Wednesday, October 31, 2018

mwahahahahahahaha … Happy Halloween!

Another spooky story to get you through this Halloween night.

The Brick Wall
A Massachusetts Horror Story

Massey was a soldier unfortunate enough to cross me, his commanding officer.  He did not live to regret it.  There was something very satisfying in the moment when I thrust the tip of my sword into the soldier’s heart during our duel.  I watched him fall to the ground with the satisfaction of a job well done.
The men under my command seem depressed in the following weeks. They mention Massey frequently, but I ignore their conversations.
One night, I retreat to my chambers to sulk and soon was joined by a delegation of men who were friends of Massey. I am surprised and delighted to learn that they had come to their senses and now saw the impertinent lieutenant for the cheat he really was. We share a round of drinks and laughed together.   I’m afraid I drank far too much that evening.
The other soldiers suggested we explore the lower dungeons. That sounded like a fine idea to me.  We set off in merry spirits, drinking and singing and laughing, our voices echoing through the narrow passages. Deeper and deeper we went.  My head started spinning and my legs felt like rubber after all that drinking. I am afraid I passed out from drunkenness, much to my shame.
When I came to, I was lying on my back with my wrists and ankles shackled to the floor. Drunken men, fooling around, I thought.
“Very funny, lads,” I called out. “Now set me free.”
The soldiers didn’t answer me. A moment passed and Massey’s best friend appeared in the doorway, holding mortar and a mason’s trowel.  The other men began handing him bricks and I realize that the soldiers are bricking up the entrance to the cell in which I lay shackled. “Very funny,” I said again.
No one answered me. They worked in silence, laying brick after brick until one row is done, then two. They were playing a nasty joke on me, of course.
Then Massey’s best friend paused in his work and looked directly into my eyes. At that moment I realized that this joke is no joke. Scream after scream ripped from my throat as I struggle against my bonds. But the dungeon was too deep within the fort, and no one heard my screams. 
They were on the final row of bricks. I was reduced to bribery now, desperately using my wealth in an attempt to escape my fate.  But no one listened to my bribes.    I watched in heart-thudding horror as the last brick is put in place, as the last chink of light faded from my sight. I have been entombed alive in the deepest, darkest dungeon of the fort.  I howled in panic, writhing against the iron manacles binding hands and feet and twisting my body. Eventually I fell back against the floor, my wrists and ankles wet with my own blood.
My fingers were torn and throbbing from their intense scrabbling against the hard floor. I found myself weeping angrily, though I have never shed a tear in my lifetime.
The agony of the thought sent me writhing again in spite of the horrible pain racking my wrists, ankles, and hands. Daylight. I must see daylight again. Just once more.
“Don’t leave me here to die alone! Don’t leave me!” 
But I was alone, and the sheer brutal horror of it overwhelmed me. My eyes strained against the complete and utter darkness, and I wondered if they were even open.
Dear God, I can’t get out. I can’t get out. I CAN’T GET OUT!
 from Spooky Massachusetts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Arrrrrggggghhhhhhh!  I stopped by Walmart today to pick up a few groceries and get my pumpkin (aka: Jack-o-Lantern).  There were none.  Zero.  Zilch.  Nada.  None.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I talked with the produce manager – nope, none because they got too ripe (the reason I wait until the day before HALLOWEEN to get mine who wants a rotting pumpkin), oh, so sorry. 

Fine.  I’ll go over to HEB.  NOT.  ONE.  SINGLE.  PUMPKIN!  Spoke with the produce manager – they shorted us this weekend. 

OK, I’ll just go to the local Pumpkin Patch Farm.  They are closed, open only on weekends.  Today is not a weekend day, not even close.  Arrrrrgggghhhhh!

Well Hells Bells and Little Fishes, heavy sigh, these will have to do.

So, since I can’t regale you with my Jack-o-Lantern carving talents, here’s a little story to get you through the night.

I hate it when my brother Charlie has to go away. My parents constantly try to explain to me how sick he is. That I am lucky for having a brain where all the chemicals flow properly to their destinations like undammed rivers.

When I complain about how bored I am without a little brother to play with, they try to make me feel bad by pointing out that his boredom likely far surpasses mine, considering he is confined to a dark room in an institution. I always beg for them to give him one last chance.

Of course, they did at first. Charlie has been back home several times, each shorter in duration than the last. Every time without fail, it all starts again. The neighborhood cats with gouged out eyes showing up in his toy chest, my dad's razors found dropped on the baby slide in the park across the street, mom's vitamins replaced by bits of dishwasher tablets.

My parents are hesitant now, using "last chance" sparingly. They say his disorder makes him charming, makes it easy for him to fake normalcy, and to trick the doctors who care for him into thinking he is ready for rehabilitation. That I will just have to put up with my boredom if it means staying safe from him.

I hate it when Charlie has to go away. It makes me have to pretend to be good until he is back.

Bwahahahahahahaha …….

Monday, October 29, 2018

Deep within my heart lies a melody, a song of old San Antone

I drove over to San Antonio this past weekend to visit grands and greats.  It’s an easy drive from Wharton – well except the part where you have to travel along I-10 which is bumper-to-bumper cars and 18-wheelers, all driving 80+ mph (150 miles of the 161 miles).  Still, it was a mild sunny weekend and I had a very nice time.  I have one granddaughter that lives there and a grandson and a great-niece that go to UTSA.  And, I got to spend time with all of them.

Pretty day for a drive.

Drove past the Colorado which is a river again.

I always think of San Antonio as being a midsize city.  It’s not.  It is the seventh most populous city in the United States and the second most populous city in Texas.  There are roughly 1.7 million residents spread across approximately 500 square miles. 

I always realize this when I reach the city limits and the most confusing conglomeration of freeways, highways, and loops in the free world.  Honestly, even with Siri’s help, I can get lost.  And, of the 1.7 million residents, there must be 999,999 driving on those freeways, highways, and loops all the damn day and night.  Fortunately for me, as soon as I get there, my granddaughter takes over the driving.

We did many fun and interesting things.  Living in Wharton I enjoy looking at the big world although much of it makes me wonder – “what were they thinking”.  So, we made a stop Friday night at a store.  Vicky’s boyfriend is a collector of many unique things.  He went in to look for a specific bottle of scotch – Game of Thrones brand.  I was amused by the Day of the Dead and Halloween bottles –


Saturday we all walked around La Cantera.  It’s a huge outdoor mall.  All the shops are attached to one another, so you’re not walking from one big giant box to another.  It’s just all outside

So here’s a “what were they thinking”.  Nope, never, even in my wild youth.  Somebody has been watching too many 1950 space movies.

OK, here’s another –

It’s a liquid nitrogen-infused cereal puffball that allows one to “breathe” like a dragon.  Uhmmmmm – nope pass.

We didn’t go in most of the stores – went to a new tea shop (my particular weakness) and a big bookstore, where I found several books for my “wish list”.  The rest of the day was spent “hanging” with the greats and grands.  A nice day.

So, San Antonio has a new form of public transportation available.  We saw these little guys all around town.  I was told you can rent one for a day for very little money and tool all around.  Less traffic, no parking problems, better for the air, fun.

Sunday morning, Vicky and I went to the big farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery.  This is now a big park that houses not only the farmer’s market but a variety of shops.  There were musicians performing and that day, a great big bunch of little princesses, monsters, dinosaurs, pirates, and such wandering around.  We went into only one shop – the Christmas ornaments caught my eye.  There were the normal things – birds, sugar skulls, flowers, and this …..

Yep, that’s a piece of bacon

Then, I saw these – probably a bunch of people I know could use one!

There was one other shop that really caught my attention.  First of all the name is, hmmmm, different.  And then, they sell a different product than you might think.

Really?  Is there dishonest ice cream?  Vicky tells me the flavors are unusual – like – goat cheese, thyme and honey or beets and fresh mint.  And, just to be honest, they have normal flavors like fresh mint and chocolate chip or Texas sheet cake. 

Afterwards we walked along the San Antonio River.  Very nice.

Then, I left for home.

Take care

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Stuff going on here, there, and everywhere

Just a reminder, this week through Nov 2 is Early Voting.  So, if you don’t want to rearrange your schedule on Tuesday, Nov 6, get out and vote now instead. 

Ok, here’s an unpleasant fact – “The United States ranks 120th of the 169 countries for which data exists on voter turnout, falling between the Dominican Republic and Benin, according to a January 2012 study from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.”  Sad.

According to another article I read, only about 60 percent of eligible voters will likely cast ballots.  Sad again.

Reasons for not voting are many and, in my opinion, invalid.  Some years ago, I knew a 60-ish year old woman who said she had never voted – never once.  Why?  She said she didn’t want to get called for jury duty and voting is a sure-fire way to have to go for jury duty.  Really? 

My sister and I went to an estate sale in the backend of nowhere recently.  It was a very nice place and an interesting sale but honestly, you’d have to drive forever just to get milk, bread, and gas!  These were the next door neighbors.

My Loquat Tree is blooming!  Yea!  First time ever. 

Loquats are an evergreen tree, grown primarily as an ornamental.  They are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe at any time from early spring to early summer.  Originally from China, they have naturalized in the Middle East, South Africa, the Mediterranean, New Zealand and the warmer parts of the US (like Texas!).  The fruit flavor is a mixture of peach, citrus and mild mango.  Use the fruit in jam, jelly, chutney, pies and tarts.

Saw this in the parking lot at Walmart the other day.  It made me smile.

I finally got my backyard flowerbeds all cleaned out!  Double YEA!  At least it looks like a gardener lives at my house.  Four more hours of work for this bed and 6 others just as big (so it feels when I’m crawling around on hands and knees pulling and digging out weeds).

I just have to wonder about people sometimes.  Generally, I like yard art – all kinds.  I have all kinds of yard art.  But this one is just a little strange.  It hangs on the front of a house in my daughter’s neighborhood.

Take care

This is the flower of a Orbea schweinfurthii.  And, it’s smaller than the tip of my littlest finger!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hells Bells

 This past Sunday was the first cool AND sunny day since, maybe, September 22 (you know, the Autumnal Equinox).  I was outside early and worked for four straight hours doing general pickup - I have a yard of trash trees (aka Pecan Trees), mowing, and making potted plant decisions.  By the time I came in, every inch of me was tired. 

The final plant to go from pot to ground is a Devils Trumpet.  It’s commonly known as Datura and should not be confused with Angels Trumpet (Brugmansia) which has pendulous flowers, rather than Datura’s upright ones. It’s also called Moonflowers, Jimsonweed, Devil's Weed, Hell's Bells, or Thorn Apple. 

Last year I moved the large one and all its little brothers from the front yard to the back.  Found places for all but one which, in sheer desperation, I put into a container.  I find it very hard to throw away plants (honestly, I can just hear them screaming “no no helpme helpme”.  Problem was then, no place to plant it – pretty much same as now.  So, I finally did my “HA! there’s a space, dig a hole” thing and got it planted.

Datura is considered both an herbaceous perennial and an annual depending on where it’s grown.  Even here, it’s likely to freeze to the ground.  Mine ends a mild winter looking more dead than not with naked upright stems.  I always cut it to the ground, and so far, it has returned every year.  Datura plants average 2-4 feet tall (the Brugmansia or Angel Trumpet can become a massive woody tree).

Angel Trumpet
I want one just like this!

Datura stems are soft and erect.  Leaves are large and slightly furry.  And, every flower will make a seed pod.  It self-seeds vigorously and the seedlings mature quickly.  All the experts say plant it in full sun.  Mine have always been in part sun and do well.  Datura also likes a rich, well-draining soil.  It doesn’t handle drought conditions very well and would rather have regular watering.

Flowers can be white, yellow (mine is a double yellow), purple, lavender and red.  Supposedly they are very fragrant at night but truth be told, I’ve never checked.  They will attract pollinators.

It’s an interesting, easy to grow plant that makes beautiful flowers.  Now, all that said, there are a few unpleasant things about Datura.  This plant contains potent alkaloids, including atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine, and can be fatal if ingested. 

Even so, in the long past days, Datura was used for treating asthma, depression, to induce sleep, and the oil made from seeds was used to regrow hair.  Finally, and, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME BOYS AND GIRLS, it was also thought to be a major ingredient in a witches flying ointment – an assortment of herbs including but not limited to - sium, acorus, cinquefoil, the blood of a bat, jimsonweed (there’s the Datura) and oil cooked to certain degrees and then smeared over the body.  Then, with certain incantations, the witch would fly.

Take care

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Musings – pumpkins and things

I always think the flower for October should be this ….

Pumpkin Flower

It’s not, it’s this ….


    which is just odd since you don’t see a lot of blooming marigolds this time of the year. 

Another thought – I personally think pumpkins are good for (1) Jack-o-lanterns or (2) decorating the front porch.  I have always thought, when I grow up I’d like my front porch to look like this in October and November.

Hasn’t yet – this is as close as I’ve come so far.  Hmmmm, maybe I haven’t grown up yet. 

(Of course, there always the fact that I live someplace where the weather tends toward hot and humid more often than not.  Not sure how long those things would last in the hot and humid.  This guy does just fine.)

Please note – in my “Pumpkins are good for …” comment, I did not include cookies, muffins, bread, pie, soup, waffles, pancakes, tea, coffee, lasagna, hummus, chili, (heaven forbid) pumpkin alfredo or any other foodstuffs.  Nooooo – Jack-o-lanterns or Decorating. 

What, you ask, made me think of pumpkins?  I stopped by our library yesterday.  They are having a Posh Pumpkin Party soon and I was invited to vote on the best Posh Pumpkin.  Just a couple of the entries --

More musings ....... 

Only 13 days until Halloween.  Yea!  It’s always been one of my favorite holidays.  It’s sad that it’s lost so much popularity. 

Hmmmmmmm – 13 days till ….. Thirteen

Triskaidekaphobics – people who avoid the number 13

Many hotels have no room numbered 13 or even a floor 13, the numbering going from 12 to 14. 

Covens, historically have 13 witches

In the tarot, card 13 is the Death card – although it does not necessarily mean death just sweeping changes, endings and new beginnings, closing one door to open another.

If there are 13 people at a dinner table, first one to leave will die within a year.  Only way to forestall this is, everyone stands up together and walks away from the table. 

Wow – it’s late, I have to close now.

Take care

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


1 : the state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness
2 : disagreeable atmospheric conditions: such as
a : rain, storm
b : cold air with dampness 
     (hellloooo – you forgot one – hot air with dampness)

Yeah, ok.  We have that here.  However, of all the places I’ve lived (and I know that’s not so many), the weather here is, has been (as long as I’ve been), and (I’m sure) will continue to be just a little odd, undependable, frustrating and frequently, down-right annoying.  For instance, when the first day of Fall arrives, we do NOT put away shorts and tee’s, we do NOT bring out sweaters and jeans, or, the good gods forbid, we do NOT turn off the AC.

The first day of fall this year was September 22.  Today is October 16.  The past three weeks (with the exception of maybe two days of cool mornings morphing into hot afternoons), we’ve been having Summer.  Indian Summer – sure, whatever you want to call it but Summer nonetheless.  Again, for instance, this past Sunday, October 15, the temperature was 90° with 80% humidity. 

Summertime and the livin’ is easy ….

Monday morning, I walked outside at 6am into the hot wet blanket of weather (the one Merriam-Webster forgot – hot air with dampness).  Ick.  75°; 80% humidity.  Mosquitoes hovering waiting for breakfast.  I came back inside.

Then the wind started blowing – knocked over all my potted plants, knocked branches out of the pecan trees, rattled all my many wind chimes – and when I looked at the thermometer at 7am, the temperature was 57°.  Odd as that sounds, it’s pretty normal; temperature dropping 20 or more degrees in an hour or less.

So, now we are having Fall!  Yea!  Hopefully it is going to stay Fall and we will not backslide to Summer again.  And, about Fall here on the Texas Gulf Plains.  Wouldn’t we all just love to look out the back window to this …..

Actually, this is at my son’s house in VA

Of course, that’s not the case.  We look out to this …..

I know, looks like summer BUT there are a few leaves in the grass!

Okay, okay, it could be worse.  We could be looking out to this …….

This was the year we lived in CO

I don’t try second-guessing the weather.  So, right now, as of today, my closet thinks I have a lot of clothes but really Summer and Winter are hanging side-by-side.  Capris next to jeans, tank tops next to long sleeves.  Today it’s very overcast and chilly so, long sleeves are the choice but by the weekend things will change and we’ll be back to tee’s. 

Take care