Oh, This Old Thing?

Just a quick note to those of you who adore the old stuff, fabric, costumes and the like. There is an auction soon of Tasha Tudor’s historic 18th and 19th Century costume collection and if you are a fan, you should not miss it. I don’t know what they’ll go for. Prior auctions of millinery goods had fantastic prices.

I happen to ADORE Miss Tudor who is in her twilight years. Do go see them and take a look around. Her prints – what few are left – have trebled in price since I started considering them. I think they are a very safe investment. And a harkening back to simpler days…

Halloween Party

So the powers that be arranged a Halloween party for last Saturday – some Troopers, some not. Well, most not, I guess. But the theme was batted back and forth for a week before it was decided: 2nd Annual Pimp’s ‘N Ho’s Extravaganza.

Once upon a time I would have had a wardrobe utterly suitable for just such an event. However, I was also about 4 sizes smaller. So I tossed aside the patent leather Vollers and went with the more forgiving Wolford. (Not quite that little number but like it…think feather boa neckline.) My favorite if now tatty Racing Stripe stockings made an appearance (they were once very popular at the law firm) as did the corset-heeled shoes, also too tatty for anything but costume-wear, now.

Trooper donned something with a Latin feel, not having a wardrobe wide enough to encompass the theme fully. When we arrived, the home was festive and the other “Ho’s” decked out. The always-welcomed Catholic Schoolgirl look was there. And the more friendly “Daisy Duke” look was present. I was more…high priced call girl, I suppose. Which is appropriate since I have about 18 years on those wee things…

But the men…oh, they went all out. It was an incredible array of tasteless artfulness. I cannot begin to tell you. The alcohol flowed (everyone lived a drunken stumble from the location) but we made it an early night – leaving when the tequila shots were broken out.

And the theme song that kept playing in my mind? Scissor Sisters’ “Filthy and Gorgeous“.

Tales From the Cattle Sale

As promised, herein the tale of my first cattle sale. Imagine a long, flat county road with little to distract the eye and then a long line of cars parked on both sides of the blacktop suddenly appears. “People!”, my mind thrust at me after so much “hay…more hay…nice round bales”.

This, my friends, is the annual Cattlemens Cancer Research Fundraiser. We’d been invited by the locals at the Star Chamber Cookout. The Teasip security was evident and gently accepted Trooper’s Maroon Out (Aggie) t-shirt while saying that there was a fee to park. (There wasn’t but the rivalry dictated some form of mischief.)

My senses were all on alert – a lot of people, a lot of motion and too many angles to keep track of…I put on my kindest smile and we signed in at the guest table. I was “branded” with the alcohol bracelet and we entered into a stand of tents next to the cattle barn. For the most part, it was comprised of auction items in one tent and two tents of silent auction items – one of which was already finished. I forced Trooper in the direction of the open silent auction tent though all of him was tending toward the barn.

The variety of the items was astounding – everything from private hunts to a basket of Shiner goodies was there. But my eye was on the handmade afghan in the proper purple shade of the local highschool colors. It was very large – suitable to cover much of me rather than just a shoulder wrap. And as soft as a kitten. We wrote our bids down and then moved toward the cattle barn. On the way we met a few of the Star Chamber folks and spoke briefly. He was asking how one acquired one of those prodding sticks they were using on the cattle. He said he needed one for me.

Inside the barn it was cooler and far more crowded. We inched forward and I doffed my hat to not obscure the view of others. It was like a small school auditorium with a sunken stage area with round pole fencing (see how many terms I’ve already learned?!). We found Miss Kitty and her husband. I must have had my mouth open as he grinned and leaned in to me – “Your first cattle sale?” We both cackled and I nodded.

The seats in the front “orchestra” area were very old fashioned and, if I recall, had a Masonic or other such label on their bases – “courtesy of” sort of thing. We squatted in the aisle next to the couple as the sale proceeded. One bull was donated by the hostess of the cookout – a fine specimen, he filled that small fenced off area. A man to either side had a long stick that ticked at it, turning it away from one side and the other as it sought any way out and away from all those eyes.

It sold once for about $400 and then the auctioneer – who was fantastic – looked up to the stands. “Taking him home or going again?” he asked. Given the nod, he started up, “We’re goin’ again, folks!” and started rattling off the numbers amidst the appreciative applause. That bull sold at least 5 times before someone took him “home”.

We went back out into the sunshine to check on the silent auction – I wanted to ensure I wasn’t outbid on that afghan. I got a beer and saw Miss Kitty sitting, eating. We got our own BBQ and ate then went over and sat with her for a time. The cattle sale continued and I knew Trooper wanted to be back in there. We headed back to the coolness inside and this time we could see the seats in front were opening up. I went ahead and took one at Trooper’s urging while he visited – he has met so many people and everyone was there.

One cow after another bull came by and you could feel the heat coming off them being that close. There was a hawker for the auctioneer standing by me, pointing out the bids and helping to raise the stakes a bit. His shirt was so starched that it would stand on its own if he leaned it against a wall. And then it happened…a cow came through, bowels released at the scent of so many humans and it trapped there. And the tail – the tail flicked with a final sort of “fuck you all” sentiment and sent excrement flying. I was tagged with dime sized splatters on my boots and jeans and even my hand was flecked. I laughed with the shock of it and the hawker came by and – God, he knew I was a city girl – he said, “Don’t worry – that’s money, girl. Pure money.”

I tried to just smile and act as though I get splattered with cow shit on a daily basis and wiped off what I could on my jeans and waited patiently. Eventually, the sale ended and we headed back to the silent auction, washing my hands on the way out. We ran around with the rest of the crowd, checking on our bids and making adjustments. I didn’t see Trooper when he upped the afghan bid after he saw someone near it.

They shooed us all out and the live auction began – oh, how I coveted that damned Aermotor windmill with its giant tower. The thing was worth 3 times what it went for in my mind…it was donated by one of the Star Chamber guys – the shaman. Seems he has a pasture full of the things, all different kinds. One thing after another was sold for at least its value with friendly competitive bidding and much instigation from the auctioneer.

Finally, the silent auction sheets were posted and lo, we won only one thing – the afghan. I was grinning as we all filed into the barn to pay for our items and then back to the tent to fetch them. We watched a bit and spoke with folks as the event closed down and tents were dismantled. Trooper was very handy in helping load the larger items into truck beds – cast iron cooking pits, picnic tables and benches, and the like. I stood and spoke with the representatives of the charity, getting details on what we might be able to do to help. Before we left one of the guys sent him to his truck to get a prodding stick – a leftover from last year’s event.

And then, the sun set and we headed home, the afghan nestled in my lap and the cow shit forgotten. A true Texas time…

Ever since, when I “get out of line” he says “Where’s my stick?!”. I won’t besurprised if he gets a mounting rack for it in the back window of his truck. Sigh…

Small Town News

So I’ve owed you guys a report of the small town doings of late. Let us start with Trooper being invited to what I have dubbed the local “Star Chamber”. All the old guys get together each morning and talk of things. Of course, these are all the old guys of local politics so one gets a fairly intimate view of the way things work. Mind you, it is not for the ladies. I don’t mind. I don’t miss the likely fart jokes and such.

Anyway, from there we received the invitation to the Star Chambers’ annual dinner event held for the ladies. I sort of enjoy that paternal aspect. All the gentlemen get together and grill about 100 ribeyes, assorted baked potato, rolls, cole slaw and other sides and host it way up on the hill – the best vantage point in town – at the home of the folks who donated the land for a school. We can see it from our front yard.

We’ve adored the home from afar as it sits like a modern castle on the hill. Up close, it is lovelier still. When you pull up the long drive you pass their cattle and their “tank” (think large pond). The house is fenced off from the cattle rather than the neighbors as there are none for a mile. When we arrived, I was immediately welcomed (as were my blueberry bars) by the women who had gathered in the kitchen. The owner offered a drink and I took a glass of wine quite willingly – you can imagine how my non-sociable self bristled when surrounded by at least a dozen of them. The conversation ran to what one did and most of them were volunteers for their respective churches. I knew that conversation would come soon enough – Trooper and I had discussed answers.

After my contribution to the dessert buffet was displayed we were summoned to the very large patio by one of the husbands – time to eat. Everyone gathered and the local shaman (I’ve no idea of his true affiliation but everyone looked to him for this task) gave the benediction. It was then we gathered to fetch our gigantic meal and I had a first look at all the men.

Mind you, these are almost all “gentlemen cattle barons” of a sort. They’ve worked for years and acquired the land and now just make hay (literally) and cows. Some were dressed in Texas Formalwear (creased Wranglers and starched western shirt or button down), some in their overalls and others still in whatever they’d worn all day. The women made a more colorful group, this being their chance to dress a bit for all the men.

Of course, we were by far the youngest there but it mattered not at all – I found their company so much more enjoyable. Great conversations ensued. We will never forget when Miss Kitty leaned over and said of her husband, “He hasn’t heard himself fart in 30 years”. A bit later, one man asked the other what he’d been doing earlier – kicking up so much dust. “Just discing”, he says. “You were kicking up some dust yourself over there…” Farmers…

As we finished dinner and set to dessert the sun set and a delicious warm wind came over the hill – a wind like that on a beach after a long day in the sun. The stars were bright and as we looked a shooting star of generous size streaked across the wide expanse. What a glorious portent, I thought.

Everyone began to take their leave but the hostess – whom we’d hardly had time with – asked us to wait a bit so we could chat. A gentleman asked that we consider attending the charity event in a few weeks. In time, we made our way home in the dark, the cattle quiet beside us as we walked down the drive.

Perhaps tomorrow I shall relate the story of that charity function. And of how I learned that one ought not to sit in the front row of the cattle sale.

Making Exercise Tolerable

You know, I cannot think of a single person who truly just loves to sweat to stay in shape. Oh, those young things – they find it all manner of pleasing but when the joints start to age and the flesh hangs heavily? Yeah, not as much fun.

If you are like me, you look for things to reward yourself when you DO work out. And for things that are pretty. Darling Carushka has just that – assuming, of course, you don’t have boobs. Ahem. So, I stick to the bottoms. Er…that sounds nasty. I prefer to purchase the pants, personally. (Say that three time fast.)

Thing is – and why it is blogworthy – there is a sale. You get 40% off if you type in HOMEPAGE as a coupon code at checkout.

My other favorite location (though I suspect them of all manner of liberal and vegetarian nonsense) is the ONLY place where you can buy a workout bra that will truly fit. This matters. A LOT. Anyone remember that scene from the movie “Switch” where Ellen Barkin jogs while holding her boobs? Yeah. Ahem. (I just remembered the BEST LINE from that movie – “You know how many animals I had to F**** to get this coat?”)

Anyway…can you tell I am back on the wagon? 30 mins cardio and 50 crunches today.

Because I want my ass back, damn it.

Spending Time

Ah, days of vacation passing by…yes, we’ve been taking a few days off together and it has been just fantastic. Of course, I don’t sleep in like he does – my body just refuses – and I’ve had to still check the office email because people just don’t get the concept of vacation. But…

We went to the TSU campus in San Marcos to see the Lonesome Dove gallery exhibit and stood in rapture at movie props. (I adored the final love letter to Clara.) If you are a fan of the movie, you ought to see the place as the exhibit moves on end of March next year.

We hit the Hill Country and just wandered the small roads on the way back home.

We’ve revisited his youth at Canyon Lake where he used to go while in the Army. They’d jump off a cliff into the water far below, avoiding the shelf of rock that jutted out. Here you can see the place – just above the orange sign that probably says something about not jumping off the cliff.

It was a very blustery day but we walked across the top of the earthen dam to get a better view and then worked our way via truck back to the park to get to that vantage point.

The kind lady let us in as the sun set for a free drive-around. We got out and he walked, his memory striving to bring back the place, the views, and he finally was able to erase the Now and find that path – behind a fence, now – that led to that place of youthful revelry. I watched the tall grass, all golden now, wave in the constant breeze and it was like being on a boat – it gave you a sense of the ground in motion. I’ve made a note to return again at sunset for a photo.

Yesterday, we took the back roads of our town – well in the back of things – and found many lovely old farms and homes. I’ll bring my camera next time and get some pretty photos. He talked to a mother cow, too, her brand new calf laying in the grass. Seems she didn’t like what he had to say as his catterwauling got her to do the same and reinforcements arrived, Bossy Bessy running, udders akimbo, to her aid. We laughed and drove on, not wanting to upset her too much.

And the gardening…we picked up all we need to revamp the entryway and got a good start on it last night as the sun set. I’ll be out there again in a few while he sleeps in.

What a glorious time together…so many fantastic sights and quiet moments. He’ll be FTO’ing soon and these times together will be few for the next 6 months. (Let’s just say that this group of graduates appears to be that of warm bodies more than great candidates…or maybe his area just got the scraps…) It’s going to take a lot of work to get that fellow into shape. But he’s prepared to do so. This isn’t his first time training someone.

What a grand life…and what a terrific place Texas is…sigh…

The Evidence is Lacking

I’ve been very patiently clicking along, looking for photos of the debauchery near the Chatooga, land of the infamous pig squealing and V-man’s favorite song. Sure, sure – a dirndl made an appearance. And a horny Zonker. And the ewe….but…is there no film of the music? Or did they all get so drunk so early that no one was capable?

I so wish we could have been there…not that I’d be terribly talkative. LOL But I like to think Trooper could have managed to get for Denny down the stairs without crippling him further.

So I consoled myself with a trip to the salon. Actually, it’s not even. Just the usual hatchet job place but there is a young lady there with great skills with color and cut. I love talking with her – so much enthusiasm for the future…life hasn’t beaten it out of her yet. LOL And she gently remarked on the caterpillars that lived over my eyes. Yes, I know…I’ve neglected them for 3 months, now…so I agreed to the wax, cautioning her that I am NOT a fan of the thin brow – that I have a fat face and need it for balance. She did a good job. And it was much faster than two days of torturous plucking.

Anyway, my hair is smelly but lovely. Poor Trooper – I said the same and he stuck his nose in and sniffed deep – then staggered away and barked. Yup, that’ll teach him. (Private joke.)

And now…time for a soak in the tub, I think. Maybe tomorrow the evidence will present itself. I imagine it takes time for the brain cells to rebuild themselves…