Still here!

Yes, the Random lady is still alive and kicking. I STILL haven’t been to see the Geek Squad and have them suss out the issues with my lappy but I’ve been a tad busy. Wait…didn’t I already say that once? Oh well, it’s the truth. Although I’m quite used to the 2nd shift, I feel as if all I ever do is work but I know that isn’t the case. Tomorrow begins my so-called ‘long week’ because I’m working six days and then next week, four. I rather like this shift rotation. Mostly, I’m grateful to at least have a job because I know there are still folks out there who don’t.

I had a Thanksgiving post all planned and even had it written out but for some reason, I just never made it to a computer to type it all up. Probably just as well because it was just your average holiday. While I was- am- grateful for everything I have,  naturally, I’m looking toward my future and all its possibilities. I guess part of it was because the Buick finally had its last hurrah. Had some issues commuting home from work one night (morning?) and had to call my ex to come retrieve me…at 1:00 in the morning! Oy…was terrible. I made it all the way from near downtown Dallas to within 5 minutes of home before I decided not to make the situation worse by continuing to drive the stupid thing. As luck would have it, I parked in front of  a liquor store (it was closed…dangit) but my reasoning was that it was A) close to where my mechanic lived and B) it had a big lighted sign out front so my ex would see me from the road. I had to wake up his mother because he didn’t answer his phone, nor did my son. My ex was on his computer (as is the norm) and my son was sacked out because he had been to a concert that evening. BUT…since the MIL is retired, I wasn’t too concerned about waking her up. To compound the sitch, my ex drove to the other end of town because that’s where he thought the liquor store was. *sigh* I coulda sworn I’d told him where I was but perhaps in my irritated “where-the-hell-are-you?” voice, I omitted that piece of info.

Anyhoo, when he finally showed up, I was just grateful that he’s a night owl and we live in the same house. He went by the local Del Taco for some late night grub so by the time we got home, it was 2am. I snagged a few of his crinkle cut fries,  cracked open a beer and then retreated to my bedroom to relax and try to figure out what the heck my next move would be. Since our family mechanic was close to where the hoopty was parked, he and my MIL took it to his house down the street so he could assess the damage. While I drove the ex’s Dodge Stratus to work the next day, Bob (the mechanic) had determined that it was an ECM module or some such thing that cause it to poop out on me. So I paid the $100 total for the part and labor and waited for Bob to tell me to come pick it up. That didn’t happen. See, the part that he replaced didn’t work so he had to go back and put another module on it but that one didn’t work either. The final verdict? It was that rascally fuel pump what was causing the problem. Neither Bob, nor I, nor my MIL thought it was in our best interest to dump more money into that old car (yes, the one referred to in my last post) so she sold it to the car crusher guy and used the funds to purchase a little VW Golf for my ex. It’s a stick, which although I can drive, I would rather not commute with all that clutchin’ between here and Dallas. So now I have forest green Dodge Stratus to drive to work every day. Yay me!!   : )

I decided to spend a little flow and got some Realtree camo car mats and steering wheel cover to spruce up the inside. I also bought a radio because the one it came with was just jacked-UP. My son installed it for me so that was a money save but at least I have tune-age now. Woohoo! So what else have I been doing? Well, I’ll tell ya…

I was fortunate enough to be able to donate some much needed canned goods to the Union Gospel Mission in Dallas through our organizer at work and one of the residents, a VietNam veteran, told our organizer that he was very touched. He didn’t think anyone cared anymore and he said it restored his faith in mankind. I can’t TELL you how good it feels to be able to do something like that. When your budget is as tight as ours has been, it’s difficult to spare $5 because you know that’s $5 worth of food in your cupboard.  To know that one of the men who fought for our country has been renewed in faith of his fellow man meant more to me than anything. So when the opportunity arose last week to help a couple other local charities, I decided to pitch in again. One of the charities is a children’s home in Dallas and the other one is a shelter that is sorely in need of clothing, shoes, toiletries and other items. I don’t say this in a boastful manner but in a very humble manner. For once in my life, I’m able to help someone because of the blessings I’ve received. I believe you need to spread the blessings around, if you’re able. And so I am. It makes me feel so good to share the love in my heart with the ones who need it most. And that’s what we’re supposed to do, y’all. Love isn’t love ’til you give it away.

Speaking of which, have I found love yet? Nope. Ain’t lookin’ either. For right now, my focus is on ME. I need to get MY life together and live for me for a while before I’m willing to commit to anyone. I’ve been in a relationship in some form or fashion since I was 15. If you do the math, that’s 32 years of my life. Yeah, I think I deserve a little ‘me’ time. I only have 7 more chapters before my book is complete and then comes the task of typing the manuscript. Guess I need to visit the Geek Squad so I’ll have a way to type it up, don’t I? After that, it’s a waiting game and a whole lot of faith to see where my life will take me. I planned on a trip to England to see friends in the summer but it’s still in the planning stages. Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans, so saith John Lennon. And he’s right. For now, I’m taking one day at a time, thanking God for everything He’s given me thus far.

I do want to take the time to say how thankful and grateful I am for a very special person in my life- Kathie Truitt. She’s kind of been my writing mentor for a while now and is always so supportive, even if I text her for etiquette advice. She always takes time out of her busy life as a prominent Washington D.C. resident and author to help me with the tiniest of issues and I love her dearly for that. It would be no stretch to say that Kathie is my greatest motivator because she told me once that she got published because she never gave up. I respect that and it’s always present in my mind when I just want to chuck it all and do the 9-5 thing. I’m not meant to work in a cubicle farm so a gentle nudge from my Kathie-girl is all I need to put one foot in front of the other and keep on truckin’. Love you girl!!

Well, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to lately.  There might be gaps between my post but believe me when I say that you guys are never far from my thoughts. It’s all a process and sometimes and more time consuming than we’d like but very necessary in that we have to put forth the effort to see our dreams come to fruition. And I’m a pitbull when it comes to making my dreams come true. So take care, mes lecteurs and I’ll see you around!

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Chick-fil-A Saturday

Well, yesterday was my last day at the old job and Monday is the beginning of what I hope will be the start to a life on my own. Granted, it will take a bit of time for me to get all my ducks in a row, as it were, but I will have the funds to do so. For that, I’m not only grateful but happy and I feel very blessed.

The ladies bought me lunch at In-n-Out Burger which was yummy and I celebrated with a Bud Light Lime after I got home. My friend Tami called me from the pub wondering where I was. I didn’t  know we were meeting there but I told her next week, I’d make it. Last night, I put on my Longhorns jammies, ate my dinner and enjoyed my brewski under the comforter, since there was a chill in the air. When I woke up at 5:19am this morning, however, all that chill resulted in an allergy headache. *sigh* Just can’t get away from those things.

BUT…I crept into the kitchen, got some ice for my insulated mug, poured myself a Coke and then promptly took one Extra Strength Tylenol and one Excedrin (Walmart brand, actually) as this is my so-called “cure” for my allergy/sinus pain. By about 9am, my head still  had the vestiges of hurt but it was manageable. My stomach was telling me it was time for me to eat. Since no one else was about but the dog (my ex’s Boston terrier), I decided to take him with me to Chick-fil-A and get chicken biscuits for everyone. I threw on some sweats, a hoodie and grabbed my purse and then asked Roadie “Wan’ go bye bye??” Of course, he wags his nub as a yes in response.

So I let him out the door to mark his territory before we get in the hoopty (yes, it IS that bad) and begin our little trip. I couldn’t roll down the passenger window but he didn’t care. He put his little paws up on the armrest and looked out the dirty window anyway…

 

We make our way up the streets, an odd pair in an old beat up car but on a mission, nevertheless and not concerned with what anyone else thought. Every so often, I would look over at him and smile, pat his little back and tell him what a good boy he was and that “mama loves you”. He’s the family dog, although it’s understood it’s my ex’s dog. We all love him to bits.

We took a shortcut through one of the strip malls near the restaurant and Roadie was checking out all the stores as we cruised by. Here he is as we went past the Dollar Tree:

 

When we finally made it to Chick-fil-A, we had to navigate all the orange cones due to the construction for the extra drive-thru lane they were installing. He looked over at me as if to say “Is this gonna take long?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOL. Funny little puppy! I love him because he has such a deadpan mug for a dog (or any animal, for that matter). At any rate, I placed the order and did the slow crawl behind the rest of the cars, waiting to get to the window to pay and then pick up our food. He saw the guys working and kind of cocked his head to the side in a ‘mind-the-cones, mom’ sort of way.

 

But…we finally got our food and of course, he had to sniff the air and give me a look like “wassup…what you got??”  I pulled away from the restaurant and as I stopped at the sign to check for traffic before heading back to the casa, I got this pic of him, sitting proudly in the front seat of this old Buick (which I call the Science Experiment), not minding the electrical tape holding the armrest onto the door panel that he props his paws on. The armrest he leans on to view the city, through the dirty window that won’t roll down.

 

So there in all his glory, is the family pet…head high, age showing around his eyes, not caring about the faded, 24 yr old car he was riding in with the electrical tape, no headliner and dodgy transmission mounts. Nope…all he cared about was the fact that he got to to ‘bye bye’ and see the sights, as it were. When we got home, he marked his territory one more time on the evergreen tree out front, jogged up the steps and into the house, waiting for a bite of warm biscuit.

Y’know, sometimes, I’m embarrassed to not have a shiny new car like a lot of folks do or a pretty paved drive to park it on. Shoot, I don’t even have a pretty home to park it in front of . What I do have is a roof over my head, a car that gets me from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and enough money in my  bank account to pay my bills and get breakfast for my family. I’m also fortunate enough to love and be loved by a creature who doesn’t require all the things I wish I had. The simple things are good enough for him because he’s warm, he’s fed and he’s cared for. Just when I think I’ve got life figured out, this 9 yr. old Boston terrier makes me realize I don’t know as much as I thought I did. Such a good road-dawg.

So thank you, Roadie. I’m glad God made little doggies like you, who love us unconditionally and teach us (if we pay attention) that all our “stuff” doesn’t really matter. We choose to make it matter. If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that we over complicate things and we shouldn’t. I saw this years ago and never forgot it: K-I-S-S….keep it simple, stupid. Not profound, but good advice, nonetheless. Sure, I’ll upgrade the car and eventually, find a small but comfortable home of my own. But for now, I’ll live simply and be thankful for what I do have, especially that little black dog that was just along for the ride.

Until next time…

   & hair grease, y’all!!

 

 

Fall has…fallen

Greetings, my friends! I bring good news to the blogfront: it finally got cold in Texas!! Well, chilly anyway. It was 52*F yesterday (11.11*C) and the  overnight low of 42*F (5.5*C). No matter how you slice it, it’s still better than the triple digit heat we’ve been experiencing, even into September. That’s just wrong. However, that’s just Texas and right, wrong or indifferent, I love it here.

My other good news is that I’ve found another employment position that pays STUPID good money so I’ll be able to pay my debts to my MIL, stay current on my bills and save to get a place all my own. Oh yeah, and I’m checking into a trip to the UK as well. Very lofty, to be sure but if you’re gonna dream, may as well dream big, eh?

I have a friend from London (who is a US citizen now) I ran into at the pub on Friday evening with my friend Tami and he and his lovely wife told me that basically, I’ll be spending about $1,000 on airfare alone. I kinda figured that. Still, I want to stash away some funds so I can plan to make that trip next Spring or possibly Summer, if possible. I have friends in Bromsgrove, West Kirby (near Liverpool) and Boscastle (Cornwall) so once I fly in to London Heathrow, I’ll have to take a train to my other destinations. Could be interesting and you can bet I’ll be writing about it too.

As for the new job, it will do more than allow me the opportunity to travel to someplace I’ve always wanted to see. I’ve had an idea for some time now that I would like to come to fruition but it involves copyrights, etc. so without a  better income, it wouldn’t be possible. I had planned to sell these items directly from my blog site but I’m still sussing out the deets over how I want to play it. I assure you, though, that you’ll like what I have to offer. Sorry for being so cryptic but until I get all my ducks in a row, I don’t want to give too much away.

I also hope to be published by early next year (unless the Mayans have screwed us all with their calendar and I don’t get the chance) and the added income will help me with travel expenses. Yes, I have thought about this A LOT. Actually, for many years and have come to the conclusion that I’m just not meant to work for someone else. I’m never  happy, though it’s always nice to learn something new. Perhaps it could be attributed to my age and the whole mortality thing but to me, it’s that I feel at my most creative at this time in my life and I’ve spent enough time worrying about and for someone else. Time to worry about me for a change.  Please believe that I’m also a tad apprehensive because what if I get all the things I’ve hoped for? That’s kind of a scary though… yikes!! 

Well, I’ll cross that brigde when I come to it and just keep on truckin’. That’s all I can do. Yes, success can be very daunting, as is the thought of actually having the funds to go, do and buy whatever I like. Whoever said money can’t make you happy is full of beans! Okay, no…it can’t make you happy. That’s totally up to YOU. Those who have it may not be able to understand the mindset of those of us who don’t.  I’m quite sure I’ll always live modestly because really, who needs a 9,00 square foot house?  I’ve spent 12 years in the mortgage/escrow/finance industry and I can tell you right now, I ain’t interested in paying double the money I’ve borrowed just to have the best digs on the block. Pass. I’d rather hang onto my dough, thankyouverymuch and have my modest but cool lighthouse home near the lake and put all that money to good use helping someone else who needs it worse than I do. Again, lofty ideas but hey, it could happen, right?

Anyway, I’m glad to report something good for a change. Makes me smile and smiling is something I love to do. We should all do on a regular basis. In the meantime, if you’re having a typical Monday and you just can’t seem to turn the corners of your mouth up and grin, I’ll do it for you.

 

 

 

The leather handbag & the insulated mug

My friends, I apologize for my sporadic posting and will honestly try to do better. Thing is, if I don’t have anything to say, I don’t post. I really don’t like to scramble for subject matter and that would probably explain why it’s taken me so long to actually write a book. Even with that, I was sidetracked. I kinda go with my gut, as it were, so if I feel an opinion coming on or something gets in my head and I can’t shake it,  then I’ll write. Be it my blog or private written journal or private e-journal, I add these collections of thoughts to clear my brain for more…stuff. I saw an interview with Nora Roberts this morning on CBS News Sunday Morning and was glad to learn that she too has the same issue: too many things in one’s head at any given time. She also said that writing is hard. If you’ve taken on the task of a writing project then yes, it is. If you’re allowed the freedom of writing what you want, when you want, then to me, it isn’t. (meaning a blog)

The past couple weeks have been rather eventful, and my emotions have been like a graph of the national debt: up and down. Just a lot of family stuff…doesn’t matter what. It was one tiny instance this past week but it strengthened my resolve to find my own way. It’s at emotional times such as this that I wish I could ring my parents, just to hear their voices. They don’t need to offer advice (though they most likely would. It’s what parents do), they just have to be there. Since both are deceased, that’s an impossibility. So for me, the next best thing would be something tangible. I suppose some would think I’m a tad silly for needing to be so tactile, especially at my age. But we all have our coping mechanisms and that is one of mine. When I get to a period in my life where even having faith isn’t enough, I turn to my parents, even if it means whispering to them in bed at night, telling them about my day, relating my fears, etc.

When my mother passed in 2001, I was devastated but handled it better than many of my family members, because I never left anything unsaid. I always told her I loved her, I apologized for being such a jerk in my younger years ( I highly recommend this to all adult children) but mostly, I always let her know that she was in my thoughts and I loved her for the person she was, not just because she was my mom. We knew she would never reach really old age because she had SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) and it is a debilitating autoimmune disorder but I had long since mentally prepared myself for her loss. Complications from that disorder (congestive heart failure) took her life at age 64. At least believe it did.

She loved teddy bears and every Christmas, my eldest brother would buy her a special teddy bear for Christmas. When she passed, I decided to bring them home and store them because they meant so much to her and quite honestly, when I had a moment or two of sadness, I would hug one of those bears when I went to sleep at night. It was usually the one from 1993, the year my son was born. Sometimes, you just need a hug from your mama and if she can’t be there…well…you find the closest thing you have. For me, it was that bear. When I was dealing with some severe anxiety, I even strapped a bear into the passenger seat of my SUV as comfort. It worked for a while but then I had to see a physician because the anxiety was just too great for that simple stuffed bear to accommodate. As the years have gone by, I stopped needing the bears but occasionally, would get a leather handbag out of my closet and remove it from its plastic bag and switch out the handbag I had been using. That leather handbag was actually shaped like a horse saddle and was one of my mother’s favorites. She bought it as Sheplers, a well known Western wear store here in the US (they ship internationally, by the way). I remember that she used to have a fairly good sized saddle shaped purse but when it caused her some shoulder issues, her doctor told her to pare down the size of her handbag and so she did. This is that hangbag…

I carry a rather large handbag myself since I never like to be without my “stuff”. This week, however, I think I need to whittle down my “stuff” so I can fit it into my mom’s little saddle shaped handbag. It’s not only the fact that it was hers but also that I know she touched it. She used it all the time. Something she physically touched makes me feel closer to her. I suppose some psychologists would have opinions regarding this odd little association but no one knows me better than me. And I need her to be close to me at this particular time. I need to literally carry her with me every day until I get past this speed bump I’ve run into lately. But she’s not the only one I lean on.

My father passed away in 2007 and I was completely overwrought. He had ischemic cardiomyopathy but it was ultimately congestive heart failure that also took his life. I hadn’t seen him in several years prior to his passing and so the guilt was terrible. Overwhelming is a much better description. I would have loved to have made a trip to Missouri to visit  with Daddy but at that time, it wasn’t possible. (Other reasons why but that’s for the autobiography. Sorry, you gotta wait). But we made the 8 hour trip up for the funeral service and somehow, I got through it. I do remember it was wickedly hot that day so it was nice to peel off the dress clothes and change into a tank top and some cotton shorts. We all gathered at the local Eagles club, where he had been Secretary and had a wonderful meal, with his surviving siblings and plenty of my cousins, his cousins, my mother’s family. It was great to see family again, even if it was under somber circumstances.

When it came time to pack up and head back home to Texas, it was bittersweet. I was happy to be going home but sad to leave my brothers and my other relatives. I had requested a couple items from him long before he passed, thinking it would be a while before I would be receiving them. Now, the time had come for me to load those two items in the mini van we rented and go back to my life, such as it was. I was looking around his house, trying to find something to bring back that would help me muddle through the intense pain I felt. For some reason, I focused on the teal colored insulated mug he used to drink from. At one time, he would have Dr. Pepper and cheese balls in his recliner while he watched TV. After his health got bad, he would fill up the mug with ice water and sip from it throughout the day. (to the best of my memory) And so the mug also came back to Texas with me.

Once we got back home, I let it be known that NOBODY was to use that mug; it was off limits. For a while, it was smooth sailing where my precious mug was concerned but one day, I opened the cabinet to reach for it and it was gone! What?? Gone? Who the hell took my mug??!! I don’t even remember who used it but I went kinda nutso and got loud and said  “Keep your greasy sh*t hooks off my mug!” (a phrase my daddy used often) See, it wasn’t…isn’t just a mug to me. That represents my daddy, something he used constantly. Something he held in his hands. That was as close as I had gotten to him in years and damned if someone was going to take that away from me, even if they didn’t mean to. Harsh words, I know. But you have to understand where I was coming from. All this was still fresh for me and what I needed was a hug from Daddy, just a hug. That insulated mug was my hug. It was the only thing I had. I couldn’t even delete his phone number from my cell phone. Still haven’t. I just can’t do it. My aunt Rose mailed me one of the last pictures taken of my father with his brother Tom (Rose’s husband) and he was laughing. I barely glanced at it because it was just too painful. I finally pulled that picture out about a year later and though I was sad, I could look at it and crack a smile. Daddy loved to laugh.

As I said, the past couple weeks have been eventful so having them around in the form of inanimate objects is not only fine with me, it’s the perfect therapy. I still use daddy’s mug to this day, filling it to the brim with ice and Coca Cola. I’ve been trying to be healthier and drink less Coke so the mug had been sitting on the armoire, unused. I had one single can of Coke so yesterday, I decided to fill the mug with ice and sip my Coke (I call it the Elixir of Life, for the caffeine boost, doncha know) while I watched TV, knowing that my daddy was close by, along with my eyeglasses, vitamin supplements, remote control and vanilla lip balm.

Several years have passed since I lost my parents and though I don’t have as many moments of sadness, I will tear up from time to time (but don’t always cry) when my life is jacked and I need my parents to tell me everything will be alright. Forgive me if this post seems a bit morose because it certainly wasn’t my intent. Quite the opposite. Everyone has their own method of coping with whatever spaghetti that sticks to their wall of life. This just happens to be how deal, however odd and random it may appear. Little by little, I’m learning that my being random in life has been good. Those off-the-wall moments in our day to day can benefit us but we don’t always glean those benefits until later. That’s hindsight. So if you have to wear that over-sized t-shirt that belonged to Grandma because you miss her, then wear it. If those worn out cowboy boots that your uncle wore make you feel like Super Cowboy then put ’em on. See what I’m sayin’? Personally, I don’t need Dr. Phil to tell me whether or not I’m on the right emotional path and sure as heck don’t feel like I should pay a stranger $100 an hour to sort me out. I like to think my folks raised me with a fair amount of common sense and though they may not be here in body, they’re most certainly always present in spirit, in thought and in the form of a leather handbag and an insulated mug.

Until next time…

 

  & hair grease, y’all!

Jenga house, double wide style

Well, the past couple weeks have been interesting, to say the least. I’m still on assignment (which is good) but also keeping my options open for another venture, which has outstanding pay (also good) but may be a 2nd shift position (umm…boo). That won’t stop me from submitting all the necessary paperwork, etc. because let’s face it: I’ve been living with my ex WAY too long and if this is the door I must walk through to achieve a life of my own, then honey, I’m gonn be sprinting through said door!

No, it isn’t terribly bad to live here but you have to understand the situation from my point of view. I’ve been 50% of the financial stability long enough and it’s time for him to take over and help his mother and for me to ride off into my sunset and begin my life. (not trying to be mean, just stating the facts) Y’all, I’ve had my life planned and/or mapped out for some time now, from the lighthouse home with the Cornish pottery kitchenware and Coastal Living decor, right down to the location where I think it should be built. As we all know, even the best laid plans can go awry. But for now…them’s the plans.

At any rate, about a month ago, my son noticed that our little redneck double-wide was showing signs of parting like the Red Sea…literally. We know it’s due to ground shifting and some other complicated issues that I can’t divulge. Sorry. Suffice it to say that the contractor who came out to give us a bid said there was an 8 in. shift from the center of the home at one end of the house (double wides have ‘A’ & ‘B’ sections, which are joined once you have it “installed” and secured to the property/land) and it would need to be completely redone, just as if it were newly purchased. Oh, and it will cost almost $3200 *sigh* You don’t say? We knew it would be expensive, so it only kept us awake at night on a “what-the-heck-do-we-do-now?” scale. What I’ve been losing sleep over is every creak and groan I hear from said house.

I had fully enjoyed my laid back Labor Day and was all ready to snuggle down for my requisite 8 hrs. of beauty sleep, skin all tan and newly softened by that killer Moroccan argan oil body cream I had slathered on after my bath. But I could NOT shut my brain down. <insert heavy sigh> I kept repeating “Lord, please let me sleep”, like a mantra but still…
I got nothin’. Everything under the sun was running through my mind and at warp speed, I might add. I flopped back and forth, like a fish out of water to try and get comfy but making sure I was on an incline so the acid reflux didn’t compound my sleeplessness. Just when I think I’m off to count sheep, I’d hear something drop on the roof (?) or a sound like the house shifting again and my eyes would pop open. I grabbed my moby phone to check the time and it read 1:17am. I had to be at work in 7 hrs. and can’t sleep for all the errant little noises. Son of a motherless goat!! Where’s the peace when you need it?? I think I slept 3 hrs. before going to work. Egad…

As if that weren’t enough, last week, my mother in law had to don a haz mat suit (read: cheap plastic rain suit from Wally World) and crawl under the house to fix a leaky sewer pipe. Sometimes, it doesn’t hit the fan but it does hit the dirt. She looked adorable with the hood all cinched up around her face but I certainly did not envy her the task she was set to undertake. Needless to say, she got under there, repaired the pipe and tossed out plenty of lime to kill the bacteria and prevent us all from a health hazard we don’t need. And she did this all on a shoestring budget too. Yes, I have had my issues with her. But that woman is just innately talented at car repair, home repairs and lots of things you would never expect a female to do, let alone one who’s 74 yrs. old!

These are a couple of the reasons you haven’t heard from me on a more regular basis but mostly, I have stages of my life where I need to chill and do nothing. I started Chapter 10 of my book some time back but have barely more than a paragraph thus far. When life gets in the way of my grand plans, I need  a bit of a “woosah” to put myself back on track and that may require more than a moment or two. In this case, it took a couple weeks.

Even though this place reminds me of that Jenga game (if you don’t build it carefully, it falls down), I still kinda like it. For some, 2024 square feet is too small but I think it’s just right. It’s also set on an acre of land, with a 78 acre corn field right behind us. (yes, we snitched a few ears this summer for some fried corn). Some folks aren’t that fortunate. Some folks have homes with zero lot lines and are so close to their neighbors, they could hear them break wind. I could never live that close to someone after being here. Besides, I’m not a big fan of HOAs. I don’t like someone telling my how I can or can’t decorate my house or what kind of shingles to put on it. Pass. For now, I’m content to hopscotch through the house to avoid the weak spots in the floor, lest it give way under my feet. I like all the space, inside and out. Yes, it sucks like a bathtub drain to know your house is unstable and you can’t afford to move. But I still think I’m lucky to have what I have, even if it ain’t pretty. Keeps me humble.  ; )

 

Until next time…

  & hair grease, y’all!!

Me…in song

Yes, it really is me. I apologize for the absence but in true semi-slacker fashion, I’ve been doing…nothing. Well, I’ve been working, reading a little, organizing my bedroom. I took my bed off the rails and decided to let it just sit on the floor, mostly  so the dogs could get up on the bed a bit easier. Supposedly, you shouldn’t allow your pets on your bed but I don’t care. It’s kinda nice to literally fall into bed if I need to. I even bought some cute zebra striped sheets to change the feel when I look at my surroundings and sigh because I have to pretend a 16×13 bedroom is actually its own little pad (Apt. 1A, if you’ll recall an earlier post). I figure as long as I have to be here, I may as well make it whatever I want, whenever I want. That’s the beauty of  bedding sets. These days, sheets have funky new designs and you can hit a bargain priced resale shop to find just the right decor. I like the flexibility of decorating as my tastes change. I like to be me. Speaking of which, I’ve decided that this post will be me describing me, only with a bit of a twist. I’m going to do it with song. Videos, to be more exact.

If you’ve been following me for a while (and I hope you have) you pretty much have a good idea what I’m all about and my basic beliefs. But in this day and age, many of us are visual beings and images can help us stitch together a complete picture of just about any subject. A timeline, in some cases but for the most part, a better understanding of what a person and/or company is trying to convey. So there you go. And here we go.

For starters, I grew up in a small town in the Ozarks. The very same small town as author Kathie Truitt. I used to daydream about leaving but when you’re a teenager, you don’t have a clue about anything. These days, I find myself wanting to go back. It was very Mayberry and that’s a good thing…

This is the actual park where I played as a child. Yes, it really is Mayberry…and I love it!

I grew up with some pretty good values, thanks to my parents and that small town. Yes, everyone knows your business and that can be bad. But it can also be good because if somethin’ ain’t right or someone comes pokin’ around and asking about you, rest assured there are plenty of folks who ain’t afraid to ask them why they want to know. And trust me when I tell you, these folks are friendly but will definitely let you know where you stand! Still, it was a pretty cool place to grow up.  I was a real pain in my later years and caused my parents a lot of grief (as teenagers are wont to do). Once I moved away, I was deliriously happy to be living life on my own. Except I still needed a  little help. Daddy wasn’t too keen on the financial support but mama? Well, I nearly drained her savings account and I still feel bad about that. Somehow, I know she forgives me. Daddy did help me get my very first new car though and I will forever be grateful. Guess by that time, he knew that since I had become a parent, I wasn’t afraid of hard work and needed a reliable way to get the family around. I had always hoped to make a good enough living to take care of them both but I never got to that stage and they both passed away before I even got close. Still…

After my first marriage, (some good, some bad) I decided to stop being such a doormat and get a little backbone. I’d say it worked because it’s awfully hard to convince me of anything I’m skeptical about. I suppose I’m like my daddy in that respect but I have absolutely no compunction when it comes to protecting myself. Hey, I’m a Texas woman and we know how to handle up when we have to! See?

Yeah, that’s a bit extreme. But it’s part of who I am. I like hard rock, blues and even some in-your-face metal. I also like tattoos and Levi’s, cutoff shirts, cowgirl boots and my St. Michael medallion & crucifix. I remember heading out to Stockton Lake on the weekends as a teenager and later, as an adult to Lewisville Lake with a cooler full of beer, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips & salsa (and guacamole) and making a day of it. Yes, I can dress up if I need to. But I guess I’m a bit of a redneck at heart. I like being on the water in some form or fashion, though these days, it’s usually swimming in a chlorinated pool. There are times, however, when I want to be out on the lake, beer in hand, breeze in my hair. Like this…

What I’ve figured out through my two marriages, raising my son, the loss of my parents and always having to cut corners is that it’s okay to be myself. I’m comfortable with the way I’ve turned out and I think my parents would be too. No, I didn’t do everything right but who does? Speed bumps in life are a good thing, kids. Teaches you how to be persistent, have a sense of humour and keep rollin’, no matter what. I’m not college educated but I think I can hold a pretty intelligent and lively conversation on a lot of different topics if I need to. College just wasn’t my bag. Would have been a waste of money because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted back then. Same goes for the military. I have lots of family members who served but it just wasn’t for me, though I support the military 100%.  I’d be too inclined to tell the Drill Sargeant exactly where he could stuff those demands he was barking in my face. That don’t work with me, y’all. Never did, never will. Although I try to always “do the right thing”, I stumble and have a little anxiety over my mistakes but it won’t deter me from whatever I’ve set my mind to. I’m gonna do what I feel is best for me, regardless of what anyone thinks and stay positive. The glass is half full…always.  ; )

 

Until next time…

    & hair grease, y’all!

My best day ever

Wow! This has been one of the most fabulous days I’ve had in a very long time. My very first professional article was published today on InspireMeToday.com and I couldn’t be happier than if I’d won the lottery. Of course, that would be nice too but this? This is different. Writing is not just my passion, it’s such a part of me that even if my hands are gnarled from arthritis (which I pray will be many years from now), I’d hang a headset microphone on my melon and dictate through Dragon Speech so’s I could at least empty my cranial “recycle bin” and move on to the next set of thoughts. Yes, it’s that important to me.

So how did this passion for writing start? Well, I think the seed was planted while watching all those episodes of The Waltons, when John-boy sat up in his room with pen to paper, writing every moment he possibly could. Something appealed to me even back then but it didn’t really “get” me until many years later in 2001. I was working at a title company and beginning to be very disillusioned, wondering how the heck to get out of there and find something else. I wanted to work doing something that made me happy. Out of the blue one day, I had my epiphany and decided that writing was what I wanted. I always had something to say (if you had known my parents, this would make perfect sense) but never entertained the thought of directing it toward a career, until that one day. Oddly enough, it was one of my high school classmates who gave me the idea. Her name is Kelly Cain and it was what she wrote in my Memory Book our Senior year that spoke to me. For the life of me, I can’t remember anything else she wrote except that last line: “You definitely have a way with words”. Whoomp! There it is!!

Sadly, it took me many, many years to actually do something about it. I kept stopping and starting but never finishing anything. Every stinkin’ time I’d save to a floppy disk (remember those?), it got corrupted and I’d grit my teeth and wonder ‘what the heezy??’ Looking back now, I believe there obviously was a reason why all those floppy disks were corrupted but of course, we must live and learn. Fast forward from 2001 to 2012. April 30th, to be exact. That was the day I received an invitation to write a piece for InspireMeToday.com. Specifically, if I only had 500 words to share, what wisdom would I want to pass on to humanity? What have I learned that matters, and what doesn’t? I had been working on my autobiography off and on and at that time, it was during the “off” so this freelance was a most welcomed invitation. I actually wrote the piece at my temp job (when I wasn’t reviewing documents) and even had one of my co-workers proof it for me. She’s fabulously smart and educated so I made a good choice. Then I submitted my article and waited. While I waited, I continued writing another book I had started and put the auto-bio on hold. I found out they accepted my piece on May 26th so I patiently waited for the date of publication.

On August 9th, I received an email saying the publish date for my article would be today, August 16th. And what a day it has been!! I am SO overwhelmed by the response and I thank God and the visitors to my article for making this one of the best days I’ve had in quite a long time. My mother used to write personalized poetry and always wanted to be a published author but sadly, she didn’t live long enough to see it come to fruition, so I share this day with her. I wish both my parents were still alive to share this with me but I know they’re with me in spirit, as always.

Please forgive me for being such a windbag but sometimes, y’all need a little back story to tie things together, y’know? This is HUGE for me and I’m still in awe at my good fortune. Reading the comments made me cry tears of joy. I’m so pleased my little article was so well received. More than that…I’m on Cloud 9 at the response. I’m humbled, grateful, thankful…just so overjoyed. I called my friend Kathie and boo-hoo’d in her ear, I had so much emotion. She thinks this is only the beginning for me and I certainly hope she’s right. Although the caveat ‘Be careful what you wish for’ comes to mind, I believe I can handle whatever comes my way.

So I thank you, my readers, for all your support. It means the world to me. Who’da thunk it, all those years ago when I watched John Walton Jr. through that window,  sitting at his desk and recording his memories, that it would bring me here? Pretty cool, methinks. Pretty cool indeed.

G’night John-boy! And thanks… ; )

Katie wins the gold!!

Well, not literally but in my book she does. And just who the heck is Katie, you ask?? Well, that would be Katie Ortega, daughter of my sweet friend Linda Ortega who was recently diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia), which is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow-the spongy tissue inside bones where blood cells are made. Katie is a beautiful young girl of 17 but you would never guess her age. She’s so much more mature than her years and in spite of what I call The Wretched C, she has this wonderful, indomitable spirit about her and manages to find a smile and joy, regardless of her situation.

On May 26th, Katie and her beautiful sister Allie were dressed to the nines for prom…

But by June 14th, my sweet friend Linda had posted this on her Facebook wall:

I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this must be for Linda and her family. When I found out that Katie had AML, it brought tears to my eyes because I have a son who is just a couple years older than Katie and it really got to me. It doesn’t matter whether she’s my child or not…she’s still a child and I’m a mother. I can’t shut off my feelings as a mother simply because the person is not of my own flesh and blood. I’m global with my love and concern and I really do hate to see anyone suffer with anything. But that Katie…man, she’s somethin’ else y’all!  Oh, she has days when she’s a little subdued, from what her mama says. For the most part though, she takes her chemo like a trooper, rarely complains and more often than not, does it with a smile on her face. Even when she’s losing her hair, she smiles!

If you’re looking for the definition of a mega-watt smile, this would be it. Of course, McD’s does have pretty good fries so…y’know.  ; )   Katie’s community and friends have really come together in support of this lovely young lady. Red Devil Pizza donated 20% of each purchase toward Standing By Katie on July 9th and Cafe Cabo will also be donating proceeds on August 5th in support of Katie’s 2nd round of chemo. We hear so much about what’s going wrong in the world and all the political hoo-hah but the folks in La Verne, California are unsung heroes. You don’t hear about a lot of good and decent things like this because news has become ruled by the corporate suits and there are still too many Americans who like the train wrecks of life. There are so many kids out there like Katie who are struggling through so much and have a better grasp on what’s important than we do. Like I’ve said before, who am I to complain about my life?

One thing I should tell you about Miss Katie is that she LOVES baseball and her favorite team is the LA Dodgers. Actually, she and her sister Allie both love the Dodgers.

  

                                                                                                 Batter up!

 Watching the game with sister Allie

Recently, the whole Ortega family got to spend a day at the stadium with the LA Dodgers and sweet little Katie got to hang out with her favorite player, Matt Kemp. Here are a few shots:

That’s Katie with Clayton Kershaw, Mark Ellis and Matt Kemp, respectively. Matt is her favorite player and I can see why. He’s a hottie! LOL   Here’s Matt signing her shirt and sharing a lighter moment with Katie and her mom, Linda:

Not only is the whole community of La Verne behind Katie, so is her favorite Dodger, Matt Kemp. See that orange bracelet on Katie’s wrist? Well Matt has one now too! Here’s a close up of the bracelet:

So you know, Matt is not just a great player but a great guy as well. He’s still rockin’ that killer orange bracelet. This pic was taken today…

And here’s a wonderful shot of the whole Ortega family:

This is one special and fantabulous family! Oh yeah…they’re all gorgeous too. Through it all, they all manage to smile and have a sense of humor as well. That says a lot about a family who could choose to be angry, bitter and wonder “why me??” but instead, they hold on to their faith and elect to stay positive. I admire folks like the Ortegas because I’m a glass-is-half-full kind of person myself. I refuse to let a rough patch keep me down and I don’t like to accept defeat…neither do they. They put one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time. Actually, you could say Katie does more than put one foot in front of the other.  She made her own version of the Olympic torch and decided to do her leg of the run at the hospital…less than 24 hours after chemo!!

She has such joy in spite of her surroundings and the AML. I’m just amazed by this young girl and I wanted to share her story with you all because maybe you know someone who is fighting an illness as well, whatever it might be. It’s very hard to find one’s grace when all you really want to do is cry, kick rocks and scream. But grace is one thing Katie has in abundance. I told Linda she’s done a fabulous job of raising her children and its evident when you see that short video. But the best message is from the woman herself, Miss Katie Ortega:

 

Yes, you will Katie…yes you will. Much love to you, my girl…I’m in awe…

What’s our major malfunction??

Okay, I’ve been down this path before but sometimes, the subject needs to be revisited. This is one of those times.

As I was sitting here Tuesday night, watching the trifecta of wholesome television programming (The Waltons, Little House: New Beginnings and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) I reflected on a news story about how HSBC’s U.S. division provided money and banking services to banks in Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, who in turn, may have helped fund al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Uhhh…wha? I also thought about the segment regarding the millionaire who took Provigil to help  him multi-task his many duties, not because he suffered from narcolepsy or some other sleep disorder (which is what it’s usually prescribed for). Well then that made me think of all the other news stories you hear about kids being violent to kids, parents acting like idiots at their child’s sports game and all the other things I see that make me want to smack these folks and ask them where their head is. (no, I won’t insert the cartoon but you know which one I mean)

Yeah, that is a bit extreme but think about it: we have internet, mobile phones, HD television indoor plumbing, hot water, pre-packaged food and all those other goodies that they either didn’t have, hadn’t invented yet or they hadn’t been  “fine tuned”, as it were. Yet day after day, I see evidence that we may be technologically advanced but sadly, we seem to have regressed. Take the millionaire who swears he can’t get by without his Provigil. Yes, it helps but does he know what the long term effects are? No, he doesn’t. Whatever happened to getting enough sleep? We always want that magic pill to help us sleep/stay awake, lose weight, relieve our anxiety, etc.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t take any sort of medication, far from it. My mother had numerous meds that kept her alive so at times, it’s very necessary. I’m talking about finding other ways to deal with the issues in our lives instead of always turning to pharmaceuticals. We should care more about ourselves. I mean, lookit…other countries place emphasis where it should be: living one’s life and spending time with family. Let me amend that last statement. They’ve found a way to provide the much needed time off for new mothers/fathers with pay (http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/blog/the-10-best-countries-for-maternity-care/),

Will this become my diatribe? Of sorts, yes. The whole purpose of me wanting to write is not only to tell people’s stories (the positive ones, not the negative) but to make people think. And even that has gone to the wayside, now that we have Google. I admit that I use it quite a bit too but for cryin’ out loud in a bucket, does anyone read anymore? I’m not talking about taking one’s child to the local library for the picture books. I’m talking about every man, woman and child actually picking up a book (not just downloading to their Kindle) and flipping the pages. Yes, I download to my Android phone and it is quite handy. However, at this very moment, I have 3 books I checked out from my local library. LOVE the smell of books in a library or bookstore! If I could bottle three scents, it would be these: fresh cut grass, leather and new book smell. How’s that for nerdy?

Folks, it’s more than just reading an actual book or shopping carts not taken to the cart return and discourteous drivers who cut you off or don’t use their turn signal. Just this morning, I was lying in bed with the TV on, still sleepy but trying to come around, when I heard Ron Corning (WFAA Channel 8 Dallas) read the story about the shooting at Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado. I have friends in Colorado and sent a text to one, messaged the other. I have no idea if they live close to that theatre or have friends or family who were there but I need to know that they’re okay. I’m not sure why the young man felt he had to do this or what brought him to this point but he’s caused chaos for so many lives, the survivors as well as  the victims. And I guess that’s kind of my whole issue. I mean, what’s our major malfunction anyway? How did we get to this point?

You have no idea how many nights I lay my head on the pillow and think to myself: Why are our children so disrespectful? WHY can’t we say “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Is it so wrong to spank our children so they understand boundaries? What possesses a person to torture an animal that can’t defend itself? Why is our history being changed in school textbooks ? Wouldn’t we live longer and have less health issues without all the preservatives in our food? The list goes on and on and it befuddles the heck out of me why/how this could be.

Consider this: our nation really came together 11 years ago when 9/11 happened. We became acutely aware of what complacency can do and it spurred us on to be more vigilant with our parenting, more active in our communities and more faithful in our spirituality. Yet here we are, a decade later, still mindful of the lives lost that day but we’ve moved on. True, we have to walk forward because though it was a very rough period, we still have lives to lead. But wouldn’t that make us want to do better all the time? Shouldn’t that be our red flag that life is precious and short so we had better make the most of it? One would think, yes. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. I understand that not everyone is complacent or indifferent. Not at all. What I’m saying is we can and should do better…but how?

For starters, our children should have a belief in something greater than the next version of the iPhone or the latest update of their Instagram app. (I have that app & I love it, btw) My son attended church with my neighbor and I thought he was paying attention. He wasn’t. It was something for him to do on Sunday. *sigh* I regret not finding a church when he was little so he could follow in my earlier footsteps. My mother took us every Sunday and it’s made a difference in my life. I only recently began attending services again, albeit on a Saturday evening and I haven’t attended in months, but still. And most of you already know that because I blogged about it.  Proverbs 22:6- “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” KJV. Not trying to be too preachy but it’s true. This is why good Christian people tend to cope with adverstiy a little better: faith. Hey, it’s worked for me and I can’t begin to tell you how many rough patches I’ve been through. Am I a Jesus freak? No, but I have an enormous amount of faith because it works for me. I’m not even the good Christian my friend Kathie is (far from it), nor as classy as she is. But that doesn’t mean I’m not worth saving. Here’s something else :

When I was in 3rd grade, I got paddled for signing the k-i-ss-i-n-g song about a couple of my classmates. Harsh? Back then, I thought it was. Now? Not so much. See, back in the day (as we say now), teachers held our feet to the fire, so to speak and you were accountable for your actions, even if you were a 3rd grader. Nowadays, you’re accountable but only to a certain point. Everything requires the teacher to make a phone call or send home a dreaded pink discipline referral for the student’s misconduct. With my son, he kept the forms in his backpack and I never saw them until after they had accumulated. While I admit that I was not a strict parent, neither was I lax about things. However, after many calls to my office and impeding my productivity,  (for which I could have been fired) enough was enough.  One particular day, I asked if there was a guidance counselor on campus. I was told yes, there was. So I quite angrily told them to have the guidance counselor do their job and consult with my son regarding his actions, that the counselor wasn’t there to promote a college my son wasn’t even old enough to attend. Right or wrong, it’s my job as a parent to make sure that my son has the resources he needs while on campus at a school I’m paying taxes to. Aside from the tax thing (everyone falls back on that old chestnut, don’t they?) I meant what I said. If the school counselor couldn’t help my son or find a resolution, that’s when they needed to call Mom & Dad. Paddling in school and spankings by my parents obviously hasn’t turned me into a vicious beast. The Menopause Fairy did that. (kidding) But we have to have a better way to get through to these kids because the referral forms and phone calls ain’t cuttin’ it.

It isn’t just the children either. If you Google ‘father fights at soccer game’, the return comes back with about 191,000,000 results. (in .31 seconds, I might add) That’s just ri-DONK-ulous! Fights between fathers at their child’s soccer game, fights between the parents and the official and even fathers who join their son on the field to help them fight! Did y’all eat a bowl of stupid for breakfast that day?? Sure, we want to protect our kids but when you go and do a foolhardy thing like that, all you’re doing is teaching your child that throwing a fit and being a poor sport is how to get things done. I tried to get my son into a sport but it wasn’t his bag so he never played any sport,  in school or through the local city team. The actions of parents isn’t limited to the playing field either. I have a friend who works at a child care facility and she told me that when one of her students (they do teach at this facility) misbehaves and it isn’t resolved before the parentals come to pick up Junior, more often than not, the reaction of the parent is: “Well, my child wouldn’t do that!” Uh-huh…that’s what you say now. For the record, when the Fruit of my Looms was acting like a complete fool, I always asked what he did, who saw it, where was the other child, etc. I didn’t always assume he was innocent. He is my son, after all and I’m pretty sure I passed on my mischief gene to him when he acquired the mitochondrial DNA. If I find out he lied, I’d make him go back and apologize because THAT’S what you’re SUPPOSED to do. Sure I’m odd, but that doesn’t mean I don’t take parenting seriously. I found a way to throw in some humour as well so I wouldn’t have an aneurysm while trying to suss out the details of my son’s latest misadventure. So far, it’s worked pretty well and I think I raised a darn good kid. However, I won’t hold his hand through life. He’s gonna have to fall on his face a few times if he’s ever going to learn what not to do.

There are so many more topics and I honestly do not relish making a list. Firstly, that would be an uber long post and secondly, it’s not my intention to proselytize from my soap box. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I claim to. I’m simply trying to present another point of view and hopefully, a change in the way we behave where our kids, ourselves and the entire world is concerned.  Gandhi said ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world’ and he’s right. I have a ways to go yet but I’m on the right path. We should bring God to the forefront again, say Merry Christmas, discipline our children when they need it but praise them for what they do right as well, not be afraid to say ‘I love you’, never go to bed angry (at your spouse or anyone) and dadgummit, be courteous to others. Google the Golden Rule, if you can’t remember it but please, be aware that your actions speak volumes to your children and those around you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. We’re human and we can’t do everything. We weren’t meant to. You only get this one chance at life…no do-overs. So be the absolute best person you can while you’re on this Earthly plane and leave that as a legacy to your family when you move on to the spiritual plane. That’s worth more than anything money can buy and maybe, just maybe, it will have a domino effect and start healing the world, one person at a time. Peace…

Welcome to Dallas, darlin’!!

Okay, I tried to resist the urge but I can’t. Although my hometown is forever immortalized in Hillbilly Debutante Cafe, I’ve spent half my life in the great state of Texas. While we have our issues, we’re proud of the fact that we were once known as the Republic of Texas (from March 2, 1836 to February 19, 1846) and we have our own power grid. We’ve also been pretty lucky to have maintained a fairly good economy when other states didn’t fare as well. Dallas is a very large city of over 4 million residents and believe me when I tell you there’s plenty to do around here. If you have loads of cash to toss around, head on down to the Highland Park section of the Big D (Mockingbird Ln. , Preston Rd., Livingston  & Douglas Ave. surrounds some chi chi poo poo type stores). If you like flashy but don’t have a lot of money, you should hit up Sam Moon on Harry Hines. But let’s move on…I’m gonna tell you about some of those famous shots of Dallas in the new and improved intro and where you can find those landmarks when you come visit.

When the intro begins, this is what you see. Those two roadways are Houston St. (on your left) and Jefferson Blvd. (on your right), coming in from the south end of the city. The roadway underneath is Tom Landry Frwy., also known as Interstate 30.  Once you cross over Tom Landry Frwy. and get closer to the actual city,  those two streets become the Houston Viaduct and Market Street. That’s the Omni Hotel in the center of the shot and the Dallas Convention Center is directly to the right. HERE’S A BIG OL’ LONE STAR WELCOME TO…

I used to work very close to downtown, on Brookriver Drive, off Mockingbird Lane and not far from the Consulate General of Mexico. Every now and then, one of my co-workers and I would go hit Sonny Byran’s over on Inwood for some of the state’s best BBQ.  (I think it is, anyway) It doesn’t look like much but Julia Child loved it, as did Eric Clapton and Oprah. If you go, you need to get there early because when they run out of meat, they close the doors. Check it:

See what I mean?  I ain’t lyin’.

But look at this plate full of calorie-laden goodness! We got brisket, sausage, cole slaw & home made onion rings. The sauce is dee-lishus with just a hint of spicy. Of course, they bottle and sell it but you can’t beat it when you’re actually there and it’s still warm in the bottle. They use old Corona beer bottles for the sauce at the restaurant but not for the bottles they sell retail.  Mmmm-good!! Lots more to see though.

That funky building on the left is Fountain Place and it’s located at 1445 Ross Ave. It was designed by I.M. Pei and was “used” as the offices of Ewing Oil in the later seasons of Dallas back in the 80s. The building in the background in the center of the shot is the Renaissance Tower at 1201 Elm St. in Dallas. The gold building on the right is the Campbell Centre Management Office at 8350 North Central Expwy. It’s unmistakable, even on Google maps.

I’m not sure where the shot of the cattle was taken but as for the sculpture in the center, that was in my neck of the woods in Frisco. It’s located in Central Park, near the Rough Riders ballpark and the arena where the Dallas Stars practice. (more on those sculptures in part 2 of my Dallas blog tomorrow) The building on the right in the Comerica Bank tower located at 1717 Main St. in Dallas.

As you can see, I pulled these shots directly from the intro. What you see under Patrick Duffy’s name is the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, which was just recently opened to traffic. It was built as part of the Trinity River Corridor Project and in the future, it will include trails, parks, lakes, an equestrian center, the Great Trinity Forest and the Trinity Audubon Center. That big ball on a stick is Reunion Tower at 300 Reunion Blvd., next to the Hyatt Regency. Atop the 560 ft. high structure is Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant and includes a rotating bar.Here’s a better shot of the amazing bridge:

The next shot is of the Dallas Light Rail or DART, which connects Dallas to Plano, North Carrollton, Garland and Irving. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as far as Frisco but I’m sure it will, in time. The other picture is pretty obvious.  It’s none other than the new Cowboys Stadium (we like to call it Jerry World) which is now in Arlington. Jerry Jones spent a boatload of money to buy a Texas-sized jumbo screen inside so you don’t miss a play (center of the stadium), as well as a sliding roof. An oversized moon roof, if you will. I heard it was really nice in there but I’ve never been.

The skyscraper with the cool green neon is the Bank of America building and the one with the diamond shaped lights is a night shot of the Renaissance Tower

And last but certainly not least…Southfork Ranch. It’s actually not in Dallas but 3700 Hogge Drive in Parker, TX. It’s kinda between Allen and Plano but if you’re coming to visit, it’s pretty close to everything you might need. Honey, there ain’t nothin’ but city once you land here. Though we’re landlocked, you’ll never be bored, so long as you have some duckets saved and a little stamina. I had a fabulous time going back to Omaha to visit relatives but if I’m being honest, it made me smile when I looked out the window of the plane and saw all the city lights on the approach to the airport. I do hope to have a lighthouse home by the lake out here where I am now but if I want a little city life, all I gotta do is travel 30 minutes to the Big D and I’m smack dab in the middle of  all the funky, artsy-ness of Dallas. (Visit http://www.southfork.com if you want more info. on tours, events & parties, etc.)

Well, time for me to hit the hay but I hope I’ve done the city justice. I’ve been to a lot of places in the city but there’s still a great deal more to see.  There’s just no place like it anywhere. Part 2 tomorrow so y’all come back now…y’hear?

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