Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the Doghouse

I am reminded of Hank William's song "Move it On Over", especially the line "move over little dog, 'cuz the big dog's movin' in".

Yesterday morning I took the wee ones in for a dental procedure each. Their teeth weren't in horrible shape, but were of some concern and I've been down the road you end up on when dental issues are ignored. I've become a believer in preventive maintenance for dog teeth.

Neither Mojo nor Coco likes car travel, to begin with. They shook and panted the entire 17 miles to Elgin, but that was nothing compared with the horror they felt when they realized where they had arrived. And then Mommy handed them over and left.

Sometime between then and 3:45 when I picked them up, a good bit of something foul hit the proverbial fan. They were still a little drunk when I picked them up, but they were all for leaving that vile place. So we staggered out to the car and settled in for another 17 miles of shake and pant.

It was when we got home and they knew they were back in safe territory that I was informed in no uncertain terms that I had fallen from grace. If I tried to touch them, they groaned. If I left them alone, they sat huddled in abject misery and looked daggers at me. I tried picking them up and the groans amplified. I finally resorted to putting them in bed with Mother and they settled down for long naps with the one person in the house they were still speaking to.

These are little dogs who never miss a meal, but they were too upset to eat when suppertime came. They were perfectly willing for me to carry them up the stairs to bed, but as soon as they were settled in bed I was warned off with growls and more groans. It was some performance, let me tell you, and I felt properly chastised.

This morning their world had realigned on its axis and they were a little more congenial. They consented to eat some of my breakfast and let me pet them a little (without groaning). But then, when it came time for me to leave for work, I saw Mojo give me that "If you loved me, you'd stay home" look. I'll probably be paying for that transgression this evening.

In a bit of good news from yesteday, Mojo is down 6 ounces. Doesn't sound like much, but at least we are headed in the right direction. Coco, however, eating the same diet for the same amount of time, has increased a small bit. Not sure what to do about that.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Call of the Earth

All those generations of farmers in my ancestry gives me an appreciation for a freshly tilled field. I was tempted today to take off my shoes and feel the dirt between my toes. Black dirt as far as the eye could see.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Gone to the Dogs

Ok, it's been awhile since I've bragged on my kids. Time to catch up.

We have an armadillo that comes around during the night and leaves the neighbor's yard pocked with holes. Mojo finds them fascinating.

Ah, the enjoyment of the first fall cool spell. One must frolic in the soft grass.

And when Mommy wants you to look at the camera and pose, you must of course turn your backs and present your best side.

Finest dogs in Texas.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Memories 35 Years Old

We will start this little walk down memory lane with a picture taken inside the First Baptist Church of Smiley, Texas, while we were preparing for my father's memorial service last Saturday. This is the church of my childhood. It has been recently refurbished with carpeting, a new ceiling and new lights, but the basic elements are just as they were back in 1964 when we moved to Smiley from Victoria.

I was told that the Hammond organ on the front right is seldom used anymore. It was the instrument of choice back when I was a regular musician for the church. If there was only one musician available for a service, it was accepted that the one musician would play the organ. Let's just say that I put in plenty of time on both instruments during my 7 or so years as church musician in Smiley.

I'm always a little amazed when I experience physical memory. That is, your body remembers actions that you have not consciously thought of for many years. For instance, I really don't know what my password is to my office computer. My fingers know it, but if I try to consciously recall it, I have no idea what it is. If I think too hard about it, my fingers will even give up.

After the service, when most folks had departed, I could not resist going in and sitting at the organ for a few minutes. Without thinking, I opened the bench and reached inside to where my fingers knew the key would be waiting. I automatically folded the lid back and flipped the switches in the correct order to begin the warm up. These were all actions I have not performed in more than 35 years, but my fingers knew exactly what they were doing. I set the stops and the tone settings and played a couple of songs. It was like I had been playing it regularly for all those years.

The organ was donated to the church in 1949 by Mrs. O. R. Culpepper in memory of her husband. Mrs. Culpepper was a very old lady when I knew her and died shortly after we moved away. She was one of those sweet little ladies you sometimes have the fortune to count as a friend. She liked me and I liked her. She would pay me out of her pocket to work part-time in the Smiley Public Library during summers, a job I would have been happy to do for free.

Awhile after we had moved to Smiley, Mrs. Culpepper approached my father and told him that she had had a dedication plaque made for the organ several years before and wondered what he thought about her having it mounted on the organ. It was a dark metal, like aged bronze, and tastefully unobtrusive. He told her to go ahead.

If you've ever been a member of a small country church, you can probably guess what happened next. The family that had donated the pulpit immediately had a plaque engraved to be mounted on it. It was metal, but hardly unobtrusive. Large, shiny brass and they had it mounted it on the front of the pulpit where it could hardly be missed. There was no way to tell them they couldn't put it there, since a precedent had been set.

Sooo, someone went and bought an artificial plant to place in front of it to block the glare. (Let the war begin.)

Nothing happened for a few weeks, but then one Sunday morning we all arrived to find that some mysterious visitor had slipped into the church and cut the plant off at mid-height. (Those were the days when it was not necessary to lock the church day or night). There was a lot of speculation over who had felt moved to perform such a thing and I was questioned as a material witness, since I spent a good portion of my free time over in the church practicing the piano or the organ. Everyone knew that if I heard someone come in, I generally slipped quietly back into my father's office and out the side door. That particular day I had not been around to see the culprit arrive and so was fortunately not required to testify against one of the church members.

You know, if I had a dollar for every song I ever played in that church auditorium, I would be set for retirement. To return to that auditorium after so many years was familiar, yet strange. Home is where your heart, and your memories, live.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Most of the time I'm a normal adult, but there are moments when I revert back to cave-dwelling programmer status. Sitting in a dark room, wandering around the Internet with only the light of the monitor breaking the gloom.

I can participate in conversations with people who wear black-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors and who are obsessed with the various incarnations of Star Trek. I only watched the first series, but that's enough for me to fake it.

Another sign of my geekiness? I monitor a website devoted to the release of old tv shows on dvd, and I regularly buy season sets of old tv shows on dvd.

In my defense, you have to admit that today's tv offerings are the pits. There are about four current shows I make a point to watch during the week and the rest of the time I'm generally watching old movies or TVLand or restlessly cycling through the channels with the remote. Or, I'm hauling out one of my sets of old shows and spending the week with an old friend.

At the risk of ruining my reputation, I will admit to having the following in my collection:

Two seasons of The Wild, Wild West (soon to be the complete 3 seasons)
Two seasons of House
The complete 3 seasons of I Spy
The complete 3 seasons of Greatest American Hero
The complete 4 seasons of Starsky & Hutch
The complete 5 seasons of Quantum Leap (my all time favorite)
Six seasons of X-Files (I stop there; the last two seasons were awful.)
The complete 6 seasons of Northern Exposure
The complete 6 seasons plus reunion movies of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
The complete 11 seasons of M*A*S*H
The complete Adventures of Brisco County Jr.
The complete BBC series Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, Are You Being Served? & The Persuaders
The complete PBS series of Sherlock Holmes
One season each of Here Come the Brides, Lost, Riptide, Night Court, Murphy Brown, Make Room for Daddy, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Doc, Picket Fences & All Creatures Great and Small

It may make me a geek, but at least I know I will always have something good to watch instead of the awful reality dreck that is the current rage. And no commercials.

I won't even go into the movies I own, but I will tell you that one of my friends has asked to be named in my will to inherit my video collection.

And I do not own a pocket protector.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

Come and Take It

As you drive from Nixon to Gonzales, you pass through the little crossroads of Cost, Texas.

Any true Texan historian driving this route should stop and pay homage to the events commemorated by the marker that sits beside the road. It was the start of Texas history.

When this event occurred, my great, great, great-grandparents Lentz were in residence on a league of land in Bastrop County, obtained by a Mexican land grant through the colonization efforts of Stephen F. Austin.

It's my history, too.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Grand Old Lady

Today I had an opportunity to take a small side trip while passing through Gonzales to visit a beautiful house that I have coveted for over 30 years. I was pleased to see that she has been taken care of and still remains a beauty to behold.

I had the chance to go inside once when there was an estate sale about to take place. I can remember standing on the 1st level of the circular corner and thinking what a fabulous place that would be to place a baby grand piano.

Back when I knew her, the house was painted an olive green. I was prepared to see her decaying body when I followed my impulse to detour down the street where she lives. I was relieved to see her wearing a new coat of bright yellow and looking every bit as grand as I remembered her.

I still covet that house. Long may she stand.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Just About Done

Very little cotton remains in the fields right now. Most has been processed into the huge bales as shown here. You can once again see for miles across the empty fields where just a few weeks ago you were hemmed in on both sides of the road by corn or cotton. Can winter be far behind?

Been very busy this past week. Hope next week things slow down considerably and I can get back to my idle observations.

Good news, the cold is just about gone. Bad news, little brother found it.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Act of Stupidity

I had a wee bit of a problem with the laundry I did yesterday. (A certain cat got into the basket of clean clothes and did something she should not have.) Fortunately I had processed most of the clothes through the drier at that point, but I decided to make another quick trip to the laundromat for two more loads this afternoon so I could start off the week with everything clean and dry.

Great honk! What you do not ever, ever want to do is go to the laundromat on a Sunday afternoon. Unless you are working on a sociology research project, for heaven's sake do not go to the laundromat on a Sunday afternoon. Every kind of person you could ever expect to meet in your entire lifetime is at the laundromat on Sunday afternoon.

Just don't do it. Stupid, stupid idea I had. Geez.


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Things You Should Not Be Required to Put Up With

So, I was at the laundromat this morning. Arrived at 7:15 a.m. (No, the sewer connection still hasn't been made. Yes, I'm still doing laundry at the laundromat. I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, OK???)

As I am emptying my washed clothes into the clothes baskets for transport home to dry, I became aware of a Spanish chatter going on at the end of the aisle of washers. I did not pay much attention to it. That is, until one of the ladies broke away and charged toward me with a purposeful step.

7:45 a.m. in the laundromat and the Jehovah Witnesses have arrived. Recognizing the Watchtower pamphlet she clutched in her hand, I went on the offensive. "I'm not interested," I declared. Something in my face must have told her that it would really not be a good idea to ignore what I had said. Maybe it was my red nose. Maybe it was my bleary eyes. Maybe it was the crazed look I get when I'm in the laundromat.

"I respect your wishes," she said, "have a nice day."

I'm starting the bloody day in the laundromat with the Jehovah Witness ladies. Things could only get better after that.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

That Devil Cold Bug

Just a quick check in to let you know that I'm still kicking, 'tho feebly. This cold has been particularly nasty, settling in my ears and refusing to leave. I hear everything, but it's like my head is wrapped in thick cloth. About once every 3-4 hours, everything turns loose in my head and I briefly clear up, only to start immediately stopping up again.

This bug had better move out soon, because it is playing havoc with my diet will power. My taste buds are dulled and the only things that sound good are things that are not on my diet. When you feel as bad as I have been feeling, you really don't care to deny yourself what sounds like it might make you feel better. So far I haven't lost any ground, but little cheats lead to big cheats and the next thing you know you're in trouble.

I missed a day's work on Monday, which threw my whole internal schedule out of whack and I realized yesterday when I got to work that it was Wednesday and I had failed to stop in Bastrop for my chiropractic adjustment before I left town. I do so hate to have to call the doctor's office and apologize for missing an appointment.

My evenings have been very short. I think up something quick and fast for supper, get Mother settled in bed, clean the kitchen (sort of) and head upstairs for bed. I feel like I've lost a whole week somewhere.

I warned you I've been sick. This has been running through my head for almost a week. Three Stooges Teach the Alphabet.

Enough already. Cold, cold, go away.