Monday, December 7, 2015

Hello, my name is Squidgy

Hello, my name is Squidgy and it has been twenty months since my last post. Not much has happened since then, so thanks for checking in.


I had to look back on the last two moldy posts to discover what had been shared with all y'all.  The middle daughter and I did indeed travel to new Mexico to bring love and joy to those little buckaroos.  We flew in to El Paso and traveled the three hours east (yes east) to Carlsbad, NM stopping once for a peepee pit stop and more importantly to drive thru, and I do mean drive thru, Bob's Liquor Barn.  Much like the name implies, it is a structure of some size through which you drive your car or conestoga, and you interact with..Bob, and he brings you booze and you pay him and you drive on.  Fantastic.  Our thoughtfulness also assured that our welcome at the old daughters casa was a lot more welcoming than it might otherwise have been.  I should remember to bring booze everywhere I go, perhaps I'd get invited more places, or not.

We did visit Carlsbad Caverns.  It was big.  Two year old Sam broke the tether on his leash and was briefly free to run pell mell and cause his mother to have a freak out, not that I blamed her one little bit.   However I did have a brief flash back to a family trip to Hearst Castle with the old daughter and the middle daughter when they were much younger and they too broke their collective virtual tethers and ran amok on all the cool roped off carpets and did the Goldilocks thing on the, also roped off, furniture.  So that happened and we got yelled at but it was totally worth it because now over thirty years later I get to tell you about it, and the kids will be pissed!  Sometimes you just have to be patient.

They're stalagmites

Then one day we drove to Roswell, NM and drove right past the UFO museum without even slowing down, and went to Sam's Club, because you couldn't do that here, oh wait...No wheedling, pleading, crying or whining changed any of the closed minds in that car about visiting the hottest spot in town.  Haters.  Happily, I can prove I took a picture of it.
Here it is
Anyway, we visited just long enough and, for Tim the Cowboy Spouse really just long enough for anyone.
We Have Palm Trees. Six of which are over 30' and they deposit pollen, berries and fronds with wild abandon on my piece of paradise and in my pool.   They are messy, disgusting, filthy, out of control vegetation that have become and continue to be the bane of my existence.  My dear, dear friend with whom I spent Junior High with on Guam (another story children) was so excited about my palm trees because they reminded her of the tropical paradise we inhabited so very long ago. She lives in Texas now and does not help me clean up the mess.  Let me tell you one thing, palm trees belong on a deserted, desert isle far, far away from me and my pool.  My neighbors wholeheartedly applaud my quest to find free tree removal because the trees do not discriminate where they litter, but barring that they also applaud the laughable idea that I have (at last quote) over $6500 to remove them.  So if any of you guys want a crack at tree removal experience and I know you do, please come on down.  I will give you drinks, once you're done, and assuming my house is still standing.
Buh by
Thank you for allowing me to get that off my chest.
And now the holidays are upon us.  In that spirit I went on a holiday house tour in Woodland last weekend.  My, my, my such goings on.  It is proven over and over again that I may be a little thick, but somehow I missed the salient "Holiday" part.  Woodland has a LOT of really cool old houses and many of them are owned by people who have lovingly restored them to breathtaking original detail.  I liked this one.  A lot.  It has an elevator.  And painted fancy ceilings. 
And some were not so successful, 
Oh Wait, that's my house.  HaHa it wasn't on the tour.
At any rate, dear reader, thanks for reading.  I have ever so much more to tell you, so check back soon!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Greetings and salutations!

That phrase sounded so familiar to me while I was sitting in my car in the garage this morning with the garage door open and spying on the weird old guy across the street from my rear view mirror.  And it sounded familiar because back in the days when I was a child, and that was a very long time ago, my grandfather would send us letters via snail mail and he always prefaced his missive with that howdy doo.

Back to spying on the neighbor.  Now that we are home owners (receiving applauds and whistles...thank you) it seems that we should be a little more observant to the comings and goings of our new neighbors.  To whit the weird old guy across the street.  He spends an unusual amount of time on his roof.  He has many many solar panels up there, they are large and hard to miss, so I doubt he's verifying that they have not been stolen in the night or gone away in some other nefarious manner. He wanders up there back and forth across the roof, sometimes he has a little rag in his back pocket in case something needs a little sprucing up I imagine.   He had a little vacuum cleaner/shop vac up there for a while so that makes me think he's very tidy.  The vacuum looked like a robot, but not that interesting.  It was yellow, but in any case it is gone now so the mystery remains unsolved.  He also has a ladder/antennae on the side of the house which he uses to gain access to the roof, so he must be clever and possibly receiving messages from Mars or something.  Oh wait, I already knew he was clever because the guy we bought our manse from told me that weird old guy had reconfigured his cars and his bicycle to be electric, like he is an electrical genius or something.  He also spends too much time staring at his utility meter, if you're that smart and everything is run on electricity shouldn't your meter be spinning madly? And if so, can you count the revolutions or whatever happens on meters?  What in the world is he staring at?  He usually is in his pajamas for this event.  But hold on, the solar panels.  What devious plan are they providing power for?   As yet I have not approached him and demanded clarification of his oddities.  Unlike the other neighbors, he did not come over to meet and greet.  Steve thinks he's planning bad stuff, but he may be projecting. In the meantime, I will continue my covert observance of him from my car's rear view mirror or my bedroom window.  Rest assured.

I am very happy being a homeowner again.  I wish ownership did not involve hemorrhaging money on  plumbers and hardware and lawn mower repair and other non shoe items.  Alas, such is life.  Plumbing.  I have decided not to be a plumber.  What started as a simple do it yourself project turned in to a night mare of talking to the guys at Ace and Home Depot far too many times.  In fact I traveled back and forth four times to our local Ace yesterday and had a most unpleasant encounter with an older gremlin with long nasty finger nails who talked over me way too many times until I provided him with pictures that verified I knew what I was talking about and more importantly, that I also knew what I needed.  Sadly this all culminated in an emergency plumbing repair call at 6:00pm on a Wednesday night.  Much soaking of the vanity, the bathroom floor and the carpet of the bedroom ensued from badly joined hoses and valves and unplanned breakage of 40 year old water lines etc.  About two shop vacs worth of water if you're wondering.  So I sat huddled in the corner of a darkened room in the fetal position and sucked my thumb while all the mayhem went on around me.  I so alarmed the plumber emergency guy that he called me a couple times to see how I was doing.  Did I forget to mention that I could not turn off the main water supply to the house?  Right, I couldn't.  That was bad and if you have any weird ideas that I'm incompetent, the plumber who came out to take $400 from me couldn't turn it off either.  He recommended that that be repaired too in case I ever needed to turn the water off like if I was doing some repairs under the sink.  I just stared at him and said, you mean like now and why you're here?  A laugh a minute.

I spent 17 days, 6 hours and some odd seconds at the Petaluma Palace in February whilst the happy couple took themselves off to Hawaii for their annual constitution.   Themselves have a new dawg and she's a beaut. and comes with a fantastic story.  It seems there's this breeder of Rhodesian Ridgebacks   in Texas who contracted a breeding with another RR of some impressive lineage.  And so the deed was done and since science is a wonderful thing, mommy dog and daddy dog never actually had the conjugal visit, instead a vat of semen arrived via FedEx and the mating took place with tubes and science stuff.  At any rate the puppies arrived, and there were many but they looked a little weird and as time went on  they did not look like show quality sign me up for Westminster or Crufts dogs.  Well, as it turns out, someone made a bad boo boo and in fact the semen which was used on the dog in Texas was in truth that of a Schnauzer and as you can see looks nothing like a Rhodesian .   And which results in an expression such as this.  

All good sport I assure you.  In any case the proud puppy mill owners were quite anxious to rid themselves of this litter of puppies what with the impending law suit and what not looming.  And so that is how their Highness's came to own their new bundle of joy whom they named Frankie but who should in fact be named Harriet but that's my opinion.  It may be also true that I have mixed up sire and dam but it in no way changes the gist of the story and since I was able to order off the senior menu this morning at Country Waffles I get to enjoy that latitude.

The spouse and I were able to finish a project together recently that did not involve much screaming or threatening gestures.  We built a tasteful fence and gate on the walkway to our front door which has the sole purpose of keeping the ancient terriers from excaping and causing major reductions in the cat population of our 'hood.  Ta Dah.  We are genius, no?  Did I tell you that we painted our front door lime green?  Well we did that too.  I have more projects and a grand honey do list.  But for now, with the debacle of the plumbing, I shall, as they say, give it a rest.  Instead, the middle daughter has decided that the front yard at her house must be landscaped so I have found an outlet for my creativity with that project.  That the yard is big enough to farm is of no consequence.  It isn't, after all, my money.  And in truth, is there any money that is better spent than someone else's?  It's so much cheaper that way.  Sonny in law luvs that logic.  So the plan involves many many many yards of stamped concrete patios, 20  some odd redwoods, about an acre of lawn and more decorative trees and shrubs than even I can conceive and the tasteful placement of architectural fences and such like.  This has to be done by May sometime.  No problem, right?

I'll leave you with that.  Bon jour!


Sunday, January 26, 2014


I have been remiss.  I admit it.  And while most of you heaved a huge sigh of relief, there is that teeny tiny minority of you jonesing for a squidgy update.  You're welcome (please note correct spelling of you're in this usage...)

So baby Lauren was born and had learned to smile when last we spoke.  The darling baby Grace in New Mexico has flourished and came for a visit in October with her mother and brother.  I have a picture of the baby cousins for you to enjoy.  This was taken when the mothers told them I was coming over for a visit.  I made the quilt btw.

Then I forgot to visit or bought them something and this picture was snapped..
Whatever..  Grace on the left, Lauren on the right FYI

So that takes care of those two.

More exciting news.  We bought a house!  Now we are within striking distance of the middle daughter and her family and therefore we are useful to them with babysitting etc.  speaking of babysitting...I suck. Maybe you knew that.

So anyway we bought a house.  It has a pool.  It's kind of an odd looking structure from the front, but we have plans to camoflage the unfortunate curb appeal with and artful and tasteful screen of some sort.  And a garden gnome or two.  Or not.  The inside is really nice, open and light.  And since I broke a bunch of stuff during the move, it is maybe not quite as cluttered as most of our homes have had a tendency to be.  Makes dusting(?) easier.  Or at least I suspect it would be easier if someone were so inclined to do so.

We moved right before Christmas.  So I barely got most of the moving boxes unpacked and tossed in the side yard, heretofore known as utility yard, when I was obligated to unpack boxes of Christmas stuff, put the tree together
and hosted Christmas Eve for the middle and youngest daughters and their families.  We had take out Chinese for dinner, tore  through gifts for 12, watched Mary Poppins, a Christmas classic, and enjoyed each other's company for a couple hours.  Done.  In our family, this is known as quality time.  So be it.

The middle daughter and I are taking baby Lauren to visit her kin in New Mexico in February.  We plan to visit the Carlsbad caverns while we are there.  My only experience with caves is that part in Tom Sawyer with the murderous bad guy and Huck Finn.  I may be just a little bit apprehensive. But that book was fiction, right?  In any case it would be just too depressing to attend my funeral celebration, I mean service, and noting the  zero attendance.  I know you guys...heavy sigh.

will be house sitting for the privelaged next month and maybe something interesting will happen.  If so I'll tell you about it.  If not, I'll probably tell you about it anyway.



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nice to meetcha

NvOK then.  Where to start Mon amis*?

When last we spoke I'd returned from New Mexico.  I'd been to Lake Tahoe...alone.  Then the wait began for the sixth grandchild.  Happily (or not) that wait was abruptly ended by the surprise arrival of Lauren Anne a week (or two depending on how YOU read ultrasounds or whatever) early.  In the history of children na of my children coming in to the world, an early delivery thing has never happened.  Nay, even my own children were most tardy making their collective appearances in to the world.  Some might say they were afraid to meet they mama, but those haters would be wrong.  duh.  I digress.

So I was, as usual, minding my own business happily celebrating with the Horse Show Mom on the occasion of her birth with a lazy, unproductive afternoon drinking Margaritas and eating Nachos and such like that.  I'd imagined that I would be waaaay too waaaaasted to drive home that night, but what with the excessive carbo-loading and what not it became evident that I was in ship shape shape to drive home so I did. Jolly good thing too.  I had been  ordered to take Mila to the movies alone, no brothers, the next day.  A decree set forth by herself and it is just better to do what you're told.  Did you know that women have more eggs as a child than as an adult and I'm sure they have something to do with this narrative, but I don't know what that would be.  So anyway, I went home to my beloved and we watched the tee vee and then slept the night away.

The aha moment.  Unbeknownst to us, the middle daughter decided to go in to labor.  Not that anything is that easy.  Oh no, she'd been moaning to Tim about not feeling well, and really moaning that the baby's room wasn't finished, and generally aggravating the husband unit to the point that when her water broke he just told her to knock it off, the baby wasn't due for another week or two and that this BS about labor and nag nag nag was not so much fun. So there.  I believe it took some convincing to make him realize this was no BS. She does remind me of me.  Sooo after a shower and the artful application of cosmetics the happy little couple dashed off to the hospital and were admitted.  I won't bore you with the details, and I say you're welcome, but at some point early in the morning, five-ish if you must know, they sent a mass message text informing the family that the birth was imminent and absolutely no other information.  Naturally, I knew nothing of this because I can sleep through the text notification ding on my phone, so around 7:00 the old daughter most glorious child  in the world rang me up and demanded to know how Lindsey was.  So I told her that calling anyone around 7:00 in the morning was just completely uncivilized and where in her upbringing was it EVER ok to talk to me before coffee?  Not in the slightest bit chastened the old daughter most glorious child  in the world went on to tell me that her sister was in labor and what did I know?  I replied that as usual I knew nothing and that I'd still not had any coffee.  And the old daughter most glorious child  in the world said, "read your text messages cranky pants" and hung up the phone before I could further the abuse that was roiling around in my foggy head.  So I did.  Because I'm in to saving things for posterity, or a stint on hoarders, I saved the text.  To whit:  "I am in labor.  I will text with more info later.  Love you".

Now I have the ability to  usually wheedle, nag or badger my way in to get the information I want.  Case in point:  When the Shah of Iran was overthrown by the Ayatollah in  1978 (79?) my parents were in Tehran and under house arrest and there was fighting and guns and bombs and what not and the news was there and in the middle of this uproar I was able to make contact with the parental units by the sheer force of will. However, in the case of speaking to my daughter or by extension her husband who were a mere 10 miles away, no amount of wheedling got me through the firewalls of the hospital or cell phone communication with them.  To say that I was annoyed is putting it mildly.

Since no one was in the least bit afraid of me at the hospital, I decided to leave and I took Mila to the movies.  As we sat down in the theater we received this text: "the "ep" is in all is ok 1-2 hour!"  Groan.  So Mila and I ate popcorn, drank sodas and watched the movie.  I think it was Monster U, but who knows.  Probably for the best, because when we went back to the hospital afterwards still no info was being imparted to  the growing crowd of impatient family members.   At long last, Tim came out and announced the arrival of Lauren.  He was all sweaty and gross so no one hugged him.  Haha, just kidding.  Eventually we were allowed back to meet the baby and all was forgiven, until now, and the baby was beautiful and the little mother was beautiful and the father was beautiful and so on.  I took the requisite pictures and tried to be supportive and all.  I did get to be the first to hold the bundle of joy, which was the most important thing, the rest of you have to wait.   And Lindsey said "Mama" and we got all emotional and like that.  Poignant.

So there you have it.  The baby smiles now and is much more sociable.  I kind of like her.  She also wears clothes and her room is done.


*loosely translated to "my friends", further evidence of an expensive, and wasted education.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Where has the time flown off to?  Pretty sure there's absolutely nothing grammatically correct in that first sentence, but I'm a little rusty.  In case you hadn't noticed, this is the first post from Squidgy since April 22.  I missed you.

This will be the year of the babies and Game of Thrones .  They have nothing in common BTW.  They are, however, what's been going on in my life, oh and a majah birthday that needs no more notice.

When last we chatted, I was off to New Mexico to usher in the birth of my second granddaughter.  A word about New Mexico medicine.  Well that won't do, perhaps a collection of words skillfully spun together to create a concise and meaningful thesis.  To Whit:

Old daughter was due to have her baby on April 28, which meant I would have a few days from my arrival on the 24th to make her life a misery I mean help her get organized.  As things go, the baby did not surface on her due date, nor did she make any moves for the whole of another five days.  As is the practice of medical gurus in the "Land of Enchantment", it was decided by the doc-tore that the baby should arrive on the 2nd of May.   And so that he not be inconvenienced in any way, Alison would have her labour* induced in the wee hours, so the baby would be making her imminent arrival at roughly the time his majesty  Doctor so and so would be making his rounds about 7:00 a.m.  Let us consider this for a wee moment.  One doctor who is being compensated handsomely for overseeing what should be a natural occurance, by a healthy adult woman, must not be expected to be at the beck and call of nature to deliver a baby at an hour that might be considered icky.   I continue with my narrative.  At midnight, May 2, Alison, Tim and I set off to the hospital so Alison could be induced with the plan to deliver at the aforementioned convenient hour.  What this really meant was that Tim and I fought over the only couch and I spilled water all over the floor sleeping in a hard rocking chair designed for a freak of nature.  The mother to be was hooked up to all manner of gadgets and tubes and wires to monitor the induction of chemicals to spur on contractions.  What ever.  At any rate, eventually the drugs did their magic and voila' actual labour* commenced.  Then came the time to administer the epidural and that took forever, many jabs, several more medical whoozie doos to run in and out of the room  because the lack wit who was stabbing my daughter in the back just couldn't seem to get the job done, he was finally dismissed to go read up on the epidural for dummies manual and Alison delivered her baby Grace Louise** au naturel with the exception of pitocin or whatever they give you.  The Doctor, in his shiny new couture shoes, was there for the catch, though how he managed that is a mystery since he was mostly amazed at his appearance in the mirror and spent an inordinate amount admiring same.

So that was labor and delivery in New Mexico.  And it was annoying.  The baby weighed in at hale (gettit?) and hearty 8#15oz. and 20 some odd inches long.  In short healthy.  Now it was time for some other medical nitwit to weigh in with his pithy advice.  I paraphrase here,  "Mrs. Ballard, your baby is large and as such may have trouble surviving on breast milk only.  I advise (read order you) you to supplement with some tasty and expensive formula.  Why lookie here, Enfamil has provided you with some samples!  Enfamil underwrites this hospital so you have to use this stuff or we will lose our funding and that would be bad for me."  As I said paraphrasing here, but the formula was certainly um encouraged.  Happily for baby Grace her Auntie Megan arrived the next day, was way scarier as a breast feeding proponent that the formula and the advice were thrown out with the dishwater.  Medicine in the southeast of New Mexico is behind the times by about 40 years.

So anyway we had Auntie Megan and cousin Mila for about three whole days and she was wonderful and Mila held the baby and was the object of interest for the new big brother, Sam who was not in the least bit impressed with the new arrival, with the exception that it was in the way of time with Mommy.  It was a sad sad day when they left.

Several days afterwards we made our way to Roswell and some miles past it to attend the rehearsal dinner and the next day the wedding of a close friend of Alison's.  The new mother was a bridesmaid and I held the baby during the service (which should be a post of it's own - later, I'm still recovering) and Tim chased Sam around outside and that was that.  I knew no one, not that that's ever stopped me, but during the reception/sit down dinner, I did sit with some people Alison worked with in Colorado on a dude ranch and I'd seen their behaviour* at Alison and Tims wedding so I knew I'd fit right in.  And I did.  Each 10 person table was provided two bottles of wine, one red and one white.  Ours was gone before the salads arrived and in spite of impressive whining, no more vino was forthcoming.  Bummer.  Happily I have no shame and I begged a bottle from the table of some teetotaling wet blankets next to us and the party continued.  What this also meant was that baby Grace was passed from guest to guest for the entirety of the eating process.  score.  Then we went home.

Whilst we were enjoying all these life changing events, Alison and Tim also had a house being built this whole time, and while it was meant to be done before my arrival, it was not.  Therefore,the day after the wedding we moved in the new house.  It is muy importante to experience major events all  in a cluster.  Baby, sister, wedding, move in all in 10 days or less.  Nothing stressful or exhausting about any of that.  But Sunday night we did sleep in the new house and it was good.  I had to leave three days after the move, I needed the rest.  So that was my trip to New Mexico.  That and the dilemma of my phone which had a heart attack and died like the day after I arrived.  I was bereft.  Every time I go there, something happens to my phone.  hmmm

I went to Lake Tahoe by myself a few weeks ago.  I went by myself because all my friends ( both of them) are flakes.  So I went alone.  In case you may be thinking that I am mature and self reliant on my own, rest assured that none of that is the case here.  I had pre-knowledge that some girl friends from long ago were in situ just a couple miles from the cabin where  I had temporarily  taken up residence. What this meant was we had a big time at the beach, on boats, at swishy bars and perfecting the art of polite conversation and pithy repartee.  Yup.  Awesome.  

So that was my summer vacation.  How was yours?

Adieu for now mon Amis,



Monday, April 22, 2013

yipee i yi kay a

Phonetic spelling for those who can't actually pull out the correct order of letters together.

Howdy.  As you know I'm off to the wild and woolly west on Wednesday.  At this moment I am studiously avoiding the agony of packing.  In my heart of hearts I know I will have no need to pack the cute cute cute pink slacks or that adorable aqua linen dress, but I love them.  Instead what I should pack are T-Shirts and jeans as that is what I live in at home and I'm going to be in New Mexico for three weeks so it will become home for all practical purposes.  Still it seems just wrong to leave the cute things at my domicile.  This is a problem I face each time I drag the suitcase out.  That and the accusing stares of the dawgs.

I have ordered asked Alison not to foal before I get there.  I need time to acclimate.  Alison and Tim have a new house. 
They are not going to be moved in before I get there.  I guess you can sort out what this means for me.  Until that happy moment I shall be in residence in a travel trailer
which will be parked conveniently outside the children's current residence.
  There will be no teevee, but hopefully the bathroom facilities will work and I'll have lights.  I'm not holding my breath.  It does have a slide out.  With any luck I'll be able to open it up.
  I shall remind all of you of my sacrifices the next time any of you dare to reprimand me for any execrable behaviour you may condemn me for...  (dangling preps be damned)

I had the opportunity to meet with many of you couple weeks ago at Twin Rivers.  May I say that with the exception of Linda, it was just wonderful to see so many of you?  Not Grant tho', and you know why smart ass.  I miss most of you  and wish we could get together more often.  Linda, you will be off the hit list after you invite me down for chocolate chip cookies and a swim.  Sue, you are the apple of my eye. 

Good riding and high times for all of you riding at Rolex this coming week.  I wish I could be there to root you on.  Instead I'll be in a travel trailer in Carlsbad, New Mexico dreaming of air conditioning and being a supportive and loving mother.  This last is to insure that the old daughter be properly grateful for my extreme sacrifice and make every effort to 1. have the baby at a reasonable hour that doe not interfere with my sleep patterns, 2. will have the belongings they plan to move to the new house packed up and ready to go and 3. have double checked that my bed in the new house is made up with fresh sheets et. al.  I don't think that's too much to ask.

What to do about my beloved?  Good question.  I think he will miss me desperately and be in a funk and will clean the house obsessively.  Poor little thang.  I'll leave him a vat of lettuce so he can nibble morosely on the greenery till I return.  I have asked him to come the wild and woolly west the last week of my visit.  I hope he will, but I'm not optimistic.  Still, I hope.  hint hint.

And the babies?  Should they notice my absence, and that is doubtful, they will be pleased when I return because they will then play on my guilt and be the happy recipients of many treats and be assured I will overlook any egregious behaviour on their collective parts.  I am darkly amused that in my absence they will have to spend a day at the vets for their comprehensive treatments in preparation for the long awaited day when they will have their dentals done.  Little tykes.

The young daughter and her daughter will be making the voyage to New Mexico after the new baby arrives.  That will be a lot of estrogen.  I'm looking forward to it.  I imagine that since the sister is coming, the new house will be available for residence by the time they arrive.  Naturally.  This will be in no small part thanks to me for being an absolute freak about boxes and putting things in places that they belong.  I say this with an absolute straight face while the state of my office, where I currently sit, is in shambles.  I've had to do some kind of awkward dance, cum, fancy footwork to get to the desk chair in front of the dinosaur I call a computer.  But this is the sacrifice I make for all y'all.  You're welcome.

Alas, our time together has come to an end.  If I have a spare moment I will update you as to the status of the newborn, the condition of the mare mother and all the nitty gritty details of birth weight, length etcetera.

Adieu &


Friday, March 29, 2013

Sullen and disjointed

I was forwarded a classic country ballad this morning via email.   It galvanized me to 1. shower, 2. lose weight, 3. be nicer to my beloved.  One out of three ain't bad.  Thanks Holly, always an inspiration.

Perhaps you all remember from way back when I announced the gifts the afore mentioned beloved received in celebration of the day of his birth?  If not, a refresher.  The middle daughter presented him with tickets to the  San Francisco Falun Buddha Study Association presentation of Shen Yun.  Widely touted as a Chinese acrobatic cum classic ballet performance, we were somewhat excited to see it, thinking (broadly) that surely it would be a Chinese Cirque de Soleil.  Alas not. We attended on March 23.  As the performance progressed it became painfully evident through the artistic dancing experience, and the narrators (both English and Mandarin, but who knew?)  that it was all about how bad the Chinese Gomment is, how detractors from the party line are tortured and beaten blah blah blah and all this and that, like we didn't already know this and that and why had we paid $100 per ticket to rehash the miserable human right violations taking place in the very site where our teevees and tennis shoes are manufactured?  Shocking. Still, being an aficionado of the classics and not so classics, I was able to discern some Irish dancing, thank you Tiana, and Steve was able to pick out the Chinese Air Hostess routine.  So all in all not a total waste of a day.

I went to Texas.  I had a list of things I needed to accomplish while there. My good friend and faithful companion of my youth, Liz, received my list of gotta dos and made them happen.
To whit.  We visited the Texas hill country.  check.  We visited with her family, including the 93 year old Major General daddy who said, "Lou Marden, I remember when you and my daughter signed a peace petition in Shreveport in 1969 and that petition landed on my desk and ..."  well you get it. . check.  We dined continuously.  check  We viewed the site of the Armadillo World Headquarters, though sadly it was torn down years ago and a nice vanilla motel now graces the site. check.  

Since I used all of Steve's air miles to make this sojourn, I was compelled by my beloved to collect a few souvenirs.  This picture says it all.  Jesse James Hat from the Austin Speed Shop. I had to beg some mechanic guy to reopen the Austin Speed Shop store to obtain it and as is evidenced,  worth all the trouble, if only it fit.  The requisite snow globe and a cheesy mermaid angel thing.  As you can see, a huge success.

Aah, but you ask, what for your self darling?  Funny you should ask.  A Mexican wedding dress in navy blue with silver embroidery and an intensely unattractive peasant shirt in vivid burnt orange thank you very much.  

In three weeks and a bit I shall wing my way to New Mexico to be in attendance at the birth of my second grand daughter whose name shall be Grace Louise.  Not that I'll actually be allowed in the birth room, but instead I will be exiled to the common area of the hospital to wait with the soon to be brother.  Perhaps there's a thing or two that I can teach the tyke while we wait.  Oh yes, I think so.  Anyone else need a babysitter?  EZ payment plans available.
Chocolate, it's not just for breakfast anymore!   

Perhaps, too, you'll remember that I spent two weeks in Petaluma whilst the highnesses went off to Hawaii.  How nice.  Well as you know not a ton of exciting stuff happened unless you count the midnight drive through the darkness to gather up a horse for some guy who then shorted me $50 for my inconvenience.  But I digress.  I had a phone conversation the other day with Her Highness .  It went like this.

HH: Yo
Me:  Your phone sounds funny what are you talking on, cans?
HH:  We got a new phone carrier for the house.
Me:  Sounds just terrible
HH:  We're saving 18 million dollars a month over ATT.
Me:  Well worth the money
HH:  We also have a new TV service.
Me:  Groan.  Have you lost all my saved recordings then?
HH:  No, just Pay Per View
Me:  $%^%@#%&()_(*&^%$
HH:  Sorry
Me:  I only rented one movie.  And it was terrible.  You should talk to my child.  I rented many more movies while I was at her house and they didn't whine at all.
HH:  Still sorry
Me: !@#$%^&*(

And now, evidently, I have reached the limits of creativity or something.