The Three Mrs. Bakers

I have the most amazing daughters in law. I must be the most blessed mom in the world. I get along with them and we have a mutual admiration society going on between us. They are fine, strong, beautiful women who love our sons very much. Imagine how much fun I had last night when we went to Pinot’s Pallette- Park Cities in Dallas, Texas last night. This place is the best idea in years for just about anyone. Patrons bring their own drinks, snacks, dinner – what have you and are taught how to paint a particular picture. Laura, Natalie and I wore our tee spring black Team Baker t-shirts and were all smiles throughout the evening. Laura brought the snacks and drinks, while Natalie and I merely showed up. This was Laura’s Christmas present to us. She saw it on Groupon and man, oh man what a great gift it was.

Pinot’s Pallette is filled with art tables and stools , paint, brushes, easels, a bar and you can also buy snacks there as well. We were good girls while we were there, eating popcorn, cinnammon pita chips and chocolate covered cranberries.

Here we are, hard at work...cantcha tell?
Here we are, hard at work…cantcha tell?

We were asked what Team Baker was. I stated, happily, that I was the girls’ mother in law and we were all Bakers. One woman said, “And you all get along? Well, that is wonderful! You don’t find that very often!” My daughter in law said, “She raised good sons.” I was thrilled- actually almost burst into tears.

Natalie told me she tells her workmates how cool her mother in law is while some complain about theirs. Laura echoed Natalie’s tale. How blessed am I ? How blessed I am to have wonderful, loving daughters in laws who love my sons so much as well as me and my husband. God sure knew what he was doing when he put our family together! I love you girls!

Laura, me, and Natalie holding our masterpieces
Laura, me, and Natalie holding our masterpieces

The Quiet is Killing Me

My husband asked this morning if he wanted to come home and read this evening without the television on would that be okay with me.
“Sure!” I responded happily, finding myself wishing we didn’t have tv at times. But, I didn’t know I was going to be in a chatty mood.

I’m the kid who got “talks too much” on each and every report card each and every year. Year in and year out. No matter how many spankings I got for it, no matter how many times my dad told me I was in school to learn, not to talk, I still talked. It just happened. My mouth would open and the words poured out. What could I do?

My poor husband has probably been trying to read the same sentence over and over. That’s so frustrating. At least I know it is for me. But, my Stephen has the added problem of the dogs-every dog we have barking. Then, I’m hollering at the dogs to hush. All the while trying to produce the quiet he deserves. The poor man doesn’t ask for much.

I am, then, trying to concentrate on writing. After I finish this brief missive, I’ll go on to write more of my book,”Tales from the Ass Farmer’s Wife.” Oh heck! now he’s rattling on. I guess he gave up after all this- that’s what usually happens here! What a hoot!

someone like my husband trying to read their Bible too!
someone like my husband trying to read their Bible too!

Pen Pals and Boyfriends

When I was in about fourth grade, we were strongly encouraged to find a penpal. I’m not sure how the penpals were chosen, but  being an Anglophile even at that early age, I wanted one from England. I chose a girl named Sheila Collis. She lived in Manchester, England and I couldn’t wait to get started. We wrote for several years and I learned that our English was not England’s English. Imagine my 4th grade amazement when Sheila would use words like skint, bonnet, petrol!  For the most part , I was left guessing what the words meant, but because the sentences in which they were used were so clear, I had no real problem sorting out the meaning. All those years we wrote each other, we dreamed of being able to meet one day. Alas, it was not to be. By the time I got to England for the first time, I’d lost touch with her and I wasn’t going to be anywhere near Manchester.I did, however, gain a new penpal from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire named Mike Anthorp. He had the most adorable little girl named Toni. I had a daughter named Amanda who had stayed home with her granny while I went jetsetting. We wrote for a long, long time until I lost touch with him.

All this was but practice for the time I met my husband, Stephen, at Tom Thumb, the grocery store in which I worked. He was in the States to attend Southern Methodist University and they were on their Christmas break when he came into the store and asked for a “packet of Mahlboros, please.”  Here was my cue.

“Where are you from?”

“Scotland, originally, but I went to school in England,” he said

“Oh! I just came back from England. You HAVE to stay and go on break with me so I can talk to you about the places I went- nobody else knows where I’m talking about,” the words spilling out of my mouth as fast as they could as if the swift speech would deter him from declining.

“Allright then,” he said willingly.

I got my friend to cover the tobacco bar for me and we walked over to the deli and sat down. He asked me what made me go to overseas and I explained I had met a guy in Pizza Inn once who was over on business. We became pen pals (that pen pal thing really works for a person) and wrote for a few years. He invited me to visit and my best friend and I went .

“Where did you stay?” Stephen asked.

“Newport Pagnell,” I said proudly. I had so loved the little town and he was making fun of it.

“Newport Pagnell? Why would you stay there? It’s a petrol station and that’s it.

I laughed and flirted , “It is not!”

And with that, we started dating. So, I want to thank my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Dunn for giving us pen pals to write. I will never forget the anticipation I felt going to the mailbox hoping and praying it was the day I’d get a letter from Sheila and later on, Ron, then Mike Anthorp and Toni Anthorp and her little friend, Georgina Willis.

I just want to say to teachers everywhere- encourage your students to have pen pals. Not only do they learn a different culture, they make lifelong friends, memories and more.

airmail envelopes made the letters get there fast
airmail envelopes made the letters get there fast

Those Niggling Headaches

Here in Texas, there has been no sun, no warmth, no energy. One must have sun to have energy, dontcha know- the vitamin D and all. Well, we have not been much above the 40’s in a week or more and the days are dreary, dank, and gray. It is a fact that folks with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses do rather poorly on these dreary days. Lots of psychologists and psychiatrists suggest using a light box so that the depression doesn’t worsen. There is even a name for winter depression- “seasonal affective disorder.” I just call it the “wintertime blues.” Yep- simple as that- a case of the blues.

Well, on days as dreary as the ones past , I tend to feel really tired and have very little energy. I have been coming home from work only to eat lunch and take a nap- a long nap. The problem today was when I woke after an hour or so , I had one of those niggling headaches. You know those headaches- not a full blown headache, but one that is barely there- pain , but just enough to make one mad. It’s annoying, frustrating and aggravating. With a full blown headache, one can take an aspirin, ibuprofen, or some other type of pain pill. With the niggling headache, the choice is a little harder- should I take an ibuprofen or acetaminiphen or just let it run its course? Most of the time, I try to let it run it’s course, but it sure does aggravate me. I don’t know why it makes me so angry. Probably because it doesn’t seem to have the gumption to be a full blown headache. Just a baby one-there to ruin my day. Well, too bad little headache! I won’t let you do it! I won’t let you ruin my day. It’s bad enough it affects me for an hour or so.

I have to admit- not too many things aggravate me-anymore. I used to be quite the hothead. Runs in the family, I always say. Heh heh. In actual fact, it could be- could be, I 6a010535d58d31970b0120a902d847970b-320wisay- the fact that I was a spoiled little girl. There, I said it and I will probably never say it again! I am sure, though, my husband Stephen, is happy I have mellowed out in my old age. I have to say I am glad too. My blood pressure was sky high during those rants and raves. Have you ever had the occasion to be ranting and raving and feel that vein in your neck pounding-popping out so the world can see it? It’s bad. Now, my temper is pretty much  on an even keel and all I had to do was age. How apropos! It can happen to you too! All it takes is a little bit of a wait!

Disclaimer- it may take longer than you think!

The Golden Globes and Others Like It

I was watching the Golden Globes this evening- Well, part of it. I don’t know- actors have so many awards. It seems they love to get pats on the back as if the millions they get for what they do isn’t quite enough. Pardon me- I’m not bitter, but I just wonder how many pats are necessary for a group of people to know they’ve produced good work and the public has shown them they like what they are doing by spending their hard earned money to go to their shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go to the movies- it’s just too expensive, I think.

So, while I was watching the “preshow”, “pregame”, as it were, I was struck by the actors standing on the red carpet waiting for their photo to be taken. I felt sad. Most were not smiling- just standing there waiting-as if it was a chore.

I don’t know- i’m all for rewarding a job well done-but over and over and over again? Sometimes, too much is just that- too much.

Thanks for reading my little rant- tata for now- tata.

School? Writing? Painting? What?

It seems as though I have many things I so want to do. I am approximately 12 hours from finishing a degree in Social Work, I have a children’s book that I will be publishing next month, I have more in my head -for the book series, that is, and I have been painting, crafting and stuff. I have so many things I want to do and I want to do it all! Have you ever been in that predicament? So much to do and seemingly no time to do it all. Or maybe there is.

I do have a day job. I take care of a little 74 year old lady for three hours a day. I’m finished with work early. Then, I could go finish school in the afternoon, then homework and after homework, writing, painting and crafts on a rotating schedule. There! I’ve solved it.  I will be able to do it all !

Seriously, though, I do want to finish school. That I have been putting it off because of my blatant hatred of math is just flat out ridiculous . I have never been successful with math and I think it scares me. Imagine that- numbers on a page scaring an ol’ lady like me. But, it does. I don’t know how to overcome my fear other than just jumping in. If any of you have any ideas on how to pass math, I’d sure appreciate any advice.

So, next week, I’ll call University of North Texas and Texas A&M Commerce and get my transcripts, go take the math, get it over with and finally get my degree. It’s only taken me 35 years to get a bachelors degree- It may be 36 or 37 by the time I get it. Then, I may just get an LVN degree. We’ll just have to see. No use counting my chickens before they hatch, huh?

Painting and Crafts- Since When?

I have never had any artistic abilities, nor crafting… nor any talent in what could even loosely be called art. Not until about a year ago, after I switched churches and saw an episode of Steve Harvey. You may wonder what the two have in common. Well, nothing really, other than being pieces to the puzzle that is my creativity.

I used to freelance for The Williamson County Sun in Georgetown, Texas back in the late 90’s. That was my favorite job of all time. Man, could I write!  Little did I know that it was because I had bipolar disorder and was not on any medication for it. Once I got on medication, my creativity- captured in my words all but dried up. I left the Williamson County Sun when I decided to move back to Dallas.  I don’t want to get into a big hooha of all that, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t even do a word find in the newspaper after that.

In later years, my medication was shifted- I came off some of it and put on some others, changed churches and watched Steve Harvey and my creativity came back with a fervor I’ve yet to really understand. My husband and I began going to The Gathering- a church for the unhoused-but not homeless as they had the church. I began doing things for people less fortunate than I and loving it completely. I loved people I had previously thought were loveless and was being blessed all the while unknowingly.

My daughter, Amanda, had been in town for Christmas last year when we caught an episode of Steve Harvey, where a lady asked Steve why men don’t get abstract art. She brought her abstract with her and said she was asking $4000.00 for it. Steve was going to help her sell it. The painting wasn’t all that. I mean, I wouldn’t have it in my living room, but that’s neither here nor there. I looked at my daughter and said, ” I can do better than that and I can’t even paint. ” So, I got supplies and went to work. I began selling my paintings! What? I never could draw, never painted, always said I had no creative bones in my body and I had begun selling paintings! Weirdness. So, that is why i attribute it to loving my church, loving the people there and Steve Harvey.

I quit painting , though for a couple of months- just haven’t really painted anything I thought was worthwhile. But, my grand daughter loves art and likes doing it with me, so, the other night I painted a couple of things and posted them here. I was so surprised to find people reblogging  my art work and telling me they liked it. It, like the first thing I ever sold, blew me away. So, I painted two more projects and humbly submit them for your approval. Gosh! I sure wish I could get discovered because I love art so much now- I could do it for a living…. yep- that and writing and paper crafting. So, if anyone is out there and wants to discover me- thanks in advance!  While I say this in jest- wouldn’t it be so cool if it actually happened!

Fools Gold
Fools Gold
Luminous Remembrances
Luminous Remembrances

Perfection, or Something Close Achieved

The cold weather aside, I believe today was the epitome of perfection. After a church service I had wished never ended (yes, it was that good), Stephen, my  husband of 33 years and I went to have lunch with one of our oldest friends. No, he’s not old, but he’s been our friend since our college days. Shoot, my husband plays in a band with him still. It’s got to be the longest running band ever.They don’t really play gigs anymore- but they do practice. One of the members moved to Washington state, so, he’s not here to practice. Anyway, I digress. Another story for another time.

When we arrived home, my granddaughter, Makayla and her mom, Natalie, Micah, our son ,and his wife were here. David came along later with food and lots of it. While he and Stephen grilled steaks and baked potatoes, Makayla and I worked at our art tables, while Natalie and Laura sat talking to us. I was still working on two pieces of art and Makayla worked on lots of art at one time,

DSC_0645DSC_0647

10923522_10204274533798423_4624071758093772011_nThe above photos are my paintings – “Layered Topography” followed by “Volcano Tree”, followed by Miss Makayla’s “mine.”

We all ate together and laughed together. Everyone left before Downton Abby came on. Watching Downton has always been exciting .

All in all , a wonderful day. About as close to perfection as one could get in this world. Hope your day was just as good.

Book Publishing, Here I Come

Previously, I had decided I was going to use the crowdfunding group, Indiegogo.com to help fund publishing my children’s book. I have revisited my plan and decided to just go forward with it myself- put my money into the things I need to- it won’t be much and publish my book. I’m very excited about it. I will be contributing some of the proceeds to Saving Carolina Dogs Rescue & Adoption Network. Because my dog, Jack, who is, after all , the star of my books is a Carolina Dog- a dingo. They are the ones responsible for me finding Jack.

My friend Amber had texted me one day saying that a girl in Garland, Texas had adopted a dog thought to be a Carolina Dog, but she couldn’t keep him and  asked if I could go pick him up. So, my husband and I did go and pick him up and it didn’t take long figure out he was something special. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about dingos, other than the Seinfeld episode in which Elaine says hatefully, “A dingo ate cha ba-a-by”

Turns out these dingos are pretty smart. They’ve come over from the Bering Strait long years ago and are as primitive as they can be. They are wonderful, fun-loving, fiercely loyal dogs who love their moms and dads like nobody’s business.

Jack surveying his kingdom.
Jack surveying his kingdom.

Jack is the star of his own book series, “Jack Learns…”  In his first adventure, a newly adopted Jack is bored and wants to learn what grilling is. His second adventure finds him trying to quit whining and his third-well, he learns about bullies. Jack tries to keep the peace with his brothers and sisters, although he and Buddy, one of our Pyrenes/Shepherd mixes used to get into it. They are very separate now! It’s scary business when they get into it . I hope you follow my adventures in publishing these books. They are special because they teach children things without the child really knowing it. One book I am looking forward to writing is the one in which Jack learns not all children learn in the same way. We all learn at different rates, in different ways and not one of those ways is wrong! I can’t wait to teach that to Jack. I am praying these books are as successful as I imagine them. I hope you will join me.

the red in his coat is striking.
the red in his coat is striking.