Tag Archives: Texas

Dag Nabbitt, I Have Texas Hair!

13 Sep Texas Hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, children's book

lucci the no smoochie poochie, dog story, children's book, pets

This is my profile pic; the one on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else that associates my friends and readers with me. Before you read on, I ask that you remember me this way because things have changed drastically!..

One of the first things I remember soon after moving to a small town in Texas close to 4 years ago was something Joy Behar said on “The View” one day. She mentioned a nation-wide poll that listed Texas as the “worst hair” state.

I recall saying, “Fabulous, I live here now,” but didn’t give the statistic more thought. Then, I soon became aware of some kind of a difference while walking through stores, parking lots, all around really. I noticed amateurish cuts, God-awful highlighting jobs, grown-out roots and pony tails…pony tails and hats. I promised myself that would never be me.

Take a look; Texas claimed two out of 13 of the worst cities in the country in a 2009 survey. “For the least hair-friendly cities, TotalBeauty noted a number of factors that contribute to frizz, dryness and other common hair complaints. These include humidity, hard water and a dearth of hair salons.”:

Donna L. Sadd

Unfortunately, the 2012 survey stayed the same.

Now, I’m a New Yorker who was used to plunking down $150.00 at the ‘beauty parlor’ for a color and a cut, more if it was time for highlights, the same in Florida. Yet, since moving to a ‘rustic’ small town in Central Texas Hill Country, I gave the 4 home-town salons a shot, but they were all sub-par. It’s just a different world out here, and I can attest for the “dearth” of hair salons.

It’s been such a slow process that I just had’nt noticed. The intense Texas heat found me cutting my hair short and I began coloring it myself. Let’s put it this way, after one showers and dresses then does farm chores, one needs another shower! It’s daunting and I guess somewhere along the line, something shifted.

I settled on a small neighborhood place that equates more to a barber shop than a salon, where I now pay (wait for it, wait for it) a WHOPPING $12.00! That’s if I drag my boney butt down to town to get it done; usually, I just trim my bangs over the bathroom sink. The one-woman shop owner is also the minister of the Korean church next door. I get a trim and a sermon all at once; now that’s one stop shopping!

I had always wanted to be an “Ivory Snow’ kind of girl, natural and make-up free, and I soon realized it out in this country. When my hubby and I get together with family, I’m the one in jeans and boots, hair up, no make-up (well maybe a tad of mascara) and they’re all face-painted, dressed up and acrylic-ed out. I shake my head; what’s the point? We’re out in the sticks for Pete’s sake and there’s no one to impress.

This stark reversal of mine found me feeling quite liberated, but lately it’s gotten a bit out of hand. Focusing full-time on writing hasn’t helped. I wake at 4:30 every morning so that I have some quiet time before my 3-mile morning walks at 6:30. I try to catch up on Twitter and Facebook so that I’ll be able to concentrate later on writing after I come home and get all 10 animals and a husband fed. Then I’m out in the goat yard for an hour or two cleaning up. By the time I get back in the house it’s noontime, and I get stuck in my pink Texas Longhorn ball cap that I wear on my morning walks.

Texas hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, picture book

I’m beginning to think the “Great Grandma” is looking better than me.

Sometimes I can be found in my dilapidated cowboy hat feeding the dogs, doing farm chores, writing, cleaning the house, caring for the goats, writing, secretarial work for hubby, and writing.

Texas Hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, bedtime story, children's book

It’s gotten so bad lately that I’ve regressed to pig tails!

Texas hair, lucci the no smoochie poochie, dogs, pets, bedtime story, children's book

Notice the roots? I went past Ivory Snow Girl, did not collect $200.00, and landed at Frump. I’ve become a statistic!

I only dare post shots from the back! Whaaaaah, I need a trip back to New York. :0(

Rain; It’s Liquid Gold

12 Jul

A fellow blogger friend, Shonnie, posted an essay the other day about the summer rain and how it made her feel like a child again. Her post took me back to puddles.

I grew up on Long Island, NY and when it rained in the summer two humongous puddles would form on each end of Lido Parkway, my block. I was a mud puddle freak and I would spend hours splashing barefoot in puddles with my girlfriends.

What was truly miraculous, to us little girls at least, was that tadpoles would be found swimming in those puddles soon after the rains. We’d then spend days watching little legs form as the little tails shrunk, and soon we’d have ‘froggies.’

When it rained like ‘cats and dogs’ my best friend and I would grab shampoo and run to wash our hair outside. Have you ever done that? Rain water makes hair silky soft.

Even as an adult I still washed my hair when it poured out, and I carried the tradition on with my nieces.

Regrettably, those fond recollections of childhood and joyous play in the rain were short-lived. When I think of ‘summer rain’ now I think of farmers and ranchers and crops and livestock, and families. Most of all I think of families who are hurting from a lack of rain.

Since moving to Texas, my conception of rain has drastically changed. Long gone are the days of wanting only sunshine so I could go lay out in the sun or jump on the boat or wishing it would never rain because I didn’t like to drive in it. The past few years have found me praying for rain, praying for liquid gold.

Last year the drought was so bad that hay became almost impossible to find. I scrambled to get a few bales every few weeks for my measly herd of three goats. Though I felt desperation myself, I still could not wrap my head around the straits ranchers with hundred-heads of cattle and farmers with burnt up crops were going through.

No rain means drought, and drought means water sources dry up which in turn dries up pastures where livestock forage and fields where crops grow. Limited or restricted water forces the ranchers to either reduce their herds, move them to other states or liquidate them completely. Farmers lose their crops. As  a result, families in many parts of the U.S. suffer.

Image Credit: NOAA/USDA/NDMC

According to the statistics relating to the above 2011 Texas Drought Monitor,  78% of the state (the dark red) showed “widespread exceptional drought, the worst possible category.”  The drought was so bad that 94% of pasture and range land were rated “poor or very poor.” Nearly all hay had to be shipped in from other states at a premium and field crops such as corn and cotton were abandoned. Only 6 of a whopping 254 counties in Texas had no burn ban of any kind in place. Burn bans are issued to aid in preventing wildfires.

Though spring brought rains, they come few and far between now.  Hay is still available locally but suppliers question how long this will last.

As I type this, we’ve been lucky to have a couple of days of rain. However, if  it’s not a slow and steady rain and instead it pours in short spurts, flash floods occur and the water runs off the land. What remains is crunchy-dried, cracked-dirt fields.

Arkansas, and much of the Midwest, is now suffering extreme drought conditions. The Huffington Post recently reported, “The US Drought Monitor updated its map to show the drought has moved from “severe” to “extreme” in parts of north, west and south Arkansas. Agriculture officials said that the drought is hurting fruit producers along with ranchers and row crop farmers.”

AP PHOTO-COURTESY COBY BAALMAN

The Today Show has run several stories over the past few weeks relating to the severity of the Midwest drought. According to one story, “Fifty-six percent of the lower 48 states is in drought, and it’s a critical time for the nation’s corn belt.” “Farmers are really hurting and some are comparing this drought to the disastrous drought of 1988 which totaled 39 billion in losses.”

So the next time you or your kids wish away rain, why not make it a teachable event to stop and think of our fellow American farmers and ranchers and their crews and their families? Maybe the sight of rain will become an occurrence in which we all can be truly grateful and appreciative knowing that many depend on it.

Image Credit: worldofstock.com

If we keep our fellow Americans in our thoughts, perhaps the rains will come and parts of our country will look like this again. We’re all in this together! Rain; it’s liquid gold.

Move Over Martha Stewart- You Ain’t Got Nothin’ My Family’s Cut Throat Easter Egg Coloring Contests

6 Apr

Hi Gang!

It’s going to be a tough Easter to get through this year, as it will be the first Easter that my mother is gone. We won’t be discussing my ideas for eggs because, since I’m now in Texas, she can do the same and no one would be the wiser. (As you read, you’ll see that my mother Karen was egg-challenged.) There won’t be any Easter menu talk, or commentaries on the church sermons we attended. Just the other day it made me sad that I had to scratch my flower order for her table centerpiece. I’ve been saving our eggs since 1995 but I just can’t bring myself to putting them out, maybe next year.

Moving on to this weekend; Handsome Cowboy’s family invited us on an Easter camping outing so hanging with his gang of gregarious loving folk complete with a bunch of great kids, ranging in age from 16 years to 2 months, should hopefully lessen the grief.

I do however have extremely fond memories of Easters past to hang on to because ever since I can remember my family held its Annual Cut Throat Easter Egg Coloring Contest the Saturday before. Initially, it was called The Annual Easter Egg Coloring Contest but everyone knew it was ruthless and years later ‘Cut Throat’ was added.

My first memory of our Easter egg coloring contests finds me sitting on a hope chest at the long egg table festooned with dyes and straddled with chairs pulled from every room in the house, down in my grandparent’s basement. The din of fun-loving competition rang in my ears and the smell of vinegar filled my nostrils. We had a real-life “Everyone Loves Raymond” situation going on, as Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house was literally across the street from us in Lindenhurst, NY. My Uncle Ronnie, one of twin boys and younger brother to my mom Karen, lived there too.

Uncle Richie, my mom’s other brother came out to The Island from Brooklyn with Aunt Aggie. Uncle Ronnie and Richie were my godfathers and they were the most loving and sarcastically funny guys in my life next to my dad.  Of course my mom, dad, and my brother Brian would be there too…at the beginning of my memories.

Back then Grandma was the only judge, and my Uncle Ron was notorious for coloring eggs that included telling inscriptions like “Pick Me Mom,” “I Love You Mom,” “Don’t Vote for Any Other Egg but This Egg Mom.” This went on for years and it was a bone of contention among the competing adults. Bri and I had a ball and got chocolate bunny prizes no matter what so we just laughed at the screwy grown up antics and cringed that they were our family all at the same time.

After several years of predictable, continuous wins for Gram’s ‘favorite boy Ronnie,’ there was an uprising and the rules of the contest were finally changed. There would now be voting. Everyone got 2 votes and could only vote for their egg once.

As the years went by my mom had my brother Craig, and Uncle Richie had Lisa, then Ronnie but no matter what was going on in our lives, no one missed The Easter Egg Coloring Contest. In fact, more and more family and friends and neighbors would find themselves as welcomed contestants in our contests. This was no ordinary contest and I’m sure that some probably went home shaking their heads realizing that they just colored eggs with a bunch of crazy lunatics!

How crazy was it? Let’s put it this way, we were allowed any props we wanted but an egg had to be used. For instance, Uncle George once dyed and painted an egg to look like a green olive and tossed it into a martini glass. That egg was a winner as I recall. Long tables of dyes, paints, glitter, rubber bands, glues, glue sticks and glue guns, construction paper, tapes in various thicknesses, cotton balls, crayons, markers, feathers and felt, you name it and it was on the table.

After Mom, Craig then I moved to South Florida, some flew miles with their own props packed in their bags to ensure they had the necessary elements to produce the award-winning egg. (Aunt Sharon was a slick egger.) Some participants literally hid out in different rooms to color their eggs; I lie to you not. They’d show to drop an egg in this dye or that dye, then scamper off so no one could ‘copy’ their idea.

Eventually we decided that the contestants would have the chance to ‘present their eggs’ for voting consideration. Most everyone in my family was in sales and it was the time in the coloring contest that we most enjoyed. The monologues were hysterical because most everyone in the gang was a comedian and the spiels would keep us all in stitches.

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Karen became infamously known as the ‘Pilot Fish Egger;’ where her efforts came off as hysterical attempts to gain fame (and a prize) by attaching her egg to a ‘contender egg.’ Two of her classic attempts come to mind and make me chuckle as I write this. One of us made a fab E.T. egg when Steven Spielberg’s movie was huge what in the 80’s? Well, right when it came time for judging my mother slipped in a plain orange-colored egg and when we called her on it, she claimed it was a ”Reese’s’ Pieces.” Another year someone made a nun egg dressed in a black and white habit and again, she managed to slip in a black egg at the base of the nun’s skirt with “The Bible” written upon it. No prizes for Mom but I always looked forward to seeing what she’d try next.

When the kids in our clan turned 13, we were automatically placed in the Adult egg voting category, and no more instantaneous chocolate bunny prizes were rewarded. It was the same with Poker. My family played Poker as long as I can remember coloring eggs.

Okay, I know I’m supposed to be talking about egg coloring but I’ve got to touch on our Poker games because it shows how cut throat these people, my family, we are. If you were a kid in my family you had to pay your dues for years, in the sole hope of eventually earning the right to play poker, by stacking the change piles of a relative. Think of a Dickens’ work house…in mycase I was usually stacking Uncle Ronnie’s quarters, nickels and dimes. Sometimes did it for my dad but he didn’t tip as well as Unc. We learned how to play the game this way and eventually, they let us in but boy did we get a talking-to if we played a bad hand. Uncle Richie stills yells at us when we don’t bet right or do something stupid…and we’re all adults now!

Now that we’re in Texas I brought the Egg Coloring Contest with me and we now do it with Handsome Cowboy’s family. There are a lot of great artists in this family so the stakes are higher here! Nuts.

Texas is wacky. My niece Coral, a character in mychildren’s picture book LUCCI- THE NO SMOOCHIE POOCHIE, came out last year to visit over Easter break. We took her to our feed & seed place over in Gatesville and they had ‘colored’ babychicks. (See slide show) They literally have dye injected into their eggs and they hatch in living color! Of course she had to have a couple and of course Aunt Donna is a total softie and I caved.

We’ll be doing eggs at a campsite on Lake Belton this weekend which should be a challenge in itself, and I’ll post some of the entries on Facebook and Twitter. Wish me luck because I don’t have one single idea in my head! Does anyone have a good egg idea I can use?

Here’s wishing a nice holiday to you and yours. Please feel free to email shots of your winning eggs and I’ll post them here. (dlsadd at Gmail dotcom)

Happy Easter Everyone!

P.S. Send me your winning egg ideas…PLEASE I need help!

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