Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fixing a Hole

I'm fixing a hole
where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
where it will go

Haven't posted since mid-March. Sorry to anyone who checks this blog.

Totally mired in a bog
with the black dog
of depression

And who wants to read a downer blog?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Watermelon Wine

You know how I love my animals. Depression becomes suicide when one feels the animals cease to care.

Old dogs care about you
even when you make mistakes.
God bless little children
while they're still too young to hate
I had it all when I was young
and in my natural prime
Now it's old dogs, and children
and watermelon wine.

Thank you, Tom T. Hall

Sunday, March 8, 2009


My husband was trimming limbs in the backyard last week: a red oak, magnolia, two oleander bushes and honeysuckle vines. Okay, by "trimming" he totally took out the honesuckle, leaving these two huge stumps with fat arms sticking out of the ground.

So I'm checking email when Big Guy comes in and asks me to find out if the honeysuckle or magnolia will hurt our horses. He wants to throw the limbs and leaves in their pasture. Good question. As anyone knows who researches the interwebs, answering a question can take hours and hours...not to mention the differing opinions one enounters. I never discovered if honeysuckle or magnolia is a problem.

I did find something, however, that is extremely disturbing: a woman from New Braunfels, TX writes that rye grass is poisonous to horses. Beautiful. Last fall I planted rye grass for Blaze and Star in their pasture: raking a 30' x 20' plot by hand; sowing seeds like pioneer women did, by hand; watering thrice-weekly by ... well, you know. The horses wintered on it since October, and love it. Nice to know I'm slowly poisoning them.

She also said red clover and fescue are poisonous to horses. The week before, I'm looking at a 50-pound sack of what was labeled "pasture seed for horses". Some of the varieties: rye, red clover and fescue!

This can only mean one thing: Tractor Supply is spearheading the equine-killing movement.
Now, it's gonna take more than the New Braunfels lady and me to stop this vast anti-horse conspiracy. We need all you horse lovers to unite. Any grass in your pasture is your horse's mortal enemy! Stop the grass madness now! Terminate all pasture feeding; you'll need to convert to a new regimen as soon as possible.

I can get you a sweet deal on honeysuckle and magnolia.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Texas Trips

A friend of mine is currently driving cross-country from East Coast to West. Green with envy, I am following her blog DC Confidential at http://wdc-confidential.blogspot.com/ as she drives.

I love to drive. Most people I know prefer flying. Maybe that's because we here in West Texas are 300 miles, in any direction, from a major city. And about 150 of those miles are flat land with scrubby mesquite trees, some pumpjacks and nothing conventionally pretty to see. The landscape grasses are brown from ten+ years of drought, although it doesn't really change that much even when it rains. I hated driving when I was a kid, nothing but boring, brown, barren land for miles. As an adult, however, I can listen to some sweet tunage and let my thoughts wander and flow throughout the familiar landscape, knowing the best is yet to come.

Drive 300 miles east to Dallas. Downtown where one building (name anyone?) is outlined in green argon: stark, modern, unusual; and the twinkling lights of the revolving Hyatt tower where the food is overpriced and the view is worth it. Lots of hip bars, upscale dining and the Dallas Museum of Art. Bright lights, big city, big hair.

Alternately, drive 300 miles west to El Paso. Though immortalized in song, EP is one of the ugliest cities in Texas. Because it is a border town, the smog from Mexico's ecologically-insane factories hangs over the city; and the stench of the stockyards assails one's olfactory system and beats it senseless. Great shopping, though, with lots of factory outlets. Any El Pasoans out there who would like to disabuse me of my bleak opinion and enlighten me on your fair city, please comment. Drive just a little farther west on I-10, however, and one finds the picturesque town of Las Cruces, New Mexico. A friend turned me onto this gem when we drove there in 1993 to see Paul McCartney at a football stadium. As in most New Mexican cities, there's a town plaza, and Las Cruces is tourist-friendly, but not touristy.

Let's see. Not quite 300 miles in a northerly direction is Amarillo, way station on the cattle drives to Kansas City. Home of Palo Duro Canyon, almost as beautiful as the Painted Desert and far more accessible.

Now, 300 miles south of West Texas is my favorite part of the state. Austin: home to the funkiest bars, fabulous dining, and great music. Home of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson. Counter-culture capital of Texas. Beautiful, stately oak trees and Lake Austin. Granite quarries southwest of town. Spend as much or as little as you want in Austin: you'll have a good time either way. And no, the Austin chamber of commerce did not pay me to shill for their city -- but they should.

Having written all that, there are gems within a 2-3 hour drive. North to Lubbock, home of Texas Tech University and Buddy Holly. San Angelo, to the southeast, is a beautiful town with lakes, a river running through the town, and the best antique-shopping (at reasonable prices) anywhere. And southwest are the small artist colonies in the Big Bend area of Alpine, Fort Davis and Marfa. In the inky blackness of night, watch the Marfa lights dart around: swamp gas (though there's no swamp around Marfa), optical illusion or aliens playing jokes on clueless earthlings -- who knows?

So who cares if you have to drive awhile. Chillax. Explore and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheese and Wine

I gave up drinking wine for Lent. Oh, and the occasional margarita on the rare times we go out to Carumba's. I'm not Catholic, not a practicing anything for that matter, but I rely on God in my life. And this is six weeks of discipline every year that I need, and makes me feel all righteous.

I gave up wine a few years ago for lent as well. No problem until we went to Ruidoso, NM with some friends to a wonderful house in the mountains for a weekend in March. The weekend consisted of fabulous scenery, fun conversation, playing cards, great food and good wine with our evening meal. Heaven in the Mountains. My friend convinced me that what happens in Ruidoso, stays in Ruidoso. I don't know if God bought it, but I did. I never recovered my discipline after that weekend - my worst lenten attempt ever.

The most difficult Lent I experienced was the year I gave up cheese. Now I loves me some cheese: any kind, all kinds. Enjoy experimenting with new and different cheeses, creating different dishes; moreover, my comfort food is good old Macaroni & Cheese. Those 40 days were pure hell. No Mexican food, no pizza, no Italian food of any kind, not even a good ole ham and swiss on rye. At the time, my workplace served the employees lunch; and there were many days of eating salad as that was the only thing available without cheese. Cooking consisted of lots of Asian cuisine which I enjoy, but dayum! Easter Sunday lunch consisted of rack of lamb and a wonderful recipe I have from Williams-Sonoma of bow tie pasta with roasted bell peppers, spinach and basil, sprinkled with parmesan. It was delectible. It was probably one of the healthier times in my life. I thought I would be able to cut down on my obsession after such an extended time of deprivation; but, like a junkie with keys to the pharmacy, it wasn't long before I was back to my old sinning ways. I have never since given up my fromage.

This Lenten discipline is doable. I miss a deeply resonant Cabernet with steak or roasted chicken and an oaky, bright Chardonnay, but I'll survive comfortably and I have that good old righteous feeling. And, there are no plans to go to Ruidoso! Next year, I think I'll test myself again with a strict discipline: giving up Limberger cheese.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Girlfriends and ... Girlfriends

At left is an image of Joanna Moore. I was entranced by her as a child when she played Peg on The Andy Griffith Show. Her character was a nurse who came from a wealthy family in New Orleans. She was featured in a few episodes as Andy's love interest. I fell in love with her soft, smoky voice and Southern accent; and, of course, she was very beautiful. I so wanted her & Andy to get married.

Joanna Moore was truly a Southern girl; and the"smoky" voice was tragically appropos as she died from lung cancer. Her real life was not what I wished for Peg. She had a continuing drug and alcohol dependency which contributed to her declining health. She is notable for being the mother of Tatum O'Neal, who also has her chemical dependency problems; further, Tatum and her brother were removed from Miss Moore's care because of her addictions. Looking at this beautiful lady, I was crestfallen to learn one of my childhood heroes had come to such an ignominious, though human, end.

I far preferred Peg as Andy's girlfriend to Helen Crump who served in that capacity for many years. The aptly-named Miss Crump exemplified, to me, a nagging prig of a woman who seemed to have zero sense of humor. Though I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, I later came to feel Helen was gay. That would explain the tightly-controlled, simmering anger of a woman who either couldn't or wouldn't come out. I just wanted her to ditch Andy, already, and set up house with Betty Lou. Can you imagine coming out in Mayberry! Andy may have been the only person in that town who wouldn't march in the GLBT Pride parade. Lots of squelched feelings & passions in Peyton Place by the fishin' hole. After all, Aunt Bea and Miss Clara sure made a lot of pies and canned lots of pickles together. No symbolism there.

I'm keeping my girlhood denial: a little slice of Mayberry heaven wherein beautiful, Southern actresses win the heart of the noble Sheriff, and they live happily ever after.

And, maybe, eat some canned pickles and pie.