Archive for July, 2012

Road Trip Completed

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2012 by drycreekherbs

We left Jackson Tuesday morning…Len is this way: He is a man possessed to get home. Nothing, I mean, nothing is of interest but driving toward home. We weren’t supposed to get home until the 28th but somehow we are going to be home on the 26th.

My idea of a road trip is to go to an interesting place….poke around for a couple of days then go to the next place. Len’s idea is to drive some place every day and squeeze in a few fly-overs then go again the next day. Or possibly, just drive by the front entrance… I want to enjoy tasty different foods. Len only needs a little food and for fuel only. I like the idea of sleeping until 9:00 or even 10:00. Len has me up at 6:00 so we can be on the road by 8:00.

I was allowed to drive a total of 3.5 hours of the 3,000+ miles. I am just not going to go into this. During this time we had a discussion about a newspaper article he read in USA Today. I didn’t understand what he meant from his summary, in part because I am deaf, and in part because he has been known to mumble. So he was irritable and finally said, “I’ll just read it to you.” He did sort of-skipping from paragraph to paragraph with a lot of “so on and so on….” Then when I asked basically the same question, he said, “I need to drive.” Go figure. We might have laughed about it later, I can’t remember.

The long and short of it is we have had a nice time but a time filled to the max with compromise. I think that must mean we have been married for 41 years and know this is what it takes.

Len says the next road trip we take is to an airport! I think photos are good here. I particularly like the one of Len showing me where we had been and why we had poor phone reception. AND, speaking of photos–I am once again convinced that the only kind of camera I enjoy using is on my iPhone. It is just so cumbersome to carry the big Canon and even the Sony snap and shoot. I will always have my phone with me and easier to use when you are a passenger in a car going 75 miles per hour. I sure wish I could find a photo class using the iPhone….probably I just need to find something about composition rather that anything technical since it is the ultimate point and click.


IMG_3434.JPG IMG_3649.JPG IMG_3670.JPG










Yellowstone, Great Tetons, and Jackson Yellowstone, Great Tetons, and Jackson

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I am thinking of old women from the Old Country who were permanently bent from sweeping all their lives. I will be permanently shaped in a sitting position…like the inhabitants of Pompeii….locked up in a sitting posture. I yearn for motion. It is like being in a straight jacket. So, in a minute or whenever I get tired of reflecting on the past two days, I will watch some Doc Martin episodes. Suz and I have been playing Words, thank God, but the reception here in Wyoming is inconsistent.

We have just passed still another sign that we are on the Continental Divide—this time elevation 7,000 feet. In my ennui I have taken to looking things up on the web when there has been service. I never knew much about the divides but I sure didn’t know that there are 6 hydrological divides. I still don’t know much about it.

Len and I have had several good trapped-in-the-car conversations…things we need to talk about but never sit still long enough. Today I am interested in what to give up in case of Len’s demise. I am thunder struck with how little I know about our finances. So the plan is for a training session. Like such things in the past, these ideas often do not come to fruition.

Back to our road trip destinations. Well, we left the hideous Holiday Inn in Billings with Yellowstone as our destination. The GPS said it would take 2 hours by interstate and my phone (National Park Service) said to go a different route from Billings to the Northeast Entrance. Because I was on the phone visiting with Al, it was my fault that Len missed the turn off. Grrrrrrrr. His story. So 3 hours IMG_3550.JPG IMG_3552.JPG over the 12,000 foot Bear Tooth mountain pass we arrived in Yellowstone.  For the record I hate mountain driving as a driver or a rider. Len used to like it but he admitted to being nervous at the beginning. That did nothing for my courage. Just as Tom N. told us traffic does not move quickly in the parks. That is an understatement. Oh my, oh my….it was beautiful. Just crazy beautiful like maybe heaven (except for man eating predators and mosquitoes). For a minute I wanted to become a camper. Only a minute. BUT, I do want to learn how to fly fish—I think Tom will teach us how.


Old Faithful was much anticipated and well, once you see it, it is kinda ho hum. Or it was for me. Plus the 15-year-old Ranger moved up and down the seating telling us that a thunderstorm was rapidly approaching and in the past observers had been hit. That really got my attention. We made it to the car with minimal damage and no lightening strikes. Then straight (2 more hours) through the magnificent IMG_3620.JPG Great Tetons to Jackson. I am interested in returning to the Great Teton National Park by way of airplane only. I like the idea of staying in the park a few days, hiking, fly fishing, kayaking, and laying around…then I like the idea of staying a couple of days in Jackson getting pampered.


The Rusty Parrot Hotel was just as Jackie described. Loverly. We had a divine dinner last night in the hotel’s restaurant (AAA’s 4 Diamonds Award), The Wild Sage, sitting at the ‘chef’s table’ so we could see the entire production. The best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten. Then perfectly cooked Wagyu tenderloin. One of the sub chefs was amazingly precise as she prepared the salads. Talk about artistry. She spent more time with an arugula green than I do with eyeliner. After the delicious dinner, I had an appointment for a massage with a foot and hand scrub upgrade. I snored, slobbered, moaned, and slept. When it was over, the massage therapist walked me back to the room, where I fell into bed and slept like the dead.


There is another boutique hotel nearby called the White Buffalo Club that is appealing too.   Len drove out to the golf course and checked it out and I did the square. We also drove through the National Elk Refuge because we just couldn’t stand not to be in the car. We didn’t see any Elk since they are all up in the mountains getting fat…but in the winter there are about 10,000 right on the north side of town. I think that is so cool.

Jackson might be a nice place to have a second home. Maybe. Or maybe just go renta place for a few weeks starting in September. Wyoming has no state income tax. IMG_3636.jpg

I can say this—America is exquisite even when it is stark. Here in the southeast part of Wyoming the sky is as endless as any ocean view. The clouds looks as close as they look far away. I like to think about what a lone traveler thought about as they rode across these unending distances on a horse. Really, what did they think about? Hoping not to be eaten by a bear, how they would cook dinner? Who knows? I think about Louis and Clark and the Native American Indians and think how utterly mystical it must have been and yes, full of mind bending hardships.   IMG_3644.jpg


I Couldn’t Have Made It as a Pioneer

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I would have gone mad and been left in the wilderness. I have almost gone mad riding in the car today. Thirteen hours in the car is not healthy. I kept doing ankle exercises so I wouldn’t get a blood clot.

Day 1 was from home to Wichita then Thursday we went to North Platte, ND then Friday to Rapid City, SD via the Bad Land National Park, and today, Saturday we are in where are we? Oh yes, we are in Billings, Montana. I don’t even know where I have been.


Let me see if I can recall the highlights. We made reservations a day before so we wouldn’t have some crisis and have to sleep in the car. I wouldn’t be able to do it. I would have to knock on someone’s door and ask to stay over. So far we have stayed in a Hampton Inn, a Residence Inn, and two FREE Holiday Inns, courtesy of Len’s points. He is so proud of these two free nights and a breakfast. Ok, in Rapid City, the Holiday Inn room was huge and fairly nice. Tonight, here in Billings, it is awful but free. So to make up for all of this frugality we are staying two nights in Jackson Hole at the Rusty Parrot Lodge for major big bucks. Major big bucks. I love nice hotels….I was probably a Soiled Dove in a previous life.

Highlights of views out of a car window going 75 miles an hour: Kansas grows a lot of wheat. Nebraska has lots of beautiful IMG_3448.JPG corn growing. Lots. Even a corn maze! South Dakota is either awful looking or beautiiiiiiiful. I loved being in North Platte, Nebraska because I could recapture the troop train experience from the book, IMG_3464.JPG Once Upon a Town. I also loved learning about the Orphan Trains…who knew? I loved the local pit stops as in the bathroom break where I found this sign. Wyoming is really empty. Montana is softer looking.

Now after those over simplifications I think I will put in some photos. The Badlands really are badlands. Like in John Wayne movies, I can totally imagine big shoot-outs and vultures circling. Mount Rushmore made me weepy. he Blackhills smell like heaven….pine perfect. I was stunned at the Crazy Horse monument under construction. We never expected to find it so interesting. Custer State Park takes a loooooong time to get through. And after you see a few buffalo you think you have seen them all. I did like seeing the donkeys sticking their heads in car windows. I think the Little Bighorn Cemetery is exquisite



IMG_3528.JPG IMG_3543.jpg

Len and I still have different ideas about road trips. He thinks if you have been by it, you have been there. BUT to his credit, he has been remarkably patient and easy going. Well maybe one little stubborn fit but he later admitted I was RIGHT, OMG. A first in maybe 41 years! He said just a little while ago that our next road trip would be to the airport and from there to our destination with a rental car. One hotel and golf for him, and I could buzz around during the day soaking up whatever park I needed to see. I think we are making progress.

Tomorrow Yellowstone and the Great Tetons….settling into Jackson Hole for two whole days. I can’t wait. Oh, and this is important. I have been getting up every day at 6:15 so we can get on the road! Hello, since chemo, I looooove sleeping till 10:00 or later. Debauchery. I am good at it.

Road Trip Day 1: I Squirmed A Lot.*

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19, 2012 by drycreekherbs

We left the house early so we could get to the oral surgeon early so we could wait then leave fast so we could be early at my dentist so we could leave earlier than Len had stated yesterday so we could be on the road early so we could get to Wichita early so we could go to bed early so we could get up earlier tomorrow. The man is possessed. BUT we had a very nice day 1. But it is after all only day 1! Nine more days to go.

WIMG_3412.jpge couldn’t leave until both dentists had checked the implant – all fine. Photo of Dacien, dentist divine. We stopped by MCEC so I could pick up a wondIMG_3417.JPG erful book that they had for me. It is a children’s book called A Mom Wears Many Hats. The book is about a woman with cancer; her children give her a hat shower; it is about the side effects of chemo, courage, resilience, relationships, etc. MCEC has a nice fit with one of the authors….and Scott and White gives this book to mother’s with cancer to share with their children….I am not telling this well. Anyway, the folks at MCEC all signed a copy for me and when I was at the conference a couple of weeks ago in Grapevine, I had my photo made with the author and Judy. I love this book at the time they took to get it signed.

OK. We left MCEC in a blaze of dust, as did the Lone Ranger, I think. We made it as far as West, Texas, 54 minutes later…for a desperately needed kolache pit stop at the Little Czech Bakery…then maybe an hour after that a Braum’s double dip in Denton. I mean it; I will weigh 200 pounds when I get home.


The best part of today: a wonderful visit with my darlin’ cousin Janie. She is the very, very funniest person I know. She can tell me the time of day and I am laughing. How does she do it? She and charmin’ Joe live in the former capital of Oklahoma, Guthrie. We did the fastest stop ever…..only one hour. BUT in that wonderful one hour, I had non-stop belly laughs AND, hello, the cake du jour, coconut cake. I say this because, Janie is the only person I know who makes a cake a day. She goes in the kitchen and whips up that cake in less than 5 minutes and makes it look like getting a drink of water. She is my joy.

Now settled in bed in Wichita having watched an episode of Doc Martin from Season 5. Tomorrow Len has us scheduled to be IN THE CAR by 8:30 AM and on the road to North Platte, Nebraska—location of the famous WW II War Canteen….and subsequent book, Once Upon a Town. Len is pleased, he has calculated distances, departures, pit stops, city/town populations, and identified major crop productions. He is a fine driver and he may let me drive if I’m not doing back squirming.

Here I am writing about my road trip and Belinda is in, OMG, Mongolia. I am so proud of her and just a weeeeeee bit envious. Envious because it is so exotic. I am, however, not interested in riding a horse for 10 miles a day nor sleeping in a yurt unless it has been featured in Traditional Home.

* Squirm. I forgot to stretch before I worked in the Chemo center on Tuesday. And because I forgot, I am woefully impaired. You can’t clean those units with zeal without getting your back muscles knotted up. Hence, the squirming. I hate back issues.  

On Unrestrained Buying Frenzy

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2012 by drycreekherbs


Crotchity, Crumudgeon, Crabbit.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 12, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I am thinking about Doc Martin, my very favorite sitcom from England, starring Martin Clune. I learned about the series from Linda W. and Mary over a year ago. During my treatment period, I watched the shows back to back. It was a wonderful to escape into the fictional village of Portwenn, really Port Isaac in Cornwall. I’ve been to the real Port Isaac.


The main character is totally crotchety, a real curmudgeon, a crabbit. Now what has me thinkin’ about this is that when I am in my observing mode, often in HEB, I notice there are quite a few grumpy men. I am tempted to say, grumpy old men. Another time I will write about shrews, ogresses, harpies, and termagants. Right now I am focusing on crabbits. It seems to me that crabbits are often peeved in general. It isn’t any one thing but mostly anything. This has me thinking….is Prince Phillip cranky? He is 91 years old. Still and all he always puts on a good face. I am thinking it is part of the job. At home or at HEB he might be a crabbit. Now I am tickled and reminded of an expression Carol taught me. ‘Street angel, house devil.’ Doc Martin is always cranky. A lot like Archie Bunker. My Dad was either hilarious or a crabbit. Len admits he is sometimes a crabbit and said it would be ok for me to write this. Hmmmm.

Today I was wild on caffeine or impulse buying gratification; happy in a completely manic way; tonight I am a termagant. See photo. I don’t think I want to look like this again. Scary-witch look. All that hair looks unhygienic.   


No Surprise about the Weight Gain

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I gather it is the hormone blocker, Anastrozole/Armidex. I asked one of the nurses in the infusion center and she said—probable. After I came back from Europe, I had only gained one pound…considering I ate and drank anything and everything, which is amazzzzzing. BUT, then I came home and in six weeks I gained 5 pounds. Soooo, now I am doin’ the self-talking, walking, and self-regulating. No alcohol. Yesterday this waIMG_3354.jpgs difficult. I had lunch with Anita and Bill and dessert with Dana. It is hard to be good when you are around temptation!

Today was different. I took a basket-making class in Georgetown. All day! It was a student choice class….sometimes the instructor offers a certain basket that all students make…usually because it is a fairly complicated weave. So today, all of us made different baskets. I loved it. I made an onion and a garlic basket. They hang on the wall and are open for good ventilation. Talk about a soothing balm. Here is a quotation I like.IMG_3360.jpg

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment, wisely and earnestly.” The Buddha. I don’t know that I live wisely or earnestly, but I reallllllly try to live in the moment. Thanks Buddha.IMG_3364.jpg

Canning Commentary: Cost per Unit

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I spent a lot of years apologizing for being a Home Ec. teacher. I was really prissy about it. I somehow had the misguided mind set that the food prep and clothing construction was just, oh so, plebian. Now, not so much. I am a maniac about canning, of all things. I have some degree of local (very local) fame with canned beets. Pam’s Mom, Martha, made the very best and I am pleased to have that recipe.IMG_3286.JPG

So, now to the commentary: I pay Max to help me plant and harvest. Actually, he does all the work. I like to do the harvesting if I can beat him to it. I am compelled to can as much as I possible. This year I have ‘put up’ pickled beets and onions, salsa, and most recently mustang grape jelly! Just waiting for those dang figs to ripen for fig jam.

Yesterday afternoon, I came home from Mah Jongg to pick the grapes. Greedy birds have been having a feast. There were darned few grapes and none in clusters so it was onesies and twosies. An hour later, in 100 F heat, I had just 4 ½ cups of grapes. I pressed on because I am a maniac about finishing things even if it gets sloppy. I discovered that grape jelly is really easy to make compared to the beets and the salsa….still and all, 4 hours later I had 7 pints of jelly. Mom will like it. Here is the point. If I factor in the cost of the jars, lids, labor (Max and me), seed, fertilizer, tractor costs, propane, and hello, the electricity—then each jar is verrrrrrrrrrrry expensive. Very.

I could fly to San Miguel and get cheaper salsa! Oh well, this keeps me off the streets and even better news
is that I am no longer making chutney. It was really expensive and not popular.
IMG_2442.jpg IMG_2440.jpg

Do-over Entry: Haircut, Reflexology, MCEC NTS, and Big D

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2012 by drycreekherbs

Last week was so full and so different and I will have to use my calendar to remember it all. I did get a very cute haircut that I was so proud of…then I decided on the spur of the moment to try foot reflexology in Austin’s China Town. Honestly, I didn’t know Austin had one…. basically it is a shopping center. Since I was a walk-in I had to wait about 20 minutes so I wandered around in a big Chinese grocery store. Ok, I really want to remember this experience. So, I go into this dark reflexology2.jpg room, which I thought might be an opium den. It was one large room with very sheer ceiling to floor curtains between each bed….not chairs. It was like a ¾ massage bed. A very petite Asian young woman had me lie on the ¾ bed and immediately submerged my feet in VERY HOT water. Very hot. I like hot water. The next hour was incredible…funny and painful and good. It was kind of weird to hear the patron next to me snore, snort, and gurgle. I thought it was feet only but she did my entire body with great emphasis on feet and hands. When I thought it was over, she told me to lie on my stomach—Then she either stood or kneeled on my rear end! Yikes. I thought, “Well, I hope this isn’t on Utube.” I mean it, she pummeled, slapped, pulled, shook, and twisted me. I am surprised I could walk out….I loved it! All of this for $35.00! I left with a punch card…like a frequent reflexology card. I will definitely go back.

From Austin, I went straight up to the Gaylord Grapevine for the MCEC National Training Seminar. I did just the kind of work I like these days…packing and unpacking boxes, manning the MCEC table at the 062712-panetta-500.JPG EXPO, passing out papers, and at the last minute facilitating a breakout session for the DODEA 2012 teacher of the year. This was just another example of how seamlessly and professionally MCEC operates. I wonder if those words really are adverbs or what? I am getting really fweaky about grammar since writing stink about English teachers…which is probably why the computer wouldn’t save it. Back to MCEC. Leon Panetta, General Dempsey, Roger Staubach, etc. were all great—

From the Gaylord, I went on to Dallas where I met Belinda…We had a great outing. We went to Highland Park Plaza then to the Dallas Arboretum to see the Chihuly Exhibit and a rock band…Chihuly glass is awesome anyway, but at night with illumination—wow. We stayed at the Hotel Palomar—very nice. The next day off to the Dallas Farmers’ Market and lunch at Pecan Lodge. Belinda headed home and I enjoyed more time at the market. There is just not enough time for me in Dallas. There is so much I want to see and do. I didn’t get to visit my aunt in Frisco, go to Oklahoma to see my cousin, or do any poking around. Damn, there just wasn’t enough time and I wanted that time.


On my way home, I dropped in on Foy. He thought I was coming on Saturday so I caught him on the back gallery reading. I like the way Foy lives.

Yesterday, Len and I went with Jackie and John to Austin. We had lunch at the Roaring Fork then to the Zach Theater for Dividing Up the Estate. Yes, a very interesting and very funny production. We had a grrrreat time.IMG_3345.jpg

Tomorrow, I have my first implant, not breast, but tooth. I am falling apart.
Soooooo, closing this up. But first, I did have an extraordinary Mah Jongg day. I won three times. I win in streaks. Mostly we missed Suz. I just hate change.