Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, This Old Thing?

Just a quick note to those of you who adore the old stuff, fabric, costumes and the like. There is an auction soon of Tasha Tudor's historic 18th and 19th Century costume collection and if you are a fan, you should not miss it. I don't know what they'll go for. Prior auctions of millinery goods had fantastic prices.

I happen to ADORE Miss Tudor who is in her twilight years. Do go see them and take a look around. Her prints - what few are left - have trebled in price since I started considering them. I think they are a very safe investment. And a harkening back to simpler days...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween Party

So the powers that be arranged a Halloween party for last Saturday - some Troopers, some not. Well, most not, I guess. But the theme was batted back and forth for a week before it was decided: 2nd Annual Pimp's 'N Ho's Extravaganza.

Once upon a time I would have had a wardrobe utterly suitable for just such an event. However, I was also about 4 sizes smaller. So I tossed aside the patent leather Vollers and went with the more forgiving Wolford. (Not quite that little number but like it...think feather boa neckline.) My favorite if now tatty Racing Stripe stockings made an appearance (they were once very popular at the law firm) as did the corset-heeled shoes, also too tatty for anything but costume-wear, now.

Trooper donned something with a Latin feel, not having a wardrobe wide enough to encompass the theme fully. When we arrived, the home was festive and the other "Ho's" decked out. The always-welcomed Catholic Schoolgirl look was there. And the more friendly "Daisy Duke" look was present. I was more...high priced call girl, I suppose. Which is appropriate since I have about 18 years on those wee things...

But the men...oh, they went all out. It was an incredible array of tasteless artfulness. I cannot begin to tell you. The alcohol flowed (everyone lived a drunken stumble from the location) but we made it an early night - leaving when the tequila shots were broken out.

And the theme song that kept playing in my mind? Scissor Sisters' "Filthy and Gorgeous".

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tales From the Cattle Sale

As promised, herein the tale of my first cattle sale. Imagine a long, flat county road with little to distract the eye and then a long line of cars parked on both sides of the blacktop suddenly appears. "People!", my mind thrust at me after so much "hay...more hay...nice round bales".

This, my friends, is the annual Cattlemens Cancer Research Fundraiser. We'd been invited by the locals at the Star Chamber Cookout. The Teasip security was evident and gently accepted Trooper's Maroon Out (Aggie) t-shirt while saying that there was a fee to park. (There wasn't but the rivalry dictated some form of mischief.)

My senses were all on alert - a lot of people, a lot of motion and too many angles to keep track of...I put on my kindest smile and we signed in at the guest table. I was "branded" with the alcohol bracelet and we entered into a stand of tents next to the cattle barn. For the most part, it was comprised of auction items in one tent and two tents of silent auction items - one of which was already finished. I forced Trooper in the direction of the open silent auction tent though all of him was tending toward the barn.

The variety of the items was astounding - everything from private hunts to a basket of Shiner goodies was there. But my eye was on the handmade afghan in the proper purple shade of the local highschool colors. It was very large - suitable to cover much of me rather than just a shoulder wrap. And as soft as a kitten. We wrote our bids down and then moved toward the cattle barn. On the way we met a few of the Star Chamber folks and spoke briefly. He was asking how one acquired one of those prodding sticks they were using on the cattle. He said he needed one for me.

Inside the barn it was cooler and far more crowded. We inched forward and I doffed my hat to not obscure the view of others. It was like a small school auditorium with a sunken stage area with round pole fencing (see how many terms I've already learned?!). We found Miss Kitty and her husband. I must have had my mouth open as he grinned and leaned in to me - "Your first cattle sale?" We both cackled and I nodded.

The seats in the front "orchestra" area were very old fashioned and, if I recall, had a Masonic or other such label on their bases - "courtesy of" sort of thing. We squatted in the aisle next to the couple as the sale proceeded. One bull was donated by the hostess of the cookout - a fine specimen, he filled that small fenced off area. A man to either side had a long stick that ticked at it, turning it away from one side and the other as it sought any way out and away from all those eyes.

It sold once for about $400 and then the auctioneer - who was fantastic - looked up to the stands. "Taking him home or going again?" he asked. Given the nod, he started up, "We're goin' again, folks!" and started rattling off the numbers amidst the appreciative applause. That bull sold at least 5 times before someone took him "home".

We went back out into the sunshine to check on the silent auction - I wanted to ensure I wasn't outbid on that afghan. I got a beer and saw Miss Kitty sitting, eating. We got our own BBQ and ate then went over and sat with her for a time. The cattle sale continued and I knew Trooper wanted to be back in there. We headed back to the coolness inside and this time we could see the seats in front were opening up. I went ahead and took one at Trooper's urging while he visited - he has met so many people and everyone was there.

One cow after another bull came by and you could feel the heat coming off them being that close. There was a hawker for the auctioneer standing by me, pointing out the bids and helping to raise the stakes a bit. His shirt was so starched that it would stand on its own if he leaned it against a wall. And then it happened...a cow came through, bowels released at the scent of so many humans and it trapped there. And the tail - the tail flicked with a final sort of "fuck you all" sentiment and sent excrement flying. I was tagged with dime sized splatters on my boots and jeans and even my hand was flecked. I laughed with the shock of it and the hawker came by and - God, he knew I was a city girl - he said, "Don't worry - that's money, girl. Pure money."

I tried to just smile and act as though I get splattered with cow shit on a daily basis and wiped off what I could on my jeans and waited patiently. Eventually, the sale ended and we headed back to the silent auction, washing my hands on the way out. We ran around with the rest of the crowd, checking on our bids and making adjustments. I didn't see Trooper when he upped the afghan bid after he saw someone near it.

They shooed us all out and the live auction began - oh, how I coveted that damned Aermotor windmill with its giant tower. The thing was worth 3 times what it went for in my was donated by one of the Star Chamber guys - the shaman. Seems he has a pasture full of the things, all different kinds. One thing after another was sold for at least its value with friendly competitive bidding and much instigation from the auctioneer.

Finally, the silent auction sheets were posted and lo, we won only one thing - the afghan. I was grinning as we all filed into the barn to pay for our items and then back to the tent to fetch them. We watched a bit and spoke with folks as the event closed down and tents were dismantled. Trooper was very handy in helping load the larger items into truck beds - cast iron cooking pits, picnic tables and benches, and the like. I stood and spoke with the representatives of the charity, getting details on what we might be able to do to help. Before we left one of the guys sent him to his truck to get a prodding stick - a leftover from last year's event.

And then, the sun set and we headed home, the afghan nestled in my lap and the cow shit forgotten. A true Texas time...

Ever since, when I "get out of line" he says "Where's my stick?!". I won't besurprised if he gets a mounting rack for it in the back window of his truck. Sigh...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Small Town News

So I've owed you guys a report of the small town doings of late. Let us start with Trooper being invited to what I have dubbed the local "Star Chamber". All the old guys get together each morning and talk of things. Of course, these are all the old guys of local politics so one gets a fairly intimate view of the way things work. Mind you, it is not for the ladies. I don't mind. I don't miss the likely fart jokes and such.

Anyway, from there we received the invitation to the Star Chambers' annual dinner event held for the ladies. I sort of enjoy that paternal aspect. All the gentlemen get together and grill about 100 ribeyes, assorted baked potato, rolls, cole slaw and other sides and host it way up on the hill - the best vantage point in town - at the home of the folks who donated the land for a school. We can see it from our front yard.

We've adored the home from afar as it sits like a modern castle on the hill. Up close, it is lovelier still. When you pull up the long drive you pass their cattle and their "tank" (think large pond). The house is fenced off from the cattle rather than the neighbors as there are none for a mile. When we arrived, I was immediately welcomed (as were my blueberry bars) by the women who had gathered in the kitchen. The owner offered a drink and I took a glass of wine quite willingly - you can imagine how my non-sociable self bristled when surrounded by at least a dozen of them. The conversation ran to what one did and most of them were volunteers for their respective churches. I knew that conversation would come soon enough - Trooper and I had discussed answers.

After my contribution to the dessert buffet was displayed we were summoned to the very large patio by one of the husbands - time to eat. Everyone gathered and the local shaman (I've no idea of his true affiliation but everyone looked to him for this task) gave the benediction. It was then we gathered to fetch our gigantic meal and I had a first look at all the men.

Mind you, these are almost all "gentlemen cattle barons" of a sort. They've worked for years and acquired the land and now just make hay (literally) and cows. Some were dressed in Texas Formalwear (creased Wranglers and starched western shirt or button down), some in their overalls and others still in whatever they'd worn all day. The women made a more colorful group, this being their chance to dress a bit for all the men.

Of course, we were by far the youngest there but it mattered not at all - I found their company so much more enjoyable. Great conversations ensued. We will never forget when Miss Kitty leaned over and said of her husband, "He hasn't heard himself fart in 30 years". A bit later, one man asked the other what he'd been doing earlier - kicking up so much dust. "Just discing", he says. "You were kicking up some dust yourself over there..." Farmers...

As we finished dinner and set to dessert the sun set and a delicious warm wind came over the hill - a wind like that on a beach after a long day in the sun. The stars were bright and as we looked a shooting star of generous size streaked across the wide expanse. What a glorious portent, I thought.

Everyone began to take their leave but the hostess - whom we'd hardly had time with - asked us to wait a bit so we could chat. A gentleman asked that we consider attending the charity event in a few weeks. In time, we made our way home in the dark, the cattle quiet beside us as we walked down the drive.

Perhaps tomorrow I shall relate the story of that charity function. And of how I learned that one ought not to sit in the front row of the cattle sale.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Making Exercise Tolerable

You know, I cannot think of a single person who truly just loves to sweat to stay in shape. Oh, those young things - they find it all manner of pleasing but when the joints start to age and the flesh hangs heavily? Yeah, not as much fun.

If you are like me, you look for things to reward yourself when you DO work out. And for things that are pretty. Darling Carushka has just that - assuming, of course, you don't have boobs. Ahem. So, I stick to the bottoms. Er...that sounds nasty. I prefer to purchase the pants, personally. (Say that three time fast.)

Thing is - and why it is blogworthy - there is a sale. You get 40% off if you type in HOMEPAGE as a coupon code at checkout.

My other favorite location (though I suspect them of all manner of liberal and vegetarian nonsense) is the ONLY place where you can buy a workout bra that will truly fit. This matters. A LOT. Anyone remember that scene from the movie "Switch" where Ellen Barkin jogs while holding her boobs? Yeah. Ahem. (I just remembered the BEST LINE from that movie - "You know how many animals I had to F**** to get this coat?")

Anyway...can you tell I am back on the wagon? 30 mins cardio and 50 crunches today.

Because I want my ass back, damn it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spending Time

Ah, days of vacation passing by...yes, we've been taking a few days off together and it has been just fantastic. Of course, I don't sleep in like he does - my body just refuses - and I've had to still check the office email because people just don't get the concept of vacation. But...

We went to the TSU campus in San Marcos to see the Lonesome Dove gallery exhibit and stood in rapture at movie props. (I adored the final love letter to Clara.) If you are a fan of the movie, you ought to see the place as the exhibit moves on end of March next year.

We hit the Hill Country and just wandered the small roads on the way back home.

We've revisited his youth at Canyon Lake where he used to go while in the Army. They'd jump off a cliff into the water far below, avoiding the shelf of rock that jutted out. Here you can see the place - just above the orange sign that probably says something about not jumping off the cliff.

It was a very blustery day but we walked across the top of the earthen dam to get a better view and then worked our way via truck back to the park to get to that vantage point.

The kind lady let us in as the sun set for a free drive-around. We got out and he walked, his memory striving to bring back the place, the views, and he finally was able to erase the Now and find that path - behind a fence, now - that led to that place of youthful revelry. I watched the tall grass, all golden now, wave in the constant breeze and it was like being on a boat - it gave you a sense of the ground in motion. I've made a note to return again at sunset for a photo.

Yesterday, we took the back roads of our town - well in the back of things - and found many lovely old farms and homes. I'll bring my camera next time and get some pretty photos. He talked to a mother cow, too, her brand new calf laying in the grass. Seems she didn't like what he had to say as his catterwauling got her to do the same and reinforcements arrived, Bossy Bessy running, udders akimbo, to her aid. We laughed and drove on, not wanting to upset her too much.

And the gardening...we picked up all we need to revamp the entryway and got a good start on it last night as the sun set. I'll be out there again in a few while he sleeps in.

What a glorious time many fantastic sights and quiet moments. He'll be FTO'ing soon and these times together will be few for the next 6 months. (Let's just say that this group of graduates appears to be that of warm bodies more than great candidates...or maybe his area just got the scraps...) It's going to take a lot of work to get that fellow into shape. But he's prepared to do so. This isn't his first time training someone.

What a grand life...and what a terrific place Texas is...sigh...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Evidence is Lacking

I've been very patiently clicking along, looking for photos of the debauchery near the Chatooga, land of the infamous pig squealing and V-man's favorite song. Sure, sure - a dirndl made an appearance. And a horny Zonker. And the there no film of the music? Or did they all get so drunk so early that no one was capable?

I so wish we could have been there...not that I'd be terribly talkative. LOL But I like to think Trooper could have managed to get for Denny down the stairs without crippling him further.

So I consoled myself with a trip to the salon. Actually, it's not even. Just the usual hatchet job place but there is a young lady there with great skills with color and cut. I love talking with her - so much enthusiasm for the hasn't beaten it out of her yet. LOL And she gently remarked on the caterpillars that lived over my eyes. Yes, I know...I've neglected them for 3 months, I agreed to the wax, cautioning her that I am NOT a fan of the thin brow - that I have a fat face and need it for balance. She did a good job. And it was much faster than two days of torturous plucking.

Anyway, my hair is smelly but lovely. Poor Trooper - I said the same and he stuck his nose in and sniffed deep - then staggered away and barked. Yup, that'll teach him. (Private joke.)

And now...time for a soak in the tub, I think. Maybe tomorrow the evidence will present itself. I imagine it takes time for the brain cells to rebuild themselves...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Going to the Movies

I am a tremendous fan of film and the art that can take us away from ourselves. There are a few that remain very memorable for me and some scenes that are just so incredible that they never leave you. This is one - and not only for Meryls' insanely perfect performance (in one take, mind you) but also in that of the officer. The mad cheer in his eyes...perfect, perfect, perfect.

In a similar vein is Holly Hunter's work in The Piano. Without words she conveyed everything necessary to feel her yearning for expression.

She and Richard Dreyfuss are also simply fantastic in Once Around. It's not the usual family dark comedy because you are turned from sympathetic to antagonised in the same scene. Really artfully done...

I adore Big Night for its characters...and the cooking!

When I first saw The Night Porter I was surprised by it. How can such damaged characters be made into...their own saviors? Besides, one can see Charlotte Rampling dancing naked. Worth the price of admission, no? Trivia has it that this was the first scene shot for the film. Reminds me of old friends. Warning: this clip likely to offend - click with care. Definitely not safe for work.

And an old favorite, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. What a lovely, perfectly paced film. You cannot help but like the characters. Such romance...I have always adored Gene Tierney and if I'd ever born a girl, she would have been named Lucia.

And, the miniseries version of Jane Eyre with Timothy Dalton.

He is Rochester, in the flesh. Dark and cynical. Yes, it's poorly filmed but this is acting at its best - with perfect pitch to the mood of the scenes. And this is the BOOK - not someones romanticised version thereof.

If you like him in this, look for his work in Wuthering Heights. He is faery, indeed. These works will show you his true abilities - such that we've not seen since. And the Michel LeGrand soundtrack...sigh...

Ah, which reminds me of The Lion In Winter. Dead GOD, see it. But not for him, no. For darling Katherine. This is a hurricane of talent - a perfect storm of skills and script. So much fantastic dialogue that picking a scene is impossible. I do adore this quote from Eleanor, "I even made poor Louis take me on Crusade. How's that for blasphemy. I dressed my maids as Amazons and rode bare-breasted halfway to Damascus. Louis had a seizure and I damn near died of windburn... but the troops were dazzled. "

I adore Emma THompson - she has done such fine work in Sense and Sensibility. She is a gift to an author. But her work in Wit is so dark and cool...admittedly, very sad but...the words - the language...

I leave this for last - the St. Crispins speech from Henry V. I think Branagh did a fine job, too.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is It Over Yet?

What a damnably hectic day...started early and kept on till late, I felt like I was being peppered with requests and tasks. And I was. So much that I couldn't get it all logged in to the new POS database AKA Big Brother that I am supposed to be using.

Yes, as if I have time to not only DO the task, I also have to LOG the task in great detail and update it. anyway, much of it wasn't even my guys' stuff which irks me greatly. However! I have finished. For now.

Next? Wrassle with Napster to get my paid for music to show up after loading the new hard drive with what it would give me. Looks like a dozen or so tunes were not being "approved". You know, I really don't mind at all paying for the tracks. I LOVE being able to get so many tunes for so little. I ONLY play legally on that front because I think it's wrong as hell to steal from an artist who is making perhaps 1o cents off the damned thing. But I think that the systems could do a far better job of making it very easy for the music to be YOURS once paid for. Hell, I'd pay extra if they'd do a sort of "backup" for me of all my purchases against future crashes.

In other news...this according to Defense Tech:
"The commander in charge of helping local Iraqis organize and fight al Qaeda and other anti-coalition forces said Wednesday that a raid last month netted a treasure trove of information that could spell the doom of al Qaeda terrorist smuggling operations in Iraq and, potentially, worldwide." Yeah, someone held all the eggs in one basket which means that the acquisition came from a fairly high source. Unless it's disinformation - always possible! But I dunno...I do hope the intel is sharp and valid. Of course, they waited at least a month to tell us which tells me that they either actioned it all very fast or they suspect its BS and are using it for PR. Reasonable.

There is this via the Military Motivator comment:

Gunnery Sgt. Michael Burghardt signals his defiance after being struck by an improvised explosive device on Sept. 19 near Ramadi, Iraq. The Marine refused to be carried away on a stretcher and walked under his own power to a waiting medevac. Among those attending to the Marine are Spc. John Adams (far left in front) and Pfc. Darin Nelson.

Photo by Jeff Bundy

Uh huh. Just so. God, that makes me grin. I am oscillating between hope and utter despair for this country. Just when I am sick to death of the people I deal with, someone like Michael there makes me cinch up my belt and try again.

Alrighty, then. Time to prep the "slicey taters" for dinner. Perhaps tomorrow I shall relate the tale of the Dinner At the Great House On the Hill of last night. Yes, more socializing. No, I don't remember anyone's name.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What It Takes

This is what it takes to get me through my day today. Because everything I touch is turning to crap, and because I forgot to make dessert yesterday for the event this evening...fracking hell!

Run, [Laura], Run

Meanwhile, this is my attitude about the world in general of late. Damn it, but this world is swirling around the drain...

"Yeah, Time to bring it down again. Yeah, Don't just call me pessimist.Try and read between the lines."

I am surrounded by crap and trying like hell to keep my mouth shut.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Relatively Painless

A long day but we managed to get a great deal done, my new friend and I. She knew of this very interesting little shop and we went there first. Just a shack, it had a lot of crafty items but the thing that got my attention was the pile after pile of glass shards and blocky bits in all the colors you could imagine.

I have a special affection for art glass - well, it starts with my deep appreciation for light and the quality thereof. Add in any reflection or refraction and I am just delighted. So I ran through these giant piles of shiny, glowing bits and picked out what I liked best. I cannot wait to "plant" them in the garden. Just fantastic...

Then we worked our way over to the mall. She's from a small northern town and had never - can you imagine? - never been to Sephora. She restocked on some stuff and got some new goods, too. She is the type that can do makeup really well - I have a staid and set plan and stick to it with only a slight variation or two for evening. So for her it was like a candy store.

She needed jeans, too, and found her favorite shop there. A damned size 8, she was fitting into these tiny pairs and I was trying really hard to not let the inner dialogue start. I look like hell these days and I know it. It's ok. This too shall pass. But I still had to admire her...

That was about it - she tried to talk me into getting this hairpiece from a kiosk. Wired, you can make what appears to be a fantastic "do" with just a moment or two of work. But it isn't was funny - we had to take my hair down to work with it and she just looked twice. Yeah, I know - I look a lot better with it down. But it gets in my face, damn it. Still, my ego was happy to leave it that way and do the constant hair tossing bullshit necessary when it is down. She said I was getting the big ol' checkout from a Suit. Just the boobs. Or maybe my tshirt - it was the Operation Grim shirt from Rangerup. Do get one! Oh - the girls version is here.

Alrighty. Just need to figure out what to do with the rest of my night. Yeah, another part time. PFFT. It's only 8p but I am giving serious consideration to the bed. Well, let's see what else there was...(I've taken to putting links and thoughts into a file for later blogability.)

In re: Israel socking it to the Syrians - how did they get through the radar? Hacked it. God, that makes me grin. According to Defense Tech, "It now appears that Israeli commandos may have been involved as well. What a totally gutsy move. And, if true, it also shows that Israel took the target seriously enough to send in ground forces."

Trust me - the Israelis waited. They made sure. And they took care of business. Admittedly, I have been wondering lately about them - the capitulations of late. But they play a very good game - no fools, they. So, we wait and see. Because this is a very interesting little matter.

And last but not least this - found at Billy's. As he notes, "All fighter pilots worldwide are on notice: you just don't count, now, if it comes to a scratch-up with this thing." And as his brother related, "...watching in the company of tactical aviation combat veterans staring with their jaws hanging open and weeping." You bet. You damned well bet because that is flat out the most amazing flying I have ever seen or even imagined. If you don't know jets - if you don't know flight dynamics - you won't appreciate what you are seeing there. And what you are NOT seeing. Ahem. Yeah - that was for show. The real magic comes with no witnesses. Hot damn...amazing...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Local News and Blues

WHY do I feel the need for alliteration in every title? Hell, I piss myself off with the habit. Whatever.

Ok. So here's the thing - I cannot get out of my mind the thought of the fatal wreck of the other night. Trooper didn't work it - someone else did but the short version is that a gal was crowning the top of a largish hill on the highway when she ran off the road a bit in the left lane then launched her vehicle over the damned barrier and took the goddamned roof off an approaching van, killing the driver. He didn't talk about it except to say it was a gruesome scene.

Now, bad enough the twit who was probably fiddling with something in her car or driving impaired to have the death of someone on her concern is with the poor person going on about their business and being summarily plucked from this life in a way that no one - NO ONE - could even fucking think of in a drug-induced nightmare. How in the hell...forgive the language folks but...WTF?! As he was saying to another guy - you have to wonder if there was more reason behind such things. Did she need to die that moment? Or is life really that damned random? I don't think it is that random at all. So it's scary, that little piece of life.

In other news...Trooper and I are invited to the - well, the BBQ of the local hoi polloi. I will never fully understand small town life. Everyone knows everyone else, and people talk. I try really hard to not look like an utter slob as I get groceries and the like because, like it or not, I am representing him and DPS. This doesn't mean I am dolled up every moment but I am more careful than I used to be...

Tomorrow we were going to get lunch with some friends...I don't know how that will shake out but we'll see. He has scheduled some part time work that interferes with this entire weekend. I wanted it to be all of us and now it'll just be me and the other Trooper's wife...and I am just not good with people...he fills in my silences.

I don't pal around, I don't talk on the phone, I don't go to the mall. I am not like that at all. Sigh...You know how many gal pals I have? Two. I've never cultivated them - not even in school. Always the loner. And I guess...well, I guess it's just something I'll have to learn. This role as his wife ensures I will have many a BBQ, many a party and dozens of shopping dates to deal with. Being utterly unskilled in being social, it really...well, damn it. It bugs me.

But this gal is sweet as can be - just a joy - and talks like crazy so maybe my silence will be okay. I want very much to not seem like a standoffish bitch or to be that gal everyone thinks is stuck up. So I will try...I will try to be sociable and learn to converse and even to shop together.

And, in the meanwhile (because work is HELL lately and I don't know when I'll post again), allow me to leave you with a few of these - especially if you've waded through that morose pile of BS above. Bless you. Here's some music to soothe us both...I love Caroline Lavelle - and BT...