Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The top one is wild mustard... I think. The bottom is henbit, or maybe chickweed... I'm not sure to be truthful. I know that if I see it in my yard I attack it with a frenzy, but out in a field it's kinda cool...
Work finally more or less petered out for the week. Nothing will be happening tomorrow, so I won't be working... and I won't be going out for New Years Eve... I worked in too many bars to even find it amusing.
We used to call in Amateur Night. People who, under normal circumstances couldn't bring themselves to choke down so much as a glass of wine will show up on New Years Eve and get absolutely smashed. Something about the ongoing stress of the holiday season I'm sure, but after you've spent a few years pouring people into cabs, well - the thrill is gone.
I'll stay home and eat Cabbage & taters with some smoked pork... and baked black-eyed peas. And since the oven will be on, might as well make some corn bread... That oughta satisfy all my ancestral requirements.
Was actually going to take some pics yesterday, when I realized that I didn't have my dang memory card in the camera. But today, I have my memory card. And three novels in my truck... I always try to keep something to read in my truck. What you need is something that will hold your attention, help you pass the time, but is still fairly easy to read. If it's set among people you don't run into everyday of your life, it might actually teach you something, but that's not a big priority. Literature is for reading at home, when you have time to really think... these books are for reading in fast-food joints and parks when you have 20 or 30 minutes to waste.
Murder mysteries are best. Barbara Michaels has found a great balance of spooky mystery, with enough romance to keep the ladies interested without making the guys squirm in their seats, and enough action to keep the guys happy, but not so intense that it makes the ladies disgusted. Jonathan Kellerman writes psychological thrillers that are often based in the Jewish Comunity, Tony Hillerman (who recently passed away) wrote mysteries set in the Southwest involving Native American characters... from both I've learned something about two cultures I wouldn't normally come that much in contact with. Don't get me wrong, I don't know enough to say I really know the cultures, but I know enough to not embarass myself with stupid questions...
Yesterday in the doldrums, I wandered into a thrift store. Particularly looking for jeans. I end up in warehouses all over, and it's a little hard on pants, I'm always looking for jeans. Preferably black denim. They look good with the uniform shirt and don't show the dirt as bad... and I found a bunch of used paperbacks. Start looking through them, and the lady that worked there says... "Oh, those are all black novels... " I say, OK and keep looking.
They're a sub-genre of fiction written for African-Americans by African-Americans. Now I've certainly read black authors before. I'm actually a pretty big Maya Anjelou fan. And I've certainly read novels with black characters, but looking back, they were usually written by white authors. It might be interesting to read these. But I've not read the paperback fiction before. I found two murder mysteries, and a novel about a woman who cleaned up after heroin addiction, married well and is now widowed and trying to raise two children and keep them off the streets... it promises to be a soap opera but it might be interesting.
So I bought 2 pairs of jeans and 3 books, Much to the amazment of the lady working there... I want to send her a letter... rule one in customer service, don't wrinkle your nose at the customer like he might be insane and you're afraid it's catching. I probably won't go back there... but quite frankly, annoying her yesterday really kind of made my day.
And this post is certainly not typical of me... and I don't know exactly what my point is... but I was sitting here typing and this came out, so here we are...
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Then we went to dinner and decided to visit the HUGE Half-Price Book Store in Dallas. It's the big, main store of the chain, and no matter what you're looking for in the way of printed material, you can probably find it there. But one thing I did find was this... a Pocket Buddha!
Cute little guy... he is a happiness Buddha. He certainly made me happy, it's strange how a little plastic figure less than 2 inches tall can amuse you so much...
there are six different ones... Harmony, Peace, Wisdom, Love, Happiness and Faith.
I hope his presence on my blog spreads a little happiness around... a little extra happiness is a good thing. I'll probably set him with Little Gothic Bob, or maybe I'll find a little spot on the dash of the truck for him.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Not the most attractive of birds, but they're really fun to watch when they're hunting for bugs beside the road.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So, when I was driving through Mansfield today, I saw two red-tailed hawks sitting in a tree... they were this years fledglings, which is probably why they were sitting together... Usually hawks are pretty solitary birds... I stopped, but one flew off and I got this pic...
I even took close-ups of the branches so that you can see the difference in how they grow... it's really kind of cool.
I've been reading "Wicked - The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West" by Gregory Maguire. A re-telling of the Oz story. It's actually an old book that I had missed somehow, but I had to read it because I'd already read the sequel... It's call "Son of a Witch" so I had to read this and then re-read the sequel to get everything straight in my head again... They're actually very good books, if you're looking for something that's kind of thought provoking without being too heavy...
Sorry that the pics aren't great!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So, I called Triple A, and they said they'd send a tow... even though I was going to have to pay for it because I've used all my free ones. Then they said they'd be sending someone from Imperial Towing. In 20 minutes, a little pick-up truck shows up, and I'm thinking "there is no way that little toyota is going to tow me anywhere..." It turns out that the tow truck was a little far away to get there quickly, so they sent this guy... he was a diagnostician and he was there to see if we could get the truck started so I wouldn't need towed... (I'd still have to pay the service fee, but I would save the milage on the tow...) so I tell him what I think is wrong and how it's acting, then he pops the hood, crawls under the truck, grabs a bunch of tools and equipment from his truck, and after checking everything thoroughly, announces that I will definitely need a tow because the fuel pump just plain ain't working, and there's no way we can get it started.
I was impressed. I now know exactly what's wrong, (it's what I suspected, but now I'm SURE) which makes dealing with a mechanic much easier, but he was trying to save me some cash and his company some diesel fuel by helping me avoid the tow... then he called on his radio, announced the tow guy would be there in 30 minutes and asked me if I wanted anything while I was waiting... all very polite. Gave me a business card if I needed to contact him and took off to help somebody else.
Then the tow guy shows up, and he starts in on the same thing, seeing if we Really NEED a tow. I told him the other guy was already there and that the fuel pump was kaput. So he loaded the truck, I jumped in the cab, he reached behind the seat and handed me a bottle of water, then towed me to the mechanic... I've ran into a lot of tow guys over the years and I have to say that the guys at Imperial Towing know their stuff and have the whole concept of service industry down... If you're ever in the Dallas - Fort Worth area and need a tow, these are the guys to call...
anyway, not much else today...
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Had a surprise freeze last night, it wasn't supposed to get that cold. Fortunately, most of my plants are in protected areas, but I think I lost a couple... we'll see...
And I'm off driving tomorrow...
Saturday, December 06, 2008
And that's all I had pics of.
Not too impressive, huh?
Friday, December 05, 2008
Anyway, this week is finally over. Not a good week at all... just way slow. I'm afraid that with the economy like it is, everything is slowing down. I'm not doing any more document jobs, documents are now e-mailed or faxed. It used to be on Fridays, I delivered payrolls... but now the accountant sends a file through e-mail and they plug it in and print the checks on site. So, I'm running around doing shlock work.
and not terribly much of that...
In all honestly, courier work is what you do while you're looking for a job you want. Unfortunately, with the unemployment figures that came out today, I'm not sure that there's going to be an actual job worth having out there. And the people that are hiring, warehouses and such, are going to just lay off after the holiday season. This is not a good time, so I find myself in the position of trying to keep a job that I never really wanted to begin with... and I'm going to stop kvetching now...
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I managed to lassoo my niece and her fiance and manipulated them into helping me move the flea market stall... with the three of us, we got it all moved and everything displayed in the space of one Sunday! I didn't think it was going to be possible, but it happened.
But then I left without paying the rent, so I dropped by on the way back home from work Monday, and, like a blasted idiot, I left my dispatch radio at the flea market, so I had to miss work today.
So today, I went and picked up my radio, and on the way back I dropped some stuff off at Goodwill. Since I was there anyway, I walked in to see what they had and walked out with some of the best flea market collectables that I've been able to find for a long time... Morrocan hanging candle holders, a 2 ft by 3 ft mirror in a hand-carved wooden frame, Danish Modern teapots... the great thing about shopping when you run a flea market is that you don't have to confine yourself to one style... You're not neccesarily looking for things to fit into your own decorating scheme, you're just looking for really great cool looking stuff... and now, I get to spend the rest of the evening cleaning it and pricing it. Joy! (not)
Now the white dove of peace at the top of the page is for the people in India... it just seemed appropriate when I started posting.
And the little cartoon is for all my cactus-loving blogging friends. I've had it forever, and I can't believe I haven't posted it before now...
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a trip to Luby's with my mom. This usually surprises people who know me. I, generally, like to cook, and my mom is an excellent cook... and I will admit that I've cooked a few turkeys in my life... but ultimately, it was just me and mom, and neither of us particualarly wanted to cook, and neither of us wanted to put the other to the trouble, so off to Luby's. It was certainly nice to have all morning out of the kitchen cooking and all afternoon out of the kitchen cleaning up the mess... Treated myself to a nice long nap.
But I was listening to National Public Radio and heard a great cooking tip... Now if you're one of those people who have a hard time making pie crusts... (Some of us just can't do it... There's probably a support group somewhere... ) this might be worth trying.
To make a wonderful pie crust, use cold vodka instead of cold water. The reasoning is this... the water combines with the flour to make gluten, which is that wonderful hard crust on breads... but the gluten is what turns your pie crust into something hard and rubbery.... alcohol, ie: vodka, will not form gluten with flour. Plus, the vodka evaporates and leaves behind the flour and shortening to make a really flakey crust. This was all according to a real live chef on NPR, so I'm gonna assume he knows what he's talking about... I haven't tried it yet. I make about 4 pie crusts a year and they turn out better than some but not as good as others, so I'm gonna try it eventually, but if any of you are feeling adventurous, let me know how it turns out. Also, I'm wondering if I could use whisky or rum to give the crust a flavor with pecan pie or something... although now that I think about it, pecan pie is usually pretty overwhelming flavored all by itself so I'm not sure I'd bother.
Anyway, later today, I'm off to the flea market. I gotta start packing because I'm going to have to move the booth next month. There's a better booth closer to the front and actually a little bit smaller and cheaper.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
The cats have been up to their old tricks... Charcoal has taken to perching herself in my computer chair, so that everytime I want to get on this thing, I have to pry her loose. This involves me trying to pick her up off of it at which point she makes that lovely cat yowl and digs her claws into the upholstery. When I finally get her loose, (kind of like prying apart industrial grade velcro) I sit her on my lap, and she gives me a dirty look, jumps onto the floor and sits staring at me. After about 2 minutes, she jumps back in my lap and curls up.
Now, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why she decided this computer chair was the place to be... there are plenty of other places for her to curl up where she wouldn't be disturbed, but I think I've figured it out. See, if she's in the computer chair, she can see the back door, and that gives her a good chance to have a good hiss every time the other cat, Phennig, comes in to the house. Her primary reason for existing has always been to let Phennig know his place in the world, and my computer chair seems to be a good podium for managing this. As for Phennig, he just ignores her. Except, every once in a while he will sneak up behind the computer chair and give her tail a real good swipe...
This is the type of stuff you have to deal with when you adopt cats that were born feral... They tame up, but there's always that semi-wild animal behaviour just under the surface...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Drop by and say hey if you want...
Friday, November 14, 2008
The cemetary was at one time more or less abandoned, and overgrown with trees, but, through a combination of municipal effort and the effort of individuals in the community, it has started to be cleaned out again.
If you look at the pic up there, to the left, on the other side of that line of trees is the old Presbyterian graveyard, much more impressive in markers and such, but I got an emergency order from dispatch before I could check it or it's historical markers out. On the right side of the graveyard is another line of trees that still contains some unclaimed parts of this graveyard, bordered by a small creek, and then the municipal park. Behind where I was standing is the modern Mansfield Community Graveyard.
But having gone wild and then been brought back has allowed some intersting native plants to come back into this area. There are some stray yuccas, some stray prickly pears, but best of all, I found this...This is the native Texas Nipple Cactus, one of the varieties of Escobaria missouriensis. Once fairly common in this area, cattle grazing, and human habitation have pretty much wiped it out locally. Actually, as much as I like clomping through fields and pastures, this is the first one I've ever seen growing in a wild state. I found this growing on the edge of the tree line, wedged between ancient clumps of iris. It was all I could do to resist digging it up and taking it home. As is, I'm afraid I couldn't stop myself from taking home one of its little offsets, which will take a place of pride in my rock garden.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Now, maybe you remember a while ago, when I told you about a raving racoon that went through the yard and knocked all the cacti off a shelf... Three Mammillarias ended up in one pot, because I didn't have enough small pots. One of them is now blooming, the M. karwinskiana ssp. nejapensis... also known by the much easier to pronounce name of "Silver Arrows cactus"
It doesn't have the most attractive blooms, and I origionally bought the plant last year, when it was a pretty little globe and I didn't know much about the species. It has now started to divide dichtonomously, and, from the pics I've seen on the web will spend a few years looking kind of sloppy, until he's formed a big mass and looks kind of cool again.
Also in this post is a "golden nipple cactus" more properly referred to as M. rhodantha ssp. pringlei and a Red-headed Irishman cactus... aka M. spinosissima. They are planted a little too close together, and I'll probably separate them next spring. I've never liked to transplant cacti in the fall or winter when they should be starting to go dormant.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
The retaining wall, which puts drivers on the highway at about eye level and within 20 feet of the persons buried here, was just put in about 4 years ago, and at that time the old tombstones were replaced by modern markers that lay flat on the ground. I remember there being an older pylon marker that was at least six feet tall, that has been removed, probably to take attention away from the cemetery. Quite frankly, visiting it is risking accident on the road. The earliest internment was on Jan 12 1897. The last internment was in 2004,very near the time that the retaining wall was built, which means this cemetery is still in use by the family.
A cemetery of this age is certainly old enough to be considered for Historical Site status, but I'm pretty sure that the inaccessible location on the highway (which makes visiting it slightly dangerous) coupled with the fact that it is probably still held as a private holding by the family has prevented that.
I also got stuck in downtown Dallas this week, and since I had nothing else to do for an hour, I decided to pretend I was a tourist. Here's the old courthouse, which is now used as a historical museum and visitors center...
here's Reunion tower...
and right in the middle of Downtown, the John F. Kennedy memorial, commemorating the President whose assasination took place just down the street. (not Dallas's proudest moment, but much of history isn't neccesarily pretty.)
and that's pretty much it.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Which brings me to another subject... reports of people making phone calls to voters telling them that Democrats are being asked to wait until Wednesday to vote, or that the police will be waiting to arrest anybody with traffic tickets at the polls... This kind of bull happens during every election, but there appears to be more of it this year. Now, there haven't been many reports of it here in Texas, but I sincerely hope that the citizens of the states where it is happening start a letter writing campaign to their newly elected representatives, demanding that this sort of behaviour be prosecuted. (Technically, it is against the law, but there are very few if any prosecutions.) In this day and age of technical ability, it cannot be that difficult to track these people down. As I mentioned before, I come from a military family, and to think that there are persons undermining the basic right that makes this country what it is, and that my ancestors fought so hard for, just gets up my nose.
Ok, I'm off my soap box.
I intend to spend much of this evening in front of the Television watching the results, and chearing for my side! GO TEAM!
Monday, November 03, 2008
Maybe it's because it's so soon after Halloween, All Saints and All Souls days... when, according to tradition, the veil between this world and the next is thin... but I kept thinking of my Grandmother. She was the youngest of 4 girls born to an English immigrant and his Scottish wife. In order from oldest to youngest... Sally(the brunette) Clara (the strawberry blonde) Mary (the blonde) and my Grandmother Nellie (who had auburn hair) Sally died of scarlet fever when she was 19 years old, Clara married, had children and died before I was ever born, Mary caught polio when she was four and lived until she was 98, confined to a wheelchair and Grandmother married, had 9 children, and was widowed when the youngest, my mother, was 5 months old. She raised all 9 children by herself, working as a maid, scrubbing the floors of the local bank and became one of the most respected people in the small town of 500 that she lived in.
When she was 16, grandmother was a teacher in a one-room school house, but she had to quit that job to go live with Great-Aunt Mary, who had married my uncle Ot and had one still born child. (He was named Adam, and there's a picture of him around here somewhere, laying in a coffin in an elaborate christening gown)
Aunt Mary, at this time in her life, was crippled from the polio, but not entirely confined to her wheelchair. While Grandmother was living with Mary and Ot (short for Otis) she met Ot's brother John, who had just gotten released from prison. It seemed that he had been living in Arizona, with his wife Goldie, when he had fallen asleep in the parlor and started to talk in his sleep about his wife who lived in Missouri. Goldie, of course, lost no time in trying to get to the bottom of this, and upon questioning, John admitted that it was true, he had been married to another woman in Missouri, named Golda and also called Goldie, and what's more, he had never bothered to get a divorce.
This put everybody in a bit of a tizzy, and the current Goldie's father was called in. The father-in-law came up with two options. John could formally divorce the first wife then remarry his daughter, who was, by this time, with child, or he could go to prison post haste.
John said that quite frankly, he'd rather go to prison.
Which he did, for one year, after which he ended up with both marriages annuled at Aunt Mary's and Uncle Ot's house with my Grandmother.
Now John was working at the Railroad, and making a good living, and he proceeded to get a little sweet on Nellie. One day, he asked her to go to a dance being thrown at the local church, but Nellie said that she couldn't go because she didn't have a nice dress. So he gave Nellie one dollar to buy some Calico so that she could make herself a dress for the party.
Mary, who, like some disabled people, was extremely jealous of those who weren't crippled and besides, by all accounts was just a holy terror, got wind of this dollar bill and accused her sister of doing immoral things in exchange for money.
After which, quite frankly, all hell broke loose. To make a long story short, well obviously not too short, Nellie told John that she would marry him on the condition that he get her out of that house... and that's how my Grandparents got married.
Friday, October 31, 2008
This is Phennig, who waits in the driveway for me everyorning to say goodbye before I leave for work. I realize he doesn't look like the friendliest cat around, but he's actually a bit of a sweatheart...
As I was driving around, I saw this stand of yuccas by the side of the road and stopped to take a pic... now, here in Texas they really aren't that big a deal, unless they're blooming, then they're quite a site to see... but I remembered that there are a lot of people who stop by who've never been to Texas, so I thought maybe they'd like to see these in their natural habitat... besides, I like them growing up between the rocks...
Monday, October 27, 2008
Now I'm not really a sketching kind of guy. I'm more the "find a bunch of stuff and turn it into a 'construction' " kind of guy.
And now I guess I'll have to figure out what to do with it...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Yesterday, not so good. The day started out well, but then the temp dropped 25 degrees in the space of an hour, and it started raining. I don't mind rain, and I don't mind cold, but the two together are almost unbearable.
Today it started out cold, but the sun was out and it warmed right up. Went to Grapevine, just north west of Dallas, and had a 30 minute wait so I went to the town square to see what I could see. Now, I realize that a lot of people really like Granbury, but I much prefer Grapevine. Any town that would put a glass building in the middle of town, and then use it to display a horse-drawn hearse and antique embalming equipment, and then string Christmas lights around it is just fine in my book.
Actually, as historic displays go, this one was really quite interesting and had alot of things to look at. Unfortunately, the sun glare kept me from taking any really good pics... And across the street, the City of Grapevine's first Municipal Jail...
Built in 1909, the structure is 10 feet deep, 8 feet wide and 8 feet tall...
The city of Grapevine is a really wonderful place to visit. In addition to slightly macabre historical displays, there are several vineyards and winery's, a restored plantation you can visit, and the Gaylord Texan resort, which is, for all practical purposes, a city unto itself...
But that was the last break I had in the day... Ended up with a rush delivery to Wichita Falls, TX, just a mere 125 miles North of Ft. Worth. Didn't have a chance to take any pics there because 1) when you're making these deliveries, they're usually to the warehouse and/or industrial districts, which aren't known for being particularly picturesque, and 2) this was an exchange delivery, which means somebody had shipped the wrong part and I had to drop off the correct part, then grab the wrong part and get it back to the original warehouse ASAP - there was just no time to explore.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday morning, I went to start the truck, and there was a big ka-thump.
The timing belt broke.
Luckily, the truck was sitting still when it happened, if I'd been going down the road, it would have bent up all the valves... as is, I didn't have to replace any of them. Actually, the mechanic didn't have to replace any of them, I didn't do one darned thing... except pay for it.
So I've been sitting in the house doing absolutely nothing. And whining about it.
I seriously never realized just how mind-numbingly bad daytime TV is....
but then, this afternoon, The mechanic called and the truck was ready.
So, in the space of 10 seconds, I went from "I'm so bored" to "I don't wanna go to work....."
Just can't make me happy, huh?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Mom wanted to buy me dinner for my birthday, so we went to a Mexican restaraunt, and I had some great steak tacos. I also had a couple of margaritas, but don't worry, I wasn't driving.
Anyway, I didn't have a very exciting week... did have a long haul out to Granbury. I've never been a big fan of Granbury, it's a nice enough town I suppose, on a nice lake, but it's been built up for the tourist industry, and it's all a little too quaint for my taste. On the way back, in a wide spot in the road called Cresson, a train was blocking the road so I turned off and found this... A historical marker. The old Cresson school, a nice example of Mission Revival architecture, which, according to the plaque, was built in 1931.
And here's another pic, a little closer. And that's the front of my truck...
and here's the historical marker plaque, if you want any more information...
This is easily the most impressive building in Cresson, in age, architecture, and size. And as nice and Texan as this building is, I'm not sure I would recomend taking any special trips out to see it. But if you're driving through on Hwy 377, it's a good excuse to stop and stretch your legs.
And that was the highlight of my week.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
As you can see, it has a couple of flies attracted....
Now, some of you may remember this plant from a previous post... http://lpfleamarket.blogspot.com/2008/07/curse-you-wal-mart.html
well, it's back...
Now, I know it's a Mammilaria, and that it divides dichotomously, meaning that it splits at the growing point rather than growing branches or pups. The thing is that it bloomed last week, you can see what's left of the blooms if you look closely. They were small, about a quarter inch across, and dark "Hot" pink, and I cannot, for the life of me, find a plant that divides this way with a bloom that color. Any ideas anybody? Or any resources on the web that might be able to help me out? I've exhausted most of my resources...
UPDATE: possibly this plant is Mammillaria crucigera ssp. crucigera, which divides dichotomously at maturity, and also produces pups and offsets at the base, or, it may be M. perbella...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Eventually, not today...
Will be changing the booth in the flea market to one closer to the front, where there are some dealers who are in there all the time, and everything will just be a little more secure.
As for the store blog... soon. I've got to get some other things organized first... I've got to figure out the pricing and keywords on the google ads, things like that... Don't worry, I'll announce the opening here so you can all go see just what kind of stuff I sell, and tell me what an awful job I'm doing...
Saturday, October 11, 2008
of course, answering fun questions about said gargoyle is interesting too:
"Do we NEED a gargoyle?"
Well, of course not. Nobody needs a 3 foot tall gargoyle, except maybe a monastary in the Ukraine, but that's not the point.
"Then, what's the point?"
The point is I want it.
"Well, isn't it kind of tacky?"
Tacky is relative... it's not half as tacky as a larger than life size vulture..."And just what do you think you're going to do with that?""
I'm going to bolt it to the hood of your car if you don't stop asking annoying questions...
And well, you can probably imagine the rest...
Hope everybody had a great week...