In Del Rio, the bank and a few insurance agents used to pass out ball point pens with white tops and red bottoms that actually provided four different ink colors with the flip of a tab: red, green, blue and black. They were always a treat to play with.

Consuelo "Chelo" Gonzalez Amezcua was a Del Rio resident when I was a little girl. It was years after she passed and I was in junior high that I discovered who she was and what she did with pens like these. I wish I had been old enough to appreciate her when she was alive. 



Last year I spent Thanksgiving with my family in my hometown surrounded by lifelong familiarities. The scents coming from the kitchen, the faces around me at the dinner table as we happily dined on the foods we could count on to taste just as they always have. I am very thankful for that Thanksgiving because we were able to be together.

This year I find myself in Pennsylvania and Thanksgiving dinner was at an elegant restaurant next door to our motor lodge. The dinner and pumpkin pie were impressive both in presentation and flavor. Our server was the restaurant owner, a very nice gentleman who made us feel like we had known each other for some time. It was a pretty day and as I looked across the street after dinner I saw a thick line of pines and spruces, real Christmas trees growing naturally. For a week I have enjoyed the chain of small towns that resemble Christmas villages, savoring the scents and holiday cheer.

So far this new life has been filled with all sorts of gifts. From time to time I have stopped and wondered what possessed me to be so un-me, not me, opposite of the usual me? It had to be something quite Divine to have me welcoming the unknown the way I did. I am thankful for the courage I had to leave my comfort zones. Because I did I have found wonderful things that life has to offer. Today was rich.


Chewing on the grass...again

I caught the end of Splendor in the Grass again last night.  I have said it before, how the ending to this film is something that I seem to like to think about when I have nothing else to pour my thoughts over.  It is different each time, however, the conclusions I drew from the ending last night were unlike past thoughts inspired in previous viewings.

This time I noticed how Deanie's friend approaches Bud to let him know that Deanie is in the car and would like to see him. He doesn't seem like he wants to see her, he isn't all that excited. Then Deanie runs up the driveway to greet him dressed as a bride and her enthusiasm reminding us of their days in school. For that moment she is as she always was. Once she get's up to him, there is no hug, no pat on the back, not even a handshake from Bud. He does smile and seems genuinely happy to see her, not as excited as she appears to be.

Once again, I view Bud's home as a happy one,  it is simple and clean, he has a little boy with a child on the way. He and his wife seem to live as they care too, no mind to the conventions or formalities of the day. Deanie looks around and seems disappointed, nearly cringes. Is picturing herself, for that moment, as his wife, or that she ever wanted to be?

Deanie picks up Bud Jr. and holds him close and the camera shows us the uncomfortable faces of both Bud and Angelina.  Once again, it seems that Bud seems uncomfortable with this visit than invested in it in any way. Deanie is the past,  a past he left behind along with the death of his sister, father and collapse of a family fortune. He is now free of his responsibilities and the expectations his father once placed on him,  it is all, his past.  He now created his own family and is living life more on his terms. When this scene begins, we find him happily working on his farm and speaking of new cows purchased.

It is Deanie who put on a pretty dress, and again, for a moment, reminded us of the heartbroken teen who wanted to look good for the dance and wore her red flapper's dress and bobbed her hair.  She prepared for the visit, Bud was not prepared and I get the feeling that even if he knew she was coming he would not even had washed his hands and continued working until she arrived.

When she asks Bud if he is happy and he says he doesn't ask himself that very often. I thought, do happy people ask themselves if they are happy? Wouldn't a man who has lost all that Bud has lost take what comes? He's had to.  Does Deanie ask this because if she put herself in Angelina's shoes, as Bud's wife, would she be happy with the life Bud now has? Is it hard for her to think she would be happy as Bud's wife and therefore wonders if Bud is happy with what he has after losing the life he had, perhaps a life Deanie liked so much more. Is Deanie pursuing her mother's ambitions after all? She does seem to think marrying a doctor is nice to say, despite not showing much emotion for the doctor himself.

When Bud returns to his wife Angelina, who is looking defeated having been blindsided by this visit, caught in a frock and messy hair, and he asks when they eat... could it be that Deanie's visit had little effect on him? This was a bigger deal for the woman of his past and his wife, not him. Seeing his wife feeling bad, he gives her a passionate kiss, who wouldn't want a kiss like that from Bud?! He loves her, he has a family with her and he is happy?

Does this visit finally allow Deanie to move on? We never see her get excited about her marriage to John the doctor,  she always seems so lukewarm about it to me. We never see the wedding, we can only guess that she went through with it.  
It is in the car that she seems to find a place to finally place her past with Bud. Does the car ride itself mean she still has a long road ahead? I now think Bud is happy. 

The ending is still open. However I am drawing these conclusions:
The ending has been described as devastating, and I think it is only true if you expected the characters or wanted the characters to remain together and even if you wanted to see pining between both characters. I once saw pining between the two but I don't see that anymore. Devastating is Deanie Loomis who became a serious victim of what should have been nothing more than puppy love, her mother's dominance, the times and how breakdowns were viewed...she is now stigmatized. 

Out of the mouths of babes...

My favorite food du jour is gajar halva, an Indian carrot dessert. It can be made to be a very rich pudding or a subtle and sweet, warm carrot salad. The Indian restaurant next door to the hotel makes it on the light side and I love it so much. This afternoon I set out once again to place a pick-up order for gajar halva and found a child's birthday party in progress.

The ballroom in the restaurant was decorated with red and white balloons and tables were covered with pretty red and white tablecloths. The children were running about laughing, shouting and chasing each other. It looked like a fun and formal occasion.

Once I placed my order I sat in the lobby of the restaurant where, across from me, three, well dressed and well behaved little boys were sitting on a couch engaged in a serious conversation. I later found out their ages were six, seven and ten. When I heard one of them mention diamonds I thought perhaps they were speaking of a video game.

I then I heard the six year old explain."Silver is worth more than cheap metals, but gold is worth more than silver and platinum looks silver but is worth more than gold, you see?"

The seven year old said, "But what I am saying is that a diamond, a big diamond, is worth more than any of those."

The ten year old chimed in with,"No, no, you did not say that, you did not, what you said was a big, big diamond is just like gold and it is not like gold, it beats gold."

To which the six year old replied,"There are times when even a big, big, giant diamond is not worth more than platinum, it depends."

Then they all started to speak at once. I sat there flummoxed and deeply intrigued. I couldn't stand it any longer and had to interrupt,"Excuse me, how old are you three boys?"

After I learned their ages I was impressed and figured that they had family in the jewelry business. Before I could ask anything else, a group of little girls suddenly came in, chasing balloons, laughing and screaming. Some were wearing opulent saris and others dressed in puffy party dresses and sporting tiny, gold and silver heels. One of them stood in front of me and mimicked my way of sitting. I have often had my gestures or way of speaking mocked by children before, starting when I was a kid myself.  The way I had my arms crossed with my finger against my chin seemed to irritate her so she stood in front of me and crossed her arms in the same fashion then squealed, "Eeeeee, ooooooooo", turning her mouth down while shaking her hips and shoulders.  I laughed and they ran off.

The ten year old across from me then winked and smiled. I did a double take. Then the seven year old whispered something into his ear and ran off. The ten year old whispered something into the ear of the six year old who then looked at me with a cold, hard stare for all of five seconds before sternly remarking,"No, you should find a rich girlfriend."

I did not think I was looking impoverished today. I was dressed rather sharply, or so I thought. It was a very chic ensemble with new, black leather boots, black jeans and a new, black turtleneck. My hair was neatly done in my signature up-do. I was even wearing plum lipstick and liquid eyeliner (I started wearing it again). I was neat and clean. What about my vintage, Navajo ring with it's outstanding, large turquoise cabochon that usually brings in so many compliments? Not a cheap relic by any means, despite being only silver. Was it the baby bump? I giggled but they remained serious.

A few minutes later the ten year old looked at me and shyly smiled and then turned to his wiser friend and said, "She is poor but pretty, right?"

Again, what was it about me that looked so "poor" to these young fellows. So I pulled out my compact to see if I had smut on my face and to check my hair. I was cracking a bit under such scrutiny.  I heard a loud laugh when I opened the mirror to look at myself.

The six year old then pointed and said, "Look, your girlfriend, she's looking at how pretty she is, ooooooo!"

He laughed and laughed and the 10 year old only smiled sheepishly, looked down then tried to cover his friend's mouth and said in a low voice, "Noooo, stop, you are being rude."

I couldn't keep a straight face. The six year old then grabbed his friend's hand and off they went to join the party.  My order was ready and I went up the stairs to pay for it. As I was coming down the two boys were on their way up again.  I was so tempted to ask these two sweet faces what I could do to look a bit more affluent. I imagined they had an answer I probably didn't need to hear. 

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How my world turns

The world around me has always been filled with attractive people it seems. Every now and then someone lacking inner beauty or that spark in their eyes will pass by. Often, what I see or who I see isn't what or who others see and nothing drives home the fact that we are each a small world more than that. Once you realize that you are a small world and the person next to you, a completely different small world, life is easier.

The other evening, at dinner, I thought our waitress looked like Elizabeth Taylor, she was so beautiful. Perhaps the way she applied her make-up. She did not have violet eyes but her face otherwise was Liz Taylor's circa 1965 or so. Through my mind flashed photos of Liz Taylor and then I recalled Sarita Montiel. I was surprised at how long it had been since I thought of the Spanish actress. It is because of her that I learned to raise one eyebrow in photos. An affectation I can't seem to change and would like to.

Sarita Montiel was up there with Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lupe Velez, Ingrid Bergman and all the other gorgeous faces in my old movie books. At thirteen and fourteen I was easily carried away by their photos into a glamorous world filled with impeccable clothes, flawless hair, perfectly applied eyeliner...I wanted so much to one day carry myself like these glamour girls. I don't know how successful I was, but for a decade the way I shaped my eyebrows and did my eyeliner was influenced by the old photographs. I was lucky enough to own vintage dresses that fit me like a glove and had my dreamy moments {in as glamorous a world as I could ever have}. I decided, just that evening, I had succeeded after all.

I then found myself  ordering sweet potato fries in a flannel shirt, jeans and boots. When my boyfriend asked me what was wrong, I said,"Nothing".  How does a woman explain that she is so happy and thrilled to be four months pregnant and sitting across from the most gorgeous and loving man she's ever known and yet just shed a few,  small,  invisible, superficial tears over a glamour girl left behind long ago? The once 36-24-38 hottie who could be found  wearing a curve hugging, green, velvet, vintage dress with killer liquid liner, vampy lips and cha-cha heels on a Saturday night has exited. It is hard to explain, it is something that has to be experienced, so... really, nothing. The fries arrived and after four of them, my thoughts were on how the waiter across the room could play Oscar Wilde in a biopic.

The next day I came across a record by Sarita Montiel. I had been thinking how much I loved the name Robert Diego for a boy and Anna Maria August for a girl. We are such complex little worlds.

My Style

This scene from the I Love Lucy Show has Lucy wearing a Pendleton 49er. The company still makes these wool jackets. They were created in 1949 and could be paired with a matching skirt or pair of pants, also offered by the company. Cinched at the waist with a simple leather belt and you achieve a sharp silhouette, you'll feel like a woman in a Douglas Sirk film. The women in his films frequently wore sharp wools and tweeds in outdoor scenes.

I had a vintage, grey flannel 49er that I ended up giving my friend in exchange for her black, leather motorcycle jacket. I don't regret the trade, I only wish I could find another vintage 49er. 

Ethel's cable knit, sweater and the pants she is sporting are something I wish I had as well. Love the detailing in those back pockets. The country style way of dressing in the late 40's early 50's is a look that I still love. It is a style that seems to be having a slight resurgence in the past few years. I see cowichan inspired sweaters, Pendleton inspired flannels and prints, the return of Minnetonka, capes, shawls and ponchos.

It would be nice to see these once well made Mexican sweaters available again.  I have wanted one for almost twenty years now but Mexico started putting out cheap versions in the early 80's and now you can't even find anything like it. They were available for a season here and there three years or so ago.

Those calf length, A-line, wool plaid skirts paired with black scoop necks and turtlenecks (cashmere) are another favorite look.  I'd like to own a really nice pair of wool pants, cuffed or sharply tapered like those pants Laura Petrie wore on the Dick Van Dyke show.

But most of all, it would be wonderful to have a really creative fashion designer with good taste create beautiful maternity clothes.  


We actually got to experience a real wintery day last weekend, here in Baltimore. We left the hotel early in the morning and spent most of the day in Fell's Point and Hampden. We enjoyed the freezing temperatures that continued to drop and of course the snow that would fall here and there.

We had the best miso soup with portobello mushrooms for lunch at Liquid Earth. It was filling, cozy and hit the spot.
The day was spent window shopping, buying winter outerwear and visiting special kitties at record stores.  For dinner we filled up on comfort food from New Mexico at Golden West. It was a most perfect day.