Thursday, December 26, 2013

Things You Only Learn (mostly) on PBS

Things I learned on Public and CBS radio today, mostly in chronological order:

Shirley Jones sang and performed some wonderful roles I was aware of. Now, approaching 80, she has written an autobiography. And Diane Rhem asked her, politely as is her way, and bluntly, why she included so much information on enjoyable sex with her two husbands. Jones said everyone knew her public and professional persona. She wanted something in it that reflected her private, personal self that the world didn't know. Funny, that made sense to me.

Rhem asked her if she remembered her speech when she won the Oscar, and she did. She said, she remembers, "This is the best moment of my career." Afterwards, she said, her husband asked her why she didn't say the best minute of her life. She answered, "Because it wasn't. The birth of my children was that."

Diane Rhem said swiftly she understood. So do I. An Oscar isn't necessarily life-changing, though she felt it extended her career. But children change everything.

Next...

Bo Jackson. I know a con artist who goes by that name. Today I found out why.  I was too young to know Bo Jackson. I learned about him today.

NPR told his story against the musings of whether spite was involved in his choices, and whether he benefitted or was hurt. A man who made choices almost impossible then. Could it happen today? No, because neither baseball nor football would let go today to let him excel in both. I have more to learn. I loved what I did learn. Wow.

Next...

I'm slow, okay? I didn't know about the pigtail bonus. I had been puzzled by references to pig tails. I read omnivorously, sports and celebrities only when they interest me.  We have so many hogs here. I wish we could find some way to harvest, assess, prepare the meat. Why can't we? So much food we are letting rot. Yes, I know rules and regulations are in place. Surely practicality could do more. It's been done before. I've read about it.  It was a while ago.

anecdotal information:
So many employees worked extra hours this year, meaning postponement of so many "Christmas" celebrations. We will get together over New Year's. A clerk told me today he still hadn't been able to visit family for Christmas, which includes more than food and what-did-you-get-me? At least, for most.

My neighbor told me he talked  to an employee who worked till 11:30 pm Christmas Day for either UPS or FEDEX, and said his friend had only caught up to Christmas Eve. They still are frantically delivering gifts. News has the rest of the story.  Speaking of rest, when do these people do so? It sounds brutal.

Several family members are in law enforcement. I remember when eldest grandchild was 3-4, her dad was off work Dec. 26. Mom was off both days. 

So we told her Santa came Christmas Eve, Dec. 25. Worked great. She had a great time.
I am sure some infant prodigies do remember dates. I didn't, no one else in our family does either. I am not sure any of us has ever told her that story. She's probably ready now to hear it.

And that last paragraph was not it what I learned today. When I heard persons whining and whimpering about their "ruined holiday", I did think of it.

I do think Americans in general have more grit, more goodwill, than showed up on tv media bytes.
Look at the aftermath of any tornado.

This close to The Holiday?   Not a chance.

I don't have stock in anything, but Kleenex may have bumped today.

Life does go on, people do keep loving one another, sooner or later they catch up on lost sleep.

We will continue to care about one another.

I hope that reduces the anxiety on television.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So Little, You have to look for it

Huh.

Just re-read my last post.

Sounds like Christmas means packages under a non-existent tree.

Today, and tomorrow, it is doubtful. I will see another human being.

And it will be Christmas.

Not family time. Not present time. Not eat everything in sight time.

Just...Christmas.

Love. Hope. Christmas.

Like that.

If you get the flurry, the family, the wonderful food, so much the better.

But first, a touch of wonder, a drop of love, a blink of hope. And that---is Christmas.

And I forgot. First, you have to save it. So it will last all year.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Behavior

I love the holiday this year. it all done by Christmas morning for most.

I have another week. Love it!

I am loosening up.

I always wanted Christmas on Christmas Day, at home. No cruises for me. Uh-uh.
Actually, that hasn't changed much. Until this year.

I have the joy of my granddaughters every day. This year, their grandmother in Austin gets the privilege of having them at her tree, her table.
She invited me, but I told her I would do critter duty this year with the cats and chickens. Christmas at Jo's is a wonderful thing. I have loved my holidays there.

I will see my family at New Year's. Hopefully, by then I will have purchas3ed my gifts either at last-minute sales or after-Christmas sales. Without browsing.

I have all the ingredients for stellar black-eyed peas, good luck charms hereabouts. I will have hot cornbread, cold coleslaw, and..maybe other stuff.

I don't have a large family. I suspect that is unusual everywhere. I will be alone on Christmas.

I have sniveled about it before. This year I will celebrate. I will sleep late, fix huevos rancheros for breakfast, feed my grandcats, walk my dogs, read books I have saved for Christmas, and do nothing useful. I also will eat dark chocolate.

A week later, a new year, I will exchange gifts with family.

I understand long-term planning and have done so in the past.
This is shortterm. Very.

The next few days are holiday, meaning time to celebrate. I hope you do, and are happy after as well as before.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Short and Sweet

I never can remember whether it's Google or Yahoo password I use for access to the blog, but I have been "out" so long, the system warns me I will have errors. The explanation given had something to do with a time sequence and made my eyes cross.

Encased in ice for 5 days straight recently, one would assume my house would be sparkling, that I would have spent my time baking goodies for friends and, given the deceptive white stuff covering the ground outside, I might even haul out my tree and decorations.

Nope. I ate, watched television, read a ton of books I had thoughtfully checked out of the library beforehand. (You do your emergency preparations, I'll do mine.)

Tomorrow, I finally will start Christmas shopping. I'm hoping for some good bargains retailers are promising to get us late shoppers in. I don't think anything electronic is on my list. Barnes and Noble, however, features prominently. Maybe Amazon. I have shopped Amazon before, happily. This year everybody says don't use a debit card. Well, I don't have a credit card. Makes me nervous to go online this time. Finally I have a list of sorts. I would think of something, then find someone else in the family had already bought it. Serves me right for being a slowpoke.

This year, I may take in the after-Christmas sales for one or two things, since our family exchange will be New Year's Day.

In my small neighborhood, my granddaughters have friends across the spectrum economically. I think it's pretty great that they all make things for each other--a coffee cup full of hpmemade candies, a clever sketch by the one who's an artist, chocolate dipped pretzels, hair bands--Small tokens, all. It is a pretty large group.

I have a list finally. My shopping style is to go straight to the store or counter in that store where I can buy it, and leave rapidly. Meandering around a store looking for inspiration is not my idea of fun.

I withheld the urge to buy a mega-million lottery ticket, although I had an earworm in my head for a day singing, "If I were a rich (wo)man..."

May we all have laughter and good times with good people of the next 10 days...and then again for every day to come.

Friday, December 13, 2013

In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, we have not had a sleet storm like this in years.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A young woman I know sailed into the grocery, snagged a bottle of wine, and said that was all she needed to sustain her through a North Texas ice storm.

"What's the deal?" she asked on Facebook, " two days

Friday, December 6, 2013

My version of a Tweet.

Just an observation.

Wednesday it was 80 degrees, sunny and clear.

Today it is 25 degrees, cloudy, 2.5 inches of sleet, treacherous.

Stayintg this way for three more days.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Accepting the Inevitable

Well, I missed the 10 pm news and weather. Well, shucks. What does it matter?

Weather? it happens. Is happening, can't stop it, can't change it.

Checked outside. Sleet still shushing down. Temperature still in the 20s.

You Yankees are pretty conservative. Would YOU buy expensive ice moving road machines you used once in two and five to seven years?
Didn't think so. So pardon us while we grind to a halt for 2-4 days, which, by the way, I have noticed icy norms have done time to time to the
East after bad storms.

Ahem.

I am, basically, housebound for four days. I can get in my car and go to the drive-in for a sandwich, but I can't walk on this stuff any more. I still can drive on it.
I no longer want to.

The ice and sleet comes. so many activities cancelled.

My youngest granddaughter's concert was cancelled.

My eldest granddaughter came home early , worried if she will have regional try-outs Saturday. I would bet not.

No school tomorrow.

Fun run Saturday and Christmas parade later. Both cancelled, I expect.

All in all, disappointing.

Not catastrophic, but thank God, they haven't experienced that yet.

This will be the messy Christmas.

I am so thankful for my home, food, dogs, blankets, all of it.
And family next door.
I used to take it for granted.
Now I often deal with those who are homeless.

I know how blessed I am. How rich my life is.

It affects my holiday in ways I didn't expect.

A certain peace. A lot of joy. A lot of smiles for kids and parents and grandparents everywhere.

I have a list I would like, but won't get 1) because I expressed it and it won't be a surprise, and 2) because I think they would like to get me something nicer.

Gracie has eaten most of my terrycloth dish towels and I would like more. Actually, she's chewed on bath towels too, so one or two of those would work--red or blue.

I've never had a to-go cup that didn't come from fast food. Every one I find is $8 and I just can't pay it.

I will bet you I get none of these things.

I will be happy with what I do get. People I love will pick it, and they may pick a joy I haven't noticed. The best?

People I love gave the gifts.

Getting stuff for Christmas doesn't make me happy per se. Even as a kid, I enjoyed them, even delighted in my bicycle and saddle, but over all, enjoyed.

It never seemed the point. I loved decorating the house, the tree, making cookies, helping, wrapping. I loved all of that, I think, more than what I got, much as I enjoyed the books, games, clothes. Were there clothes? My Mon. Yes, there were clothes, probably some I wore through college and into the work place. Mother had great taste. I could show, and feel, pleasure. I just never could get excited about them. Later on, I loved the opal ring, the gold necklace chain.

In 70 years, what Christmas gifts made me cry out in joy? The opal ring, the suede coat, and the cut down saddle. The bicycle didn't create joy because I knew it would be there. It's absence would have caused pain. The dishwasher, installed by my son additionally, was a very sweet surprise. And yet, being with my family as they opened their treats last year, followed by the snow--that was the best Christmas ever.

I guess I have lost the true spirit of the holiday, I said sarcastically.

Getting hugs? Yeah, I like those. Homemade stuff? Pictures? Food? Now you're talking.

I apologize. It's me. I am one-handedly ruining the economy.

I look at all this STUFF and usually just think , "Why?"

Don't book me for your party unless you want, you know, 1850 Prairie style. I can't tat but I might manage a good cake or pie.

Enjoy your holiday. I am enjoying mine. Just quietly.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What is the Weather Going To Do? How do I React?

In other parts of the country, California, for instance, or New York. You get weather. You know what you are going to get.

You lucky dogs, you can plan for it.

Texas, not so much. Actually, we have some pretty good technical reasons, but let's skip those.

Two weeks ago, we were supposed to get an ice storm, but a nose of warm air--that's what the weatherman said--prevented it so we got cold, nasty, wet, but no ice.

Being North Texas, we have been in the 70s for three days. Tomorrow, highs in the 30s. And maybe? freezing drizzle.

So maybe we are getting miserable and wet, cold and dry, or cold with glare ice. Take your pick. We are 12 hours out, maybe 16, and no one knows.

Will schools be closed Friday or not? Northerners sneer, but we aren't buying that equipment for what happens every five years on average. Saturday. If we have glare ice and no warm up, do we have our Christmas parade? Dallas has 25,000 people coming in for the marathon Sunday. Will we have it?

I can drive in this stuff, but I don't want to imagine what a fall would do. So my volunteer job on Friday? Will I or won't I make it?

If we get freezing rain, the temperature may not go above 32 degrees for four days.

Can you spell Housebound?

Great minds have considered and do not know.

Absolutely no one knows what is going to happen. We plan for the worst--housebound, and hope for the best.

We don't know. At all.

The last ice storm never happened.

Stay tuned. It won't be disaster footage per se.

Just a lot of people trying to cope with life as it comes.

So far, technology isn't helping all that much.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Horatio, more is in your universe than your checkbook ever knew

So many have told me Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Good food. Good company. Laughter.

I've heard this from folks in the sunny realms, where often the kids and even we can run around.  I've heard it from persons in the Northeast. We like the break, to breathe, say, "well, that year wasn't so bad,", to hug loved ones.

But the greed digs in. Off at 11 last night? Be back at 5 on Thursday. Big push.

Last weekend, so many communities caved. The Christmas trees are up, the ads are out, only a few companies are really giving their employees time to love, laugh, eat leisurely, bake good stuff, and hug.

Costco didn't cave, nor did Radio Shack. A third I don't remember, and I am sorry. I do know all three make money, some more than others, they treat their employees like human beings, and have high employee satisfaction ratings and little turnover Which is part of why they make money. Experience counts. So does a friendly, not desperate. salesperson.

I have friends who love to shop and will, to my mystification.

Will Thanksgiving become a forgotten meal? I hope not. I think it feeds into the kindness of Christmas.  I know a country that is Christian, Muslim, and many others, and because they have all been taught to care, in December, they go back to their homes and give help. This country has melded the concern, and they do well. I wish my country could do as well.

For the first time this year, Chrismas selling overrode Thanksgiving.

It will be worse next year.

Quality of life? Time for love?

As the JC Penny ad says, "go,go,go, buy, buy, buy."

And you'll be happy.

Ha!


Friday, November 22, 2013

November in NorthTexas will Never Be Solved

November is one of the fun months about Texas.

There's a saying, that if you don't like the weather wait five minutes and it will change..

Huh. I've lived here since 1961, and that has NEVER been true in July or August.

November, now. November has possibilities.

Today it was cold, wet and near freezing, 50 years from the death of a president that was commemorated today. 

That day was sunny, short-sleeved weather. It wasn't hot, though I have been sunburned in late November. It was clement, then.  A lovely,, clement, brilliant day.

Today is nothing of the kind.  It is a nasty day, dark clouds, spitting rather than actually raining icy drops. Raining would be more mannerly. Not freezing, just threatening to. One degree off.  No clemency.

I usually let my eldest granddaughter set her schedule. Today, I told her I was picking her up after school and I was sorry if this interfered. I texted all this. I hope some of you are impressed. I knew by texting before the bell rang I would not get her into trouble if she didn't read till after the bell.

Anyway, both girls were glad to go home.

Tomorrow promises to be much the same, eroding into Sunday, We are going into sleet and snow.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is  eating  Thanksgiving dinner outside when the trees hadn't turned and the grass was green and the honeysuckle still smelled sweet, and I worried about a sunburn. Another Thanksving was a wintry day when it sleeted, we had a wood fire blazing, and cozily sat inside.

November is like that in North Texas.

Oh, God, I love it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thank God for Thanksgiving

Anticipation is the best sauce for experience.

And so we love Thanksgiving.

When I was a kid,, the turkey started roasting  WITH THE DRESSING IN about 4 in the morning. I woke to the smells of coming feast, and bacon, maybe the world's favorite smell,..

I had a small family. I've met some big ones, out in the hinterlands of Texas, and they mostly  are kind people.

Thanksgiving is the thankful holiday. No presents. No decorating if you don't want to. No fireworks. No eggs to color, no argument about gifts at Valentine's Day.

Just you. Who you invite, who might not be family but are loved and welcome.

Love is all appreciated, and a full tummy of yummy food.

For most of us, that's enough. Some of us may not say it--I  do!-- but Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday.

It is the holiday that fits all sizes-- 1, 2,5, 20,well, y'know, Thanksgiving fits any size.

People say Thanksgiving is about plentitude. It never has been. Never has been if you look at history.
That first Thanksgiving we go on so much about involved survivors of a colony where half had already died. These weren't fat people,at all.. These were skinny survivors, and most of the children had already died in the past year.

Celebration is another word that means Thanksgiving. These gaunt survivors were celebrating their survival, the help the Indians gave them, and their joy of life over mourning.   A number did not survive the harsh winter.

It was, in modern parlance, a photo shot at the time.

So. Anticipation, Celebration. All to do about Thank God. We lived another year.

It is a simple  holiday. Very tasty. Unknown outside the United States, as such.

Small matters. It has been at least 60 years since I smelled turkey with dressing cooking, and country bacon frying for breakfast.

The smell alone told me it would be a great day. And it was.

Thanksgiving has somehow, through merchandising, become about opulence.

We historians, we amateur,  poor historians, know differently.

Thanksgiving is about survival.

It's nice if you have cranberries and rolls and some kind of meat and fancy vegetables and 100 pies to choose from. That's not anticipation, celebration, dedication. I think Thanksgiving is all three.
If you survived this year celebrate. Wherever.

 If it actually tastes good, be thankful.  If you can survive another few days or a month or a year, be thankful. But dedicate your life to making it better next year, however you can, lawfully, ethically.

Anticipate better times. That keeps you alive and  trying.

Celebrate yourself, your family and that you have food today.

Dedicate to make it better. Hey. Or at least as good. We talk about the food, not the hugs. How many of us would forgo the pie for the hug? I would. Hey, day after Thanksgivng, all those delicious pies go on sale. The hug is now.

Oh. Simplify. Always, simplify.

It helps the love show up better.

I so appreciate those with an abundance of love and food.  Many give to others.  I envy the tables of those tv chefs who are cooking next week. Yum!

But  Thanksgiving comes in many forms and stratas. 

For dinner, at Thanksgiving, a can of Spaghettios, Beef Wellington, and  plain turkey and dressing are all to be thanked for.

They all feed bellies. They all help us, with that belly, to anticipate the future with expectation.
























Monday, November 18, 2013

The Saddest Place to be--Dallas, Texas, November 23, 1963

I'm sorry, but the media is wrong.

Not everyone took Kennedy's assassination seriously. When I came home to New Mexico for Thanksgiving, I was shocked to find friends who laughed about keggers Sunday night and sleeping in the day of the funeral. They were miles from the epicenter. I suspect their numbers were legion.

I was a student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The story I want to tell has evolved over the last 50 years, and questions still exist.

I had a poly sci class at 11, and classmates offered me a chance to go downtown to see the President. I refused. Two years before, my senior year in high school I stayed awake till 4 a.m. to find out Kennedy had won. I was grief-stricken. My Modern European History teacher looked as bad as I did, and he had stayed up as late. He was elated.

I had a noon business math class. When I left class, something was going on. Something bad. People were sitting in their cars and listening to their radios. I heard one boy tell another,"That means Lyndon Johnson could be president."

And I began to run.

I burst into my sorority house to find the cook and I the only ones in the television room. I heard Walter Cronkite say the President was dead. I remember we backed away from the television. We both had our arms extended to ward off this truth.

I was so young I still believed in civilization. The last assassination wasWilliam McKinley Sept. 5, 1901. I honestly thought civilization had grown up beyond  killing a President.

The school held a candlelight vigil. Of course it did. What else do schools do? I went.

I heard they caught Oswald. As a journalism major, I thought to order a paper. The Dallas Morning News was sold out. I have my Dallas Herald, which has been defunct for years. And yeah, I'm wondering if it is worth anything.

I went to church on Sunday, First Methodist in downtown Dallas. After the sermon, a man brought a message to the pastor. He froze, then told us carefully that Jack Ruby had killed Oswald. We prayed. I didn't listen much. I was absorbing a crazy reality.

That afternoon, three of us drove downtown with thousands to circle Dealy plaza. In the car, away from supervision, we laughed and joked with each other. No, not about the President. But we laughed. I realized a few days later I had heard no laughter at all for three days.

Dallas took it hard.. We young people took it hard. We felt smirched.

In 1965, I spent 10 weeks in Europe. When people learned I was from Texas, they always asked about Kennedy, and Dallas. I remember an African student who was shocked I would speak to him. He was used to apartheid. We spent an interesting afternoon drinking tea and talking. I hope he felt better about Americans afterwards.

Let's see. It was the Birch Society, an ultra-conservative group with a base in Dallas. We speculated about assassination beforehand.  Not too seriously. But we speculated. Was it after Kennedy's death that politicians and Popes quit traveling in open cars where they were fish in a barrel? I think so.

I love pageantry and history. I was glued to the television on Monday.

I later went to work for the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

The Kennedys spent Thursday evening and night in Fort Worth, only 30 miles from Dallas. A couple of years ago, a friend and I ran into a docent at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. We knew each other's names. He and Mrs. Carter picked art especially for the President's suite with Mrs. Kennedy, knowing of her great love of great art. He toured us all over the museum to show us those paintings then.

A PBS show featuring them recently was shown on television, and they were wonderful paintings.

In my years as a reporter, I also met one of the surgeons who served the President in his dying moments.

This morning, a newsman I know published a picture I knew well. You see, when Oswald was buried, no one would carry his coffin to the grave..Reporters I knew for years picked up the casket and carried it. It opened a door for occasional news stories through the years. Oswald's mother was grateful. And, well, the casket needed to be taken to the burial spot. They were kind of neutral. No one would scoff at them unnecessarily. Not even the funeral home provided staff for this.

I have watched some of the hoopla and interviews, but not many.

I don't intend to listen to the showpiece Friday.  I still hope to visit the Sixth Floor Book Depository Museum, and I would like to before I die.

Assassinations are big. Kennedy was adored by so many. This assassination, to me, is a demarcation.  Before. Kennedy was called the Camelot Administration. And then there was After.

Please get it. I was not a fan. But---MURDER.

When the towers were destroyed in 2001, I was shocked, hurt, sorry that enemies had hurt us again, horrified by the number of victims. But when Kennedy died---

The world has never been the same again.




Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tasting the Fruits of the Earth

I just listened to a food journalist prattle about quince paste, and she lives in New York. She talked about buying pineapple quinces for a tasty paste, then learning about quinces from a Japanese shrub of some kind. I don't know about either of those.
I know about the quince tree in my grandmother's orchard in New Mexico. It was a pale fruit, and like a peach, needed peeling, because it was fuzzy.
It was fairly pale, almost white, and was used with peaches for exquisite preserves when my grandmother preserved peaches. It created a tart-sweet preserve. It was unlike any others. People knew of it and ate it in the early 1900s/

I suspect we are going back again to more than the quince.

Our ancestors ate more widely than most of us do, because they had the water and the space to grow more fruits and vegetables.

I have read today about the "Paleo diet" and don't think much of it. That is too far back. Whatever type of hominids then didn't live long.
Unless you are going to be harvesting (swinging the scythe) all day long or cutting trees, or digging canals, you don't need the amount of meat most restaurants offer, nor the carbs, etc. Actually, the diabetic diet, so-called. suits most of us: meat the size of your palm, carbs: half that size, and green-yellow veggies plus salad the size of the whole hand.

I never ate pasta growing up and don't know how to balance it against other foods. People who eat pasta regularly don't eat corn tortillas, and vice versa.
I eat tortillas.

My late mother-in-law loved persimmons, which had to be ripe and frozen in the first frost or in the freezer. She would be diving into one today.

I grew up eating pomegranate seeds, but it never occurred to me to squeeze all the juice out. Not a bad idea and still a tradition.

On the other hand, I never ate mangos or papayas until I was grown.

We are clinging to our local plants, and reaching for our exotic or forgot foods.

Seems like a tasty food basket to me.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I work in a soup kitchen once a week for five hours. I work on Friday and handle the snack packs homeless persons get to nurture them through the weekend when we are closed.

Some get food stamps. The popular sneer when I was growing up was the man or woman in a Cadillac driving up for their benefits. Now it is the folks on drugs. Both happen. Often it doesn't.

I can't change your mind. I am simply telling you what I see.

Compassion works. It should be a part of your life or you will be singing, "Me-me-me-me-me."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Exotic Food Products Vie with Organic Home Grown

OK.

You have a membership at Sam's Club.

I don't. A household of one doesn't need Sam's.

Apparently, a lot of weird fruits are forthcoming from there.

Ziwi berries, that, sliced, look like miniature kiwis, don't have the fuzzy coat and are miniature. They taste like ziwis.  Kids love them.

Grapples. these are ordinary apples somehow infused with grape flavor. I think also at Sam's.

A crunchy banana that has apple characteristics. I think I have heard of this and it comes from Brazil.

Thing is, lots of weird fruits are showing up in my granddaughters' lunches  that I know nothing about. My middle-schooler mentioned more, but I was overburdened.

My granddaughters eat a lot of US-produced fruit.  I am glad.

It is so strange, the drive for local and home-grown produce, and the drive for the exotic and where-the-hell fruits from exotic locations.

I used to worry most about the pesticides on foreign-grown produce. I  never used to worry about genetically altered food. I see more and more getting sick.

My pastor just unleashed a video on hog slaughter that may put me permanently off bacon and ham.

I get the point. Profit.

Let the consumer beware.  How archaic. And true.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

An ancient word still serves our praise

If I had not met and married a  native Texan whose mother grew up in Itasca, Texas, I would never have learned the term, "larruping."

I had never heard it before. Many still haven't, but the  word is still in use.

It's a colloquial expression, but I found much about it on the internet, God bless it.

If something is larruping, or more likely, pronounced :larrupin', it is damn good.

In fact, according to the internet, it is excessively good.

That fits. The best food I ever ate was larrupin'. I kid you not. The word transcends class. For example, the Grand Marnier soufflĂ© I once ate was genuinely larrupin'. Forty years later, I think of it and kind of shiver. The pomegranate cheese cake a friend made for a Christmas party two years ago was larrupin'. Another friend's delicious, gooey chocolate brownies with walnuts were, on the other hand, delicious. They didn't reach  larrupin'. I once had some alligator tail with lemon that was larrupin'. I had some green beans with Swiss cheese at a holiday meal that was so good, I skipped dessert and went back for more green beans. That was larrupin'.

It's an old-fashioned word.  I never heard it till I reached Texas. I would say, thinking about it, that it is a country person's way of saying exquisitely delicious.

I thought about the term today when my oldest son sent his daughter over with a still warm helping of beef roast, potato and carrots, in a rich sauce of commercial mushroom soup, vermouth, fresh garlic and bay leaves. I  wasn't too hungry, having eaten a light meal for supper. But the beef was tender, the carrots sweet--it was larrupin'.

Another component exists. Larrupin' means it not only tastes good in a bite, but in the many bites after that the hunger rises from the wonderful taste. Larrupin' means that after you have tasted and fed, you tummy is very happy. Very. Not necessarily overfull, but happy.

We all know what that is like.

My dogs are not gourmets.  They enjoy their Purina dog chow with either broth or 2% fat milk. They enjoy it. Every so often, I have leftover beef or chicken stew, and I give them a dollop with their meal. By dog standards, that is larrupin'. They know how to smile.

And after I give them this treat, they smile all evening long.

Just the way I am doing now after this unexpected gift of roast beef, carrots and potato in such a wonderful gravy. Yum!

And that is the true meaning of larrupin'.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Imagining a Haunted Elevator Ride for Halloween

Some folks today were putting old horror music soundtracks online, and I clicked on  the theme from "The Exorcist."  I thought, idly, that it sounded kind of like scary elevator music .

And I wondered, "Has anyone ever created a haunted elevator?"

You would have to be able to turn off the lights. One of those really fast elevators in a really tall building would be good.  Someone on the roof of the elevator dropping down stuff is too clumsy, but you could create some neat effects like cobwebs rubbing across the face. I bet you could do some really scary effects. Of course, once you reach the top, it immediately starts back down again.

All in the dark. With spooky music.

I don't think you would want too many inside at a time. One would be best.

Eh, someone probably has already figured this out. Or some crazy college kids soon will.  It would be a fun alternative, I think, to the haunted houses that abound. A genuine locked room, with pretty much total darkness.

I still remember being in Carlsbad Caverns on a tour as a kid when the ranger (they had people lead the tours then) had us all pull up a rock to sit on and turned out the lights. He left them off long enough for us to realize we had NO light to adjust to. I wasn't touching my parents, and it was a disorienting sensation.

Perfect for Halloween.

If some reads this and knows of a place where a haunted elevator event has occurred, I would like to know how it went.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Contraction of Freedom

It won't be a lot, statistically, but some women won't be able to vote in Texas this year.

We have a new photo ID law.

I recently voted early. Before I went in, I looked for my voter ID and realized when I neatened my purse recently, I apparently threw it away with the old one.

It didn't matter. This year you don't need a voter id to vote. Only a driver's license, or three other options.

Thing is, my voter's id card and driver's license card don't match exactly. One includes my maiden name, the other doesn't. I had to sign an affidavit to vote, even with the picture matching my appearance. Women will have more problems since we are the ones who change names. We have women who have been voting legally for years with one last name on their driver's license and their new married name on the voter ID, or vice versa. Older people no longer driving with no voter ID can't vote at all.

I guess I'll wait and see how many didn't get to vote. Probably less than 10 percent.

But by gum, illegal immigrants didn't get to vote.

Oh, unless they already have a Texas driver's license and voter registration that agrees.

Sorry. Don't often go into politics, but this irritates me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Basking in the autumn sun at marching band competition

I know a number of retirees who take life easy, shop, garden, take in a show or a party, and have a lot of time to relax.

I should say I know of such persons.

If we were formerly busy as professionals, with any outside activities, most of us are busy now.

Most of us, in fact, have to rein in our commitments to enjoy the occasional late morning snooze-in.

I'm not that busy, overall. But I had to beg off a luncheon Wednesday for a real treat.

My granddaughter's band was in regional UIL competition in a stadium just minutes away, on a beautiful fall day with full sun, temps in the 70s.
It was chilly enough I left the house wearing a sweatshirt. All would have been well if I had worn a t-shirt underneath, but I didn't, and I got very warm by the time I left. I watched four bands, including my granddaughter's, which I believed excelled musically in particular. The judges agreed, awarding the highest grade, a 1, which advances them in competition.

Some of the stepwork, the dramatic moves, were evident in several performances. Quite effective. The flag girls are so different from baton twirlers 50 years ago. The past had limited imagination.

I love pageantry, and marching bands are nothing but. Next year I will surely go again. My neighbor wants to go, as does a friend. The event costs nothing. Quite a few parents and other family members attended.

I can't remember when I just attended the show, basked in the day and just enjoyed the happy with no other goal.

I would say such times are good for the soul. The verbal rhythm is so much better than saying it aids my emotional balance.

I just smiled at everyone the rest of the day. Apparently enthusiastically, because everyone smiled back.

I have a number of friends who are startled that I go to high school concerts and other events involving my granddaughters. I am astonished at them in my turn. In the community I live in, two or three generations regularly turn up for the same events I attend. It is one of the things I like best about my home. In the breaks, I have people my own age to talk to and visit with some of the parents.

I am a bit startled. I never knew I would like this so much. Friends say the same, heading in different directions.

I have friends I never knew even sewed who have taken up quilting.

I have probably 20 women friends who are following the World Series avidly.

Others have dived into gardening. Apparently, things they always loved, like me, but didn't have time to bask in before.

Browning may have been right.
"Come along, grow old with me,
for the best is yet to be...."

We ache. Hurt. Accustom. Go on. And find the thrills.

You'll have to get here to believe it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stark truth.

For many of us, this is life.

For an increasing number of us, this is life. For returning soldiers, this is life.

Life is good, and peaceful.

Then it is not, and painful.

I have written about my life. Sometimes, the dogs are laughing, and keeping me warm.

Sometimes the star teenage athlete in town takes drugs ane eoes inexcrable things.

We all, all, live this life. We just don't want to admit it.
.

Dogs are Perpetual Smart Toddlers

We had some weather last night. Apparently we also had some wind. I let the dogs out back, then walked out front to pick up my newspaper. And there were my dogs. It's cold this morning--37--and I haven't gone around yet to check the gates.

Gracie is one, when let loose, will run amok and not come back. Brody, my irrepressible male, will ALWAYS come when I call. And if he comes, so does Gracie. She might miss something. Whew! both dogs came in with me willingly. After all, it was cold.

When they are unleashed in the front yard, I am fearful. I have not trained well, but I love them. I don't want them to die. But no one was out on a weekend morning walking their dogs. No one was driving by.

Gracie continues to think the world is good and everyone needs a good lean against. Brody continues to bark at every moving thing and loves my chair where he can survey the street and bark. I find it strange that when he is I the back yard, on the deck, he can hear better, and does not bark. Gracie barks when she chases squirrels, birds, and butterflies. Inside, she sometimes chases houseflies, which I appreciate and can track by the thuds on the floor.  When she runs, she is beauty in motion. She can balance better on her hind legs then any dog I have ever seen, looking for food on perimeters of tables.

Alas, alas. I don't make that mistake often. Once, I did. And she is ever hopeful.

When she leaps in the air to try to snap a fly, it isn't pretty. When she and Brody race around the back yard, I laugh at the joy of it. They are beautiful, sometimes leaping over one another, laughing all the way as they run.

My grandcats live next door, and are fun.  They often come to visit and leave cat paw tracks the length of my car. Occasionally, they go to the back yard to tease the dogs when I let them out. The cats are very confident they are faster. They are.

The dogs and I have an agreement. At night, when it is dark, they are not allowed on the bed. Once it is turning light, they are allowed up. It's supposed to be 30 minutes, but it often is an hour of the best sleep I get.

Years ago, there was a band called Three Dog Night. I interviewed them once, and the leader explained that in Australia, a three-dog night meant cold weather. In other words, they were VERY cool.

I will never have more than a two-dog night, but Brody likes my feet, Gracie likes my back.  I sleep so well that time before the sun wakes us all up.

Gotta check the gates. Time to let them out again.

Friday, October 18, 2013

When Drugs Seem to Take Over

You see the stories all the time in the Metroplex, Dallas-Fort Worth. About 7 million folks living here.

But we are on the fringe. We operate small. A lot of grandparents live here with parents and kids. As do I.

It goes well, most of the time. Sometimes it doesn't.

Our small town just started football a few years ago. Last year, first year of UIL competition, we almost made the state finals.

That's how good our quarterback was.

This was to be his senior year, crown on his full ride to a university.

In August, he was arrested on drug charges.

The coach kicked him off the team. the sophomore replacement hasn't led to many victories. It was righteous.

This boy, who has gone through all the schools here, whose mother is a teacher here, didn't start his senior year here. I don't know what the family did. Already I weep for this family.

He and his girlfriend broke up. Apparently she is the daughter of a school board member.

He is accused now of buglarising his girl friend's home and setting it on fire.

He is in jail at last word.

If that were my son, I don't know what I would do.

I don't know what will happen.

This boy hasn't destroyed his life yet, but he could. At 18 years of age. He will never have the bright lights and maybe the Pro Sports he hoped for. If he turns around, he can have A Life.
But he has to turn around. I don't know if he can. His parents hope, but they can't know.

Drugs are ugly. They destroy. For some reason, this boy tried them. He chose through drugs to destroy his life.

When you hear it in the news, it hurts. When it is in your community, it hurts all of us.

He made the choice. He used the drugs. And he and the rest of us have to live with the consequences. Some of them are very painful.

You know? I haven't said a word about the victims in this same community. The fire burned most of their belongings. Their poor dog, thinking the burglar was a friend, was doused in fuel and set on  fire as well.

This is horrible. And I hope you, your neighborhood, your community, never have to experience it.

Because it hurts. . Really, really bad.



Friday, October 11, 2013

Remembering a date I hope my granddaughters never have

Yesterday, I had lunch with two college roommates. We try to make it once a year, although we live in three different cities in the Fort Worth-Dallas Metroplex. We met our freshman year. They met the men they would later marry the same year and are still happily married to them. We discussed art, museums, books, families, grandchildren, and delicately, politics. At a really, really good restaurant. I think this makes 52 years of friendship. How cool is that?

Today, as I drove home, I saw the flash flood of Oklahoma fans flooding I35 on their way to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl and the UT-OU football game. The flood of cars reminds me of flash floods at home when we would drive up safely close to watch the flood waters and boulders wash by. Sometimes at this time,I pull up at a parking lot along the service road and watch the cars flood past. This year, ignited by yesterday, I remembered another event.

Two of us did not have parents past our teens. The third commented it made us strong. I think we were strong from birth and this made us stronger. I think all three of us are strong,smart, empathic women. But hey, that's my opinion.

And it triggered a memory of my freshman year. I had pledged a sorority. Both my parents still living then, both wanted it. So. I did. I was shy, didn't know how to flirt, and I had never been away from home before, hence no blind dates. The sorority social director got me a date with a slightly older fraternity guy who was about 5 foot six inches. I was marginally taller, and figured high heels wouldn't work. I needed some dressy flats. These were at a shopping center I was told about a mile away. And I knew nothing about the bus systems. I walked, and it was three miles. Then I walked back, reaching my dorm in time to dress, but no dinner. I was hot and sweaty and had a half-hour to dress.

We went to a huge fraternity party. I danced. He danced. Sometimes we danced together. Thank God there were snacks. I had a couple of drinks (18, no experience at all, illegal) but decided I preferred colas. He, however, got plastered. I had never been around a drunk person before so I had no idea how drunk he was. He seemed okay. We had another couple in the back seat and he started back on the freeway. I suddenly realized he was veering straight towards a car going the other direction. I screamed magnificently, grabbed his wheel manually and jerked us suddenly and violently back into our lane. He was angry, but slowed. drove sedately, and actually walked me to the door of my dorm. There certainly was no kiss.

He looked at me. "I have never heard anyone scream that loud in my life," he said.

I nodded. Heard that before, in other situations related to football stadiums and enthusiastic cheering.

We never spoke again. The social chairman of my sorority never tried to get me another date.

I was relieved, happy, and glad to be alive.

I still think I was right to grab that wheel. He probably still thinks I was an hysteric.

And we are both alive to think it.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Do you ever have a moment when you wonde whether you were getting the message or giving it?

After 1 pm, (grumble) I

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hospital is needed, But--the clock isn't ticking

In the last few months I have lost several very good friends. They couldn't help it. They died.

I am still visiting on Tuesdays with the very loved friend and husband of another very good friend. This gives her some hours to do other things. He is on hospice, but so vibrant and interested and involved in the life that he is teaching me. He will die soon.

But my younger son was in the hospital because he had pancreatitis which led to removal of his gall bladder. Now he's home. He goes back to work Tuesday.

It's so normal. I haven't had that in a long time.

Normal can be such a wonderful word.

The older we get, the less often we see it.
But the word is mine for now.

Normal.

Wonderful.



Friday, September 13, 2013

September--and the living is sweaty

Coming from a state with mountains--New Mexico-- it was hard for me to learn about fall in Texas.

Y'see, we do have one. It comes in November.

Once in a while, we have color. If the pecans have enough water, they turn yellow, not brown. That's not too often. Sweet gums, bless their hearts, turn almost every color, A small grove will range from yellow and red to bronze and purple--all on he same tree.

Sumac, and we don't have a lot, turns red, like accent points in a rich man's landscape. Overriding colors are wheat, straw, gold. Elegant, really. Understated.

If we are lucky, we have rain and the pecans are plentiful. If we are unlucky, we have rain and the ragweed is stratospheric in pollen.

This year, we all would give anything for the rain. Drought is omnipresent. Boat docks are closing. Worse, water restrictions are increasing as we struggle to maintain some flowers, water to drink, water to bathe in and wash our clothes.

The end of August brought on a plethora of three-digit days.

My granddaughter is horrified to be wearing her band uniform tonight instead of the uniform shirt and shorts of the last two games. Temps tonight will be only in the upper 80s. They will be miserable, but no one should faint from heat stroke.

My September bill for air-conditioning could beat August.

But triple digits may abate now, most of the time. Highs in the 90s, lows in the upper 70s.

We have a Texas constitutional amendment on the November ballet to invest two billion dollars into ccreating more water reserves. The amount is paltry, but a start.

Our dead--I mean, lame--duck governor keeps running ads in Maryland, California and other places inviting bidness to Texas, where social care means we don't roust the homeless under the bridges too much, and the taxes are light. But you can't water much.

The green grass lasted unnaturally through much of July, but now, the ground is sere.

We are beginning to learn about buried soaker hoses, hand-watering, less water-demanding plants. I would hate to see the spring azaleas go away, but I would hate more showering with recycled water.

Yes, it is September in Texas. Sometimes, you can smell the honeysuckle in the air. The dry, brown grass remains from summer. Some rain will green things up. Lower cattle prices for your steaks.

It is still too hot to eat outside, mostly.  A pity. I love cool evenings with barbecue.

Tomorrow, Sept. 14, only a high of 93 or more.

Fall is coming.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Truth? Truth? Who Among You Will Say What It Is?

Who we trust and who we don't is paramount.

If you trust Biker News, and I trust Snopes, we have a problem. Especially when I think my sources are better.

No, two million bikers are not thundering down on DC. Even 2,000? Don't think that many.

Muslims, much less one million, did not get permission to march in the streets. An ecumenical park gathering is arranged. No idea how many.

The President doesn't orchestrate who marches through Washington, DC. The National Park Service does. For reasons why they refused the bikers, check records. I am not going to replicate.

I think a huge number of civics classes for persons 60 and under are warranted. How the uh, heck, do we expect to hold on to freedom when we don't even know how  our country works?

And I have no idea how a traffic jam of motorcycles impeding citizens about their business says anything about God Bless America.
By the way, I don't want to have a military imperative on Syria. It sounds familiar. But worse than Iraq. And that's why we don't want to do it.

We are so mixed up. We are so angry, looking for targets. Not to shoot up, just to yell at.

I keep looking for peace, and friends. Hope you can do also.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Huh. This year is Sept. 11. It Isn't 9-11.

I have had a luncheon scheduled with former college classmates this Wednesday, which is Sept. 11. Didn't raise any awareness whatever. Huh.

When I realized today, I thought it might be because it didn't happen here. Kennedy was assassinated here. I took a guess. Nov. 23? No, Nov. 22. I remember everything about that day, just as I do Sept. 11. I am glad the date is fading in my memory and only the events remain. Dec. 7 is a National Day, so we cannot ever forget it. That is okay. I wasn't even born yet. It was the first time our country has been attacked.

I will never forget the day, and when you call it 911, I will never forget the date. But Sept. 11 has become benign again for me. Probably never in New York. Kennedy's death reasonated with me for years after the date faded for the rest of you. I was living in Dallas at the time.

Contrary to history classes--which, with a few great teachers, interested me in our past--I don't think the exact dates are that important.

I think it is more what we learned from the events of the day.


After the towers fell, our personal family became more careful of one another, more in touch. I don't think that has changed. It is a good change.I care, I remember. And I have let go of the terrible fear. And that is why, when I was invited to lunch Wednesday, I never thought a thing of it. I have cancelled, for a training on mentoring school kids behind in reading. Now isn't that a great reason?We will never forget the loss, the attack, our pain. But we can go beyond our sorrow to build new lives, new memories, build a stronger community.

I think that's a win.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Do You Know What You Are Doing?

I have been offline for 10 days due to a failed attempt to change providers for my electronics. This, and the experiences of a friend buying a car, make me wonder seriously about American business.

We have these companies. We have this technology. We have fellow citizens who, so far as I can see, have good work ethics and work pretty hard to work with the customers. Two things are wrong: a lot of them are not taught the technology they are working with. It gets worse when the company subcontracts, because then they also don't know company procedures either.

The companies are poorly run, terribly disorganized. They have a goal for the customer's satisfaction and none of them are coordinating with the other departments. They count on their "deal" to be so attractive, the customer will hang in there to get it. They lose a lot of profit that way. Especially when they can't deliver.

Actually, I wasn't really offline because of technology. Since I didn't want my old phone number, I told Century Link I was changing two days before the date I wanted a disconnect. They turned me off immediately, which I don't understand. They lost two more paying days. They DID put me on "vacation" status where I could reconnect within 30 days without paying a reconnect fee.

I was changing from Century Link, which carries Dish satellite, to Sudden Link, a cable company. Proof of this move included a nice payment incentive for two years. It also included better and cheaper phone service, three times faster computer, and an array of tv stations I have refused to pay top dollar for. Sweet. On Aug. 29, a subcontracted tech came at 2:30 p.m. when I had requested the 8 am to 12 noon window and told me my cable would have to be trenched from the telephone pole on the other side of my neighbor's yard.

My neighbor, an amiable guy, had already switched and he signed a letter granting access.

I was told the trenching crew would be out Friday. They weren't. It would be Saturday or Monday--yep, on a holiday weekend--for sure. They didn't come. On Monday, I called in and was assured of a crew on Tuesday, with installation on Wednesday. They didn't come.

The installation tech, actually from Sudden Link, showed up on Wednesday morning. He said he couldn't do it because the telephone pole was too far from the house. (There's more, and I actually understood it, but I will leave it at that.) He couldn't have done it anyway, because the cable still hadn't been buried, thank God.

I reconnected with Century Link. Some of the computer is back--and I was able to make it some faster. This is good. Okay, they cost more for what I get, which was why I tried to move. But they actually know what they are doing and deliver.

One thing more. At 3:30 yesterday afternoon, the crew showed up to bury my cable. Sudden Link hadn't cancelled the work order. The head guy was relieved.

"This is too far," he said, "but my boss said to go ahead because it was contracted."

If hadn't come home when I did, much disruption in 100-degree heat would have occurred.

My neighbor is happy with his Sudden Link, although he said they had to come out three times to get him started. The friend who referred me is happy, although hers took all day to install and they brought the wrong equipment at first.

The second example of tech incompetency is a friend who bought a car and needed the Blue Tooth, GPS and recorder synchronized. They couldn't fix it, even though they sold her the car guaranteeing the equipment. Turns out, they just weren't trained well enough. After a week--she can be quite insistent--they brought in a tech guy and actually paid the outside tech to fix it. It's working okay so far, she says. She isn't recommending the dealership. Either they lied, or their staff is incompetent.

She was trying to get to work and get things done without her car for more than a week. I was on hold for 10 days. In my case, I am retired, but I felt unable to go virtually anywhere while I waited for service that didn't come, came late, or even the next day or so.

I think the owners, bosses, whoever at the top are so anxious, substitute greedy, that they too often promise more than they can deliver. If we have a tech shortage, then we ought to have new markets opening for more jobs. If these bosses simply don't know how to run a business, that needs to be addressed, too.

It makes me leery of my next purchase that requires any skill or technology. My confidence in the American marketplace is a little lower than it was. Does dependability relate to the average consumer any more?

I hope so. These two experiences, however, are not encouraging.






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A little dangerous virus music

We have measles in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so far 14 cases in Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth. Eight cases from a church where a missionary returned infected. The preacher has urged her congregation to get shots, but to pray about it if they have concerns. They have cleaned the church, but it is a virus.

Back in the 1970s, we still had epidemics of measles, and I was a medical writer. I also had never had....the terms have changed, and I need to explain.

The thing is, I have been researching. And apparently, treatment and results are the same.

I called a reporter about this. I wanted to know what kind of measles.

"What?" he said, "It's measles."

Okay.

So I googled a couple of hours.

You see, we used to categorize three viruses as measles: roseola, rubeola, rubella.

I can't find a vaccine for roseola, which is fine. It's a mild, 3-day rash. Rubella used to be mistaken for it, because it doesn't last long, but it is vicious.

Rubeola and rubella cause more damage. My reading showed there's not much more to be done with them now than 40 years ago. But hey, both viruses were 99@ extinct.

Both can harm patients with it. Sometimes encephalitis. We don't believe in darkened rooms these days, but for measles, it's recommended. Oh. One site recommended not giving aspirin for the high fever. We knew that 40 years ago. Did you? Aspirin to children with a virus can trigger Reye Syndrome. You don't want that.


So measles is what rubeola used to be, lasting about 10 days. If women are pregnant when they get it, it can cause miscarriage, early births and stillbirths. But rubella is a whole other thing. It doesn't kill the fetus often. It can and usually does leave the child with mental deficiencies, birth defects, deafness, impaired vision if the mother has it in the first 4 months of pregnancy.

I would suspect most of those over 60? remember this. Today, that's a lot of people. Most of the doctors practicing today don't know these details, because they haven't needed to know. I checked treatment and found no cures, the same treatments we had in the 60's.

When I was in my first trimester with my firstborn, we had a rubella epidemic. A test had proved I was not immune. I was a news reporter, yet I found myself shrinking away, not going out, no movie theaters or restaurants. I finally caught the virus when my first son was several years old. I was in my 30s and miserable. Overall, I was so damn happy.

Maybe 15 years ago, I was dealing with a family where the father had once done meth rampantly, they were so very poor, and they had kids with bad immune systems. So as the CPS caseworker, I was there. One day I showed up and one of the girls was sick. Fever. Strawberry tongue. Faint rash on her wrists. The family was in the middle of nowhere and had to call family members for transport.(unless kids are in life threatening situations, I could not legally transport.) I recommended an ER visit, and they did go ASAP. I got back the next week and the mother laughed. Their daughter had been show and tell for the staff, who had never seen scarlet fever. But I had had it, recognized it, and referred them to treatment. Thank God we had the rapport that when I recommended a doctor, they went. I certainly wasn't qualified to diagnose.

A lot of the young docs aren't learning how to read patients. They go with the machines. The old diseases, like weeds, will crop up occasionally. Hope they know what to do with them.

I am not impressed with the measles information, either on the news or on computer treatment sites. I found some stuff on rubella, but rubeolla is a conundrum, So little information.

For younger readers, rubeolla is measles. The vaccination also includes rubella (also measles) and mumps. Rubella can disfigure and maim your fetus in the first four months of pregnancy. Sometimes rubeola just kills it. We used to be scared of this stuff.

A vaccination includes measles, rubella and mumps.

Like a bear in the camp grounds, we no longer have the fear to beware.

In any case, you have nothing to worry about, because you had your vaccination, right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Integrating books and technolog

Fifteen or twenty years ago, when teens I loved graduated, including mine, I gave them a Webster's Dictionary and a Thesaurus. They would need it in college. Today, not many vestiges of those books remain.

Probably should be. When I started in journalism in 1965, I noted the really aging music critic knew many four and five-syllable words I did not know, and I was intimidated, having formerly been proud of my vocabulary. You can say those words are archaic. Many are. But when our forbears used them, it gave an exactitude to nuance, opinion, and degree of importance not many words do today. A parsity that was very fine about exact meaning. Is it pictures? Do they, and videos, actually show us what we feel without the words to define it?

I will always like egregious more than "it sucks".

We are dumbing down language. It isn't innocuous, this dumbing down, loss of grammar and ability to parse. This year I was stunned when fifth graders--smart ones--asked me what it meant when the Bible said Jesus wept. (Guess that won't be one of their profanities.) I don't know if they knew the verb to weep. They certainly didn't know the past tense,"wept."

I explained it meant he was crying. One boy said in exasperation, "Then why doesn't it say Jesus cried?"

Because there is a nuance to weeping that is not in crying. And I don't know if they will learn it. It scares me if they are not learning this.

About 30 years ago, I interviewed an amazing, cutting edge theoretical mathematician loaned from MIT to the University of North Texas for a semester. He was intense about language, vocabulary and multiple languages.

He said the further a mathematician could go in more exacting words and other spoken languages, the further he or she could go in theoretical science because his imagination would be expanded. To think beyond, he said, even mathematicians need the vocabulary to think abstractly.

I am upset when novelists say he "laid down to sleep" but I blame the editors more. In fact, sometimes, I suspect some are young editors who change right to wrong.

My computer remains a part of my life as I read, and as archaic as I sometimes seem to be, synchronicity occurs.

Finishing Barbara Delinski's "Sweet Salt Air" a couple of days ago, I looked up "sarconyot", a cream sauce I had never heard of and now long to try. Her characters ate it with wild organic strawberries. And having eaten those, I remember the taste. It isn't one you forget. So I have taste memory as well.

I am starting a book by Catherine Coulson where a character said her opera-singing grandmother used to rub her hands at bedtime and sing Madam Butterfly's "Un Bel Di".
I don't know if it would have put me to sleep, but if it were my grandmother ('were' still exists in some lexicons), if she sang it often and rubbed my hands, I might well sleep indeed. And I listened to Maria Callas singing this before I have continued.

When I read of places I haven't been, before I continue, I am apt to Google and make a visual tourist journey before I complete the chapter. But only I know where I have been and what I want to see. I do NOT want commercials now intersperced in my reading by um idiots, not the word I want.

God knows, I don't want some techie saying that interfacing must be mandatory. A lot of people have read both books without needing to look this up. This way is pleasant. Freedom exists.

Writers bring different senses into what they write, but with memory, and the internet, the reader now has a whole new spectrum of response.
When my son and his friends graduated high school, I tended to give a matched Websters Dictionary and

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It is hard to close doors.
Today I am doing so.
The friend of a friend who just died sent a beguiling text of dog poems. Charming.
But I remember when she wasn't so charming over my good friend's death.
I called a friend who knew none of us but me.
And I trust her.
She said she saw no good coming to me, but harm could happen.
Why do we call people and work through problems if we aren't going to follow through?

Never mind. I'm following through. that means I do nothing, the hardest thing of all. I might have been able to do this on my own, but I am so thankful for her friendship. I don't have siblings. She does. She doesn't have children, and I do. The love balance evens out.

We are thankful for each other.

Doing nothing is so hard to do, but it is the right thing, plus focusing on the positive.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Vacation Ruminations

I am on hiatus.

Has anyone ever said that without a cough, chuckle?

I am, with the chuckle. The thing is, I could be making more of my life than I am. I know it.

Right now I prefer to read a few old books, slowly clean my house, and in afternoons, when I know it is more than 100 degrees outside, sprawl and read in the cool of my home as if the heat were attacking me.

I have a couple of unfilled quilts for the bed and have recently learned if I don't add a top sheet, I sleep much better through the night with just one of them. The dogs and I have rules. They can't jump up on the bed till it is daylight. Brody usually sleeps near my left knee, and I find that comforting. Gracie usually doesn't jump up until minutes before we go outside.

They do know the word. "Outside". They thunder to the back door, waiting to be let out.

Sometimes, after they come back in, I sleep another hour, and both dogs sleep on the bed. Gracie usually eases off early. Too warm.

Today, I actually awoke before 8 am, fetched the paper to an encouraging breeze, and started a load of wash, watered the tomatoes, picked up living room, played with the dogs. Still haven't swept up all their hair or set a hair care appointment. I will. It has to be easier than all this hair. For them, too.


Yes, I have a new project. It is not life-threatening so far.

You know, before I had children I actually had a little counseling, because I don't particularly "nest", even now. Wish I could. Because I couldn't do that well, the counselor advised me to postpone children. I did for a while. Thought about it. Married. Had two sons. Made a lot of mistakes. They are all good human beings. Frankly, I don't think any of the mistakes dealt with nesting, particularly.

So, I ask the counselor in retrospect, where did I go wrong? Or did I? Please don't ask anyone with design sense. Chris is related and an artist. She just smiles. And lets me into her family anyway.

Actually, I have a few more life situations with others to help with-- that's what I do, I guess.

These are pretty easy.

There was a time when I noticed mostly my stuff in life. These days, I marvel at my fortune, my health, my family, because I look at so many others.

No, we aren't lightning proof. Never. But a fair number among us know our lives are good for now and we are are really, looking-at-it glad. I give thanks to God, Others simply are thankful. And if lightning hits, we have this base to start from.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Do you REALLY believe everyone lied, and cheated, and adulterated, and stole from the poor? Do you really believe that?

If so, how do you live?

Some did. Some of these were friends with the citizens. It was a frontier.
Not back on the East Coast.

I've read about that, but I don't relate.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Deja View All Over Again, with MORE This Time

I see a lot of continuity in many of the friends I know who have full, successful lives with friends, interests, passions, and hopefully some family. And that is an outside view.

My dogs, so attuned to us humans, seek and demand affection. They can demand because I don't make them beg. If I have been gone for hours, they seek me out. And until Brody gets his chin rub, Gracie her belly, until I play with them a little, they won't go away. I think they make me a better person. I think something living must be involved with us. Whether it is rocking NICU babies or nurturing a corn snake, we need to be aware of nature, caring, love. We do what we can do. And it works.

I wish my life were a river, flowing smoothly from one point to another.

Instead, it is more like a book with long chapters, short chapters, vivid and sedate chapters. The point of a chapter is that it covers a period of intense interest or focus, then comes to an end. The book continues because we have our whole lives to continue. If the book is well-written, the closed chapter blends into the whole and what comes next. But I won't shun someone's chapter that is brilliant in an otherwise mundane life. Adventure spills all over that.

Sometimes, we close chapters that really need it. Sometimes, they close because life intervened. Someone went away, chose an entirely different life, or even died. Sometimes life intervened and we became sick, rich, poor, broken-hearted or in ecstacy. Something major changed.

If we are at all reflective, we sometimes look at all these chapters and what our life--our book of life-- has become.

I find myself repeatedly starting over. Never, really, with the same things as before, but hopefully something I learned in the last chapter I want to focus on in this next period, or chapter.

Sometimes, I am at the beginning again. Sometimes, way up in my understanding and ability.

Recently I have spent some days in a barren landscape, interspersed with days rich and powerful. Both were needed to close this ending chapter.

I feel another one opening, full of expectation and laughter.

Time to start over again.

Boy, am I lucky!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Serendipity Comes Calling

A friend of a friend called Sunday and asked if I would like to take an aimless, back roads trip for the afternoon. I said yes. We know each other a little through a third friend we both trust in her taste of friends.

She picked me up and we headed sort of north, then sort of west, and apparently sort of south. We ended up at Runaway Bay, part of a major lake southwest of here. We got drinks, used the bathroom and went on. Every so often, we would hit little towns I never heard of --I think our favorite was Wizards Wells, and we made up stories.

At one point, we ended up in Montague, county seat of Montague County, but we couldn't find any signs to tell us the name of the county seat, and as close as it is to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I didn't know.

It was a wonderful trip. This year, little rains have kept much of North Texas green when it normally would be sere. I only caught a glimpse of the animal out the window that was rectangular, tawny, sizable, with a mane like a horse and horns. If any of you have clues, please tell me.

We edged quickly into West Texas, with the mesquite, the bluffs and mesas, the rocky cliffs. Then north again, and east.

Saint Jo is a very neat old Texas town. We stopped at the former saloon, now a museum, and hit the antique/crafts store. She had hoped to buy me a slice of pie, but the restaurant was closed for annual vacation. We watched a seven-minute film. I told one of the docents I thought my mother taught there a year, and gave her last name. Her eyes sharpened.

"Were they from Tennessee?" she asked. "I have cousins by that name from Tennessee."

I affirmed my family came from Nashville on my mother's side, and we laughed. We may be related.

We went down the road to Muenster, to Fischer's grocery, which I've heard about for years. Bought some dill pickles and two snack packs of summer sausage slices and cheese. Spicy cheese. Hotter than I expected cheese. Took one package next door to my daughter-in-law. Don't know about her, but I've already finished mine.

I'll go back--I may need directions. When I think about it, we covered large parts of four roomy counties.

I hope we do something like this again, that I wasn't too boring. Because this was an afternoon vacation, best kind.

There are rules.1) Unplanned. 2)Destination undecided but back roads.3) Maybe not on a Sunday next time, because in small Texas towns, all the restaurants we saw were closed. After we got our summer sausage snack at Fischer's, neither of us was hungry. This will change.

Sam--her name is Sam--gave me treasure, maybe when we both needed it. You see, the friend who introduced us isn't here any longer.

I think she would approve the road trip. I'll try to study up a bit for the next one. We both love history. Good bourbon. Long vistas. Riding in a car to nowhere to see what we will see.

We'll see what else we share.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Our children, Our future

This won't be a long one.

We hear all the time about discrete personalities with increased electronics. We hear all the time that teens crave stimulation, electronics, don't have values.

We hear all the time the world is going into a handbasket, whatever that is. Archaic term still used.

Well.

I picked my almost 15-year-old from a day of band practice to spend just enough time to pick up her best friend for a lockin overnight at the church. I never had one of those, but I trust them.

I picked up her best friend, and I drove them. In a day of band camp, my granddaughter had learned a new game. She told her friend, "It's even better than Ducky Wucky."

And I smiled. Because I know Ducky Wucky. Been there when they played it. Innocent, silly, laugh-choking fun.

More Money? Bigger Better? My dad can buy all the booze and blow we want?

I think I am seeing some of the richest kids in the world.

They have parents, a home, food, medical care, good and caring teachers, real friendships, passions for art, music, literature, math and science. Even business. Many of them are self-aware.

Wow. Oh, yeah, a lot of them have some deep religious beliefs. I think that is part of the anchor.

I don't know where they are going, but I do know where they are.

And that is wonderful, in the fullness of that word.

Great Britain has a cinema project started years ago called "Up". They started with 14 seven-year-olds they interviewed. They took children from all classes of life. They have re-interviewed every seven years. The "kids" now are 58. Expectations regarding class and ability have been blown away.

I have seen it in my own life as well.

I don't know where these kids are going. I do know they have had a wonderful innocent time. We don't see, or believe that exists today, but it does.

I worry about the climate, the fights, the world.

But this one lockin kinda stills my soul and warms it.

We have kids. they are the future.

They aren't even half bad.

Friday, July 26, 2013






























This week only two days began with sunshine. Clouds obscured the rest. Today it was rain with clouds. Not lot.

Anyway, I need to mow. Too wet.

Do these dribbles and drabbles obviate the need for rain? Only in a politician's dreams.























this

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rain is an indifferent host of joy, grief, or despair. For me, Joy.

I've never seen massive flooding and if I had, it might change my response.

I love rain. I love the sound, the smell, the sight of it. I love what it does in the Southwest, where I have always lived one foot from drought. Sometimes we have had abundance, which means we had the amount we needed. Occasionally a little over.

We have had flooding in poorly developed areas where greedy developers paid no attention to the topography. I've never seen flooding as I see on television in other places.

I wonder if those folks dread rain now. I suppose they must. Middle America farmers unable to get into their fields to plant their crops. Yes. They must hate the rain, at least, this year. Families in cities with pleasant riverbanks which overflowed and filled their houses. At best, they must have mixed feelings.

But without it, where would we be? We can't live without water. Or food. And both depend on the rain.

I have a friend in Georgia who envies me because after a sever drought, Georgia has too much. I have a friend who lives in New Mexico and envies me because the drought has gone on and on, and she yearns for the rain. Having grown up there, I can say that nothing, nothing at all, smells better than the desert greasewood after a long-awaited rain. Nothing.

I'm always reading, and I can't remember often where I read what. I remember reading that after the earth is not rained on for a period of time--weeks, months, even years--when the rain comes, as the rain is approaching, the oils in the earth mix with the water and produce an intoxicating smell.

How often have you sniffed and said,"Rain is coming!"

I haven't asked, but I suspect the perfume is greater when the earth has not been washed recently. When vegetation is actively growing from previous rains, the smell Is different. Pleasant, enjoyable. Somehow, when the earth really needs the rain, the smell is exotic, multi-layered, and to me, intoxicating.

I read the Harvard Classics as a child. My parents thought ever educated household should have them. One book was by Guy de Maupassant. I read, years later, he was one of the few writers who included all five senses in his writing. Most novelists include only one or two--or three--nowadays taste is certainly a part. This French writer included all five in his 19th Century writing.

I wonder if reading him, in his French countryside, did I absorb the notice of all the senses, or did I simply enjoy him for the senses I already loved? Surely the reading stimulated them? No, I think I responded as I already met the world and that is why I liked this writer. I say it so assuredly. But I recognized, even as a pre-adolescent, what he was writing about.

All my grass here in Texas is green. In late July. At least 3/4 is un-watered Bermuda. By this time, in North Texas, my lawn and the countryside should be the color of straw. The cattle, horses, sheep and goats don't worry about the dried foliage--they are used to it and it is healthy for them. But today, July 19, all is green.

After a popup rain last Thursday, the soaker over two days Sunday and Monday and another popup today, We Have Rain. Over a week, about 3 blessed inches.

I was trying to work in the house when I heard the rain thrumming and gave up to go on the screened porch with the dogs to enjoy the sound and more of a green smell, and the sound and...well, the dogs thought I was nuts. Humid, rain blowing in. warm. It still was glorious.

I watched and smelled and listened. Didn't think much.

It was the best part of my day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dogs, summer and airconditioning

Brody has the cone another week. Also steroids, antihistamines. He is battering his cone into strange shapes. Today I took Gracie for a nail clip and hadn't walked her in a while. Used to a lot. What a difference in  leash management!
. I haven't taken Brody nearly enough. Both have lost weight. Considering the  amount of hair on my floors, I don't think it is food deprivation.

Mama needs to boss more. Brody is getting all his meds.

Heat creeping up again. Still won't get out of mid-90s this week  . A July that Texas residents will brag about forever. Sorry, East Coast. That's sincere. A lot of you don't have air-conditioning. See why we like it so much?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dog recovery

Brody is doing well, overall. He still runs into walls and doors, but MUCH less. He now is fighting his eye drops. I guess they sting a bit. He does get them!

Gracie, my  other dog, is better reconciled. She still thinks anyone with a cone on his head is trash. Wait till her turn comes. She is subdued when I scold her.

Brody's eye looks better, anyway.
 When I find the human syncronym, I will write. Not here yet.

I just made up that word, which may exist anyhow. Syncronym. Don't we know a lot of them?

Back to Brody. He adjusting to the cone but doesn't understand why and just trusts me. That hurts, somewhere in me, even while he is making his treatment easier. He still needs help to eat, if not drink. I'm still feeding his supper. Babies need more care, but also just as ignorant. I have deep love for the  unenfranchised, which babies and the poor, and the critters, know always.

The dog days of a Texas summer

Summertime isn't easy in Texas. A lot of us run from the air-conditioned house, to the car to the next air-conditioned destination or water park. I reflected once to myself that I don't care how quickly my car can reach 60 mph, but I DO care very much how quickly it cools. It is blessedly quick, usually starting to work by the time I finish backing out of a short driveway.

I have pumped the attic full of insulation--well, my son and daughter-in-law did--and I have a digital thermostat that makes the cooling more efficient. Had the A-C checked to make sure all is well. We are good.

Planning, though, needs some fine-tuning. Here I sit in the cool writing when at 10 a.m. the temperature is already close to 85. Today will be our hottest so far this summer--around 103, 104, I believe. I would be smart to do my outside chores while the temperature is more bearable. Nope, I'll be out in the heat again later today and sweating as if I were the wicked witch of Oz ("I'm melting, I'm melting".)

Yesterday I watered my raised bed and a sizable part of the back yard, which  is one-third St. Augustine grass. Bermuda will go dormant without watering and come back. St. Augustine dies.
I did it early, well before the cutoff time of 10 a.m.  I can water after 6 p.m. as well, but should not more than twice a week.  Some parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area are on once a week water restrictions.  Not only is it hot and dry, but several major lakes are now infested with Zebra mussels, tiny little things that take over and get into the water pipes and clog them.

We not only have more people moving in, we have less water available. What everyone wants in the heat is water. Cool, pure, water.  I don't think people outside Texas realize that we have only one lake in the state that is not manmade. We are still in significant drought in  much of the state. Lakes are down noticeably, though nothing near 2011 when the lakes dried up so significantly historic artifacts were uncovered. We have to  be smarter about use, and that drought scared a lot of us into trying.

I was pleased to discover soaker hoses in my daughter-in-law's  vegetable beds, with quick release connections. So much easier than the oldtime screwing the two hoses together. I didn't know the quick releases existed, although I had wished for some.  Very nice. Minimal water use, maximum benefit.

In deference to West Nile concerns (mosquito larvae), I had let my birdbath dry up, but this week  I filled it again and see a steady stream of birds coming and going. Hope some of them like grasshoppers.

I have bought Tempo, the only product friends tell me that will kill the grasshoppers. Asked the vet about it and she said as long as it has dried when the dogs go out, no problem for my property.
First time to use an insecticide. I'll pick up the sprayer at the store later today. That is definitely a morning chore.

I heard a spot on public radio yesterday that Death Valley in California is a destination location this month for tourists from all over the world for people who want to enjoy the sensation of extreme heat. It was 120 degrees yesterday, and a British tourist  who said he had trained for a year in a sauna, ran a mile in the heat while wearing a Darth Vader costume. His reason why I don't remember, but he actually completed his goal in about seven minutes. It was harder than he had thought it would be, he said.

Ah, well, mad dogs and Englishmen....

Texas isn't a tourist destination for the heat this year.  It is simply HOT.

Addendum: Texas sometimes has Popup Showers that cover a small number of miles, which is why showers are 10  percent. We got them today in my neighborhood (chuckle.giggle squee!)  At least a half inch, and for the duration of a couple hours, a 20 degree drop in temp from 97 to 77. Sun out again, temperatures climbing again, humidity abysmal, BUT. We had some rain and I can wait to water for a day. Hooray! giggle, giggle.

July 14. All day light rain. Highest temperature 70 degrees. Beautiful. Wonderful.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Life in a cone for a dog that wants OUT

Sorry. I flunked personal responsibility again.

I kept meaning to take the dogs to the vet last week to have their nails clipped. (No, I don't do it. I could whine about my arthritic hands, but the truth is, I'm afraid I won't do it right so I take them to the vet, who charges $12 per dog. I had the money, but I put it off.)

Brody is three, Gracie is two. They love to play together. They rear and paw each other, slobbering on each other and having a wonderful time. Then they race around the house, knocking all my rugs askew. And they laugh. They really do.

Last night, though, one of Gracie's nails caught Brody's lower eyelid and left a nick. A quarter-inch nick through all three layers of skin. Brody ran to me. He didn't whimper, He just rubbed against me and bled a bit on my clothes. It didn't really look too bad. I put some ointment on it, gave him a benadryl, and we all went to bed.

Looked pretty good this morning. He pawed at it a few times and I gave him another benadryl. He left it alone. BUT, by 4 pm, it was obvious he needed to see the vet. She had time to see him.

When I pulled out the leash he started doing handsprings. Since he only has gone to the vet most times when I get out the leash, I'm not exactly sure why he is so delighted, but he is. Eternal optimist. (THIS time we will go where there are squirrels and I can pee on numerous new places.) He charged to the car. Leaped out and sniffed around. Only when I opened the door to the clinic did he dig in his paws with a tremendous amount of energy, telegraphing, "NOOOOOO! I don't want to go!"

Until today, the worst they had ever done is clip his nails and give him shots.

This time the vet said if we didn't mend the tear it could affect his vision for the rest of his life. OK. He had surgery. Tear is mended. He has a bunch of medicine and they loaned me the dreaded cone over his head. Which he has to wear for a week.

Gracie, Corgi to the bone, was horrified when he came in.

"Who are you? You are dangerous! Get away, Get away!" sniffing all over, "It's you? You look like a monster!"

She won't go near him.  She's whining and lying under my chair as I write. I have told her he is not dangerous. She is not at all sure. She doubts me. Tough act for the alpha in the pack.

Brody can't sleep on his side. He can't jump up on the recliner, at least, tonight.

He supposedly can eat and drink from any dish smaller than the cone, but he couldn't figure out supper, so I held a salad dish with his kibble and chicken broth so he could eat it--and he WAS hungry, a good thing.

His ears are down. He looks so sad, but he's getting better at navigating. He's eaten. Tomorrow, eye drops several times a day and another anti inflamatory,

He just jumped up for a rub and a hug, tail wagging. Guess the last of the anesthesia has worn off and he feels more himself.

Funny, I have dealt with friends sick, even dying, helped when I could, talked, rubbed lotion into sore limbs.

But a dog doesn't know why I took him in to be hurt, to get this blasted cone. He trusts I love him, and with his unconditional dog love, he comes back for the love, the back scratches, the caring, all the time not knowing why I have him in this cone. He loves me anyway.

Isn't that just like a dog?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Little Problems in a Great Big World

It is late and I have awakened in the night. Because my young dogs think this is playtime , I have given each a rawhide chew. As usual, Gracie is under my feet, enjoying very much. She still growls from time to time to tell Brody, whose jaws are much stronger, that she won't relinquish her chew when he finishes his early, and in case he wonders, Mother will protect her. All true.

It is only fair.

My family is going away for 11 days, and I am in charge of the chickens, the cats and the injured, half-grown chicken recovering nicely in the rabbit hutch. The other chickens tried to peck (her?) to death and almost succeeded.

Because of the long, temperate spring,  their garden went in early and is almost finished.  A factor is the third year infestation of grasshoppers, eating plants to the ground. Not all. They don't like Four O"Clocks, they do love roses. They like one breed of okra more than another. They annihilated the climbing green beans. So far, they are leaving the climbing winter squash alone. They really like the antique tomatoes.

I am 100 yards away. I have thousands of young, hundreds of middle and mature grasshoppers. I'll be testing my theory that if I shake the leaves with sulphur, the grasshoppers will find something else to eat. I planted lantana because I like them, but also because I heard grasshoppers didn't. Seems true. Just discovered they love marigolds, and those are eaten to the ground. I have sweet potato vines under the Bradford pear with day lilies. They don't attack the day lilies. They love the vines. So far, they aren't into my tomatoes, planted much later than next door and only now bearing.  They don't like iris, ate my arbor vitae to the bark last year and it has rebounded.  I have two knockout roses, which are impervious to most pests and diseases. But  grasshoppers ate one to the ground last year.  I have a replacement and don't want to lose it.

Funny  thing. I  know an avid gardener about  a mile and a half  north, and she has no grasshoppers.  Another, about  a mile and a half east, has it worse than I do.

Good news: grasshoppers aren't a plague across North Texas.  Bad news: they are pests in my immediate area. Wish I dared let the chickens loose, because they love to eat grasshoppers.  Nope, I daren't.  (love that word).

My grandcats already come over to visit, and always run up for petting when I walk next door. While they have a pet door, they much prefer a human opening The Big Door.  After I get water, food , and belly rubs for them for the future 11 days, I will reign high until their REAL family comes home.

I can live with that.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I Hate Rick Perry.

So many good things are going on. So many bad things as well. It is a busy world, and sometimes it is our mood that focuses what we see. Oh, yes. Opinion makes such a difference.

I am watching, and I am expecting the state legislature to pass the punitive abortion bill, which means more work in the years ahead. What frustrates me so is that so many people who are pro-life see abortion as murder, can't imagine any other interpretation and use their devout belief and lack of imagination to say banning abortion is the only, holy way.

 I do not agree.

I once attended an ethics class at a medical university to write about it. The class included doctors, ministers, and nurses. The class dissected the ethics of each profession. Sometimes, they disagreed. That was valuable to know. This is not situational ethics. It is the imperatives of the profession.

When the discussion concluded, the Roman Catholic priest said that his faith and his values had not changed, but he now realized those who are pro-choice honestly have a different belief system. He hadn't believed it could be possible. He thought people who were pro-abortion were okay with murder. He learned we don't think it is murder at all. He doesn't agree, but , he said, he was surprised to understand a different viewpoint legitimately existed. It didn't change his viewpoint, but finally, he saw it.

He saw that for some, abortion is a legitimate option, whether or not he agrees.

Texas Sen. Judith Zaffarini in Texas is pro-life, but helped in the recent filibuster because she believes in choice.

The vote is coming up again. Women are not going to have many options.

The state is trying to ban Planned Parenthood  even at clinics that offer only birth control.  That is being challenged. Supposedly we have plenty of low cost birth control pill options. Have no idea where they are. Rick Perry has already referred to State Sen. Wendy Davis as a single teenage woman, saying she and her child  succeeded, so others can. That's just.....

I am so tired of this.

I live in Texas. If you are sick, need meds, have children and low income, are old and need help, please don't come here. Some of you will end in a  park with a tent. The rest of you--God help you.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rooting for the Cause for All of Us

You pick your battles. You fight your wars.

State Senator Wendy Davis from Fort Worth has picked her war. All I could do was call her state office and give my support.

She is fighting the most restrictive abortion policy in the country. It is inches from being approved, and she is filibustering. 13 hours. She cannot pee, drink or eat for the 13 hours she is on the floor.

The law would make every abortion clinic in the state meet daytime surgery restrictions. The cost would be exorbitant. It is not necessary medically. It would leave 5 of 42 clinics standing. Most of you have no idea how big Texas is. Think : five clinics for at least the entire Northeast and Carolinas. Sorry. Texas really is that big. You want to see this happen?

I don't.  And the only deterrant is a slender Texas woman who has to survive till midnight without food, water,or a bathroom.

For so many women, I hope she makes it. If she doesn't, she is still another Texas hero.

****

And she did with the help of two other women in the legislature.  All three fought hard for Texas women.  Now we are waiting to see if, with a very tight state budget, Gov. Rick Perry will call another emergency session to pass this bill.  If he does so, it is an egregious move.

**
He called the session. This man wants to win at any price.  What a travesty.