Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bullets (And Maybe Some Shells)

So I've kept my eye out all day for a theme.  A topic.  A central thought upon which to cogitate.  Elaborate.  Instigate.

Any of the -ates.

But I was, what you might call a wee bit unsuccessful.

So for your reading pleasure (OH I know, my hopes, they are high) I present to you many disparate and mundane thoughts in an easy-to-read bulleted format.

You're welcome.


*Under the heading 'Like I Said This is Pretty Mundane', I offer this bit of trivia:  In the last three days
I've had the opportunity to visit three different WalMart stores.  It's not necessarily with pride that I share this, but rather concern.  These visits have prompted me to CALL MY CONGRESSMAN and ask him to introduce some type of bill/legislation called the NATIONAL WALMART STORE CONSISTENCY BILL  that would require make it a law for all WalMarts everywhere and forever to have exactly the same store layout.

It is stressful enough for anyone to be in one of the WalMarts for three days in a row, much less, sweet mercy, to have to figure out why in store # 3 the Q-tips are not in fact in the same location as stores #1 and/or #2 and why the Fage Yogurt is next to the cheese in stores #1 and #3, yet NOWHERE NEAR THE CHEESE in store #2.

With all my I heart believe this to be a problem of national importance.

And I would not even dislike it if they elected to name the bill after me.


Thank You.


* Driving up to the farm today, I noticed a lot of Firework stands already set up and selling pyrotechnics.  Without releasing absolutely all of my angry let me just say this:

If you live in The Southern United States Currently Wracked By Severe Drought and you are willing to chance the incineration of more homes, acreage, businesses and lives by buying and shooting off fireworks, then by golly I doubt you have sense enough to be trusted even to celebrate with a noisemaker horn and confetti.

Please excuse my language.


*  Continuing on.

When I got here to the farmhouse I was distraught to find 1) 14 scorpions, and 2) THAT THE AIR CONDITIONER WASN'T WORKING.

Taking care of the scorpions was easy enough, but the air conditioner problem proved to be a little tricky.

The Chief will be delighted when he comes up and sees that I have completely rewired the house using only some twist ties, an ice pick and 3 flattened TAB cans.

He always says it brings SUCH JOY TO HIS HEART when I take care of the electrical problems in my special way.


*The Chief asked me to put out some feed for the cows when I got here.

It was HOT when I arrived.  So hot, in fact, that I felt sure my ability to run at an adequate speed( without expiring) to escape the
the stampede that always begins soon after they hear the rustle of a feed sack would be compromised.

Albeit, my ability to run at any speed is fairly compromised no matter the temperature.

I also realized that to get The Mule out of the barn I have to first start, then remember how to drive, all manner of tractors, balers, mowers, etc...just to squeeze The Mule out.



So.  In conclusion.  I do  hope the cows are still hungry in the morning.

Lu

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

Hey There, Hi, and Hello.

Well you may have noticed the new Spiffy! Blue! Banner! at the top of the blog.  I'm just thrilled to pieces that I have been invited to join a network of blogs called BlogHer.  Nothing much will change around here, except you may see an ad or two for a family friendly product over on the sidebar in a month or two, and you will eventually see some links to other blogs in the network.

I assure you everything is on the up and up, and clicking on links from BlogHer will not give you a virus and certainly, Mercy Sakes, nothing bacterial.

I think it's going to be exciting.

Just two other quick little things:




1.  Here's a picture of the "BOW!".  It's really a Vitamix (The Culinary Institute of America Model).  So many of you asked why I didn't post a picture in the first place.  Well, we're all friends here aren't we?  I didn't want to sound, you know, boastful or anything.  Now some of you may laugh and say "Well, Lu, I can see if maybe if it was a Bentley, or a fur coat, or like a diamond or something..."
But I was always taught not to flaunt your new things.  "Never flaunt your blender". I was told.  It's not nice.
But I want everyone to know that I WILL get my money's worth out of it.  As a matter of fact when The Chief gets back into town, he'll be excited and pleased to learn that I've switched him to an "all pureed" diet.

The Chief loves it when I do stuff like that.


2)  This is a Stargazer Lily.


I just took this photo a few minutes ago.  It is beautiful, isn't it.

Well here's something you may not know.  (And keep in mind I was a Biology teacher so I think this stuff is important).

You see those long filaments with the dark knobs on the ends?  Those are the stamen, and on the anther (the knobby part) you'll find the pollen.  We all know pollen, right?

Well, this afternoon I was removing some of the blooms that were, let's say, spent.  I re-cut the stems and placed the remaining blooms in fresh water.

Then I went to Wal-Mart.  As I walked in the door of the store I noticed that lots of spots on my hand were kind of fluorescent yellow.  You know, kind of like I had rubbed a School Bus on my hands, or taken a bath with an old school highlighter...  (And by the way, can you believe the vast array of colors that highlighters come in now?  Seriously, I think my GPA in college would have been no less that a 4.0 if I had that many colors at my disposal.)  But anyway, my hands were all kinds of bright yellow and I couldn't rub it off.  I kind of chuckled and went on about my business and thought that all the stares I got as I walked through the store were just because I was rockin' a nice new pinky-red shirt.

Until I got back in my car and started to back out of my parking place and looked in the rearview mirror.

I had apparently rubbed the School Bus all over my face.

All over.

There was even a clump of still intact pollen on my left cheek.  A pretty large clump.

Anyway, kudos to the cashier for keeping a straight face when she rang up my purchases.

And lesson learned: Check a mirror before venturing out into The Public.

Lu

Humiliation.  It keeps me humble.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bring It To Me. I Will Blend It.

I'm not a big spender.  I'm not.

Really.

Which is my fancy intro into the following story about how I have CLEARLY spent too much on something.

I haven't had a functional blender in over three years.  (I first typed functional bladder by mistake)  but that's another story for another time.  Yes, I've been without the ability to puree anything for a while now.  I do have, you'll remember from another post, one of those immersion blender thing-y's, but I'm telling you right now, and with all sincerity, those things are dangerous and should be illegal.  It would be safer for you to be in a room with me and some guns and shells (OH I know some of them use bullets, but I can never keep it all straight) than with an immersion blender and some meringue.

So anyway, I've limped along lo these many years blenderless, and by golly, think I've done a pretty good job of holding myself together about it.

But it's summer y'all.  Blender Season.  And I decided last week that I was just gonna bite the bullet/shell, so to speak, and buy one.

Since about 2001 I've been enamored/infatuated with a particular type of blender that let's just call the Blender O'Wonder (or BOW! for short).  I first saw it demonstrated at a gourmet foods show and decided then and there that someday, somehow, one of those things was destined to sit on my countertop.
Hallelujah and Amen.

Well, the price, y'all.  It was hefty.  Even for me who can so cleverly justify (in my mind, of course) the purchase of almost anything cooking/kitchen related.  So I have put it off all these years feeling all sacrificial and proud sometimes about my ability to withstand the urge.  And the urge, at times, IT HAS BEEN STRONG.

BUT.
And again I say for emphasis, BUT.

A glorious thing happened. I happened to be wandering through a large housewares store recently where I was looking at the Tervis Tumblers (and OH MY GOODNESS SAKES, if you don't have any PLEASE REMEDY THIS OVERSIGHT SOON) and I stumbled upon the BOW!  Yes, the BOW! was offered up for sale at this large housewares store THAT SENDS OUT 20% OFF COUPONS ON A REGULAR BASIS.  And I had an epiphany y'all.  I could get 20% off the BOW! with one of those coupons that was sitting quietly in my home next to the church bulletins and the magazine renewal things that I never remember to send in.

Well, this was a delightful turn of events, and if I may say so A BRILLIANT IDEA ON MY PART.

I told The Chief about my plan that evening.  And of course, he was JUST AS THRILLED AS I WAS.

Except, not really.

So I pulled this old one out of my arsenal "Look Mr. Chief Man, how much did you pay for your Big Tractor?"  "Huh"?

And The Chief very calmly replied "Lu, Can your blender mow the pasture"?


Well, no.  No it can't.

But it can make Frozen Strawberry Lemonade.  So there.

Welcome to Logic Land.  I'm Lu.  Your host.


Anyway, The Chief left to go out of town and that is when I do my best logic-type work.
I put it off for a few days, and then caved.  I dug out my coupon and quickly checked the expiration date (because although some of the checkers don't care, occasionally you'll get a STRICT RULE FOLLOWER), and I did not want a glitch.  But what do I spy there at the bottom of the coupon?  A list of all the items that you can't use the coupon for.  And right there near the end of the list?  The BOW!

Defeated.  That's what I was.  It was a punch in the stomach, to say the least.

I told The Chief about it on the phone that evening.  "Well, that's too bad Lu.  It looks like if you really want it you're going to have to pay full price..."

And darn it, if that didn't sound like some REAL SPOUSAL SUPPORT  to me.

So the very next day, I marched myself into that store, picked up the one remaining BOW!, placed it in my cart and sashayed myself right up to the register.

The cashier was a young girl, and she looked so sweet, and at this point the guilt was kind of setting in that I was actually, you know, BUYING IT, and so I felt led to tell her the long story about how I thought I could use the coupon and got so excited, then realized I couldn't and was so sad, and then just decided to go ahead and risk The Chief, you know, never speaking to me again and all, and she looked at me and said (probably out of fear that I was medicated and had a weapon of some sort)  "Ma'am, if you have your coupon with you, let's go ahead and try it."

To which I replied,  "But I don't think it will work."

And the PRECIOUS CASHIER ANGEL swiped my coupon anyway and it worked.

It was obviously deemed and written in my life story from the beginning.

And I tried not to make a big scene when I crawled across the check- out counter to hug her neck.

Nor did I wet myself when the alarm went off when I pushed my cart out the door.  But it was close.

I thought surely the alarm KNEW I was not supposed to get the discount.  I tried not to stop breathing when the manager came over and determined that the only trouble was one of the security tag things
that the CASHIER FROM HEAVEN had forgotten to remove.  And I really worked hard to not sweat profusely when he checked my receipt.

And I thought it might look a little strange if I actually skipped across the parking lot to my car, so I didn't.

But I wanted to.


So, the next time you are in need of blending, frappe'-ing or whathaveyou, I'm your girl.

And if by chance in the next few years they come out with a hay baler/post hole digger attachment?

I'm golden.

Lu

Monday, June 27, 2011

My New York Crush.



I fell in love with New York City years ago.  

I'll never forget my first trip there.  I went all alone for a conference, flew into La Guardia late at night, took a cab to Manhattan and checked into my hotel on Broadway.

I was smitten I tell you.  The sights.  The sounds!  The smells.  The people.  The ENERGY.

I've been back there many times since, but nothing will ever match the thrill of that first visit.  The week before I arrived, the Yankees won the World Series, and by golly if one afternoon I didn't look out my hotel window which overlooked Broadway and say "By ding,  I BELIEVE THAT IS A TICKER TAPE PARADE OUT THERE."  

Yep, I had a front row, Times Square view of the whole thing.  
And to think.  I didn't have a camera with me then.  Now, Weegie can't even scratch without me taking a picture. The times, they do change.

I wouldn't want to live there - I am, after all, very SOUTHERN and TEXAN, y'all.  
But as a vacation destination?  Oh, yes Thank You Ma'am.

I especially love the passion that the New Yorkers have for their regional food specialties.  I mean, they have their way of doing things, Bless Their Hearts, and their way is the RIGHT WAY.  And really, there's not a lot of difference between this passion of theirs and the passion that we southerners have for our chili (no beans please) chicken fried steak (crispy crust, tender inside) or our sweet tea.

Right, y'all?

I got the biggest kick out of visiting all the delis and bakeries and learning as much as I could about the cheesecakes, the black and whites, the bagels, and other local favorites.


I quickly became enamored with the quintessential New York coffee cake, The New York Crumb Cake.

It must be tender.  It must be moist.  And most importantly the ratio of crumb to cake must be about 50/50.  The crumbs should be BIG.  No wimpy crumbs allowed.  

The New Yorkers.  They are not a wimpy people. 

Here's my favorite recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 13x9" pan.



1.  Make the crumb topping:  Stir together 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 t. salt, and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Add two sticks melted butter. Stir until combined.  Fold in 2 1/2 cups flour until the flour is absorbed.  At this point I like to spread it out on a sheet pan to let it dry a little into nice big crumbs.


Set the crumb mixture aside.

2.  Make the cake: Sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Set this aside.

In an electric mixer cream 1 1/2 sticks of butter until smooth.


Scrape down the bowl and add 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Beat until fluffy.


Exhibit A:  Fluffiness

Now add 2 large eggs, one at a time and beat until incorporated.


 Scrape down the bowl and beat about 1 minute longer.

Add 1 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 tsp. pure vanilla and beat until just mixed.



Lastly, add the dry ingredients in three parts, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently.  Beat just until the dry ingredients are incorporated.


 Spread the batter in the pan.  It's thick. Use whatever means necessary to get it where you want it.
Take charge of the batter.



Sprinkle on the crumb topping.



Try to cover it evenly, but this may be difficult if you've been snacking on the crumb topping... but I have never, ever done this.  Never.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.  Turn the pan in the oven a couple of times during baking to encourage even browning.

Woo Hoo for even browning.




Now, enjoy it for breakfast with a little light reading...


Or some other time with no reading at all.

Happy Monday Y'all.

Lu

Friday, June 24, 2011

I Do Admit, It's Pretty Random

Yesterday The Chief and I had planned hoped for a "Big Day O'Fun". But between lingering exhaustion from the events of the last few months and what The Chief described as "Ongoing Multiple Train Wrecks" that he was having to deal with via phone and e-mail for work, we ended up just basically driving through some back country roads and occasionally pulling over when he could get good cell service so that he could discuss all the offshore issues.  I looked at a Texas map a lot, and tried not to fall asleep in the passenger seat.

We are nothing if not PROBABLY THE MOST EXCITING PEOPLE YOU WILL EVER MEET.

One day soon I'm going to do a post in which I list all the offshore oil production lingo that I have heard bandied about the last oh so many years and then tell you what I believe to be the definition of each one.  I think you will all enjoy it.

I did have quite a bit of time to just think, and of course, as things usually go, I ended up on food and cooking.  More specifically how much I've missed cooking on a regular basis over the last few months. I was also reminded of a little survey thing-y that one of my food bloggy friends sent me...

Let's see...

My favorite seafood?
This is going to sound very Texan.  Fried catfish.  Thin.  Crispy.  Non-fishy tasting.  With a spicy remoulade-type sauce for dipping. I also love the fried clam strips from Red Robin. The Chief describes them as "fried wads of chewed gum". It hurts me.
I like shrimp too.  And scallops.  Grilled.  I love Red Snapper lightly crusted and sauteed with a lemon caper sauce.
I do love food from the sea.  Or river. Or I suppose in the case of crawfish, the ditch.
I remember in High School my boyfriend and I used to go to a place called Captain's Cove on Friday nights.  All seafood.  And I'm now sure, all frozen, processed and probably from a box.  But I'm telling you I thought we were really uptown and adventurous, you know?


My least favorite flavors?
Licorice.  Fennel.  Anise.  No ma'am.

My Favorite seasonings?  Uh, really?
I'll go with sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper.  OH.  And just as a public service I should tell you that the other night a piece of coarsely ground black pepper that originally started out between my two front teeth somehow escaped the dental floss and migrated right up underneath the gum over my front tooth where it remains today.
The Chief does not seem at all concerned about this disturbing turn of events.  I will keep you updated.

My favorite dessert?
Well, this kind of just makes me laugh, because well, you know.  I would probably go with  layers and berries and cream and then more layers. And maybe some more cream. Topped with a berry.

The Very Best Food I ever ate?
Hands down the Snickers Brownie Ice Cream Bar and Jumbo Lemonade I had from the convenience store after I QUITE HONESTLY NEARLY DIED AFTER THAT HIKE IN YELLOWSTONE.  Nothing has ever tasted that good to me.  Ever.

Perhaps at a later date I can delight you with more of the survey questions and answers.  Yes, I will DAZZLE YOUR MIND.

For now, I think I will compile all my oil drilling/production knowledge and maybe become a wildcatter.
Yes, I said a wildcatter. Like I mentioned earlier, I believe I've absorbed a lot of good information over the years.  I mean really, how hard can it be?

I think I need a drill, a pipe of some sort, and maybe a little baling wire.  OH. And a boat.

I'm looking for investors. Anyone game?

Lu

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Is There Nothing He Can't Do?

When my nephew, Wes, bought some kayaks and brought them down to the farm I was well, horrified.  I watch TV.  I've seen what kayaks can do.  They're death traps, the kayaks...

I had visions of myself (or people I love) with one of those things cinched tightly around their waist and promptly flipping upside down in the water.

Trapped.  Helpless.  Floundering.

But I was wrong.  They're not awful.  These are the not the kind that you cinch around your waist with a "skirt", and you don't really need a crash helmet unless of course, you plan to propel yourself into some dead trees.

The Chief and my oldest son Ben decided to take them out for a spin Saturday evening.  They drove down the hill with the kayaks in the back of the truck - I told them I'd drive The Mule down in a "minute or two" to sit with Weegie and watch them.  I had some cleaning to do in the kitchen.

 By the time I finished my "cleaning", or more accurately, when I finished watching an titillating re-run of Cupcake Wars, and drove down the hill, they were already well across the lake

No Weegie on shore..

Anyway, apparently when they put the kayaks in, The Weege refused to be left behind and swam out so far that The Chief had no other option than to pull him into the kayak.

The whole spectacle drew quite a crowd.

Disturbingly, the buzzards were out in full force.  Circling.  Hovering. Watching.

 While waiting for the kayakers to get back I noticed that the pelicans had all climbed onto a fallen tree and strategically turned their backs on me.
They continue to shun me.
They're shunners.

Here they come. Notice The Weege.

To be nautically correct, I believe Weege has stationed himself in the bow.

"Yo Mom!  Or should I say Yoeman? Oh I crack myself up."

"Pull 'er in Chief."

"Closer Chief, I don't want to get my feet wet."

"Careful Big Guy, you're rocking the boat."

"Just a bit further, Chief.  Over there by Ben looks good."

"I don't know, it still looks kind of deep here, pull me in a little closer."


The Chief politely encouraged Weegie's disembarktion (?) by 'gently' tilting the kayak.


"Next time Ben, I get that kayak to myself.  You ride with The Chief.  He wouldn't let me paddle".

The Weege.  Adventurer.  Outdoorsman.  Kayaker.

Until next time,

Lu

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Cannot Fix It

Well hi.

I promised y'all and the entire world of the internet that I would post about "Weegie's Big Kayaking Adventure" today, and darn if I can't get any of the pictures to load on the blog.

Darn.



But you should not despair.  No, please don't.  I will keep working on it.  And although your day probably won't be complete without the story, I feel sure we'll all make it through.

The sad thing is though, I really don't have anything much else to say.  I was hanging my hat, so to speak, on the whole kayaking thing.  Putting all my eggs in that basket, if you will.

So let me think.

Umm.

Well, I suppose I could confess that this morning I decided I didn't want my regular Fage' Greek yogurt so I fired up the stove and made a full batch of Sour Lemon Scones and ate two of them filled with lemon curd and topped with a dollop of raspberry preserves.  And I know you didn't need to know that and probably want to forget now that you DO know that, and I'm sorry.

And I apologize for using the word dollop.  I always get irritated when Martha Stewart says it.

And the only other thing I can think of is that we got our SECOND new mattress to replace the first new mattress and this one (collective sigh) is perfect.  Although last night I did dream continuously that I had tiny creatures crawling out of a cut in my left forearm which may or may not be related to the nasty spider bite that I got at the farm this weekend.  But it's on my right arm.  So I suppose it's completely random and unrelated.

Probably most people dream a lot about insect-type things crawling out of their arms. 


Oh, and the second only other thing I can think of is that I've been contemplating writing a "gripe-y" type post about how people treat the folks that work in Drive-Thru windows but I do not want to offend anyone or get all "soapbox-y" and everything, so maybe I'll put that off.

So OK.  Now that you have completely wasted a good three minutes of your day, please know that I Love Ya!

Lu

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Title Eludes Me

Well, we're home.

Thanks to so many of you for the calls, the messages, the notes, the flowers and mostly the prayers that many of you offered last week when my Dad passed away.  His funeral service was on Saturday, and it was wonderful.

I even had some special friends that made it all the way up for the visitation and the funeral.  I am honored and humbled by your gesture of support and love.  Thank You.


Several of you have been asking for a blog post, and although I'm still kind of exhausted, I do aim to please.

I'm a pleaser, of sorts.

Sunday afternoon when we left the farm to come home we had no idea that wildfires were burning out of control midway on our route.  I suppose it's good to keep up with current events if you can.  Anyhoo, our regular 2 hour trip turned into what I would call a "FIVE AND ONE HALF HOUR SAGA OF EPIC PROPORTIONS".

Here are a few highlights:

* We tested the limits of Weegie's bladder capacity and I'm happy to say IT IS HUGE.

* We were driving both vehicles and since I was following The Chief I memorized his license plate number. In case you ever need it.

* We tested the limits of The Chief's patience.  He may or may not have used his very large truck to deter some motorists who felt they were "special" and did not need to wait in the 2 hour long line to turn around and decided to pass everyone on the right.  He may or may not have. I'm just sayin'.

* We also tested how long I can go without food.  You will be pleased to learn that I am quite capable of making do with the crumbs of whatever I ate from a Dairy Queen drive-thru last week.  I am a wonder.  And although I don't watch Survivor, I feel sure they will be calling me soon.


You will, unfortunately, never hear the other assorted details of the trip because evidently not being able to empty your bladder for over 5 hours after drinking a HUGE Diet Coke during the first 30 minutes of your trip causes some type of toxic build-up that affects one's memory.  I have absolutely no recollection at all of the last two hours.


Check back tomorrow to see photos of Weegie's first Kayaking Lesson.

Glad to be back.

Lu

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Long, Good Life. So Loved.

My Daddy, Alton A. Sims, went to be with His Lord and Savior on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.
My sister and I were so blessed to be with him when he passed away.

He was a character!  The very best character.

Please keep my family in your prayers.

You can read the full obituary here: http://www.groesbeckfuneralhome.com/fh/home/home.cfm?fh_id=11050


Love to you all and Thank You again for all your support the last few months.

Lu

Monday, June 13, 2011

Haiku by Lu. For You. Woo Hoo.



Mischievous small ones.
Silly Momma leaves alone.
Trouble follows. Yes.

Setting fiery orb.
Resting from day's burning work.
Red

nose peeling. Ow.


Braying donkey, yo.
Stubbornness covers me up.
Friend of Weegie dog.


Cows abound.  Good smells.
My perfume of happiness.
Spray me down later.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Am Not One Season

I was just wondering.

Have any of y'all ever had your colors done?

I am CLEARLY dating myself here.  No need for radioactive carbon.

My guess is this is no longer a common practice.  Like the Tupperware party.  I am ever so serious when I ask "What has become of the Tupperware Party?" Are there still Tupperware Ladies?  Or do they forever rest in peace alongside the Avon Ladies?

God Bless their sweet souls.

Back in the 80's it was ALL THE RAGE to go to a party during which an immaculately dressed and coiffed  representative would evaluate your skin, hair and eye color and then politely and forever declare you either a Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter.

And now I shall just cut to the chaseExpose myself as the shallow person I am.

I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to be either a Spring or Summer.  The Four Seasons (not to be confused with the singing group of the same name) were described and illustrated in a lovely brochure which featured photographs of women whose color characteristics fit each "seasonal group".

I'll be honest.  The Springs and Summers were tan and blonde and had blue eyes and looked, sort of, let's say frilly

I wanted to be told I was tan and blonde and frilly.

Instead I was told I was a Fall.

I did not want to be a Fall.  The "Falls" in the brochure leaned toward being red-headed, pale and freckled.  Most of them had green or light brown eyes.  I did not want to wear army green, any hue whatsoever of ORANGE, or gag me, pale gold.  I didn't want to look like an autumnal bookworm.

You see, I've always been a rule-follower of sorts, so for a while I was convinced that once the proclamation was made, I was doomed to a life of looking good only in  fatigues, plaid, or a football jersey from that school in Austin.


And although I'll admit that the little scarves representing the fall colors that she held up to my face did, in a way, look pretty good, I was nonetheless disappointed.

She did explain that I was a little hard to "classify" because my eye color (which she kind of described as a "dull navy blue") didn't particularly fit the typical fall profile since I also had an unusual darker ring around the outside of my iris.
But instead of feeling reassured that  I was "unique" and "speesh-ul", I, of course,  assumed she was trying to tell me I was a HORRIBLE FREAK OF NATURE.

 Sometimes I simply become anxious about things because I make a conscious decision to, you know, NOT USE ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER.

 You might even consider it a little trademark of mine.



You'll be happy to know that over the years I've kinda gotten past the whole "color thing" and just  buy things in colors that I LIKE.  Which makes it easier to keep up my habit of just finding something in a style I like and then buying it in five colors (no matter what their seasonal affiliation) since I LOATHE CLOTHES SHOPPING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

So sometimes I'm summer-y, sometimes I'm fall-y.

I will not be categorized.


Unfortunately, I'll also never be tan.  Or blonde.  Or very frilly for that matter.

Lu

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The ABC'S of Hot

Well.

I was planning to do the ABC's of Summer, but then I realized that really, actually, officially and legally it's not summer yet.
But I DARE YOU to walk outside any time of the night or day around here, stand in the sun (or even the blessed shade) for a while and THEN TRY TO TELL ME AND THE REST OF TEXAS IT'S NOT SUMMER.

Don't even try it.

It could be hazardous to your health.



Anyway, here goes.



Ablaze - I fully expect at any time to look outside and see the ground ablaze.

Burnt - What my skin stays most of the summer.  It's not like I don't try.  I have every type of sunscreen known to man.  But for me it only takes seconds.  I can walk to the mailbox (about 2 driveways down) and then have to rub my entire body in aloe.  I have two nice healthy plants just for such rubbing.

Crispy - see above

Dead-  What all of my beautiful landscaping will be soon.

Extinguisher - we all need one handy.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade from McDonald's - Well, this is just delightful.  Although I have to say you need to avoid sucking the strawberry swirl directly.  It tastes awful by itself.  Like poison.  But it becomes lovely and oh so palatable when mixed correctly with the frozen lemonade part.  I convinced The Chief to drive through the golden arches so we could try one just the other day.  The people in the car in front of us got their FSL quick.  They told us to pull the truck up a bit and they would bring ours out.  Then we watched in the rear view mirror as the next two cars were quickly served theirs...  Eventually someone wandered out with ours.  I feel sure The Chief will never ever go back to McDonald's.  It was illogical, he said.  Inefficient and totally UNACCEPTABLE.

Good Gosh Almighty - It's hot people.

Hydration - I have the worst time trying to drink water.  I know that's awful.  I know that I would be healthier, skinnier, and have more beautiful skin if I did.  I know I should WANT water.  But I don't.  I want TAB and occasionally McDonald's Frozen Strawberry Lemonade.  And please don't bother lecturing me about the fact that obtaining my "water" quota per day from TAB is not the same as drinking it straight.  I know these things.  I am a science teacher.  I even taught Anatomy and Physiology for years.  I do not try to fool myself.

Ice - sometimes I want to sit on it.

Jiggy - It is too hot to get jiggy with anything.  Amen?

Kennebunkport - Let's all go and hang out with the Bushes.  I hear it's cool up there.

Lemons - I have about 30 or more on my tree.  It requires watering three or four times a day.  Since I'm rarely home, chances are I'm going to have to continue to rely on McD's for any lemonade.

Miserable - the HUMIDITY.

Nice- Do you ever find it hard to be your regular, nice self when you feel sure your skin is burning off?

Orange - If I wasn't absolutely convinced (I've seen proof y'all) that I would turn this color, I would get a tan from a bottle.  Or a jar.  Or tube.  Or whatever they usually put the tans in.

Panting - Bless the little Weegster's heart.  He can't stop.

Quiet - Maybe if we're all just really quiet the heat will get bored and go up to Colorado.

Really? - What I say every morning or noon or night when I look at the thermometer.

Summer - June 20th or something??? Right.

Temperature- I will never get over the fact that there are "light sweater sets" for summer in the stores and on-line and such.  I mean do you people realize that there are places in the world, the ACTUAL UNITED STATES where a girl can wear a SWEATER SET in the summer?  Without dying?

(!!)


Uni - This has nothing to do with summer.  It's a type of sea urchin that I just learned about on "Chopped" the other night, and I needed a "U".


Verbena - You know it's too hot when the heat/drought  resistant Verbena begins to scream for mercy.

Weegie - The Chief has been using the Furminator on him.  I cannot begin to describe the amount of hair it has removed.  I have new throw pillows. Not surprisingly, The Weege produces more immediately.  He is a dog hair MACHINE.

X, Y, and Z - Make up your own.  I'm too hot.


Excuse me while I go sit on some "I".

Lu

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Memberships Now Available: Only $100. Application Fee

I'm thinking of starting a club.

I mean, I don't really officially belong to anything club-ish.

There are a lot of groups for ladies around here.  I see them all the time.  They have little write-ups in the paper about their meetings and all their activities and spring/summer soirees and whathaveyou.  They are tan and very well dressed, and like to wear things in the halter-style.
They are pretty easy to spot out in public, like at the mall or the HEB (although I don't think they go to the HEB very much).

Let's see, there's:

1) The Tennis Ladies - Talk about tan, these are the girls.  They all look athletic and lean and wear short tennis skirts and visors.  They always have a few errands to take care of while they are still dressed in their tennis attire.  Surprisingly, they DON'T SWEAT.  Perhaps there is some type of Tennis Lady Antiperspirant that one can get only after joining the group and passing muster and such.

2) The Ladies Who Lunch - These girls are really into sleeveless tops, really spiffy summer sandals highlighted by extremely bright toenails, and great purses.  OH. And they ALWAYS EAT SALAD.
I'm not sure what they find to talk about at their daily lunches, but I am interested to know. 

3) The Super Moms - These ladies spend their summers transporting their kids to week-long camps and daily camps and morning and evening camps.  They enroll the little ones in cotillion and sports and dance at age 3 because this is necessary in order for them to make the baseball/football/dance/volleyball team in High School.
They sacrifice it all for the kids.

Of course, I am much too old for this group.




So, I'm considering my own group.  Here are a few of the membership requirements:


1) You would rather be shot than go into any public building wearing a short tennis skirt.

2) You feel that it is best for society in general if you wear as few sleeveless tops as necessary.

3) You really want to always wear cute-high heeled summer sandals, but your feet hurt a lot, and you REALLY, REALLY would rather just wear your new cushioned walking Nike's everyday.  Forever.

4) You know (without a doubt) that your kids aren't perfect, but you're pretty sure that's why you love them so much.

5) Sometimes you would just rather be by yourself and read a book.

6) You may or may not have eaten Onion Rings and a small bag of M&M's as a meal yesterday.




If you are interested in joining, please send me your application fee. We won't ever actually MEET or anything, because that is too schedule-y.

You'll just be satisfied knowing you're a member.



Now I shall go search out some type of medication for my cynicism. You are welcome to forget you know me.


Lu

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Committing Fowls

With it's abundance of trees and understory brush, the farm is an attractive habitat for all sorts of birds.

The area right around the lake, while of course serving as a water supply, also provides nesting sites for various and sundry winged creatures and is a source of plentiful food.

Large Egrets (a type of Heron) are abundant around the lake. And even though these appear to be body surfing, they're simply wading around in the shallow water keeping an eye out for small fish, frogs, and insects to spear with their sharp bills.

You can always spot several, if not a hundred or more!


In this photo, taken a couple of months ago, you can already see many of their nests.  Presently there are probably three or four times as many nests in this same area.

**Do you feel like you're back in school?  Because I certainly feel like I am teaching again.


"Class, today's lesson is on Birds of the Farm."


"Jeremy, please do not make me ASK YOU AGAIN to keep your hands off of Jennifer."

"And NO, she doesn't like it- that's why she has slapped you twice."

"Let's continue..."


The Weege hates buzzards.

Hates them.

If he sees one soaring anywhere in the sky he barks incessantly until it's gone.  He doesn't do this with any other type of bird. I suppose he has a sixth sense about their nastiness.

And just FYI - if you've ever wondered if one can crash right through your car windshield?

Ask my son Nick.


Buzzards I suppose certainly serve a purpose as "carrion feeders".  And it certainly doesn't take them long to "take care of" a dead cow or pig or rabbit or skunk.

I salute you buzzards.




This cute little guy is a Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher.  They do exactly what you would expect by soaring quickly though the air and plucking up insects in flight.  They even have the ability to hover like a helicopter if the wind is just right.

I remember as a little girl, hundreds and hundreds of these sitting on the electric wires strung along the roads near the farm.  For a few years I hardly saw any of them, but they seem to be back in full force.

Unlike the precious little Horned Toad (or Horned Lizard) or Horny Toad.  We used to have tons of them around the farmhouse.  But lo, I haven't seen one at the farm for probably 20 years or more.

The devil fire ants.  I will never forgive the fire ants.

(In Honor and  Memoriam of the Horny Toad, I sport his likeness on my License Plate.)

I miss you, my friend.



And finally the pelican.  These huge birds occasionally number in the thousands in a certain remote cove on the lake.  There is currently a flock of about 50 or so hanging out usually right near the shore at the bottom of the hill, directly down from the house.  They are interesting in that they move from one area of the water to another in a long, single file line.  It's really quite cool.
Here's what usually happens.
I look out the front window of the house and see a long line of them moving across the lake to the right (into the open water).
I say "Chief, the pelicans are moving to the open water-I'm going down to take some pictures of them." I immediately begin to look for my tennis shoes and socks and then of course I have to check my shoes to see if there are scorpions in them, then I have to find my camera, then I look outside to see where The Chief left the Mule, then I run to the Mule, then Weegie usually trips me making sure he gets in the Mule first, then I try for 10 minutes to start the Mule, then I say "crap" once or maybe three times, then I drive down to the lake and get there just in time to see the very last one in line moving back up into the secret and hard to access cove to the left.

Amen and Amen.

But the other day The Chief drove me late one evening over to the cove area (he's the best really) and sure enough there were just a few of them over there.

I decided to walk around the shore further so I could perhaps get a better photograph.  The Weege started off with me.

It was pretty difficult walking.  The weeds had grown up, and the pigs had been wallowing in the area, making huge and precarious holes.  Weegie had to get in the water and take a dip every few minutes.


After a few minutes I noticed that Weegie had stopped following me.  He had noticed that The Chief was not coming with us, so he decided to just stand in between and keep watch on both of us.


And then it seems he pretty quickly made his choice.


No surprise there.  I'm numb to the pain of Weegie rejection.



I did get a few shots of the pelicans before they spotted me and my camera and formed their neat line to exit.


Then it was time to drive back to the house.




Sometimes I even get to sit in the seat next to The Chief, instead of in the back with the tools.

Lu

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pictures and Some Words

I've decided to leave it up to each of you to try and make some sense of this post.

I like to encourage your creativity.

You're welcome.



The Moonflowers were all a'bloom at the farm this week.  They open up at night (MOONflowers) .  But because I (unlike vampires and other assorted creatures of the dark) like to sleep at night, I don't have any photos of them fully open.


I see in this picture that some are beginning to unfurl.
And just to enhance your general knowledge of plants, you might find it interesting/scary to know that this species of  Datura is considered a member of the classic "witches weeds" and contains toxic hallucinogens.

This patch has been blooming in the area by the barn for many, many years.  We try to keep all the really dangerous plants in one area. We're very careful like that.

All about safety and plant security.






Fire!  Fire!

No, I'm joshin'.  It's not a fire, it's the sun.  There were some really spectacular sunsets in which the sun resembled just a huge, red, fiery ball.

And I suppose technically that's exactly what the sun is.
I am nothing if not technical and science-y.
Technically speaking, of course.

It's too bad that our view is blocked by acres of trees.  Oh yes, and an attractive gas compressor on a well site.




Now.
Please avert your eyes if you don't like snakes.





The Chief and I (well The Chief, since he was driving) ran over this 5 foot long chicken/rat/generic snake when we were on our way back to the house from a drive in the Mule.

But for general excitement purposes, let's just call it a COBRA, and my tale will be even more fun.

He was stretched out across the road until we accidentally ran over him (or I suppose it could be a she) but I don't think that matters to my story.
The whole being run over thing must have either 1) hurt  or 2) made it mad (I've decided to go genderless) because it immediately curled into the classic defensive position.  If you'll notice all those rocks around it- I rolled all those ever so gently to hit it to see if it would stretch out and pose for a picture.

*A note to those of you looking to find a bowling partner - you probably don't want me unless we are trying to strike something the size of, oh let's say a barn.


Anyhoo, after a while it got tired of me asking it to smile and say cheese and it heard the word "gun" from The Chief and it changed to the classic "Lu probably shouldn't be doing this in sandals" position.



I mean, after all.  A COBRA.

(!!)



One evening the Weege and I ventured off in the Mule to take some pictures. We went to the field where most of the cattle hang out late in the day.

All the players were there, and we soon attracted a crowd of curious youngsters.




The calves always like to check out Weegie.


They don't know what he is.

Some of them speculate amongst themselves.


Others try to get a whiff of him...


Their Mommas watch from a distance, and as long as we just sit quietly in the Mule and don't seem to be bothering anyone, they're OK with things.


(And yes, it takes a lot of work to get one's ear hair to look that groomed.)


You've always got to keep an eye on this one.  She's one of the offspring of our deceased Longhorn bull, Blue.

She can be, well, scary.

It was just about this time that the Weegster, in a fit of poorly timed "short man syndrome" decided to hop out of the Mule and run right through the middle of all the calves barking like a banshee warrior.



And "she of the pointy horns" did not like this one bit.

Her IMMEDIATE GOAL was to get between her precious calf and that obnoxious little barking thing, and unfortunately, without the aid of Mapquest, her chosen route took her right through the cab of the Mule.

Well, with my lightning-quick reflexes, and some pretty impressive gymnastic-type moves, I avoided serious injury by ending up in a Spiderman-esque pose hanging from the roof of the Mule.

The Weege darted this way and that and wreaked havoc for a few more minutes before bounding back into the Mule.

Believe you me, I gave him a stern talking-to all the way home.

He was devastated.


Lu