Friday, October 31, 2008
A few years back we attended the Miniature Mayfest in Dallas and it was an absolutely wonderful experience. It was a fluke that we were able to attend because it traditionally occurs on the same weekend as the annual Frankum family reunion and as much as I love miniatures, genealogy squeaks by as the front-runner in my list of preferred activities. That year the reunion had been shifted to a different weekend and we grabbed the opportunity to spend a weekend wallowing in a surfeit of miniature delights.
One of our stops that weekend had been to visit a nearby miniatures store, the best source of miniatures in Dallas and we had remembered it fondly. As soon as we arrived in Dallas, we headed out to the north end of town for a miniatures fix.
We left a couple of hours later a bit disappointed.
Our miniatures store in Austin closing a couple of years back had left a big hole in our ability to satisfy our mini-cravings, but we well knew the reasons behind its demise. The owner had retired and her daughter had made the decision to move the business to an EBAY storefront. I've purchased from her several times and been thoroughly satisfied, but it's not the same as touching and feeling the target of your lust before plunking down the cash in a moment of spurious rationalization that your budget can be stretched to accommodate. Plus, how do you know you need something you don't know exists until you see it?
I get the distinct feeling that the Dallas store is headed the same direction. They still had a lot of inventory and we both found several things we couldn't resist - but neither of us left feeling guilty that we had overspent. The atmosphere of the store just didn't draw us in and captivate us like it did on that previous encounter. It seemed to have aged and grown tired and could be possibly thinking of retirement. The inspiration factor was missing.
I tried to decide if it was me that had changed. I decided it was not. Earlier this year I was plagued with the temptation to overspend at the miniatures store in Nashville. (I cradled an expensive and thoroughly unnecessary Bespaq chair all the way home in the plane.) The dollhouse store in San Antonio always has me leaving in a guilty and furtive manner. (It's times like those that I'm grateful I'm the only one who has access to my financial records.)
The thing is, the dollhouse hobby is so very exclusive. One caring, miniatures-afflicted person can make all the difference to how wonderful or disappointing a miniatures store is. When that person begins to approach retirement, unless another stricken soul decides to take up the mantle, the store itself begins to tire and fade. Unfortunately, the mini-disease is not necessarily genetic, so there isn't always a younger generation coming along to take over.
And I'm sure the economy isn't helping. It can't be fun to try and keep things fresh and lively when your clientele is cutting back.
I'm very happy with the new miniatures that have come home with me from this trip, but I'm a little sad as well. I had the distinct feeling that it might be the last opportunity I would have to shop in this particular store. I hope I'm wrong.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
My three days of holiday in Dallas coincided with a three day stay for the cats at the vet clinic for a "procedure". We won't say any more than that, except to note that they are doing just fine and all my fretting and worrying would appear to have been pointless. They seem to be under the impression that the whole thing was the idea of the cat masochists at the clinic and that Mom had nothing to do with it. They were hissing at the technician who brought them out, but settled down once they got in the car and talked quietly to me as we made the trip back to Bastrop.
When I got home, I set their carriers down on the grass beside the car and took my various packages inside. As I opened the door, two little dogs blasted past me and out to the car to check on their kitties.
Well, I mean. The two of them went all around the cat carriers, oozing concern and full of inquiries while Mom stood on the porch and felt like chopped liver. I had been gone the same amount of time, but watching that performance I began to wonder just who is the center of their world?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
To that end, I generally have one or two extras of certain staples. For instance, boxes of garbage bags, ziplocs, and Cascade or bags of toilet tissue and paper towels. I always have at least one bottle of laundry detergent in reserve.
When Goldie went to get the extra bottle of detergent the other day, she discovered that it had a pinhole crack in the bottom and when she picked it up, it suddenly gushed out. When she mentioned it, I figured there would be a small puddle underneath the bottle and I would clean it up later. I told her to pour the detergent into the old bottle and voila, case closed.
Ha. I have been working on another garage purge this morning and got around to checking on the detergent leak. I was horrified to discover that concentrated liquid detergent had been seeping out of the cracked bottle for heaven only knows how long. Probably since I brought it in and plopped it down on the step at the end of the garage. It had oozed across the step, down under the storage boxes where I keep my stationery collection (thank heavens that's all in plastic boxes), and had made its slippery way under a storage box of odd family heirlooms (which may have to be washed - I haven't had the heart to check inside yet) and had built up a crusty puddle of goo around the legs of a table. Fortunately it had not made its way far enough to affect the one piece of antique furniture that is currently stored in the garage.
Now the question is how on earth I'm going to get that mess cleaned up without making a bigger mess. Water is out of the question until I get the majority of it scraped up. I have no desire to find myself buried up to my armpits in suds. Where it has sat the longest, it has taken on the consistency of soft wax. Where it was sitting under plastic, it is slimy, blue gunk.
I have no energy whatsoever and I need to pack for a short trip next week and I have to pick up and de-clutter where little brother will be sleeping in my absence and now I have to attack a pile of glop.
I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The downside of digital phone with your cable company. A quick check and, yes, I was out of internet access and any television reception. Everything dead. As a doornail.
Normally I would wait until the cable came back, but for some reason I felt compelled to call and see what was going on. No, no one else was reporting problems, so a maintenance technician was dispatched. Three hours later he arrived, checked everything and told me my cable was out. Well, duh. A few minutes later and he cheerfully informed me that it was nothing he could handle because it was out at the main line. Oh, and by the way, most of the line technicians are still in Beaumont putting the Gulf coast back together in the aftermath of Ike. I could be assured that my cable would be back sometime today or tomorrow depending on how far away their skeleton crew was today.
After another hour or so of dead calm quiet, I put a load of CDs in the stereo to break the silence. It's just downright eerie without some noise.
A side effect of this whole thing is that I got a day off from work. Normally when our healthworker is out sick I just plug into the office network via the Internet and keep going as if nothing happened. But no internet, no work. Not very often that I am completely disabled.
So, when life gives you cable interruption, make the most of it. I have backed up my computer files, done some laundry, made a pot of soup, worked on my on-going project to clean up the genealogy notebooks, sicced dogs on squirrels, watched some of the backlog of recordings on the DVR and puttered.
I could get used to this. Maybe a random disconnect from the world isn't such a bad thing.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
But this year I could not wait another minute. I did manage to hold off for a couple of days and miss the crush of activity on Monday. Yesterday they were busy, but there was no line backup when I arrived about 8:30 a.m.
So I've done my part to correct the hideous mistakes made 4 and 8 years ago.
Whatever the outcome, we are at least seeing the waning days of the current administration.
I have to say one thing for them. One of the things I remember vividly from High School history classes was that James Buchanan held the record for the very worst president in the history of the United States. I think the poor man has finally yielded his dubious (dubya?) honor.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I'm not sure she hangs around because she likes me or hates me.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The Smiley water tower
I discovered a new landmark that I did not know had been established. The Pat Manford Memorial Rest Area, located under a massive oak tree, has picnic tables and a shady spot for lunch. Pat Manford was a Smiley landmark back during our time there and I hear he used to nap in a little building located under this tree.
We weren't just visiting. We came back to bury our father's ashes in his final resting place, at the Baptist (Old Smiley) Cemetery on Yorktown road. It was a beautiful day. We came home for a visit. Our father came home to stay.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Nevertheless, the bumper sticker was applied and now the Prius looks more like mine than ever. I had been getting some ribbing at the office because I still had my old Kerry/Edwards sticker on the bumper of the Explorer. Initially I was waiting for Obama to announce his running mate and then, the Obama/Biden stickers were hard to come by. Until the new sticker came, I didn't want anyone to mistake me for having voted for the current administration, so the old sticker had remained in place.
Now I'm back to being the odd gal out at the office. There are a few other renegades on the payroll, but most are quiet about their politics. Not me. In fact tomorrow I start taking my cup of coffee in a "PROUD DEMOCRAT 2008" thermal cup. (Found them on clearance yesterday.)
The rain hasn't slowed the squirrels down. I looked out awhile ago and lady squirrel was sitting and munching, drenched but happy.
So glad to see the rain I don't even resent that the car wash lasted all of 2 hours. My poor pines are panting and looking more and more haggard. I'll be happy to wash my car again if it means they get a good, long drink.
I'm still ecstatic with the new car, by the way. I've finished reading all the manuals now and while I still have to stop and think about what to push or pull when, I'm getting better at it all the time. And my last fill-up? $28 and I had driven 450 miles.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
This morning I caught Coco in a "deer in the headlights" pose.
And Mojo was sniffing the breeze, wondering if a squirrel might dash across the yard.
P.S. I feel I owe an apology to Barbie for the comparison to Sarah Palin. Barbie has a lot more on the ball and would be a much better choice for a running mate.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I thought it was just me, but a few googles around the net clued me in that some folks have made a drinking game out of the debates. The concensus after last night's debate was that there were probably a lot of folks completely wasted afterwards, thanks to the 22 instances of "my friends" in McCain's answers.
And correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that the rules of debate are that you debate the issue presented and don't switch to a different topic you like better. I realize that Barbie probably doesn't have a clue about proper procedure - I think she really did grow up in a barn - but I expect better from the boys.
This is going to be a long four weeks.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Someone - and I strongly suspect his initials are BOO - went into my closet night before last and pulled a half-dozen blouses and a skirt from their hangers. I found claw snags in two jackets - one that had been worn once and one that was brand new with tags still attached. One of my favorite blouses has a slit where he apparently hung a claw and had to pull loose.
If they were the slightest bit repentent, I might feel a bit forgiving. But now he's eyeing my new knitting project with a speculative eye that tells me he may go foraging in my knitting bag while I'm asleep at night.
Pure evil. Thy name is cat.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Yes, indeed it is a vinyl 33-1/3 rpm long-playing record album. Not too long ago I was commenting on how I learned to handle them correctly way back when I was about 6 years old (never mind when that was).
Now, what you probably did not guess correctly is that I just bought it from an EBAY dealer. It's probably been at least 15 years since I last purchased a vinyl record. But, (to quote Sarah Palin) gosh-darn it they just will not release this particular album on CD. I ran across it doing some idle searches and the dealer promised it was in near-mint condition, so I bought this example of archaic music media. It arrived this afternoon and it was as promised. It played flawlessly and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing it.
I was a big Burt Reynolds fan back during his popular period. This was the soundtrack from one of his lesser-known films, W. W. & the Dixie Dancekings. Part of the appeal of this movie was that Burt's character took up with a band and they cast well-known country-western musicians as the band members and in the supporting cast: Don Williams, Conny Van Dyke, Mel Tillis, Ronnie Stoneman and Jerry Reed. I always loved Jerry Reed no matter what he was doing - picking and grinning on the Glen Campbell Good-Time Hour or in the Smoky & the Bandit movies. This was his first movie role and he nailed it.
Every time I've seen the movie, I'm always taken with the final musical number the band sings over the radio as Burt's character is leaving town. I was not surprised to discover that the song, "A Friend" was written by Jerry Reed. It has bounce and feeling and that unique Jerry Reed touch. Jerry Reed also wrote one of my favorite songs, "A Thing Called Love", which contains one of the best of his special guitar licks. Jerry Reed died a few weeks ago and the world lost one of the all-time great guitarists. A little piece of trivia - when Elvis set out to record Jerry's song "Guitar Man", he was frustrated that his musicians could not deliver the intricate guitar licks that Jerry's original version included. A call was placed and Jerry Reed brought his unique guitar style into the recording session and played the backup for Elvis' cover of his song. He was a unique talent.
I was listening to Satellite Radio in Big Red the other day, tuned into Laugh USA, and heard a comic describe his son's first encounter with a 33-1/3 vinyl record. The boy was non-plussed and asked his father what it was. The father explained that it was his generation's CD, with the sound recorded on the surface and requiring the same care in handling, being careful to only touch the edges. The boy seriously inquired, "did people have bigger hands then?".
I'm thinking that this year as my Christmas present to myself, I may just buy a turntable that will allow me to record some of my old albums and 45s onto CD. There's a lot of wonderful music tucked in the back of my closet that no one has seen fit to re-issue on CD. This little taste of long-unheard songs has whetted my appetite to rediscover the hidden jewels in my collection.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Mojo also battles the squirrels, but in the course of doing so has discovered sunflower seeds and is becoming as much of a seed pig as Mr. Squirrel. Nobody ever told him that dogs don't eat seeds.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
At the end of the first silent auction and before the big cattle auction, presentations were made and notable people were introduced. My aunt and her sister-in-law watched the proceedings from a shady vantage point (front row center). I parked myself on a hay bale nearby.
Cousin Lisa was part of the recognized survivors group (middle of the 3 ladies on the right).
The folks who are behind the event gathered for a group photo.
The general store was manned by my uncle and their friend Charlene while the presentations were being made.
And at two o'clock, the big cattle auction was getting ready to take off. I watched the first heifer get bought and sold and donated back and bought and sold and donated back and bought and sold a third time and at that point decided that it seemed it was going to be a long afternoon at the auction barn. It would have been fun to stay and watch, but today I had to get other things done and had to leave.
It's an interesting event and it's for a good cause. The mood is upbeat, everyone is there to enjoy themselves and raise money for cancer research. Doctors and scientists mingle with ranchers, and cancer survivors mingle with the craftsmen who donated items for the auctions. It is a day to feel good and to do good. Everyone did.
See Building Blocks for a related item.
Friday, October 03, 2008
The only pair that might have suited was not available in my size, but at the end of the counter was a pair of bright red pumps that caught my eye. They were on sale and, with the coupon, were ridiculously cheap. So what if I already had 3 pair of red shoes, plus a pair of red boots. A girl can always use another pair of red shoes.
I am reminded of a time a few years back when I was headed to the funeral of my great-aunt Ruby. As we were leaving the house to drive to Wharton, one of our group remarked on the fact that I was wearing red high heels to a funeral. "Of course," I said, "I'm wearing them for my Aunt O." I was given a quizzical look, but the subject was dropped.
My Aunt O, sister to Ruby, always had a love of bright and vivid colors and was especially partial to pink and red. Everyone else in the family always paled next to Aunt O. I, too, love bright colors. I, too, like to stand apart from the crowd.
To make a short story long, when we arrived at the cemetery, my Aunt O was there wearing a pair of bright red shoes. No one that knew us considered it inappropriate apparel for the occasion.
The Sisterhood of the Red Shoes.
P.S. See today's entry over on Building Blocks for a reminder of Aunt O's love of pink.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
The official fair is contained in two sites, but the entire area bounded by Shelby, Fayetteville, Warrenton, Round Top and Carmine turns itself over to antiques fever twice a year. There is no way to see it all, so every time I attend I try to choose the best spots to get the broadest shopping experience. This was my friend's first time to attend and she let me choose which locations we would hit. We started at the official fair at The Big Red Barn and adjoining tents. I found not one, but three antique oak bedsteads that I would have been happy to cart home, but I'm still not 100% sure what I want, so I decided to pass on them all this time around and will probably spend the next few days regretting the ones that got away.
From there we went to my second favorite location at La Bahia and had another enjoyable ramble.
The stop was a success for my friend, who acquired two pieces of McCoy pottery for her collection. I acquired a couple of miniatures for my dollhouses.
Our next stop was the huge show at Marburger Farm near Warrenton. This particular location spreads across a massive area and after grabbing a fantastic lunch, we walked through about 8 tents and a half-dozen buildings and had a great time, even though we were beginning to stumble up the steps at the last few dealers due to exhaustion.
You always see things at Marburger Farm you've never seen before. Like, when was the last time you saw an honest-to-goodness $1,000 bill?
We saw lots of iron bedsteads, which also tempted me, wonderful shop fixtures from days of old (what I wouldn't give for a huge kitchen that I could fill with antique shop display cabinets), lots of wonderful pieces of golden oak, and lots of friendly dogs sleeping in the corners of the various booths.
I have a real weakness for golden oak. I hardly ever attend the fair without hauling at least one piece of golden oak furniture home. It's where I've acquired 3 desks, a bookcase, a stool, a sewing stand, a pair of night stands and I forget what else. This year was no exception. I passed on the bed steads, but I found a great mirror that looks wonderful over my golden oak chest of drawers in the bedroom.
Our last stop was an old favorite in Carmine. My friend acquired a third piece of McCoy pottery. I think she was satisfied with the results of her first trip to the Antiques Fair.
I'm delighted with my mirror.
And a day of wandering about the lovely countryside around Round Top in perfect weather was just what I needed.
It's just too bad we only scratched the surface of what there was to see.
And I sort of wish I had gone back for a bed stead.