Archive for January, 2013

Sometimes I Just Feel Like I’m Running Out of Day Light

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2013 by drycreekherbs

What this means to me….I don’t know how much time is left. I think I want a new definition for Daylight Savings Time. Like you can make daylight deposits. This is not a Gloomy Gus attitude but I think a realistic attitude.

So using that philosophy, I have been in the fast lane. I am doing so many fun things then wanting to write about them but hardly having the time because I am doing more fun things…what I am not doing is exercising or using self restraint when it comes to food or drink. I MUST thin down in the next 5 weeks because I am off to San Miguel! This very spur of the moment trip all started when I bought Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior. I bought it as an audio book and because it was so engaging I had to stay in the car as much as possible…15 CDs worth of audio!


Here’s the thing about this book. It is just full of memorable analogies that resonate like I might be standing next to Dublin’s 19 Bells. Then, too, it is about Monarchs which I have a special love for since I once found thousands in my back yard in Belton…another story if I haven’t already written it somewhere. Well, one thing led to another. I wrote Camie and asked if she had a contact, she did of course. So, I am off to San Miguel February 26th…and on the 28th Camie and I will go on an Audubon Eco Journey to the Rosario Monarch Butterfly Bisophere Reserve in Michoacan! It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We will stay overnight—and it is possible we will be riding a horse to get up to the mountain.

This is all pretttttty exciting. Belinda called me Friday with a timely discovery: The Texas State Museum of History IMG_5248.jpg had an IMAX movie, The Flight of the Butterflies showing. So fast like a rabbit, I got there and was able to see it too. So, Flight Behavior, The Flight of the Butterflies, and poof, I’m on it. I am going and I couldn’t be more excited. I hope I can find the photo I took a few years ago in San Miguel. It is a tree covered with realistic paper Monarchs. What I didn’t know then is that Monarchs represent the souls of babies in Mexico! The butterflies are diminishing fast – I may become a zealot about this and I am sure I will be writing a lot about it all.

After the IMAX showing I went on to SAT to spend the night at Mom’s and go to the San Antonio’s Culinary Arts Institute, day-long cooking class—Gourmet Meals in Minutes. Well not exactly minutes. Belinda met me there and I will say I enjoyed that class so much. I love the location—Pearl Brewery grounds—and I may be the only person who will own up and proclaim proudly that I love Pearl Light on ice! Back to the story. The class was from 9 am -3:30.


Chef Katz divided us into 4 teams and we collectively cooked these dishes: Grilled chicken Caesar salad with homemade croutons, veal saltimbocca with fettuccine, sautéed Brussels sprouts with pancetta, tiramisu (I made this), black bean and avocado crostini, cream of mushroom soup, grilled lamb chops with white bean and rosemary ragout, bread pudding, mixed bean and grain salad with jerk pork kebabs, seared salmon with a Moroccan spice crust, broiled pineapple with coconut, chili roasted peanuts with dried cherries, curried apple and squash soup, Reuben sandwiches, roasted beet salad and key lime pie. I pigggggggged. And I fell in love with living down there. Len and I MIGHT rent a condo to see if we like it. MIGHT.   I just love classes. But here’s the truth. When Chef K was giving us our assignments and I realized I would be cooking not watching him cook, I was nervous. So what I am an old Home Ec teacher? It was like taking the GRE again. TEST ANXIETY. What if I flubbed it all up? But thank goodness it was a baking/dessert thing and not meat. I would flunk flat.

My new dryer is summoning me. He makes music….I think it may be Danny Boy at the end of the cycle. New world. My hearing aids also play music when the batteries are engaged. Haven’t recognized that tune yet.

Two more friends died last week. Maybe that has something to do with Daylight Savings.

Brainstorming or Die Denkrunde

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs


I would like to write a book of short stories. Maybe more than one book since I have already chosen some excellent titles:  

·      The Life Cycle of a Social Butterfly: The Unauthorized Susan Krals Autobiography: I will write the truths of my life but deny that there is any truth to the book. I think that’s pretty funny. And kind of schizophrenic.

·      Born with a Silver Spoon in My Mouth: A hysterical collection of short stories tracing the lives of previous owners of an antique silver spoon purchased at a flea market—written by the female spoon! Ha.

·      Departure Points: A collection of short stories where people depart—relationships, friends moving away, life changing crises, etc. This will be a tear jerker.

·      Snapshots of Wisdom: A series of observations where wisdom makes fleeting appearances…I think it might be a mystery.

·      A Pitcher of Manhattans: A romantic novella—maybe a blouse ripper– about a chance relationship of two people at a liquor store.

This is sort of like writing a research paper, backwards. Like I used to write research papers. Write the paper, then do the outline. I have the titles now I can think about the actual stories!

All this literary thinking because this afternoon I went to the library for a book review of Gone Girl. This is the book I will discuss at our March book club…so I went to get ideas from Jennifer, the Young Adult librarian. It was very cool….I was the only one there so we had a great conversation. Oh, she gave me her notes. Hehehehe.


I am so Chunky My Head Looks Small

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2013 by drycreekherbs

These are observations from a woman who was verrrry close to fweaky yesterday. This fweaked state required a 1.5 hour phone call to Belinda as I drove to SAT. Mostly it was about being old, being left behind, being a sorry caregiver, being guilty, being sorry, being a purger not a hoarder, being a reader, and being some other stuff that I can’t remember. Usually on drives to an from San Antonio I go through some kind of emotional drama – I love Mom sooooooo much still I am not always keen on going to SAT…I think it is because I do too much running around so it just always seems to be at a time when I feel just plain burdened.

I told Jackie about Steph going away for Christmas. I also told her that I thought I might check out and go to Aspen…she thought that was pretty funny since I was alluding to the pressure of my responsibilities; she thought it was extra funny. Or at least I think that is why she thought it was funny.

This is sort of back to the white frame houses I keep writing about. One time Mom and I were on a road trip to Louisiana…We went to St. Francisville, Natchitoches, and a few other places. Anyway, we stayed at this Bed and Breakfast that offered dinner too. The dinner was served in a little frame house on the property –it had a screened in porch. We had dinner on the porch—it had rained all that day so it was spongy humid. The meal was delicious; the wine warm and heady; and there was a full choir of frogs. Mom and I believe it was the loveliest evening we can remember from our travels. It is dear that we both saw it as so special.

I have been purging my house with such zeal. So, I am in San Antonio and just took on Mother’s house. She had the oddest assortment of pots and pans. She can’t reach anything in the shelves either lower or upper. The time was right. She wanted the place cleaned and I was the one to do it. It was very fulfilling.

I went to Best Buy today to get another cable for my new mini iPad. The cashier was about 18, I guess. The transaction was exhausting. I gave her my credit card, then she asked for it again, then my ID again, and the entire time spoke sooo rapidly. It made me nuts. Finally I said, “I’m sorry but you are speaking too fast for me to understand.” It kinda went down hill from there. Then she started talking to me as if I was from Tai Wan and loudly too. I guess I should be glad she wasn’t from India. I am irritated when I can’t communicate with cashiers.

Another shopping experience yesterday at Sam’s—I came out of the store and there was a group from the Morning Glory Church singing spirituals. They gave me a rubber bracelet that said I could be a Soldier for God. A man blessed me. I felt blessed.

I am blessed.

Mary Wins for Best All Around Links–Idioms Rule!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on January 9, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Hands down Mary is the winner of the best, most interesting links. I mean it. Today or maybe yesterday she sent the link below which is all about foreign language idioms. These words are awesome. It will be a challenge but I will find a way to work some or maybe one of these words into a conversation. The problem, of course, is my memory and pitiful pronunciation–with the exception, I believe is German. I can sound out some fine German. I learned to read English phonetically and by golly, that’s the Krals’ Rule of Speaking. I am sure there are people still wondering about my language skills.

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 4.05.13 PM.png Here is what I want to work into some casual chit chat:

He isn’t so much unattractive, as he has backpfeifengesicht! Love it.

Well Damn. It Stopped Raining and On Houses and Homes

Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2013 by drycreekherbs


I wanted to get home in time to get a roaring fire started and then a good sit-down to write. As it is, it is starting to clear up so in no time it will look like Arizona. AND to add insult to injury, the Star Furniture truck came with our new coffee table only to get major, major stuck in the freshly made mud from the 5” of rain we had since yesterday. So Len is understandably annoyed. I am sooooooo glad he was here. I see Diego jumping around and making the deliverymen nuts and Len walking toward the truck with some kind of tire ramps that we possesses for a reason I don’t know. BUT if they work, hallelujah! If Len were not out there, I bet one of the guys would give Diego a good swift kick. Uh oh, I hear the truck-revving up which means they will be more stuck and some giant tow truck will be required. I took the second photo in the panoramic mode…cool….look the guy’s head is detached from his body. Love it. I am letting this go emotionally. I am not responsible for all things. Period.

Now I am hoping to address a few things on my journal list of topics…I think I will focus on my romance with white houses and then do some free fall thinking. Here is how it is with me. I see the simple, white bungalow or frame house either in town or in the country and I just know those home owners are just plain nice. Now, of course this can’t be true …there are bound to be some real ne’er-do-wells in the mix BUT I just have this belief…sort of like believing in fairies. It also probably has to do with my Grandma’s house. I think I haven’t ever mentioned that her front yard in Kaw City, Oklahoma had no grass. Instead, it had this real fine dirt and I could almost swear that Grandma raked it smooth flat almost like a Japanese raked garden. Most captivating to me was how she had lined the flowerbeds with quartz that some of the ‘boys’ (aka uncles) had found out on the job. In addition to the quartz there was fool’s gold and some blackish rock cylinders that came from the oil field. This may have been the beginning of my interest in all things ornamental.


OK, some years ago I was driving down Blackberry Road where our house is located. An old, abandoned house had stood there for as long as I could remember. This is not the house. I mean the real house was a ruin with a tree lying across the roof, windows broken, and paint peeling. On this particular day there were two women standing a distance apart from one another. One was more or less keeping her distance and I feel like she was giving her what ?–sister, friend, cousin, I don’t know, some distance. The other woman stood in front of the house looking and weeping. It made me so sad. I knew that meant something. A day or two later, the house was bulldozed down. Her tender farewell to that little, white, frame house broke my heart too. I felt like a voyeur.

Now on house decisions that I made that were stupid: At the last minute I had the builder leave out the door to Len’s den. Very dumb. Now I am going to get one like an office door of yesteryear put in when we do the remodeling…that is if I ever get off my fat rear end and get a contractor. I also did not have the bookcases in my den flush to the walls. I also did not request closets of some kind in each room….this I think can be easily remedied in Len’s den. He just told me he is not in favor of fixing this. Humph. What else? Well, in my opinion but not Len’s, I think we have too many doors. Len loves doors. By his request every room in the house but two have outside doors.


Now on my future in the ‘Home.’ I am almost certain I have written about this before. I will try to do a search right quick. So, apparently I haven’t written about my expectations of the ‘Home.’ I will want to have ready access to the ‘housekeeping area’ where there will be an ironing board and an iron that can’t burn me and lots of napkins to press. Just the thought of it soothes me. I will also want a dress up area where I can put on boas, hats, jewels, shoes, and the works. Also a bar area. Given these sections, I might be content and not require a restraint chair.


This is all out of order and I don’t think I am doing justice to the topics. I had lunch with Foy this past week…we still talk of the same exact things every time we get together. We invited Fr. M and C to get together with us but I think they just have a lot on their plates. I will try again but I think it might not ever happen.

Next: Music. I have certain songs over the years that just do the trick…for motivation; all I need is to hear the theme song from Rocky or The Aggie War Hymn. For a good weep, I can listen to Claude Debussy’s Claire de Lune or Bobby Vee’s I Want Some Red Roses for a Blue Lady. Mom has her own built in radio station. She told her doctor about it. He asked what kind of music she heard and she said, “Well, sometimes it is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and sometimes it is Frank Sinatra.” She wasn’t kidding. He told her not to worry and to be glad she doesn’t need to wear earphones. I like that.


On Saturday I went out to Bill’s farm for the annual Machalek sausage making. I have so muchfun. Katie was off in Brownwood coaching a soccer tournament but the rest of the clan was present. Eric had shot a deer so he and Mike made a huge cauldron of chili in a barrel while the rest of the family and me, of course, put together links and patties….using pork butt roasts only.

This reminds me that I want to lure Erik into teaching me the local polka. Len and I simply do not dance well together but I love to dance and for that

IMG_0022.jpgmatter so does Len. Just not together. Len is a big fan of the Molly B Polka Party, which he watches every time it is on, could be nightly. I said something kinda raw about it and he told me Molly has an ‘exquisite’ voice. Really. I think he may be a roadie or at least he has a crush on her. He told me she is also a music teacher. Back to the Machaleks. Pam’s brother, Bill and his precious lady friend, Patsy are dancin’ demons. They can polka for hours and make it look like ballroom dancing. Len says Molly B will be in Granger, TX in May. I bet Len will want to go….I will ask Eric to go and teach me to polka like his Moma, Pam. I will use beer as my bait for Eric and for my sedative.

I am watching the series Weeds on TV. It is funnnnnnnny and irreverent and some would say it should be taken off the air. Obviously, I am enjoying it. At last, Downton Abbey is back. I watched it this past Sunday….at our book club last night we were all a flutter over it. Those Brits really know how to make mini series. Oh, and The Midwife.

I am still purging the house of as much of my objects de art as I can bundle up. Most items are going in the attic for storage until spring when I am having my own estate sale….Belinda doesn’t like the term…whatever I call it, I want the stuff sold and gone!

Nephew David asked Len to swear him in and pin on his bars at the West Point graduation this May. Len is so proud – he located his 2nd Lt. bars to use. We have already made our reservations to include a few extra days in NYC.

Stephanie is tired of Sarge’s Christmas Eve chowder party. This year they had 55 people. She is understandably over-taxed with the chores associated with it all. She has decided and informed him she is leaving for Christmas next year! He will continue the tradition without her. She will come to Texas…El Paso to see Lonnie and Salado for me. I think that is so spunky. Go Stephanie! That girl has guts.

New favorite food bingeing includes cranberry orange chutney with whipped cream cheese on English muffins. Also I have been a little bonkers making Meyer Lemon Cranberry muffins…using up the juice from the lemons commandeered from Mom’s tree. I am so manic. Perhaps I could get calorie weird next. Done.


I Have Six Separate Sheets of Journal Topics. I am Greedy. I Want to Write about it All.

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2013 by drycreekherbs

These are some of the topics:

I have to combine some of the topics and I think I will start writing earnestly tomorrow. So many stories, so little time.


New Years Eve 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I gotta hustle…I am resolving to buy no earrings in 2013…so I see a really awesome pair in the Sundance Catalog. So realllllly fast I am going to order them. OK, done! My last earring purchase for a year….that is unless, these have to be returned. In that case, I will be able to buy one pair this next year.

I like the idea of resolutions except for the pressure. Nancy F. used to resolve every year to take better care of her elbows. That cracks me up. Ok, in less than one hour it will be 2013 so I am writin’ fast. Next year, I will have reddish hair again; be healthier; joyful; grateful; and continue to serve my sisters and brothers in the chemo center. That’s it. As an unofficial commitment, I may try to reduce my non-essential spending. Oh, and good grief, yes….the purging. I am into it big time. Not the eating disorder version but the clear out the junk kind of purging. More in a later paragraph.

Len and I went to Pfluggerville today and bought him and Mickey cat a new coffee table for Len’s den. It is more for geico450_35768c.jpeg the cat than Len and he readily admits that. Mickey likes to watch TV commercials from a coffee table…I think, he may be near sighted, anyway, he especially likes watching the Geico Lizard. Mikey salivates at the very thought of a lizard having a popular TV commercial. So, now that is ordered and will be delivered Jan 9th. . From there we went on a serious blowout grease and calorie binge at Mighty Fine Burgers in Round Rock.


Home just in time for me to make a fire and take a serious 2 ½ hour nap. Oh heavenly way to spend a rainy, cold day, under my perfectly wondrous, soft blanket….I am getting like Linus and his blanket. Len took these pictures and I like them a lot. Only thing missing is a fat cat.

Last night the Happy Hour crew came for a pre New Years Eve celebration. We celebrated Joann’s good medical reports and our blessings. We missed our chums the Lawsons who, poor dears, are in Merida, Mexico, with Ann and Wayne! It says something when the big activity was my new topographical jigsaw puzzle. Dang. We are old. No hip-hop or sparklers for us. The Manhattans were popular and we had a good discussion about President Garfield and especially the book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President. Good book.


OK, back to purging. What is going on with me? I am driven, driven, driven to rid this house of my hordes. I am going to give things away, sell what I can, and feel lighter for the effort. I want drawers and shelves empty. This afternoon—after the nap—I put up the Christmas decorations since Max and I took the tree down this morning. I love that man. He helped me untangle yards and yards of glass garland. Len likes paying Max to do this kind of thing. He likes it a lot. I selected a lot of ornaments to go in the spring garage sale and tossed others. I hope this urge to purge…cute rhyme, isn’t some kind of biological clock indicating my imminent demise. I mustn’t think of that. Anyway, it feels very good to clear out the old.


I almost got rid of some of my crumbling German dolls that have adorned my tree for 40 plus years. I just couldn’t say Auf Wiedersehen. I bought these when we got first married in Hanau at the Handwerk Stübe…they are handmade obviously and made of stockings…or as they were called, strumpfhosen. I loved the characters, the Jagermeister, the Krankenschwester, der alter jüdisher Mann, die Frauenkåufer, der Shornsteinferger, und so weiter. Next year I will let them go. They are coming apart and they kinda stink!

I have all the ingredients for Hoppin’ John tomorrow. I will fire up the crock pot before Len and I head out for the movie…I can’t even recall what the name of the movie is….I may buy the tickets tonight to make sure we get a seat.

Damn, must get this posted in 15 minutes. I hope the umlauts don’t get lost in translation. Happy New Year! Done only 5 minutes late!