Sunday, January 31, 2010

Phobos Dreams_Chapter Two


I had made arrangements with Cap to meet at my place at 2 a.m. That gave me plenty of time to finish my errands.

My step was lighter as I went from shop to shop. I mentioned to no one else about my plans. I had no other friends. To know that Cap would be going with me made me happier than I had been since the Rebirth had happened.

I had one last stop before returning to my apartment. Long ago, I had turned away from the Rebirth's idea of "Church." The government had altered everything when they took over and "Rebirthed" the Earth.

Any resemblance the Rebirth Church had to churches of the past was lost years ago. The church I walked toward was not in the new, gleaming, sterile building they called "Church." My church was a boarded up building two streets over from my apartment.

I looked both ways before entering the decayed building. Rats larger than small cats scampered across the dirty floor. The building was silent, and oddly peaceful. Filtered sunlight drifted into the room I entered. Against the wall leaned a tall, wooden cross. It displayed remnants of a time past, but not quite yet forgotten.

The rest of the building had graffiti scrawled everywhere. Windows were broken and doors take off their hinges, yet this room was unmarked.

The cross gleamed in the dim sunlight. As my eyes became adjusted tot eh dimness I noticed others in the room.

"Peace be with you," I said softly.

"Please be with you," they replied. Two women and one man were sitting in front of the cross, their hands raised together in prayer.

I sat down on the gleaming floor. This room was spotless. The walls were scrubbed to a point that the wood sparkled. No rats entered this room. The caretaker of the church walked over to me.

"Peace be with you, my sister. Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Peace be with you, caretaker. I am here to refresh my soul with goodness and to ask for a favor if I may," I replied, lowering my head in the caretaker’s presence.

"And what favor might that be, my child?"

The caretaker was a woman of an undetermined age. Her long, black hair was braided around her head. Streaks of gray intermingled with the black.

Once, many years ago, I thought the caretaker was a pastor in a church before the Rebirth. I didn't know for sure and I wasn't sure how to graciously ask without offending the caretaker.

"I am going away to another city. I was wondering if I might purchase a copy of the "Book" to take with me. Is that possible?" I asked my eyes not leaving her gentle face.

The caretaker looked at me carefully. It was a federal crime to purchase the "Book." And it was even worse for the person who dared to sell the contraband.

"You know the consequences if you are caught holding the 'Book.' Are you willing to face these consequences? Possessing the 'Book' is also a very important honor. You must protect it with your life," she said reverently.

"Where I am going there are no 'Books.' I must have a copy to take with me. I will guard it with my life."

The caretaker looked around the room, the others seems oblivious to our quiet conversation.

"Come with me."

The woman led me to a side room I had never been in before. It must have been where she slept for there was a small, bare bed against a far wall. No other furniture or decorations were in the room except for a painting on the wall. I hadn't seen a painting like that since I was a child. It was of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross.

I fell to my knees in front of the painting. The caretaker smiled, and gently put her hand to my head.

"It's all right, child. God knows you are a faithful believer. There is still hope out there. Even though the government tells us there is none. Those who believe, those who still trust God, know there is hope no matter what the odds are," her soft voice reassured me.

Raising my head, I looked up at the painting and at the caretaker.

"I am going far away caretaker. I need to take some of that hope with me. May I please have a copy of the 'Book?' "

The caretaker nodded her head and reached under the bare bed. She pulled out a small box and removed a book. She carefully handed it to me.

"You don't have to pay me, child. Just promise not to tell anyone where you got it and guard it with your life. Follow those words and you will live a more wonderful life than many can imagine."

I accepted the book and slipped it into my life pack.

"I am honored by your trust. But, please let me pay you."

"No child, I have all I need. I have the Lord and I have the few faithful who still come to worship. I am already very rich," she said, a beautiful smile filling her face.

"Take care my child, and may peace always be with you."

Tears fell down my face. The peace and love the caretaker exuded filled me with warmth.

"Maybe peace always be with you, caretaker," I replied before quietly leaving the room.

Standing once again inside the room with the cross, I walked over to it and knelt. Saying the one prayer I remembered from childhood, I leaned over and kissed the bottom of the cross. I prayed for a safe journey for Cap and myself.

I was careful leaving the building, knowing the contraband "Book" was in my life pack made me far more aware of the surroundings.

I was finally ready to start a new life. I had all I needed in my life pack. Now, all I needed was Cap.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Phobos Dreams


I stood at the window overlooking the crowded, smog-spewing streets. Escape was the only thought on my mind. Escape from people, places and things. Sirens echoed into the sparse room. Even though I was on the 15th floor of my apartment building, I couldn't escape the harassing sounds of city life.

"God, I want out," I whispered softly. I felt hollowness in my chest. I knew I couldn't take another day in Los Angeles. I was suffocating.

The sharp ring of the telephone made me snap to attention.


"Do you still want to go?" a deep voice whispered.

My heart felt as if it had stopped. I gripped the telephone so tightly that my knuckles had turned white.

"Yes," I replied. My chest felt as if icicles were stabbed into it.

"We leave at 4 a.m. Be ready," the voice ordered.

"What do I take with me?" I asked. I realized I was talking to dead air.

Packing what I thought were bare essentials, I realized I didn't have to worry about leaving anything behind. I practically owned nothing. My whole life fit neatly into a standard army-issued life pack.

I had twelve hours before I had to leave. I decided to run errands to pick up some needed survival gear. Better safe than sorry, I thought.

Sliding my life pack over my shoulders I headed out the door. I hated going into the streets and avoided it as much as possible. People were mean, animalistic and basically deadly on the streets of Los Angeles. They only cared about themselves and rarely looked out for anyone else. When their bloodshot eyes caught yours, you instinctively knew they were calculating what you had to offer. What could they take from you? Jewelry, money or your life, it didn't matter in what order. The only things important to the street dwellers were themselves.

Two generations before, Earth inhabitants were more caring. They were peaceful and caring to their fellow man. But that was before the change. Rebirth. Ever since then day-to-day life had changed forever.

I rarely thought about what life was like in the past. Hazy faces of my family--my parents and siblings--drifted in my memory. I didn't know if any of them were alive. And I didn't care. The Rebirth had changed everyone--including myself.

But, I knew if I could escape, I could start a new life. A dream life of peace, beauty and the freedom to learn.

I never told anyone of my dreams. I knew no one could make them become reality but me.

Since the Rebirth in 2157, schools were outlawed. Street dwellers had taken over the schools to the point it seemed useless to go through the charade of teaching. Students and teachers were assaulted daily. Murders casually happened in the schoolyard. Everyone carried guns. The government had finally decided it was safer to close the schools forever.

Heading out of my building I felt the full power of the steamy streets. Temperatures today were expected to hit 120 degrees, according to the morning radio report. Ever since the environmentalists got executed in the first days of the Rebirth, Earth's atmosphere had drastically changed.

No one was around to police the world's industrial companies. Large corporations began raiding countries—clear cutting the land, polluting the water and doing what they wanted to make themselves rich. Earth was paying the price.

Temperatures would rise so high during the day that water would boil and fish would die in the ponds. At night, it would get so cold animals would die in their tracks, their bodies stuck in a frozen motion of movement.

I carefully dodged dwellers on the crowded sidewalk. The human stench was unbearable. My stomach clenched as I tried to block out the stale, putrid odors mixed with the cooking smells of the street vendors.

The Army surplus store was only three blocks from my apartment. Sighing with relief, I slipped quietly into the store. Its dark interior was welcoming and familiar.

"Hey, Cap. I need a couple of things," said to an older, grizzled-looking man behind the scarred counter.

"You always need something, Arianne. What's it now? Stun gun? A magic powder to make people disappear??" he growled.

"What? You have something new in? A powder? Does it work?" I asked teasingly.

The old veteran who ran the store fought through more wars than I thought possible. He knew everything about war. He would have still been fighting if he hadn't gotten kicked out for assaulting a superior officer. Cap had a few problems--he had a hair-trigger temper and he hated all forms of authority. The military couldn't prosecute Cap because he was decorated more than most of their generals. He was a national hero.

So they retired him, and gave him enough money to start a new life. Cap opened up the surplus store. The Army was all he knew. And since the Rebirth, Cap's business had boomed. People wanted to protect themselves and to survive. That's where Cap came in.

Most of Cap's goods were probably off the black market, but I wasn't going to be the one to ask him.

I handed Cap the short list of items I needed for my trip.

"Do you have these things?"

Cap looked over the list. His clear blue eyes missed nothing. He glanced up at me, slowly looking at me from head to toe.

"You going somewhere, Missy? his gravely voice boomed across the room.

"Cap, I need this stuff, either you have it or you don't. I don't have time for bullshit."

Cap hesitated, quietly staring at me. "I've got it. Some of it is in the back," he said. "Follow me."

The dusty shelves in Cap's back storage room held everything from beeswax to bullets. No one would ever think of stealing from Cap. He had two bodyguards that sat in the front of the store, ready to kill anyone he pointed at--no questions asked.

Cap pulled some boxes out from under a bench and opened the flaps. He reached in and grabbed an ionic laser torch.

"There's not much call for these since they outlawed off-planet travel. Visitors haven't requested many of these things being that they only work in low to zero gravity. I don't think I will ask why you want it."

"Good, because I'm not going to tell you. And give me two of them. Also, I need a case of dehydrated e-rations, water tablets and do you have any seeds for low-gravity farming?"

Cap stopped in mid-motion and sat down on the hard, wooden bench. He took a deep, weary breath and stared up at me.

"Low-gravity farming? Arianne, what the hell are you going to do? he asked, even though he had already guessed what my answer would be.

Cap was one of the few humans I liked. Even through all of his orneriness I knew what he was like deep inside. We had a mutual respect for each other. What I didn't know until later that Cap thought of me as the daughter he never had, or ever could have.

"I can't take it anymore, Cap. This town is going to kill me if I stay here any longer. I am getting away. I am going to start a new life somewhere else. And I can't do it here on Earth. Please, don't tell anyone," I pleaded, my hand resting on his arm. Curled white scars stood out obscenely against the curly red hair on his arms.

Cap put his huge hand over mine and gently squeezed it.

"I won't say a word. If you are sure this is what you want to do," he replied, staring at me, as if to memorize my features. I wondered if he'd miss me not harassing him on a weekly basis.

"It's what I have to do, Cap." I hesitated a moment and then impulsively said, "come with me." I realized at this point in my life I didn't want to lose the only friend I had ever had.

Cap stared at me. He first appeared shocked at my words. Go with me? Leave his business, his life? It was then that Cap realized he had no life. He had no family, and more importantly had no mission since they kicked him out of the army.

He made up his mind in an instant. "Tell me all about your plans," he said with determination.

I laid out all of the details as quickly as I could.

"And this 'Coyote' is going to pick up at 4 a.m.?"

"Yes. I can only take what I can put in my life pack. He is going to smuggle me aboard a routine garbage scow to Phobos. There are still people living out in space, Cap. The government just don't want anyone to know it. They know that people will leave in droves and abandon Earth," I said, my pale face flush with excitement.

"Since the Rebirth, the government said they abandoned all space colonies. They outlawed all space travel except for garbage dumping and industrial exploration for minerals and such. What makes you think you can get away?" he asked, his hand gripping mine.

"Do you always believe everything the government says?" I asked in a sarcastic tone. "Yes, they have abandoned some colonies. It was horrible; they just took people straight out of their homes and brought them back to Earth. Many committed suicide once they returned. The government lied to them. The government also said when the Rebirth happened that the world would be a better place and crime would no longer exist. Look outside, it's a war zone. You can't go across town without being shot at."

"Okay, I get your point," Cap said. He hesitated for a moment, his eyes looking around the room.

"Will your 'Coyote' accept me, too? Will he let me go with you?" he asked.

"He will if I pay him. He will take whoever I want. It's all the money I have, but it's worth it to get off this stinking planet. I won't need their money where I am going. It will mean nothing to me in my ... our new life."

Cap moved around the room, collecting more items and stacking them on the bench. "I have more than enough money myself, Missy Mae. You don't need to pay my way. So tell me what you have and I will bring the rest. If we are going to start a new life, we need to be prepared for anything and everything."

Cap felt invigorated. He rubbed his hands through his shortly cropped red hair. It was amazing how a few moments ago he felt old and useless. Now he was making a mental list of items needed for their mission. He had a purpose again.

"Thank you, Cap," I said, hugging the grizzled veteran.

Cap looked startled as I hugged him. We rarely had any physical contact besides me occasionally punching him in the arm. He wrapped his bear-like arms around me.

"Let's get cracking, Arianne. We have a new life to start."

.... to be continued.

© Robin Bailey

Wednesday, January 27, 2010



When Jerry and I moved to San Antonio I appeared to have picked up a correction echo. One of the major roads around here is called "San Pedro." Just like the city in California. So, me being me, pronounced it the way I've always pronounced it. "San Peeeee dro." Well, Jerry suddenly began correcting me. "San Peh dro." It an ongoing argument between us. I say it my way, he feels he has to correct me.

"I'm right," I defend myself.

"You're wrong. You don't call the guy Peee dro. You call him Peh dro," he argued.

Well, everyone around here, including the media, pronounce it Jerry's way. I was not happy. But I was vindicated when listening to KNX radio on my IPhone. A major news radio channel in Los Angeles, KNX announcers ALL pronounced it the way I do... San Peee dro.

I called Jerry to tell him how I was vindicated. I was pronouncing it properly. At least, in Los Angeles, I was. lol

San Pedro is a port neighborhood of the city of Los Angeles, California, United States. It was annexed in 1909 and is a major seaport of the area. The town has grown from being dominated by the fishing industry to become primarily a working class town within the City of Los Angeles. The name of the town is pronounced /sænˈpiːdroʊ/ by its residents, even its Hispanic residents, rather than by its Spanish pronunciation [samˈpeðɾo].,_Los_Angeles,_California

You win some. You lose some.

I'm still right.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Silent Thoughts


The hands moved gracefully through the air. With a gentle tip and swish the woman communicated in a silent, yet incredibly boisterous language. Her long blonde hair was held back with a delicate seashell hair clip. The inner light that shone from her face was so raw, so powerful that it made Rae lose her breath. Rae stood in the checkout line at the grocery store and did her best not to stare at the young blonde woman and a man as they carried on their conversation.

"Geez, what the hell are they doing?" Rae heard a rude voice directly behind her. She turned around and eyed the person who had spoken. He stood slouched against the checkout stand. It was a twenty-something holding a bottle of Pepsi and a pack of cigarettes in his hand. Rae noticed his nails were jagged and bitten to the quick. His hair was cut extremely close to his head and dyed a shocking pink. Not only did his nose sport a ring, but so did both ears and his lip. She briefly imagined other places on him that were pierced, but quickly tried to erase the disturbing image.

"Looks like they are talking idiot talk to me." The man's companion, almost a carbon copy of his friend, looked at the couple and laughed.

Rae cringed and fought the urge to lean over and slap the man across the face. A white, cold hatred rose from her belly. The couple were not aware of what the men had said. They waited for their groceries to be rung up and continued with their conversation. The deaf man's hands danced a rhythmic dance, his face contorting, exaggerating his conversation. Rae tried to give them privacy, but she could tell the man was relating a funny story to his wife. They both wore smiles that instantly made others around them smile, without knowing why.

That is, except for the two rude men standing behind Rae. She debated what to do, whether to say something or keep her mouth shut. She knew she would say something. Her temper always got the better of her--especially in a situation like this. Her own personal safety flew right out the window when it came to such ignorance.

"That's not idiot talk, you moron. They're speaking sign language. They're deaf." Rae heard herself speak the words before she knew it.

The men stared at Rae as if she had just landed from another planet. It wasn't often that someone responded to their talk.

"Yea, sign language. You mean like this?" The first young man moved his dirty, nail-bitten hand and wiggled it obscenely in the air. He started to laugh and the other one joined in.

Rae took a deep breath and tried to keep the bile down that kept rising up in her throat. She turned to see that the couple was still oblivious to the teenagers’ actions. She returned her gaze back to the men who were slapping each other on the back for what they thought was a good joke.

"You should be ashamed of yourselves. Acting like this. You should know better than to treat people that way. Why don't you guys just grow up?" Rae stood there with a disgusted look on her face. The men looked abashed for a brief second then they went back to their antics mimicking the deaf couple's conversation.

"I wouldn't keep that up if I were you." Rae threatened.

The twenty-somethings laughed at her and shook their heads.

"Oh, I guess we'd better be afraid of this chick. She might kick out butt," the second guy said in an exaggerated tone. He moved his shoulders side-to-side, his leather Doc Marten boots squeaked as he shifted his weight.

Rae turned as her groceries were moved forward. She gripped her purse so tightly that her knuckles were turning white. She noticed that the deaf couple had finished their transaction and were headed out the door into the night. As far as Rae knew they were not aware of what happened. The men were laughing and goofing off behind Rae. They taunted and began making her the target of their attention.

"Knock it off you two," snapped the checkout clerk. The men quieted down. It probably helped that the clerk was a well-built man whose muscles bulged out of his blue and white shirt. It didn't make Rae feel any better about what had happened. She kept her mouth shut and as soon as the clerk was done ringing up her groceries she quickly left the store.

The punks laughed as she headed out the door. She could hear them calling her names.

It was less than five minutes later that the two of them came out of the store and walked across the parking lot to a dented blue Ford that was illegally parked in two handicapped parking spaces. The driver opened the door and tossed his soda and cigarettes into the dirty front seat. Empty beer cans sat on the floor alongside remnants of past meals. The driver didn't realize he'd been hit until he felt his body slam into the metal door frame.

"What the fuc...?" Another swift kick slammed him onto the ground. He heard his buddy yell and run around the car. Before he could raise himself up he saw his buddy fall beside him in the darkened parking lot. He felt a strong kick on his back as both he and his buddy were being pummeled. Kick after kick. No spot was spared. The kicks came so fast they couldn't move. He cried as each kick found tender spots on his body.

"Leave us alone. Leave us alone." They yelled, pain filling their voices. Both laid still, their hands over their heads to protect their acne-scarred faces.

They heard their assailant breathing hard. The person finally leaned over the first boy and whispered in his ear. "Don't ever make fun of someone who is different from you. Especially, if they are deaf. Or I'll come back and finish the job."

The driver was shocked at the voice he heard. A woman's voice threatened them. His face wore a look of disbelief. He heard footsteps and raised his head and watched as the woman from the grocery store walked slowly away. She tucked her shirt back into her pants and pulled out her car keys.

"A fucking woman kicked our ass?" The first punk was stunned into silence. His buddy just shook his head and painfully raised himself to the side of the car. There were no other people in the dark, empty parking lot. No one had witnessed the fight. No one had seen them get beaten up by a girl.

"Let's get the hell out of here," he finally said. They carefully sat in the front seat. Blood trickled out of the second one's mouth. He ran his tongue over a loose tooth in the front left side if his mouth. The driver was sure he had a busted rib.

"Do you want to go after her?" His passenger asked, using his dirty, plaid shirt to wipe blood from his mouth.

The driver looked at the retreating woman. She drove away as if nothing had happened. Her Toyota 4Runner leaving slowly, as if daring the boys.

"Hell, no. She ain't worth it."

Rae looked into her rear view window as the two men sat in their car. She took deep breaths and tried to get her pulse down to normal. She had lost her temper. She admitted it. But those two deserved it. If anyone deserved a good ass kicking it was those two punks.

She reached into her change tray and slipped her two hearing aids back into her ears. She hadn't wanted to fight with them on. Those little things were expensive to replace. Anyway, she decided she didn't need to hear to teach those two punks a lesson.

Her favorite song was playing on the radio and she loudly sang along.

© Robin Bailey

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Irish Ties and Other Tales


Bernie heard the sounds in the darkness off to his left before he saw the killers. Mickey and Aaron were stalking him like a wild animal. Sweat dripped down his face, blurring his vision and burning his eyes. He dared not wipe it away.

The glare from their flashlights bounced off the walls, methodically searching for their prey. Bernie was sure he looked like a deer frozen in deadly headlights. He leaned into the cartons that hid him from the pair, trying to make his short body as invisible as possible as the goons walked past his hiding spot.

"Come on out Bernie, there's no way you are going to escape, you know," Mickey's whiny voice echoed in the large warehouse.

Aaron stopped almost even to where Bernie was hidden and turned his head as if he could hunt Bernie down through echoes. Bernie became as still as a statue. He held his breath, afraid Aaron would hear his ragged breathing.

Minutes--to Bernie they felt like hours--trickled by. Finally, Aaron moved forward. Bernie quietly exhaled and prayed once again to whomever it was watching over him to save his butt. He'd be good. He'd stop gambling, drinking and cheating on his wife. If only he'd get out of there alive.

Bernie's small eyes carefully looked over the piles of boxes stored in the marina warehouse. Rotten fish smells intermingled with the salt of the Atlantic Ocean. It was dark and quiet and Bernie knew if his rotten luck didn't change he wasn't going to live to see another sunrise over New York City.

"Bernie, you know I how I hate to do this, but you brought it on yourself." Aaron's deep voice still had tinges of Irish brogue behind it.

"You stupid fegger. Didn't you think that Little Moe would find out you stole his money?"

Bernie heard them yell more obscenities as they moved farther down the warehouse walkway. Bernie was starting to piss them off by not showing himself so they could get their job done and be on their way. They had things to do and places to go.

Bernie stole the money. He wouldn't deny it. The money had been there for the taking. Little Moe had tons of money. Bernie had figured he wouldn't miss measly $75,000. He was wrong.

"You shouldn't have stolen from one of your own, Bernie. It was really stupid. Little Moe is very unhappy. He trusted you. He loved you like a son. And you went and betrayed him. Very, very stupid," Aaron said.

Bernie heard a gun go off and he felt as if his heart left his body. A warm sensation slipped down his leg and he realized he had wet his pants. He slowly slid down to the cold cement floor and closed his eyes. He wrapped his arms around his knees and hugged them tightly, not saying a word.

"Did you get him?" Mickey asked hopefully. He had a hot date planned for the next day and he wanted to go home and get some rest.

Girls always went gaga for his looks. His red hair, blue eyes and big muscles made girls swoon. Then they got a taste of his hot temper. Most of his dates rarely went past the third meeting. But Mickey didn't care. There was a ready supply of unsuspecting women willing to date him.

"Shit, no. Must have been a rat or something," Aaron said, looking around the darkness. Where Mickey was bulky, Aaron was skinny. Many men had underestimated his strength and died because of it. Aaron boasted slim muscles that were mean and tight. That summed up Aaron's personality, too. Aaron was totally fearless. He had no relatives except his adopted uncle, Little Moe, to whom he was completely devoted.

Aaron silently motioned for Mickey to move over to the far walls of the warehouse and move back the way they just came.

"Bernie, come on out. Let's talk about it, you know. Maybe we can go back and talk to Little Moe and you can give him back his money and things will be okay."

Bernie held his head in his hands. Still squatting behind the cartons. He felt dizzy, sick and tired. He had a blind hope that maybe things could be worked out. Maybe Little Moe would forgive him and he could go on with his life.

"Bernie, listen. I'll make you a deal. You come out now and we will go straight to Little Moe. You can tell him your story and get him to change his mind."

Aaron and Mickey were closing back in on Bernie. He could hear their voices move toward him. He had no choice. He knew they were going to find him.

The room was becoming brighter as the sun came up over the bay. Bernie could discern more around him as boxes became visible. He read the words on the cartons. "This Way Down." Bernie had to stifle a crazy laugh. Those three words summed up his life at this point. This way down. Down to misery. Down to fear. Down to death.

He decided to take a chance and let the goons take him to Little Moe. Maybe he could talk his way out of this. He'd been in tight spots before and pulled his way out. Why not now?

"This is your last chance, Bernie. Come on out now and we won't hurt you."

Bernie stood up, pulled his shoulders back and stepped out into the walkway.

"Don't shoot. I'm coming out. You promised you wouldn't hurt me. I can explain everything, you know," Bernie said, walking into the open. He stood embarrassed and scared at the same time. An obvious stain was spread out in the crotch of his dirty gray pants.

"He lied," Mickey said, taking aim at Bernie and shooting him straight-on between the eyes. Bernie fell instantly upon the cold, hard floor.

"We've got to work on this lying of yours Aaron, me boy. It's not a very good personality trait, you know," Mickey said, stepping over Bernie's sprawled form and walking side-by-side with Aaron to the warehouse front door.

"I know, Mickey. It'll be the death of me yet," Aaron said, slamming the metal door shut behind him.

The sun rose quietly over the dark water. Mickey and Aaron climbed into their Cadillac, oblivious to the beautiful sunrise that was filling the sky.

© Robin Bailey

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pico de Gallo


It seems once I drove across the border into Texas, I developed a hankering for pico de gallo. The mixture of onions (I prefer red onions in my recipe); tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and jalapenos just seem to hit the spot. Many times the salsa that arrives to our table, along with the chips, is too thin. We always order a side of pico de gallo. Half goes into the salsa and the other half goes into our meal.

There must be restorative powers in that mixture because it always makes me feel better after eating it. Jerry's Aunt Wynema and Uncle Daniel taught us their way to eat chips. They take sliced lemon or lime and squeeze it over the chips, add extra salt and munch away. It adds another dimension to the chips and salsa.

Tortilla chips Pictures, Images and Photos

Whatever way you like it, pico de gallo is the nectar of the Gods.

Here's a recipe you might want to try out:

Pico de Gallo
Bon Appétit | July 2000

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies (about 2 medium)
1 garlic clove, minced

Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

COZY BY THE FIRE.... Pictures, Images and Photos

Red sauce on spaghetti and winters in Texas
Breakfast at Bill Millers and homemade fleece blankets
Watching the cat warm by the fireplace
These are a few of my favorite things

Clear morning traffic and Sea Island clam chowder
Dramatic sunsets and clear huge blue skies
Wild bats that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Tourists with shorts worn in the winter
Weather that changes from hour to hour
Homeowners who buy corn feed for deer in the spring
These are a few of my favorite things

When the new books arrive
When the chocolate is bought
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

at all........

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Live Laugh Love

Live, Laugh, Love Pictures, Images and Photos

I love a good laugh. A day that I have a spontaneous belly laugh or even better, a good gigglesnort, is a good day indeed. A healthy sense of humor is appreciated. Someone who can make you laugh, that's what many women want. Personally, I don't want stupid humor. I like intelligent humor. Sometimes silly humor is appreciated, but what I call "toilet bowl" humor is a turn-off.

I loved the Carol Burnett show--between her, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman I used to laugh so hard I'd cry. It was especially hilarious when they wanted to bust each other up laughing. I swear I think they loved making the other one crack up.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
-- Kurt Vonnegut

Make sure to laugh every day. It feels good and makes you appreciate life. Go ahead and gigglesnort. I won't laugh.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Ouranosaurus, Tumbleweeds and Giants


I lived a good portion of my life in a rinky dink town called Sun Valley, Nevada. It's about a 15 mile stretch of trailers, tumbleweeds and horney toads outside of Reno, Nevada. As a kid there wasn't much to do in my neighborhood. No playgrounds. No parks. No roller rinks. Pretty much all we had was dirt, sagebrush and scorpions to play with--and in the Spring the sagebrush could make you itch when it was blooming.

What I did have was a very active imagination. One of the things I used to imagine as I kicked back under my parent's weeping willow tree, was the mountains that surrounded us were actually sleeping dinosaurs. The rugged hills were brown, rough looking and definitely had the essence of an Ouranosaurus. Sometimes, their faces poked out of the rocks, eager to take a bite of me as I walked by.


With a huge holler (which strangely sounded like a jet engine of a passing plane), the Ouranosaurus would come to life and wander around our valley. He'd nibble on some sagebrush, stretch out his legs and occasionally chase a baby blue Ford pickup truck.

Every now and then, a black haired giant would step over the hills and join the Ouranosaurus in its chase of the elusive Ford truck. The giant often caught the truck and would lift it high into the air, peeking in at the screaming humans in the truck's cab. I'd laugh and he'd gentle set them down on Pearl Avenue to screech away, dogs barking and kids crying.

The dinosaurs and giants kept me company on those lonely summer days. They didn't wander in the winter. They hibernated until the following Spring.

If I'm really quiet, I can sometimes hear the dinosaur hollering even here in Texas. He knows where to find me. I'm looking forward to springtime.