Fall Crops

The garden is coming along nicely!



Halloween fell on a Tuesday this year, which is the day I do volunteer work.  We decided that those of us who wanted to dress up would, and we would all bring food. I wasn’t sure what to do for a costume because I didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  I stopped in at my favorite thrift store and they had a scrub top that had “Day of the Dead” icons on it.  I already had some leggings with skeletons on them from a previous costume so I bought the scrub top and settled on “zombie doctor” or some such thing.  It was kind of a hodge podge of a costume and I am not sure it really worked but it was pretty funny. I ordered some face tattoos and some day of the dead earrings and a toy stethoscope to complete my random outfit.  Although the scrub top was big on me and covered my rear, I figured I didn’t want to be inappropriate at a social service agency so I wore a skirt over the leggings.  The best part was teasing my hair up in a crazy manner and hair-spraying it into place.  The face tattoos were kind of an ordeal and I didn’t use as many as I thought I would. I went in to work and everyone was cracking up at the sight.  Some of our clients were a little taken aback and one of the older male volunteers told me he just thought that’s how I came to work that day. LOL Gabriele was the only other one who dressed up but we had  a lot of fun and a bunch of goodies to eat.

I left my costume on and we went over to Sarah’s to see the kids before they went trick or treating.  They thought I was crazy and cracked up over my look, especially the hair.  Elle and her girlfriends were all going as a “Pickle Squad” and Sarah was not sure where they even came up with that idea but all ordered T-shirts and hats to wear.  Jack was a “baby dill” and Beck, of course, had to be Captain Underpants.  They were really cute and had a good time with their friends while Rich and I went home to hand out candy.  Sadly, we did not have too many trick or treaters this year.

Bonnie posted this picture of her kids, who went as Harry Potter, Hermione, and Hedwig.  Bonnie’s sister in law’s mom helped her make the Hedwig costume for Ada–it was pretty involved!



Weekend Update

We’ve been having some beautiful fall-ish weather in Dallas.  Of course, who knows if it will last.  It could be 90 again tomorrow (I didn’t bother to check the forecast). Rich has been busy doing lots of yard work and fixing things up outside.  Ajax and I hung out on the front porch “spotting” Rich in case he fell off the ladder with the power trimmer in his hand. Thankfully he did not.  🙂

Grandson Jack came over for an hour yesterday morning while his mom volunteered at the kids’ school and dad went to work.  We had a nice visit and then I took him to his preschool.  Did a little shopping to spruce up our apartment before some friends come to visit from out of state on Monday.  Had a coupon from Nothing Bundt Cakes–buy one bundlet, get another free, so of course I had to stop by and get a red velvet for Rich and a lemon for me. I thought I was getting the mini bundts that are kinda like cupcakes but these were actually small cakes.  Dessert after dinner!

I’m a little obsessed with all of the horrible news lately.  Hurricanes and fires and people suffering in too many places in the world.  Our ridiculous president and his responses to those disasters.  Should I say his disastrous responses to those disasters? Mass killings and yet the NRA and the administration pursue the “more guns, all the better” philosophy.  Dismantling the Affordable Care Act, which Rich and I rely on at the moment.  Doing away with subsidies for health insurance, which we again rely upon.  Thinking about canceling the Iran agreement.  Inept and incapable appointees at every cabinet department. Honestly, how can anyone support these f-ing morons? I wish Tillerson would just admit that’s what he said and be done with it.  Despicable Harvey Weinstein is finally confronted publicly and once again the floodgates open with more and more women telling their stories. I am so sick of (mainly) old white men who think they are entitled to do and say anything they want to women. Every woman I know has encountered these guys throughout our lives.  Isn’t it time for it to end?

With that in mind, read on and try not to be too despondent.  Yes, I am in a mood.  🙂

Higher premiums predicted for people who supported Trump.

This.  I really don’t get it.

Sociopathic baby men. 

It’s The Onion but it rings true.

Okay, a feel good story. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a national treasure.

I’m impressed with these local folks in the American Black Cross. 

Allrighty, have a lovely weekend, all. Get up, stand up, resist.



Pumpkin Time

We went over to Sarah and Miles’ the other day when the kids were off school for Columbus Day  Indigenous Peoples’ Day and had a big time painting and carving pumpkins for Halloween.  Well, Rich was the only carver and just did one this year, a Lego person’s face for Beck.  It took the whole time that the rest of us were painting so we didn’t make him do another one. 🙂  Sarah had looked up lots of ideas on Pinterest and we went to town trying to duplicate the ones the kids liked best.  Of course, the hands down favorite was Captain Underpants.  🙂

We’re pretty proud of our creations!


My New Jersey Home

I am not sure if I can technically claim New Jersey as home.  I have only lived in the state a few times in my life: as a baby, as a high schooler for two years, and as a graduate student for two years. But both of my parents are from NJ and although my dad was in the Air Force, which took us all over the world, this is the place we always returned.  My mom has lived in a little town called Laurel Springs since my dad died in 1973.  This is the same town where she grew up and where my grandparents lived most of their adult lives. I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins in the area, though the number is dwindling by the day.  I’m at that age, unfortunately, where the “older generation” is quickly aging and I’ve lost some cousins as well, sad to say.  Although I am not sure I could ever live in New Jersey again, there’s something about driving across the Walt Whitman Bridge in Philadelphia to “the Jersey side” that always feels like a homecoming.  Some of my earliest memories are here: sleeping in little cots at my Grandmom and Grandpop’s house, watching my dad drink beer and play shuffleboard at the neighborhood tavern, family reunions, the sea breeze “down the shore,” the smell of a deli as I walk in the door, that distinctive Jersey accent.  My brother and I were recently reading an interview with Bruce Springsteen (yes, of course we are fans!) where he used the word “Grandmom” and it made me really happy.  It’s such a NJ name. Well, maybe East coast in general, I am not sure, but I claim it for NJ.  In fact, maybe I should have taught my grandkids to call me “Grandmom” just to continue the link back to the old home town.

Several months ago my sister and I booked a sale flight from Austin to Philly so we could spend a week with our mom.  The sale did not include Dallas, so my sister was nice enough to come to visit us for a couple of days before the trip even though she lives in San Antonio, much closet to Austin.  We had a good visit here, dinner out with Sarah and Miles, an easy drive to Austin, left her car at off-airport parking, and flew on to Philly.  We got in late at night so my cousin Tim picked us up and dropped us at Mom’s.  Coincidentally, my brother Joe and his wife Denise were also coming in a couple of days later and stayed the duration of our visit before leaving for a wedding in SC.  It is unusual for all four of us siblings to be in the same place at the same time (our other brother lives in NJ not far from Mom) so we had a good time hanging out and catching up.

The week flew by and we did not see as many people as we usually do but managed to squeeze in quite a few activities including pedicures, massages, enjoyed “Victoria and Abdul” at the movie theater, took a few drives, spit in tubes to send off our DNA to ancestry.com, did some research on our family tree on both sides, went to find our Grandpop Rice’s grave which we’d never seen and found an aunt and uncle at the same spot.  Saw a few cousins and two aunts, went out for a family dinner with all my sibs, niece, nephew, Mom and aunt, had lots of good talks and big laughs, reminisced, brought home some children’s books from my childhood, ate several hoagies, frozen custard, fudge from the shore and local pizza (can’t be beat).  I was happy to have some time with Mom and my sibs and to immerse myself in the Jersey-ness of it all.  In the middle of that, we were shocked by the mass murder in Vegas and the death of Tom Petty–so much sadness in the world and I feel like nothing I say makes a difference these days.

Rich drove to Austin and met us, we dropped Kathi at her car and headed back to Dallas. Sarah and Miles are in Charleston for a little anniversary trip, which is coincidentally where Joe, Denise and their girls and hubbies were going to be so they will see each other there.  That will be fun!

Brought back some hoagie rolls since we seem to have a hard time finding the right kind in Dallas. Yesterday we went to Jimmy’s Deli to get all the fixings and Rich made us some delicious hoagies for lunch. Tomorrow is our group work day in the community garden so we will be there in the AM.  Back to the routine!


Queen of the Thrift Store

We didn’t have a thrift store in Unalaska and I don’t really remember shopping in them in my past life in Abilene.  I do recall going to the Army Surplus store as a teenager to look for bell bottoms and army jackets, though. Oh, those low slung jeans with the wide bells were the coolest!

I’ve been to a few thrift stores here in Dallas, just browsing, mostly, and they were a mess.  I really could hardly stand to be there because there was no rhyme or reason to the set up and I basically had to dig through piles of stuff to find anything.  And then didn’t find anything I wanted! So I figured that was it for me: no thanks! However, I drive past a large thrift store every Tuesday on my way home from volunteer work and thought I’d look around one day. Oh, my goodness!  This store is amazing!  It’s organized!  It’s clean!  No digging! Everything’s labeled!  Clothes are hung on racks by size and color! There’s a big section in the back full of toys and games! It looks like a modest department store.

Now I am a regular.  I have a loyalty card.  I know I get a senior discount on Mondays and Wednesdays. I am thrilled when I walk back in and there are new and different items on the shelves.  They are replenished constantly, thanks to the generosity of Dallas neighbors cleaning out their closets.

Although I have bought a few clothing items, notably some brand new capri pants with tags still on for $2, I mostly head for the kids’ section.  I am stocking our second bedroom with toys, games and puzzles for the grandkids when they come to visit since we literally had nothing for them here.

Here’s what I got on my last trip for a total of $11! Yes, $11!  One game was unopened.  The books were 33 cents each!  I’ve bought quite a few toys, picture frames, knick-knacks for our shelves, baby clothes for a teen mom that my daughter is mentoring, baskets and pots for plants, and more. Why would I ever buy this stuff at a regular store again?

Do you shop in thrift stores?  If so, what’s your best find?



Home again

We met our friends Linda and Martin in Norco, CA on Monday and had a fine brunch at Polly’s Pies (yum) while recounting both of our journeys. They’d been on a different road trip to watch the eclipse from Rigby, Idaho.  We always enjoy them and we stayed longer than we planned because we were having too much fun talking.  🙂  I don’t think we hit the road till 2 PM or maybe later.  Saw lots of windmills along the way and hit 114 degrees on the outside of the car!

After a not-too-long drive, we spent the night in Phoenix but it was late and we didn’t have time to do anything fun or look around. We’ve been there once before but not for long that time either.  Sorry, Phoenix, I’m sure you’re lovely.

The next day we drove back to Texas, stopping at a rest stop in New Mexico that included a monument to the Jefferson Davis Highway, put up by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1955.  Honestly, it threw me!  Why was it there?  Rich and I had a big discussion about whether NM was involved in the Civil War at all, which led to some research online from the car.  Interestingly, NM was still a territory but both the Union and the Confederacy tried to claim it for their side.  A part of NM seceded but most remained with the Union; however, there were actually some skirmishes and battles in the territory. I had no idea (or I’ve forgotten if I learned it long ago).  Then I had to try to find out about the Jefferson Davis Highway, which led me to some information about the historical “auto trails” from the early part of the 20th century.  All very interesting.  Apparently in the early days of the automobile, different individuals and organizations would name portions of roadways to allow the first motorists to find their way more easily. The most famous of these is the Lincoln Highway but the Daughters of the Confederacy attempted to create a transnational roadway named after Jefferson Davis.  It sounds like it never really got completed and was a bit confusing because there were various branches in different states. When the federal government decided to create a public highway system, there was some conflict between the two organizations and the highway department really did not acknowledge the Davis Highway.  Still, the Daughters of the Confederacy put up markers in a variety of places throughout the US.  Also interestingly, the monument at the rest stop was placed in 1955, during the time that these sorts of statues and commemorations were put up to intimidate people of color.  So I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook which led to several comments on both sides about taking it down or “destroying history.”  Thankfully no one was ugly but I really can’t imagine how anyone thinks that there’s a good reason to keep these up.

Later, we stopped outside El Paso for a fine Mexican buffet dinner where the staff were super friendly and quite surprised that we were working our way home to Dallas. It was almost as if no one from out of town ever stopped at their place. 🙂  We decided to keep going to Van Horn for the night so we’d be a little closer to home the next day; after crossing two time zones, it was later in Van Horn than it felt to us but we were still pretty tired.

This morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then hit the road.  Once we hit Interstate 20, I was totally at home and knew all the little stops along the way, having traveled to Pecos and Monahans for a job, lived in Odessa many years ago, consulted in Colorado City, had friends from Big Spring, lived for a long time in Abilene.  In fact, when we got to Abilene, I almost felt like that should be the end of the road but we still had three hours to go.  We didn’t even stop to see our kids in Clyde, since we thought Susan and Corey would be at work and the grands at school. We just kinda slipped on by. Then Susan texted me, “Did you drive through Abilene today?”  We were about an hour out of town when she messaged.  Oops, busted!  Come to find out she was off work.  I felt bad but she did not seem to be annoyed about it.  I had messaged all the girls last night and told them we were going on to Dallas today so I feel like she could have said something about it then if she’d wanted to visit, right??!!  Anyway, we didn’t have much time to stop and were kinda anxious to get home.  It’s all good and we will visit them soon!


Hello, Dallas! We didn’t hit a lot of traffic, thankfully, though we had a few slow downs. Got home a little after 6 and the kitties seemed happy to see us.  The plants are looking pretty good, thanks to our cat sitter.  We unloaded the car, went through the mail, and I have a load of laundry going. Now we are just chillin’ and will get some more work done tomorrow.  Glad to be home but it was an awesome road trip.  So glad we did it!