Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat, Texas Style

And now for your Halloween viewing enjoyment.... Longhorn steer and bat head dog!

FYI! Bat head is wearing a costume... Longhorn is not! No bats were harmed in the making of these photos.

Happy Halloween!

Rudy's Got a New Woman

What a ladies man. Everywhere we go he is always hooking up with a new chic on like the first day. This is Emmy... his newest flame. He's all... "Baby, I got stung by a scorpion yesterday but it ain't no thang. Lets wrestle."

We are pretty glad to have Emmy around to keep the stud in line. Although the only problem is they always seem to end up in the creek at some point during play and then Rudy emerges smelling like a rotten egg covered in mud. It's a small price to pay though to keep the good times rollin'.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Lonely Turkey of The Blanco River

So for any of you who are concerned... Rudy has had a full recovery from his scorpion sting earlier today. He spent the better part of the day sleeping it off. He can walk and actually put weight on his little foot again. He is a trooper that one.

Here are a few pictures from today. Nothin' fancy. I just wanted to show a bit of where we are. Here's our site...

Cottonwood Creek runs through the trees right behind us. It has been really dry down here so the creek is really low.

I grabbed a few shots while we were out driving this afternoon, coming back from the post office in town. The area where we are is pretty much one ranch after another for miles in any direction. There are a lot of great trees and the color of the grass is really striking. The sun just intensifies all of it.

We did have a chance to walk the banks of The Blanco River for a stretch before the stinging event this morning. The river is gorgeous... it is a really milky shade of jade green. We kept spotting big groups of geese and ducks hanging around on the river's edge.

Then we spotted "The Lonely Turkey of The Blanco River." Poor fella. He was the lone ranger of his species. The geese could have cared less about him but he was tryin' like Hell to hang out with them. They eventually took to the water and started cruising downstream. He ran alongside on the banks looking oh so very distraught and left behind. I hope he did not decide to try his swimming skills because I am sure it would end badly.

Day One. One Dog Down.

OK. So we are off to a whopping start here in the heart of Texas. We got checked in to our spot in Dripping Springs early yesterday evening and all is well with that part of things. Today we decided to head out and explore the surrounding area. There is a town called Blanco about 13 miles from us and we made that our first stop. Blanco is real small and it has quite a bit of charm. It apparently also has quite a lot of scorpions right on the town plaza grass. We were there no longer than 15 minutes before we were rushing Rudy to the Blanco Vet Clinic. Thankfully it was only a mile or so down the road.

He was stung on the foot by something and he was freaking out. Now this is a dog who has been stung by bees, wasps etc. and he barely bats an eyelash. He usually just keeps right on truckin'. But this time he was crying, yelping and holding his back foot up, licking and biting at it like crazy. He was in a panic.

The vet was super cool. They got us right in and took care of Rudy pronto. The vet said that at first he thought we had a rattlesnake bite on our hands but after shaving the area and checking more closely he said it seemed to be a scorpion sting. They gave Rudy some meds and said he should be fine since we had gotten him there so quickly. Whew.

We brought Rudy back home and now we are just letting him chill out. He is a bit dopey from the meds. I am a bit dopey from the whole experience myself actually. It sucked. It sucked for a lot of reasons. I was already worried about the potential for stuff like this to happen to him while we are in this area and the fact that something happened on day one is not very encouraging! And there really is no such thing as keeping an eye out or whatever. I mean he was in a patch of grass on the town plaza at high noon for crap sake. Sigh. We are going to have to keep a standing appointment at the emergency vet I think. Thankfully terriers are tough cookies and he seems to always bounce back really quick from these moments. I just hate it though.

I will post some pictures tonight.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Delirious in Dallas

Whew! Today we did Dallas and it was exhausting. And confusing. I did not love downtown Dallas. I will say that right off the bat. (Clay from Hot Springs... if you are reading this... I DID NOT LOVE DOWNTOWN DALLAS!!! I hope this makes you feel a bit better!) Maybe we were doin' it all wrong but man... we wandered around for hours on foot all over downtown and while I was "wowed" by the skyscrapers to some extent and there was some neat sculpture around... the city was kinda bland. I was ready for something akin to Chicago only more Texas-y. I thought maybe there would be dudes in western style suits wearin' ten gallon hats on their way to important international trade meetings or to cheat on their wives with big haired Texan women in Hyatt Regency hotel rooms or something. TOP THAT for makin' up some stuff about what might be in downtown Dallas. All this imagery could be coming out of the fact that I may have been scarred for life by 1980's night time soap operas. We will have to allow for that. Anyway... here are my two best pics from my time wandering the streets downtown...

So... Billy went to the art museum while I walked around with Rudy lookin' for trouble. We found none. When Billy emerged from the museum we trekked like Sherpas up and down city blocks looking for something to eat and we were blind hungry. We finally settled on a falafel joint right down near Neiman Marcus. I went in and ordered two falafel sandwiches to go. This ordering of sandwiches caused the man behind the counter to fall to the floor in a pool of his own blood and tears. Not really... but he did suffer great problems in ringing up my order. First he tried to charge me around $40 for the order... then $79, and then $39, then he finally landed on $12.96 which he promptly rang through on the credit card machine as $12.97. Not $12.96...but $12.97. He threw a confused extra penny in there for good measure. All the while he was trying to get the total right he kept on repeating "Someone has been here touching this machine!" And then... "Ahhhh! I see what the problem is now!" And then he would ring up yet another wrong total. As it was around 2:30 in the afternoon I was pretty much the only person in the place ordering food. My concern grew in leaps and bounds as the to go order was put together. I spied a plate of old falafel balls sitting on the counter to the side of the cash register area. Moments after my order was sent back to the kitchen a shifty eyed cook emerged and stealthily took said plate of old falafel balls back in to the kitchen. Hmmmmm. Not a good sign. Mr. Cash Register continued to run around putting weird random stuff into a bag for me. Things like old bread from a kind of creepy looking basket (again by the cash register) some smashy looking green olives, etc. I finally got my order and left with the thought in my mind that this was probably not going to be edible stuff. And I was right. It was almost comical how bad it was. The sandwiches consisted of thin pita halves with three soggy room temp falafels, a white-ish looking piece of tomato and a few limp strands of lettuce. Billy was brave (or stupid) enough to actually take one bite. The look on his face instantly said it all. We had a quick discussion on the possibility of me taking the stuff back in there and asking for a refund. But I don't think I have to go in to too much detail on why we ditched that idea. Mr. Cash Register would not have been able to complete that transaction. I am sure of it.

We made our way back to the truck and decided to drive to another part of town in search of food. I had seen a place online when I googled vegetarian restaurants in Dallas that I wanted to check out but OF COURSE I had not written it down and could not remember the name of the place. These are the moments in my life when I call my Mother. She is ready, willing and able to get on the google and figure some shit out. After a few minutes of teetering around on different websites we realized that The Cosmic Cafe was the place. Lo and behold... we happened to be like two blocks from the restaurant. Fate. At this point my eyes were rolling back in their sockets and I was gnawing on my boot heel because I was so freakin' hungry. So it is a darned good thing the place was right around the corner.

We squeezed Big Alberta into their teeny parking lot and grabbed a table and ordered. Two plates of Buddha's Delight, please.

People... I can now say that some of the best Indian food I have ever had in my life was in Dallas, Texas. And I really don't think it was because I was hungry enough to eat Buddha himself if they were servin' him up on a platter. It was simple fare, dahl soup, samosas (to DIE for) and curried spinach with garbanzo beans. Everything was fresh tasting and perfectly seasoned. The crust on the samosa was seriously stupid good. It was even served up on a palm leaf. Good eats.

I think that will be it for Dallas for us. I just don't have the energy to head back in there this weekend. We may go in to Fort Worth again because it is easier to do. If anyone reading this has any area suggestions on things not to be missed please do tell!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Little Taste of Fort Worth

Wow. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is REALLY LARGE. SUPER BIG. We are only here until Monday and there is no way we will even put a dent in seeing this area. We do plan on hitting all the art museums and just wandering the city streets downtown to try to get the general vibe of the place... but we will still just be dipping our pinkie toes in I think.

Tonight we drove in to Fort Worth (we are staying in Arlington which is in between there and Dallas) and went to the Amon Carter Museum. It is an amazingly nice museum (small but full of good stuff) with a fabulous collection (in our opinion anyway) and it is free to visit. They have tons of Frederick Remington's work which we love (saw a lot of it in Santa Fe when we lived there) and several other artists from the late 1800 we are very interested in as well. THIS painting (<-- click it) is one that Billy was excited to see. It's a view of the area where he grew up painted 130 some years ago by Martin Johnson Heade . The far shore line in the piece is where his Mom's house is... pretty cool. I loved seeing THIS Grant Wood piece... and we photographed several other pieces just to have them in our photo files as having seen them in person. We are geeks like that. Here are a few of our faves we saw tonight...

Those are all Remingtons. I LOVE the last black and white of the dude on the bike cruising past the stage coach and freaking out the horses. What a crazy painting. He captures such energy and spirit in every piece. Great stuff to see even if you are not into the cowboy southwesty stuff.

When we came out of the museum it was after dark and the moon (full tonight?) had just risen over downtown Fort Worth's skyline. I did not have my tripod but I was able to get a decent enough shot to show you... it was a great visual.

We headed downtown to walk around and find some food. We (of course) had Rudy with so we found a Cajun cafe that had outdoor seating and ordered up a ton of grub. We had fried okra, fried green beans ( we went a little crazy on the fried stuff), Billy ordered a big ole plate of something called Cajun Tricky Fish with Dirty Rice which I will show you here....

And I had some kind of pasta the cook whipped up for me special since they did not have a single vegetarian item on the menu (welcome to Texas!) It was good and spicy and I was not let down.

Downtown Fort Worth is pretty at night. All the trees are lit with white lights and there is a lot of color in cool, retro, neon signs along with some neat architecture. They actually have FREE parking lots right downtown. We stopped off for a decaf coffee after dinner and then headed home because we are all three pretty road weary. Tomorrow we head into Dallas. I feel completely overwhelmed by the idea of downtown Dallas but maybe it won't be as crazy as I am picturing. I'll post tomorrow night on what we find...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Screw You... We're From Texas

Yeah... don't take offense. Those are the lyrics of a Ray Wylie Hubbard song that I have thought was very funny for a long while and now that we are actually in Texas for the next three months I may adopt it as my theme song. It's either that one or Ray Wylie's "Snake Farm." Both songs are just deliciously stupid.

Anyway... here we are in Texas. We are spending tonight in a state park 100 or so miles out of Dallas just because we would have hit Dallas in 5 o'clock traffic had we kept on driving and even though I have never been to Dallas I'm guessin' that 5 o'clock traffic is not where you wanna be. So here we are at Bob Sandlin Lake. It's nice.

The sites are huge, heavily wooded and there is an owl hootin' in the trees just outside the trailer. Rudy is standing guard at the door listening, growling and watching for the owl in case it should decide to launch an attack upon us. Because you just never know with owls. They can be dangerous... especially in Texas. We are also sharing our space with a couple of these guys...

I did some googling and found out this is an Orchard Spider. Pretty fancy eh? It's the first spider I have ever seen dressed in a bright green and yellow suit. He could get a gig in the Emerald City. I will confess that my hurried google search to find out what sort of arachnid we were dealing with was fueled by the possibility that bright green and yellow spiders could be nature's way of saying "POISONOUS SPIDER." But it turns out the Orchard Spider is completely harmless. Good news.

Tomorrow we hit Dallas. I have strong feeling that it may blow our brains up... being in Dallas. I am truly excited to be in Texas. And to have Texas blow my brains up as often as possible.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Saved by Ted Turner

I just wanted to post briefly our extreme gratitude to the Turner Classic Movie channel. We have limited cable channels here in this location but oddly enough one of them is TCM. I just discovered that today they are running a series of films about artists... Goya, Van Gogh and Rembrandt. Tonight they are running a Louis Malle marathon in honor of his 75th birthday. People... we are going to lay like fat cats all night long and watch movies while it rains endlessly outside. If anyone is interested in tonight's line up here it is... TCM Schedule

Rainy Day Death of a Dog

I have read time and again in various dog training books and in forums online that around 9 months of age puppies tend to enter their rebellious, naughty and destructive "teenage" phase. All I can say to this right now is... YES. They do. If you ever saw an ABC after school special about a teenager who went completely off his nut after smoking some PCP (anyone ever see "The Death of Richie" ? It's my favorite in this ridiculous genre of film) then you can imagine what we are dealing with in our trailer household with Rudy. He does not listen to reason, he sulks in his crate during hours he should be out and active, he's hanging up psychedelic black light posters, and he is systematically destroying every single one if HIS possessions. Don't get me wrong... I mean, we have always had at least a weekly gutting of an animal or two, it's nothing new for him to chew a toy up. But we now have an almost hourly clean up of stuffing, guts, eyeballs and squeakers in here.

Such violence! I am at a loss as to how to get through this phase. I keep on giving him more toys from the back stock to give him something appropriate to work on rather than him de-stuffing the sofa. But good gravy people... we will end up broke and living in a ditch if we have to keep on buying new squeeky hot dogs every few days. Yesterday I gave him a brand new raw hide bone (I know... these are not the best thing to give him but desperate times call for desperate measures) and one of these usually lasts 4 or 5 days. He DEMOLISHED almost the entire thing in one sitting. I now have this visual of his guts being all plugged up with half digested raw hide the size of a baseball for the next 6 months. Nice.

Part of the problem here these past few days is THE RAIN.

I cannot begin to express to you my loathing for the rain. If it was NICE out we could get out and go hiking and tire that dirty little dog out walking in the woods! But it continues to rain and rain and rain. Bleh. As I said before... even though the town of Hot Springs is not really floatin' my boat the area surrounding it looks like it would provide some great hiking. Here's our view from our campsite (please excuse the oppressive chain link fence, I guess the campground owners are worried we will fall to our death without proper restraint.)

We are leaving for Texas in the morning ending our time in Arkansas. I have roots here... this is where my Grandma was born and raised... but people, I am not feeling any affinity with the place. I'm ready to go, go, go!

Monday, October 22, 2007

(Not so) Hot Springs, AR

Well, here we are in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I am trying to figure the most PC way to go ahead and say.... I think Hot Springs Arkansas is a massive let down. I guess I let my imagination run with the idea that this place was going to be a real hum dinger. Something to really get worked up about... I mean you've got thermal spring water, mountains, it's Bill Clinton's hometown, and ummmm.... some other groovy seeming Southern type stuff goin' on too. What more could you want from a place? As it turns out you could want lots more from a place. Lots more than a main street downtown crammed full of cheap t-shirt shops, the requisite tourist hole fudge shop and those bizarre stores that sell clown wigs and leather bikini bra tops. Bath House Row is actually pretty neat to see but the opposite side of the street is down right depressing to walk down. For me anyway. I mean is this what people want? Stores that sell t-shirts with bad jokes about fishing and drinking too much beer? Oh well... maybe I am being to rough on the place but I can say I won't be planning any return trips to the area any time soon, or... ever actually.

If it stops raining tomorrow (unlikely) we will head out to go hiking in the Ouachita Mountains and maybe that will heal me a bit from my town let down. Our mountain view from our campsite is quite nice and even though the fall color is minimal this year it would be nice to explore the landscape here a bit more. The national park has quite a few trails that sound pretty good for day hikes. The forecast is not looking to great for hiking though... we may end up spending another day holed up in the trailer reading and wrestling with Rudy.

We had planned on hanging out here for a week but we changed our mind and are hitting the road again on Wednesday to get down into Texas. We will spend 4 or 5 days in Dallas before landing in our spot down in Dripping Springs early next week.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Walkin' In Memphis

Rudy was a smash hit in Memphis today. He gained several new names including "Scruffy Scruff" and "Tiger." Everyone seemed to approved of his Elvis-like toothy sneer.

We had a really good day of walking around the city. It's a weird place to wander during the day because there are really no people around. It's a huge place with tons of businesses and you would think the sidewalks would be teeming with people but they are not. It's fine by me... it's that much easier for me to take photos when I am not waiting for bodies to move out of the frame. I was most taken with the colorful architecture of the place. You'll see that in my series of pics I am posting here.

We ate at a place called Cafe 61... Billy had a catfish po' boy and I had a grilled cheese with portabella's and pears on it. There are tons of restaurants to choose from that all looked great but this place had an outdoor patio which allowed us to bring Rudy so it was the winner. We stopped in at a few galleries and checked out both the old historic district downtown and the midtown district. I unexpectedly (for me) wowed a guy working at the American Apparel shop when I bought something there. He asked my name to enter into their customer database and when I said "Orbison" he really flipped out. I guess if there was ever a town to try to make a big deal out of having a relation to Roy it would be Memphis. It was my biggest "Orbison" moment ever. We stood and talked for a few minutes and I did my best to WOW him with my celebrity family status (yeah...I know) and he gave me some suggestions on where to eat and whatnot.

Around 5 o'clock we decided to pack it in and get Chinese take out to bring back to the trailer. What a couple of wild animals eh? We are in Memphis on a Friday and head home at 5. We even have VIP passes to get in to BB King's bar for free which were given to us by a gallery owner who we had a Santa Fe connection with... Somebody really should send out an Elvis caravan of intervention counselors for our Premature Geriatric Syndrome. We are so freakin' boring. Oh well... maybe we will go downtown tomorrow night and drink whiskey and listen to the blues til we puke catfish and cajun fries out our nose (that's for you Ray.)

Here's my little photo essay from our day... it's lots of random stuff I found interesting to look at. The last image however is of The Lorraine Motel with Martin Luther King was shot. The place has been built on to and is now a Civil Rights Museum. It was truly an intense feeling to stand there and look up at that balcony... it's such a recognizable image that to see it in person blows your mind. Remember you can click on the pics to see them in a larger format.

The first pic here is merely a suggestion... and it's up to you if you think you want to trust either one of these guys or not. I may trust one or the other of them on any given day, but the two of them together? No way... they must be up to no good.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle.... Tornadoes in October

Welcome to Arkansas.... we have a tornado watch in effect until 11 pm this evening.

Yee haw! We got a great show from the western bank of the Mississippi where we are camping for the weekend in West Memphis. There is a massive storm system passing through and the cloudscape at sunset was nuts. We are in the clear now (I think)... as the storm is headed North at about 60 mph. I am glad to be out of it.... Hell's a-poppin' and I would not be surprised if there was a tornado up in Missouri or Southern Illinois yet tonight. Here's a view of the sky behind us at sundown...

So we are set up in a really weird but kind of cool campsite which is literally about 30 feet off the banks of the Mississippi. There is a lot of river traffic which is fun to watch pass by... huge barges and whatnot. Just across the river about 15 minutes drive time away is Memphis, TN.

The campsite is just a concrete pull through out on a grassy field but the river makes it worth while to be set up here. Tomorrow we will head over to Memphis for the day. I really doubt that we will go to Graceland as I am just not that big of an Elvis fan. Sorry. He sort of grosses me out. I don't care how hot young Elvis was.... it's the old, fat, drugged out, sequin clad Elvis that my mind cannot escape. If I got a look at the toilet the King used to utilize I may just have to barf in it... and I doubt the folks at Graceland would dig that very much. So it's best that I just stay away.

I am excited to see the city though.... Beale St., the historic district, and to eat some good southern food. I'll take lots of pics and report back in tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Resurrection and Post #105

Sooooooo..... how've ya been? How about that lag in posts there eh? It was a big one. I'm embarrassed. I went into sort of a black hole for awhile and suffered from a complete inability to go online. But now... I'm back. For real. And this is post number one hundred five for me on this blog. Why did I not mention my centennial post and instead I am making a stink over post #105? I dunno. I guess number 100 sort of slipped past me in the night. And anyway, 105 feels right as my fresh start after a long break.

We have hit the road again after spending three weeks in Illinois with my parents and my Gram. What did we do while there? We ate indulgent stuff (gelato, lasagna, cheesecake, flourless chocolate torte, Italian cookies, etc., etc.) and shopped at Ikea in Schaumburg and did laundry for free and ate lots of apple stuff from the apple orchard and enjoyed 90 degree October days right up until the last which was weird, but good. We did take a short hike up to Milwaukee to visit with our friend Gordon for a day as well. He and Billy went to the art museum while I grocery shopped at Trader Joes (Woo Hoo!) and a Whole Foods. I bought a Milwaukee Trader Joes pumpkin which I am proudly escorting all the way to Texas for Halloween. A well traveled pumpkin is a rare but fine thing. Gordon came out to the park we were camping in (thanks for driving for an hour and a half Cappy) to sit by a fire and chat and then we headed back down into Illinois the next day to finish up with family visiting. The trip was fast and I sucked about going to see friends while in town. Sorry about that.... I have no excuses other than the fact that is was hard as Hell to deal with Rudy for a variety of reasons which I will spare you all the details of.

We are now somewhere in Southern Illinois (after driving all day mind you... we are STILL in Illinois.... it's a long haul people) and will make a break for Memphis tomorrow. I think we will hang out there for three or four days if we can find a nice spot to camp. Our plan is to hit Texas and our spot in Dripping Springs no later than November 1st.

I will get back to posting some pictures with my next post. I was also extremely lazy about pulling out my camera while in Illinois. Sigh. I don't think any of you needed to see me laying around on a sofa at my Mom's eating ice cream in my pajamas though... so be glad the camera stayed in it's holster.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Not Dead or Abducted, Just Lazy

Hiya.... sorry for the looong delay in posting! After we finished up with our repair stuff at Airstream (which went very well thanks to a super cool tech guy we worked with) we headed straight to Illinois for a visit with family. We have been here about 6 days and I have barely taken a sideways glance at my laptop since we got here. I guess I needed to take a break from the internet.

We have been staying pretty mellow so far here. The big event of the day is usually taking Rudy to the dog park. So there has not been much to report in the way of exciting incidents. Billy took the bus in to Chicago today to visit the Art Institute. I stayed here to wear my grubby old pink slippers and slough around the quiet house for the day while everyone else is at work.

I will try to get out over the next few days to shoot some pics and kick up some dust so I have a few stories to tell. Until then I hope you can bear with me and my lazy, boring ways.