Saturday, October 31, 2020


 I feel a little sorry for today’s children.  They don’t get to experience Halloween as we did.  I remember going block to block, houses all lit up, jack-o-lanterns out; coming home with a bag full of treats.  In my day we received homemade goodies as well as store bought candy. 


When my children were young, our neighborhood was chock full of children and in groups, they would go house to house finally coming home with a bag filled with treats.  The world had gotten weird enough even then that I checked everything in their bags before they got into any of it.  But still, they had the fun of Trick ‘r’ Treat! around the neighborhood.


 In the past years I have prepared for monsters, princesses’, vampires, fairies, ghosties and goulies but none come by.  Makes me sad.  But, I am always ready!  As we wait for darkness to welcome any . . .  visitors, here’s a little story for you - - -

 White Wolf

 She snapped awake out of a deep sleep, screaming aloud in terror. In her nightmare, a large white wolf had been chasing her around and around the house, gaining on her with every step until it finally pounced on her and ripped out her throat.  She lay shaking for hours, unable to sleep after such a terrifying dream.  

But morning finally arrived, and the day was completely normal. Celia forgot all about her dream, until the moment her parents reminded her that they would be going out that night to celebrate their anniversary. Celia turned milk-white.  In her dream, the white wolf had come to kill her while her parents were out celebrating their anniversary!  She started shaking and begging them not to go.  Her parents were astonished at her behavior, and finally shamed her into staying home alone that night.

Fearfully, Celia locked herself into the house as soon as her parents left, checking every door and every window. She tried to laugh it off as she got into bed, and finally she shook off her irrational fear and fell asleep.  

Celia snapped awake suddenly, every muscle tense. She heard the tinkling of falling glass from a broken window, and the snuffling sound of a snout pressed to the floor.  It was the sound of a hunting wolf.  A werewolf.  Real wolves did not break into houses when there was plenty of game outside. She could hear the click-clicking of the creature’s claws on the wooden floor.  The musky, foul smell of wet animal fur combined with the meaty breath of a carnivore, drifted into the room.

She could hear the werewolf’s panting right outside her bedroom.  Then her body was
out of bed and she sped through the bathroom and down the back stairs.  She heard a soft growl and then the sound of animal feet pursuing her as she raced down the steps and tore open the back door.   She ran across the sharp gravel driveway toward the shed with its shovels and tools.  Anything she could use as a weapon.  But the huge, red-eyed wolf was suddenly between her and the toolshed, stalking toward her.  The cold wind pierced her skin as she turned and fled around the side of the house.  She gasped as the white wolf howled and took off after her.  She could hear the terrifying sound of the creature’s pounding feet.

Faster, faster, she commanded her legs, panting desperately against the fear choking her. She would run around the house and back down the driveway, she thought. She felt the wolf snap at her back leg and felt the sting of teeth and she ran faster.

The wolf veered away from her suddenly, and she felt a rush of hope.  She couldn’t hear the wolf now, couldn’t see it in the cloud-darkened night.  To her intense relief, she heard the sound of a car coming down the road in front of her house.  Her parents were back and would save her!

Then her heart stopped in panic as she turned the last corner and saw the shape of the white wolf as it stood balanced on the porch railing right in front of her.  It sprang upon Celia, huge teeth tearing into her flesh and ripping out her throat.  She fell under the weight of its body, hot blood spilling all over the ground, and died seconds after she hit the ground.  One minute later, her parent's car pulled into the driveway, its headlights blinding the white wolf as it pulled toward the house.  Frightened, the wolf backed away from its kill and then ran away.

Spooky Texas Retold by S.E. Schlosser

 The Birth of a Jack-o-Lantern

 Step One


Two Hours Later . . . . Step Two


Bwahahahahahahaha  Step Three


Happy Halloween!


31 Oct 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Ghost Story – 1

 Just so you don’t think I forgot, a story - - - to help you sleep???

Tolling of the Bell

A Prince Edward Island Ghost Story


In the wee hours of Friday morning, October 7, 1859, when all the good residents of Charlottetown should still be sleeping in their beds, a deep bell tone was heard from the bell tower in St. James Church. The somber sound rang out over the rooftops, waking many with the unexpectedness of its doom-laden ring. Then a second toll rang slowly overhead, followed by a third.

 Bewildered by the unexpected tolling of the bell, two neighbors who lived near the church hurriedly joined forces in the road outside their homes and went to investigate. Above them, the bell tolled for the fourth time, and again for the fifth time.


As they entered the church yard, the bell tolled for the sixth time, and the front doors of the church swung open with a windy blast. Framed in the doorway were three glowing women dressed all in white. The men gasped, unsure if they were seeing real women, or angels. 

Overhead, the bell tolled for a seventh time and the doors slammed shut as quickly as they had opened. The men raced to the doors and tugged on the handles, but they were firmly locked. When they peered through the windows, the men saw a glowing woman in white ascending the stairs to the belfry.

The minister and the sexton arrived at that moment, demanding to know what the disturbance was about. The neighbors told the new arrivals what they had seen, and the minister unlocked the door to the church. As they entered the vestibule, they saw no sign of the women the neighbors had seen in the doorway. A quick glance through the church revealed not a living soul.

 As the men ascended toward the belfry, the bell tolled for the eighth time. They ran up the stairs, determined to confront the culprit and demand and explanation. When they reached the top, they found the belfry empty and the bell rope tied firmly in place, though the metal of the church bell was still vibrating slightly.

 Puzzled and frightened, the minister and his companions searched the church from top to bottom, but it was completely empty. As the bell gave no further sign of tolling, the men left the church, mystified by what had happened.

 That evening, the local passenger steamer between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island – called the Fairie Queene – failed to arrive. The people of Charlottetown learned a few days later that the ship had sunk, killing the eight passengers who had boarded her that day. It is said that the bell of Saint James Church tolled eight times on the day of the disaster, thus foretelling the doom of the five men and three women who did board the Fairie Queene.

 Spooky Canada, by S.E. Schlosser.


27 Oct 2020

Monday, October 26, 2020

Things to See

 We had another day of Fall weather (that makes 3 so far!) last week.  After that, summer again.  The worst thing about these summer days (in October) has been the humidity – upwards of 90%.  Ugh.  I’ve done some yard work, some furniture moving, some cooking – nothing much interesting to talk about. 

 Therefore I thought I’d share some things I’ve seen lately instead.

 I walked the neighborhood the other day.  On the next street over, a resident has one of those huge metal roosters in their front yard.  Cute.

 Couple of houses down, the homeowners had a really pretty peacock in their yard.  I stopped to look at it – very nice, very realistic,


then, it turned and looked at me.  Yep – the real deal.  Lives a couple more streets over and occasionally walks the neighborhood too.  And, here we go with the Did You Know?  (I did not)

The collective term for these birds is “peafowl.” The males are peacocks, the females are peahens and the babies are peachicks.  They are members of the pheasant family.

A group of peafowl is s called an “ostentation.

Peafowl that are in the zoos or other controlled environments can live for as long as 40 years.

Peacocks shed their train every year after mating season.

In medieval times, the birds were plucked, roasted and then re-dressed in their feathers to appear in their original live state on the dinner table. Here’s the presentation instructions from one recipe:

“wynde the skyn wit the fethurs and the taile abought the body, And serue him forthe as he were a-live”

The birds may have looked beautiful, but they reportedly tasted terrible. According to physicians of the day, it was tough and coarse, difficult to digest and generated bad humors.

When my NM daughter was here last, we took a day off from working in the house to go to the beach.  One of the things we all are good at is finding


shark’s teeth. 


According to the Hawaiian culture, it is believed that sharks are the embodiment of god and their tooth as a protective amulet.

If you’re not into shark-tooth collecting, you may not realize that these are more than just teeth -- they're fossils.  That's why most of the teeth that are found aren't white, but gray, black or brown.

Shark teeth are arranged in conveyor belt rows and can be replaced within a day.  Most sharks have five rows of teeth; the bull shark has fifty rows of teeth.

 I also found this pretty and intact shell


and started to pick it up but - - its occupant, a hermit crab, popped out so I left it and him alone.  Did you know?  You can keep hermit crabs as pets.  Yes, I did know that – you used to be able to buy them at Murdocks in Galveston (no more, the once unique and unusual tourist stop has turned into a pricey tourist trap).  Just in case you didn’t know -

Hermit crabs can live up to 10 years.

They can grow up to 6 inches long.

Hermit crabs can be handled, but will pinch if threatened or scared.

They molt (shed their skin) and therefore change shells as they grow.

The shell is important because they do not have a hard external shell for protection.

 Couple weeks ago, while Bobby and I were putting my yard arch together, this slithered by.  I got the sharp-shooter and he cut the head off.  Yes, it is a coral snake.


They have the second-strongest venom of any snake (the black mamba has the deadliest venom), but they are generally considered less dangerous than rattlesnakes because coral snakes have a less effective poison-delivery system. 

Coral snakes have small, fixed fangs and a small mouth so it is difficult for them to puncture human skin.  Because of their small size, these snakes don’t carry much venom in their fangs, so they try to hold onto their victim for some time.

A rhyme was penned as a way for people to quickly and easily differentiate between a nonvenomous scarlet kingsnake and the coral snake.

Red on yellow, kill a fellow; Red on black, friend of Jack.

 This is my youngest grandson and son.  Sigh.  I’m hoping I won’t get any phone calls about grown-up adult male persons and broken bones.


Skateboarding is considered to have developed from surfing, and was initially known as sidewalk surfing, with the first skateboard being introduced in the year 1950.

Among all the sports in the world, skateboarding has made its mark among the top ten most popular sports.

Skateboarding is now a preferred mode of travel for students around their campus. Furthermore, it has emerged as an alternative to and a way of dealing with the continuously increasing cost of gas.

 This is my Mistletoe Cactus (Rhipsalis).  A friend gave me a cutting many long years ago. 


Rhipsalis is a genus of flowering plants in the cactus family, typically known as mistletoe cacti. They are found in parts of Central America, the Caribbean and northern regions of South America. They also inhabit isolated locations in Africa and Asia, and are the only cactus group naturally occurring in the Old World. 


And, guess what!  It bloomed.  The flower is tiny, maybe the size of a pencil eraser but there are flowers and buds all over it.  First time ever.  Usually I keep it in deep shade but with the move, deep shade is something I don’t have any of.  So, it’s been in the sun.  I guess it likes the sun well enough to bloom.

 The Demon Duo have started to annoy the robovac again.  So, I moved it.  Took them about 5 minutes to find it and once again, slap it away from it’s home.  Argh!


This is the reason I do not pinch their heads right off and tell god they died.

 Well, Happy Monday to all!



26 Oct 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

Adventuring Out in the Wilds

 So, Bobby and I took last Thursday (the 2nd day of fall weather we’ve had so far) and went adventuring.  Our first stop was Egypt …..


Yeah – not that Egypt.  Egypt, TX.  And, just in case you didn’t know  . . .


Egypt was founded before any other settlement in Wharton County when Eli Mercer established a plantation and a ferry crossing on the Colorado River in 1829. The town, originally called Mercer's Crossing, during a severe drought in the area, supplied corn to surrounding settlements, and people began to refer to it as Egypt (as in Genesis 42:1-3).  As of the 2000 census, Egypt had a population of 26.  Couldn’t find any mention of the 2010 census so, I’m thinking it is considered a suburb of Wharton.


Is this not the perfect Halloween decoration!
Just needs some spooky lights in the windows

 From there we went to Eagle Lake, TX.  It is home to a golf course and the largest private lake in Texas.   Private being the key word.  No going down to the lake, we tried.  The primary things to do in Eagle Lake – grow rice and hunt geese.  There is an old hotel – The Farris – now closed but there was this unique thing in the front yard . .


Can’t decide if it was for prisoners or regular people – bars on the windows and such.  I’m pretty sure I would not want to travel in it though.

 From there we drove over to Alleyton.  Now, I have seen the signs for Alleyton but have never been there.  And I learned some history. 

 Alleyton was settled in 1821 by the Alley brothers, Rawson, John, Thomas, William, and Abram.  In 1859 William Alley arranged for the extension of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway to his property and donated land for the right-of-way and for the building of shops, a roundhouse, a depot, and loading facilities.  During the Civil War Alleyton was the beginning of the "cotton road".  Cotton was brought by rail to Alleyton and then shipped to Mexico via wagon train, in order to bypass the Union blockade of Texas ports.  From there it was shipped to Europe.  Returning wagon trains brought military and domestic supplies, which were then shipped by rail to the rest of the Confederacy. 

 Today Alleyton is a small unincorporated town of about 500 residents.  About the most interesting thing was the Historic Alleyton Cemetery.


The oldest marked burial at the site is that of T. S. M. Robinson, whose marker inscription reads "Born in Arkansas, Died in Texas, 1852, Age 22 years." Additional burials at the site include veterans of the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.

 There was, in the cemetery, one of the largest oak trees I’ve seen.


Or so I thought.

 From Alleyton we drove over to Columbus.  Again, while I’ve driven past Columbus, I’ve never actually been there.  It is smaller than I thought with about 3700 residents.  The town site, then called Beason’s Crossing, was originally established in 1822.  After the Texas Revolution and the population returned, residents renamed Beason's Crossing "Columbus".  Some speculate that it was named in honor of residents who migrated from Columbus, Ohio, while others believe the town was named after Christopher Columbus, who explored on behalf of Spain in the late 15th century.  Columbus has one of the coolest courthouses I’ve seen.


Classic revival building--erected in 1890-1891 in form of a Greek cross.

 And, there is this on the corner



I’d put it right next to my house!

 Remember I mentioned big tree in Alleyton??


Okay, THIS is a big tree!  It’s also an oak and filled with all sorts of gnome doors and fairy holes.

As we turned toward Wharton, we came upon The FreBo Ranch and skidded to a halt because I saw


Just don’t see many zebras here in Texas.  Their goal – “we are driven by a single goal; to share our love for all animals with the passing public”.

 And, so ends the Texas Travelogue for today.


19 Oct 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020


 Most nights both cats sleep with me.  Zack sleeps up close to me while Daryl sleeps on the foot of the bed.

 And, other than it’s like sleeping with two small furnaces, that works.

About 4o’clock this morning, Daryl got up and jumped on Zack.  And they tussled all over the bed.  I sat up, grabbed Daryl and tossed him off the bed.  I may have said some unkind things.

 Just a few minutes later, I heard some ‘clawing’ noises, sat up and turned on the light and saw






15 Oct 2020

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Interesting stuff - again

 Living in a small town has its good and bad.  Bad:  there’s not very much fun to do, specially now when going out is such a crapshoot.  Good:  when you get ready to vote early, in what is touted to be an earth-shaking election, you don’t have to wait in line more than 5 minutes.  Maybe not so much a ‘good’ thing.  But anyway, I voted today!



Another interesting thing about living here – you never know what you’ll see.  Today, at our local Walmart, I saw (honest-to-god) an older man (between 60-70) wearing jeans (okay), a bright, somewhat garish Hawaiian shirt (ooookay – a little odd but we are still having summer, so . . .), and (truth – I saw it with my very own eyeballs) a coonskin cap.  You will have to take my word for it because he was walking briskly and I just couldn’t get everything together fast enough to sneak a picture.


 A couple of neighbors in the old neighborhood are having a political SIGN off. 

One house put a Biden/Harris sign in their yard. 

Then, the people across the street countered with a Trump/Pence sign.  Then, oddly, the Trump sign disappeared for a couple of weeks and

house #1 put out a 2nd Biden sign (they’re on a corner, so one in the front; one on the side). 

So, house #2 put out the Trump sign again. 

Then, house #1 put up two Biden flags and

house # 2 put out a Trump flag. 

And, finally, house #1 upped the ante and put out a large poster on the side of their house - Biden/Harris.

 As of this morning, house #2 hasn’t done anything to counter so, right this minute Biden is ahead.

 Here lately, I have spent early morning hours doing yard work.  As of today, I have planted trees – 2 catalpa, 1 black walnut, 1 pomegranate, 1 I-don’t-know-what-it-is; grew-it-from-a-seed-from-NM-but-I-think it’s a Mexican Bird of Paradise tree (different from the bush but similar)


1 desert orchid tree, and, 1 confederate rose. 


I am going to have trees bygod! 


Of course all the trees were grown from cutting and/or seed so all are smallish but I am expecting each one to be as tall as I am by this time 2021 (don’t burst my dream bubble). 

 I have also planted ferns (under the front porch),


lemon grass, star jasmine, and night blooming jasmine.  And, I have discovered the soil here is not soil – it’s clay.  Heavy black clay – oh, goodie – just like living in Houston again.  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to grow things in clay so I expect it will be a relearning process.  I still have another confederate rose, a desert orchid, and a maple tree to plant but now I need to wait until I get a shed and carport.  Then, I have a bunch of other plants that need to go into the ground but those will have to wait until next spring.

Yep - that would be me - don't know where things will be planted.   Eek!!  I have to change for yoga or I’ll be late.  I shall leave you with one more thought.

 Get out and vote when you can people!

 14 Oct 2020

Saturday, October 10, 2020



Okay – it really is October – right?  I haven’t opened my door and stepped out to some alternate reality.

 I ask this because it’s 90° outside today.  Summer!  We are back to having summer.  Ugh.

 I am trying to channel October and Fall/Autumn/Cooler Days/Chilly Nights. 


And here’s just a little October stuff –

 Today is the last day of Mystery Series Week.  Why read a series, you ask


A single hit-and-run story doesn’t have the nuances of a serial sleuth, a career caper, or a mastermind detective. When the mystery ends, so does the mystery and the trail goes cold.  Mystery series continue to baffle. Just when one “who-done-it” is solved, another one is already baffling local authorities.  Then, arrives Sherlock Holmes, Phillip Marlowe, Hercules Poirot, Nancy Drew, Alex Cross, Miss Marple, Jack Reacher, China Bayles, Harry Bosch, Aloysius X. L. Pendergast, along with many others.  So try some Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Lee Child, Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child, Donna Andrews, Susan Wittig Albert, Margaret Maron etc, etc, etc.

 Today, October 10 is also

 Squid & Cuttlefish Day

World Porridge Day

 Who knew there was a day for squid and cuttlefish?


Below the thunders of the upper deep,

Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides; above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous and secret cell

Unnumber'd and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the lumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages, and will lie

Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

— "The Kraken" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1830

And, World Porridge Day – so Did You Know?

 Porridge-like preparations of grass-borne cereal grains, pseudo cereals (like quinoa and buckwheat), and other crops have a long and varied history as meals. Quinoa, for example, “has been used in porridge for more than 3,000 years,” while congee, a rice porridge prepared throughout Asia, has reportedly been eaten in China “since 2500 BC.  Researchers have found evidence that hot, cooked mush began earlier than that— as early as 12,000 years ago—and it would go on to spark the Neolithic Revolution and our exit from the Stone Age.  Gruel (a watered down version of porridge) was briefly thought to act as a medicine for infants and ill persons (easy on the stomach). 


Hey!  You might need to know this stuff at your next exotic festivity!


So remember this picture?  Cute little (oh, 18 lbs or so) kitty peeping out from behind the books . . . .


This was the end result . . . .


Well, that’s about all for today.  I should be thinking Halloweenie thoughts, scary stories, interesting costumes, jack-o-lanterns, COOLER WEATHER.  It’s hard to do when you’re wearing shorts and tank tops and looking for the sunscreen!

 Next time.


10 Oct 2020