groovin' with Tom Petty, among other things

It's been ages since I've listened to the music in my iTunes library. Two years and some days to be exact. I was waiting up for my 16 yr old muletta to return home after a friday night football game. So I started browsing through the library. It became a sort of 'walk down memory lane'-ish activity. Each song I listened to reminded me of 'time and place'. When my muletta checked in with me, I was listening to this song by Tom Petty:

"Mary Jane's Last Dance" has a laid-back, groovin' vibe to it. My daughter started dancing. I started dancing. We both were doing our funky groovin' moves (hers being more modern and up to date than mine!) And truthfully, without thinking about consequences, parental responsibility and all that goes with it, I took an IMAGINARY toke on my 'mary jane' and passed it over to my daughter. She didn't even miss a beat. She took her own hit and handed 'mary jane' back to me.

Then we both broke down into a fit of giggles.

There was no "Gee Mom, I can't believe you just did that" recriminations from her. Instead, she propped herself up on my bed and so began a frank discussion of pot smoking (her friends that do / those who don't); her admission of curiosity about trying it; which led to a larger conversation about growing up, college, what she wants to be in life (she doesn't know yet). I let her talk. And I listened. I listened to the words behind the words, as well. When she asked, I answered as truthfully as possible. I dipped my oar into the waters here and there, but for the most part, I let her steer the boat.

It was a rare and wondrous moment.



happy halloween

All Souls
by Michael Collier

A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula,
Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through
the kitchen window at a raccoon perched
outside on a picnic table where it picks

over chips, veggies, olives, and a chunk of p√Ęte.
Behind us others crowd the hallway, many more
dance in the living room. Trotsky fusses with the bloody
screwdriver puttied to her forehead.

Hillary Clinton, whose voice is the rumble
of a bowling ball, whose hands are hairy
to the third knuckle, lifts his rubber chin to announce,
“What a perfect mask it has!” While the Count

whistling through his plastic fangs says, “Oh,
and a nose like a chef.” Then one by one
the other masks join in: “Tail of a gambler,”
“a swashbuckler’s hips,” “feet of a cat burglar.”

Trotsky scratches herself beneath her skirt
and Hillary, whose lederhosen are so tight they form a codpiece,
wraps his legs around Trotsky’s leg and humps like a dog.
Dracula and Oprah, the married hosts, hold hands

and then let go. Meanwhile the raccoon squats on
the gherkins, extracts pimentos from olives, and sniffs
abandoned cups of beer. A ghoul in the living room
turns the music up and the house becomes a drum.

The windows buzz. “Who do you love? Who do you love?”
the singer sings. Our feathered arms, our stockinged legs.
The intricate paws, the filleting tongue.
We love what we are; we love what we’ve become.




Just because you're down doesn't mean you're out!

Heather Dorniden wins a 600m sprint

from Nothing to do with Arbroath via TYWKIWDBI

This girl is AMAZING!!


Sun's Bad Day

Another guest post from the youngest mulette


The sun just had a nasty day,
refused to smile or shine.
It stayed behind the dark gray cloud,
a mottled, grim design.

But shortly after dinner time,
one ray poked through the gray.
A spark of golden yellow warmth
reminded us of day.

If you want to please us, Sun,
(don't take this as a warning)
If you're going to pierce the clouds,
please do it in the morning.

~ by the youngest mulette



Best Bumper Sticker of the Week

One of the things that I admire about Soubriquet is his attentiveness to the odd and humourous details of the world around him. He always catches on to something quite funny or eccentric long before I catch up to him and see it too. So, as I tend to spend the better part of my life in my car, I've started trying to be more attentive to funny bumper stickers. Unlike Soubriquet, however, I do not even know where the camera is on my new cell phone, much less use it as I'm driving and THEN upload the photos onto my laptop. Instead, I just repeat the funny line over and over to remember it and then go and GOOGLE the bumper sticker!! How did I ever live without the ability to GOOGLE ???

I saw this bumper sticker on my way to work this evening, next to an IMPEACH OBAMA sticker and TEXANS FOR ARIZONA: supporting the new illegal immigration laws. I decided fairly quickly that I wouldn't want to tangle with the driver of that truck! But this bumper sticker made me smile:

And last week's best bumper sticker winner was found on a car at my psychiatrist's office. It made me laugh, which is always helpful before seeing your shrink:



abraham verghese: the power of human touch

Whilst I might have wished to listen to Abraham Verghese
discuss his novel, Cutting For Stone, I found his lecture on TED
to be as poignant and moving as his fiction. He is, first and foremost, a doctor.
This lecture is for all who encounter a medical system that sometimes fails us,
leaving us to feel as though we are just another number,
another data point in the system.
I know of a few doctors to whom I would like to forward this video ...

Please enjoy!


Monster: a simile poem

A guest post written by the Youngest Mulette


Teeth as black as coal,
And a nasty, scary soul.

Hair as long as sticks,
And nails like tooth picks.

A body size like a king sized bed,
And feet like Mighty Joe Young's head.

Eyes as red as devil's blood,
And muscles as hard as a metal stud.

Ears as big as saucepan lids,
And a mighty roar like screaming kids.

~ by the youngest mulette


re-tales from retail ...

Setting: The mall, early autumn, 96 degrees F outside and sunny....

I promise, if you walk into my store with THIS hat on:

and THESE furry boots:

with a pair of SHORT denim shorts:

AND THEN you tell me that you live on HOBBIT LANE ....

I WILL LAUGH at you when you turn your back to me. In fact, as you walk out of my store, I will get a case of the uncontrollable GIGGLES, and I will be giggling and CRYING at the same time. And soon, my co-workers will be laughing and crying with me, and I will have to retreat to the back offices to compose myself. Later that evening, at our ladies' dinner,
we will ALL start LAUGHING AGAIN, as the story is re-told.

Yes, sometimes we are bad people.


Jane Austen meets The Bachelor

"She gave up pink drinks and took up tea long ago.
Chloe Parker, even after her divorce, still dreamed of a more romantic era. An age when a lady, in her gown and gloves, would, for sheer amusement, banter with a gentleman in his tight breeches and riding boots, smoldering in a corner of the drawing room."

And so opens the first chapter of my chick-lite read entitled, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy: Pride takes a hit in this Austen misadventure.

from the back cover:

"What Chloe thinks is a documentary turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Eight women are competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a gorgeous estate - and a one-hundred-thousand-dollar prize.... no cell phones, indoor plumbing, or deodorant to be found..."

This story reminded me of a couple of videos Mr. Soubriquet sent to me, long ago, that spoofed Jane Austen. Here's Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:

I promise I do have some 'serious literature' in the current book rotation.
Really. I do.


how the west was really won ...

thanks to Soubry for the cartoon!


I've been mummified!

Hello friends and faithful readers! My apologies for not responding to the last few posts or even posting that much this week. I'm on a new (old school) med for depression, and I feel like I've been wrapped in cotton gauze. The random crying spells are gone, but the random witticisms are gone as well. I feel like the best I can do is go around and drop a stone (o) in everyone's blog pond just to let you know that I AM reading. Gray. I feel gray and foggy.

A few thoughts that have filtered through the fog:

My oldest mulette came home from college last weekend for the first time. He spent a night and half a day with me before he went on to his dad's house. I really enjoyed his visit / listening to him talk about a typical college day and weekend. My greatest feeling was one of relief. He's adjusting well to life in a dorm; making new friends; doing well in his classes; and enjoying the social life of college: house parties, football games etc. He's even found a new passion: racketball! I'm very happy for him and will probably worry less about his well being now that I have seen him.

I read this passage in a book, The Goodbye Quilt by Susan Wiggs, about how it feels when a child leaves for college:

"When a child leaves for college, it is the end of something. Other than birth or death, leaving home for any reason is the most extreme of life transitions. One moment we're a family of three. The next, we've lost a vital member. It's a true loss, only people don't understand your grief. They don't send you sympathy cards or invite you to join a support group. They don't flock to comfort you. They don't come to your door bearing tuna casseroles and bottles of Cold Duck and platters of cookies on their good chintz china.

Instead, the journey to college is a rite of passage we mark as a joyous occasion, one we celebrate by buying luggage and books on how to build a fulfilling life. But really, if you ask any mother, she'll tell you that deep down, we want to mark it as a loss, a funeral of sorts. We never show our sorrow, though. Our sadness stays in the shadows like something slightly shameful."

This passage spoke true to me and how I felt when he left this summer. Now I'm adjusting to the loss but still mourn his presence in my everyday life.
My step-daughter is in town with her baby girl, visiting my ex. We had a girls' lunch out last Thursday with her, the baby and my 16 year old mulette. It was fun catching up on her life and holding the baby, who will be a year old next month!! Plus, I was grilled about my 'significant other's' visit to Texas .....!!! This luncheon, however, sparked a long text session with my daughter who longs to come home. (She and the youngest mulette have been staying at their dad's house while their sister has been visiting). So it's been a lonely 2 weeks around Chez Mule. And after the initial relief of not having to do laundry, wash dishes, cook dinner ..... I've been missing my mulettes! A few more days, and they will be back home.
I haven't been to see Kirsten Stingle's exhibit yet. However, she posted on her blog that this piece entitled "Down the Rabbit Hole" was sold opening night here in Houston:

My favorite piece is "Nourish":

I wonder how much her pieces are selling for ???
In the thousands, I am certain.
The origins of the word "Embiggen" (this is for Goatman who claimed
I made it up) According to Wikipedia,
in the sixteenth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season called "Lisa the Iconoclast:"

the episode features two neologisms: embiggen and cromulent which were intended to sound like real words but play on the fact that they are completely fabricated. Embiggen, coined by Dan Greaney, has seen use in several scientific publications. Embiggen is also featured in Wikitionary and the Urban dictionary.
For Adullamite who wrote a post, oh a week or two ago, regarding the sorry state of today's children and their lack of manners, I found this quote:

"Our youth now love luxury, they have bad manners
contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders,
and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now
tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no
longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict
their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their
food and tyrannize their teachers"

~Socrates (399 B.C.)

Which tells me that teenagers, through the centuries, have been tough going for their parents!!
Yeah! We have two winners! Out of the last 25 books I've read, I highly recommend the following two:

Room by Emma Donoghue (you don't realize how creepy it is until you've read the last page!)
and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Cutting for Stone left me in tears; it was so beautiful, but you have to work hard to get through the medical terminology as it is written by a doctor about a family of doctors in post WWII Ethiopia. Stunning.

Ok. Those were my random thoughts over the last week or so. Let's hope the fog clears a bit in the coming weeks. Enough to let some sunshine in .... !


PS For those of you who like to read funny church signs, Cowboy sent me this link to a VERY funny set of signs: All rocks go to heaven ...


an old favorite

The Tyger

by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?




the wonderfully surreal world of kirsten stingle

Collecting All the Tender Things

Our local ceramics studio, Mossrock Studio and Fine Arts Gallery, hosts an artist's opening once a month called First Fridays. This Friday, the wonderfully gracious Andy Sankowski, owner and ceramicist, (who spent much time conversing with Soubriquet) is introducing our bubbletown to the surreal world of ceramics artist Kirsten Stingle. Kirsten's pieces are mixed media works utilizing ceramics, found objects, discarded elements from the past (and expert welding) to tell stories about ourselves. In Kirsten's words:

"Storytelling connects us to one another and explains who we are. In an age in which the individual is often alienated, my work attempts to cut through the isolation by presenting common threads of the human experience....

While each piece is instantly approachable, closer inspection reveals a world in which the story and inner psyche of the character slowly emerges. The ultimate goal of my work is to create honest depictions of the human quest toward self-revelation and a contemporary identity."

Ms. Stingle will be opening her gallery show with a short lecture Friday evening, and unfortunately, I have to work Friday night. But the exhibit will continue through the month, and I hope to stop by Andy's studio to take a look. I'm so intrigued! Here is a sampling of Kirsten Stingle's work:

note: each piece stands approximately 5 feet tall or more ....

Memory's Song


Domestic Bliss

Nice Kitty

Heart's Desires

My Own Limitations



living on the buckle of the bible belt

Living in the Bible Belt, I tend to not notice such things as message boards in front of churches - there are so many! But on the way to Brenham, TX with Soubry, we passed a church right outside of the Woodlands that had on its sign the following message:

Don't Worry!
Moses was a Basket Case Too!

We both thought this was pretty funny, but I couldn't slow down fast enough for a pic, so Soubry wrote the message down in his little notebook. About 30 minutes later, we passed The Cowboy Church. I've heard a lot about this church since its beginnings, but I've never visited it. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the cowboy church phenomenon:

"Cowboy churches are local Christian churches within the cowboy culture that are distinctively Western heritage in character. A typical cowboy church may meet in a rural setting in a barn, metal building, arena, sale barn, or old western building, have its own rodeo arena, and a country gospel band. Baptisms are generally done in a stock tank. The sermons are usually short and simple. Some cowboy churches have covered arenas where rodeo events such as bull riding, team roping, ranch sorting, team penning and equestrian events are held on weeknights."

Not surprisingly, there are over 750 cowboy churches in the state of Texas alone, according to the website Cowboy Churches Net.

One of the things Soubry noted whilst driving around the Woodlands was the fact that there was a church on every street corner .... practically! Which is true. Whatever your flavor, we even have a new Hindu Temple. The following pix are culled from the intertent. I'm certain many have been seen before, but I thought these to be pretty funny. A good church should have a correspondingly good sense of humour! (Though I wonder if these messages were MEANT to be amusing or were accidental ....!)


look ma - no hands!

We ladies from work had dinner together this evening at a local Italian restaurant.
This photo was on the wall in the room
where they sat us...!

Appropriate - yes ???


this is what we discussed at dinner