Christmas in Texas

As many of you know, this past summer I moved from my long time home in Colorado to my new home in Longview, Texas. I was excited about the warm winters and lack of snow. I’ve never been a winter person. Give me 70-80 degrees, and I’m happy 🙂 What I hadn’t anticipated is how the seasons just blend together. In Colorado, we have four distinct seasons. One ends and another follows (that is, except for spring when it’s been known to snow on Mother’s Day, but that’s another story).

Anyway, in the fall freezing temperatures appear in September, sprinklers are turned off, mowers are put away, and the grass goes dormant for the winter. Then the fall leaves turn to brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, and quickly fall off of the trees. The end of September and the month of October are spent raking leaves. By the time mid-November hits and it’s time to put up the outside Christmas lights, there’s a clean slate. Nothing much interferes. Oh, we had an occasional snow, but the snow serves to make the lights more festive–the bright colors shining through the white.

Not so in East Texas. I enjoyed putting up the lights without the need for my down jacket, mittens and scarf, but the grass was still growing. I carefully staked the Christmas ornaments into the front lawn, only to have to move them to move the grass underneath. And then, the leaves finally turn and begin to fall- IN DECEMBER. Lot of leaves. Tons and tons of leaves, that gently fall to the ground and cover the ornaments. Once again, ornaments are moved to rake underneath them.  Every week, more and more leaves fall.

We’ve been in a basic drought since I moved here in July with very little moisture. That is until this week. The weather has decided to make up for all of those sunny days. Three days ago we had four inches of rain and today is predicted to be much the same. Why do I mention this? Because of all of those nice little extension cords criss-crossing my lawn. Everywhere one cord meet the other, moisture gets in, and shorts out the lights resulting in blown fuses. Just when they were all dried out, it’s raining again. Hard. The other night I did something I’ve never done in the month of December, I didn’t turn on my Christmas lights! I didn’t want to spend the entire night flipping breaker switches.

All in all, I’m happy to be in Texas. I admit, I do like a white Christmas, preferably with all the snow melting by the 26th, but when I saw the 9 degree temperature in my former town this morning, I didn’t miss that. I guess I’ll take 70 degrees and soggy lights.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to you from me. Whatever your beliefs, or whether you’re in snow or rain, sun or clouds, warm or cold, its the loving spirit of the season in our hearts that count. May you all have a blessed start to 2018!

I LIVE IN TEXAS NOW!

Well, my move is complete and after almost a month of not writing, my office and computer are set up and I’m reconnected with the world 🙂 I now live in East Texas. It’s a change from Colorado. Most noticeably, the humidity. I think I’ve lost ten pounds since I got here just from sweating! It’s hot! I know I moved here at the worst time of the year. I’m already looking forward to autumn! Honestly though, its not so bad, and we even had a couple low humidity days the beginning of this week.

On a positive note, everyone here is so friendly, y’all. I feel very welcomed. And there’s no traffic in this small town, ever. Not even at “rush hour”. It’s nice. People here are proud of their state. The shape of Texas is everywhere. From Texas-shaped waffles to all sorts of Texas shaped items like this cutting board I got as a present when I arrived. We didn’t have that in the beautiful state of Colorado, however, to be fair, Colorado is the shape of a rectangle. If they made products in the shape of Colorado, no one would know. (I’ve eaten rectangle-shaped waffles my whole life). Texas is a great shape though, there’s no mistaking it for any place else. So I’m embracing all that is Texas and life in East Texas.

cutting board

Stay tuned . . . I may even place a place a romance here one day. But for now, my writer’s mind is back in the cool Colorado mountains, furiously trying to finish Colorado Summer Stars (Peakview series book 7) before summer ends. I’ll let you know when I have a release date. Stay cool wherever you’re spending your summer.

Texas Roadtrip, Continued

Well, as promised, I had an excellent adventure driving the 1720 miles back and forth across Colorado, New Mexico and Texas to visits my daughter in Dallas. My first night stop was in Amarillo where my research had shown the amazing roadside attraction of the Cadillac Ranch. “Ranch” is a stretch.  Not seeing it from the Interstate, I stopped at a small souvenir shop with this huge Second Amendment Cowboy out front (only in Texas!)2nd cowboy

I was told to drive about a mile down the frontage road and look for an old gate into a field. I got back in my car and sure enough, there it was, no sign, no parking lot, just a small dirt edge to the road by an old rusty gate, and off in the distance you could a row of old vintage Cadillacs planted nose down in the dirt. My dog and I got out, in a strong wind that blew the dust from the desolate, empty field into our eyes, and we started the trek across the several hundred yards that led to the cars.image Once there, we approached the only other souls who had ventured out in the wind, a young couple with European accents who understood enough English to take out picture.imageThe cars had apparently been purchased by some hippies in San Francisco in the 70’s and moved to Texas when a generous farmer donated the land for their planting. Once there, they have been spray painted over and over by passers by. (Dang, I didn’t have a can of spray paint with me or I could have added my design to the display).

The next day, driving farther east into Texas, I stopped at a gas station for a bathroom break for me and Laddie and encountered in the parking lot of the gas station this giant chicken. No sign, no explanation, just the chicken. I guess everything is bigger in Texas.chickenThen it was on to Dallas where we were fortunate to get to attend the ACMawards50 party for a cause where we got to see many live performances of amazing country artists (that is before everything was interrupted by the severe thunderstorm/tornado warnings). Not to be outdone in the photo op department, there were many opportunities for pictures with life size cardboard cutouts of your favorite country artists. My daughter and I especially liked Blake and Luke!Texas 5All in all, it was a memorable trip with great photo memories. Its good to be back home. Do you have memorable photos from your last trip? Id love to see them.