Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's Growin' On??!!

Well, for one thing, the air potato vine has escaped the bounds of earth and is now plotting a take over of heaven...via the ash tree. Those are landscape timbers people, that's how large the leaves are, and those aren't the largest ones.

Oh, and that post is a 4 by 4 timber.

My pond is plum full of tadpoles. Sorry for the blurry picture. I'll have a better one when I use my Nikon. The Kodak is a good camera, and has some abilities the Nikon doesn't but the Nikon still is better for macro shots. Someday, I want a big girl version of a Nikon, as Ive been in love with it from the first. It's showing its age though, and the flash is no longer working.

Another blurry macro shot, dang it. That's a baby okra there. I've got some bigger ones on the plants now, but not enough to make a decent serving. Oh well, 'Pup doesn't like okra anyway, so it's all mine. I missed the flowers because I've been working more hours at the tutoring center, but tomorrow...I'm off. (hush, I meant off WORK...tho...come to think of it...)

I'd go out and get some proper shots, but it's hot and, well, I'm just not going out there until tomorrow morning.

See y'all tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Somethings are Worse than Zits

You know, other than the aches and pains, I don't really mind getting older. I mean, a "certain visitor" has now officially vowed never to darken my doorway again, and that's worth an Tylenol a day. Seriously, it's not like that monthly visitor was ever of any use to me. It was more a cruel tease, actually.

Anyway. I'm just as glad to be rid of it all together. It ranks right up there with life as a teenager before a really effective acne cure was available.

Not that I ever had acne that bad.


The Power of Prayer

I can go into no details, I can name no names, but I need some major prayers going up for a friend of mine in crisis. Please pray that she receive peace and regains herself. She needs to resolve some grief. She has gone to be alone for a while, but we want her to return, herself and whole.

Please include her in your thoughts and prayers for the coming week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Tree Perch

I'm not sure, but I think I have blogged about this tree before. I suppose I could go search it out, but I think....

This tree grows in a park that is near the house we lived in from the time I was about 5 until we moved, when I was 17. My dad did all the finish work in that house, buying it unfinished and working nights and weekends to finish it off was the only way he and my mom could afford a good house in a good neighborhood. It was a good place to grow up.

I went to the elementary school nearest my house. I still rode the bus, as my parents paid the "bus fee" so that we wouldn't have to walk in the rain. The school was in walking distance, just barely, but they didn't want us to HAVE to walk. My parents grew up poor. They had to walk. They wanted more options for us.

Nowadays, I suspect parents do not let their kids walk to school or home from school on that street. It is still a good neighborhood (Oh, I was so glad to see that the house I lived in is owned by people who care for it), and it would be a shadier walk than we had, as the trees have grown up along the route.

The park was along the route from Home to School. I didn't often walk home, but if I did, I usually took a very long time to get home. See, there were just a whole lot of things that were Very Interesting, and needed closer looks. And, I was a day dreamer. I had a rich fantasy life (still do), I talked to myself all the time and dreamed about "what ifs".

That daydreaming got me into trouble, often, as I tended to walk slower and sometimes just stop completely as I was dreaming.

My favorite "stopping place" was the park. Not to just play in, though, if some playmates were there, I would stop to play.

The real draw was the tree.

See, it was (and looks to still be) an easy tree to climb. Better yet, it had places to perch while daydreaming. It was shady, cool and you felt as if you were in a secret place once you got into and up the tree.

One day, my daydreaming must have taken a little longer than I had thought.

There I was, happily perched, swinging my feet and, most likely, dreaming about living in a tree. I liked being hidden while watching every thing going on past me, them never knowing I was there.

That last part...them not knowing I was there...was the problem. See, my mom and dad and brothers and sisters had all gotten home. And I wasn't there. They started to get a little alarmed, and started to look for me.

They called all the neighbors. No one had seen me.

They asked the neighborhood kids. No one had seen me.

They asked my brothers and sisters. None of them had seen me.

People, when I hide, I do it well. Even when I'm not actually TRYING to hide from everyone. Well, at least I wasn't trying to hide for that long. I think it must have been a particularly good daydream.

So, there I was, when this...noise...interrupted my daydream.

It sounded a lot like my mom and dad calling my name. Loudly. Over and over, with my siblings joining in on the chorus.


After the car with my yelling family passed, I quickly got down the tree and scurried home.

I was there, ostentatiously reading a book, when they got back. I put on my most innocent of faces...which is/was pretty innocent looking by the way, but one of the neighbors must'a squealed on me.

I was never allowed to walk home again.

Sigh, I still miss being able to climb that tree and spy on the world.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I just got back from my 30th High School reunion. First, let me say that I went to school with some very pretty ladies...and some very good looking men.

Then there's me.

Oh well.

I got to talk to some of my classmates, got complimented on my hair and was reminded that my brother once said I looked like a fireplug.

Yes, he did.

I also got to hug a gent that I grew up with, a neighbor I went to school with from the First (or was it Second?) Grade on to High School. His little sister was my little sister's best friend. I think we'll be getting them back in touch with one another.

A sobering number of our classmates are no longer with us, some dying very young indeed, one was killed in June of this year.

One of our classmates climbed Mt. Everest, another is a priest, another has 8 children.

A surprising number of my classmates stayed in or very close to the town we grew up in. It's a nice town. I would probably have been happy staying there too.

Wow. 30 years.

Just. Wow.
I even wore makeup for this.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Things to Replace

We're going to need a section of fence replaced soon. The back fence (done by moi!) is in pretty good shape, though we'd like to add a panel of trellis fencing on top, as our back door neighbor has an above ground pool. It would let me grow some more flowering vines. The side fence to the west is fairly new, only 5 years old and unlike my back section, the fence installation was professionally done. The east fence is half good, and half bad. The front section is solid and will probably stand for another good 10 years at least. It's the back half of that side that will need to be replaced within the next couple or three years. And, it's not going to be easy, as both my neighbor and myself have gardens placed right up to the fence. It's going to take some delicate and responsible installation.

I just hope we don't have to end up doing it ourselves. I'm just not up to it anymore. Luckily, however....we do have a teenager next door, with a very handy dad, who sometimes could use a little extra money.

It's good to have good neighbors.

A Water Lily Opens

I was almost going to post this without words, but me? I just can't do ANYTHING without words.


Tomorrow, after working in the morning, I'm going to attend my high school class' 30th reunion. I didn't get to graduate with this class because we moved away during my senior year, but I attended school with the people in this class from the time I was 6 years old. I've not seen any of them (except one) for 30 years.


Water in My Garden,: A Song


Forgive the amateurish staging, but hey! I'm an amateur!

It's hot today, back up into the 90's. I've got other pictures of today, but the video is enough for one post.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time of the Sunflower

This is the time of the Sunflower...

They don't care about the drought conditions.
They just turn their faces to the sun,
With faces filled with expectations,
Quietly paying homage to the sun.

Then, they set their seed.

That seed feeds a lot of the birds in the area,
After the the bugs feast first.

Such a small thing to do such a big job.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cap'n Hook

Go Cap'n go! That crocodile is close at your heels. Okay, surely I'm not the only one to see it!!
I was driving to work the other day when I was struck by a hankerin' to take a bite of the barbecue I'd bought the other day. Since it was noon, and by just a quick detour I could git me summa dat.
So, I did.
As I sat there, getting sauced..err I mean getting sauce all OVER my face, I noted that the temperature gauge in Ms Saturn was hovering around the red.
I turned the engine off, and waited around for it to cool off a little. I wasn't sure it was going to be able to cool off, as there was no breeze and it was about 10000degrees outside at noon.
I called my boss. All plans of being to work early had evaporated. (0kay, I'd eaten the 'early' up when, well, I was eat'n, but still.)
My good Mr. Boss was not pleased.
I made it to the mechanic and got the bad news. I needed a completely new fan and fan motor.
Dad-gumit. I muttered.
I called Mr Boss back. He didn't answer the phone. I suspect he didn't want to hear what I would have to say. He really doesn't like surprises.
Come to think of it, I don't either, much. At least, not when the surprises involve my car.
So...$366 and some change later, I get to work... for the only class I have left, one hour with a couple of kids that...well....need my expertise. Sweet kids, but LOUD and a little phonics challenged.
But the sky was interesting.
It could have been worse. I didn't actually overheat, just got close to it, and I was close to the mechanic, and I could have been on the beltway going 65 when it overheated had I not wanted a barbecue sandwich.
(By the way, when ordering a chopped beef sandwich, it is always nice to hear the meat being chopped up for it.)
Oh well.

Oh, This Does not Look Good....

It's hot. Scorchingly hot. Needs a Potholder to Drive HOT.

Note to self: stop forgetting to put up the window shields!

So, as I was driving to work the other day, I see this in front of one of my neighbor's house:

No, this does not look good.

Not good at all.

That neighbor and some very close to her had no water, but it was still working on my end of the street.

The good news is that the crews came out and stopped the leak...but my neighbor still has no access to her driveway.

If we don't start getting some rains soon, the shifting of our clay soil is likely to cause more of the breaks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July Bloom Day

This heat and no rain is just about to fry me. We get the occasional today as I was getting home from work, I could see a HUGE storm that had to be less than 5 or 6 miles north of our house.

And it stayed there. Gave us about 15 minutes of light rain. Dang.

Needless to say, the garden is suffering.

Still, it's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day and blooms must be posted! So, let us celebrate the survivors!

Still, the Cherry Parfait puts on a few, small, brave blooms, not much cherry...and a lot of whipped cream.

Belinda's Dream is still blooming. Nothing seems to stop that bush. The flowers are smaller with the heat, but they're there.

Surprising in this heat, and without much extra watering the past 10 days or so... my Peace rose has three blooms. It's been a puny bush since I've gotten it. Could it just NOW be establishing? Or did my considering ripping it out and replacing it with something else motivate it?

My little lavender colored rose is tucked into the peppermint and all but overgrown with the Morning Glories. I need to attack the Morning Glories again. It's just so dang hot.

The Gold Medal rose is struggling, but still blooming. This bloom has a decidedly pink cast to it, so I suspect it may be a couple of days old. They change color as they age, from a rich yellow/gold to a cream color just before the petals release and fall.

The Angel Wing Jasmine is still blooming as well, but the blooms have an odd orange stripe to them. Are they sunburned?

I caught an anole on my little satsuma tree, laying in wait for passing bugs.

He seemed unamused by my presence.

The purple and the white angelonica is blooming. The Pineapple Sage is not blooming for once. It seems to be suffering in the heat and I should probably water it more often, as both my big plants out front are in pots.

The white Angelonica had to grow a lot taller than it has ever grown before, just to get through and over the Pineapple Sage.

The grape-scented Angelonica Augustiflora (I'm just so tickled that I can actually remember a full, real name!) is three summers old (or four...) and still ticking along. It took a little longer to "come back" this year. I think I'll need to feed and prune it this fall.

See my little blood orange? I have two of them on the little tree. I really wasn't expecting any of the little citrus trees to produce anything this year. I got the two smaller trees at Wal-mart. I got the blood orange from Tea's Nursery. The trees from there were more expensive...and now I know why. Next time... go for the real nursery.

I have two red with orange throats day lilies blooming. One is a big, spider(?) type,

and the other is a little smaller and I THINK it's name is something like "Little Prince". But I don't have the tag and I got the original plant about 5 years ago.

I just love the Humming Bird bush. It, too, was a little slow coming back this year.

But it's back, if a lot shorter than usual.

The Esperanza is blooming its head off, as usual. You can't knock down hope...

This is an Armenian Snake cucumber. It seems real happy in my back yard. No cukes yet, but lots of blooms. I got this as a very stressed little group of about 4 plants in a small pot. I separated the four plants, and spaced them out in a large pot. One didn't make it.. but I don't think we'll miss it.

Nope, I don't think we needed that fourth plant.

The peppermint is blooming...

As a side note, I'm not seeing nearly the numbers of bees I should be seeing. They are few and far between in the front yard, but I'm seeing a fair number that come into the back yard for water from the pond and water gardens.

Hand Flower...

miniature roses...

and a water lily bloom that will (typically!) open tomorrow, AFTER bloom day.

I've other blooms, but I'm running out of time to post this and still be on the 15th!

A personal note for my journal: Wendy's BLT chicken salad is good, but makes me sneeze...oddly though, a sip of a soda seemed to head off the usual second reaction. Someday, I need to find out just what makes the sneezing and .... happen.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Three Fires

Last night was a busy one for Houston firefighters. They fought 3 fires, one of which was a fire at one of Houston's largest nurseries...Cornelius Nursery on S. Voss. The fire started in some storage sheds, where they kept pesticides and other chemicals, including fertilizers and insecticides. The smoke from the chemicals was toxic and as it headed towards a nearby apartment complex, the firefighters called for back up and began to evacuate the people living there. Cars began to burn, buildings...the whole nursery is gone.

There were two other fires in apartment complexes last night, one arson and a suspect was arrested there. No one was hurt in any of the fires.

I hope this isn't the start of another summer like one in the early 80's. There were so many apartments that burned...I remember that summer, the temperatures were over 100 for weeks, starting in June..and no rain, not even the scattered showers we've been getting on and off recently. The end result of that summer were new construction laws meant to limit how fires could spread, no more contiguous attics and no more ceder shingles for apartment complexes.

It's been hot, but not that hot and dry, but not that dry.

I hope there will be no more fires.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Scent of Love and Desire


What did you think of when you read the title of this post? Was it roses, perfume, bread baking, or perhaps, the particular scent of the person you love the most? Was it pheromones?

As a gardener, I rely on pheromones. Insects send them out, looking for love in all the right places. Without the insects, I have no new plants.

Works that way for people too, so they say.

I got to find out just what my own "scent of love" smells like, just the other day.

I was in a convenience store, where there is a small Cajun restaurant. Yes, where I'm from, they sell food EVERYWHERE. Sometimes, it is incredibly bad. Then again, sometimes it is incredibly good. This falls into the incredibly good column. The guy that runs his little kitchen got here via a rather large wind named Katrina, and decided to stay. And oh, that man can cook.

I go there for fried catfish, and his boudain. I don't eat it often, but I save it for a special treat. It's not expensive, but it tends to....stick around and make me round, should I eat it too often. Yah, a lot of food does that, which probably explains why I'm so round...

However, my yen for boudain was thwarted that day. On the little white counter was a sign: "Due to family obligations, we're closed today".


"Oh well," says I. "Perhaps next time."

So, I grabbed a bottle of Dr. Pepper (the national soft drink of Texas), and headed to the counter. While I was waiting for the Sikh gentleman that owns the store was checking me out...

What? Yeah, we've got a former Louisianan Cajun cooking guy, who makes his own cracklings( oh yee gads, they're good too!) btw--working in a Sikh owned store. Ain't diversity wonderful?

Hey, it made me blink too, the first time I noticed the pairing. See, the Sikhs I know are vegetarian.

Anyway. There I was, getting my nice, ice cold D.P. (hey, I took my blood sugar, it was a little low at 79 and I don't do well at that level, thus, the DP), when I noticed another gentleman in front of me. He smelled wonderful.

Oh, Y'ALL... the man smelled so good I wanted to take a bite out of him.

Yah, the impulse surprised me too. Then again, I was hungry and my blood glucose levels were

After briefly trying to come up with a way of telling they guy just how delicious he smelled... and coming to the conclusion there was just no way of telling him this without completely embarrassing him and ME...I realized who he was. He was the guy that cooked the barbecue from the catering truck that was always parked (think of it as a semi-mobile barbecue restaurant on wheels) in the same parking lot as the convenience store in which I was gettin' my DP.

He smelled of a good brisket rub, mixed with oak, mesquite and pecan wood smoke. He smelled of BARBECUE.

I followed him out the door.

Yes, I paid for my drink first.

Sikhs are vegetarian, not pacifist.

I figured if they guy cooking the brisket smelled so good, the brisket was probably worth getting. And oh, y'all. It was.

Okay, I realize this post has probably caused a mental whiplash for most of the people reading it. But I was so amused by my visceral response to an odor, I felt I must share.

My perfect pheromone is the smell of a good Texas Barbecue.

Sniff. Mah Daddy'd be so proud.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Shiny Things

I like bright, shiny things. I like jewelry. And yet, I don't really have very much jewelry. I rarely had much extra money for buying any for myself, and somehow, my family got the impression I didn't want any(?)..sometimes, it felt like it was if I didn't deserve any, having had no children. But that's another hurt and a different story.

I still don't have a lot of extra money, but I've been noticing some of the new jewelry coming out and I like it. A lot of what I like is handcrafted jewelry, both the kind where it is made much like a hobby, and the new professional designers. I've even thought about trying my hand at, perhaps, working with some of the beautiful beads and crystals available. I'd like to have more earrings, especially.

I used to have a lot of them, but then I developed a sensitivity to even the "hypoallergenic" metals and found I could only wear gold. If I could find an inexpensive way to find some of the gold wire loops one wears in a pierced ear, I think I'd make a lot of shiny, pretty things to wear.

Geek V. 1.5 part 2

I almost forgot one other thing I miss being able to do...and this really was something I got to do once, for a school I worked for. See, waaaay back in the dark ages, when floppy disks were really floppy, Apples were kings of the classroom. Problem was, there kept being new programs written for them that couldn't be run on the computers the district had bought.

This was in part because the school board kept budgeting for the computers one year...and finally getting around to budgeting for new software for those machines a year or so later. Really. I actually had computers in my room for most of a year before I had a program I could RUN on one.

And then, when the new programs started coming out, well, they needed computers that had waaay more memory than the budget level computers the district bought. And they weren't ABOUT to replace a piece of equipment that the teacher's had only used for a year or two. (Y'all, we were still using 20 to 25 year old movie and slide projectors. They weren't broken...or not they kept being used. The thought of replacing machines that cost several thousand dollars after only a couple of years? It was enough to make a board member blanch and faint.

So, they bought memory cards. Again, this being a new situation, it didn't occur to them that there was no one in the district who had the knowledge, experience or skill to actually put them in the computers.

So, we teachers got to do it. And by we teachers, I mean any young teacher fully convinced that the machines weren't actually going to blow up when they pushed the on button. (You think I jest? Nooooo, I do not. Really. The possibility that they might blow up was a real worry for us, not the least because the machines were worth more than a month or two of our paychecks!)

So in comes me. I kinda new how to do it, and I was just about the newest teacher they had and I'd had some experience with replacing memory cards in that college class I'd taken a few years (!) earlier. What's more, I was low man on the totem pole and so was deemed somewhat...expendable.

It was a nervous two weeks. There were only 15 or so machines in the whole school, but I not only had to replace the cards, I had to do so when I wasn't teaching, and then test the machines to make sure they wouldn't, you know, blow up.

No, none of them blew up...tho...there was an occasional wisp of smoke that probably helped turn my hair white before I hit 36...

The Old Days or Geek V. 1.5

'Pup built his first three computers himself. He modified two more or so in the years that followed. By today's standards, they were bulky, underpowered and anemic things, but they were pretty hot stuff then. I think he liked being able to build them, and program them, and help others do the same.

When I started with computers, I was terrified. I was taking a class in college to introduce computers to people who'd pretty much never seen or worked with one (Really, y'all, in 1982, just turning ON the dang things was enough to give me palpitations...I kept expecting one to blow up or something), and I thought I'd never get the hang of the things. We even had to learn a very simple programing code, as if we were going to have to write our own educational software. I think it was probably a dumbed down version of DOS, where we wrote; if x then y sorts of statements and strung them together to make little tests or lessons.

Needless to say, I don't think anyone in my class ever had to really write one of those programs for real. Still, I'm glad I know even that small amount about programming languages. I don't feel like quite the dummy I could be.

As time went on, I finally got my own computer. And I wanted it to be better. I knew, in theory how to do it, but never did. I never quite had both the money and the nerve to actually buy one of the extra bits one would plug into an empty spot on a motherboard.

Nowadays, though, the technology has moved on so far and so fast, that even 'Pup wouldn't presume to open up a computer and try to add hardware on it. Things like an enhanced audio or video card are things we'd only trust someone who... well...knows what the heck they're do the deed.

Sometimes, I feel as if I've lost a little, not keeping up that way. I wonder sometimes how 'Pup feels about it. I know he talks about the days he built and rebuilt his Commodore with fondness. On the other hand, I know he much prefers to be the user, and not the builder.

Still, sometimes I wonder what they look like inside now...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Cheap Way

Is there a really cheap way to take pills and lose weight? I don't think so. Even cheap Phentermine comes with its own health costs. Anything that has a list of things or reasons to be cautious of or to avoid while taking it...well. Let's just say it has its costs.

I take enough pills as it is.

I'm not convinced anyone really loses weight (as in permanently) on these things. It worries me when I find out someone is taking them.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

My Birthday, Part the Third, and Final

I hadn't written the third part of my birthday adventure. So, I expect it's about time to do it.

First, you really should go back and read parts One and Two.
I know, it'll take a little while, so, in brief:
1. I'd had no breakfast except one bite of a kolache, and a cup of coffee, and we'd had some...traffic adventures that pulled us through lunch time.
2. I'd had to go to work, which was, as always, a pleasant experience.
3. 'Pup decided that for my birthday, we should go get a decorated cookie cake from a shop in the Memorial City Mall nearby. Why? Well, why not? I'd never had one as a celebration of my birthday and 'Pup decided that it was time to change that.
4. As we got to the mall parking lot, I was hit by another car (see? I told you it'd pay for you to go back and read parts One and Two.)
5. All of the above leads us to the third part of the story.

After finally escaping the 87 year old bumper car enthusiast (see? your last chance now: Part One and Part Two), we went into Target and picked up a few odds and ends. It was a pleasant shopping experience, though, as it was approaching 4 o'clock and I'd not yet eaten anything, I was getting a little ...grumpy. Okay, maybe a little more than a little...
'Pup didn't mind too much, as he's kinda used to it. And, it was my birthday and I was determined to have a good time. So far, nothing disastrous had happened, and I was just hungry. And we were about to fix that.

We left Target, thinking the cookie place was on the other side of the mall. We drove over there, got out and started looking for the cookie shop. After a while, we found a directory and looked to see where the cookie shop was located. We found it quite easily on the map. It was just outside Target. On the other side of the mall.
Grumpily, I/we kept on going, having, we thought, as much behind us and before us. Somewhere along the way, I was adding pain to a growing hunger. And, I was grumpy. I do get a little easily peeved when I'm hungry.

That fact does admit a possibility that I, perhaps, may have acted with somewhat less patience than normal for me.

When we arrived at the cookie store, we looked over the possibilities and chose the design for the cookie. 'Pup ordered it and we were told it would only be about 20 minutes until it was completed and ready for us to take home.

By now, it was about 5:30 or so and I'd still not eaten.

Just down from the cookie lace was the ice rink and) a place called "THIRSTY'S", which purported to sell food and smoothies. I made a beeline towards there, with 'Pup following. He also knows that when I head towards food that way it is best to go along with me. I looked at the selections available. I had to eliminate the smoothies from considerations because they all seemed to have strawberries in them and I wasn't looking forward to trying to explain the needed modifications. I should have listened to that little voice that told me not to be too hopeful of the abilities of the personnel to get an order correct or their willingness to even try to do so. Nor did I have any willingness to be patient enough to try to tell them what to do.

But, we were both hungry. 'Pup spotted a hot dog he thought might do, and I spotted a tamale plate. I had great hopes of them, because they were advertising a brand of tamales that is sold here in the frozen foods section. It's a good brand and I'd had them before. So, I ordered the tamale plate. Things were looking up, I thought.

Silly me.

I asked for a glass of tea, unsweetened. The lady taking our order went and poured it out of a pitcher that looked a little tired. The tea was foul. Old, musty tasting and a little cloudy in it's clear plastic glass. after I'd taken only a sip, I knew it wasn't going to be what I wanted to drink. At that point, all I wanted was a glass of water.
When our server finally came back near our way (it did seem to be taking an awfully long time to make a hot dog and a tamale plate), I asked her to dump out the tea and just refill it with some water. I didn't want to ask for our money back. I just wanted her to refill this cup with some water. I was hungry, thirsty and tired and getting a little irrationally pissed.

She poured out the tea in a sink, but didn't bother to completely dump all the tea and the ice. She just dumped out most of it, leaving a good inch of tainted ice and tea, and then put more water and a little more ice into the cup before giving it back to me.

When she came back I started to ask her, "Could you please.."

"I'M NOT giving you your money back." the woman said.

I don't easily get angry, but this did it.

I grabbed the flimsy clear glass and felt it give under my grip. It was cold and I was mad. I looked around and spotted a trash can with one of those rounded rocking covers that swing in and out when you put things into it.

Before really thinking it through, I lifted the glass and took aim. 'Pup must have seen the look on my face and he did try to move to ...stop me? Naaah.. He's smarter than that.

My aim was a little joggled, but it was true. I hit the wall behind the trashcan and bank shot it into the can. The top swung, back and forth, clicking in the oddly quieter area directly around us. I remember looking at the woman. Her face looked a little...stunned.

I turned on my heels and walked away. I didn't think it would have been a Good Thing for me to stick around. 'Pup stayed, and glared at the woman.

"I.. I... I should call Mall Security!" the woman said. ('Pup told me this later)

"Go ahead," he said, "I'd love to speak to them." The woman seemed to change her mind just then, and instead, she must have gone to get the food and gave it to 'Pup. He took it and started to walk towards me.

I was sitting on one of the chairs in the area the mall has set up for people to have free wireless access. It's a very nice mall, and I like this area. The chairs are comfortable, soft, and the tables are at a useful height. There is also a huge stone fireplace in the middle of the area. It's open from two sides. and during the winter it makes for a very cozy area, even in summer. It's right next to the ice rink and I suspect that many of the people who use the wireless connection or sit and read in the comfortable chairs are probably parents waiting for children skating, or taking lessons.

As he approached, I noted an odd expression on his face. As he got nearer, he asked, "Nancy, did you order nachos?"

Uhmm. No, I hadn't.

He put the container down. It was a clear plastic clam shell type of container, and through the sides, I could see a brownish-yellow sloppy liquid. Floating within the unsavory looking thick fluid were some round tortilla chips and some greenish circular slices of jalapenos. There was no sign of anything that looked like tamales in evidence.

I'd calmed down a little before then. That changed.

I grabbed the flimsy container and walked, with my cane, as fast as I could. By the time I reached the counter I was steaming again. I was a lot hotter than the...whatever it was...the container. I put it on the counter with some emphasis (I left a dent) and told the first woman I saw: "I did NOT order nachos. I ordered TAMALES. These are NOT tamales. They are NACHOS."

The woman looked at me with an expression of disbelief. She turned her head and yelled at the woman who'd been serving us earlier. "Hey! You better be COMing here and be TALking to this CUStomer...'Cause I KNOW she ain't be talkin' to ME like this." Picture her doing this with the shoulder shrug and head bobbing you see stereotyped characters doing on the Fox Network. I had that head bobbing shoulder shrugging shit. It makes any of the young women, black and white look like complete low-class idiots.

At that point, I got so angry I could feel the pupils in my eyes dilate. I grasped my cane and glared at the woman. I had to very carefully ask myself if that b***** was worth going to jail for, 'cause I seriously contemplated extreme mayhem, with her at the middle of it. I had a stick in my hands. I could see two places I could have put some very serious hurt on that woman without even having to go over the counter.

With some difficulty, I convinced myself that she wasn't worth prison. It was a close call. Part of me still regrets the lost opportunity for mayhem.

About that time, the woman who'd taken our orders came over and asked, "Is there a problem?"
I added a red face and a death grip on my cane to my dilated pupils. Was she really that stupid?
I told her. "I did not order NACHOS. I ordered and paid for TAMALES. NOT nachos."

"But," she said, " Those ARE tamales."

"You have got to be kidding me. There are no tamales in that mess. They aren't even a good example of nachos!"

She took out a spork and started digging around in the soggy yellow mess. After a moment or two of digging, she finally was able to excavate a small rectangle of ...something. It was hard to tell what it could have been with brownish-yellow glop on it.

"Here, this is a tamale."

I repeated myself, "You have GOT to be kidding. This is a horrid MESS of ...I don't know WHAT."

"Well," she said, "I'm not giving you your money back."

At that I turned and walked away. I really didn't want to go to jail on my birthday. Really.

I tried calling the corporate office, but it was closed on Saturdays. I left a message.

On the following Monday, I called again, and this time got to speak to a real human. I told my story. I was still so mad that I could have spit nails.

She said that they'd investigate it.

Later that day, I got a call from a woman who said she was the (district?) supervisor, and asked me to retell my story. I told her the whole sordid little thing. She said she couldn't understand how anything thing like this could have happened. Gee.

The lady at Thirsty's did offer me some free coupons(??!!?) to "make up" for things. I told her that I didn't think there was anything at a Thirsty's I wanted, free or not.

I still feel that way.

Oh, and the cookie? It was great. It was from the Great American Cookie Company. It isn't something I can repeat very soon, but the cookie was good, and the people were wonderful. When 'Pup went there and told them what a day we had, they gave him a little gift to give me.

When we went to the mall information booth to complain about the experience at Thirsty's, the young lady behind the booth couldn't have been nicer. She couldn't do anything, but was able to give me some complaint forms to write out my experience. I didn't have any way to copy them, other than take their pictures.

So, I did.

It took a while for me to write it all out, and 'Pup kept having to go get more forms for me. When angry, I seem to get rather wordy. Well, we all have our ways of transfering the desire to give a major case of whoop-ass on someone to somewhat less violent acts.

I haven't been able to find Thirsty's web site, if they have one, but their corporate office address and phone number is (as close as I can find out):
Thirstys Inc
9087 Knight Rd, Houston, TX
Tel: (713) 795-5500

If you'd like to let them know that you've read this story, please do.