn't get the polish right up to my cuticles, which I'm rather particular about. The lady that my grandmother got did an amazing job and when I complimented her, she said that she was a perfectionist and loved doing nails considering it an "art form." Now, I think the actual coating the lady did for me ended up with a better finish. So my problem would be, should I have the same lady do it again and ask her to try to get right up to the cuticles, or would it be better to request the girl that does a good job at applying thorough coverage and just make sure she applies a treatment that would smooth out any imperfections in the nail surface?

I wouldn't want to hurt "L.'s" feelings if she realized I had requested the other girl, and I did enjoy her and we had a common problem that made her a bit of a "kindred spirit", so I would have a problem deciding. Which is why it is probably good that I'm not likely to be going back.

On a slightly different note, I don't make a practise of going to Salons and find the idea a bit intimidating, however I was perfectly relaxed at this Spa and really enjoyed the experience, and the coffee, but I still think I'm not sure about the idea of going to get a massage. (I didn't, in case that isn't clear.)

A little cold in the coffee shop, it's



When I see pictures of my nieces and nephews, it makes me smile....all the way down to my heart. I love being an aunt!

Happy June!


Saturday, May 21, 2011


I few weeks ago I went to Target with my grandmother and found this dress on sale! I’ve been keeping my eye out for dresses that I could wear as long tops and this was a great find. I’ve worn it with my long dark jeans as a top, or unbuttoned as a jacket. It is a tiny bit dramatic, but classic too. I’m on the lookout for a wide belt to change up the look some more.

Now honestly, I can be a bit of a clothes snob. I like nice clothes, really nice clothes. Not only because, “oh, it’s just Brooks Brothers,” tosses nose up, (ha :)) but because you can tell quality and that can make an outfit feel really fabulous, and I love that. However, the dress was what I was looking for, so I’m giving the brand a try. And then I was excited to see this link to the dress from YouLookFab – a fashion blog I read. Now, this is a pretty modern site, and not usually my style, but I do like to keep an eye on the latest trends. It was fun to see a piece I’d already selected linked in one of her posts.

I’m keeping my eye out for some accessories to make this into a great summer piece! Maybe after some shopping, and when I get to a camera, I can share some pictures. No promises, though, life is a bit unpredictable at the moment.

I think maybe the best thing about this purchase is that my grandmother and I agreed on it. You know, it seems we have different taste in clothing a lot of the time. I'm just saying....


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Travel Attire

No hat. Tis a pity. Two reasons for that, I think only two, but I can't even really remember the other one, but I think one was I didn't want to dress up too much in deference to my grandmother, who sometimes isn't quite sure about how much I dress up to travel. Hence, the denim jacket as well, partly for style, also, it popped the black dress down a notch. And perhaps it was just the look I was in the mood to go with, I did, in deference to a hat, wear a black flower in my hair.

Style wise, I think I did okay, but comfort wise, I think I need to update my travel wardrobe a little, the shoes especially. While very smashing faux snake skin, they have become a tiny bit too big since I purchased them several years ago, and while walking long distances through an airport, when your heel is slipping out of your shoe, it is not only uncomfortable, it is not elegant. I made a detour through the bathroom and stuffed more tissue in the toes, but really…..It is entirely likely, since I’m so particular, that they will have to make do, but I hope to find a smashing replacement before another airport trek.

The other small problem I had was my slip riding up. Fortunately, the skirt was full enough that the bulge it wanted to create was concealed (hopefully!), but elegance needs to be a feeling as well as a look, and I can’t say I had it on the inside.

So, travelling does need to be a combination of comfort and elegance, although to be perfectly frank here, I’d rather look nice. However, I think feeling elegance can be a major contributor to looking elegant, so there you are, I’m stuck. Another thing, apparently airport security doesn’t like really full skirts, I was subjected to extra screening. (But hey, I flew out of a small airport and the security went above and beyond the call of duty to help me find my watch that I’d taken off and slipped into my belongings right before walking through the scanners. When I realized it was missing on the other side, they ran all my bags through again, helped me pull things out and look, and we finally found it. And then of course there was a science to having fit everything in and it wasn’t quite the same after that….but that is another story on better luggage and I did try, but I just couldn’t find something that would work. So a girl has got to do, what a girl has got to do, with what a girl has. :))

I think the basic moral to this whole post is, try not to fly right after starting to evacuate your families home because of a mud slide, it does things to your equanimity. And because I have a way of rabbit trailing, I feel so blessed that despite this crisis our family has been through; we’re all safe, we were able to move everything out, and actually, the Blue Castle is still standing. With the tornado that just recently devastated so many homes across America recently, I just shake my head, they had no warning, they lost just about everything, and some even lost their lives. What do I have to complain about?

How's that for a fashion post?

Pip now,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Breaking the Silence

I know it's been a bit since you heard from me, and right after a rather epic post too. Well, I'm with my grandmother, far away from the difficulties that my family is handling right now. From what I understand, the house has been completely evacuated, the floors might even be swept, if my mother has had her way. There were still a few things to move from the wellhouse/office and then everything will be on hold until the situation has been stabilized and decisions can be made on what to do next.

There are some ideas under consideration, and some of them would include major changes. We shall just have to see what the future holds. At this point the family is really hoping to be able to find a place to rent in town temporarily so that they can move out of my brother and sister-in-laws, where they have been staying for the last few days. Just when I think we are "out of their hair" the step up to the plate with more gracious hospitality in a time of need.

The family could still really use prayers as they decide what the next step should be. I don't know if the Blue Castle is even an option to move back into if the hillside can be stabilized. Something has shifted enough that you can't open the doors so what that has done to the structural integrity, I can't say. Something that will have to be considered at any rate.

In other news, I've heard of women being widows before they were married, but I never thought as I should be one...........that might be a bit of stretch, but I joined my grandmother today for a widows luncheon. They were very sweet ladies and the testimony one shared was pretty amazing. I am very grateful that they welcomed me so kindly, but still, when you think about just the plain fact of it being a widows luncheon, it's interesting.

This is just a quick note, well, as quick as a lass with a few good drops of Irish blood in her veins gets, to say hi. When you will hear from me again, I couldn't say, there is this little issue of the internet and generational gap that I'm struggling to bridge. :) (Not to mention, I'm very used to having it at my finger tips and going somewhere to access it is a bit daunting.)

Till later my friends,


Monday, March 28, 2011

We're Moving!

Bet you didn't see that coming, did you? Neither did we, and there is a bit of double meaning in my phraseology too.

Sooo, on Friday I wanted to post about my lovely day: together with good friends it started with a lovely walk along a river in the sunshine, with just enough coolness in the morning air to make it crisp, fresh; and then investigating a new coffee shop I've been wanting to try. Yummy. I had a red velvet cupcake with a cup of coffee. The cake was good, the frosting was delicious and there was plenty of it - and the presentation was chic. Afterwards it was time for a few errands with a sister and my nephew, then home to see the family from out of state over for the weekend along with tea and our usual episode of Doc. Then home for a quiet, unplanned evening, time on the computer, etc. And then.......

Mr. B.T. came down to look at a situation that had been developing and give his opinion to the investigation my oldest brother and parents were already doing, and after talking for a while, he headed home. The family at the Blue Castle was talking, investigating.

You know those pictures I posted of the steps in front of the door we built? Well, one side was about, give or take a couple inches, a foot higher. There were cracks in the ground, there was places the ground was starting to rise and bulge, the upper driveway had cracks across it that were beginning to widen. If you read up on it, these are indications of an impending mud slide.

After meeting and seeking the Lord with my two oldest brothers, Mr. B.T. was the emissary that was chosen to return and give us their counsel: Leave. Get immediate valuables and spend the night somewhere else. What? In a twenty-four hour period the damage was getting worse, and it was too much for comfort. The house might have been what was holding it, but how long would that last? Maybe yes, maybe no, but we aren't going to be taking chances.

Friday had been clear and no rain Saturday, so we returned to pack up as many valuables and breakables as we reasonably could, and kitchen stuff, and it is being stored in my brothers shed. Our friend D.C. that has spent so much time helping us with the Blue Castle returned to help us get things out. Somebody should get that guy a white charger with as often as he goes to peoples rescue!

There is still a lot of things in the house, but you can only do so much and so far it looks likes the hillside has stabilized. My brothers brought in an excavator and dug trenches to try and divert water and get the soil draining better. So far it looks like it is helping.

We are looking for somewhere else to live for several weeks or months, until the wet season is over and we can get in and make sure the hillside is completely stabilized. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It might be perfectly safe, but if it isn't? It is just wisdom to be cautious. Especially since we're very likely to be getting some more rain, and the snow is melting. It isn't a major problem as far as the mountain is concerned, just a potentially major problem as far as our house is concerned.


Mother was dog sitting for the neighbors and they have invited us to use it before, so we spent Friday and Saturday night there. King size beds are nice. Until you try to sleep* four adults in one. Yes, all four of the girls crammed into one bed on Friday night. *Sleep is a relative term, we got very little of it. I slept on the floor Saturday night on foam pads and that was much better, but still, new place, uncertain circumstances, we are all very tired. My poor brother and sister-in-law had a full house last night as we rolled out on the floor! What would we ever do without them?

It has been good in that we've been praying a lot, seeking the Lord, reading his word; in that the family has once again rallied, pulled together, and helped each other in a time of need. Spirits are pretty good, but as time goes on I expect it will be harder.

I had sympathy for the Japanese before, I wanted more, and I sure have it. I just kept praying that if the house went, no one would get hurt. My heart is with those who lost loved ones. We had time, and so far, nothing major has happened. Please continue to keep the Japanese in your prayers, I believe it will only get harder for them as time goes on, as they have to live with it, to start to rebuild.

And if you could keep us in your prayers too, we would really be grateful. Life is a bit topsy turvy at the moment and my parents especially need wisdom as they seek the Lord on what we should be doing next.

Life isn't dull,


(P.S. I didn't mention above that I'm supposed to be flying out tomorrow to be spend a while with my grandmother as my aunt is out of the country. I feel a little bad leaving everyone to deal with the situation, but God is in control and it will be one less person that needs a bed. :))

Monday, March 21, 2011


I think the best style piece you can own is a full length mirror. Not having one has actually been one of the more frustrating parts of living in the Blue Castle. Shocking? It is, however, true.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13:12 KJV

Okay, I realize I might be taking great liberties with context, but then again, maybe not.

What if you can see the top of your outfit, or the bottom half of your outfit, but not the two together? Are you going to be able to see yourself as others see you? A full length mirror helps you connect the two, to see the whole picture. But then shall I see, even also as I am seen. (Am I in left field?)

This can be as important to dressing modestly as it is to dressing stylishly. Seeing the whole picture is also how everybody else sees us!

Style and fashion books often tell you to get a full length mirror, and they are right. Also, check the front and back of your outfit. If you are confident your wardrobe is modest, that might not be what you have to look for (though double checking and keeping it in mind is a good idea), but you should still cast an eye over your outfit to look for overall aesthetic for the accessories you’ve chosen and look for loose threads, stains, hemlines coming undone, etc. You never know, maybe the shoes or necklace you chose and thought would look darling, don’t have the same affect you thought they would.

Do you have a full length mirror where you double check your outfit choices? At the moment I don’t, and it is frustrating. You never know what you have until you don’t have it anymore….


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Errands Outfit

So, I've been thinking about doing more fashion related posts. But, we'll see if that happens. Here however, is one. This isn't a height of fashion, cutting edge style outfit, this is more classic. Which tends to be my style anyhow.

Wide leg dark wash jeans (over leggings) - white cotton cowl neck sweater layered over a thin wool sweater (snow folks!) - and boots which you can't really see but are very slightly Western flavored English riding style. What you can't see but I love, is my argyle boot socks - in greys, black and red - smashing birthday gift, they.

The white sunglasses are more daring than I usually do, but they work with this outfit. And, they happen to be the only pair I have right now since I haven't replaced my classic neutral pair. :) I've shopped, but I'm not desperate enough yet and I have this "perfect pair" in mind.

Truth is, I feel I've been letting my wardrobe slip and I thought that maybe if I started posting I'd be motivated to be motivated! :) Hopefully I can also share some of my wardrobe philosophy and what has worked for me. It might be a little different from the mainstream, I don't go for quantity - in fact I need to par down. Hopefully I stick to this since the girls closet just isn't very big. Necessity is part of my reason for a smaller wardrobe!

We'll see what happens!


(Thanks to my sister, "Cinneadh" for the photography)

I say...

I think it was a few days ago I was having a discussion with my mom regarding a conversation that I just had with a sibling, and trying to temper my own thoughts and opinions, I said, “I don’t want to be an interfering aunt.”

One of my younger siblings turned to me and said, “or sister.”


What she meant was, the conversation I was referring to was with a sibling, so interfering would have been as a sister, not an aunt. She was correcting, not suggesting. I think.

Anyway, the subject on which I didn’t want to be interfering was actually something the sibling and I agree on, maybe not timing, or how to, but on the goal. I find myself trying to balance between encouraging/helping and just flat pestering/interference. When to speak and when to keep silence, that is the question.

I might struggle with not being an interfering sister or aunt, but I’m going to try to be good. Because why practice being ineffectual and a nuisance? Despite what I might sometimes think (blasted human nature), I’m just not the best one to live anybody else’s life for them. I have enough trouble with my own, and juggling was never my specialties. Nor is driving a stick. I admit, in all honesty, Bourne does have me on that one. Smmmile.


Hope you are having a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Corned beef is cooking, potatoes, turnips and carrots are steaming, soda bread is baking, cabbage is coming - as is all the clan, and bringing a dessert! :)

May God Bless All Who Enter Here!


P.S. Anyone watching the Quiet Man?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Winter Pedicure

It seems like a fair amount of ladies don't polish their toe nails in the winter, and why would you when your little "toesies" are going to be all bundles up in socks and shoes?

I do think it is healthy to give your nails a few months of rest - only, I'm afraid beauty has won out for me. Even in the winter time, I like to have pretty colors on my toes! I don't see them hardly, but when I do, it's nice.

This came up in discussion between two of my sisters, and the one (I paraphrase) said she did it because she liked to admire them when she showered. Which might seem a little vain, :) but not really when you think about it - Pretty things lift the spirits!

So on Friday I did a pedicure with Sally Hansen's Royal Romance, which is a sort of silvery-pinkish-purple (My sister picks fabulous nail polish colors!). It's actually not my typical shade, but I was in the mood for it and I'm loving the color! My feet spend more time in socks and shoes than not, but when I see them, they make me happy!

What do you think, wintertime pedicures or save it for spring and summer? You never know, next winter I might change my mind, and "health" shall win over beauty. (Honestly, not likely, but.....)

(I'm not endorsing Sally Hansen products. They don't know who I am, they don't know I exist. I have received no monetary reimbursement for mentioning them. Over and out.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Okay, so this was the first questioned I answered with the Spring Blog Party:

"How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?
Optimistic. I think if you look at the world through rose colored glasses you will see exactly what everyone else sees, but with a more positive perspective. At least that is what I tell myself, though I've really wondered how that works.

You know, thinking about this answer, I keep wondering, is this a word, the one word, people would use to describe my personality? Or just one word I might choose to describe my personality? Because, if you read the answer, it sounds more like my description/opinion rather than third person.

So, I’m curious, if you were using one word to describe me, what would it be? (“And feel free to elaborate,”;) - Sorry, I’m a big fan of Sue Thomas FBIEye. :)Seriously, give forth your honest, frank opinion – even if you think I’m “ pessimistic.” :) I can take it, I already know someone who thinks I’m a bit of snob, boring and likely to put a damper on things - oh, wait, that was before she met me! (And I might just be using stronger language than she did. :) Love you Theresa! You and your sisters are too funny - and special!)

The only thing that might be :>

Speak forth! (When I say that, I feel like I should be wearing Shakespeare costume.)

T.W. :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Mexican Accent, A French Accent...and My Mother

I’m sure I’ve heard these stories before, but this morning Mother was telling them again. A laugh is good anytime, I say.

She was at the DMV, I think helping my sister get her driving permit, and the Mexican gentleman asked, “White?”

“Yes.” My mother nodded.

He repeated, “White?”

“Yes.” She answered again.



He said through gritted teeth, “How… much……weigh?”

I believe she was in high school when she was taking fencing lessons. Before a bout, round, fight, what do they call it? The French instructor told them, “chicken.”

They didn’t do anything so he repeated it, “chicken.”

Mother pulled off her mask (Is that what it’s called? I’m not full of a lot of information, am I?) and asked, “chicken?”

Her instructor burst out laughing and corrected, “Shake… hands.”

Hope you are having a Fabulous Friday!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Blue Castle XXV

So, I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I have been living with it. Sometime in December somebody was asking about the house and said, “Is it livable?” I replied: “I don’t know, but we’re living there,” which pretty much is the sum of things.

Insulation: Well, there is a whole lot more now than when than when the weather dipped to the single digits. A few, several, I don’t remember how many weeks ago, my sister and I put some more in the ceiling in the loft area. It was a labor of pain, coughing around fiberglass, and trying to find the missing stapler, but in a very short time we completed it. :) Now the only thing that has to be done in the bedroom loft area (as far as insulation goes) is some short wall sections and one last ceiling section in the shortest part – once we figure out how we’re supposed to do it.

Water: Still cold, or colder, when the temperature drops. But at least we have the washing machine hooked up now and if we need warm water for a load, we just put on the kettles to boil. Sponge baths are also possible by this method. ;) Not in the washer, but using the kettles to heat know what I meant. Personally, I’m still preferring a hot running water bath/shower at my brother and sister-in-laws, but sometimes sponge baths are just necessary between visits.

And Garnet Hill might have some beautiful pictures of firewood under the bed in their magazine, but living with stacks of firewood around the house is not all that picturesque in my experience. I can’t say I’d recommend it, in any case, unless you vacuumed each individual piece of wood, and then bug sprayed it. Who, I might ask, really wants to go to that much trouble for something they are just going to burn anyway? Well, truth is, I might, maybe. Ahem, not really under the current circumstances however, when I have enough trouble just trying to wash dishes sometimes.

Outside things are also slowly starting to shape up a bit. We’ve had some more mild weather occasionally which has allowed us to get some piles gone out front, start a gravel pathway around the outside of the house, build some berms around the rocks that I showed you a couple months ago, and build some steps where there used to be just a drop down to the house. At the moment however, you can't see most our progress for the snow.

Before the snow obscured them, this is what we did across the "moat":

Looking Down the Steps

Looking up the steps

And this is why we were trying to hurry outside. It happens rather frequently around here. Especially this year. (The steps still need a row added on the left. Or the right, if you're looking down.)

Coming inside the house....

The Living Room

Up in the loft, looking down.
(Please excuse the laundry. It is, I am afraid, just the way things are around here. If you want it to dry, you hang it above the woodstove.)

Mother has been working on arranging things so that it feels more like a house. Furniture in place, rug unrolled, tea cups and treasures unpacked….It makes things have a much more homey feel.

The top of the Shaker cabinet in the kitchen

Electrical: The wiring is much closer to completion than it was, with the living area almost completely wired, including the chandelier being the overhead light! Gone are the fluorescent tubes, which is an improvement if nothing else is considered. The “onion” lamp is up in the loft! This won’t be the only source of light in the girl’s room when all is said and done, but it is controlled by switches at the doorways. So, if you come in late at night, rather than tripping over things and falling and breaking your neck, you can wake all your sisters up (and they might threaten to break your neck for you. There’s a lot of love out there…. :)). The girls temporarily organized office is a bit of a mess in light (ha!) of the electrical progress, but soon I won’t have to have extension cords to plug in a lamp, so I shall be patient, clean-up the mess and move back in later.

The Onion Lamp

It's up, but I'm thinking that it needs a different light bulb, those horrid metal brackets "things" are going to have to be moved or dealt with, and of course the post, beam and ceiling need to be done...

Tea Time!
Actually, on second thought, as much as we do that, this might be coffee, in fact, the more I think about it, the more I think it might have been.

I generally don't edit the pictures I post except for an occasional crop - this photo I played with the coloring a bit

This project is taking a whole lot longer than we had hoped and I can only say that I can't wait for it to be done. Not actually, because it is so horrible living this lifestyle, but I really think it is going to be a nice house when it is done. It's going to be original, different, and creative. (A climbing romp anyone? Mother hopes so - I think it might just work, even as far as decorating goes. As long as it is not an ugly rope!)

I'm not posting photographs of the clothes in "make do closets", the boxes that have been shoved aside to get to wiring, the dining table that is a storage center for what would better go in a workshop, the piles of firewood, etc. etc. etc. I'm going to be honest and tell you it's like that, but I like to focus on the more beautiful things in life. I think the Blue Castle is a little bit like the Little Blue Engine, I think I can, I think I can.....

Through rose colored lenses,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Great Bargainer of the Bible

I don't think I've ever quite thougth of it this way before, but just read this passage below that I read yesterday:

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
That be far from thee to do after this manner, so slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for the forty's sake.
And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall be thirty there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake.
And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the ten's sake.
And the Lord went his way, as soon as he left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
Genesis 18: 23-33 KJV
(I have tried to type this as accurately as possible - and doubled checked it, but I don't guarantee perfect accuracy. Please consult your own Bible if in doubt. Thank you.)
Look what is going on here! Abraham is bargaining. He didn't start out with ten, he worked his way down. Now, I'm somewhat curious, was that intentional (Realistically, Abraham was wealthy, so it would probably follow that he was a savvy business man) or did he keep rethinking himself?

What I also wonder is this; God would have known there wasn't even ten righteous in the city, so why did he let Abraham work his way down to it? At the moment, all that makes sense is that this was about Abraham and his relationship with God, not about Sodom and Gomorrah. Or maybe he would have spared the city if Abraham had kept bargaining? I'm just throwing that question out there, because it occurred to me, not because I think that it is case.
On another note - next passage - I've always had a dreadful fear that if I were in the same place as Lot's wife, I would have done the same exact thing. I feel sympathy for her, because would I have not looked back? Something else that occurred to me as I was reading through it this time, it's easy to judge her, but it really hit me, some of her daughters were in that city! Remember the sons-in-law Lot appealed to? When you think about it that way, it was still wrong, but I'm certainly not going to hold my nose up in any spiritual superiority!
It's frankly a little scary, because how many second did it take her to look back? Now, God knew she was going to do that too, so he had a purpose in his warning. Which somehow I find a little comforting.
Just some thought for today, from yesterday. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thoughts of Spring Blog Party


My sister (Many Paths to Tread) mentioned this to me and I thought it would be fun. No time like when there is snow on the ground to think of spring!

How would people describe your personality? (If they could only use ONE word.) Are they right?
Optimistic. I think if you look at the world through rose colored glasses you will see exactly what everyone else sees, but with a more positive perspective. At least that is what I tell myself, though I've really wondered how that works.

What celebrity/celebrities would create a “Star-Struck” feeling if you saw them in real life?
Hmmm, I might not recognize them, or have a clue that they are celebrities. In fact, it’s very likely that I wouldn’t.

Who is your favorite blogger? Why? Pioneer Woman. I love her cheerfulness, positive attitude, smile, the delicious looking recipes and peeks into her life on the ranch. Not to mention the documentation of her travels. I like traveling.

What is your comfort food/drink?
Tea, lots of tea. Best of course, with a little something to nibble.

Be brave – tell us something very random and weird about yourself.
I would still be crawling if I hadn’t sprained my wrist when I was about 13 or 14? months. Okay, I exaggerate a little. I mean, about the still crawling. I was a late walker.

Do you have a strong desire to do something you’ve never done? What is it?
Publish a book.

Movies: Action, Drama, Romantic Comedy, Documentary, Comedy? What are your favorite genres?
From the list above, probably Romantic Comedy. I like Action as long as there is no blood or scary parts. :)

Books: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Romance, Biographies, True Stories, Self-Help, Devotional/Study? What are your favorite types of reading material?
Mystery – with a romantic touch. My favorites are the type where the guy saves the girl, but their romance isn’t the central part. It’s just a human interest touch.

Music: Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz, Classical, Film Score, Blues, Classic Rock, Crooner, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Techno? What are your favorite types?
Cheerful Classical – a very occasional country song, and an assortment of unremembered movie scores I’m sure. If I even know what that is.

If you inherited a million dollars, what is the first thing you would do with your money?
Invest it. Thank you for your time. (I would be interested in spending the interest, in case you were interested.)

Name one weakness of yours (confession is good for the soul).
One? I can’t pick between them all. Procrastination?

If you could live anywhere at all (and take all your loved ones with you), where would you go?
I tried to get the family to move to the East Coast, but they didn’t buy it. And I don’t know if I would really want to live there anyway. I think I like it here, in the Blue Castle. I’ll like it even more when it’s all finished. Mostly, I like being at home, being with family.

Strange Talent? Can you juggle basketballs, put your legs behind your head or perform some other strange feat?
No, quite simply. I don’t know that I have any talents at all, let alone strange.

What’s something you consider yourself to be good at? (Don’t worry, it’s not bragging, it’s acknowledging a God given gift).
As long as we’re not discussing talent, and if we consider that some days are better than others, I can cook, in quantity, whether or not it is good, is something you’ll have to ask somebody else. Sometimes, I think it is.

What is one of your favorite things to catch a whiff of?
Oh, dear, now I’m procrastinating. It so depends on what it is I’m catching a whiff of at the moment. If it’s good, it’s good. Like rain, or fall, of fresh mown grass, or a wild rose, or coffee, or spices, or fresh garlic bread, or…..I would probably have to say freshly cut grass.

When you leave a social gathering, do you wish: You would have talked more or You would have talked less?
That depends on the gathering. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Sometimes I don’t go at all.

If money wasn’t a factor, what stores would you shop in?
Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom’s, very exclusive stores and Costco – ever since I was young, and even when I hated shopping, I liked going to Costco. Want to know something else? I don’t know that I would necessarily buy a lot of things, just very nice things.

What is your greatest fear or strange phobia?
Never mind.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
I’d like to say, “investing in my siblings,” but I don’t know if I accomplished anything. I mean, they’re great, but I don’t know that I can take any credit for it. Next question.(I almost wrote that as "I'm mean, they're great," - just try reading it that way. Now they might agree, but....)

What are your favorite animals?
Dogs. Clean dogs. Well behaved dogs. Nice dogs. Hot dogs. (sorry!)

Are you a hopeless romantic?
Like do I believe in love at first sight type of thing? Yes, for other people. I personally way overanalyze things to really make that possible for me. However, if the right guy wants to “love me at first sight,” great. Only, it might be more romantic if he didn’t like me at all and then finally come round, and fall helplessly (hopelessly?), madly in love. Only I might never forgive him for resisting my charm in the first place. I’m thinking about getting a dog….

What movie or book character can you most relate to?
I at one time in my life thought of myself as being very much an Elizabeth Bennet, sometimes since I have wondered if I’m not more like Jane. But with all the snow around here, maybe I’m more like Mrs. Claus.

Do tell me, is this one of those parties where I talked to much?



(P.S. If you want to join, click on the "green spring" link and check it out!)