Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Little Rain Goes A Long Way

“Rain, Rain on my face
It hasn’t stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud…”
– Jars of Clay –
(Photo of the Lake Meredith Dam & Spillway 2011)
In the Texas Panhandle we have had a drought of a severity not quite rivaling the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, but at times has felt like it. Last June, we lost an inch of water from Lake Meredith in one day purely from evaporation (resource: CRMWA). The last time it was this dry in the Panhandle region dated back to 1956. Thankfully, Mother Nature has recently sent us a reprieve… rain. Lots of rain. I’ve been “Singing in The Rain” and watching “Rainman” and listening to songs about rain, water and floods… a happy little camper am I.
On April 9th, Lake Meredith’s water level reached it’s all time low at only being 29.80 feet deep. In terms of Meredith, this means the boat docks are closed; there’s no chance of recreational boating, fishing and that type of thing. It also means water is no longer being pumped from the lake for drinking and we are now tapping into the Ogallala Aquifer, one of the largest in the world. (And just for the record, it tastes MUCH better than the water from Meredith.) For some reason, it also means you can walk across areas of the Lake that have been inaccessable by humans for years. It’s a bizarre feeling to say the least. I keep waiting for dead bodies to turn up, but at this time, no such luck.
Because of the recent rainfall, it’s now up to 31.53 feet. To put all this in perspective. In 1973, Meredith’s depth was 101.85 feet deep. I think we have a long way to go to even see the waterline from a distance. Maybe someday, but that day is not today.
The Seattle-like feeling that has settled over the city in the past couple of weeks will be gone again as quickly as tomorrow as the sun pushes its way back through the gray and the weather heats back up. For now, I shall watch the rain fall and give thanks at this moment the land is green and the lake is on the rise.

Mother’s Day Meltdown

“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
 -Ralph Waldo Emerson-

When my darlings were wee, little babes, I spent many, many, many hours rocking them in the recliner and relished the moment they went limp in my arms as they went to sleep. I loved the feel of their soft breath on my neck and the little whimpers as they dreamed.  Those are some of my favorite baby moments which more than made up for the colic and the screaming, teething, tonsillectomies… and the list goes on. 

I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything. And I try not to exasperate my children, but I’m sure I often do.  

Why do our mothers frustrate us?
But I would like to be more specific. 
Why does my mother frustrate me? (It’s my blog and therefore, it’s about me.)

I know lots of people complain about their mothers, but really??? I just had a conversation that lasted  35:51 and 7/8ths of it was a non-stop gripe-fest.  I just wanted to tell her, “Mother, it’s mother’s day. Would you just shut up and be happy that I called and wanted to talk to you?”

I didn’t.  

Brownie point for me.

Yay!

Maybe next year, I’ll just send a Hallmark card and call it good. 

I guess Florida Scott Maxwell was right… ” No matter how old a mother is, she watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement.”

Today, I’m not feeling improved. I am feeling pretty spoiled though. Darling Hubby made me breakfast in bed, bought me flowers and mowed the lawn today. Yes indeedy. Pretty spoiled.




The Best Days of Our Lives

“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go 
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time…”
– Green Day-

Eldest graduates high school in three weeks. Its seems like it has been a lifetime and I suppose it has – hers. But the lifetime I’m actually referring to is mine. As as today is Mother’s Day, I’m a little more introspective than usual. 
It’s been 24 years since my high school graduation and when Youngest graduates next year, it will be 25. A quarter of a century. For the life of me, I have no idea where most of it went.  

Prom

My eldest and I had a short discussion last night as she was upset because she didn’t go to her senior prom. She worked at a job she hates and she closed – which meant she didn’t get off work and home til after midnight. She mentioned to me who was crowned “Prom King.” I suppose when I was 18 that meant something to someone, but in the overall scheme of things, I’m sure my 18 year old self didn’t really give a shit. My 42 year old self feels the same. Prom King and Queen is nothing more than a popularity contest and the real world doesn’t really operate that way. My darlings will find that out soon enough. 

A few other thoughts on prom: For the love of God, it’s expensive. Prom dresses run hundreds to thousands of dollars. Tuxedo rentals are freakishly expensive too. It’s a racket. When I was a kid, I fell in love with this pretty, BIG poofy white prom dress. It was a size 16 and I had it cut down to between an 8 and a 10. I always figured I would wear it again as a wedding dress, but by the time I got married, that really didn’t happen. The dress was expensive back in the 80’s and I have to wonder if I should have just saved some money and wore jeans and a t-shirt and been more comfortable all night.  At least my red Converse tennis shoes saved my feet the burden of wearing heels all night. Best shoe decision ever made. 

Some of the songs played at my prom:
INXS – Need You Tonight
Poison – Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
Breathe – Hands to Heaven
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Terrence Trent D’Arby – Wishing Well
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like the Wind
Information Society – What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)
Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
Whitney Houston – So Emotional
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
Friends

I do remember many of the popular girls and guys in high school; however, and there are a few of them I still think kindly on to this day because they were naturally charismatic and never looked down their noses at others because they weren’t just like them. I think it’s only appropriate that I tell them now I appreciate them. I’m also glad I learned the lesson young to take care to look past appearances and get to know the meat of a person before judging them. 

My bestie and I became friends in high school. In looking back, I still think it’s funny that a tall, leggy blonde would be friends with a tomboy like me. But then again, there’s that appearance thing I was talking about earlier. Obviously she didn’t care either. We just hit it off and we’ve been friends for almost 30 years now. I can’t imagine a day when I couldn’t pick up the phone and say, “Dude… you would not believe….” 

In high school, we made a pact to never fight over boys All girlfriends should have that agreement. It would save a lot of problems down the road.  I had a crush on Shaun. She ended up married to him. Today… that’s probably the best thing that could have happened to either of us. (God bless ya buddy.) 

My other friends in high school, I still keep in touch with now after losing touch for so many years. Facebook is a wonderful thing sometimes. (Now sounding like I’m 95 years old….) Back in the day…. when we all went off to college or whatever, we didn’t have cell phones, we had to write letters to keep up with folks and because life is what it is, we got busy and it all fell by the wayside. I know Facebook and Twitter and whatever other media isn’t the greatest for heart to hearts, but it is a good way to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” I kinda dig that. 

The Future

I still have the same argument I had in high school with my math teachers. I’m never going to need advanced math, why do I need to know it? It took me 20+ years to get my associates degree because of college algebra, which I had to take something like 5 different times – go back and take all the remedial math classes first etc. Without YouTube videos with many different instructors explaining the concepts, I never would have passed. And why? Why do I need a 2 year degree? A bachelors? A Masters? Doctorate? I’m still trying to figure that out.

We push our children toward a higher education (which has an ever growing cost) to have a plan for their lives? Is this correct? Or is it a fall back plan? Or what is it? I’m sure at one time I was certain, but I can honestly say that I’m really not. What does the piece of paper gain you unless you want to BE something SPECIFIC such as a veterinarian, a lawyer, a doctor, etc…? For all the kids who don’t know, I say take the basics so you don’t have to remember them 20 years later when you might need a piece of paper with your name on it and let the rest falls where it falls.  

We always ask our children what they want to be when they grow up. I’m 42 and I can’t answer that question. Sure,  I have always wanted to be two things: a cop and a writer. I have done many different things along the way on my path of growing up, but at the heart of things, I have successfully attempted both and learned that I’m much more suited to one than the other, but never for heart and lack of trying. I just should have done one of them much, much sooner. (Something I hope my girls never do: delay the inevitable.)

Advice

Jobs: There is going to come a point with my children that I have to give them some advice as to their future and I can only tell them to try and figure out what they have passion for. Then to go for what they want with all of their heart and determination. IF they can do that, they will succeed; because even if they fail by mortal men’s standards, there is still success in the fact they gave it their all.

Marriage: Marriage is a give and take. Marry your best friend. If your best friend EVER becomes violent or hits you, get the “F” out and never look back. You are too precious to be someone’s whipping post. 

Cooking: Learn to cook a few meals – even if they are very simple. 

Cleaning: Borax and Baking Soda are wonders. Do NOT mix bleach and ammonia. If for some reason you do… RUN… do not walk to the nearest exit – poisonous gasses are created when you do that. 

Call 911 for emergency help. If you really don’t think it’s that bad, then at least call Poison Control for advice on handling the after-effects of exposure and cleaning up the chemicals. The number for Poison Control is:1-800-222-1222

Vehicles: When buying a new vehicle – remember, the value of the vehicle drops BIGTIME as soon as you drive it off the lot. If possible. buy a really nice used vehicle – have it checked out by a good mechanic before you buy it and pay cash if possible.

Credit Cards: There is no reason to ever have one. This is the single biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Getting a credit card – especially before the age of 21 is EXTREMELY STUPID AND UNWISE. There is never a reason to have one if you 1) have a debit card and 2) pay cash for what you need. “Lines of Credit” are a myth perpetuated by the finance community so they will make money off of loaning you money. Avoid it if possible. 

Debt: DO NOT GO INTO DEBT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough.

Ok…. I think this is about it for now. I just wanted to get a few things off my chest and I feel a bit better now. Hopefully at some point in time, this will make much more sense to my two darling daughters. 
Ciao for now…
Celeste

Where the Wild Things Are

“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!” 






My father was a gifted story-teller and I thank him for the many nights he read to me as a child. He did so of his own works and he read stories others had written as well. One night, he read me a book that inspired my love of fantasy and science fiction that I carry to this day. That book is “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. 


Maurice’s book transcended generations of young children and their parents alike. He took away the boundary lines and gave us something that is oh so memorable.  You see, the way I look at it everyone has fears whether they are a child or not and those fears need to be addressed, not sugar-coated or pushed aside like they don’t matter. I think Mr. Sendak agreed with me by something he once said. He said,  “. . .from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, they continually cope with frustrations as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.”


This man wrote and illustrated more than 50 children’s books. But the legacy of “Where the Wild Things Are” will live on for an eternity


At 83 years old, Maurice Sendak has written his final words. But I can’t help but think that in 1964, he wrote how I’m feeling right now. 
“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”

And Max said, “No!”

The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”
– Maurice Sendak- 

Dog Bonk

“If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people.”

    -Capek-

I love dogs. I must for I have three, each with personalities as individual as you or I.  One of my herd, Maverick – the Amazing Beardie, appears to have been blessed with the most personality and is a constant source of amusement and frustration for all of us. This morning was no exception.

Occasionally, I have to move to the couch in the middle of the night because Darling snores. I don’t necessarily like it, but came to accept it years ago. It makes for a much better night this way. Maverick hasn’t quite grasped the concept of letting sleeping writers sleep. This morning about 0500 hours, I was right in the middle of a pizza dream. (I know it was a pizza dream because it was weird enough that I was like, “Duuuuuude.” And now with the light of day, I can’t freakin’ remember it. Stupid dog.)
However, he comes up and nose bumps me.

The nose bump.
Ingenious.
Frustrating.
Guaranteed to get your attention.
Almost guaranteed to get a dog shot.

What is it you might ask? Well… Maverick is tall enough that his head can pretty comfortably sit on my dining room table so he’s a pretty big dog and could theoretically use his size to great advantage. But instead, when you are sound asleep and the “Dog Stare” doesn’t wake up you, he comes and bumps your face with his nose. It’s all rather Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Unlike Snoopy, it’s not nearly as cute at 0500 hours.

Maverick nose bumped me at 0500. I told him in no uncertain terms to go lay down and leave me alone.

Maverick nose bumped me again at 0530. I got up and let him outside under the assumption he really had to go. I didn’t want an accident and I didn’t want to clean it up.

THE MOMENT I let him out and shut the door. He began talking to a friend of his.

It’s not like he could have waited a couple of hours I suppose, but really?

So, I opened the door and “yelled” at him to quit talking about the squirrels or birds or what have you and to come – back – inside – now!

He came. Shock.

I went and laid back down and from my perch on the couch I told him, “Dufus. Lay down.”

I just got back to sleep and just started another pizza dream.

Bonk.

The alarm went off one minute later.  Yes. One. Instead of hitting the snooze, I bonked him back.

Dream a Little Dream

Ah…. “Smash” was on tonight and I missed the first twenty minutes. However, I have to say I think I got the gist of the show and next week I won’t miss the season finale. In the meanwhile, I will probably have to see if it’s on NBC.com or Hulu and catch what I missed. In case you wondered, the answer is yes.
I am.
Addicted.

Tomorrow I have a training session for half the day at work and I can honestly say that I really don’t want to go. It’s not that I want to listen to the construction crew jackhammer the concrete walls and ceiling during the remodel tomorrow either. (That’s getting really, really old.) However, the program “they” are “demonstrating” for four hours, I have been using for a while now. I’m pretty sure I need about 20 minutes to fill in some blanks  and I’m good. There are people I’m sure that need the full four hours. Heck, there are some that might need more than that. Who knows? But I am not one of them and I am considering taking my Nook to class to read for a bit. Would that be horribly wrong of me? (Anyone have a good book to recommend?)

Anyhoo, I’ve been having what my niece and I call “Pizza Dreams” at night. Usually they occur when we eat pizza a little too late, but I have to say some serious weirdness is going on in my subconscious. I’m thinking Freud might have some kind of  field day with the old gray matter, if ya know what I mean. This morning I woke up in the middle of a flight to God only knows where, but the plane was upside down and Kurt Russell was the pilot. And I’m not talking a little plane. I’m talking about a Boeing 737/747 or something along those lines.
Yeah… rut-roh Shaggy!
 I have no idea where on earth Kurt Russell would have come from either. I haven’t seen a movie, read a news article, or anything with him in it. But BOOM! There he was.

So, I suppose I’m going to go to bed shortly… and yes, I had pizza for dinner tonight. God help us all.

Thoughts of the Grand Dame – The Herring

“The minor events of history are valuable, although not always showy and picturesque.”
Mark Twain

Every day I look across the way to the Col. C.T. Herring Hotel. She is the 14 story, 600 room Grand Dame who sits on the corner watching people scuttle by and ignore her inevitable decay. She was born in an era when the Cattle Barons still ruled the plains and the oil tycoons purses were heavy with black gold.  Businessmen and bankers would discuss business in the hotel’s Old Tascosa Room. I wonder what secrets were told.

The lady stood through the Stock Market Crash of ’29, WWII, Korea and ‘Nam. She’s watched as black and white children, once segregated, came together. Her structure never faltered as Kennedy, Malcom X, RFK and MLK were assassinated. As the wall in Berlin fell, hers stood firm and on September 11, 2001, I swear you could hear her mourn.
 
She’s seen the the radio, television and movies transcend from silent films to iMax 3D. And communications improved from the telegraph to the switchboard to universal and satellite cellular service. What hasn’t she seen? She’s seen the best and the worst mankind has to offer and still she stands on the corner just watching people scuttle by and ignore her inevitable decay.

The Herring Hotel in her day

As she stands today – not the most attractive view. The view I have of her is actually between some trees and a much prettier shot.

This is a picture of the lobby that was taken in 2005. Its has fallen into disrepair and you can notice at some point in time, vagrants got into the building. (Shopping cart?)
The old hat check room remains as it was left. Nails in the wall to hold cowboy hats. The coffee shop still has brandings on the walls representing ranches in the area. After the death of Colonel Herring, his wife moved to one of the top floors where she eventually passed as well.
I write about the Grand Dame today because the city is changing – and in my opinion, not necessarily for the better. There is an effort to “revitalize” downtown and to make it something more than it is now. This cow-town could stand for some revitalization, but not what the city has in mind and not at the cost. I sincerely hope with all of the changes this town is about to thrust upon downtown, she can withstand them all – just as she has withstood all of the other events through her history.
*Pictures courtesy of the Amarillo Globe News*

Fruits of the Forbidden

“Your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden itself.” 
Oscar Wilde

When something is forbidden it becomes more desirable, more delicious. It’s a temptation we contain through self-control and that nagging feeling in our subconscious when we entertain the idea of taking a bite of the forbidden fruit. And I’m sure you know the fruit is metaphorical; however, even though it’s late in the evening, I wouldn’t mind wrapping my lips around a strawberry and feeling the sweet juice of spring explode in my mouth.  Yes… the diet continues. (Happy, Happy…. Joy, Joy…)

Anyhoo…
 I was watching “Smash” on NBC tonight. For whatever reason, I dig that show. And this show is in so many ways about the forbidden fruit and the attempt (though not so successful for so many of the characters) to deny themselves what they are so longing for. The show is a tangled mess of interrelationships during the creation of a Broadway musical, “Bombshell” centered around the life of Marilyn Monroe. Uma Thurman is cast as the “lead” on stage as Marilyn and I just have to say “Why????” I’m not sure of the casting choice exactly, but she plays the movie star come Broadway star wannabe well. However when I think of Marilyn, I don’t think of a 41 year old woman and on the close up shots of Uma, I see too many fine lines, which I never saw with Norma Jean. Call me cynical, but really? Marilyn died at 36 and I don’t think she looked it, but that’s just me.

With two episodes left, I’m not going to sweat it too much, but I have to ask what I think is a pretty good question. What was Marilyn’s forbidden fruit? She was the golden fleece for so many, but what was it that was forbidden to her and was it enough to push her over the edge?  I know I’ll never have the answers to those questions, but it does put into perspective some of my own forbidden desires and makes it a little easier to acknowledge their existence and say, “Thanks, but no.”

So I guess I’ll just have to tune in next week for the next to the last of the Season 1 episode and see if Ivy has screwed up with Karen’s boyfriend (pun intended) and hope that Julia doesn’t lose what’s left of her marbles when she runs into her old flame. And does Rebecca Duvall steal Derek’s heart. Heck… does Derek even have a heart?  Forget those daytime soaps folks…. we have a “Smash” on our hands.

Celeste

The Fork in the Road

I’m introspective and contemplative –

stopped at the fork in the road.

To the left lay an unknown future
To the right lay the path foretold
I’m pondering and I’m reflecting 
on choices and where they’ve led
I’ve taken the highway and stumbled
I’ve taken the low road and bled

I can’t.

Stop.

Now…

Determination and Concentration
Drive me toward the finish line
To where I will finally get my rest
and wipe the sweat from my forehead

I can’t.

Stop.

Time.

By: Celeste High 4/30/2012

Back in the Saddle

I have been on a hiatus for a while. I’ve been working on those pesky New Year’s Resolutions and trying to get my life into some semblance of order. So far, I’ve made some progress and I’m pretty happy with how things have gone. I’ve lost weight and have reached my first goal (lost about 30 pounds total thus far!!!.) I’ve simplified a lot of things and am working on my relationships. All of that falls under the category of “Work in Progress.”
Ok, it really falls under the category of “Rome Wasn’t Built in A Day,” but carry on I shall.

The kick in the pants is my writing life. I just can’t seem to get a grip on that. I’m not sure what direction I want to take and I probably should keep up with the blog just so I can keep writing something creative and “me.” I mean, I write every day. However, I can’t really say that my reports are titillating for the average bear and definitely NOT accessible for anyone else to read. So what to do, I don’t know.
I’m telling ya… this is a conundrum for the ages.
I wonder if Shakespeare, Twain, etc went through this kind of angst or if it just “came” to them.

In other news… eldest graduates in about a month and will start working at the vet clinic full time. Yay! Youngest is making plans for college and culinary school in Rhode Island in a couple of years. Wow!
Darling is doing really well at work and is getting to travel some and do a lot of interesting things since he found a job that really takes care of employees. A rarity and we are blessed.
The dogs are all good. I guess all in all, the family is doing pretty well.

Mother… oy. Maybe I should write about mother, but no one would believe me. They say truth is stranger than fiction, but even then I don’t think I could properly convey the proper tone of borderline lucidity/insanity that prevails in her universe. I’m gearing up for her nervous breakdown any day now. This will be breakdown number 3 or 4. If she doesn’t break, either myself or my Gotham sister may instead. We love her. We also do a lot of head shaking because we can’t adequately explain her thoughts, words or actions. If I could, I am pretty sure I would have some sort of DSM-IV medical miracle on my hands.

Well, I need to get some sleep. The alarm rings early (anything before 10am is early) and I have to try to get a bunch of stuff done at work tomorrow. This writing thing though… lots to mull over.
G’night.