Monday, December 27, 2010
Now, when I tell people this, it makes them crazy. What most people don't understand is that I grew up in a house with an unmedicated bipolar sibling, and Christmas wasn't so much a holiday as it was prime staging for a fit, so I don't have a huge fund of warm fuzzy Christmas memories to draw upon. I truly PREFER a quiet holiday. If I do go to a party, I find myself doing what I always did at our families Christmas dinners... namely, sitting in a corner, sucking all the joy out of the room while waiting for the inevitable tempermental explosion. So, rather than torture my hosts or going into long-winded explanations about it, usually I just tell people I have plans.
The church guys however saw through it.
So, I was finally confronted with an invite that I couldn't get out of.
And to be blunt, I'm really glad I went. True, I showed up at somebodies house without a present in hand, which is very un-Southern and enough to make the ghost of my Grandmother rise up and come get me, but I did have a nice holiday dinner... actually, a traditional Mexican holiday dinner, complete with home-made tamales, carnitas, barbacoa, guacamole, hand made tortillas, stuffed jalapenos, and the list goes on and on and on... all complimented with my church friend Hectors mama shoving plates under my chin and demanding, "EAT!" I didn't spend my time worried about how to act or if I was depressing anyone, because I was too busy chewing.
So, I shouldn't need a full meal for the next 4 days...
And, I got the recipe for those stuffed jalapenos. SCORE
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
It's a cop.
someone two doors down has had their truck broke into, and cop noticed mine had been hit too...
Cops before coffee... wee haw.
They stole my stereo... which quite frankly is no big loss since it stopped working last year sometime and I never replaced it. I gotta hear a GPS talking, the dispatch talking and occasionally my cell phone... I didn't miss it. But, like a fool, for some unfathomable reason, I had left my GPS unit in the truck... and that's gone. so, damn.
So, can't work Monday like I planned, and off to get some things done at the flea market... Pick up a used GPS for 50 bucks at a hock shop... (yes, I realize that I may have just replaced my stolen GPS with someone elses stolen GPS, but money is tight right now... ) and I get home to find an envelope stuck to my door... Inside is a Christmas card that says "I realize you're having a tough time right now, please accept this..." and there's a $50 bill inside. It was signed by one of my neighbors.
Then I see my other neighbor, the snotty ones I rarely talk to, but I know that she's there alone at night sometimes with two kids, and the right thing to do is give her some warning of what's going on in the neighborhood, so I mention that there's been a rash of robberies lately. And she gives me her typical snotty look and says... "Oh, I know... they stole my husbands stereo last week... they got the gun he had locked in the truck too..." and she kind of ambles off...
Now 1) Well thanks for giving the rest of us a head up, sweetheart. Then 2) Why the hell does your husband keep a gun locked in a truck that doesn't have a burglar alarm? and 3) Now we have ARMED burglars in the neighborhood... that's just spectacular....
And now that I think about it... that's kinda how my life has been going lately... something that makes me feel like crap, followed by something that makes me feel all warm and blessed, then followed by something that pisses me off royally, and this see-saw is bloody exhausting and I wanna get off... really. I'm not kidding. It's wearing me out.
Got that off my chest.
Sorry about that...
Sunday, December 12, 2010
well, that doesn't work out so well sometimes. Especially if what you knocked off was a cactus.
What I'm trying to say is... OUCH!
And, speaking of ouch... one last statement about my fabulous career as an angel. Wearing wings hurts. Seriously, they are strapped on you with elastic straps that cut off the circulation to your arms, bite into your flesh and pull your shoulders back into an unnatural scrunch. Four days running of that, and I feel like somebody has pounded me between the shoulder blades.
But now I have a little extra time to catch up on my blogger friends.
Merry Christmas, y'all...
Saturday, December 11, 2010
and this is an old pic of my younger and wilder days, but it's the only one I can put my hands on of "The Hair" and it's not quite that long right now, but that's it. And I'm used to the questions, so here are the answers... Yes, the curls are natural, and No, I don't particularly like it when strangers run their fingers through it, but I only really mind because they tend to get caught in it. (I've now established a policy that any jewelry that gets lost in my hair is MINE) And Yes, I do know how much women pay to get their hair to look like that, because they keep telling me and I guess it's your money you can pay that un-Godly amount if you want...And there we are.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Last week, the engine went on my truck. It has to be replaced... I did manage to find a used engine at a junkyard, only 88'000 miles... damned good actually, got a ride over to pay for it and it was supposed to be delivered to the mechanic last Friday.
Nobody, however, found it necessary to call and tell me this.
So Monday, I call Reuben (the mechanic) to ask for the status. Eventually, through broken English, I find that no engine was delivered Friday.
So I call Chris (the junkyard) to find what's up, he apologizes profusely, tells me he got slammed, and the engine is already on the truck and on it's way to Reuben.
Tuesday, I call Reuben, and again find out, no engine.
Again I call Chris. He tells me that when they pulled the engine out of the wrecked vehicle about noon (WTH? Then how the hell was it on the truck Monday morning?) it turned out to have a cracked head. But he's found another one at another junkyard, and it's going to be delivered instead, and there would be no extra charge (dang straight there wasn't gonna be no charge, I could have told him that...)
I then called Reuben again, reported what I'd just heard, and his response I don't care to report here. But I must add that it was the clearest English I'd ever heard him speak. I'm not gonna get judgemental about it though, because what was coming out of my mouth wasn't much better...
Then, when Wednesday rolled around, I, for the first time, actually get a call... this one from Chris. The new engine is here... it's in good shape except for some minor things that have to be replaced. He wants to know if he can pick up the old engine from Reuben, pull off the parts and replace them on the new engine. Junkyard mechanics are actually pretty good at putting engines together, so I'm not too worried about this... The reason Chris wants to do this is so that he can deliver an engine that he's willing to back up with his guarantee, and if he delivers this to the mechanic as is, most will charge 300 to 400 to do this extra work. (Reuben wouldn't charge that much, but I will concede that point.) Again, no extra charge.
Call Reuben... again a torrent of perfect, albeit unprintable, English... I finally impress upon all of them that I don't give a flying **** who does the **** work, I want the **** truck on the **** road.
So. They call each other, and it has been arranged.
But five minutes after I've had my little unprintable, although impeccably pronounced, fit... the phone rings.
It's the church.
The Christmas Cantata, which will be performed this weekend, has hit a snag. They want me to portray the Archangel Gabriel.
I was not, at that precise moment, feeling particularly angelic. Fortunately I have a way out.
"I'd love too... unfortunately I can't get to the church, my trucks out of commission."
Fifteen minutes later... another call... "Great news... one of our assistant pastors will be there to pick you up and bring you home for the next four days..."
Now, I live 20 miles from church. If the pastor feels so strongly that I, and nobody else but me, has to portray the Archangel Gabriel, and has harangued some poor assistant pastor into chauffeuring me... can I really argue?
I get there. I don't know why I'm the only member of the congregation who can do this, but I'm there...
What's going on is silhouette vignettes. We stand behind a white screen that has projected lights and we, with the aid of sheets, hats, and various other impromptu objects, cast shadows on the screen. And I find out why I'm so necessary.
I have been blessed, via a distant Jewish ancestor, with hair that hangs in long spiral curls. I haven't cut it in over a year and a half, and I must admit it's a pretty impressive mop. Plus, I'm generally tall and thin. Wrap me in an old bedsheet, add wings and stand me on a milk crate... and I project a shadow that looks pretty darned angelic.
So, there we are.
Pastor did ask me if I was happy being the Christmas Angel...
I replied that I was perfectly comfortable being an expression of divinity on earth. Did it all the time.
She laughed, then said something about crucifying me next Easter.
I think she was serious. Hair gets cut off next week...
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
There is a small, suposedly decorative brick wall in front of my house... I usually find it more annoying than anything else, but I do have 3 plastic planters on top of it, which I usually plant with marigolds or portaluca... for some reason, this spring, I had an aloe that someone gave me, and it had two off-sets, so I stuck 1 of each in each pot. I also put in some cuttings of Stapelia gigantea.
I then proceeded to ignore them. This is actually rather easy, as behind the wall are tall bananas, cannas, and a mexican fan palm, and I'm afraid that pretty much all of them threw their leaves over the wall and the pots... and I'm one of those out of sight out of mind people.
Evidently, the bright shade was just what the Dr. ordered for these guys though... My one 6 to 8 inch tall aloe turned into a monster over the summer
(you can barely see the stapelia in the pot behind the plant... )
the offsets grew up, and they all produced more off-sets... so everything is now uprooted...
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The first pic is a sly bit of silliness on my part.
I spent a huge amount of time making these little "green guys" when I was growing up...
It's really not that difficult. You just find a leaf, gently bend it and press with your thumbnail to cut a little holes. I don't know why it was so fascinating to me when I was a kid, and I certainly don't know why, as an adult, I suddenly remembered it, but there we are. He's kinda cute though...
The following pic is something from the flea market. Western cowboy kitsch is a very definite sub-genre down here in Texas, and we make a lot of sales...
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Not too surprising, as many of you know, I tend to visit cemetaries quite a bit... But this one is a bit different. This is where my parents are. I haven't been here since my parents were intered in the Combarium. I don't exactly know why I've avoided visiting, or why I suddenly visited that day, but ultimately I'm glad I did.
The National Cemetary is a beautiful place.
It is a quiet serene place in our modern screaming world. As you stand there, knowing that, as the crow flies, it's less than a mile to a rather maddening road, you can look over the military stones and not hear a sound.
Mom and Dad would both like that.
Monday, November 01, 2010
But first, I have to apologize. There's still no damned camera in the house. These were taken with a cell phone, specifically so that I could list on Craigs List... People in Flea Markets tend to list on CL to get a wider range of buyers. That, and when people come to pick the item up... Often from 50 miles away if they really want it... they usually look around and buy a few other things too. Seriously, a few computer savy dealers in the mall can make a big difference to the enitre store... In my listings I always reveal that I'm a flea market dealer. I don't think it's fair not too actually...
Now first... a couple of velvet matador paintings... believe it or not, there's a large market out there for this sort of thing...
And these are actually way cool... 2 vintage diner counter stools. Right now I've got them marked at 45 each. They were rescued from a diner that was going out of business in the early 70's. Neat, huh?
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Hope y'all are doing well, I should be back next week.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Take these bees for instance. At the house of an older lady that lives down the block, these insects have been clustering every evening around her porch light...
Now, everybody learned in grade school that bees go home to the hive every night and re-emerge every morning to go about their business of polinating and nectar gathering...
Miss D, a few days ago, sprayed some sort of insecticide on the poles and lights when no bees were present, and it seems to have been enough to repel them and keep them at bay... no more stung doggies or senior citizens... but I would like to know what was going on...
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I saw some Snow-On-The-Mountain... which is some sort of Euphorbia. They're interesting plants... green except for the leaves around the tiny flowers. Here they grow wild, but in some parts of the country, people actually buy seeds and grow the things as annuals in the yard...
and the common burdock is putting out it's burrs... which are interesting when they're green but danged annoying when they dry and stick to you...
As you can see, the 'cherries' on this variety are small and purplish black inside their lantern shaped husks... and these have a sweetish flavor... I understand that they make a very good preserve. The more common yellow ones, or at least the yellow ones in my area, are hideously bitter. I once experimentally tried one and spent the next 30 minutes spitting after the initial gag...
Monday, September 27, 2010
Not really sure how that happened, except to say that September is not my greatest month. This September held the 1st aniversary of my Mothers passing, the 7th aniversary of my fathers passing... those are the two biggies... but this September also held a few other fun days... Let's just say that it's not a good month for me.
That, and there's been absolutely nothing to photograph... which explains the total lack of photographs I suppose. Now you could, argue that there's plenty of things to photograph, it's just my mood... and I guess that's a pretty valid argument actually, but also, there's been no interesting destinations at work driving, no interesting things at the flea market, and, until the recent rains, nothing growing in the yard.
So, no matter what the reason... there's still a big ole lump of nothing...
The only thing I've done yesterday that's in any way, shape or form interesting is turn cheap silk flowers into pins that flower pins that I sell at the flea market... women buy them to pin on their hats or jackets. And, that's not really interesting... it's only vaugely craft-ish, and anyone who can run a hot glue gun can do it, it's just that nobody does...
As for other news... I ushered at church. Which consists of standing by the door, handing out bulletins and saying good morning. And passing a collection plate. No big deal...
But I was feeling all guilty that I hadn't posted, so I'm taking care of that now.
Now, in contrast... October tends to be a good month for me. So you should be seeing more of me... Later...
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Here's a few random pics from the past few weeks. Normally, I would try to come up with interesting factoids. But the heat leeches most interest out of me... still...
this is the Rylie Cemetary. Rylie was a small town, and is still an area in South Dallas. The origional grave here dates to 1887, I think... there's about 400 graves on the site, and the cemetary is still in use.
And one day last week, I ended the day in Pittsburg. Not Pennsylvania of course, Texas, a mere 150 + miles from my house. Pittsburg is probably best known as the origional site of Pilgrims Pride Chicken. There is still a large poultry plant here. And this now multi million dollar industry all descended from this building... the origional Pilgrims Feed and Grain...
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Hope nobody was worried... I've just had a tough few weeks, and didn't have the energy required to put thoughts to paper. And what energy I did have was being sapped by Texas summer... it's hideous out there!
But today, at the end of a day of driving all over the Dallas Ft. Worth metroplex... I saw an Ice Cream store... and a little voice inside my head said, "I want ice cream."
I tried to ignore it.
Then the voice went, "PLEEEEEEEEEEEEESE.... I want some Ice cream please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeese..."
I kept ignoring it.
Then the voice stated quite firmly and with a surprisingly matter of fact tone... "If you don't give me an ice cream cone I'm going to throw a temper tantrum. And then you'll be sorry."
Your inner child should never be ignored. He needs occasional treats. Otherwise, you lose your sense of fun and happiness.
So that's how a mid forties, hot sweaty man ended up in the Braums Ice Cream Parlor leaning against the glass over the party colored flavors mumbling... "That looks good... no, I think I want that one... no wait, is that Rocky Road? Oh cool! Cookies and cream... and what's that one?"
I settled for cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip.
And yeah, I'm sure they thought I was an escapee from the local mental asylum, but who gives a damn? I'm never gonna see those people again... Actually, the lady behind the counter, a fifty something Grandmotherly type, had a look on her face that said this isn't the first time a full grown man stood in front of that counter acting like an over excited 8 year old.
And not only did I get ice cream... I came out of it in a totally better mood.
Now, me and ice cream go way back... Mom and I used to go get ice cream about every week in the summer, usually on Sunday evening. It was one of our favorite minor rituals. Since Mom passed, I haven't been in an ice cream shop... I had no reason to go to one.
Now, I'm realizing that I was depriving myself. Not neccesarily of ice cream, although that would be bad enough, but more the sense of fun that ice cream evokes from my childhood. I don't know that I'll be going every week again... but I am going to make a point of giving my inner child an occasional treat.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
This pic was taken with a cheap kodak. At 6 am. I am a bit past staying up until 1 am to take pics of cactus blooms in their full glory. I've done it before. Several times. The thrill is gone.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I've had one of THOSE weeks... although I have to admit that yesterday was the worst of it... so when I got home about 5 pm, I kinda collapsed into a comfy armchair and woke up about 10 pm because the neighbor was pounding on my door... but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So, Thursday... the worst day at work imaginable... Picked up at a church office. An envelope that's going 30 miles away... OK... picked up another order on the way, get to where the envelope is going and it's locked up tight, signs say appointment only, with a couple of phone numbers... I call the phone numbers which ring inside the empty office... call dispatch, he calls everyone he can think of... 45 minutes later and the other order in the truck is already late, so I go drop it off.
Then I go to the airport to pick up, sign all the papers, go through all the security carp, and the guys in the warehouse bring up 12 boxes. That were damaged in transit. Nice... so I demand, on the behalf of my customer, a damage report, call dispatch, so there's another 45 minutes of sitting in a warehouse... actually standing in a warehouse. There's a small square painted on the floor where you have to wait. No chairs. Security guy sitting in the only chair, staring at you. Whatever...
Finally get the reports, loaded up, take the reports to the office of the actual shipping company that I've been subcontracted through, then, on the way to dropping off the boxes... I'm exiting the freeway when some woman bashes into the back of my truck. I'm fine, she's fine, my truck is fine (big metal bumper back there has a couple of scratches) but her little KIA is not in good shape.
Another hour wasted while she tries to convince a cop that bashing into the back of my truck is all somehow MY fault... then I deliver 12 boxes, some of which are damaged, total weight of 250 lbs, to the 9th floor of a bank building.
Then I called dispatch and said... enough.
So today was actually rather uneventful.
I made deliveries... and that envelope from yesterday is still in my truck, no one will answer any phones at the pick-up or the delivery now... finally, ended the day by taking the envelope to my office and telling them it was their problem now, came home, collapsed in the comfy armchair, woke up because the senior citizen neighbor has a smoke alarm going off... turned out to be a dead battery alarm so I ran to the store, bought a nine-volt, changed the battery under the watchful eye of their guard dog... and haven't been able to even think about going to sleep since.
And that's my life.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Currently, Hildy is about 4 feet tall, and consists of a trunk that was broken off and now has 4 branches, 2 from near the base and two from further up the stem. The branch in the pic is the tallest, and it would appear that the growing tip has become damaged in some way, as it doesn't appear to be growing... but the other three stems have already put on about 3 inches each this year. Eight to 10 inches a year seems about par for the course...
Next is a newer plant that I managed to aquire earlier this year. A San Pedro cactus, (Trichocereus pachanoi) that I found at Wal-Mart of all places around May.
Monday, July 12, 2010
first a quick shot of the gloriosa lilies sent to me by Julie over at A Succulent Life... 2 of the 3 stems have made it, and they're starting to climb... and even putting out some buds! I can hardly wait!
And now we have to check in with Claudes Home for Wayward Plants... I have been planning on extending the border on my front yard for a couple of years now... and I started digging today... with bermuda grass lawns, it has to be done very thoroughly... you have to get down in the dirt and break up each clod with your hands, and make sure you get all the grass stolons out. Which can be tricky... Bermuda stolons have hard pointed growing tips... they can pierce right through a cactus!
Anyway... I got the larger of the rescued Sago's in the ground...
The other sago still needs some love... he put out exactly 1 small and stunted leaf... but today I noticed that there's some more coming out... maybe these will be more normal sized...
Saturday, July 10, 2010
You feed them, water them and do everything possible to make them grow, and then, the split second they grow... you chop it off. At which point, you water them to make them grow again...
it makes no sense.
Plus... if you have a perfectly manicured lawn, you miss things like this...
Monday, July 05, 2010
Now, origionally, I got these just over a year ago, in the mail from an ebay seller in what had to be the absolute worst packing job ever...
There were five total... I wanted them because these plants are rather winter hardy for a Ferocactus, and they're reasonably common as a landscape plant in this area... they're also way too expensive for my small budget to buy one of any size, so I bought these seedlings, hoping that I'd eventually get them to blooming size. One I planted in the rock garden, and the other four I potted up to bring in last winter... They're all doing just fine, actually... I went out to do some basic plant stuff today, and here they were...
Now, it's fairly easy to see in the above pic, that the second from the left is putting up a little pup or offset. My reading tells me that this isn't common, but it isn't unheard of. The plant generally grows as a solitary column though... I didn't think too much of this when I noticed it this spring. It happens... and heres a close-up of it...
Ok... that's not right... if something is uncommon, half of them shouldn't be doing it, right? So, off to the front yard... and what do you know...
Friday, July 02, 2010
The thing is, it's been raining for about a whole week solid... well not exactly solid... the days start out all right, sometimes even sunny, but by the afternoon... well, you're just driving along and suddenly, it looks like someone up and dumped a swimming pool over your truck.
It's not fun.
Especially when you're hauling mattresses.
But I had to post something... I mean, I've resorted to clothes hangers in the previous post. That's scraping the bottom of the barrel...
So, here's the Episcia. NOID. It's a cutting off a plant that was given to me by a lady down the street. Well over a year ago.
Planted in one of those evil self-watering pots that promote root rot and yada yada yada... but quite frankly, if you expect something like this thing to survive in my house, it has to be in one of these pots. You skip watering an episcia, and they just don't get over it.
Monday, June 28, 2010
So I loaded up my truck... and I have literally hundreds of those plastic store hangers... you know, the ones with the wire hook that swivels around? For some reason, I collect them. I've never figured it out... When I had my own store, they were very valuable. Later, when I decided to cut back on using the clothes dryer, a plastic hanger was perfect for hanging shirts and such in the garage or even off the eaves of the house. (Wire hangers stretch out the shoulders and sometimes leave rust stains.) Here in Texas, air drying is quicker than the dryer anyway... but for some reason, much like when ever I see a still alive plant by the road, whenever somebody cleans out their closet and tosses a box full of these out on the curb on garbage day, I pick it up. Don't take me wrong. It's not a fixation, I don't jump out of bed and go running through the neighborhood in search of hangers. But if I see them, I pick them up.
Well, the other day, someone 'borrowed' one, then I actually saw them writing their vendor number on it, so it'll be returned to their booth after whatever on it is sold... which really pissed me off for some reason. I know, terribly petty of me, but damn... now if they were writing my number on it, so it would go to my booth later, that would be cool, but they're not... They're blatantly laying claim to something that isn't theirs. GRRRRRR
So, on the way in, I told Joy, the cashier who works on the days that I don't, what was up... and she agreed with me that it was a good idea. Besides, you should always tell the cashier what's up... that way if anybody said they needed hangers, Joy would say, 'Claude's got some for sale in his booth.' And Joy always tells me what's in her booth too, when I'm cashier. It works out well...
So, I sat 8 bundles in my booth, didn't even get them in the basket I was gonna put em in, just laid them on the floor then walked back to the truck to grab something else... and when I got back six bundles were gone. Walked back up front, and Joy was putting them in a bag for a customer. I bought a coke, me and Joy had a bit of a laugh, and then I went back to my booth, and the other 2 bundles were gone...
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Next... we got dead birds! Phennig was very proud of himself this morning and brought this home. I can only hope it's the mockingbird that has been pecking holes in my tomatoes...
And now, we got Leuchtenbergia principis, also known as the agave cactus...
I saw this somewhere... I've been wanting one for a while, but I hadn't seen one to buy. Actually, the only one I'd ever seen in person was at the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden, through the windows of the greenhouse... so when I saw one in a big box store, I grabbed it.
I know it doesn't look like a cactus. It looks like an agave. But those leaves aren't leaves... they're the plants tubercules.
We all know that some cactus produce ribs of spines, and others produce bumpy tubercules. These are tubercules taken to an extreme level... to the point that they look like leaves. They'll get up to 6 inches long, and the entire plant can get to 2 feet tall... This is the only species in the genus, but the genus is very closely related to barrel cactus, and they can produce intergeneric hybrids referred to as Ferobergias.
And those spines aren't half as mean looking as they appear either... they're papery.
And that's as exciting as it gets around here.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
These are Allium cepa var. proliferum. AKA Egyptian onion, Walking Onion, Tree Onion or Winter Onion...
As you can see in the pic, the Egyptian onion reproduces by forming bulbs at the top of a stalk that can be 3 feet tall, but is more typically 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall...
here's a close-up of the "sets" or "bulbils" these are about 3/4 of an inch wide, the largest are about an inch wide... The larger sets will produce even smaller sets of their own...
and sometimes the stalk will produce sets, then a secondary stalk that has no connection with a bulbil at all, which produces small tiny sets.
There are several web-sites dedicated to them, and selling them, that give lots of info on how to grow them. Evidently they're winter hardy all the way up to zone 3, and down to 9, not really in 10, as they need a little winter to grow properly... and in 8 and 9 you might be able to eat them all winter.