Archive for the living to the hilt Category

American Immigration Experience in Review

Posted in Learning Curve on March 27, 2017 by drycreekherbs

First let me say this and get it out of the way. Cortisone shots make me pain free and euphoric on day 1; jittery on day 2; depressed on day 3 & 4; and cranky, depressed, and jittery on day 5, and very talkative on day 6 (as noted by the facial expressions of my Mah Jongg partners today). My knee doesn’t hurt though. Nothing comes free.

So here is the synopsis of my experience with American immigration. It is safe to say that it was easier than the Mexico version. It does help if everyone is speaking the same lingo. BUT, our USA immigration officers (IO) have a definite protocol. Expect the process of forgiveness to be slow and don’t take rebuffs personally. Do not try to control the situation. Just let it all slide off of you. Do not tell the backstory. Do not appear friendly. Do not show any pictures. Do not offer any explanations. Do not ask to take photos for Facebook. It is like this: Wait until spoken to; answer with one word if possible and don’t think for a quick minute that your story is any more interesting than the last 13,000 immigrants. Then and only then, pivot and move on. When a missing passport is involved, expect a couple of earnest interviews, an oath-maybe two, a search (no orifices, thank God), and a lecture. I keep thinking about refugees.

Do not apply for a new passport during spring break if you live near a military installation. Try to find everything funny and worth it just for the story. Believe it when the passport application says, “Read Carefully.”

Charmin’ Billy, aka my Brother Bill, sent this captioned photo upon my return to America, the land of the brave. 201703272042.jpgHis text read, “Santa Perdida, patron saint of deported gringas.” He is a funny guy. Maybe I should make up a set of Holy Cards to carry in case I am incarcerated again.

Yesterday I went to visit Foy. I was pretty sure he would enjoy hearing my tale of woe. He loved it. He said, “Susan, this is the best worst story I ever heard.” High praise.


I Really CAN be a Trooper

Posted in Learning Curve on March 21, 2017 by drycreekherbs

Today I had a shot in my knee. I didn’t even flinch and watched the entire process. Lots of exposure watching and getting chemo..called desensitization. I found out today that because of Medicare regulations, it is necessary to start with shots before any knee replacement.

Now for the Mexico story.

Hit and Run: No Serious Casualties

Posted in Learning Curve on October 10, 2016 by drycreekherbs

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Len ran over my purse day before yesterday. I was in a huge hurry doing something that I have since forgotten. So I sat my purse down near the garage door and started some chore. Then I went into the house, then ironed, then started cleaning out my closet, then Len came in the house and said, “I ran over your purse.” He really did. Nothing but my hearing aid case and a black plastic serving spoon were destroyed. He wanted to give me a lecture soooooooooo much. I was pleased I didn’t receive a series of tut-tuts.    


Posted in Learning Curve on October 5, 2016 by drycreekherbs


Well, damn. I guess I won’t be able to open a casino or go to law school free. I just knew I was going to be an American Indian or African American. Nope. Just like Daddy used to say, I am Heinz 57. I especially wanted to be a descendent of the Lost Roanoke Colony Indians. These photos were going to be on my Facebook Profile. I’d better refocus my aspirations.   IMG_6175.jpg

Labor Day: An After Action Review

Posted in living to the hilt on September 10, 2016 by drycreekherbs

I started being phobic about flying in 1972. I was on my way back from the US to Germany. I was newly married—1 year to be exact. This was in the very olden days when airplanes flew early empty. I am guessing that there might have been twenty people, if that many, on the entire airplane? It was a night flight, dark, and spooky. I had my first of 1,000,000 anxiety attacks. Damned memorable. I was certain that plane was going to crash and burn and take a long time doing it. This was also the beginning of my macabre interest in air crashes. I worked right next to an airfield on Fliegerhorst Kaserne and from my window I had the perfect view of helicopters coming and going. These flying machines really were not supposed to be safe. Basically, I reinforced my anxiety every day. I am like that. Over thinking negative stuff. It is like a computer loop.   

I went to see a psychologist at Scott and White in the early 1980s to see if I could be cured of my fear of flying. He said no. He could cure me of fearing elevators since they were easily accessible but I wasn’t afraid of those. I enjoyed my chat with him so much I stayed on. We became great friends.

Later Susan Lawson found a book at a used book store written by a TWA pilot….this was years ago…maybe in the 80s. I can’t remember the title but it was really cognitive therapy. That book turned my life around—and with drugs I was basically cured. No more anxiety attacks either. Or at least, I say none in years. I am never one to rule out reoccurance. But, yikes, I hope not.

Sooo, for nearly 30 years now, I have been flying all over…drugged but happy to fly….all except in a helicopter.

In the early 2000s, I was a part of the Killeen Leadership Academy. It was pretty cool and unlike many city Leadership Academies, Killeen in conjunction with the Killeen Police Department and Fort Hood let us fire automatic weapons and ride in a Blackhawk helicopter. I jumped at the chance to fire the weapons but couldn’t make myself get in that helicopter. I was so ashamed of myself but there it was…I was still crippled and immobilized with an irrational fear.

I don’t know what made me decide it was time to face the music….I just hate fear baggage and have said too often that the two emotions I detest are guilt and fear. Soooooo, I was driving by the Bell County CARNIVAL and saw that they had helicopter rides were available and I guess I was moved by the SPIRIT!!! I came home and talked Len into coming to take photos.

I will say, I liked it kinda. I held on pretty tight but I never once screamed, cried, or vomited. The scenery was amazing and I plan an additional trip. I would like to fly and land in our pasture. It was pretty cool. Just thinkin’, all though helicopter flying isn’t something I would encounter regularly…it is just the principle of the thing. I let it get bigger and bigger in my head because I fed that fear. Well, now that it is done it seems silly. Very silly. Oh, and no drugs! Yep, I am pretty brave.

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Days Later

Posted in living to the hilt on September 3, 2016 by drycreekherbs

The travel buzz is long gone and I mourn the loss. I always feel a little sharper after travel…all those neurons are all sparkly during and immediately after a trip. It sure doesn’t take much of the mundane to flatten my curiosity.

Today I should stay on the homestead….yesterday I had cosmetic tattooed lash enhancement…supposedly little dots but it appears to be more like a very thin line—that is very good. The color is good for me I think. The IMG_5830 (1).jpg aesthetician says within a month the vegetable based ink will fade by 40%…but after the touch up in 30 days it will last for ages. Post treatment care includes antibiotic ointment applied three times a day and no other eye make up. So housebound except maybe HEB where I am guaranteed to see 100 people I know. I love putting on makeup and especially eyeliner. I think it is like hitting a golf ball….I am just sure that this time I will get it right. The reality is I have such benign (so the doctor says) tremors that the eyeliner ends up all over my eyelids. I have the same issue with lip liner. I made it really clear that I didn’t want to look like a star trek character now and especially when I hit 80.

Other news. Well we are having my bathroom-rejuvenated…paint instead of wallpaper, Mom’s fancy chandelier installed, new quartz tub surround and counter top, and new sink. No big changes in function. We are also getting an outdoor shower installed but not a pretty one… just a showerhead on a tree with a rock floor and only tap water. Any peeping coyote that wants to see either of us naked can. The kitchen is getting a great big light fixture installed over the island since the last one caught on fire. Literally. I have no idea when it will be finished. Maybe never. I will move before I do another remodeling job.

I have been relocating items in my den and replacing the rugs…now I have a really spiffy black and white cowhide and less or maybe more hanging on the walls. I did take down the artificial plants. It hurts me but I know that it only dates me and contributes to breathing problems with dust.

WordPress, Homecoming, Corrections, Reflections, Lists, USW*

Posted in living to the hilt on August 11, 2012 by drycreekherbs

Ok here I am writing in my journal for the first time in WordPress rather than ecto and for the first time since being in San Miguel.  My brain is filled with 1,000 chattering monkeys.  I don’t know where to start and I don’t want to forget anything.  I am hoping that writing directly in WordPress will make it easier and I won’t have any of those sudden entry deaths that happened with ecto.  Anna, my Mac coach came over this afternoon and gave me a lesson on using WordPress and will send me a summary of my lesson because I can’t hold a thought.  I think my memory is getting worse–thoughts and ideas flash across my mind monitor like an evolving screen saver….woosh.  I hardly know the shape of my thought before it morphs into some other thought—it is a fluid occurrence so the only way I can capture the idea is to immediately write it down. OK, I am going on a tangent and I will never find my way back.

So let me go straight to a brief summary of Homecoming. I left Leon/Guanajuato airport at 1:10, arriving at DFW right on time with a comfortable 2 hour layover before heading for Austin.  In the next 6 hours I received over 15 voices messages from AA telling me about gate changes and rescheduling times.  I was supposed to leave at 5:10 pm and instead left at 11:10–getting me in Salado at 1:00 AM.  The worst of it was for poor Len.  He went down to Austin early so he could browse at Golfsmiths and his favorite bike shops….early, early as is his modus operandi.  Sooooo, while I was waiting at DFW, Len was waiting in the cell phone lot for 6 hours, moving every 60 minutes because that’s what the sign said, 60 minute parking limit.  I just hated it for him.  He was very loving and patient.  He get’s extra points.  OH and yes, here is where I eat crow and write an errata.  I am a mean woman to have portrayed Len as a man possessed on our road trip.  He reminded me, correctly, that I was worried about Mom and that is why we came back early.  I never told Len that Billy said not to come back early as Mother was so much improved.  So I am humble and sorry I wrote what he perceived as mean.  He was doing exactly what he thought I wanted.  Neither of us are mind readers.

Yikes, I have written more than I thought and I am not close to getting reflections….so I am going to jump to lists to practice my bullet formatting, then do a new post tomorrow on wondrous, exquisite San Miguel.

Part of my homecoming is coming ‘down’ from the extraordinary high of being in SMdA.  No pun on the high part, since SMdA is a whopping 6,500 feet above sea level.  What I am referring to is the getting my groove back. …thinking about the here and now, the day-to-day chores, the not-so-glamorous sorting of recyclables, the parching of bone marrow heat, the wildlife , USW*.  What I have to do is get my list and timeline in order.  I have to feel productive.  Here is my partial list:

  • Determine what changes are needed/wanted for kitchen and maybe bath remodeling
  • Contract for remodeling before autumn
  • Have lunch with Foy
  • Join a gym and lose 10 pounds
  • Get hearing tested
  • Make fig jam for Mom
  • Plant succulents in the huge planter just purchased
  • Take clothes to Salvation Army
  • Find an old cell phone around here so I can take it to SMdA next time with purchased SIM card
  • Make Chris’ pineapple bread pudding
  • Call Central Market and ask them to order Guernica peppers or order seeds
  • Make eyelet tunics
  • Meditate/pray
  • Photos of bobcat
  • Make rhubarb wine sorbet and find people to eat it
  • Ask Max about fruit thinning for figs
  • Order CD of Pacifica Quartet’s chamber music
  • Rent a house in SMdA for a month at least in August or September
  • Take paper mache class and flamenco class in SMdA & figure out the foreign language punctuation marks that I just showed Camie
  • Open Rosetta Stone Basic Spanish software and DO it so you don’t say Asta Lego
  • Write a commentary on bullets and another about grammarians and their lack of humor
  • Scan map of SMdA
  • Adjust my Circadian clock
  • Order Let’s Not Go to the Dogs Tonight
  • Never own a monkey and if I do own a monkey, never let it in the house
  • Check out painting class in Harker Heights
  • Target for hair dryer like Camie’s
  • Find Madagascar hats that are missing….Max or Barbara will help
  • Go to bed

*USW:  German, Und So Weiter=etc.