Monday, November 29, 2010

Hanging Out At Bon Ton

This weekend was a time of visiting with two of my daughters that live away from us. One of my daughters, Penny, resides in Chicago. She went away to Chicago's DePaul University thirteen years ago.......and then, after graduating, made Chicago her permanent home.

Penny and I have a "special" store we frequent when she visits. This place is nothing short of WONDERFUL!!! It's made all the more special because it's tucked away in the tinest of Texas towns, Forreston, Texas. Basically, the tiny town consists of three or four vintage buildings, a post office and and a few hundred people. The main store is a facinating vintage clothing store named Bon Ton. Bon Ton is owned by a darling couple, John and Barbara. John and Barbara are former musicians that now tend this "out of this world" vintage fashion icon! They have a wonderful life!

Now, don't think that  shoppers to Bon Ton are a rarity just because the store is in a tiny Texas town. Quite to the contrary, Bon Ton is nationally famous, supplying vintage clothing to movie producers and customers all over the United States!!
Penny and I spent and hour and a half visiting and shopping. We shopped for about forty-five minutes and visited with John and Barbara for about forty-five minutes!! A visit to Bon Ton is so much more than a shopping's a step into the interlude in our afternoon to visit with old friends...

John has a table set up to receive visitors that might want to share a bottle of water or cup of coffee. If he has a pastry available, one can have a light breakfast as well. After visiting for more than a half hour with John, Barbara came to "rescue" us!! I say this in jest because a visit with John and Barbara is certainly one of life's pleasures........a refreshing break in the hurry and confusion of Thanksgiving weekend!

Marilyn Monroe Doll

I purchased this stunning 1940's black velvet bolero and skirt from Bon Ton. My dress form loves her new outfit!!

Check out Bon Ton's website:
And, if you love vintage fashions and are visiting the Dallas/Ft.Worth area, stop by BonTon in Forreston, Texas. You won't be disappointed!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Our Thanksgiving was exceptionally calm this year!! My daughter, Penny, who hasn't been able to come to our Thanksgiving the past couple of years was here this year!! It was so wonderful to have her here!! When Penny is here, we always play board games after our big meal. This year was not to dissapoint.....

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is cooking with my daughters, and looking out over our dining room at all the full seats!!! It's so wonderful to have everyone home!! While I totally forgot to take a picture of everyone seated in the dining room, I did get a few good shots.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Please Don't Mess With Texas

Today eight out of ten Texans know what the term "Don't Mess With Texas" means. In 2005, about 71 % knew what the warning meant. If someone is caught "messing" with Texas, it could cost them in fines totaling up to $500.00. "Don't Mess With Texas" means don't litter our highways, streets, and county roads.

In 1987, our family moved here to Gingerbread Town. We found a wonderful home in the country. When we first moved here, our road was beautiful. Our home was surrounded by green farmland. In the spring, the yellow and blue wildflowers overwhelmed the roadside from one end to the other. I imagined I lived in a fairytale. The abundant flowers reminded me of the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz movie. After living in the West Texas desert for eight years, we were estatic about our little bit of paradise.

On an average, non-rainy day we had only a few people driving up our mostly deserted, dirt road. I don't remember trash on the road to be a problem. The biggest problem we had was the rain turning our dirt road into a hopeless sea of muck. Sometimes, after several inches of rain,the mud would be so bad that we would find ourselves totally cut off from civilization until the swamp dried out.

Now, fast forward to 2010. We are no longer only one of two families living on our isolated road. There are several mobile homes to the east of us. Back to the southwest is a subdivision with approximately fifty beautiful new homes. The drivers that zoom by our house seem ignorant that the speed limit is only thirty miles per hour.

The beautiful wildflowers that once delighted us in the spring have been replaced by beer bottles, fast food containers, soda cans, and blankets of desintigrating newspapers and cardboard. The sight has been making me ill for awhile now. Sunday I decided I would do something about it. Taylor and I drove to the entrance to our road right off the interstate. This area is about one sixteenth of a mile long. I thought we could clean this stretch of road up in about twenty or thirty minutes. NOT......One hour and twenty minutes and seven lawn and leaf plastic trash bags later we were still picking up trash from this same area.

I kept thinking to myself that it was a shame that all the people that now live near us have to live with the mess that probably only a few thoughtless people created. But, when I researched the "Don't Mess With Texas" site, I learned that today seventy-five percent of Americans admit to littering sometime in the past five years. That is so sad to me. I love my state....I love my road......When my friends come to visit, I don't want them to be greeted by a garbage dump. Gee, I don't want to be greeted by a garbage dump.

How do other states deal with the problem of littering? While my research stated that it is not as bad as it used to be, I'm seeing litter everywhere along our highways and county roads. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on this subject!!  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Old Texas House of the Week

This is one of my favorite houses. I toured this house about twenty years ago when it was featured on the Gingerbread Trail Home Tours. Beautiful home!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Serenity Prayer

                                                The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

How many times have we all heard this? Well, I don't know how many times you have heard this prayer, but I have heard it hundreds of times. I would say thousands of times, but that would be exaggerating a bit.

On the surface, this prayer seems straight forward. But, for me, this prayer is a challenge to mesh into my daily life. The part that I find difficult, is the wisdom to know the difference. I don't always have the wisdom at the start. Wisdom is gained over time. Knowing the things we can change and the things we can not change is not always readily apparent. In the past, I thought this prayer was an excuse to not act or try to make a situation better. This prayer is what people said to others that were having a hard time.....a prayer said when it was time to "raise the white flag" over a miserable situation. I still think that some would use this prayer in that manner....almost as if the prayer gave them permission to ignore certain aspects of their lives. But, that being said, today this prayer came to mind as my heart finally said "no more" to a particularly difficult situation. I've done all I can. To continue to persevere would be insanity......continuing to do the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.

This is not to say that I think perseverance is futile. I think in most situations it is a must....  Anything worth accomplishing or receiving is going to be hard. To persevere is to embrace the difficulty because the outcome is so much more rewarding and valuable than had we never tried. But, occasionally, a situation comes along that after much perseverance and heartache, trying to change the situation becomes counterproductive to not only ourselves but others as well. Being engulfed in a toxic relationship or experience becomes a prescription for clinical depression, anxiety attacks, or despair. God is always in control; He says we are to be anxious about nothing. Here, for me, is where the Serenity Prayer comes in. When I truly believe that, with His guidance and help, I've done absolutely all I can do, I have to release the situation to Him. This doesn't mean I don't continue to pray, I just have to stop being busy trying to "work" the problem out.

I know this post seems a bit vague, at least concerning a specific situation. But, I believe my thoughts can apply to many situations. My particular situation has made me terribly sad, but today, I feel relieved. I truly recognize that I can not change the problem. I can only be myself and trust God to do the rest.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanksgiving Is Upon Us!!

 Toward the end of October I begin mentally making my Thanksgiving "to do" list. This year the list is particularly long......
1. Finish painting the outside of the house In Texas, the temperature is still in the upper 70's.  Yes, I know....I'm blessed! I have been painting for awhile now. But, it didn't help when after I had made such good progress, I decided the color was all wrong. I had to start painting all over again!!

2. Clean, clean,, not the everyday stuff, but the deep, get sweaty and sore type of cleaning. I've already got a start on this endeavor. Yesterday I cleaned my daughters Eun-Hye and Christine's bedroom carpet! I've been meaning to do that for quite awhile! Yea, it's done!! Now, will anyone go in their room Thanksgiving Day??? Probably not! But, Eun-Hye and Christine appreciate the freshly clean carpet!! That's all that matters!

3. Get my recent college bound daughter Suzanne's room ready for guests!! Do you remember that Suzanne is a freshman at UT Austin???? I have to move another bed in her room, and since she took all her "stuff" with her, I'm thinking I need new bedspreads and a nice lamp in there!! I'm always looking for a good excuse to spend money and decorate!

4. Hopefully, I can paint Taylor's room. That would only take one day if Soo-Jin could help me. Taylor's room is painted an icy, cold, piercing azure!! My husband, Tim, frequently proclaims, "Never, never again paint any wall in the house a screaming bold color; muted hues is the way to go"! Ordinarily, I wouldn't bother to put painting his room on the Thanksgiving "to do" list, but this year nineteen of my twenty-two children plus one son-in-law and two or three "significant others" will be home. Taylor's room is going to substitute as a guest room.......He loves to sleep on the family room sofa with his Cairn Terrier, Radar, anyway!! They watch tv together....late, late into the wee hours of the morning!!

5. I desperately need to hire a cleaning company to come clean the cathedral ceiling in my dining room. This chore is a necessity. I have such a hard time cleaning the cathedral ceiling. Even with a ladder, I just can't reach it. Recently, I decided hiring a professional would be the way to go. My dining room is actually the "den". But, we use the den as an extra large dining room. We have to, you know!! There's so many of us!!

6. Then, there's all the shopping. We consume three twenty pound turkeys. That is a LOT of turkey. Then, there's all the fixings!! I plan on buying a turkey a week until Thanksgiving arrives. I bought the first one last weekend. I'll buy another one next weekend.....and then the next weekend!! I'll start cooking the Monday before Thanksgiving. Many members of our family comment that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday!! (not tooo much pressure, right!) ..So, the actual dinner needs to be Wonderful!!

My mental list is exhausted!! I will probably think of something else soon, but heaven knows I don't want to think of one more thing!!! Will I get everything accomplished??? Probably not, but if I at least get the front of the house painted, and get through half of my list, I'll consider myself as much of a success as I could possibly be. With so many of our children grown, it is only at Thanksgiving and Christmas that we are all in the same place at the same time......even if for only a few hours!!!
My husband cries when he says the blessing over Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. He and I are counting our blessings, and we have a lot of blessings to count.!!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings..........A Big Hit With Mom and Pop

If you read my post yesterday, you know that my husband and I went to see our son, Andrew's, play at SMU. The play is "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings by Stephen Adly Guirgis. This is a hard-hitting play set on the streets of New York City in the late 1990s. There's massive amounts of profanity and explicitly sexual dialogue in this play not to mention smoking, drinking, and guns (fake, of course). According to my son, in every performance there have been walkouts, although in SMU's defense there is a Caution sign in plain view at the stage door. People were warned!!

I knew the play was going to be chock full of "in your face", shocking dialogue. Andrew has been preparing me, or should I say my ears for months to receive the verbal nuclear blast. After several of my other adult children saw the play, they too warned my husband and me. So, while I was totally prepared for the worst the theater could spew at me, I was not prepared to leave believing this was  the most life-changing, important play I had ever seen. Today I am grateful for having witnessed the raw viseral tragedy that In Arabia We'd All Be Kings offers.

In Arabia We'd All Be Kings centers around eight or so characters that hang around a sad disgusting bar on a seedy New York City street. Prostitution, homelessness, drug addiction, and the criminal element are all represented in the ensemble cast. My son, Andrew, plays the character Skank. Skank is a homeless addict. Skank is not his real name, but one that a low-life prison con gives him at the beginning of the play. The audience never learns Skank's real name because ultimately, Skank is a nothing to everyone except his girlfriend, a prostitute named Chickie. Ironically, even if Chickie does know Skank's real name, she never calls him anything but "my boyfriend". Skank and Chickie are tender and respectful of each other. They are two souls comforting each other while lost  in an abyss of depravity.

Without the painfully biting dialogue, this play would have been a cartoon version and ultimately a mockery and insult to everyone who is down and out in America. Certainly, not everyone who finds themselves homeless or addicted has reached the hell of Skank and his sick companions, but the play's dialogue serves to immerse the viewer into the "worst of the worst" with the result, hopefully, being an epiphany and committment to reserve judgement when encountering the poor miserable souls that have become America's garbage. At the close of the curtain, I found myself liking many of the characters. They were not intentionally mean or depraved......they were only terribly broken people that had made bad choices and were unable to save themselves. Possibly, one reason I so identified with Skank was because my son played his character. I would like to hope that had someone else played that role, I still would have had a similar connection. But, watching Andrew being homeless and addicted made me realize that every addict and homeless person has a mother......out there, somewhere! How hard it must be for them to witness their own children fall into the hopelessness of a  Dante's Inferno.

After viewing this play, I have been changed. I'll never be able to look at a homeless person, addict, or prostitute without compassion. As a Christian, I realized that if Jesus were here today, He would be there with the Skanks of this world. And, while I am not Jesus, if I call myself a Christian, I represent Him. I'm still working this through in my mind. But for now, thank you SMU theater department for the courage to showcase In Arabia We'd All Be Kings. This play changed me.....prayerfully for the better!