Is Spring Here Yet? I Need Sandals.


Flowers might be about to bloom in Texas…bring out the sandals!!

In Texas, the weather is near perfect today! Bright sunshine. Blue Sky. Just a little wind here and there. Slightly cool, but getting warmer. In other words…it is almost time for me to break out the sandals. To tell you the truth…it is time for me to go shopping for some new sandals.

Replacement time for the boots!

Every year at this time…I decide that spring is bound to be arriving early. There are some January days in Texas that seem like spring never left. And then…the next day we have sleet. Who knows? Since it looks and feel like spring today, I have sandals on my mind. I am crazy about sandals. This is quite odd to say this year…since I have just recently decided that I like short boots! I now have six pair. I have no need for six pair. I may be out of control in the boot department.

It is certainly replacement time!

That is why I am moving straight into the sandal season. I have put together a sampling of new sandals that I might NEED and some that will NEVER see the light of day in my closet!


The Winning Sandal Replacements!

At Least…To Me!!!















The No, No, No Sandals…Just Not For Me!



Tell Me Why!! I do not understand the rope look!!



Tell Me Why!! I do not understand the pom pom look!!



Tell Me Why!! I do not understand the “mop the kitchen floor” look!!


So…there you have it! My “very best” sandal choices and my very “no way” sandal choices! You may disagree with me and that is just fine! I simply cannot replace my boots with the “mop the kitchen floor” or “pom pom” or “rope” look!!


The Cookbook That Makes Me Smile!




My first cookbook…Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this cookbook! I have my original copy…typical…I have my first doll and my first prom dress and my first drill team practice uniform from high school and also my second drill team practice uniform…my very first Nancy Drew book…my first tea party set…my first elementary school picture. You name it and I probably have it. However, my most prized keepsake is this Betty Crocker Cookbook.

I first saw the cookbook at “The Golden Hour Bookstore” in my hometown. I always thought that the name of the store “Golden Hour” meant that the *** yellow sun*** was about to go down. After sunset was the best time to read! 

I was probably about nine or ten years old. The Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls had been in print for several years, but I had never noticed it. My mother and I were in downtown shopping (as usual) on a Saturday afternoon. It seems like the bookstore had been open for just a few months…very close to Harvey’s Candy Store. When I saw the cookbook on a shelf, I practically begged my mother to buy it. I know, I know! It is not really that polite to beg…but think about it!

I was looking at a cookbook made just for children! What could be better?!

I have literally read the cookbook from cover to cover so many times that a lot of the pages are totally loose. I have them safely tucked inside. I thought that it was very cool that the book was for girls AND boys. I had never actually seen a boy cooking, but I supposed that it was possible. OK…I really thought (at the time) that it was (for sure) highly unlikely! Betty Crocker was really “with it” to think of those boys who probably did not want to cook in the first place! This was a long time before there were any celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay or Wolfgang Puck!

One of my favorite parts of the cookbook were the 12 boys and girls who were called the Home Testers. The pictures and comments of the testers were throughout the book. I thought that I would someday be getting a special phone call from Betty Crocker (the real Betty Crocker) asking me to be a Home Tester! I am still waiting for the call, but there is always hope! At least, I can sort of cook now!

The following are some of my most favorite pages from my first cookbook…the start of a now          out of control collection of cookbooks!!  


The Home Testers! 



More pictures and comments of the Home Testers!



Even Party Ideas!



Special occasion cakes for boys and girls to make!



And my favorite page…the ice cream cone cake!!


***Lots of people are probably familiar with the ice cream cone cake! They are so much fun for children and adults to make! The variations for the decorations are limitless! Just in case you have never seen the ice cream cone cake…here is the recipe…***


Ice Cream Cone Cakes

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Make batter for cupcakes as directed on your favorite flavor cake mix package.

3. Pour scan 1/4 cup batter into flat-bottomed ice cream cones, filling scant 1/2 full. If you fill the cones too full, they will not have nice round tops.

4. Set on baking pan and bake 15 to 18 minutes.

5. Cool and frost with your favorite frosting.

6. Decorate as fancy or simple as you want!!!

***The recipe does not call for “made from scratch” cake or frosting, but of course you can put it all together yourself! However, a cake mix and canned frosting work great!***





Simpler Times. No Automatic.

When Miranda Lambert sang the words to her song “Automatic”, she was singing about life back in simpler times. Simpler times that really were not that long ago. She was singing about what it was like to live in a small town where life was still slow. She was singing about new inventions that were not always in her hometown. I know that simpler time and I know that town…Lindale, Texas.


Miranda grew up in Lindale and still has family there. Many of her songs relate back to her life in East Texas. I grew up in Longview, TX…about 40 miles east of Lindale. Our farm is located not too far away from Miranda’s hometown…a pretty area just now starting to grow. Once Walmart and Lowe’s and Chili’s came to town, that small town atmosphere started to disappear a little bit more everyday. However, drive out of town going northeast for two or three miles and you are back in the piney woods.


When we are at our farm, we often go to Lindale for lunch. Our favorite place is one of the original businesses…Petty’s Steak & Catfish…known for old fashioned home style cooking,  perfectly made rolls and cornbread. There is a plate lunch that includes an entree, three vegetables, a dessert and tea or coffee. You most likely cannot find these kind of prices in Houston. I doubt that there is anything automatic at Petty’s.


Non-automatic menu at Petty’s Steak & Catfish…Lindale, Texas!

The waitresses all seem to have known the regular customers for years and the items that they normally order.

Surely you want some sweet tea?”

“Chicken Fried Steak?

“Do you want cream gravy on both the steak and the mashed potatoes?”

“No gravy?! What’s wrong? Are you on that diet again?”

Some places…like Petty’s… are still holding on to parts of yesterday. Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic” laments no payphones, no drying laundry on the line as well as cassette tapes, Rand McNally maps, writing letters by hand, mailing the letters, shifting gears on an old truck and boys calling girls to ask them to go out. Not so long ago, it was not an automatic world at all.


As the refrain of the song says:

Hey, whatever happened to waitin’ your turn?

Doing it all by hand!

‘Cause when everything is handed to you

It’s only worth as much as the time put in.

It all just seemed so good the way we had it

Back before everything became automatic.


Filtering Fear and Noise



Rodeo cowboys must be either totally crazy or more confident than is necessary.

They filter out the fear. They filter out the noise.

Clearly, a rodeo cowboy’s confidence is often very outweighed by failure. And then…they try again and again…day after day after day…rodeo after rodeo. When I stop and think about it…maybe we all need a quick dose of that confidence.

Well…perhaps we need the confidence with the horses and bulls very absent. And while we are at it…filter out the fear and the noise!

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo has another week to go before the 2017 show is complete. As I wrote earlier, this is my second post about Fort Worth’s legendary rodeo…I suppose that the tradition of the Stock Show & Rodeo is important to me!

Besides…this time the videos have decided to post correctly…I hope!!

No Freedom to Threaten.


Celebrity status does not mean that a person can utter phrases that appear to threaten the safety of any individual or any home…especially the home of the President of the United States. What a devastating statement. This is strictly my opinion and I normally do not choose to enter into discussions involving controversial political viewpoints. However…I have reached my limit.


No More Patience.


Celebrity status does not mean that a person can speak in Washington D.C. (or any other public location) using disrespectful and crude language. If a person does not have enough grasp of their language to refrain from having to repeatedly use inappropriate words, then perhaps they should keep quiet. I am most assuredly not a prude and do not profess to have ever been the epitome of perfection. However, I do know how to give a speech without resorting to degrading verbiage. Remember…this is strictly my opinion. However…I have reached my limit.


No More Patience.


Celebrity status does not mean that a person can incite people to be a part of a revolution or a part of a rebellion. On 1/21/2017, the following words were spoken: “Welcome to the revolution of love. To the rebellion.” It is beyond my capability to clearly comprehend the distinct words “revolution of love” and “rebellion” used in such close proximity. The contradiction of these statements as well as the contradiction of these words is obvious. One definition of revolution states: a fundamental change in political organization; especially: the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed (Merriam-Webster). Two definitions of rebellion state: 1. opposition to one in authority or dominance 2. open, armed, and usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government (Merriam-Webster). I do not see the word love in these definitions. Remember…this is strictly my opinion. However, I have reached my limit.


No More Patience.


Celebrity status does not mean that a person can extend their personal interpretation of the Bill of Rights that were originally formulated by our Founding Fathers. Regarding Freedom of Speech, the free speech rules as outlined by the Supreme Court appear to reflect thinking and experience from 1910 to the current time. In regards to threats, it has been stated in the following way: Threats: Speech that is reasonably perceived as a threat of violence (and not rhetorical hyperbole) can be punished. Virginia v. Black (2003). Rhetorical hyperbole can be characterized as an exaggeration of ideas for the sake of emphasis. These words do not sound like hyperbole to me: “The revolution starts here. The fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal.” as well as “Change that will require sacrifice, people. Change that will require many of us to make different choices in our lives, but this is the hallmark of revolution.” Remember…this is strictly my opinion. However, I have reached my limit.


No More Patience.


Celebrity status does not mean that it is fine when a person refuses to maturely and graciously accept the results of the election of the President of the United States of America. The statement “good did not win this election” and the subsequent statement that has been perceived by many to be a threat to the White House…I personally find this offensive, disturbing and enveloped in hatred.


Madonna…you may be surprised to discover that you are free. It appears that you have been allowed to be whatever you want to be. You live in America. Where is your pride? ?

Remember…this is strictly my opinion. However, I have absolutely reached my limit.


No More Patience.

I Am One

I am reposting this wonderfully written piece from my friend, The Chicken Grandma. In light of recent happenings in our country, I think her words deserve to be read and shared.

The Chicken Grandma

Love Never Fails.jpg

So much hate, so much destruction brought on by hate, so much hate inspired by fear. We wonder what we can change the world and then we realize we can’t.  So we wonder what we should do …… at least I wonder.

Out of that wondering came the thought that I am only one person and how does one person successfully affect the world. How does one person change things for the better? How does one person make everyone feel like they matter?  And then I realize one person can’t; but God can.

I am One
I am one woman
I have one voice
I am not a million in a march
I am not a thousand, a hundred, ten or even two
I am one.
I am not famous or noteworthy
I am only one
I cannot make someone care ….. but I can care
I cannot force someone…

View original post 400 more words

The Rodeo. The Cowboy. Fort Worth!


Cowboy on the way to a tumble!

What in the world makes a cowboy ride a bull or a bucking horse in a rodeo? Why? Surely it is not that fun to break three ribs and an arm and who knows what else. Maybe it is the possibility of big-time money! Or fame! Or perhaps just the thrill of a successful ride! Or maybe some people are just prone to put their life on the line for a few minutes! Cowboys must be accustomed to pain and to the dirt of the rodeo arena!



Oops! The cowboy is just about airborne!


Just brush off the dirt. Cowboy, you will be fine.                 I suppose you eventually will be fine!



Champions also come in small sizes!

What I really know is that the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is a happening event right now! The rodeo began on 1/13/2017 and will be running through 2/4/2017. We were there with friends last Thursday night…sitting in the same place where we have sat for years. We will go see some more exhibits this weekend and go back to the rodeo a few more times. The Stock Show & Rodeo is fun and exciting and loud, but most of all…


The Rodeo is a Fort Worth Tradition!!



With our friends at the rodeo last Thursday!


The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is also a tradition for our family. We started taking our children beginning when they were toddlers. We always went to the actual rodeo performance and also walked all around the exhibit buildings. Our children’s favorites were always the dairy cows, longhorns, chickens and pigs. There were and are horses galore, but those buildings tend to be the busiest. Some of the horses are for the rodeo participants and there are quite a few animals coming and going.



Bright lights, fireworks and action!

There are many fun events held in Fort Worth, but the Stock Show & Rodeo is absolutely the largest production. It is hard to believe that Fort Worth has hosted a rodeo in addition to a stock show for over 120 years. Practice makes perfect or so people say! Fort Worth has it down to a successful science with absolute organization…from the food vendors to checking in the stock to the rodeo program sales. Every aspect of the event provides old fashioned fun integrated with modern event buildings. The cowboy lifestyle is always on display around Fort Worth.



You may think that the bull looks calm! Think again!

The Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau always extends a warm welcome to Fort Worth TX …”the 16th-largest city in the United States and chosen as one of America’s Most Livable Communities“. Sarah Covington, public relations manager for the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau has compiled the following list for future visitors to the Stock Show & Rodeo…

Nine Things Everyone Should Know About the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo!

1. Southwestern Parade…Held the first Saturday of the Stock Show each year, the parade is the world’s largest all-western parade. This means no motorized vehicles at all! Stagecoaches, equestrian troops, marching bands and more make their way down the streets of downtown Fort Worth as 100,000-plus spectators look on.

2. Fine Dining…Fair food is great, and we have it all, but that’s not what we mean by fine dining. The Stock Show & Rodeo offers some of the city’s best cowboy cuisine from Reata Restaurant (Reata at the Rodeo) and Mexican Food from La Espuela Mexican Cantina for all to enjoy.

3. Multicultural Rodeos…Two of the 30+ rodeos being held highlight the influence of Hispanic and African- American culture present in the rodeo today: Best of Mexican Celebracion and Cowboys of Color Rodeo.

4. Shuttle Bus Service…Don’t feel like fighting the traffic? No worries. Every Saturday and Sunday during the show, park for free in select Park & Ride lots, and then hop aboard the T’s Stock Show Shuttle. Drop off is at the front gate and the cost is $1 each way.

5. Free Museum Admission….While you’re here, explore the cultural side of Fort Worth with free admission (must present Stock Show ticket for free entry) to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

6. Red Dirt Entertainment…Enjoy the day with the family, then let loose at night with an adult beverage in hand at the Coors Light Roadhouse Tent. Patrons swing to the tunes of the hottest acts every night Tuesday through Saturday. Know what makes this better? Admission is absolutely free with your daily grounds admission!

7. Horse Show Exhibitors…The Stock Show is held at one of the finest horse facilities in the United States, Will Rogers Equestrian Center. Enthusiasts will enjoy horse shows featuring NCHA Cutting Horse, NRHA Reining Horse, Paint Horses, Palomino Horses and many more.

8. Livestock Show…One of the many missions of the Stock Show is to promote the breeding, raising and marketing of livestock to encourage excellence throughout the livestock and agriculture industries. Because of this, the show will host over 22,000 head of livestock this year, with exhibitors representing 41 states and three foreign countries.

9. The Carnival Midway is the place to be for all kinds of family friendly entertainment. Take a break from the show and  play your favorite carnival games or enjoy the thrills of the midway rides!

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo!

   Roping and Riding in the heart of Texas…   

Where the West Begins!!



Peace, Quiet, Beauty. Japanese Gardens.

 japanese-gardens-tree-bridgeFort Worth’s Japanese Gardens

Calm winds and enchanting beauty permeate every aspect of The Japanese Gardens located in Fort Worth, Texas. The gardens are very quiet and you almost feel like you should tiptoe through the pathways…that you should take your shoes off at the entrance…that you should keep your talking to the minimum…that your should keep your eyes open wide for the lovely sights to behold.



A stepping stone path through the water.

An aesthetic masterpiece, Fort Worth’s Japanese Gardens are a hidden treasure for the city. Conveniently located within Fort Worth’s Botanic Gardens, The Japanese Gardens cover a 7-acre parcel of land.



The beautiful trees are not to be missed!

According to their website…

“The Japanese Gardens entice you to surrender your senses and discover a new treasure at every turn. Feed thousands of exotic Imperial Koi that beseech your attention. Stone, Earth, Leaf and Water become one in this land of wonder.”



Ornate structure within the gardens.

When our children were very young, we started visiting The Japanese Gardens. As soon as we walked through the entry gates, our son and daughter would become very quiet and observant. They were transformed by the serene and lovely ambience of the gardens. There were many days when I considered the effect of The Japanese Gardens on our children to be quite magical!




These gardens were first opened in 1973. The designers were very traditional in their approach to the garden plan. You will see cherry trees, Japanese maples, magnolias, bamboo, bridges and ponds. Besides springtime, visitors will not see many blooming flowers. It is said The Japanese Gardens practices “Mono no Aware”. These words mean transient and bittersweet beauty. The idea is that if the garden was always blooming, it would never be special!



Architectural beauty!

Personally, I find the Japanese Gardens to be beautiful during every season. Fortunately, there is something different to see during each visit! Yes…magical!

Fort Worth’s best kept secret…a place of pure enchantment…The Japanese Gardens!

Living on Tulsa Time!


Freezing cold weather took over Tulsa, Oklahoma last weekend…freezing rain…and reports that a major ice storm might occur. Oh great! We had been planning to go to Tulsa this particular weekend for months. Just our luck!

On the contrary…lucky us…the major ice storm stayed a bit north of Tulsa. We arrived last Friday knowing that we might be iced in for a few days. What a terrific place to be iced in! There was cold, cold rain Friday afternoon and night and the wind was howling, but just a few spots of serious ice.




We planned the trip to hear television personality and political journalist, Bill O’Reilly speak Friday night at the BOK Center… a sought after venue in downtown Tulsa. Seating around 20,000 people, the center was totally packed. His talk show is on every week night in the United States and he frequently (if not, always!) grasps with firmness many controversial political issues such as discussions about the just completed presidential race, education, the economy.


However…that is not the very best part about visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma!


O’Reilly is a Harvard educated author with over 20 books on the market. He is a smart, sarcastic, detailed,  funny, dramatic and a right on the edge speaker. Although I personally don’t always agree with his viewpoints, I do admire his fearlessness in expressing his many opinions. Known as a serious conservative, I found him to lean sometimes a slight bit to the left…at least, he was clearly far more open minded than I expected. I respect people who are open minded and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the event. However, I still am not on board with agreeing with all of his multitudes of viewpoints!


However…that is not the very best part of visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma!


Dennis Miller and Jesse Watters are regulars on O’Reilly’s show, THE O’REILLY FACTOR. They were also in Tulsa for the event and (thank goodness) they added a LARGE AMOUNT of levity to the program. The BOK Center was very full and we quickly realized that people from many miles away came to hear Bill O’Reilly. The couple sitting next to us came to Tulsa for the weekend from California. The trip was planned totally around seeing Bill O’Reilly.

However…the following is the very best part of visiting Tulsa, Oklahoma…

 The very best part of our trip to Tulsa was visiting our longtime close friends, their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren!  Listening to a well known political commentator holds nothing to the importance of being with friends…talking, laughing, going out for lunch, playing card games and domino games. What a wonderful invitation!



Playing a card game with our Tulsa friends…I lost every, single time!

When I look back on the weekend, I certainly do not remember everything that Bill O’Reilly said…however, I remember everything that we talked about and everything that we laughed about with our friends.


Having fun with friends is the very best part about living on “Tulsa Time”!





Oldham-Lancashire-England. Family.


My great-great grandparent’s blue house in Nashville, TN


Built in 1899, my maternal great-great grandparent’s house is still standing proudly on Park Avenue in Nashville. They were most likely the first or second owners and were living in the Victorian style house at the time of the 1910 census and also the 1920 census. It seems that the 1900 census does not include an address…as far as I can tell. I knew that this house existed. I did not think that it still existed. I have a framed picture of my family members standing on the porch, on the steps, and in the yard…the picture was taken in the early 1900s.

I remember seeing the picture when I was growing up, but my mother never hung it on the wall. When my husband and I were cleaning out my parent’s house in 1985, I was very excited to find the picture in a closet. I love to look at the clothes that the women and girls are wearing. To me… the picture is a treasured keepsake of yesteryear and I like to think about the stories that the house could tell!

I believe that I have figured out why my mother never hung the picture in my childhood home. She lived in the house with her parents, her brother and her sister plus her great-grandparents for several years beginning when she was about 10 years old or so. Her mother became very ill and I assume that they moved in with relatives so that others could help take care of my grandmother and also take care of the children.

My grandmother died on my mother’s 11th birthday. It was always a very sad memory for my mother and I truly imagine that she did not want a reminder of the house hanging on our wall. My grandfather remarried a few years later and my mother was close to her stepmother… my grandmother…my much loved Katie from Ireland! I never knew that my mother actually lived for a few years in the house. I did know that she loved the house and thought it was so very pretty. She particularly liked the staircase and she liked the porches! That is all that she ever told me.



The entry hall staircase in the blue house in Nashville, TN.

I found out most of the information about the house a few years ago when I began continuously working on our family tree through I have honestly become totally enthralled with trying to figure out the ins and outs of our family history. I am working on my maternal and paternal families as well as my husband’s family. I could not just make it simple and work on one tree at a time. Oh no…I made it just as difficult a project as possible! Very typical of me! I need a gigantic mess to work with…I suppose that is why I liked the newspaper business and teaching elementary school so much!

Another bit of information that I always knew was that my great-great grandfather immigrated in 1852 from Oldham, Lancashire, England. He was 20 years old or so and his older brother also came with him. I believe that they left from Liverpool, but I am not sure what port they came to in the United States. I do know that they came directly to Nashville upon arrival. I wonder why they came all the way to Nashville! Did they know someone already living there?I am working on figuring all of that out! We have already visited the particularly wonderful Tennessee Historical Archives in Nashville and are planning to go back in the early summer. I know now most of the information that I think I really need to put the puzzle together about my mother’s family background!

I have completed more research on my mother’s side of the because of the unusual last name of her family. Their last name was Wolfenden and I thought…EASY! Just how many people could possibly have that name! WRONG! I have since found out that the name Wolfenden might be quite a popular last name in that part of England. Tell me it is not true!!! However, I imagine that I am somehow related to all of those Wolfenden people!!


I hope in the near future…to travel to Oldham, Lancashire, England. I have researched enough to know several addresses where they lived…both of my great-great-great grandparent’s first names…the church where the children were baptized…even my great-great-great grandfather’s occupation. Fascinating!

What spurred me on was when I happened to find out the address of the pictured blue house where my great-great grandparents lived. I believe that I actually first found the address on the 1910 census report. I immediately googled the address. I was totally shocked to see the picture pop up on a real estate website. I recognized the house from the old picture that I have. I have no idea if it was painted blue when it was first built. I like to think that it was blue.

Anyway…the house had been divided (sometime in the last few decades) into four very neat apartments and two were for lease. I scrolled down through the pictures of the inside of the house. There was a picture of the pretty staircase that my mother liked! There was a picture of the downstairs porch and the upstairs porch. Best of all…the realty company somehow included a copy of the very picture that I have framed…of my family in the early 1900s!  I have no idea where they got the picture…maybe it was handed down from owner to owner.



My ancestors photographed in the early 1900s at the blue house in Nashville, TN. 

Because I am totally curious, I have kept up with the house for the last couple of years…as if I am the realtor…just silly, I know! The entire house (keeping it as a four apartment house) was put up for sale this past Spring, 2016. I would have loved to own the house, but the asking price was right at $500,000! No way! The house is near to Centennial Park and not too far away from Vanderbilt University. Evidently, some other older houses are being restored in a nearby area.

My great-great grandparent’s blue house on Park Avenue has a new owner. I imagine that there have been many owners for the last 118 years. I hope that there are many stories to tell, that there were many children laughing and playing and many family dinners to enjoy.



Most of all I like to think about a 20 year old immigrant from England who put his whole heart into working diligently to provide a home for his family. I like to think about the blue house with the white picket fence on Park Avenue in Nashville, TN …still proudly standing…my heritage!