MamaT: April 2010 Archives

Fine Art Friday


As you know, if you've been around here at all, I love vintage illustrations and I especially like those done by the women who illustrated so very many covers for magazines like Good Housekeeping. Today's picture is one by Jessie Wilcox-Smith. I use this image as my "ravatar" on the knit and crochet site Ravelry. Isn't it lovely?


Ya'll have a happy Friday now, y'hear?

Quote for today:


"The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend."


Thursday, Beautiful Thursday

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I love beautiful spaces. I love looking at Better Homes and Gardens and seeing what other people have done to their homes. I think that's why I'm such a junkie for HGTV. It let's me peep inside other people's homes--because that is a peep into their heads. It never ceases to amaze me how different we all are in what speaks to our hearts and what we like to surround ourselves with.

And yes, I am that kind of person who likes to walk in the evening. Just so I can look in people's lighted windows and see a little vignette of their lives.

Yesterday I had such a fun afternoon. I spent it with my friend Susan, who is a GENIUS scrapbooker. She is trying to gently push me into the world of scrapbooking. So, she invited me to her house to talk, eat lunch and see her scrapbooks.

When I walked into her craft room, I was GOBSMACKED. It looked just like a magazine! I just turned around in circles, and I am absolutely CERTAIN that my mouth was hanging open. She laughed and said, "Boy, I wish I had a camera to take a picture of your reaction."

I have seen beautiful magazine articles. I had never seen anything I thought was so well done IN REAL LIFE. Look. Just look.


This is so completely Susan. If you could see everywhere in the room, you would see a comfy chair to cozy up in to read. A sunny windowseat to dream on. And a whole 'nother wall unit of ORGANIZED supplies. Be still my beating heart!

And it's beautiful at a microlevel as well. Looky here:


Now, I will never be that organized. My tastes run to the funky and eclectic. Sitting on my desk, I have a mixed up set of containers that hold my supplies: A tin box that sat in my mother's bathroom wihen I was little that holds my rulers and scissors and stuff like that. A cream pitcher from my grandmother's dish set that holds my pens and pencils. Two funky old bowls from who knows where that hold paper clips and rubber bands. A silver piece of stemware from my friend that holds pushpins. I like 'em and they bring me joy (and maybe they'll be next week's beautiful thing, you never know!) But even though our styles are different, I think it is beautiful what Susan has created for herself. Her own space.

What was it that Virginia Woolf said that every woman wants? "Five hundred a year and a room of her own." Well, my friend has that. And she has made it beautiful. And she DOESN'T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. She told me, "Terry, it makes me happy. It didn't cost all that much. I put it together over time. It doesn't hurt anyone. Why WOULDN'T I enjoy it."

Why, indeed.

It's a beautiful thing.

Pretty Shoe Tuesday - MamaT edition


Like LaMa, I am hapy, happy, happy that sandal weather is here again. I think maybe most of us Texas girls just suffer through the winter, waiting until we can break out our "real" shoes again.

Looking at my feet, I am in dire need of a pedicure, but that won't stop me from letting my feet breathe easy in sandals. Vain? Not much. Anyway, all the shoes below can be purchased from Zappos.

First a cute pair of Clark's sandals. I find Clark's to be very comfortable, and in general worth the price you pay for them. These are called Latin Cha Cha. I want!

Clarks Latin Cha Cha

Then just a fun pair of sandaly kind of sneaks. Or sneakery kind of sandals? I'm not sure. I know they are meant for water sports, but when have we ever let that stop us from repurposing? These would look cute with my capris and tees, whether there's water or not! They are by Keen.

Keen sandals

Then, because the Summas LOVE Kate Spade, I'll put in a little number that I would like to own. Not for $140, mind you, but if I had the money and no budget to adhere to, well, these would be on their way to me now. These are the Kate Spade Clancy.

Kate Spade Clancy

And then a commercial for the sandals I love and wear all the time--at least when I'm not dressing up for something. I was skeptical about these sandals when friend told me about them, but i found a pair on clearance. Ya'll, I have NEVER paid $50 for a pair of SANDALS. But these are worth it. Maybe not the prettiest shoes in the world, but certainly the most comfortable sandals I've ever had on my feet. Yeah, even more than Birkies. Here's my favorite, the Fitflop. This is even one of the colors (I have 2 pairs) that I own.


Off to work in the yard some more today. Hope your Tuesday is FABULOUS.

And go put on some sandals.

MamaT's Monday Daybook



For Today, April 26, 2010

Outside my window... it is BEAUTIFUL. I hope it's cool enough for me to get at least part of the backyard knee-high grass knocked down with the mower. Heck I just hope I can START the mower. PapaC will have to finish, but maybe I can give him a little headstart.

I am thinking... that this is a week without many outside obligations built into it. I have a LOT of personal projects on my to-do list, though. The question is, can I make myself stay OFF the computer and AT home long enough to accomplish them. I'm also wondering what in me is so broken that I can continually walk by little messes (piled up papers and such) and not just deal with them then? Why do I not do the little things that would make such a big difference?

I am thankful for... crochet hooks and yarn. I would be lost without them. I can't imagine actually coming up with the idea of taking a piece of string and a hooked piece of wood (I assume that's how it started) and getting something out of it when you are finished wrapping the string and pulling it through. Genius!

From the kitchen... Let's see, I've yet to sit down to make my weekly menu. It looks like chef salads for supper tonight, because PapaC will be in late. Ground beef curry later in the week, and well as pork stir fry. And the standard around here: grilled chicken and steamed veggies. Nothing dramatic.

I'm am wearing... Grubby clothes because I'm going to try to mow a little this morning. Then I'll clean up. On tap? Blue long shorts and a white peasant shirt with blue embroidery. Silver hoop earrings to complete the hippie look. Perfume.

I am creating... a clean home this week. One room at a time. Then I hope this weekend, we can mush on with a couple of projects around here. I am also creating lesson plans for a couple of classes that I am going to teach my nephew in the fall. I want his mother to approve of my plan and reading list. Plus, class plans are my very favorite thing to create.

I am going... to a friend's house on Wednesday. She's a genius scrapbooker, and I have roughly a billion of my mother's pictures to go through. My fear is that I'm walking into a hobby to buy more stuff for.

I am reading... Goodbye to a River by John Graves, which is my May bookclub book. I need to get a head start on this. And I don't want to follow my pattern for the April selection, where I finished it at 4 p.m. the day of my 7 p.m. meeting.

I am hoping... to take some of the piles I have set aside "to the church" , "to Goodwill" and "to the kids" actually TO their assigned places!

I am hearing... Alison Kraus sing. On my computer, though I wish she were standing in my living room singing.

Around the house... I am going to work on taking down a wallpaper border. It has served its purpose and now it must go. But it's stuck down tight and what I thought would be an easy job is turning into a much harder one.

One of my favorite things... is peanut butter. I love it. Crunchy or smooth, namebrand or generic. I love all kinds. I also love Nutella, but that's a whole 'nother story.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Go to the gym 2 times. (Can you tell I'm starting with low expectations?). 5 more squares on niece's afghan. (I didn't get last week's ration done.) Yard mowed. Laundry done. Lunch with a friend. Supper with my girlfriends. Maybe a play later in the week? I've got to call and see if I can get tickets.

Words I'm pondering "Let us practice well that holy resignation and that pure love of our Lord that is never entirely practiced save in troubles. To love God in sugar--little children would do as much. But to love Him in wormwood, that is the test of our amorous fidelity."

--St Francis de Sales Thy Will Be Done

Here is picture thought I am sharing... just because it is CUTE!


Happy Monday, ya'll!

Music for your Monday


I shake my head, watching McKid so entranced with Hannah Montana and High School Musical, but I was only 10, a few years older than she is now, when i watched this little gem from 1966. Yes, and danced in my living room, singing into a hairbrush.

Maybe it'll be Sing Along With the Monkees Monday, since I apparently remember all the words. How can that be, 40+ years later?

Fine Art Friday

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Texas Spring

Robert Wood

More on the artist can be found here.

How could we possibly pass up a picture called Texas Spring. I mean really.

The bluebonnets are starting to cover the roadsides, and the Indian paintbrushes are popping up amongst them. Truly beautiful!

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Thursday, Beautiful Thursday

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Part of a Beautiful Meal

Isn't that BEAUTIFUL? Cherry tomatoes, green onions, yellow bell peppers in a red bowl. I love this image.

This was part of a meal we shared with our good friends, Pam and Tim, and all our kiddoes. Pam makes one KILLER chicken fajita salad, and when she brought in this bowl it was too good not to take a quick pic of.

But you know what was more beautiful than the food? It was sharing an evening with folks that I love and that love me come hell or high water. These are the kind of friends that you can call in the middle of the night when something goes wrong and they SHOW UP.

They are people we have laughed with, sung with, goofed around with, cried with, talked with and played with for many years now. Any day spent with friends like that is a day worth living. And it is, in fact, BEAUTIFUL.

It makes me realize how wonderful it will be when we all share Heaven--a place where there is no pain, no sorrow, no darkness. A place with no tears. And it reminds me that the words of my very favorite psalm, Psalm 84 are true indeed:

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Go call a friend and tell her how much you love her. Someone did that for me yesterday, and it made my day, my week, my month. Go. Now.

Make today BEAUTIFUL.

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday


I continue to work on Cold, Flat Junction by Martha Grimes. This is one of those books that is taking me FOREVER to read, and not because I do not enjoy it. Have you ever had a book like that? I am normally a fairly speedy reader--not like those Speed Reader types who swirl their hands down the page and flip it over. But fast enough to get through an average of more than a book a week.

But lately? Not so much. For one thing I am crocheting a lot, which impinges on my reading time. I know--books on CD would be excellent, but I don't have any at the moment.

For another thing? This book is taking forever. Did I already say that? I read for 45 minutes last night--still not even 1/2 way done! And book club is Friday night! Guess what I'm going to do this afternoon for a few hours. Got it in one! Read a bit.

On the other hand, I'm also reading through Fr. Robert Spitzer's book Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life: A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People. It's good. I'd recommend it. One of the things that has really been hitting home for me was his discussion of spiritual consolations and desolations, and how we can tell what spirit is at work in us--the Holy Spirit (leading to long term joy, consolation, etc.) or the deceiver. And one of the ways the deceiver may try to work on us is by taking something that we are doing that is good and tempting us to exaggerate it or make it so over the top that it becomes impossible to accomplish. We may feel led to certain pious and very good practices. But if we find ourselves trying to do too much or accomplish things quickly, it may be that we are being led by the evil one to a place of discouragement and despair. When we find seemingly good things leading to long term bad things, we have probably mistaken what the Holy Spirit would have had us do.

That is something that seems to have occurred routinely in my life--and I've never had it pointed out in such a factual way before. While my spiritual directors have all asked for small steps, I have assumed that large ones would be "better". And they weren't . They ended up being no steps at all. It surely would have been better to be where I would have been had I taken the umpteen little steps that seemed "too easy" at the time.

And it has resonated with me in dealing with myself more gently with the recovery from grief over the loss of my parents. A year later--a WHOLE YEAR--and I feel that I am just now starting to move somewhere on the road. But a lot of that was because I was busy trying to be BETTER than I was then. I'd have been further along this path had I been kinder to myself then.

One good thing, though. It's never too late for a restart and a do-over. isn't God good about that?

Yes, he is.

Ya'll have a beautiful Wednesday. I'm off to try to read some more of than darn book club book. I'll see you tomorrow!

Pretty Pattern Tuesday

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Another free pattern, one that i am dying to try. I, like LaMa, have far too many WIPs (works in progress), but the instant that I can justify it to myself, the yarn for this is moving into my house. I love these colors, though they don't go with a single thing in my house. Well, they might kinda fit in my living room.

But I don't care. I want this. For ME! If you want one for you, you can find the pattern over at Talking Crochet.


.....the good thing about flowers is that when some of them wilt, you can still scavenge pretty ones for a smaller vase!

TBT#1 Part 2

And I wondered what I would do with this tiny vase. It's perfect.

MamaT's Monday Daybook



For Today, April 19, 2010

Outside my window... It is cool and wet. The squirrels are playing in my drainage ditch and they are funny to watch. Yes, I know they are just tree rats, but they are so CUTE! And I wish I could scamper across power lines like they do. But that makes me think--if they have an aerial highway, why do they insist on running across the road in front of my car????

I am thinking... about how much work I need to do around this house and how quickly I can get it in decent shape so I can work on my crocheted afghans. I have several projects with deadlines attached and I need to work on them.

I am thankful for... my precious son, who turned 24 (24! How can that BE?) yesterday.

From the kitchen... I'm thinking soup for supper tonight because PapaC will be late coming in. Maybe minestrone? Tomorrow it's my night to cook for my friends group, and I'm searching for inspiration.

I'm am wearing... Blue corduroys, pink shirt, Flamingo earrings (!) and sneakers. And always, always perfume.

I am creating... a really darling afghan for my niece for Christmas. Yes, if you're a crocheter you're working on Christmas NOW. It's made up of squares that look like those hip 60's daisies. Bright colors, black background. I'll sneak you a peek when I get it done. She doesn't read her aunt's blog!

I am going... to the grocery store and to JoAnn's for more yarn. I love buying yarn. But no exciting colors today--3 skeins of gray and another couple of black and white.

I am reading... Cold Flat Junction by Martha Grimes. It is my book club book for this month. It's OK, but I have a LOT to read before Friday night.

I am hoping... that this will be a less stressful week than the past few have been. I'd like some peace and quiet.

I am hearing... Blessed silence, tempered by a dog groan (she's sleeping at my feet and having dreams) every once in a while.

Around the house... I really need to work in the yard, but the wet may keep me indoors for a few more days. One good side effect of the wet? Less ALLERGIES!

One of my favorite things... is playing games with my kids. After supper last night we broke out the Zman's new Carcassonne game and played. I didn't win, but it was fun.

A few plans for the rest of the week:Make the house look like actual humans live here. Laundry. Crochet--maybe getting 2/3 done with Zoe's squares. Finish my book club book. File church bills. Rconcile my bank statement(s). Watch Dreamgirls so I can send the disc back to Netflix.

Words I'm pondering "Death is the test of faith. Any faith that can die, should die, because it is not faith but platitude, soporific, or wishful thiinking. Real faith cannot be shaken 'because it is the result of having been shaken.' It is an answer to being shaken. Real answers are answers to real questions. Death is a real question. If faith is a real answer, it must face that real question; it must stand face to face with death. When faith and death thus meet, it is death, not faith, that is changed."

---Peter Kreeft Love Is Stronger Than Death

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

2010 BAMCAL March

This is one of the March squares for my Block A Month Afghan. Isn't it pretty?

Happy Monday, ya'll!

Music for your Monday


How can you resist The Shoop Shoop Song?

Sorry, Cher's remake of this doesn't hold a candle to the Betty Everett version.

Let's dance!

Fine Art Friday, on Saturday or......


..........Better Late Than Never!

Following LaMa's lead from yesterday, here are my two Matisse favorites.

First, Goldfish:


And then Interior Flowers and Parakeets:


Love his colors. What a way to end a week. Beautiful!

Thursday, Beautiful Thursday


Here at the Summa Mamas, we are going to try something new on Thursdays. One of the websites I frequent, Home Sanctuary, has a post today on beauty and how important it is in our lives. It was a topic that resonates with me, because I think beauty is restorative. Looking at something beautiful, listening to something beautiful, even TASTING something beautiful, can make my soul soar and my heart sing.

And it doesn't have to be something big, momentous or even very important in the eyes of the world. We too often walk past beauty, never noticing it in our hurry to be about our oh so important business. But if we're too busy for beauty, then I think we're just plain too busy. No life should be so wrapped up in other concerns that a person cannot stop and relish a few seconds of beauty, wherever they are found.

When I get "too busy" for beauty, then I also find that I am surrounded by darkness, sorrow, and even a little fear.

God puts reminders in front of us all the time. We just don't see them. I want to make a habit of seeing. In that quest, I'm going to share a bit of beauty every Thursday. It might be a song. It might be a painting. It might be a picture of something in my kitchen, as it is today. But it will be, to me, something beautiful.

So, here's the picture for today, taken in my very own kitchen. I'm not usually fond of the crazy dyed flowers--I tend to like mine au naturelle (how ever you spell that!). But these were inexpensive and I needed the lift. And I think they look fabulous in my grandmother's aluminum pitcher.

That pitcher brings back hundreds of happy memories of spending time with my grandparents every summer in San Angelo, TX. We sat out in the front yard, on a lawn of deep and cool St. Augustine grass, and drank lemonade from this pitcher and its funky matching glasses (which I also own). I still remember how cold the glasses got--it was almost hard to hold them. And I did cartwheels on the lawn, and danced and chased fireflies to put in a bottle. It was........BEAUTIFUL.

April 15

Have a beautiful day, my friends.

Whatcha Readin'? Wednesday


Boy, been a long time since I shared what I've been reading. Let's see......

I am in the midst of two books, both for book club, but one for this month and one for later. Both are captivating, because they have strong narrators. First, for this month, I am reading Cold Flat Junction by Martha Grimes. I had read a few of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries, but this is not one from that series. This is another "mystery" told in the voice of a 12 year old girl, Emma, who is unravelling the plot of a tragedy that happened years ago in her small town and may have led to a murder in the present. Emma is a wonderful narrator, funny and quirky. I'm not sure that Grimes has maintained the "12 year old voice" completely, but you do like Emma as a character and root for her to find her answers. She approaches nothing head on, and there is a slightly irritating meandering to the book, but I think this is consistent with the presumed age of the narrator. Every 12 year old I've ever known wanders far and wide in telling any story.

The other book I've started is Leif Enger's book, So Brave, Young and Handsome. We read his book Peace Like a River in book club in some previous year and really liked it. We decided to take another stab at Enger with his new book. I have to say it has been a long time since I have been drawn into a book by the first paragraph. It was so good that I had to call my sisterfriend, who is also a fiendish reader, and let her listen to it:

Not to disappoint you, but my troubles are nothing--not for an author, at least. Common blots aside, I have none of the usual Big Artillery: I am not penniless, brilliant, or an orphan; have never been to war, suffered starvation or lashed myself to a mast. My health is adequate, my wife steadfast, my son decent and promising. I am not surrounded by people who don't understand me! In fact most understand me straightaway, for I am and always was an amiable fellow and reliably polite. You, a curious stranger, could walk in this moment; I would offer you coffee and set you at ease. Would we talk pleasantly? Indeed we would, though you'd soon be bored--here on Page One I don't even live in interesting surroundings, such as in a hospital for the insane, or on a tramp steamer, or in Madrid. Later in the proceedings I do promise a tense chase or two and the tang of gunpowder, but here at the outset it's flat old Minnesota and I am sitting on the porch of my comfortable farmhouse, composing the flaccid middle of my seventh novel in five years.

Now, how could you NOT want to read on with a beginning like that? That narrator is Monte Becket and the rest of the book is taken up with a quest with an old train robber who wants to make reconciliation with parts of his past. A failed novelist and an aging train robber heading of on an adventure. It's a premise different from anything I've read lately, and Enger's prose is clear, clean and sweet, evocative of the Minnesota plains where his narrator lives. It's redemption, reconciliation and finding out just who you really are. Plus the west. Can't wait to get further in.

Lately finished? Reed of God by Caryl Houselander. Will talk more about it later, just will leave it with this. If you've not ever read it, or anything by her, go out NOW and get the book. It's that worth it!

How 'bout ya'll?



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