Monday, March 30, 2015


It appears that I tend to do things in cycles. I wrote for so long at the newspaper and when I quit I felt I needed a break from writing. But then I missed it. So I wrote around the Internet. Then I left writing again. I believe I can be categorized as fickle. I stumbled across this page and I find I miss it again. Maybe I will use this as a forum to ramble, to throw things against the wall and see what sticks. Stranger things have happened. We are still in Texas and we are still loving it. I love San Antonio. I love the food. I love the trees. On most days, I enjoy the people, but there are some moments I would love to do a Jean Claude Van Damme moment on them. But I also felt that way in California, too. Sigh. Did I mention how I love the food here? Amazing barbecue. And some bad barbecue. And I can't seem to get them to grill up a tri-tip or two. The local barbecue dudes don't truly realize what amazing tastes they are missing. But, there is hope in the future as I can buy tri-tip at the local grocery store. Mexican food here is really good Mexican food. Homemade tortillas in more restaurants than I can count. Delicious, mouthwatering, slap-your-Mama Mexican food abounds. I am officially spoiled and I am not ashamed. I eat refried beans for breakfast and I like it. Seriously. If you would have said that to me in California and I would have laughed in your face. But, in Texas, refried beans are a staple with breakfast tacos. And throw on some pico de gallo and you are in Heaven, my friend. Yeah, I talk about food a lot. But I am foodie. Don't like it. Don't read it. I found that I am in love with Sopapillas. Light, airy pillows of sweet goodness. Honey drizzled, powered sugared dusted and I have no idea what the calorie count is and I never want to learn. Check out this link if you can't go to numerous restaurants and buy them. Learn how to make them yourself!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's been awhile, I know. I am transitioning from using a laptop to my IPad and I am still trying to get the feel of things. It is Christmas Day in Texas and where others are facing single digit weather and rain/snow, we in San Antonio are enjoying 68 degrees and clear skies. Living in South Texas does have its benefits. Sometimes, I do find myself missing the snow and it is usually around the holidays. But I don't miss the bone aching cold, the ice encrusted cars and the energy it took to get out the warm bed and go to work in freezing temperatures. There is a reason many Northerners snow bird down to where I live in the winter. Lol This is the first Christmas we don't have family around us as one son is in California and the other is in England. It doesn't feel complete without having kids and grand kids around. Although, it can be said that my husband is a big kid at heart as he is currently playing video games on the tv with his present. With today's technology we will be using FaceTime to talk to our family. It is almost as good as being there in person. Downside is you can't hug loved ones through the computer. Sigh.... Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Barbecue Dreamer

Cooking Pictures, Images and Photos

Two weekends ago, my best friend Ellen and I checked out a barbecue competition being held at Sea World. I love any type of barbecue so I was jazzed even though the temps threatened to be nippy cold. I was amazed how many teams were out there competing--hundreds. The smells were amazing and I'm a woman who loves BBQ smoke so I was really enjoying myself.

The rigs we saw ran the gamut of webber grills to tricked out smokers/grills combos--one even in the shape of a gun. Lol These were some serious chefs, who also were enjoying some liquid libations.

I wish there were more handouts of what the bbqers were grilling. We did get a few samples, but far from as many as I'd like. I don't know if I could cook at their level. I don't underestimate how hard it is to grill for a competition. It's different than grilling in the back yard with no one to judge you, but the spouse. It's a lot of pressure.

Saying that, I did find myself trying a rig's rib offering and thinking that my ribs tasted better. I also dislike that all competitions feature brisket instead of Tri Tip. I just think Tri Tip is better tasting than brisket.

We had a great time at the event and it inspired me to grill myself. The very next day I was out there grilling. I used a mixture of apple chips and mesquite chunks. The ribs and Tri Tip turned out perfectly.

This last weekend, after watching a marathon of Pitmaster on Netflix, I played around with injections. I wasn't 100 percent happy with the final product, but I have months to play around with it and a willing spouse to eat whatever I produce.

I'm thinking BBQ is in my blood.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Real Tree Versus Fake Tree

Xmas Tree Pictures, Images and Photos

I've had real. I've had fake. Both have their merits, and I am flummoxed at which to choose for this year's tree. I have the fake one I bought a couple of years ago to save me money from buying the real tree. But low and behold, fake trees with lights already installed have a tendency to have a bulb go out and now the bottom third of the tree is dark. Trying to find the broken bulb, with the lights being on a green string is darn near impossible. I don't want to have to throw out the whole tree, but I don't want to have to add working lights to a tree that's already wrapped with lights. Ackkkk

Okay, time to take a deep breath. I don't want to spend money I don't need to, but I want a normal, well lit Christmas tree. Is that asking too much?

I see so many trees where the decorations are perfect. I look at my sad ornaments and I'm not sure what to do. I will always have the ones my boys made when they were kids. Those will hang on any tree until they fall apart, and even then I'd probably repair them.

But the majority of my stuff is tossable. I am so not a designer type of person. But I want a pretty tree. Ughh.

I have no idea what I'm going to do. Any suggestions will be more than welcome. I refuse to be a "Bah Humbug."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Souper Kind of Gal


I love soup anytime of the year. Yes, it was 103 degrees on Sunday and I still made a pot of homemade soup. It was probably the most popular soup I've made in a long time. Located on page 36 in the cookbook, "Soup Suppers," by Arthur Schwartz, this recipe made a big pot and it was gone within three days. I tweaked it a little bit and added my own touches. Yummy.


2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 35 oz can of plum tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
1 qt water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 T extra virgin olive oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced

My Addition:
1 package Hot Jimmy Dean sausage, crumbled.
2 tsp minced garlic

How I made it:

In a Dutch oven, crumble sausage with minced garlic and brown, once browned add chopped potatoes, tomatoes, and water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer gently, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, until potatoes are very tender.

In another pan, add olive oil and add the onions. Cook until the onions wilt, about 5 minutes, then lower the heat and let them fry slowly, until they turn a golden color. Don't let them burn. Let them cook about an hour. It really adds a nice flavor by cooking them this way.

Add the onions to the soup, and partially mash the potatoes. Let it simmer 10 minutes or so, and then it's ready to eat. We had butter bread with the soup and I'm not kidding I ate three bowls of it by the end of the day.

I love this cookbook and recommend to anyone who loves soup.

From Library Journal
Schwartz, author of What To Cook When You Think There's Nothing in the House To Eat ( LJ 12/91), is a New York City food critic and radio host. Here he offers 100 hearty, satisfying soups and stews, along with 50 or so recipes for accompaniments from breads and appetizers to desserts. James Peterson's impressive Splendid Soups ( LJ 9/15/93) with some 400 recipes is the undisputed first choice, but Schwartz's more homey compendium is recommended for most collections. BOMC selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (January 1, 1900)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060969482
ISBN-13: 978-0060969486

Monday, July 11, 2011

You've Come A Long Way, Baby.

shoe closet Pictures, Images and Photos

I am a woman who can count the pairs of shoes she owns on one hand. I know. I'm a freak of nature. I go against everything that being a girlie-girl stands for -- oh wait, I'm not a girlie-girl. I'm not exactly a tom-boy either. For the most part, that is.


I went through the phase of short black skirts, low cut silk shirts, high heels, sheer nylons and bold lipstick. Then I got smart. I still remember the day I decided I wasn't going to try to conform to someone else's standards of what I should look like. What finally did me in were the nylons. I hated struggling to squeeze my body into something that cut off my circulation just to meet a standard someone else set. I asked myself why I am doing this. Who came up with the idea that waist-cutting nylons that tore so fricking easy were the standard of beauty for a woman? Not a woman, for damn sure.

Of course, once I stopped wearing nylons I had to stop wearing dresses. There's no way I could wear a dress or skirt without nylons. I'm so flipping pale I swear I glow in the dark.

In Texas, the gals here do it all the time. I've never been to a place where more women wear really nice dresses (I'm not talking sundresses) and no nylons. Of course, most of them have nice tans or naturally look great with naked legs.

And don't get me started on high heels. Now, it could be argued that I haven't been a fan of high heels because I happen to have wide feet which I inherited from my mama. My feet never really stood delicately in high heels. My feet always hurt because I could never find shoes wide enough that were feminine enough. It's as if shoe manufacturers didn't believe women actually had feet wider than a B width.

Just like they think all women should be a size zero and that a size six is considered fat. Forget those of us who are size 14 and up. We are lost causes. I was a size 12 from high school up until I a few years after I had my second son, and for many I was considered fat. Give me a break.


In the last 15 years I've also minimized the amount of makeup I wear. Again, I got tired of jumping through the hoops. Good make up is expensive and I always felt like such a fake person when I put it on. I'm now more into the natural style of makeup. And it's refreshing and actually quite liberating.

Now, just because I don't do the whole girlie-girl thing, and have a closet full of shoes, dresses and makeup doesn't mean I can't be sexy anymore. I can when I want--and when I need.

Man, I have so hit middle age.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Justice is Done

I was happy when I heard bin laden was dead. He wouldn't order anymore innocent Americans to be murdered. But I wasn't quite ready to run out into the streets and dance a jig. It’s just not who I am. But that possibility changed when I heard a piece on NPR about a Texas lawmaker.


State Senator, and former Army lieutenant colonel, Brian Birdwell, was working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, when it was hit by a hijacked plane. The routine chore of going to bathroom actually saved his life. He was returning to his office when the plane hit. From the explosion, Birdwell was blown of his feet and was seriously injured--burned over 60 percent of his body. When rescuers tried to pull him from the building, they pulled the skin right off his body. The heat was so intense part of his clothing had melted into his body. Somehow he survived. Some of his co-workers and friends didn’t make it. He went through 30 surgeries and skin grafts to repair and rebuild his body.

Today, in the Texas state legislature, he received sympathetic pats on the back from his fellow legislators. Birdwell also talked about a fellow Pentagon burn patient who lived for three years before dying while on his way to one of more than 100 reconstructive operations.

I can’t even fathom it—100 hundred reconstructive operations. Good God Almighty. I've had two skin grafts for my burned hand and thankfully I can't remember any of it. I can't even imagine being an adult and going through more than 100 surgeries.

Birdwell’s voice cracked as he talked of his fellow burn unit patient. I felt as if I wanted to cry myself as I drove and listened to the story.

I think I’m ready to dance that jig for bin laden’s death.

Justice Pictures, Images and Photos
Justice is done.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And The Winner is .....


Coming back from our recent trip in Bakersfield, I realized how varied our landscaping is in Texas versus California. Yeah, green is green, but one plant that Texas does much better than California is the Crape Myrtle. In fact, Crape Myrtle is the official state shrub. It's a hardy plant that handles a wide range of weather--and in Texas that can be anything from 18 to 100 degrees.

We had Crape Myrtles in California; in fact, we had two in our yard in Bakersfield. But they didn't grow anything like the ones we have in our yard here in San Antonio. Here, they are lush, green and the when they blossom, they take your breath away. Beautiful purples, blues, reds, pinks and whites abound in the Crape Myrtles around here.

You can't go into any plant nursery in Texas without seeing Crapes lining fences and sizes ranging from one gallon and up. I've even seen huge multiple gallon containers that would take a backhoe to plant.


I think I'm partial to San Antonio and its plants. San Antonio residents tend to do more natural landscaping than California. And between the multi-colored Crape Myrtles and limestone, you toss in a rose bush or two and it's beautiful.

They bloom from about June through October and they are a breeze to take care of--give them some full sun, water and fertilizer every now and then and they will do you proud.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Calling Babe Ruth


When the earthquake/tsunami disasters first hit Sendai, Japan I found myself trying to research the area that had been hit. I wanted to know what type of area it was--the land, the people and the history. It just made it more "real" to me to understand the loss. My question, what happened to Babe Ruth?

Of the many things I came across while reading about Sendai, was the story behind a statue in the Yagiyama Zoo. Babe Ruth, along with other famous athletes including Lou Gehrig, visited Japan in 1934 as part of an American goodwill team. They played against Japanese players from six prominent universities. This Big 6 League was established in 1925 and sported some of the best baseball players in Japan, many who have gone on to the Japan Baseball Hall of Fame.

There were 18 games played all together and the United States won all of them. On that day in November, 1934, Babe Ruth hit his first homerun in the country, with a final tally of two homeruns for the game. The Japanese people loved seeing the baseball team in action and many view to this day, that Babe Ruth is the reason baseball became so popular in Japanese culture.

In 2002, a statue, created by Kanji Okina, was erected on the exact site where Babe Ruth hit his homerun. The inscription read, “This bronze statue stands as a witness, to future generations, of Sendai’s part in Japanese-American baseball history”.

The tsunami hit Sendai hard. It wiped away lives, homes and structures from the town. As far as the zoo, from what I've learned none of the staff were killed and all of the animals are okay, but they are running short of food. There is a web site for anyone who wants to donate to help Japan's zoos.

I know I'm offbeat, but I also wonder how and if Babe's statue survived. It's not going to be on any headlines anywhere. I mean it's just artwork, but I have a soft spot for art. Especially for the emotions for everyday Japanese citizens donating their own hard earned money to have the statue created in the first place.

The decision makers of the Major League Baseball Association should think about helping the Japanese people rebuild its zoo and recover or replace its historical baseball artwork. The United States has a bond with Japan over many things and one of the major ones is baseball. Pure and simple.

If anyone knows what has happened to Babe Ruth's statue in the zoo, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sweet or Not To Sweet


There are two types of people--dessert eaters and non-dessert eaters. It's easy to guess which category I fit in. After a delicious dinner, a finishing touch is a nice dessert. It doesn't have to be a sweet overload, either. It can be a small, delicate sweet that comforts the palate and ends the meal on a high note.

I don't get these people who don't eat desserts at all. What's wrong with them? Are they space aliens? How can you not enjoy a dessert? There are a myriad of choices out there for people to choose from--chocolates, fruits, cakes, ice cream and pies. Choices for every taste range and dietary restrictions abound.

Don't want to go too heavy? Have some blended fruit over angel food cake. Want something really decadent? Bite into a dark, creamy double chocolate cheesecake so rich it would hit top the Forbes billionaire list.


You don't have to have a huge portion. My favorite desserts are those I share with my husband. We order one dessert and split it. That way neither one of us eats too much.

There's nothing more delicious than a homemade berry cobbler, topped with vanilla ice cream after eating a barbecue dinner.


I love desserts and I respect the chefs who make them. Most are like little works of art as they are presented on the table. I know what it takes to make those things. It's hard work and it belongs as the pièce de résistance to any meal.

I prefer to regard a dessert as I would imagine the perfect woman: subtle, a little bittersweet, not blowsy and extrovert. Delicately made up, not highly rouged. Holding back, not exposing everything and, of course, with a flavor that lasts. ~Graham Kerr

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ahh Haaaaa


I had an epiphany the other day in regards to my fear of heights. In one brief, abstract moment I realized where my fear originated from--and it all can be blamed on Karl Wallenda and his high wire act.

On March 22, 1978, Karl Wallenda was in Puerto Rico doing what he had done since he was six years old--performing. As cameras were recording his sauntering on a high wire, 120 some odd feet in the air with no net, the 73-year-old slipped and fell to his death.

I was watching it. I can still see him swaying in the wind. Apparently, the video is still out in the Internet for those who've never seen it. I can't rewatch it. Once was enough.

From that point on, I feared heights. When I was a kid I would climb onto things and not be afraid at all. From 1978 on, that wasn't the case. Just the thought of it even now gives me the willies.

I'm thinking that was the first video I've seen that showed a real person dying. I had blocked that out all these years and boom, out it slips when I least expected it.

Funny how the mind works.

Over the years, I've tried to face my fear of heights. I even went up in a hot air balloon for a newspaper story I was writing. Somehow, I survived. Don't ask me how. The first 100 feet were okay, but after that I froze up. At one point, I had take photos and I had the hardest time removing my hands from the sides of the basket to focus the camera. My mind said move, but my body said, "Hell, no."

I've had panic attacks at two specific landmarks--Moro Rock in the Sequoia National Park and the Grand Canyon.

Moro Rock is a landmark where can you can hike up to and actually walk around the rock. We visited the park in 1990, and my sons were young enough to freak me out as they ran ahead us wherever we walked. I held Jared's hand as we climbed the stairs. Just looking around at the view I started hyperventalating. I held onto my son and tried not to picture my oldest son, Jason, running ahead with his Father, and accidentally falling off the rock. The safety bars surrounding the walkway were a joke. I am amazed more kids don't fall off that mountain.


We visited the Grand Canyon in 2006, during our move to Texas. My husband, two sons, and one dog stopped long enough to check out the view. Me, I got dizzy as we walked toward the edge of the viewing area. Jerry, the boys and even the dog were having a good, old time. Me? My head began to swim and my knees began knocking. I just couldn't handle walking to the edge.

The vastness of the Grand Canyon scared the living heck out of me. It's so, so big!


Now, I can barely hang Christmas lights on the house. I don't think there is any cure for this.

I blame Karl.


Friday, March 25, 2011

To the Beet of a Different Drummer


I was in elementary school, having to stay at my aunt's house when I had my first and only experience with beets. I went to a year-round school and we had "mini vacations." My parents had to work during this one break and for some reason there was no one to watch me. Except Aunt Lorraine.

Aunt Lorraine was one tough old bird. Even when I was kid she was old. And mean. Married to my Dad's twin brother, Jack, Lorraine never minced words. She wasn't afraid of anyone and I would have put money on her to kick anyone's ass--man or woman.

My mom never forced us kids to eat certain foods. If we decided we didn't want to eat something, we didn't eat it. Mama wouldn't make something else. Either you ate it or you went hungry. My aunt was cut from a different cloth. Whatever she set in front of you, you had to eat. All of it. No arguments.

When she set that dinner plate in front of me and it sported boiled beets that looked like they were cooked in blood, there was no way I was eating it. She told me I had to eat it. I said I didn't want to. In a voice that was made gravely from smoking too many menthol Kools, she stated I had no choice. I'd eat it or stay all night at that dining table.


I sat there for hours crying and refusing to eat them. I ate everything else on my plate, but those beets. I had never been so miserable in my entire life. I wanted to go home. I didn't tell her I hated her. You didn't say that to Aunt Lorraine. Even at that young age, I knew better. But I just couldn't make myself open my mouth and eat those beets.

As time went by, the beets became room temperature and even less appealing. And there I still sat. She wasn't giving in and I wasn't either. I played with the beets, cutting them up to look as if I ate them, but she wasn't fooled. Four hours later she finally let me go to bed. I begged my mom to let me come home the next day.

This episode in my life, which I can close my eyes and still see the way the beets looked on the plate, altered the way I fed my own sons. I never forced them to eat anything. If they said they didn't like something, I might have suggested to try it, but if they said no, I'd let it go.

I refused to do to them what my aunt did to me. You should never force someone to eat something. Yes, you might like it, but what right do you have to make someone else eat it? It's not being a good parent. It's being abusive.

I consider myself pretty adventurous when it comes to food. Heck, I've eaten alligator, shark, frog, tongue, ox tail, buffalo, ostrich, chocolate covered ants and even lamb fries.

But I always have a saying when it comes to trying new food--I don't eat anything still moving and I don't do blood. I know those beets weren't cooked in blood, but that's what it looked like to me.

I bet most people have a food story in their lives where someone tried to get them to eat something they didn't want to--what was it for you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Burn Baby Burn


A benefit of living in Texas, compared to California, is my use of our fireplace. We didn't have one in our house in Bakersfield. It seemed silly when the house was being built to have a fireplace included. Not only were my boys still at the age that I was worried that they would try to burn things in it that they shouldn't, but the strict air controls laws made it almost impossible to have a fire.

The house we bought in San Antonio had a fireplace in it and I was completely thrilled. We had no little kids around so I didn't have to freak out about any fires. Plus, San Antonio weather is more conducive to burning a roaring fire.

Starting off with a Duraflame log, we added split oak, cedar and other firewood either bought or collected ourselves. The smell of burning wood is addicting. It's a homey smell that makes me feel we are in cabin in the woods. Texas has a wide selection of wood to choose from--mesquite, oak, cherry, apple, cedar and other hardwoods.

fire and wood Pictures, Images and Photos

Different from the norm I usually don't keep the stored wood inside the house. I keep it outside and bring it in as we burn it. I have the worry that spiders and other critters are still in the wood and I don't want to bring them in to explore my home.

In my wood holder by the side of the fireplace I have my homemade fleece blankets. They are the backup when it’s cold. You wrap up in a blanket, start a fire and relax. You don't fall into the trap of always turning on the heater. A good fire and can warm up the room and your heart. The crackling wood, the spiced scent and some hot cocoa and I'm a happy gal. Our cats really appreciate stretching out in front of a roaring fire and taking naps.

We don't have a government agency telling us when and when we cannot burn our fireplace. We don't have to worry about fines or jail time for doing what's normal in a fireplace. I appreciate it.

I'd like to get one of those fake fireplaces for upstairs in the library. My books, a fire and a comfy chair., that's something to work toward.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Toilet Water


Random thoughts are always flowing through my brain and one of the most whackadoodle of all flittered into my skull the other day--toilet water. There is probably one, if not two, generations of kids who do not know when one says, "What is the toilet water you are wearing?" that's it's not an insult. Do you know what toilet water is? And I don't mean the stuff the Tidy Bowl man hangs out in.

Toilet water is a type of perfume. It's not as strong as regular perfume. Some call it a poor woman's perfume because the oils are cut down with water to dilute it. I used to think it was a 1950s kind of thing, but I've learned it's been around since ancient times. Women, and even men, have relied on it to smell alluring.

I can understand using it in ancient times. Come on, we know the bathing habits of many left a lot to be desired. I'd be throwing that lavender water all over me if I felt it could hide some of the unwashed smell.

I remember sniffing a bottle of "eau de toilette" in an aunt's bathroom that smelled of roses. I thought it was all hoity toity. That is until I learned the translation of the French words. Toilet water. It lost a bit of its allure, but the smell was still lovely.

I think I need to buy a bottle of toilet water and keep it in my guest bathroom. I need to educate the younger generation to the beauty that is eau de toilette.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's In A Name?


I came from a part of California that had some wacky town names--Weedpatch, Buttonwillow, Greenacres, Fruitvale and Oildale. But I moved to a place that has town names that don't sound like they should either. One example is the little town of Boerne, Texas. Its north of San Antonio. Most people would look at the name and pronounce it "born," but that would be wrong. It's pronounced "birney."

Another town outside of San Antonio is called Gruene. Now, most of us would pronounce it "Gruune." Nope, they pronounce it, "Green." Say what? How do you get "Green" out of Gruene? Apparently, it's the German influence. Germans settled in the Hill County, as the area around here is called, years ago. Their presence affected the food, the economy and what towns were called and pronounced.

I do keep the locals entertained with my ability to mispronounce most all names. It's not just towns, but sometimes people's last names. I get razzed for my lack of talent of pronouncing Hispanic names. I can't roll my r's and I put emphasis on parts of the name you shouldn't.

I keep trying to tell people I'm hearing impaired. It's not just being a silly white gal who has no clue. I speak what I hear and I don't hear so well.

That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Everything is bigger in Texas


I've been in the middle of a "Man vs. Food," marathon on the weekends as I can fit it in between chores. I've had friends ask me if I've been to the couple of places, host Adam Richman, had visited while in San Antonio. I had missed the original airing of the show, but thanks to Netflix, I have been able to catch up on the San Antonio show, plus the other shows I haven't watched.

I hadn't been to the three places highlighted on the San Antonio show--Lulu's Bakery and Cafe, Chunky's Burgers and Big Lou's Pizza. After seeing the show, I just had to try them.

The first place we have been able to check out was Lulu's Bakery and Cafe near the RiverWalk and north of the Alamo. It's a typical, older hole-in-the-wall diner that sports almost a '50s retro/Texas theme. We decided to have breakfast first and it was nice. They promote their chicken fried steak that's as large as a plate, but that early in the morning eggs and biscuits sounded more like a breakfast. We also ordered the cinnamon roll so we could experience it first hand.

After our meal, our pink cowboy-hatted waitress brought out the humongous cinnamon roll to our table. Three and a half pounds of cinnamon goodness arrived with a steak knife stabbed in the middle of it. This was not a roll you just pick up with one hand take a bite of--you have to cut pieces off it, just to be able to get your mouth around it.


I sliced out a small slice of it and began eating. It is not just all looks. Lulu's cinnamon rolls are very tasty. They are perfectly cooked in the middle for being something so big. It wasn't doughy at all. It had the perfect amount of cinnamon and lots and lots of sugar. I think if I tried to eat the whole thing I'd die of sugar overdose.

The waitress told us that Adam finished off not only the Sheriff's platter, a huge plate of food featuring a chicken fried steak, but he also ate a whole cinnamon roll by himself. Looking at the roll in person, I have no flipping idea how he did it. It's like eating a two layer cake in one sitting.

I would have been majorly ill if I had even attempted it. It's got a LOT of sugar on it. Texas does like to do things bigger and better and Lulu's has a three and a half pound example.

Next place we have to check out is Big Lou's Pizza. Forty-two inches of pizza! There's no way I could eat that much. I will have to try a slice of it—a sliver or two. lol


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Texas Doesn't Know Squat About Tri-Tip


Texans needs to bone up on their barbecue. Because it isn't a true barbecue unless you are cooking tri-tip. And you can't find tri-tip on most menus in the restaurants around San Antonio. Heck, most people here don't even know what it is, let alone how to cook it. Man, they are so missing out on some of the most tender, tasty meat available.

Well, I'm from California and I KNOW my tri-tip. In fact, I make some of the most tender, tasty trip east of California. First thing when we came to Texas we explored all the barbecue joints in and around San Antonio. I love barbecue. But, to my surprise, there was no tri-tip to be found. What they push here is brisket. I'm sorry, but brisket is a poor step-brother to tri-tip.

The only way I get my tri-tip fix is to make it myself. I smoke it low and slow. It's the only way to grill it. My biggest challenge is finding it in the local grocery stores. It's technically called the bottom sirloin and that's the way I mostly have to request it. Although, Texas butchers are starting to get used to people asking for tri-tip as more ex-Californians move into the state.


You can season tri-tip just as you would any other barbecue meat, but before we left California I bought a big jar of Santa Maria Style Seasoning. It's the perfect mixture of spices that compliment the tender meat.


You see, there is a golden triangle in California for those in the know about this secret meat. It starts in the Central Californian Coast in Santa Maria. It flows from there to Bakersfield and then to Fresno. In this triangle, flavorful meat is cooked and eaten.

I carry that special knowledge with me. I have my personal routine with tri-tip. I put a dry rub on it, cook it low and slow for a couple of hours, then I bring it into the house, smother it with sauce and wrap it up with tinfoil. I then put it in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Oh, my--so tender, and so delicious.

Try it for yourself and tell me if you don't think it's the best barbecue you've ever had.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crush on Columbo


I can't remember the first time I watched an episode of Columbo, but it had to be in the early '70s. It was Sunday night and each week it would rotate between Columbo, McMillan and Wife and McCloud. Of all three, I enjoyed Columbo the most. It was different than most mystery shows because you knew right away who did it. You spent the rest of the hour seeing how Columbo solved the mystery and watch the bad guy or gal, squirm while being tracked.

I loved it. Columbo wasn't a pretty boy detective. Nor was he a rude, arrogant guy with a gun (he never carried one). He was perceived by many who came across him as a "schmo." But we avid watchers knew better. He was brilliant, doggedly dedicated and at times, completely compassionate to the victims and even villains.

His character was a devoted married man who loved his wife and his Bassett hound named "Dog." He noticed details that most of his coworkers and villains overlooked—from a stuffed light bulb and Ruth Gordon, dust on the shelf in the airplane locker of bad girl Lee Grant to picture frames with Ross Martin and incriminating fingerprints. Classic Columbo!


I own a complete collection of DVDs of Columbo and I watch them again and again. It's like visiting a favorite uncle. Peter Falk is an amazing actor. I guess I should honestly say "was," since Falk doesn't act anymore. He's alive, but suffering from dementia. What a waste of a great acting talent. No more Columbos. It would have been amazing to see a new Columbo, with him as a grandpa, detecting away in his retirement. It’s too sad.

But I lift my glass to Peter Falk. You gave us a memorable and brilliant performance of a great detective. Your fans still adore you, Mr. Falk. Thank you.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Smaller is Better


I have been slowly downsizing myself when it comes to sodas. I now buy the mini versions and am quite happy with them. I usually just need enough of the soda to get the craving out the way. Once I have it, I'm okay. I don't need to drink a full-size can. I'm not sure it would work for some people, but it's working for me.

I don't feel cheated. If I'm still thirsty after drinking one of the mini sodas I will either drink a glass of milk or water.

When I see people drinking 44-plus ounces of soda I cringe. They sport too many calories, and too much sugar. Even it's diet soda all I think about are the chemicals. lol

I'm far from perfect and I'm not counting all my calories, but I do make myself think twice about some things I eat. I still have chocolate, but I buy it pieces. I have one, maybe two pieces and that's it. Again, just enough to get the urge out of the way without over doing it.

truffles Pictures, Images and Photos

I don't cheat myself out of anything. I will eat what I want, but I do try to watch how much of it I eat. Sometimes I do a give and take. If I have a really bad for me lunch, I will eat a small serving of dinner or just a salad.

I know I can't fast. I get too shaky if I don't eat and there are times I need that serving of starchy food--whether it be bread, potatoes or pasta. I just watch how much of it I eat. I have learned to "listen" to my body. If I am craving something I firmly believe it's my body's way of telling me I need some nutrient from it.

I just need to figure out my exercise routine and stick to it. That's my 2011 focus. How about you?

Monday, January 3, 2011

The High Road


I just don't get it. Okay, I admit I'm a bit of tomboy. I always have been. Girlie girl is not a compliment from me. I just don't get the pointy high heels women wear today. Not only are they silly looking, they are not functional and incredibly painful looking. Yeah, that's what I want -- a pair of Wicked Witch of the East shoes.

I saw a pair the other day that made me bite my lip and shake my head. I hate to break it to you ladies, but they don't look good. They look stupid. I will probably make some people mad, but I have to express my feelings.

Wear shoes that don't make you look like you can step on a bug in a corner. Rounded toes are okay and better for your feet. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times--my feet hurt. They wear the tippy toe high heels to work in and wonder why their feet hurt. "But they look so good." Please! High heels are not meant for work. If you are worrying more about how your feet feel, than focusing on your job something is wrong.

I have to fight the urge to tell the gals about the butchers who used to wear high heels to step above the dead animals. Is that what they are doing? "Oh, they make me look sleeker/taller/slimmer," what they really do is give you hammertoes and bunions the size of a sixth toe.

I crack up every time I see the "Jen Shoes" episode of the IT Crowd. It so classic when it comes to high heels and the ramifications of wearing them at work.

You can watch it on youtube and it will make you belly laugh.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Making Memories


I'm a big fan of making memories. In fact, for a birthday present I'd much rather make a memory doing or visiting something unique or cool than receiving a gift wrapped present.

One of my many memories is my attempt to climb Mt. Whitney. I was working at the newspaper and 26 coworkers and significant others (Jerry didn't want to climb so he stayed home with the boys) decided we wanted to climb Mt. Whitney. Towering at 14,505 feet, this beast of a mountain is scary to look as it is to climb.


We started climbing in the pitch dark at 4:30 in the morning. We were advised no matter where we were at 2:30 in the afternoon to turn around and start back to base camp. This was in June--warm weather abounded except for the top of Mt. Whitney. There, snow covered the rocks and it was icy cold. You carried your only drinking water and food. We weren't staying the night. Climb up as far as you could and climb down in one day.

What memories I have of that day. I learned even though I lived for many years in Reno at 4,500 feet and could handle hiking--I couldn't handle the high altitude sickness that hit me. I found a hiking buddy in Robert. He had a bad knee, but a wonderful attitude. Me, I could only walk six feet of the infamous switchbacks without stopping to catch my breath. It wasn't an in-shape/out-of-shape situation--I just couldn't breathe normally. I've never gone through something like that before and haven't since that day.

Practically everyone passed us up that day. We wound up being the second to last pair of hikers. Even though we knew we probably weren't going to reach the summit in the time allowed, we kept on trying. We kept up a running commentary of nothing and everything. At the height we were at the weather was still beautiful. Clear blue skies and cool without being cold. We stopped and took photos, ate crackers, drank our water whether we needed it or not. (We were told to do that because if you drank only when you were thirsty, it was already too late for you).

We reached a little over the 5,000 foot level when 2:30 pm arrived and we turned around and started back down the hill. It was tons easier momentum wise going downhill, but man, the impact on the legs and hips was worse. Somehow we laughed, moaned and thrilled in the journey. It didn't matter that we didn't reach the top. We had a great day, made new friends and did something we never knew we could--climb Mt. Whitney.

Back at base camp we learned that only a handful of our group actually made it to the summit. It was windy, cold and they didn't linger for long. Robert and I missed the snow covered field at the upper base camp. It might have been nice to get there (we weren't that far away from it when we turned around). But we were told again and again that you didn't want to be caught up on that mountain when night fell--the weather could change quickly and hypothermia could set in.

By dinner, my body was reacting to the exercise. My muscles began locking up. By the time I crashed in bed I had bummed some medicine from my roommate so I could try to find sleep through my pain. The next morning, as we loaded up to head home, found a very sore group of people packing up. All of the pain was worth it. I can close my eyes and still see the view from the mountain, feel the warm sun on my arms and hear the sounds of the birds chattering away.


I love making memories.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Little Nook of the World


My name is Robin, and I'm a bookaholic. I've had a "problem," with books since the 5th grade. I blame it on Mrs. White. My teacher decided to have a reading contest and the winner would win a hard bound copy of "The Prince and the Pauper," by Mark Twain. I never realized how competitive I was until that contest. I wanted to win. I had to win. I dreamed of winning. I went to the school library and really began reading. In a short amount of time, and 26 books later, I won that contest and that book. I also developed a love of reading that is still with me to this day.

So, I can blame Mrs. White. She opened up a world to me that changed my life forever. Even though I lived in a small valley outside of Reno, Nevada (Sun Valley), I could travel through time and around the world. I would take my book outside and in-between the dust of the desert and the heat of the sun, I was transported. My life was never dull or boring again. I went places and I did things my siblings couldn't even begin to understand.

I ran from the Morlocks and sat next to Nancy Drew as she drove her sweet, little blue convertible. Hercule Poirot never had a better audience than me as he waxed his moustache and utilized his little grey cells. My tastes were diversified, but I tended to drift towards mysteries. I loved the challenge of trying to figure out "who did it." Agatha always kept me guessing. I was usually disappointed by an author when I had it figured out by Chapter 4 who did it. I still finished reading their book, but rarely checked out their next offering.

In high school I was reading seven books and two plays a week. As my reading pace picked up, so did my need to visit the local library. I was an aide in the library from sixth grade through my senior year of high school. It was the best way to get my "fix."

I often thought of becoming a librarian, but I couldn't afford to pay my way through Berkeley or UCLA, the nearest colleges that offered a degree in the field. But my love of reading has remained. I have thousands of books at home. I've given away a thousand. You think I joke? Trust me, I'm not. I counted them. Many libraries, children centers and domestic violence centers have benefitted from me weeding through my books.

Now, I have a Barnes & Noble nook. I have found a little piece of heaven right here on earth. My nook has 2 gig of memory in it and I was able to purchase a memory card for another 2 gig. What does this mean? I can hold 1,500 books on this nook at one time. That's enough books to keep me quite happy.

I read all the time. When some face down time waiting in line at the grocery store, car wash or a lunch hour, they just twiddle their fingers doing their best not to stress out. Me? I'm reading. I'm relaxed and happy chilling out with my latest read. I swear it's lowered my blood pressure. I don't care about how long I have to wait at a restaurant. I have a book.

More people should try it out. Maybe they wouldn't be so damned cranky. When nook owners see others reading theirs they just quietly share a smile. They know the secret of a happy life. Reading.

Are you wondering what Christmas present to buy a loved one who enjoys reading? Get them a nook. It will be the best present in the world. Make sure to buy one for a child. It can open up a world as big as their imagination and take them places completely unforgettable.

My grandson is merely two years old, so a nook isn't for him quite yet. But wait until his 5th birthday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tie It Up


I make blankets. Not your everyday blankets, but fleece tied blankets. A former co-worker shared her knowledge and taught me the ways of blanketology. Ever since then I've been a lost cause. I make them every Christmas, sometimes for birthday presents and always for a baby shower gift. They are easy, affordable and one way I can be amazingly creative without stressing out.

I find myself not only making tied blankets for family, friends and co-workers, but also teaching others how to make them. It's not quite a mission, but pretty darn close. I am proud that practically none of my blanket's waste material goes to waste. I recycle all parts of my blanket so that very little is tossed.

I trim the sides of the fleece material for the reinforced edging to make a smoother tie trim. I reuse those clipped sides and braid them, tying knots at each end, into cat toys.

The four or five inch material four corners that I cut out, I save and use to make a crazy quilt. It shows a touch of the fabric for every blanket I've ever made. It's a fabric trip down memory lane. I love it.

Making the blankets is incredibly easy. I use 1/2 yard in length for wheelchair blankets and car seat blankets, 1 yard for baby blankets or short humans and 2 yards and up for adults. That measurement is doubled. For example, for a 1 yard blanket, you need two separately cut 1 yard pieces of fabric. One yard is for the top and one yard is for the bottom.

You can use patterns on one side and a complimentary solid color on the other side. Or you can use the same pattern on both sides, or a different pattern on each side. There are no limits to your creativity.

You lay down one piece of material on the floor. (It's easier to pin it up with lots of room. If you have cats, remove them from the area, they always want to sit in the middle of your material because they LOVE fleece and bugging the heck out of you.) Lay the second piece of material over the top of the first. Match them up on all angles. If you have overage, trim the material edges to match. You basically want two pieces of materials that mirror each other in width and length.

Get out your straight pins and ruler. Measure in four or five inches (whatever measurement you want, just be consistent) and start pinning the pins to be your guide. Edge the whole blanket, four or five inches in with pins. Your corners should be either four by four or five by five, again whatever you decide. You will cut out the each of the corners first, set aside to sew together later for your crazy quilt blanket.

At this point, your blanket is evenly trimmed, completely pinned and corners cut. You then can take the blanket and set it across your lap. Get your scissors and begin cutting the fringe that you will double knot (this makes the tied part of the blanket). You cut about one inch apart, to the four or five inch pinned mark. Then you tie the top and bottom cut material into a double knot, going along the all sides of the blanket. Before you know it, viola, you are done and have a finished blanket.

There are a multitude of step-by-step videos out there for those who don't quite understand my instructions. It won't hurt my feelings for you to check them out. But remember, there are many ways to do this blanket, but the underlying theme---no sewing involved.

I think once you make one, you, too, will be hooked on it. If you make one, send me a photo. I'd love to see them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Knowing My Place


I've never been a person who knows their "place." It's always gone against my grain to have someone tell me where I belong--held to someone else's standards. I set the standards in my life. I control what I do and to what level I do it.

Tell me I can't do something and I will do it just to prove you wrong. Maybe this comes from being the youngest of five kids and always being told I couldn't do something because I was too small or too young. Man, I got so tired of hearing that from my siblings.

I was working at the newspaper and when an opportunity to write opened up and I took it. I dealt with a surprising amount of negativity from the newsroom reporters. I was a mere news clerk. Didn't I know my "place" was to answer their phones and not have the audacity to think I could do something their college educated behinds did every day?

But I did it. I had my little niche in special sections and I wrote my fingers off. I always took pride in whatever I did and gave it 100 percent. I never aimed for the newsroom. It takes a certain type of personality to work in a newsroom and I just didn't have the shark mentality. I covered the automotive field. I was told women don't cover cars--what do they know about them? Well, I knew a few things. And I wrote about them for 13 years. For goodness' sake, I'm a writer, not a flipping mechanic. I had fun doing it--driving cars and oh, yeah, winning county, state, national and international writing awards while doing it. I’m not perfect, but I apply heart and soul to everything I do.

When it comes to my personal life, I wasn't going to let anyone tell me what I should or shouldn't do. Instead of waiting for my husband to ask me to marry him, I asked him to marry me. Before he knew it, I had him to Las Vegas and officially made him mine. Why did I have to know my "place" and let him ask me? I knew what I wanted and I went after it.

Places, places, places---I don't give a fig about titles. You want me to respect you? Don't go flaunting a title at me. Show me how hard you work, and then I will respect you. Show me how committed you are to doing the best job possible no matter what it is you do, and I will respect you. But don't expect me to know my "place" and respect you just because you have a flipping title. It doesn't mean diddly squat in my world.

I can and will do whatever I set my mind to--no matter what it is. I know my "place" is wherever I put it.

Monday, September 13, 2010



It was my junior year of high school when I decided I wasn't going to let fear stop me from having fun. So many times I wanted to do things--everything from dating to joining a club--but I didn't because I was afraid. I was so shy and I was so worried about looking stupid and not fitting in. So I did nothing. What a waste it was.

In my junior year I was tired of being alone. I had acquaintances, but no real close friends in high school. It wasn't until the summer before my junior year that I felt enough was enough. When school started I joined every club I could--Ghost Towners, Skating, and Wrestlerettes. I socialized even though it was literally painful for me to do it. I'm hearing impaired so social situations have always been hard for me. Having to wear hearing aids made my life easier in some ways, but way harder in other ways. I've always felt I was an outsider, never fitting in because I was different.

I went to meetings, I talked to people and, yes, I became a cheerleader for the wrestling team. lol For an extremely shy person like myself that was the hardest thing I have ever done. We had to perform in front of people. In front of teenagers. Ughhh. I would get physically ill beforehand. But I made myself do it. I was also around guys more and I really tried to get over my fears of interacting with them, but it was hard. I could talk to them, but I did more daydreaming about relationships than actually having any.

In my junior year, I had a major crush on one particular boy--John. He was so handsome, so intelligent; he was on the wrestling and football team. He was always sweet to me if we interacted. But I let my shyness stop me from trying to get to know him better. He was out of my league. Man, if I only knew then what I know now. :)

In my senior year, I would go to soccer games to watch a guy who I thought was really cute. I kept to myself, until one game I met another girl doing the same thing I was--watching the guys play. We starting talking and once we realized we weren't panting over the same guy we became friends. Ellen was one year behind me in high school, but light-years ahead of me with her confidence.

I was still on my kick to face my fears, sometimes succeeding (I went on a date with a classmate) and sometimes failing (never went to any school dances, not even the prom). I drug poor Ellen to the movies with me--I was afraid of horror movies so I was determined to make myself watch them. (She walked out of a movie that had something to do with the devil). I joined her in the lobby soon after. Yes, I chickened out.

Ellen was and is good for me. Yes, after all these years we are still best friends and even live in the same town. She double-dog dared me so many times and made me do things. Of course, I double-dog dared her, too. She NEVER backed down from a dare. What did I expect from a natural redhead of an Episcopalian minister? We did some wild things that only we know about.

We haven't even told our husbands about most of the escapades we experienced. I know a few had to have been slightly illegal. lol Our Virginia City saloon gal photos was one of our trips. I alway had and have fun with Ellen. And I won't mention anything about Lake Tahoe, her parent's condo and some vodka. To this day, I still can't drink Screwdrivers.

I wish I would have met her sooner in high school. My high school years would have been more memorable than they were.

Face those fears, people. Even if they scare the hell out of you, it's worth facing them. Too bad we don't get do-overs.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Believe or Not to Believe


While walking into a restaurant recently one of my companions made a comment about setting purses down on the floor. I've always hung my purse either off my knee under the table or on the back of my chair. My reasoning has always been dirty floors, but she told me of the superstition of setting purses on the floor and how you would always be broke. In fact, she said at one local Mexican restaurant they would bring a little stool to set your purse on--just to keep it off the floor.

I took a class in high school entitled "Ancient Beliefs Modern Man." Yes, I still remember it. We talked about myriad superstitions and myths and the logic and often illogic of them. Why do we knock on wood after we say something we don't want jinxed? Why do we say "God Bless You," after sneezing? Why should you not step on a crack? Or break a mirror?

I hadn't heard about the purse superstition until I came to Texas. I had two separate females talk about it. I tried to wrap my head around it and the only thing I can think of is if you set it on the ground, maybe it makes it easier for someone distract you while a companion steals your money?

Some people take this superstition so seriously they have made a product-a portable hook--that allows a woman to hang her purse practically wherever she goes.


I give them credit for seeing a need and selling a product. lol

Texas has many of its own superstitions--I'm learning as I go what many of them are and I have say they are a bit entertaining. One involved holding your breath while passing a cemetery. Apparently this was so you wouldn't breathe in the spirit of someone recently buried.

Most of the superstitions I don't believe in--some I do. I still say "God Bless You," to someone who sneezes and, yes, I still throw spilt salt over my left shoulder. You see, evil always lurks over your left shoulder so throwing spilled salt into its eyes distracts it from hurting me.

Hey, that's my belief and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scottish to the Bone


I'm a bit of this and a bit of that and quite proudly to say I'm part Scottish. During my ancestral research phase I learned about my European roots. I'm Scottish/Irish/German/English and a few percents of supposedly Native American (haven't proven it yet). Since I'm a foodie, part of my research has been the recipes of my foremothers.

I have a handful of cookbooks featuring the recipes old and new from the aforementioned countries. I have a recipe I'm going to try soon that looks so good I can't wait to taste it. It's a version of Scotch Broth for the crockpot. The crockpot will allow me to do the long-time cooking the recipe needs in my hectic, everyday life. I adore soups and this one should be delicious and a bit healthy.

I plan on tweaking the ingredients a bit. Instead of lamb, I'm going to use beef shanks. I will add some beef broth, water, pearl barley, carrots, onion, potatoes (instead of traditional turnip), celery and various seasonings.

I will throw it in the crockpot to cook all day and serve it with some buttered French bread. I might try the recipe with some lamb, if I can find some in the local store and it doesn't cost an arm and leg. lol

I've made many of the traditional Scottish recipes true to form--Cock-a-Leekie, Shortbread and Stovies. In fact, many of the recipes from my southern ancestors reflect the traces of their European roots. Stovies, for example, are merely fried taters with onions and meat.

Cock-a-Leekie is a chicken soup that is tummy filling. It's worth a try at least once in a lifetime. Give it a whirl. Good soup doesn't have to come from a can.

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

This traditional soup, with prunes included in the ingredients, is mentioned as early as the 16th century. It is often served at Burns Suppers or St Andrew's Night Dinner (30 November) as well as an every-day soup in winter. Some people omit the prunes though!


1 boiling fowl, about 4lb, including legs and wings
1lb leeks (about 12) cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 pints stock or water
1oz long grained rice
4oz cooked, stoned prunes
One teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and pepper
Garni of bay leaf, parsley, thyme
Some recipes also have 3 chopped rashers of streaky bacon

Put the fowl and bacon in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and remove any scum. Add three-quarters of the leeks, (green as well as white sections), herbs (tied together in a bundle), salt and pepper and return to the boil. Simmer gently for 2-3 hours, adding more water if necessary.

Remove the bird. Some thrifty chefs use the bird as another course, others cut the meat into small pieces and add them back to the soup (certainly it should have some pieces of chicken in it when served). Add the rice and drained prunes and the remaining leeks and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check for flavor and serve with a little chopped parsley.

Serves 6/8 people.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Robert Burns
This Scottish dinner toast known as The Selkirk Grace is attributed to Burns. But the words were said to be in use long before his time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Walk on the Wild Side


I have come to accept over the 3 1/2 years that we've lived in Texas that everything is bigger here. Last weekend, I came practically face-to-face with an example of that belief--a Megaphasma dentricus was hanging out by our garden hose reel.

Silly me was reaching over to unwind the hose when I noticed something not quite right on the wall in front of me. A six-inch bug was hanging out, just enjoying the shade in the summer heat. After a squeal or two, I hollered for Jerry to come over to take a photo of the unbelievably big bug with his IPhone. I have seen walking stick bugs before, but nothing like this baby.

It was HUGE. Okay, not Godzilla-type huge, but big enough to freak me out. I am not afraid of bugs; I just don't appreciate them the way they probably want to be appreciated. I know they don't bite. They aren't poisonous and probably don’t want to deal with me as much as I don't want to deal with him. Or her. I wasn't quite sure how to tell the sex of a Megaphasma dentricus or otherwise known as a Walking Stick.

This particular bug is a Texas version that gets up to seven inches long. Ours was pretty darn close. I wasn't going to get a tape measure to find out for sure. I respectfully left it alone to continue on its journey.

I've mentioned before about the bugs here--the freaky big centipedes here are disgusting. Sorry, but those really freak me out. The ones we saw were Texas Redheaded Centipedes. I kid you not.

Texas redheaded centipedes, or Scolopendra heros castaneiceps, are a subspecies of Scolopendra heros. They are one of the world's largest centipede species and can grow to be as long as 12 inches. Their heads are red, with segmented dark blue, purple or black bodies. Each segment bears a pair of yellow legs.

The Texas redheaded centipede can be found throughout much of the Southwestern United States, as well as in Northern Mexico. Texas redheaded centipedes prefer dark, moist environments and will take cover during the day. Rock crevices, leaf litter and rocks provide shelter, although the Texas redheaded centipede can also burrow into the ground. After dark, Texas redheaded centipedes hunt for prey; insects are their chief food source.

The tails of these centipedes resemble their heads. This characteristic serves to confuse predators. In addition, they are equipped with a painful, venomous bite, which can incapacitate and kill small prey and predators.

While the Texas redheaded centipede's bite will not kill humans, it may be extremely painful for up to two days. Individuals with known insect allergies may experience more severe reactions and should contact a medical professional.


My son Jared said he saw a huge centipede when he was working at a Home Depot here in San Antonio. He said he heard it before he saw it. If it made him nervous, I can't imagine what I'd do.

I have a healthy respect. And a weekend doesn't go by when I see a critter I've never seen before. Creeping, crawling, slithering and scuttling around my yard--it's rarely dull.

I always wear shoes when outside. I learned my lesson the past Halloween when I stepped on a scorpion out on the driveway. Not an episode I'd like to repeat anytime soon.

Texas is only for the brave--bug wussies need not apply.