18 Sep 2013

Catching Up

Posted by Sam

September 18, 2013

Dear friends,

We have been busy and happy the last three months. Everyone talks about the heat, but we haven’t been too inconvenienced by it. Well, a little … Dave has to get up earlier to ride with the Rusty Chain Gang. He also rides a lot with new friends Betty and Rene Hamel. Betty is a former race horse owner, little bitty gal who could have been a jockey and Rene is an ear, nose and throat guy who is still working at 78! They are a fun couple and we go to dinner with them a couple of times a month. On Tuesdays Dave drops me off on the UT Arlington campus and goes on to ride with the Hamels at some park (where they occasionally see a BOBCAT) while I take my class at the LDS Institute. Thursday and Saturdays are the other bike days.

I wonder how folks describe us….”She is a direct talking woman who went from the sawmill into gynecology and then they took pictures or something … he rode across the country with another woman and then they got back together with a long road trip.” People generally look blank when we talk about Q Photo; if we had run a kiosk at Walgreens they would get it.
So that just isn’t part of our history, as others seem to see it. Hah!

Every day when we go somewhere, anywhere, we marvel at the housing developments. There are few stand alone dwellings in north Texas. Everyone’s house is in a community, an enclave, a development or such, and they are ALL, I repeat, ALL  are made of brick. Maybe a few slats of plastic for decoration, but virtually every house we see is constructed of brick veneer. All colors, sometimes worked around big slabs of slate. And in our area, the high end properties are favoring the castle look, lots of turrets. The interior decorators advertise like it was free and the pictures will give you a whole new view of Texas, antler chandeliers and crystal, animal skin and filigree, plush and cluttered. Just amazing. Needless to say, in this part of Texas there are not many trees and a lot of clay.

The Texas Rangers finally had a couple of day games. It is generally too hot in the summer to play baseball. They also finally won a game after a 9-game slump. I have moved my loyalties from the Mariners to the Rangers but can’t get behind the Dallas Cowboys. Go Seahawks!!

I won second place in the chili cook off the church had last week. Got a big ribbon and felt real proud. I made my old adaption of Craig Clairbornes chili, Texas 2-Alarm Chili, served with sour cream and a squirt of lime.

I should have mentioned, in my description of the housing developments, everyone has a fenced back yard. I mean everyone. There are all different kinds of fences, some brick, most are wood, lots falling down. Must be something in the zoning.

Wild sunflowers are everywhere this time of year. They are small and vibrant and literally grow like weeds, filling all the fields. Natives say that just 12 years ago the area we live in was all ranch land, “When we first built our house, you could see a cow out ever window!” Now it is densely populated and still growing.

I’m back substituting in the Mansfield School District. Again, I’m just working in the special ed classes. There is a big range in the classes, all the way from severely physically and mentally disabled kinderkids to high school kids with physical handicaps and behavior problems. I have learned what I can do and what I’m not strong enough to do for many days in a row. I generally don’t do the high school classes at all, just because the kids are bigger and no matter what their disability, they are likely to need physical assistance.

The garden shops are advertising September tomatoes. Small wonder. The summer tomatoes were ready in June. July and August just cooked anything on the vine. I transplanted a couple of things and they are still struggling! I have Mexican Petunias along one side of the fence in back, and they are five feet high and thriving, as is the bamboo I planted in April. Sweet potato vine loves the heat and vinca is still blooming in a pot out front, but a lot of my experiments just went out in the garbage. I finally planted a couple of varieties of Yucca out front and they are doing fine; am hopeful for the little transplanted Crape Myrtle. It will look pretty next year. Maybe.
Love to all,

Sam and Dave

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