Saturday, January 31, 2009

Road Trip Travails

Some years ago I was traveling back to Arizona from Colorado when I noticed my gas gauge was fast approaching “the red zone” and so was my bladder. Unfortunately, I was in a part of the country where gas stations are few and far between. And, pulling to the side of the road was not an option as you’re winding through mountain passes.

It had come to the point where I was doing everything I could to distract myself from my immediate situation. Just how many verses does “She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain” have? As I hit the flatland, I spied a gas station just up the road and, bonus, the sign said, “Clean Restrooms”.

Thank goodness there was little traffic and I crossed to the other side of the highway to stake my claim at the pump. I quickly swiped my credit card at the pump, placed the nozzle in the tank and skipped my way to the restroom. Damn! The door was locked. Skipping my way back to the island-cashier, I asked for the key. She opened the door to her bulletproofed dominion and handed me a bright pink hula hoop with the key attached. What the.....? This was definitely a first.

Feeling somewhat embarrassed, again I’m skipping to make my way to relieve myself of an uncomfortable situation. I placed the key in the door, opened it and flipped on the light. Horror or all horrors – no toilet paper! Okay, back to the booth to ask for toilet paper. For some reason or another, the lady in the booth seemed to be put out with me as I made my request. Through the money slot, she slipped me four; four mind you, sections of toilet paper. No time to argue, I’m back to the rest room with hula hoop and toilet paper in hand.

I entered the restroom and, as I was assessing the toilet seat, I discovered a small packet of Kleenex in my purse. Yea, I can cover the seat and will have plenty to spare. Ahhhhh. I washed my hands, grabbed the hula hoop and strolled back to my truck. I threw out some soda cans, the remainder of the three-day old bag of Cheetos and a banana peel. I then returned the nozzle to the pump.

I approached the booth to ask for my receipt and to return the restroom key. She opened the door for me to slip the hula hoop through and, back at her window, she slipped me the receipt through the cash slot. I’m telling you, she was not the friendliest person I’ve ever encountered. I walked a few steps towards my truck, reached into my pocket and tore off two of the sections the toilet paper I’d been given. I then pivoted to return to the booth.

I had to wait a minute for her to complete her phone conversation with, what sounded like, her husband. As she hung up the phone, she looked over her glasses at me and questioned, “Yeeessss?” I slipped the two sections back through the money slot and proudly stated, “Thanks, but I didn’t need all of this.” Back on the road again, I had to smile.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Turquoise Moon Gallery - Desert Glow

Desert Glow
Ed Mell
24x18 Oil on Linen


Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Jackalope

It’s surprising to me how many are still so curious about the existance of the jackalope here in the desert southwest. So, I thought I’d share a bit of information regarding this rare and illusive creature.

The jackalope is a rare hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer rabbit". Female jackalopes can be milked as they sleep belly up and the milk can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes. It has also known that the jackalope can convincingly imitate any sound, including the human voice. It uses this ability to elude pursuers, chiefly by using phrases such as "There he goes! That way!" The jackalope may be caught by putting a flask of whiskey out at night. The jackalope will drink its fill of whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt – the meat tastes very similar to lobster. And, if you find yourself in my part of the country, there are special tours and guides that will take you right to the jackalopes’ natural habitat. Careful though, they can be quite dangerous when approached. Read on; Hilma Volk’s poem, Jackalope, will enlighten you further.

by Hilma (Volcano) Volk

"Are there jackalope around here?"
The dude from Chicago asked.
"Well up here there's too much elevation;
They're down on sagebrush flats."

"Course the females don't have antlers.
Males shed theirs in early spring.
They'll bed down during the day
And come out in the late evening.

"They're masters of camouflage,
When scared they'll lay out flat.
Them antlers blend in like a bush,
An' they're silent as a cat.

"They're pretty cunning creatures, too,
Like if a coyote's giving chase,
A different one will whistle
An' throw him off his pace.

"They say they're mostly loners
But I've seen them in a pack
An' make a circle, antlers out,
To fend off a dog attack."

The Chicago man looked quite confused.
He said, "You're a pretty good liar
'Cause we both know they're a myth
Dreamed up 'round some campfire."

"Not so," I said, "they're real enough.
Every word I said was true.
Why, Friday night at the Longhorn
They'll serve up Jack'lope stew.

"And Max Green, the taxidermist,
Has a whole bunch he has trapped.
An' there's photos at the gallery
That you can get gift wrapped."

He said, "I want to see one alive."
"You'll need binocs and a good spot light.
Best time and place to see 'em
Is Rattler Flats at night."

He asked if I'd be his guide.
I drawled, "For a hundred buck
I'll guarantee you'll see least one.
If not, I'm out of luck."

Next night our light reflected eyes.
I said, "Look, there's a doe."
"Malarkey, that's a rabbit!"
"Nope, there's differences, ya know.

"Like see that faint stripe on the back
Or that light spot on the chest.
Them are jackalope for sure.
But a buck will be our quest.

"Them males are awful wary
'Cause they're hunted all the time.
Ain't no season on them,
An' right now them horns is prime.

"Look there!" I shined the scope,
"That there rack's a pretty sight."
"I don't see a thing," he said.
"Scan that bush that's on the right."

"I see it, yes I see it!
But wait, it doesn't budge."
"You wouldn't either if you was hunted,
You big fat tub of fudge."

We went on and spied three more.
"Them ain't fiction," I rebuffed.
Still them jack'lope didn't move.
He declared, "I think they're stuffed."

He sneered, "Let's go out there.
If they're real, they swill scoot."
Said I, "No one goes out on Rattler Flats
Lest they're wearing snake proof boot."

He stayed in the truck a grumblin'
Till I shone another critter
Whose head was slowly turning
An' his right ear gave a twitter.

The man left town that next day.
I handed Max Green fifty.
In my pocket's a big bonus tip.
Yep, mechanical things are nifty.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turquoise Moon Gallery - The Horseman

The Horseman
Michael Broadway
Acrylic/Airbrush on Canvas

Friday, January 16, 2009

Gone Fishing - Meet Me In Trottersville!

Well, I haven't really gone fishing. I was asked by the suburban pigs in Trottersville to appear as their guest author. Join me for a humorus look at the collapsing tradition of the daily newspaper - For The Times They Are A-Changin'. See ya there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Turquoise Moon Gallery - Court House Rock

Court House Rock
Kevin Miller
24"x30" Oil on Canvas
Click on painting for larger view

Friday, January 9, 2009

I Hate Grocery Shopping - Seriously, I Mean It!

Living in this remote location, it’s a 1.5-hour trip to the nearest grocery store. Naturally, I try to only make the trek once a month. I decided to be neighborly and ask my neighbor (5 miles up the canyon) if I could pick anything up for her and her husband, you know, to save them a trip.

Helen agreed and dropped off her list of 20 items early last evening. As she handed me her list, I asked if there were any special instructions. Helen said that her list was self-explanatory, just regular stuff. As she left, she thanked me and asked me call her tomorrow when I’ve returned.

I hate grocery shopping! I mean I really hate it and I have always procrastinated when it comes to grocery shopping. Once I was down to a few saltines and a can of sardines before I gave in. To this day, I’m still not sure how those sardines, marinated in mustard sauce no less, ended up in my pantry. You know how things seem to make their way to the back of the shelf and don’t ever really resurface until you clean? Not this can of sardines, it was always staring me in the face every single time I opened the pantry door. I took it on camping trips – it came home with me. I took it fishing thinking I might use the little sardines as bait – nope, back to the pantry. No one ever copped to knowing anything about these sardines. When I moved, some three years later, I finally pitched it.

Anyway, back to why I hate grocery shopping, I’m the one you always see walking from the hinter lands across the parking lot just to get to the front door. For the life of me I can never find a parking place close in. I’m the one that can’t separate the carts. Then, after some cursing and a tug of war, I’m the one going down the aisles with the mismatched wheels that causes steering problems and the annoying squeak. I’m the one that pushes the button repeatedly at the meat counter. And, yes, I’m the one at check-out that has more than one price check. I hate that loud speaker! And, one more sigh from that man behind me with his 30-pack of Keystone and a bag of peanuts, I’ll have to turn around and give him “the look”.

Then it’s back to the hinter lands to unload my gimped-up cart. I pray as I load my truck I won’t tear one of those overloaded bags and have to chase cans around the parking lot or fish-out the one can that manages to end up under the vehicle with the lowest clearance. Whew, all done. Seat belt buckled and I’m on my way back home with my load.

Now, here’s a service I’ve often wished grocery stores offered. That kid, the one that overloads your bags, has to come home with you, unload your groceries and place them by aisle-order in your pantry. I swear I’d pay for such a service. So many times, three days later, I’m stepping over the groceries to make my way into the kitchen.

As I prepared my list this morning, I decided to add Helen’s items to my list so, quite frankly, I wouldn’t forget. I unfolded the piece of paper that contained her list and $40. I gave it a quick glance and could not believe what I saw. Look at this list!

1 – Avocado
5 – Cans El Paso whole green chilies
2 – Bottles Tabasco sauce
7 – Cans pinto beans with jalapenos
2 – 1# blocks of hot pepper cheese
1 – 2# block Velveeta and
1 – Unbreakable plastic comb

Good lord! These are not items I would buy and I’m a little embarrassed that they will go down the same mini-conveyor with my fresh fruits and vegetables, the organic milk and juice and the wild salmon. C’mon, Velveeta is a processed cheese food – it says so right on the box. I shudder to think what this diet is doing to Helen and her husband’s gastrointestinal and septic systems. Notice, she did not include Beano, toilet paper or a plunger on her list. But, what she did include was an unbreakable plastic comb. Huh? I had half a mind to call Helen just before I left for town to ask if she had thought of anything else she needed or to gently make mention of my suggestions. I would have, but I was afraid I would not have been able to without laughing.

I managed to make it to-and-from the grocery store without anything extraordinary happening. I am pleased to say I actually got a cart with matching wheels this time – bonus. I gave Helen a call to let her know I had returned. I sifted through the bags and placed her order out on the dining table while I waited for her arrival. This way she could check to make sure I had purchased all the items she had asked for.

When Helen arrived she checked her groceries and placed them in a box she had brought with her. As she thanked me, she took a look around and asked if I needed any help with putting my things away before she left. I guess I looked a little frazzled, being a post-menopausal, pre-osteoporosis woman and all. I just smiled and told her I was in the process (yeah, right) of putting them away. After the refrigerated things were put up, I stepped over the rest of the items, grabbed a bag of grapes and settled in to watch Wife Swap. After all, I have a whole month before I have to go back.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Turquoise Moon Gallery - Hopi Migration

Hopi Migration
Dennis Numkena
7'x7' Oil on Canvas
Click on painting for larger view.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome and Happy New Year!

Welcome! Many of you are familiar with my writings from The Screaming Me-Me!!!. As my blog developed, it took a different direction that has led me to publish an additional blog, The Turquoise Moon, a collection of colorful stories.

I hope you will join me as I write about my adventures here at the ranch, stories from special memories and humorus observations. And, don't forget you can still find me at The Screaming Me-Me!!! - bringing you the best of the wild, the weird and the wacky from the Internet. Happy New Year!

Photo by Me-Me King, 01/05/09

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