Friday, February 12, 2010


I have this strange lump on the roof of my mouth. It's been there for as long as I can remember. A dentist once told me it was probably just a calcium deposit or something, and I needn't worry about it unless it starts growing some day. Most of the time I forget it's even there, but once in a while, my tongue will knock against it, and I will realize that it is a bit sore for some reason. Then, try as I might, I cannot get my tongue to leave it alone, which only exacerbates the problem. It's sore right now, which is why I'm sitting here thinking about it. I probably just scorched it with hot food, or nicked it with a fork, but every time this happens, I can't help but wonder, "What if it's growing?"

That's not the only thing strange about the roof of my mouth. It's also rather lopsided. One side's crevice is much deeper (higher?) than the other's. My orthodontist saw it as an indication that I came dangerously close to being born with a cleft palate, but that it finally sealed up in the nick of time. Lucky me! Of course, that's not the only thing that is lopsided about me. I also have one eye a bit droopier than the other, and one boob that is decidedly larger than the other. Then there is that whole bizarre thing about my uterus having a room divider slightly off center, which is what caused all of my miscarriages.

When I was about to undergo surgery, to switch it back from a duplex to a single dwelling, they first sent me down to x-ray. They said it was not unusual, in someone with a malformation such as this, to find other things that went awry. They just wanted to be sure each organ was in its proper place before they started cutting on me. Good idea! Fortunately, they all were.

No one knows exactly what caused my special little quirks, and as far as quirks go, they could have been a whole lot worse. However, one of the first things my surgeon asked me was, "Do you know if your mother was given DES before you were born?" It was a new wonder drug that came out around that time, which was supposed to prevent miscarriages. Unfortunately, they found out later on that not only was it pretty much useless on that front, it also played havoc with the resulting progeny's ability to procreate. My mom had no memory as to what she was given, and her OB was long gone by this time, so we will never know for sure. However, Mom did have a miscarriage shortly before she became pregnant with me, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that was the case.

So, here's what I'm tryin' to tell ya. No doctor, or drug company, or GMO-wielding scientist cares about you, your body, or your off-spring, in the exact same way that you do. They are each operating according to their own agendas. You must take charge of your own destiny. Be diligent, ask questions, do your research, then make an informed decision as to what is best for you. If you don't, who will?

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Poor John! I was sitting here this morning, making a mental to-do list for him, and it was getting pretty long. Problem is, until he's retired and living here full-time, I hate asking him to help me with any of this. His visits here go by so quickly, and then he goes back to the drudgery of Houston, to support me in the manner to which I have become accustomed. How can I ask him to spend what precious little time he has here, doing chores for me?

Wait, here's an idea! Maybe I could make one of my special visual to-do lists for him, and just post it out here in the blogosphere. That way, whenever he's bored and looking for something to do, he can refer to it, but I won't have to say a word. That way, no one can accuse me of nagging! Brilliant, no?

(click image to enlarge)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I really need to get some alyssum (love that faint honey fragrance), calendula, nasturtium and Orange Chiffon swiss chard planted in my porch containers, while the weather is still cool! Actually, I should have done it back in early fall, but I just couldn't bear to pull out all of the succulents that were still going great guns at the time. In fact, they were looking more gorgeous than ever, because the cool weather had caused their colors to intensify, and my sticks-o-fire plant was truly ablaze! There wasn't room in my tiny house to overwinter such huge pots, and I just didn't have the heart to trash everything, so I let them be.

Of course, a few weeks later we had the first of several hard freezes, and then my pots were all filled with a lovely, squishy black mush. Right after that was the whirl of Christmas and January birthdays, a couple of weeks solid of cold wet days, and my conference preparations. I cleaned away the mush a while back, but I'm sick to death of looking at giant pots with nothing but little black stubs poking out, every time I enter the house. I'm dying to plant some of those cold-lovers I mentioned earlier, now that I finally have some free time, but I'm hesitant to spend the money. Here in Texas, you just never know when you are going to get your first rash of 90 degree days. Could be May. Could be March. If it turns out to be the latter, I'm gonna be mighty pissed that I sank a bunch of money into those pots in February!

Guess what I really need to do is learn to place cuttings into baby-sized pots, from all of my favorite heat-lovers, then let them spend the winter on a sunny windowsill. Perhaps knowing that I have a few free plants to start my containers off with the following spring, will take a bit of the bite out of having to yank them all in the fall. Heavy sigh.

P.S. That first photo is of my favorite container, taken in the worst heat of summer. So picture it even larger, and the colors twice as vivid, when it got turned to mush. The other photo is of a smaller pot that had contained a beautiful croton with stained-glass-like leaves, now mush.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


My cousin Cindy told me recently that she is now working at a floral shop. That reminded me of my days with good ol' Ron, back in Midland. When my children were mere tots, I had a part-time job with my friend Barb, who was a caterer. Back then, I wasn't much of a cook, so mostly I just helped out in the office. Occasionally though, I would help serve at some of her big oil baron shindigs, and it was at one of those that I met Ron.

Ron was THE florist in Midland, back in those days, and to say that he was a colorful character would be the understatement of the century. We always got such a kick out of visiting with him, when we were both setting up at the same parties. One day, he approached several of us catering housewives, to see if we could use a little extra spending money during the holiday season, and that's how I became a "Ronnette" - one of his team of little mommies who would help him do the holiday decorating in homes where they were too rich to be bothered with doing it themselves. On the whole, it was a pretty sweet gig. Not only did he pay about twice what most stores were paying their holiday help, he also took us to lunch, where he would regale us with hilarious stories about the various clients he had dealt with through the years, and we would laugh until we snorted food out our noses.

One year, however, he talked me into helping out at Valentine's as well - not doing flowers or deliveries, just manning one of the extra phone lines he had to set up each year in order to handle the influx of calls, and then dealing with last minute shoppers who never seem to think ahead. How hard could that be, right?

Oh my stars! Words fail me. There is no way I can describe the lunacy that infects people at Valentine's. Picture one of those PBS telethons, but with each one of the callers being a wee bit frantic or insane. Or both. That was the one and only time I ever volunteered for that job, and Valentine's has never been the same for me since.

So, hats off to you Cousin Lucinda, and to all ye manners, or wo-manners, of phone lines, and ye arrangers and deliverers of that which is fragrant and beauteous. You are far better men and women than I. May you survive this season of love, and live to fight another day!

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

Monday, February 8, 2010


  • The rash of blog-inspired book deals is probably over. Turns out, they didn't sell all that well. At least, not the ones that were just a re-hash of what you'd read in their blogs.
  • 1 in 4 females, and 1 in 5 males, will have been sexually abused by the time they are 18, and incest is not nearly as rare as you would think.
  • Writing heals.
  • You can have "clouds" of categories on the sidebar of your blog, and there is also a place called "The Cloud", where back-ups can be stored.
  • Adding video to a blog is probably not as difficult as I have been imagining.
  • There is a gizmo out there that looks just like a big fat fountain pen, and when you write with it on special paper, your writing can then be uploaded directly to your computer. It can record sound too! Whatever you do, don't tell John.
  • I should have taken my camera charger with me.
  • If you want to get people to share stories about someone's life - like at a funeral or birthday gathering - start with the youngest person in the room. Most kids are thrilled to be asked for their input on something, and their stories will trigger others to chime in.
  • Matt's El Rancho makes a mighty fine chile relleno.
  • Volunteering to help out at a function is a great way to make new friends.
  • One should always sing while in a public restroom stall.


Duh, duh-duh-duh, da-dah...Kathy Gerwig! Congratulations Gus! Now all you have to do is decide whether you want your cozy to be sage green with dark teal trim, sage green with a rusty-red trim, or multi-colored in shades of soft yellow and coral (though I have to say, the pretty pattern of the stitches gets lost in a multi-colored yard). Oh yeah, and you have to promise to replace at least one Diet Dr. Pepper a day with a cup of tea! Love you Big Sis. Glad you finally won something!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Alrighty! It's good to be home! Almost time for that drawing I told you about, and you've got two different ways to get your name in the hat tonight, before it's too late. If you have not yet responded to my informal census survey, all you have to do is leave a comment containing your basic vital statistics (minus real name, of course). I'm just curious as to the general makeup of my audience here. OR, you can leave a comment telling us about something you have done, cooked, made, read, explored, etc., that was inspired by something you read in this blog. Winner will receive a FABULOUS hand-knit tea cozy, custom made by the Hill Country Hippie. Good luck!