Thursday, October 30, 2008

A few little things I remember about growing up....

1.  Sitting on the curb on a rainy day with our feet in the rushing water and trying to make little dirt dams
2.  Dipping my raw carrots in ketchup
3.  Mary the rabbit, Chocolate the dog, and Cheema the cat....and Cheema #2, the next cat!
4.  The smell of Carmen's tacos
5.  Playing baseball, and hide and seek in our backyard
6.  The smell of the little cedar boxes we always bought in Ruidoso
7.  Running away to Roy English's house, and Mom saying "OK!"
8.  Sargent, who had the most beautiful lawn on the block
9.  Our babysitter who always threatened to call the cops on us, and whose dad just              happened to be the Chief of Police!
10. The smell of mothballs at Grandma's house....mmmmmmm
11. Having to listen to Daddy read instruction manuals for each and every new appliance we ever bought! I NEVER read instruction manuals now.
12. Climbing the China Berry tree and crossing the patio roof to get to our tree house
13. Jumping on the Jenkins' trampoline and drinking their milk out of their side-by-side, restaurant-style milk machine. It was always so yummy and cold!
14. Using TV trays to slide down the hill when it snowed
15. Watching "The Mummy" with Patti and Rico and being scared to death - every time!
16. Flying kites in the park across the street
17. Rico throwing Patti's "Flower Drum Song" record like a frisbee over the fence of the reservoir because she played it so many times. He had warned her.....
18. Our dog Mutts, running around the yard with Daddy's freshly grilled (or should I say freshly charred!) chicken or steaks
19. Our flocked Christmas trees
20. How Mother made each and every Christmas magical

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Survival of the Dumbest!

Saturday Patti, Mom and I took a day trip to Colonia Juarez to see Jennifer, Sasi and Jeneanne, and let Mom visit with her sister, Aunt Nellie. It's only a 3 hour drive, and very do-able in one day....assuming all goes as planned.

Our drive down was uneventful, which is great with the conditions in Mexico like they are. We got thru all the checkpoints without any problems. The only stop we made was in Casas Grandes to get Mother's hair cut and styled. Patti and I had been extremely negligent in getting that done earlier and poor Mom looked like a homeless woman, as you can see in the picture below! Her hair was down to her shoulders, combed to the side and just awful. We ended up at a beauty school and didn't know what to expect at first, especially when they showed us this picture of a funky haircut all spiked up! We agreed to it anyway, and you can see Mom wasn't all that thrilled with what was happening to her! But during the styling process, they used a curling iron and she look really cute - not funky at all! Aunt Nellie always looks so prim and proper, we just couldn't take Mother to see her looking like she did.

Our visit was great fun. Mother is 95 and Aunt Nellie is 92 and at first they didn't even recognize each other! We had to introduce them. They are so funny together. Their conversations are nothing but nonsense! But they have alot of fun together, and that's so nice to see.

Jennifer and John fixed us a delicious lunch. After we had eaten, Aunt Nellie took all the extra brownies off the plate, wrapped them in a napkin and a baggie and took them home. That was a little odd!

I called Rocky to let him know we'd be on the road by 4:30. We planned to spend the last hour at Aunt Nellie's home with Jen and Sas, but I always forget to include the time it takes to get Mother out of the car and into the house, and the reverse when we have to leave. It's a significant! By the time we were actually in the car and ready to go, it was 5:30! When we were finally on our way, but still in Aunt Nellie's driveway, Mother asked "Where are we going?" When I said we were on our way back to El Paso, she said "I hope I can go to the bathroom before we leave."

Grrrrrrrr. Patti, being "patient and kind," asked her if she could wait 3 more hours!! "Well, I'll TRY!" was Mom's response! So we looked at each other, sighed, and backed up and started the process of getting mom out of the car, into the house, to the bathroom (that's another story altogether!), back to the car, into the car and finally we were off.....2 hours late! After stopping for tortas where the store was closed, gas and queso Menonita, it delayed us just enough that when we got to the Santa Teresa bridge it had closed, exactly 3 minutes before we got there. We couldn't believe it!

I have to interject a story here. There's a military checkpoint half way between where we bought the cheese and the border. The soldiers there check mostly for weapons, but probably look for drugs too. Patti and I both speak fairly good Spanish, and between the two of us, we're awesome! Patti was driving so she was in charge of fielding all the questions. I guess the soldier couldn't see into the back seat where mother was sitting, because he asked if we had any "pasajeros" (passengers). So Patti reaches for the handle to pop the trunk at the exact same time I told the soldier "Yes, our mother is with us," while I point with my thumb toward the back seat. So up pops the trunk, and the soldier looks at Patti, then at the trunk, then at me and back at the trunk. He very slowly walked toward the trunk fully expecting to see our mother back there. I asked Patti "WHAT ARE YOU DOING????" She said "I got confused!" I don't know how she could have thought pasajeros meant cajuela (trunk)!! Finally we all got on the same page and he let us go. That was a close one! Those guys don't have anything close to a sense of humor!

So now it's 10:03 p.m. Being a little closer to the border, I finally had a phone signal and was able to let Rocky know we were so close, yet so far! Because the bridge was closed, we had to drive 10 miles back to the road that takes you to Juarez, which is supposed to go directly to the Santa Fe bridge. Well, that didn't happen. (On a side note, the highway we were on now, took us right through the Home Depot parking lot in Juarez! Isn't that strange??) We spent two more hours of meandering around unfamiliar parts of one of the most dangerous city in the world! Patti, who has this uncanny sense of direction had completely shut down, and I had no clue where we were, except when we hit the red-light district. That was VERY interesting!! All we knew is where we were, not where we were in relation to the bridge! So we asked a taxi driver if he could tell us how to get there, and he said he'd lead us there in his car.....for $5! He got us there in about 3 minutes and I was so grateful, I paid him $10.

It's now past midnight and there's a hold up in the line to cross the border. We waited at least 30-45 minutes before we could finally pass. When we got to the US side of the border, Mother pipes up and says within earshot of the immigration officer, "Is this the place where you told me to say I'm an American?" Another uncomfortable moment, but I don't think he heard what she said, thank goodness, because all we had to prove her citizenship was a Mexican passport! Those guys don't have a sense of humor either. We got home at 1 a.m. and were exhausted! A three hour drive took us eight hours!

We had LOTS of laughs on the trip, because Patti and I think everything is funny, but we were so, so happy to be home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Take me back to Tulsa...."

This past weekend we decided Patti needed to get outta Dodge, so she and I took a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma. We were able to kill two birds with this trip. It was Trevor's birthday on the 18th (Trevor is Bobbi's oldest son) AND we had football tickets to see the UTEP Miners play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Isn't that the stupidest name for a mascot?? The only problem was....they played like a hurricane! The first quarter was great ~ everytime we made a touchdown, they made a touchdown. Back and forth for 20 minutes until the score was tied at 21. Imagine our excitement! Then we watched it quickly get out of control until the third quarter, when we slunk (is that a word?) out of the stadium all decked out in our UTEP orange, trying to pretend that it was "only a game", with a score of 70 to 35! Before we were even off the stadium grounds, the score was 77 to 35.

I'm the tiny little one on the left(!), Trevor, Patti, Beth and Glen.

Our seats were on the first row of the stadium, directly behind the Miner bench. We were so close we could almost touch them, and pretty excited about that! Beth complained alot about the smell! But our excitement about being so close to the players went south in a hurry because we could actually hear what they were saying to each other, and if I told you what they said, someone would file a obscenity complaint against me. It was shocking! I don't know what we thought went on down there. It seemed from a distance they're all real happy all the time, chest-bumping, high-fiving each other, slammin' each other on the helmet. You know how they are. I always thought they were saying stuff like "Good job!!" or "Atta boy!" "I love you, man!" But NOOOOOOO!!

We had an hour and a half layover in Dallas. We found our gate but there was no place to sit, so we sat along the concourse just people-watching. Don't ask why we dedided to do this, and to be fair to Patti, it was my idea, but to be fair to me, she went right along with it! (and she calls me a sheep!) We decided we'd make negative comments about the people who were passing by. "She needs a make-over!" and "Get a load of THAT!" and "Good grief. Did she get dressed in the dark?" and "That guy needs to buy an iron." and "What was she THINKING?" and "He looks just like a leprechan!" Anyway, we were so intent on making fun of everyone, when I looked at my watch, it was 3 minutes to "wheels up!" So we ran to the gate and of course were the last ones on the plane and didn't get to sit together, and as most of you know, that is sheer torture for Patti and I. So I guess that was our punishment for being so juvenile! Just to let you know, we did make some nice comments about this one really classy lady.

Saturday, Beth (Trevor's wife) took us shopping at some great places. We had so much fun while Trevor stayed home and smoked a brisket and a rump roast for his birthday bash. It's what he wanted to do with his friends, so we let him! Patti was as surprised, as I was when I first went to Tulsa, at how beautiful the town is. It's really something! And yes...the above is really a picture of Tulsa, but it doesn't even begin to show how pretty it is.

After shopping we celebrated Trevor's birthday with his friends and had a really fun time. He's such a great cook! Beth made the cake, I iced it, another friend of theirs helped with the candles, and if you look closely you'll see the candles say "37." Really, they do! Patti took a nap. We probably should have celebrated a few hours longer because unfortunately shutting down the party takes us back to the first part of this blog....the football game.

Our flights back to El Paso were uneventful except for Dallas (again), but not because we made fun of people. Patti decided she wanted a Cinnabon. Who doesn't??? They are SO GOOD. So we shared one and when I got home Sunday night, I read on the internet, for the second time, that a Cinnabon is the #1 WORST snack food in America! Can you believe that? Oh was worth it!

Seriously now, who wouldn't want to stuff their face with one of these??

So that was our trip. There was only one snafĂș and that was in El Paso. Our luggage decided to take a detour to Phoenix, but it came back a few hours later, and Patti went to the airport to get it. All was well after that.

We had such a good time and Trevor and Beth are the greatest hosts!

Thanks guys! See you at Thanksgiving.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Memory Lane Mondays ~ Bread and Pies

I went to high school in Mexico, and lived with my mother's sister and her family. She had a daughter Lurlene, and she and I were the same age and quickly became like sisters. We had so much fun together and living in a small farming/ranching community that revolved around the church - it was the perfect scenario. It was probably the best 2 years of my life! What a great place to grow up!!

It wasn't all peachy tho. Every Saturday, before Lur and I could do anything, we had to make bread and pies. When she made bread, I'd make pies, which didn't even come close to resembling anything like this picture, and the next Saturday we'd switch. This was absolute torture for me because I'm not a baker, even now! Of course Lurlene was perfect at everything she did! It was alot of pressure for me!!

I don't recall how my pies turned out, but since I still can't make a decent pie today, and this is 42 years later, they were probably pretty sad. But the bread is a different story!

We used those large juice cans to bake the bread in and there were about 20 cans! My Aunt Nellie had a large family and going thru 20 loaves of bread each week was pretty normal. It took FOR-EVER to make all that bread.

Every Sunday our family dinner was attended by approximately 15-20 people. Aunt Nellie would drag out the bread, sliced nicely and place it on the table with homemade butter and jam. Everyone would glance at the bread and then at each other. I never could figure out how they knew that was MY week to make the bread! But I suppose it was obvious. The really tough part for me was the looks on everyone's faces when they bit into the sliced bread. Some would cough or start choking and frantically reach for their water! I think this was the first time I ever saw anyone perform the Heimlich Maneuver! It made me want to become a nurse!!

This went on for a year and a half, and sad because no one would ever eat more than one bite of my bread! No one eats it now either!! But one day my Uncle Dave, my mother's brother, called me and asked if it was my week to make bread. When I told him I had just finished the bazillion loaves I had to make before I could have any fun, he asked me if he could have every single loaf! Well, you can imagine my excitement!! Finally, someone actually wanted my bread! I asked Aunt Nellie if that was ok with her and she's said "Oh, YES!" Even that response didn't dampen my spirit! The next day we had no bread for the family dinner and everyone was OK with that too! Looking back they all seemed thrilled!

When Uncle Dave came by to pick up the bread I was so excited I could hardly speak! But finally I asked him why he wanted all of it and he said, as nicely as he could, "Bob, I'm going to the mountains to round up my cattle and your bread is the best thing I've found to throw at the mules to get them to move off the road!"

I probably should have been crushed, and I kind of was, but I was mostly "OK" that someone had finally found a good use for my bread, other than having to eat it! But on the bright side, Aunt Nellie taught me how to make a mean tapioca!