Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Smile for Noelle

"I want to watch Anastasia, Mimi! Please!"
"Just a moment, Hannah, let me finish feeding Gaga." Noelle sighed. There was never a moment of peace. Not even on her birthday.
She ignored the hurt. No one remembered it was her birthday. Not even Mom.
"But I want to watch it now." whined the four-year-old.
Her only grandchild was not known for patience. With a frustrated groan, Noelle gave into the demand and tossed the spoon back into the cooling mashed potatoes. Mom would have to wait for her next bite, not that she would notice.
Noelle quickly put in the requested video, wondering how many times one child could watch a single movie. Apparently one more time. If watching an animated movie on repeat kept the girl entertained, then maybe Noelle could get Mom settled and finish wrapping the Christmas gifts.
Mission accomplished, Noelle turned to see her mother sitting unmoved in her seat. A vacant stare settled into the familiar hazel eyes. The vibrant, intelligent and fiercely independent woman who had raised Noelle alone was gone. Alzheimer's had stolen the woman she knew and loved and missed terribly, leaving a shell which required constant care.
She could rely on no one else to provide that care. There was no other family and the thought of a nursing home made her shudder. Mom's body was as frail as her mind. In addition to the vacant eyes and lack of mobility, Mom's thin arms were tightly locked into her chest. Any attempts to move or position the arms were met with angry, non-verbal cries of pain and resistance. One occupational therapist had suggested giving Mom a soft baby doll to hold. The suggestion was worth trying, after all Mom had worked in the church nursery for over fifty years.
Now was as good a time as any. Noelle looked past Hannah to a pile of toys. No baby dolls there. Then she remembered; Santa was bringing Hannah a special doll and it sat at the top of the closet. With the child engrossed in the movie, she would never know one of her presents was being used in an experiment.
"Here you go, Mom. Here's your baby."
She looked toward the voice, but the face of a kind woman was blurred. She must be the nurse.
A baby? Yes. After all of the waiting, she had a child to hold. It seemed like yesterday that she and Jethro said their vows, followed by goodbye a few days later. A uniformed man returned a few months ago to report Jethro's death on a French battlefield. His baby would make up for his loss. Now she finally held that baby in her arms.
A baby birl. She felt her angel Jethro stand over her shoulder, viewing her Christmas present from him. She was so blessed.
Noelle turned at the unexpected sound of her name. The readiness which Mom had accepted the doll surprised her. The withered arms had taken the toy without resistance. She had  watched her mother relax and begin to rock in her seat, cradling the doll to her like a real infant.
Now, she witnessed a look of pure joy transform the normally blank face. What could possibly be going through that lost mind? "Mom?"
Teary eyes turned toward her. "Baby."
"Yes, Mom, that's your baby." The experiment seemed to be successful. Now Noelle needed to find the money to replace the Hannah's Santa gift. With three days left to Christmas, that would be no easy task. Finances were tight and shopping while caring for a young child and an elderly parent was next to impossible. Yet there was no way she was going to take the doll from her mother.
"Baby Noelle."
A bright smile, accompanied by a tear, lit her mother's wrinkled face as she continued to rock her doll.
Noelle stood with tears coursing down her face as she realized that maybe Mom remembered her birthday after all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Grave Digger

Yesterday promised to be a great day, but deserves a do-over from the get-go.
Yesterday the rabbit died.
No, not that rabbit. Our last remaining pet rabbit, Lil Joe. He was an adorably soft mini rex who lived to the ripe old age of 5. That's good for a small, long-eared rodent. He was Myrtle the Younger's baby. With that said, I can honestly say I am thrilled to be out of the bunny care business. Give me a dog any day (just not one that yaps incessantly).
My day started in its usual manner (moaning, groaning, ignoring the alarm, etc) and I dragged my lazy carcass out of bed to find Lil Joe in early stages of rigor mortis. Yippee. Fortunately it was a Saturday. Unfortunately it was a busy Saturday during the Christmas season. I sent a quick text to a friend I was supposed to meet for breakfast and set about informing Myrtle the Younger of the family tragedy and finding a coffin for said bunny (a toner box worked really well). In the meantime MTY decides that her pet needs to be buried with his sister, Livvy, and his older Californian brother, Macamacadon (I didn't name these rabbits) on Mimi's property. Okay, I didn't plan a 3 hour road trip today, but no biggie.
So, I continue with the established plan of the day which included a Christmas tea at our church with Mimi, following which Myrtle and I picked up the coffin and drove down to Mimi's to conduct an appropriate burial. We stopped for dinner, where I got out of my car and promptly rammed my shin into the trailer hitch extending about 18 inches from the back a big ass truck. Only a few curse words were delicately thrown into the universe.
We eventually proceeded to the farm. By then it was dark, so we chose a burial site close to where the house lights could help us out. Now we are talking about a Texas evening in early December here: dark, chilly, windy, digging in thick Texas black clay soil. After chiseling for a moment, we hit what I think is a bed liner that my mother or grandmother had used in the old flower bed. I was incorrect.
Out of 50 acres, we had to dig in the spot that Miss Hissy was  buried. Yea! I can hear that damn cat hissing at me from beyond the grave.
So, we cover up the cat, move a few feet over and proceed to chisel and scrape our way to a barely deep enough grave to cover one toner box stuffed with bunny. Task complete. I hurt but nothing that a bucket of pain meds can't help.
On a good note, on the drive home, Myrtle got to experience a Christmas classic, Santa Claus and His Old Lady by Cheech and Chong.
Let the holidays commence!

Thursday, November 3, 2016


I need to buy a lottery ticket. Today.
Why? Because about 2 months ago, my poor little Subaru was hit by a motorcycle (no injuries except to my Subie and the bike) and after some serious waiting, I finally got my Subie into the collision shop for repairs and I get a new set of wheels to knock around for a few weeks.
Before we continue, let me just say I love my Subies. This is my 3rd and I tend to drive their little wheels off. I got my first one because of the safety and reliability ratings; the next 2 were bought because it's a damn fun car to drive. (Dear Subaru, I anxiously await my referral check.)
That said, I was resigned to accept whatever mid-sized vehicle the rental company allowed me to have. So there I stand at 7:45 am, with an uncaffienated brain, waiting for my rental, only to learn...they are fresh out of mid-sized vehicles. Not only that, they are out of vehicles. Period.
Mind you, this appointment has been 2 months in the making. Mi espouso contacted the shop yesterday and was assured that all was ready for me to waltz in with my poor little Subie and drive away with...something else.
Did I mention I was uncaffienated? For some, this might mean a full-on melt down, but I stand there going "what?". Before the news fully runs the circuit of my disconnected brain cells, the poor child and her manager are hunting me up one mid-sized vehicle.
They must have had a run on mid-sized vehicles, because there be none to be had.
Seriously? But wait! "I'm sorry,  ma'am, we can't get you a mid-sized car, but we can get you a Camaro. Will that be okay?"
Uhm...let me think...Hell yes! Oh, wait. Is it red? Never mind. I'll take it.
So Mr. Manager toodles off to pick up MY Camaro while I sit and wait in the rental office. About 2 seconds before MY Camato arrives, some idiot returns a mid-sized car. "Ma'am, I can let you have this Altima if you prefer."
Are you kidding me?!!? Oh. Hell. No. (I politely declined.)
Subie? What Subie? I am cool. Now all I need is a winning lotto ticket to stay that way.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Busted in NYC (or Why T Doesn't Travel)

You know when I said New York or Bust, I didn't mean literally.
We arrived yesterday (as previously reported) with every intention of enjoying a few sights in addition to the All-American High School Film Festival (haven't had a chance to tell y'all about that-very exciting).
First on our agenda was to visit a cemetery (we hunt dead people for kicks) where my great-grandfather's 1st wife is buried. So we figure out the subway and with only minor hiccups, we arrive at said cemetery where Myrtle Mimi displays her vast talent and grace. Short story: the sidewalk won.
Good news-the stories you hear of New Yorkers stepping over your inert body are complete falsehoods. In a matter of seconds, we had cars and pedestrians offering an assortment of assistance. God bless them all. We managed to get Mimi moving again, albeit using me and Myrtle Sue like a walker, and continued the remaining 50 yards into the cemetery. We genealogists have our priorities. (Yes, we found the grave. It and the cemetery are gorgeous.)
At that point, Mimi decided a visit for an x-ray might be in order, so we called for a cab. In the Bronx, taxis aren't on every corner. After calling, waiting, and calling again, the cab option was given up on and we called for some of New York's finest to escort our carcasses to a hospital. They even went above and beyond by choosing a hospital with reasonable bus/subway access for us.
So not only did we add an ambulance ride and an ER visit to our agenda, Mimi has a fractured pelvis for a souvenir and I get to spend the night in a chair. (When I wrote the hospital scenes in If You Touch My Mind, I didn't know I was predicting my future!).
Now to figure out what's in store for us next. Stay tuned!

New York or Bust

As noted in previous posts, this Texas girl is NOT a traveler. This Texas girl gets weirded out whenever she crosses the state line (don't you need a passport to go to Oklahoma?).
Seriously, I might drive 80 or 90 mph while in native territory, but cross that line and I drive like my great-grandmother. I'm certain there a all sorts of rules that will get me thrown into some foreign hoosegow.
Take the fine example of NYC (my 1st trip here). I don't think I would last more than a few minutes (and that's being generous). While in the shuttle bus for 48 minutes to go about 5 miles, I learned about honking. It's a code. Maybe Morse, not positive about that, but maybe. Anyway, pick a language, any language, and tap it out in Morse code on your car horn. The long sustained blast is a period. Several sustained blasts is a question mark (let's not get into the exclamation point). Our shuttle driver spoke English but my Morse is pretty limited, but I'm almost positive our bus cursed at several cars along the way (politely, of course).
Then there was the subway. I'll get into that after the Valium wears off.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Confession part 2

This is only my second vacation of any length in the past twenty odd years. Probably the only vacation with a majority of my family in forever. I know, I's about damn time. Heaven knows when I'll remember to take another vacation.
So in order to make up for all the missed family vacations, we packed as much as we could into this one. Today's adventures included a boat ride watching dolphins surf in front of a big boat, a tour of most of the U.S.S. Lexington and a dip into the Gulf. The last excursion included an illegally caught fish via Myrtle the Younger's swimsuit (no fishing license and the poor kamakazi fish was way too small-shh, don't tell anyone).
Fun was had by all. There are a few sporting sunburns and generally all of us are making old people noises (we are sucking down Advil like it's going off the market). Getting out of any chair requires an act of Congress and all hands on deck.
Tomorrow we get the privilege of leaving this paradise behind and making the 6-7 hour (or more) trek to reality.
I don't wanna go!!! Wah!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Yes, I must confess...I have spent very little of my life at the beach. Now, in my 40+ years on this earth, I have come to realize I might be missing something.
Now to be fair, I live in Texas. We have Galveston and Padre Island. And we have heat. I mean HOT heat. You would think this Texas girl would high tail her hind quarter to one of the above locales at least once a year or so. Not so.  For one, it's about 4-5 hours to Galveston and 6-7 hours to Padre. Long car ride aside, I can count on one foot how many times I have actually been to a beach, most of which were in high school (ugh).
My first excuse lies with the story of my mother and her worst sunburn ever (blisters et al) from sitting on a tailgate while at Padre Island. I don't know about you, but I have spent my life trying to avoid sunburns. Plus, I married a redhead and birthed another.  'Nuf said.
Secondly, did I mention that it's hot in Texas? The thought of playing around in water (relective sunburns are nasty) in the heat of the day in order to "cool off" doesn't make sense to me. That's what air conditioning is for. Or a shade tree with a lovely breeze.  There are no shade trees at the beach. The idea of sitting, standing, walking on a beach all day fills me with the heebie-geebies.
Then there's the whole sand between your toes bit. Yeah...why should I cut my feet to bits with tiny glass shards? Or stub my toe on a jellyfish?
So anyway, Mimi got the bright idea to go dolphin watching. I am on board with watching dolphins. A bonus is seeing a shipwreck. Cool! So Mimi makes arrangements for said boat tour.  Then my baby brudder makes arrangements for a condo near the beach. Still good.
So here we be, on Padre Island for Labor Day weekend to watch dolphins while staying in a condo near the beach. It is only when we gorge ourselves on a Japanese Hibachi dinner that I truly realize the value of beach time. Mi espouso, Myrtle the Younger and I take a quick stroll down to the beach to say we have done so. It was already evening, most of the daytime beach goers were leaving or gone and those left showed me the possibilities I have been missing: evening breeze, warm water, cool sand, beachfront campfires. I'm telling you, this is what noone talks about. I am sold.
The dolphin tour is tomorrow. I'll probably have more to say about that. Maybe I'll have some pictures to post.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Getting There

I thought I was ready. I've always been ready. For the first step. For the first day of kindergarten. For high school graduation. All those firsts you envision for your child, I was ready and cheering the girls on to success.

Yeah, I was the mom whose child crawled into the nursery like she owned it (she actually thought she did; it was the church nursery and she called it "my school"). I was the mom proudly watching my daughter walk into kindergarten while the mom next to me sobbed. I turned to the poor woman and said, "They're okay, let's go grab the donuts." (The school was kind enough to offer breakfast and reassurances for grieving parental units.)

There was something exciting about watching the girls move forward in life, meeting goals (required and desired), figuring out who they are and what they want to do. Sure there were things that could have gone better, mistakes were made. We got through and learned from each experience. I couldn't wait to see what was next.

I will admit to not being ready for the hardest part: letting go.

Friday morning, Myrtle the eldest, with a car stuffed the rafters, left for Georgia to follow her dreams. Georgia. As in a long freaking way away from Texas. Sure I sent the girls on mission trips, choir tours, band trips, and let them travel  God's green earth with family and friends. In fact, both girls have been places I have never been and don't expect to see in my lifetime. That was my plan: allow the girls to think of the world as their backyard. For some reason in my preparations for my children growing up, I never really considered them LEAVING Texas. The backyard is a great place to visit, but I don't want my kids to live there.

I guess this is payback for my lack of sympathy for the kindergarten mom.

Myrtle says she'll be back. Eventually. But it will be different. She'll be married and working as a nurse by then, maybe even have a baby or two, and Myrtle the Younger will be moving on with her life. That's hard to think about right now.

I'll get there. Eventually.

Monday, July 18, 2016

This is Texas

I am cold.

Yes, I live in Texas which typically has summer temperatures ten degrees higher than Hell (and Hell doesn't have the humidity). This week will see the first 100 degree temperature streak BEFORE the heat index.

Here I sit, at 10:22 p.m., on July 18, outside temp of 85 (feels like 91), AC set at whatever setting my hot-natured espouso determines necessary for survival, and sitting under a freaking ceiling fan. I should be comfortable, right? Wrong. I sit here in silent misery wearing a crocheted wrap over a 3/4 sleeve cardigan, sipping hot tea with honey (and just a smidge of Crown Maple). And, as soon as I finish this little rant, I will be putting finishing touches on my next crocheted sweater. For dinner, I made Lima Bean Soup (yum!). I keep extra blankies by my bed just in case the comforter doesn't cut it. They're small ones that cover just me, not the espouso. The dog is rather opposed to those as well this time of year.

I tell you, people, I am cold. I go outside to warm up and stay there until the humidity makes me sweat, then I go in. I can appreciate the AC for about 5 minutes after that, but then I'm done. Do not put any AC vent or fan directly on me or you will lose important body parts. (You would think mi espouso would have figured this out after 32 years. No. He hasn't.)

Now could someone please explain how I can be freezing my keister off in July, when I am perfectly comfortable the rest of the year when the temperatures run in the 70s and 80s? It's a good thing I don't live in Montana, or even the Texas panhandle, for that matter.

Rant over. Blankie calling.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Any Good Parent...

I know, I know...2 posts in 1 week. I just had a startling realization and thought I'd share. The world might just not know what to do with this information. I sure don't know what to do with it, except attempt to rectify the situation ASAP.

There we sat, in the restaurant for Mi Espouso's 50th birthday, having a lovely conversation over dessert with his father and my mother and Myrtle the Younger (Myrtle the Elder is on a friggin' boat to the Bahamas with Uncle KB and his family), when I have the sudden awful realization that I have failed miserably as a parent.

A parent's sole obligation is to teach/share/impart unto their children all the important necessities of life. Correct? I have tried to educate the Myrtles with the essentials and I even thought I had made a decent 'To Do' list: addition, subtraction, basic hygiene, etc. The list included both good and not-so-good life references including learning the words to Bohemian Rhapsody (to be sung off-key at the top of your lungs while Mom is driving) as sung by Queen or the Muppets, memorizing Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and listening to Rock Me Amadeus by Falco. (Hey, I knew the girls would eventually need counseling. I just wanted to ensure they had sufficient reason to fork out good $$ for psychiatric care.)

Alas, I have made the discovery that I left out an important piece of Americana...Beetlejuice (GASP!). Somewhere between Star Wars and Speed Racer, Mi Espouso and I forgot to introduce the girls to that classic piece of bizarreness. What is even more tragic is that Myrtle the Younger actually stated that the main character never appealed to her. (WHAT?!!?)

So there we sit, at the table, reciting scenes and dialogue from Beetlejuice. (No one was looking at us like we were insane, but the waiter returned in record time with the check.) MTY just sat there, wondering why we are her parents. (Because we are the only 2 people on the planet who get the portrait of the green and orange skinned girl with pink hair on the paper tablecloth that MTY drew while eating her pasta, that's why.)

Now I am certain this is not my only omission to the Myrtles education, and, as previously stated, I shall be rectifying the situation ASAP. In the meantime, I am racking my brain for any other errors.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

June was a busy month and July is shaping up to be the same. Yea! If I'm occupado, I can't get into too much trouble...or can I?

So what has T. been up to, you ask. Wellllll...

In June, I participated in a podcast with a friend. Her website is and her podcasts focus on people who take a left-turn after the age of 40, aka The Midlife. She is having inspirational conversations with those who have quite their jobs or altered their existence to pursue their dreams to start a business, perform burlesque show or write a book after reaching midlife. I have to say this is a much better plan for a midlife "crisis" than buying a motorcycle or a sports car (Ooh, look! A Ferrari!) and/or trading in your spouse for a younger/newer model. Sooo... in episode #3, I discuss my journey as an author. Check it out.

Also, as previously hinted at, I pulled the trigger on Book Baby #2.

Ta Da!

Keep Your Eyes On Me. This link is for the ebook, but if you're like me and prefer a physical book, it is available in paperback. If you have an opportunity, please leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads (or both). Reviews are the lifeblood of independent writers and help us reach a larger audience. So please!

If you think I only write my blog when good things happen, you might be somewhat correct. But I'll share something on the less positive side: I've got a doozy of a losing streak going in Words With Friends. I can't get a handful of decent tiles to save my life. So if you want to up your stats, now might be a good time to challenge me to a game.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Little Behind...

I know, I know...I'm a little behind on writing. In my defense, it's been a busy month. I'll make this quick:

Myrtle the Elder graduated with her associates degree in May. Later this summer she plans to move to Georgia and go to nursing school. Why Georgia, you ask? That be where the fiance be. Assuming the army keeps him there. We have no idea. Stay tuned.

The wedding?  Inquiring minds want to know. That's on hold for a year or two. Yea! Maybe by then I'll have lost a few more pounds and can rock the Mother of the Bride dress. I really don't want to look like a Mother of the Bride. That would be bad.

Myrtle the Younger graduated high school last week, along with 1542 of her nearest and dearest friends. The ceremony took nearly 3 hours. Yes, my butt was numb. The things we do for our children.

Family trekked in to sit through the event so we had a lovely weekend. Mi espouso took The Nephew fishing at the local hole. The fishing kid caught about a 1/2 pound bass. The rest caught a variety of perch and sunfish. No one got sunburned. Yea!

Last, but not least, I revealed the title, cover and blurb for book 2. Myrtle the Younger did the cover art again. Here they be:

Mitch Monzingo thought he made all the right decisions: leave small town Texas for the bright lights of Los Angeles, answer the seductive lure of Hollywood, and support his family back home. Stunning success should be enough to make everyone proud, including the girl he reluctantly left behind.
Abandoned by her high school crush and best friend following one perfect night, Dora Therrell fought to make her dreams come true. After years of hardship and secrets, with a best-selling novel, she has finally achieved the success which leads to security.
A desire to please confronts the need to protect when a chance encounter thrusts Mitch and Dora together again. It is up to self-proclaimed matchmaker, Faye Santiago, and respected psychologist, Annabelle Joshua, to tackle the secrets and demons which separate Mitch and Dora from true happiness.

Anyway, back to editing. The next post will probably announce the publication of KYEOM. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New Career Path?

First off, allow me to state that I am not currently in my most lucid state of consciousness. Sans mind-altering substances. It happens.

I would also like to state in my defense that I make every attempt to be a model parent. And I am pleased to humbly report that The Myrtles assure me (without much bribery on my part) that I am successful to a degree of minimal standards established by someone, somewhere and somewhen (I know it's not a word but see sentence #1).

By my definition of model parent, I have endeavored to be involved in The Myrtles activities as warranted. My philosophy is/was that if my children wanted to participate in an activity, then I should step up and help make it happen. Need a field trip chaperone? I can take a day or two off work. Children's Choir leader? Ok. Destination Imagination Manager or judge? Count me in. Need a female youth counselor? Sure. Blackjack dealer? Okie dokie.

Wait! What? You heard correctly. (Hence the reason for sentence #1.)

In case you haven't realized, Myrtle the Younger is a senior in high school this year and is having the time of her life and has been plotting and planning one of the biggest events of the year for several months. Yes, Folks, we are talking about Prom.

Ain't she pretty? (Those are the Hot Mess Shoes, by the way, so dubbed by the color and the height of the heel. Apparently they remained on her feet until she got inside the door of the event center. Why did we bother?)

Anyway...Our high school has what is known as After Prom. At some point in time, some parents got together and decided they didn't want their precious darlings going to parties for the usual, questionable, after prom activities with equally questionable supervision. So they came up with After Prom. Rumor has it that the kids look forward to After Prom as much, if not more than, Prom itself. Why, you ask? Inflatables! Door prizes! Games! Running amok with friends all freaking night! And the piece de la resistance (sorry, I don't know how to make the accents happen)-Dun-dun-dun!-the Casino! Yes friends, Let's teach our budding adults how to gamble in the sacred halls of public academia. Who says schools aren't teaching real-life, practical skills?

As with most children's activities, volunteers are necessary to make the night successful. That's where I come in. As with Myrtle the Elder's prom, I got roped into being a Blackjack dealer again. It's wasn't a bad gig 2 years ago. I sat at my little table all night, chatting with the lovelies while pretending to be able to count to 21, before leaving to crash in my little bed.

That be what I expected for last night. I be so very wrong.

Here was my "office" from 11 pm until after 4 am this morning. Notice something? Anything? Yeah. No stool. This THERAPIST stood on her feet for 5 solid hours with no break, dealing blackjack, then helped tear down, before finally getting home around 5:30 am. Needless to say my neck, back, arms, legs and other parts of my carcass are back-talking LOUDLY. To add insult to injury, my FitBit thingie only registered about 500 steps for the whole night. (#%$%&&*&*!!!!!!)

Now I will give myself a pat on the back: I did manage to stay sane and friendly throughout the evening (I only had to tell the supervising Pit Boss to get lost once) and I managed to count each hand with relative accuracy (although determining the winning hand between 20 and 21 took a few extra brain cells). I even spoke to the kids at my table and figured out that they might be human after all. Who knew?

After all was said and done, the evening was fun. The question innocently arose if I might consider moon-lighting as a blackjack dealer. (Hysterical giggles and hyperventilation galore.)

Uh. No.

G'Night, all (it's 2pm).


Sunday, April 10, 2016

I Love This!

Yesterday was awesome!

I held my first official book signing in front of The Book Gallery in McKinney, Texas. A friend is the owner and he specializes in rare and antique books. I'll come back to that in a minute.

Downtown McKinney is a lovely, historic square with old buildings and a great courthouse. The town powers close off the square once in a while to host festivals like Oktoberfest and Arts in Bloom. The latter occurred yesterday, so I was surrounded by artists, live jazz, and some of the best BBQ I've ever eaten (and that's saying something, y'all!). While I enjoy wandering around art festivals and would have loved to peruse the Texas Wine Garden or watch the beef grilling demo/tasting, I was working my little table so I didn't get out much. I did send family and friends out and about and lived vicariously through them.

Mi espouso was firmly ordered to attend part of the grilling demo. (It was a hint. A big hint. Grilling season is here. Me no cook. Comprende?) Instead of coming back with motivation and recipes, he returned with his eyes rolled back in his sucker-shaped head. Apparently there is a rare cut of steak from around the rib-eye called the spinatus or some-such, and the taste was orgasmic. At $26.99 a pound! In the words of my great-great-uncle Bunkie, "By God, it oughta!" (I couldn't tell you what Bunk's real name was, we all just called him Uncle Bunkie. I don't know why either.) Anyway, if my beloved behaves himself, he might get one for his birthday (and I do mean MIGHT 'cause $27 is outside the birthday budget). If I remember. Someone better mark a calendar and remind me, cause methinks I have to order that bad-beef-boy ahead of time.

Back at The Book Gallery, the book restorer guy was there and he does some fantastic work. He showed me a 1753 (?ish?) copy of Milton's Paradise Regained that he restored. Amazing and gorgeous! The fact that he found the book, sans cover, for $3 was pretty cool too. This guy also makes journals. All of them are made of leather and exotic papers. Some had Roman coins embedded in the cover. (Have I mentioned I love handmade, artistic stuff?)

Mimi bought me this as a 1st Book Signing Gift (Merci beaucoup, Mimi!). It was one I drooled over. I don't know who the Egyptian guy is but I think he might be Horus or one of Horus's goonies. The falcon over his head is a Horus symbol. (I think-me being an Egyptologist-NOT!) The trim is green leather and the restorer guy hand-sews the page binding. I didn't know there were different styles but he showed me about ten which he practices. He mentioned something about single-stitching versus double-stitching. This is double. (I think) No wonder old books hold up so well over hundreds of years. Paperbacks? Not happening.

 All I know is that I've got a pretty cool journal that I do not want to mess up with my ramblings. Anyway, if you need a different kind of gift for a journal-y, write-y or sketch-y (or sketchy) type person, call The Book Gallery and ask Jim about the journals or any old books you might be hunting for.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Late Blooming

If I followed family tradition, I would be a pilot, gardener, musician and visual artist to name a few. Despite many opportunities and attempts over the years, my genetics are suspiciously absent when it comes to some important aspects to my family history. Or maybe I'm just a late bloomer.
should be a 4th generation pilot. I think my grandfather ruined that for me when I was 3 weeks old and decided to get the noisiest plane he could find to transport my mother and me from Lubbock to Killeen for the holidays. I paid them dearly for that effort; I screamed the entire way. When my grandmother (an FAA inspector) was teaching my brother to fly, she took me up "just to see" if I had any interest. My response? You guessed it. Poor woman never let me live it down.
Gardening? How simple is that? Anyone can make a simple garden. Ha! I kill cactus, people. Literally but not intentionally. Despite coming from generations of gardening experts, including my father's relatively recent Master Gardener designation, I can't keep anything alive. I've tried (and I do mean try) herbs, terrariums, pots, succulents with nary an ounce of luck. If they do survive longer than a month or two, the poor plants are decidedly unhealthy and do all sorts of weird stuff like leak sap all over the place.
Music and Art? My lack of talent is not from lack of opportunity or encouragement. My mother and her brother are professional musicians. Both grandmothers, a great-grandmother, my uncle and brother are/were fantastic painters. I even married a creative and had 2 artistically/musically-inclined daughters. After studying piano and singing for most of my life, I can read the notes and have a good ear, but I can't keep a rhythm to save my life. Tagging along to painting sessions and attending art lessons did not teach me how to draw a stick figure. Harrumph!
For some mysterious reason, I feel the tides changing. For better or worse remains to be seen. Last night, my cousin arranged a painting class for us to celebrate our grandmother's 105th birthday. Luckily we had wine and the instructor was good enough to say, "Put a square here." I could do that! Hallelujah!
So after two hours of step-by-step instruction, here is the my interpretation of Cezanne:
Yeah, me! I might actually try this again. Please don't send me a plant as congratulations, though. I've committed enough herbal and floral homicide as it is.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Bursting with Pride

SXSW, better know as South by Southwest Music and Film Festival is an international event held in Austin, Texas. This year I had the opportunity to go for the sole purpose of watching my daughter (and cover artist) and her high school animation team screen their animation short, Out of Reach. Their's was one of 24 short films (of which 3 were animated) chosen out of who-knows-how-many to be screened and juried. A second team from her high school was also selected for their animated short, Goin' Nuts. We will find out a winner on Tuesday evening.
High school students can come up with interesting (and dark) material to compete with anything a twisted adult can dream up. Maybe more so. Most of the shorts involved disturbing subject matter: cutting, shooting, throats cut, child abuse, kidnapping, torture, to mention a few off the top of my head. Weird, blood-letting videos aside, there were several redeeming and "pretty" films that I understood and enjoyed. There was one music rap video which I actually understood enough to enjoy. A few shorts were PSA or documentary material including one amazing video by an autistic boy on what it is like to be autistic (He said his mother made him do it. Go Mom!). I happened to sit directly in front of the 3 jurors and overhear some of their comments. The only comments I paid attention to were regarding our 2 teams.
Out of Reach earned several laughs and giggles from the audience and jurors, with a final collective comment of "Wow" from the judges. Goin' Nuts got a resounding "That was nice" from one juror with agreement from the other 2. (YES!!)
Now, I do not care if either team wins the prize, in fact it is unlikely when compared to some of the live action shorts presented. I understand and do not envy the jurors decision-making to choose an overall winner. The fact that these 2 talented teams were selected for this prestigious event is a fine addition to a respectable portfolio or resume any day.
A mama was never more proud of her baby. I can't wait to see what Myrtle Sue comes up with next.