Friday, October 16, 2009


Greetings from Big D! Fall is the absolute best time to be in Dallas, what with the State Fair, Texas-OU football showdown, etc. Growing up, all the kids in Dallas got a free pass and a day off from school to go to the fair each year. Since all this happened right around my birthday, I sort of figured it was all part of my own personal celebration! John had a uncle who was a carny - a very successful carny it would seem. Who would have thunk you could get rich selling corn on the cob at the fair? He took us on a behind the scenes tour one year when we were first married, and it was a blast. Of course, plain ol' corn on the cob is old hat these days. Instead, they try to outdo themselves each year, coming up with ever more decadent things to fry. It started with fried twinkies and oreos, but has escalated to the point where this year they will be selling fried peaches and cream, and...wait for it...fried butter! (Gag me with a spoon!)

The best year ever was just before my eighth birthday. Unbeknownst to me, a Hollywood film crew was out at the fairgrounds filming the movie State Fair, starring Ann Margaret. One day some guys showed up at my elementary school, and knocked on my classroom door. After a brief discussion with my teacher, they stepped to the front of the class and said "Anyone who's eight years old, raise your hand." Actually, I was still a week or two shy of that mark, but I saw no point in splitting hairs, so I raised my hand too. Good thing I did. The guy started pointing his finger, and said "You, you, you, you, and you, report to the film room!" After everyone was assembled there, they handed us a permission slip to take home and get signed, and told us we were to report to the big merry-go-round on the fair grounds the following evening. Turns out we had been hired as "extras" for a real movie, and they actually paid us $24 just to ride the merry-go-round all evening, for two nights, and sing:

Our state fair is a great state fair

Don't miss it, don't even be late

From dollars, to donuts, at our state fair

It's the best state fair in our state!

And later, we sang:

One little thing in Texas, adores me

and it's the little things in Texas,

the little things in Texas,

the little things in Texas, I love!

How cool was that? Of course, I won't be going out to the fairgrounds this year. I'll be heading to assisted living instead. We just might get to play Bingo this time. Judging from the look on Mom's face when she opened her door and found me standing there yesterday, I'd say at least one little thing in Texas does adore me!

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, guess I didn't need to worry about being able to get everything done in time to head out for Dallas by 10 or 10:30. The sun is just now coming up, and I've already showered, dressed, done all my blog-visiting and stat-checking for the day, and finished with my tea-sipping and oatmeal-eating. I didn't really want or intend to be wide awake at 4:00 AM, but since I couldn't do much about it, I figured I might as well take advantage of it.

The next phase of the cantina garden was supposed to have been started on Tuesday. A guy was going to come begin work on the concrete base into which the cedar fenceposts will be set. Since it was pretty drizzly that day, I wasn't real surprised when he didn't show. Yesterday, however, was bright and sunny the entire day. I'm just so glad that it's not my job this time, to ride his ass, or waste day after day waiting for people who never show. My architect buddy has agreed to be the whip-cracker on this project, and I am ever so grateful to him! Hopefully, by the time I get back from Dallas, there will be some sign of progress being made.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


When friend Sherri and I were lunching at The Leaning Pear recently, we discovered something unusual that we held in common. She and her family live on Catalina Island, and she mentioned that she and her DH have a special nickname for the super-fast, super-expensive cigarette boats that are popular with certain kinds of men. They call them P.E.D.s (penile extension devices). I had to laugh, because I have a similar belief regarding men who build McMansions, and drive Corvettes, Ferraris, and such. I call them Weenie-Waggers.

Just a few days after this meeting of the minds, I was having lunch in Mima's, and overheard two local guys discussing an out-of-towner who recently built a huge house on the tippy-top of a hill. Come to find out, it's 15,000 square feet. No, not fifteen hundred. Fifteen THOUSAND. And only two people will be living in it. Poor fella. He must have a heck of a lot to compensate for!

P.S. Don't let that picture of our place fool you. It's a trompe l'oeil photo. The house is only one room deep, but the garage behind it makes it look much larger. Basically, we live in just three rooms upstairs, then downstairs, in what is more or less a walk-out basement, we have a guest room, storage, and John's bat cave. No wagging here!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


OK, so this is how I loose huge chunks of my life. Yesterday I sat down to squeeze in a quick bit of knitting, before tackling my big list of chores and writing projects. Out of the corner of my eye, I kept glancing at this tall cabinet next to the fireplace, which is crammed full of all the china, pewter, and gee-gaws that I couldn't find space for in the kitchen. Then I got depressed, thinking about the set of "winter dishes" (discovered in a Sumatran mini mart for $35 - just pine and berries, no Santas) packed away and rarely used. On top of that, there's all the stuff that's still in Houston. Where the heck am I going to put that when John lets go of the townhouse?

From there, I got to thinking about my wedding china with the pastel floral rim, and how much fun we had digging through barrels and stacks of dishes in a funky old Noritake shop in Singapore, pulling together a setting for 12 for practically nothing! "Too bad I only use the plates these days, and all those teacups and stuff are just wasting space," I thought to myself. Then, "Aha! If I took the stuff I never use to the thrift shop, I could combine those plates with my mix and match pieces of old gold and white china that I've collected, and that would leave room enough for winter dishes and some of the Houston stuff.

Somehow, that led me to making detailed lists of every type of dinner party or holiday celebration that I tend to host, what dishes and serving pieces I would use for each, and which linens - just to make sure I didn't let go of something that I would regret later. Next thing I knew it was bedtime, there were dishes stacked everywhere, from hearth to dining room, and I hadn't accomplished a single thing from my real to-do list! Sure had a lot of fun, though.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Did you ever wonder why most people pronounce the word herb as 'erb, as the French do, but the British insist on saying the h? Turns out it's because the working class Londoners, or Cockneys, tend to drop the h's from the beginnings of words, and the Hoity Toitys couldn't bear to have even one single word in their vocabulary that connected them with the lower classes. What has this got to do with hanging one's laundry on a clothesline? Funny you should ask!

Shortly after posting my little ditty about my new "solar dryers" yesterday, I hiked down the driveway to retrieve my Sunday newspaper. What did I find on page three of the Austin American Statesman? An article entitled "It's Status-Minded vs. Energy-Conscious in Clothesline Clash." Clotheslines? An odd little topic, don't you think, to have been picked up from the NYT and spread nationwide? What has made clotheslines newsworthy? Well, it seems that even living in a trailer park doesn't guarantee you the right to reduce your carbon footprint by using one these days. Private communities across the country have been fairly unanimous in their desire to outlaw anything that smacks of "poverty", for fear it might lower property values.

More and more, though, these rules are coming under fire, and lawmakers in several states have introduced legislation to override them. Considering our environmental crisis, and the fact that dryers account for at least 6% of a home's energy consumption, I can only hope that more states will follow suit. I'm not sure what the rules are here in my hood, and don't wish to call attention to myself by asking. So, instead of mounting the retractible "wind energy drying devices" between the porch posts in front, directly off my kitchen, perhaps I should mount them in back, between the posts on our open-air garage - and pray that the swallows won't poop on everything!

P.S. Many thanks to for the above image.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


(Click PictureTo Enlarge)

I was looking at one of my hippie magazines the other day, when suddenly I started going "Ooh, ooh, John! Look at these cool new solar clothes dryers they've come up with. They are so awesome!" Well, I know my hubby, and I recognized that glint in his eye. If there's one thing he can't resist, it's any sort of new gadget. He was practically whipping that check book out of his hip pocket, even though we have a wonderful set of front-loaders already, as he walked towards me, saying "Lemme see!" You should have seen his face, when I showed him the picture of an old-fashioned clothesline!