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From day one, Daisy was runner. I once clocked that dog at twenty-eight miles an hour. Up a steep grade. She could outrun a jack rabbit and if she was on it soon enough, she'd snag the rabbit on the fly. She wasn't quite as fast as a coyote, and lordy she did hate her some coyotes. With a passion. She and Blackie were the WWE tag team of coyote vigilantes. This valley has more coyotes than the entire state of Texas, and Daisy was always alert. She'd roust you outta stage four sleep at three AM demanding to defend the Casa and the cats.
This is my favorite picture of Daisy, charging through an unamed creek bottom out in the hills where we often walk. Well, I walk, the dogs run.
Terry and I had been out on Lake Mohave for a couple of days. We were seriously roughing it. You know. New York Strip grilled over a campfire with good red wine. After we'd swapped enough lies and drank enough wine, we were rocked to sleep under a billion stars. It was tough and I was ready for a hot shower and a king bed at Harrahs Laughlin with a city and river view. [shrugs]
After several days with my pony tail blowing in the wind.....WTH happened to my brush, anyway (musta left it in the truck), I was happy to launder my hair, which has.....well, to be forthright, it's gotten long. Yes, it's all that I have left, the girlish figure fled long ago. I considered a haircut a while back, but that takes effort.
There was a Korean tour group at the hotel and, apparently, none of them had seen an old guy with long blond hair before. Pretty much for the duration of the evening these fifty-something, gray-haired Korean women would stop dead in their tracks and gape, open mouthed, at my flowing, freshly washed tresses. Sometimes they'd point. It was mildly amusing and I'd often smile, but it seemed lost on them. None of them snapped a pic or asked for an autograph.
It is pomegranate season here at the Casa. Last fall we had over a hundred but this year's crop has been meager.
What are pomegranates good for, anyway? Like, artichokes, pomegranates are difficult to eat and there is a mess to get through before you get to the delicious seeds. Technically, though, pomegranates aren't quite as difficult to eat as artichokes. Mess? Si! Noisy? Si! Yummy? Si! Don't get the juice on a white shirt. Dude, worse than red wine.
Pomegranate juice (grenadine syrup) drizzled into the finished drink is what puts the sunrise in a Tequila Sunrise. Pomegranate juice (grenadine syrup) defines a good Singapore Sling. King Solomon made spiced pomegranate wine. The Jewish culture holds that the 613 seeds found in a pomegranate represent the 613 commandments of the Torah. Not to mention that pomegranates are loaded with longevity inducing resveratrol, more anti-oxidants than red wine, and vitamin C. And they make an awesome martooni.
Shake with ice in a cocktail strainer and pour into two martooni glasses
Just so you know, Eve was offered a pomegranate from the Tree of Life by the serpent. Scoff if you will, but apples need at least 700 hours of winter chill to thrive, something you won't find in Mediterranean climates.
Heads Up: Most commercial grenadine syrup is no longer made from pomegranate juice. It is icky old corn syrup with artificial flavors. Don't bother. Bev-Schmo carries several authentic grenadine syrups (not Rose's) that are made from pomegranate juice.
Hot Tip: Pomegranates can be easily juiced using a citrus juicer.
I intended to work up a little historical narrative about the amalgam of Mezzo-American, Scots-Irish, and Catholic traditions that when taken together form the nucleus of what we modern Americans call Halloween. Instead, I will defer to The Book of Counted Sorrows, which teaches us that.....
There's no escape from death's embrace,though you lead it on a merry chase.
Here at the Casa, we're done with all that pumpkin carving and trick or treating with the kids. It was loads of fun, but they are off on their own now, hanging with friends and happy to be free from parental supervision on Halloween. And that's not a bad thing.
A lot of people go whole hog for Halloween and a few years back Jake did a little free lance fright gig at a local haunted house. He was a hit and put the fear of Pennywise into more than one kid. Not these high school girls, though.
And, Mrs TWC in 2008......That may have been the year we sat in Karla's driveway and passed out wine and candy.
The House Blond as Psycho Bride, a role she played twice in the junior high school haunted house that she and her ASB cohorts created to fund school activities such as dances.
TWC nearly drowned while bobbing for apples in old galvanized wash tubs. I wasn't worth a tinker's damn at it, neither. Looking back, I think it's because my mouth was too small to get a good bite on the apple before it squirted away. Yeah, I know, nobody has ever accused moi I having a small mouth. Apparently some kids did, but I don't think we ever bobbed for apples on strings.
Back in the days of my vagrant yoot, and I'm talking about early elementary school, moms who lived on my little dirt road in the desert made Halloween treats from scratch and they were awesome. We came home with real popcorn balls, hand crafted carmel apples, and bags of home made cookies, wrapped in wax paper and tied up with festive ribbons. All that faded away with the exponential growth of the suburbs in the 1960's. We were quite satisfied to lug home pillow cases filled with loot that looked like we'd broken into the Snack Shack at the Little League field and stolen it all.
I'm not big on this young people have no idea meme, but I'm gonna tell you what.....you, Gentle Reader, cannot believe how fabuloso those popcorn balls were. As for those perfectly spherical shiny red candy apples at the grocery store? I sampled one out of the kid's treat bag a few years ago. Spit it in the trash.
My mother hung on to this promotional newspaper all these years, before sending it on a few years ago. The newspaper with a headline announcing my arrival was a clever marketing tool, brimming with ads and advice that was aimed at the families of newborn baby boomers.
All his life my father thought his name was Clarence Raymond Snell, Jr, as did everyone else. That's why the headline refers to the Clarence Snells. He didn't like the name, Clarence. He was Sonny at home and Ray everywhere else. His dad didn't like the name, either, but he wanted a junior and that was that. Except that it wasn't.
Pop apparently never looked at his birth certificate until he was in his sixites. No need to, the government wasn't obsessed with identification. You were who you said you were and people accepted that (as they should). When dad applied for social security he was asked for an original birth certificate. It was then that he discovered that, on the sly, my grandmother had christened him Raymond Richards Snell.
Richards was her maiden name and it was traditional for children to carry on the mother's family name as a middle name. That's still done in many families, especially if the old country is a fresh memory. Apparently, she never mentioned her coup to The Mean Old White Man (my grandfather) and lived her entire life, being quite content with her private choice. I bet she was secretly pleased when dad took Ray as his chosen name.
This is the Walker River, a few miles east of Sonora Pass on Highway 120. The river eventually empties into Walker Lake in Nevada. Like Mono Lake, Walker Lake has no outlet except evaporation or absorption.
Wishing my Jewish friends all the very best of their new year celebration, Rosh Hashanah, which began at sunset last night.
There were untold numbers of heroes of the Big War, most of whom are unknown and whose stories remain untold. Knud Christiansen was a Danish Olympic Athlete and had competed in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He was also a member of the Danish resistance in 1943.
He was among the first to learn of the SS plans to arrest the Jews in one convenient mass roundup. It was planned on Rosh Hashanah, at 10 p.m. on Oct. 1 in 1943, an evening Denmark's 7,000 Jews were expected at home, almost all of whom lived in Copenhagen.