Friday, April 29, 2022

Vegas Hangover


To start:  I've never seen 'The Hangover' which is a movie about guys in Las Vegas for a bachelor party..  I've watched less & less Hollywood movies that were made in the past few years & silly buddy movies are not my thing.   

And I don't drink, except for our las day in Vegas, my niece & I always sit & have a drink & snacks.  This time it was at a burger place called Wahlburgers & I had some strawberry lemonade thing & it was good.  And we had fried pickles, cheese & spinich bites and some kind of tater tot things.  That's the extent of my drinking since last time we were there in August 2020. 

Where was I going here?

Oh, yeah.  I got home last Thursday, a week ago. I had not slept much, although on my last night I was alone & did not go down to casino to play but put my jammies on & relaxed.  And I have trouble eating.  And I'd had more than my 10,000 steps every day.  And the dry air, along with the stress made me break out in fever blisters on both top & bottom lips.  Not unusual...Hawaii gave me a mouth full of blisters.  But I'm almost recovered.  The blisters are being a little stubborn.  But basically, it takes me longer to recover than the time I'm away.  Add that to the fact that flying is not my favorite thing & I've never enjoyed car trips because I got very, very car sick when I was little.  I was always survived that my mom didn't just strap me to the top of the car.  That poor women cleaned up a ton of puke.

I'm almost 100% and balanced.   No more trips for awhile. 

Never too old to miss your Mama...

On Monday, I had to go to the most dreaded of all places for me, the grocery store.  I had not been in a month & my list was sketchy, as usual, so it took a little while.  While I was in the soft drink aisle, they only had 2 of my flavor & I had to buy 4 to get the sale price.  A store employee had gone back to check to see if they had more.   

In front of me was an older man, probably in is 80s, on a scooter.  He was reaching for drinks & they were a little out of his reach.  I leaned over & pulled them within his reach.   He said thank you--you have long arms! (I don't). But then he said "My mama had long arms.  When I was a little boy, if I was acting up, she'd reach over & pinch my ears!".  Then he looked up & he had tears in his eyes.  Then he said "I miss my mama".  I told him I missed my mama too.  

We are never too old to miss our Mamas.  

Texas Tech Basketball & Transfer Portal

Since 1975 & from game 1, I've had a love affair with #TexasTech Basketball.  From the Bubble days to the Arenas days, in good times & in bad.  And the last few years have been very good.  

And over the years, the players & coaches won our hearts.  And social media has let us all get to know them better & care more about them. I'll go out on a limb & say every Tech fan wants every one of them to reach their stars.

Things have changed over the years. Kids come out of high school so talented & we've all given up the expectation of them playing for 4 years.  It happens but its getting more rare.  They get their chance to show their stuff on a national stage & hope for the NBA to come calling.   And that's their dream, so I get it. 

And social media has let us all get to know them better & care more about them. I'll go out on a limb & say every Tech fan wants every one of them to reach their stars.  And some kids tranfer to schools where they can get more playing time.  And I get both things.  They have a limited window to show their wares & they have to do what's best for them.

Few schools have benefitted from the transfer portal more than Tech has over the past few years.  We have to exciting tranfers that committed over the past 2 days. I can't wait to see what happens, as usual.

But every one of our players in the portal makes me sad.  Some are being evaluated by NBA & that's the end game I want for them.  And some are so talented but find it hard to break into the lineup & have the ability to start & shine other places.  But a couple were starters & were loved & who I thought loved us like we loved them.  And I know it's a bigger picture but part of me wonders why they don't like us anymore.  It breaks my heart just a little & will make it hard for me to buy all in from now on.  I know I'm selfish because I want the best for them. But I do get attached & I'm not ashamed of that. 

If you cut me, I bleed Red & Black.  I will always root for every Red Raider on every level, no matter what they are doing.  But it may never again be the same. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

New Porch

New porch


When I bought my house in June of 2020 lots of things needed to be repaired.  The kitchen cabinets & bathroom cabinets had been remodeled but the floors were horrible.  We replaced floor in living, kitchen, hallway immediately.  Then last year I had my bedroom & the rest of the house except for guest room & office painted.  That'll be done one day.   And last year, new heating & A/C.  It's cute inside.

The front porch was a mess though.  For some reason, they put indoor tile on it & it & the concrete around it was chipping very badly. So yesterday, I got a new porch!!  The concrete still needs to cure for a few more days but I'm pretty pleased.  

Porch before

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Choices: A Long Time Coming The Ulyssys Long Story


Last November, my friend Linda & I went to Panama Beach Florida & had a great time.  While there, Linda found an indy bookstore in Rosemary Beach called The Hidden Lantern, a beautiful store.  And out front on that day they had an author named Chris Warner signing his books.  I've pointed out before I have an inability to pass up authors out signing books & this was no different.  So I bought a book that I can't say I'd have even looked at off a shelf.  

The book is about a black man from a New Orleans named Ulyssys Long.  His life started off good.  High school grad, Air Force vet, New Orleans police officer for awhile.  Some off duty incidents cost him his badge & a drunken evening out with friends ended with them robbing a convenience store.  He was quickly caught & sentenced to 30 years in jail.  In addition to his crime, he took responsability for a robbery his brother ccommitted in order to keep his brother out of jail.   Later, brother joins him in jail. 

The story takes Long through several aspects of the Louisiana.  Because of good behavior & attitude, he had several jobs in jail & got a lot of opportunities.  He says he was known in prison to stick up for others,teaching others to read & write & generally trying to make the prison life a little easier.  He was recommended for parole but says the only way to get it is to pay money to the governor & he didn't have money.

He has lots of anecdotes & glimpses into prison life that are fairly interesting.  

Several years into his sentence he was in a program that granted some work release.  During this time, a dress shop in Baton Rouge was robbed & Ulyssys was identified as the culprit.  He knew who did the robbery but he was convicted & had 100 more years added to his sentence.   Eventually, he made contact with LSU head basketball coach who went to bat with him & was eventually paroled.  He went on to become a motivational speaker & his platform was about making good choices.

I'm not sure I truthfully believe everything I read.  Long portrays himself as a hero in every situation & believes he's a saint who made a bad choice.   It was interesting & I'm glad I read it but I have some doubts about it being 100% true. 

I'm confused about the authorship of this book.  The book says "Ulysses Long with Chris Warner".  The book appears to be first person & frankly the writing is pretty amateurish so I think Long wrote it.  Not sure if Warner was just a consultant or a ghost writer or what.  I actually emailed him off his website to ask.  I also had to ask if that funky crooked graphic on the cover was on purpose of a mistake.  And if "Long time coming" was a play on words.  I have an inquiring mind.

Las Vegas April 2022

Buck, Winnie & Chip

I met Hope & Ron in Las Vegas last Sunday.  We had not been since 2020 & I had not seen them in over a year.  It was going to be just Hope & me but Ron took time off from work so the upside of that was I got my own room instead of sharing with Hope.  And she had free rooms, my favorite price.  We stayed at Bally's & it was nice.  I'd been inside there before but had never stayed or played there.

I'd wanted to see a show but everything was dark because Sunday was Easter & I guess everyone took the week off.  I would love to see Barry Manilow, although I'm not sure I'd force Hope & Ron to become Fanilows.  I would have been find going alone but nada this week. We mostly gambled, ate & walked.  Nothing spectacular.

Sunday night, playing Pai Gow poker I did really well.  I hit 2 hands that won $1000 dollars.  The rest of the week was up & down & I came home with money which is not always the case.

I had the most fun playing at Tropicana where we had a great table.  Met Scott & Karen from Iowa & played with them for a couple of days.  Mostly I meet nice people at tables.  Never a lot of money involved so no one is too crazy  We are just there to play cards & drink for free, although I don't really drink.  

I did have a couple of interesting tablemates.   At Ballys, a lady sat down holding 2 teddy bears, about 12" tall.  I've seen trinkets before...lucky charms, trolls...but never 2 teddys.  Then she began to talk to them.  And kiss them on the head. And worry if one of them got bumped against the table.  Just strange.  She was younger than me...probably mid 50s.  And then she told us she was an attorney in Houston.  And now I have questions.  Not to her, of course.  Clearly she has issues. But does she meet clients with the bears?  Do they go to court or maybe to bear day care.  

Young woman from Australia had won a trip from a random call from a radio station.  She'd won trip for 2, hotel & Adele tickets but Adele had cancelled.  But the friends were having a good time. 

And on a different Tropicana table, we had 2 guys from Cleveland & they were discussing the Baker Mayfield & DeShaun Watson situation.  Cleveland obviously wants Mayfield gone & they offered contract to Watson, who has sat out playing because of legal issues.  Something like 20 women have accused him of sexual assault.  He will not be charged criminally but I'd be surprised there aren't personal lawsuits pending.    At the table, we were discussing the trade & whether the allegations should matter.  My opinion, and that of they guys at the table  it that it does matter.  Morals matter.  Other woman at the table thinks that if there is no conviction it doesn't matter.  Then she said we can't expect morals in NBA & NFL & I have to admit I was shocked by her opinion as another woman.  Just because it can't be proven legally does not mean it didn't happen.  And one accusation from a disgruntled girlfriend is one thing but 20+ reports is really disturbing.  

And then there was "Bitchy Tim" from California, of course..  We had been playing for awhile with his partner Robert, a nice guy.  I was sitting by him & then the seat on the other side of me came open & Tim sat down.  From the minute he sat we could tell he was trouble.  He snapped at Robert about something on the table & jumped down his throat.  And he was masked.  We were talking about being happy that the mask mandate on planes had been lifted.  And Tim went off on us about how masks work & that covid was still around & mandate should not have been lifted & we were all going to die.  We all just rolled our eyes.  Stupid talk from a guy in a superspreader city, in a casino, sitting at a table with 6 unmasked players.  Robert & his mom (sitting on her walker behind us, reading her book) were unmasked too.  Bitchy Tim was pretty much a buzz kill for our table & Robert can do waaaaay better!!

Hope & I at Ethel M

On Tuesday we went to tour the Ethel M candy factory but that was a dud.  They are owned my Mars company & had made Snickers bars & Dove candies that morning but by the time we go there they were just cleaning up.  Not all that interesting.

And then we headed out of town to a ghost town I'd seen on the internet called Nelson.  It is an abandoned gold mine town, active from 1858 til 1945,  about 30 minutes from Las Vegas.  Some original buildings remain & collections of old cars & coke cases & basic junk.  Not sure exactly but appeared a family owns land now & they do a tour & if you just want to walk around it was $1 a head.  Got some great pictures & it was a nice walk & time away from the casino.

Hope & Ron were good sports doing the dud candy tour & the ghost town.  They were my idea. 

And why didn't I think of this?  I could be rich!!

Oh, and on our last day we had lunch at Gordon Ramsey's Fish & Chips.  It was yummy.

Pretty good stuff!!

I'm not a good traveler.  I like being places, for a while, but am always ready to be home.  But I don't like getting places.  Probably years of really bad car sickness.  I have trouble eating & sleeping & sharing a room with another person (luckily, not this trip).  And this trip our plane was 2 hours late so there was a lot of airport time with too many strangers.  And I almost always come home from a trip with fever blisters at least.  I had a bunch of mouth blisters when I got home from Hawaii.  And the fever blisters this time are not horrible but they are painful & it'll take me a week or so to be fully healed.  I know it's nerves & I hate it.   There really is no place like home.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Rough Week

 I've had a rough week inside me. 

My phone has not rung all week.  I've made a couple of calls but no one thought to call me. And that's not unusual.  I can normally handle things well but I am, at the moment, overwhelmed with lonliness.  Overwhelmed.  And feeling very sorry for myself right now.  

We all know I love my judge shows & everyday they have family & friends fighting over whatever & I don't even have anyone to fight with, which is good...I can't handle chaos. But still.  I can't explain it.

I have had contact this week which should make things better.  I had lunch with a friend on Saturday, which I initiated.  And today I had lunch with my nephew, which I initiated.  And as a wonderful suprise, the lady across the street & her little girl came over to invite me to Easter lunch which I can't do because I have plans before I go to the airport.  But I totally appreciate it!   So why am I complaining?   Because I'm a whiner, that's why.  

Sunday I'll see my niece & her partner in Las Vegas & we'll be there for 4 days.  And I'll see hundreds of other people.  Maybe that will pull me out of my funk.  I hope something does & quickly.  I hate feeling like this.  

Sunday, April 10, 2022

A Little Extra Money ...and Judge Shows

I am a self proclaimed judge show junkie & have been for years.  I record a couple everyday & watch a couple of minutes to see if I want to watch more. 

If a dumbass woman loans men they've known a week money or buy them a car normally just make me ashamed to be a female & that someone possibly  associates other women with them.

Dog bites or dog sales?  Nope.  

Neighbors fighting over trees or noise are outta here.

Used car sales are occasionally interesting, especially if they involve New Yorkers.  As a lot, it appears they'll buy any car--2003 Chevy Cavalier with side dents, check engine light on, 3 tires, death rattle, no title & have to start it with a screwdriver?  Only $4000??  They're in!!   Some are not this interesting.

Normally I watch crazy older people or bitchy queens or fighting divorcees if they're interesting.

So the other day I watched a nice lady who worked at the post office & one of her customers told her he could get squatters out of her house in a week for $500.  He filled out the paperwork all wrong & she ended up having to do it all herself.  She gave him $50 for his time but he wanted the entire $500.  He didn't win.  He said he didn't do this for a living but was just doing it to "earn a little extra money", something a lot of people could use these days.

We have a neighborhood app where people ask for a lot of, gas money & to their credit odd jobs so they can earn a little money.  I do what I can although I only give cash if they work for me.  I always have extra food because I am my mother's daughter & I could basically cook Thanksgiving dinner without going to grocery if technically you don't care what you eat.  Like my mom, no one leaves my table hungry.  I even filled a guy's car up with gas & took food because he said they had none til the first.  But then both he & his wife showed up at the 7-11 to pickup & get filled up...and the wife had called in sick to come get the donation.  So basically every other request is looked at twice. 

There is a guy who sits at an intersection selling candy apples every weekend.  And Amazon Marketplace if full of people selling dinners & cookies & pies.  People are doing what they can for a little extra.

I remember my mom telling me a story from back in the 40s.  She & daddy had been married just a few years & they lived on a ranch about 40 miles from town.  She had my 2 older sisters already, both toddlers at the time. It was about the 25th of the month, daddy didn't get paid til the first & she'd used her last cup of flour to make biscuits that morning.  And the pantry was empty.  She said the girls were asleep & she sat at the kitchen table & cried & prayed because she did not know how she was going to feed them the rest of the month.  And then there was a knock on the back door.  A man was standing there & told her he'd heard she had an old refrigerator for sale.  They did still have it.  They'd only had money to put an ad in the paper once, about 3 months ago. They didn't have a phone but someone in town had told him about it & he'd driven out to see if by any chance they still had it.  He paid her $20 & hauled it away & the next day they'd gone to town for groceries.  She was convinced God had sent that man as an answer to her prayers & I'm pretty convinced too.   That was the beginning of my mom always having extra food, to never again run out & share if needed.  It was the beginning for all of her daughters doing the same thing.

Ok, to quote Niles from 'The Nanny', I need to put my hands back on the steering wheel because I've been swerving.  I'm pretty sure I have a point...We are all hurting. A lot of people need a little extra money.  We need to respect that & do what we can for each other.  We need to center our lives in prayer.  We need to pray for our country, our families, our neighbors, total strangers.  We need to have faith that those prayers will be answered, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. We need to do better.


Friday, April 8, 2022

Pasta Salad Recipe

Messy post but great salad!!

This starts off as Joanna Gaines' Macaroni Salad recipe although there are variations all over.  I like Joanna but feel that sometimes she thinks she has to WOW when simpler would be better. 


1 1/2 Cup Mayonaise                 

Joanna wants Hellman's.  I'm good with store brand.Also I use about a cup because 1 1/2 cups tends to over dress.                                                                               

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 Teaspoon sugar

1 Tablespoon Champaign Vinegar  

I use apple cider vinegar. Champagne vinegar is too expensive.                                                          

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon White Pepper

Mix dressing ingredients together, set aside. 

Cook 8 ounces of elbow macaroni according to box directions.  Rinse in cold water  

I like large elbows

2 celery stalks

1 Cup red bell pepper

1/2 Cup red onion                        

I use a small Vidalia.  I love red onions but they hate me.                                                

1/4 Cup parsley                          

Nah--what's the point

Not in recipe but in my salad:

1/2 Cup carrots

1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes   

Sometimes I cut up an apple.

I've added cheddar cheese but find salad too salty.   

Mix everything together, refrigerate for a couple of hours to settle.  

It's pretty darn good.

Just a product plug:  If you don't use Glad Press & Seal you need to.  One of the best things ever. 



Thursday, April 7, 2022

Untied. Meredith Baxter Book review.

First thing to know is it's Untied, not United.  I knew this but whenver I look at the book, I still see United.  Just an interesting observation.

It's a celeb biography, one of my favorite kinds of books.  I like these bios because they seem real life, no filter.  People tell (possible) real life stories about real things that happen.  Maybe.  

So our writer is Meredith Baxter, a Hollywood "star" who was the spoiled, bitchy oldest sister in 'Family' & Michael J. Fox's mom on 'Family Ties' on TV.  She's been in a ton of other tv shows & movies over about a 50 year career.  I can't say I'd go out seeking a book about her but I saw her interviewed & it looked like an interesting read.  And it was.  Enough little vignettes about co-stars to give a clue about how it all works. 

The book starts with her going on the Today show to announce to the world that she's a lesbian & in a long term relationship with another woman.  Not sure why that's news these days but she felt the need to over share, which is what people do these days.  She was semi-out & wanted to control the narrative so I guess I get it. But it's about more than that, growing up with a famous mom, abandonment, 3 bad marriages, motherhood & the final epiphany.  And it held my interest.

Meredith is the daughter of actress Whitney Blake, a beauty who started acting in the 1950s.  She had the distinction of being on the first ever episode of 'Perry Mason'.  And would later be remembered as 'Missy' on the TV show Hazel.  It's unclear what Whitney was expecting when Shirley Booth was Hazel & they star of the show.  Whitney soon morphed into wallpaper with a few lines every week & hated doing it.   Shirley Booth was not exactly portrayed negatively but as a woman with power who was the star of the show.  Sadly, Whitney's career pretty much faltered after that.  She already had 3 kids, 2 older boys & Meredith before she became a "star".  She was not excited about that either, farming kids out to grandparents while she was trying to make it in Hollywood.  When the kids were at home, she seemed uncaring & made her kids call her Whitney because "mom" made her sound old.  She also had 2 ex-husbands that did little to help raising kids.  2nd husband Jack was a little creepy in general, especially with her daughter.  Yet he was Meredith's acting agent for years.  Meredith's issues with self esteem started with mom.

A few years later, Meredith was part of a hippie, drug culture & a mom of 2 by her early 20's .  She was married to the kids' dad but ended up a single mom by 25.  

Her 2nd husband was an actor named David Birney, who she met when they starred in a TV show called 'Bridget Loves Bernie' in the early 70s.  That show was "controversial" because a Catholic girl married a Jewish man & stereotypes flooded every show.  It only lasted one season because there were protests.  I remember it being a so-so show, typical of the 'All In The Family' wave at the time.  The era had a few shows that "pushed the envelope" for the time although they would not even be noticed these days.  Anyway, Meredith loved Birney I guess.  Ok, cheap pun.

Most of the book centers on their marriage.  David was apparently a controlling & abusive man with a my way or the highway attitude.  Meredith talks about him hitting her, being strict & unwavering to her 2 kids from her first marriage & later, with 5 kids total, running the house with an iron fist.  Apparently he was jealous of her success, critical of everything about her & berated her in front of the kids.  The end of her marriage came after a Thanksgiving meal where he'd been cruelly critical & her oldest daughter, 20 years old at the time, asked her mom "What are you waiting for?"...meaning why didn't she leave?    I don't remember the exact time they were together but she said it took 8 years to settle their divorce & she had to pay child & spousal support. Part of me would like to hear his side of the story.

Her 3rd marriage was to an unemployed writer she met in AA.  They lasted 5 years & she had to pay him spousal support too.  

She points out many times that her "man picker" is a little faulty.  

She later started an affair with a female renter on her property & later discovered that women were her thing.  She'd felt small & belittled & voiceless for years & finally opened up to her current wife, Nancy & they seem happy together. And that has to be a good thing.

My impressions of Meredith are that she was pretty spoiled & self absorbed & in life, I'm not sure I'd like her much because, frankly I have enough me,me,me friends in my life now.  Oh, and she had no respect for marriage, hers or anyone else's. Had to hang on to you husband (or maybe wife, now) because everyone every one was fair game. 

The book was a quick read & I enjoyed it. She's a good writer, at least a biographer.  And she did sorta make up with Whitney before her mom died.  I get the impression that they at least made peace. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Jersey Boys


I will admit to a strange & expensive obsession with the stage show 'Jersey Boys'.  It started when I saw the movie in 2014.  It's the story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, a pop band from the 1960s.  I'd sang out loud to their music for years but I truly didn't know much about them.  Frankie, Tommy Devito & Nick Massey were neighborhood friends who decided they wanted to be in show business & later added Bob Gaudio who wrote most of their songs.  The story shows their rise to the stop & the ultimate break up of the band.  Along the way they get into trouble with loan sharks (well, Tommy) & lose their families & their friendships. But at the end, Frankie Valli survives & I think he's still recording & Bob is still writing.  Tommy retired at the request of the mob he borrowed the money from & Nick Massy died several years ago.  At the end of the show, after all of the ups & downs, we see them being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, performing one final show together. 

I cannot explain why I love the show but I do.  The language is a little crude.  OK, a lot crude.  But of course, that's the thing these days.  Gotta get as many "F" words in as they can to make them edgy.  I heard complaints about the language at the show last night from a mostly even-older-than-me crowd.  

I've seen the show now in Austin, Las Vegas, Amarillo & Lubbock.  Last night was definitely the most expensive outing & poorest of the performances although I fully enjoyed.   I in fact spent all of my April discretionary budget on the ticket.  I'd waited til the last minute, hoping for a day-of-the-show sale but no dice.    My seat was pretty far back so I could not see any faces but the sound in the new Buddy Holly Performance Hall was really good.  

I'd see the show again for sure.  Back to the language issue, even in Amarillo, a pretty hearty cowboy town I heard rumblings.  And the next day, the show was headed to Abilene, a smaller, conservative  city with 3 Christian Universities.  I always wondered how they went over there. 

Oh, just a side note...I used to like the Playbills.  I liked reading about the cast & the show & of course, to take a picture of for my blog.  But they don't print them anymore.  I saw a sign that either gave me a website or QR code (I didn't really pay too much attention, obviously) where I could download a Playbill.  I get saving trees but for the price of the ticket we deserve Playbills in our hands. Just print 10 of them for those of us who care. 

I'd been to the hall once before to see Alton Brown in June.  I enjoyed Alton but I went with an overlayered clothes friend who started at the door whining because they had a clear bag policy that had us walking back to the car to leave purses. Then she sat there talking about how she'd have done the hall better, as a "theater" person...she pointed out everything she'd have done definitely.  Then she got hot.  I told her to get something to drink but "I can't because I don't have my purse!".  I handed her my wallet & told her to knock herself out but of course, that would have cured the martyr drama she was having & she refused. Then she TOOK HER SOCKS OFF in the middle of the show & ended up needing the keys to the car & missed the end of the show.  I told her she could just leave & I'd call here when the show was over but martyr drama struck again.  She'd just sit in the car!!  And have half a dozen cigarettes. I was annoyed, to say the least.   No surprise, I did not mention the show last night because I'm never going anywhere except lunch with her again.  And she wouldn't really be surprised by that. 

I love the Buddy Holly hall logo: