Special Attribute of a Cowboy

Red Cowboy Boots

I love cowboys. A pair like these red boots have been invited to one of their special events.

Miles away from the Lazy Bee ranch next week on a Thursday night, I’ll be wearing my red cowboy boots to a gathering of cowboys on an island.

Last year these guys decided it would be okay to invite their special gal.  I’d heard a grand report and it sounded so much fun that I should consider going.

So, I’m off with my black Stetson cowboy hat and a pair of red boots to see first hand what this is all about.

Every cowboy I’ve known has a unique brand.  They love nature, animals, especially horses, classic country music, camp fires and hearty food like steak.

Their best attribute is the darling way they have of treating a woman.  To them, she’s a queen, and should be handled gently as a young Arab colt.

Just like wearing red cowboy boots has always made me feel.  It’s just for their opening dinner, of course, because cowboys have a very special bond when they come together and they want no women around.

It’s a very special time and I’m excited to imbibe in a little of their fun.










Untruths About Coconut Oil

Who put the kabash on coconut oil?

The many great uses of coconut oil and why movie popcorn was never again so tasty.

In 1994 movie theaters popped corn in coconut oil until the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture said it was too high in saturated fats and would lead to heart disease.

Soon after that, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) jumped in and said that a tub of popcorn popped with this oil nearly is twice the recommended daily allowance.

The death blow came and banned the oil from use in movie theater popcorn.  My popcorn never has been as satisfying in taste.

But, now it is known that certain “good” saturated fats like those in coconut oil do provide nutrients that protect the brain and CSPI reversed its position.

It happened because we weren’t consuming much in the way of corn and soybeans, most of which are biotech products.  The anti-saturated fat campaign according to John Ross Crooks ,who has done the research, points out it wasn’t only the CSPI but the World Health Organization, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the USDA, and the FDA, all fighting against saturated fats.

Crooks states it was done for biotech interests.

Besides making popcorn taste better, this oil can:

l)  Be used to sooth body aches.

2)  Put a little in coffee to compliment the flavor.

3)  Cook with it.  It has a higher smoke point than other oils.

4)  Add a little baking soda to it for chemical-free tooth paste.

5)  It makes a fine hand cream.





A Writer’s Persistant Character

Why do I blog?

Dealing with Stormy presents frustrating dilemmas.

The house is quiet.  Finally, it’s the perfect time to write the last chapter of Cowboy Casanova.  Why the procrastination?

Time is always there for the writer.  It’s available in the little chunks between chores, obligations, trips, or even when sitting in the dentist chair.

Does ending the novel mean that I will be saying ‘goodbye’ to the characters, or, to living their lives.  They have been an interesting collection–the Cowboy himself, Alexis who won his affections, the owners of the Oliver Ranch, the Stitch ‘N Bitchers.  Perhaps, Stormy?

Stormy showed up earlier in the story and now insists upon being in the last chapter, too.  I hadn’t planned that she would be in the story at all.  Now, here she is accompanying the men to the trashed trailer to the hidden underground bus.

Dealing with her has been an interesting development.  The strength of her force demands she be included.  The insertion of a character not planned by me also took place in Lebensborn, my WWII fiction.  A little boy shows up in a little French village.  Little did I realize that he would play a significant role.

Now it’s over.  The story of a western cowboy comes to an end, as all stories must.  The wrap-up, or so it’s called in the production world, with all the events and character developments coming to a conclusion.

Characters have been written in a story and become like real people.  They do unexpected things and become other than we originally believe about them.

In a few hours, I’ll see what’s in store for The Cowboy and Stormy.  I can’t wait.  That’s part of the joy of being a writer.  We often don’t know any more than the reader what’s going to happen.  That’s if we’re good at what we do. But as Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, part of the people part of the time, but none of the people, all of the time.”

The same goes for writing a blog.  I think.





The Intimidating Gift

Learning Salt Block Cooking/Freezing

This 500 million year old salt block is a gift   Now what do we do with it?

We learn how to use it.  Not blowing up the oven will be a big incentive. You can do that if you try to heat one of these up too fast.  However, the cookbook that came with it says when it breaks there are numerous ways to use the pieces.

It suppose to put a layer of salt taste and texture to whatever you cook on it.  It looks lovely, this 8X8X2 inch block from Himalaya.   There’s a UTube video that shows how to cook a small flank steak, two pieces of salmon, asparagus and broccoli.

When faced with the prospect of using it the first time, I remember how Alice and I made candles the first time.  We found that we should do it OUT SIDE because it’s a dangerous thing to do.  Using the salt block for the first time sorta has that same kind of a feeling.

The people on UTUBE said the golden rule to heat one of these is 10 minutes on low, another 10 on medium and the final stage, the last 10 minutes.  Another recipe says, no, that it should be 20 minutes for each stage.  This is becoming way too complicated.

It’s ready at 500 degrees or more.  If you don’t trust holding your hand over the heating block two to three inches above, there is infrared thermometer that will read it.

I’d like to dazzle the couple who gave us the gift.  So, they can be our first guests.  It may be easier to freeze the block over night and use it to serve some nice summer fruit and veggies along with cocktails.  Maybe save the cooking for the good ol’ reliable cast iron skillet.





Long Economic Winter Ahead


What we might see coming becomes more relevant after global response to Britain’s exit from the EU.

I want you to know about a book I just finished.  The name of the book is “The Demographic Cliff. . .How to Survive and Prosper During the Great Deflation Ahead.”

Harry Dent, the author, says these are some of the things we can expect in the coming months:

.  Unemployment to increase because the work pool continues to shrink.  Companies will lean more towards employing people with experience.

.  Housing prices may fall again by as much as 40% over the next several years as mortgage rates are likely to rise.

.  High private debt, an estimated $140,000 for every one in the U.S., falling incomes and no equity left in their homes, expect more personal bankruptcies and property foreclosures  Federal deficit ballooning high as $1.5 to @2 trillion..

.  Continued demographic decline.  State and municipal governments forced into default, Detroit only the first.

.  Crisis in Europe worse.  Britain and Greece.  Spanish real estate bubble bursting again as more and more European Union member countries slip over the demographic cliff, especially Germany.

The book delves into how our economy peaks every 40 years on generational cycles, almost like clockwork.  His research suggests what is about to happen in the markets and forward is practically preordained.

Baby Boomers, the biggest generational tsunami, descended on the workforce between l957 and l978, setting in motion a series of economic events like massive inflation.  They’ve had known spending cycles impacting everything from music to potato chips to cars and homes.  And, then, now they’re slowing down selling and downsizing.  Their massive spending cycles peak at age 46 on the average after their purchase of homes took place between their ages of 27 to 41 and their spending on cars peaks at age 53.  Now they are retiring, perhaps traveling or buying an RV.

The Baby Boomers are starting fewer business and paying far less taxes.  In short, according to Dent, they stop spending on things that drive economic growth: housing, cars, furniture and boats.

Combine this demographic-economic reality with everything else happening – the debt levels, currency volatility, shifting economic and political power bases, and the fact that we’re on the tail end of one of the greatest technological eras since the industrial revolution – it paints a troubling picture until about 2022.

Every 500 years a ‘mega’ innovation like the printing press or the computer forever changes the way we live and leads to decades and centuries of prosperity.

If you want to borrow my book, let me know.







Little Tips for a Good Day

Why do I blog?

“I remember that Mother always said . . . “

Forgive those who hurt you.  Not only is it good for your heart, it sooths your soul

Avoid taking or wearing anything white in color when going camping.  Marshmallows are okay.

Dry your toes when you get out of the bath or shower.  If you don’t, it can lead to toe fungus.  Bending over to dry your toes also keeps you feeling young.  When you get old, then you’ll still be able to bend down to reach your toes. Physicians often can tell immediately the medical shape of a person by looking at their feet.

Spend less than you make at any age of life.  When you start investing, choose solid-dividend paying companies.  The early you start to save a little, the more it adds up.  It’s a mathematical progression.

Hugs are therapeutic.  If it’s a stern person, you might need to ask if it’s okay first..  Maybe not.  That where the fun of life comes into play.

Start the day right.  Or, maybe see that it’s done the night before.  Just remember that a clean sink is the key to having a good day.

If you are unsure about doing something, write down two lists: one that explains why this is good, the other why it might not be so.  Seeing the results, provides clarity.

Always kiss loved ones good night.

Mullein tea is good to  relieve  symptoms of cold or broccolis.

Traditions are more important than you realize.  Doing something over and over gets better every time it happens.  If someone says, “That was fun!” Respond: “Let’s set a date and do this again.”

Take risks.  Remember, not everyone can ice skate.  No person has the ability to DO everything.










Summer Means Beer



Summer used to be a little simpler for beer drinkers.  Well, for that matter, it’s the same now in any season.  The complexities of choices available has expanded to the point that it’s hard to follow new additions to the brew by the brewers, especially in the ‘craft’ beer line.

So, who’s on first? Memorial Day starts the beer-drinking season in the U.S. and the impact rumbles along thirstily well until after January’s Super Bowl.

During the 4th of July holiday in the U.S., beer is the number one seller. Miller Bud or one of the other 4,500 to 4,800 craft breweries.  That number is expected to grow to l0,00 in the next few years.

Beer lovers have many choices.  Millennial’s don’t usually drink it.  Perhaps this is why cider, hard teas and hard sodas are becoming available.  I especially am becoming addicted to slush drinks like margaritas and Hawaiian punch.

Bud Light seems to be the top selling beer with a reported l6% share of the total beer market in the U.S.  It’s second world-wide to a beer they drink in China called Snow.

Of the top 20 beers in the U.S., six are from from Anhauser-Bush, now owned by a Belgium company who I hear wants to change their name to American. It’s now sticking fruit into beer and is offering Bud-Lite Lime or Straw-Ber-Rita.As for changing it brew name to American,  we Americans rather like sticking with the old branding .  It goes nicer with the big horses they feature in their ads and wonder if a name like Bud-Lite will fit these huge giants.

Pabst blue Ribbon in total sales beats Boston Beer, the maker of Sam Adams.  From Boston Beer, there are the Angry Orchards hard ciders, Coney Island Root Beer and Twisted Teas.

Yes, beer sales ARE important.  When I toured Billy Bobs, a cowboy honky tonk, I believe it was in Houston, one of the mangers would point to a musician whose photo was hanging on the wall and say, “We sold x number of cases of beer that night.”

And, note this: Anheuser is proposing l00 billion dollars to buy South Africa’s SAB Miller.  If that deal goes through, it will gain Molson Coors and boost its sales from 3.42 billion last year to ll.5 billion in 2017.

I’m also noticing that Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, brands we see in San Miguel, MX. where we often visit, are becoming popular here,  easier to request and find both locally as well as regionally.

The beer scene is expanding in the U.S. so fast you need a score card.  However, it can never can catch up to the amount and variety of thirst-quenching drinks you’ll find at a Vietnamese coffee bar.  For the complexity and number of beverages of all types offered there, a person needs a wild imagination and to devote many hours to sampling all the unique drinks.  Somehow, I don’t remember beer was one of them.

The U.S. leads in beer!  What will you be drinking on the 4th of July?













When We Wait



I am standing on top of a tall building.  My feet are clinging to the smooth concrete edge.  I look down wondering how much time there will actually be between my fall and when I hit the ground.  Somehow there is clarity.  I can almost feel a sense of how the air will feel as I fall. It should be the biggest thrill of a lifetime.  Those will be exquisite moments.  Until I hit the ground and all my bones are crushed.

The dream provides a different view of waiting.  Usually when you are waiting for someone or something to take place, there is anxiety. the restless and unsureness and fear of the unknown.

The interlude of time before the results of a medical, hospital or school test, the pain before having the root canal at the dentist, the unbelievable torture of while waiting for a loved one who is delayed, can give and stretch the sense of waiting for time to pass to unimaginable lengths.

Perhaps the dream brought up the desire to blog about how we wait during the interludes before certain events because I am writing about the main character in my Western novel  chained up in an old school bus that’s buried underground where the air is thin.

His sight is blurry in the haze of a smelly oil lamp.  It’s becoming difficult to breathe.  He’s never ‘whipped out’ of a tough situation before, always been the take charge cowboy.

His resolve firms when he realizes periods of waiting always end.  Loved ones return, pain leaves, decisions are made.

However, It is the time in between the end and no one tells stories about that.






Cougars Are Watching

Cougar alert here.

He was watching me.

A family of cougars are in the area.  I feel he is waiting for me.  The hairs on my neck raised a few days ago when I saw him hustle across the road into the forest.

“Don’t go walking alone,” warned a neighbor soon after.  I saw out my window a deer rushing out the woods into the meadow.  He had no tail.  I thought that was odd and as I watched, I saw why.  A cougar was chasing him until he spied a newborn calf and went to take it down.  This is one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen.  He was at least three fence posts in length from his head to his long tail.”

Martha, Rose, Delores and others do go walking along Cedar Creek Road on Monday and Friday mornings.  It’s safety in numbers if I do have the yen to join them.  In my Western novel, Rusty Springs, I tell of a cougar stalking the main character along a mountain road.

You may not see them.  But you feel their presence.  A friend told us that he was similarly stalked one early spring when hunting.  When he felt he was being followed, he spied tracts in the snow and knew it was up ahead waiting for him.  As he came around the mountain trail, he saw the glint of his yellow eyes behind a fallen log and knew just where to aim his rifle.

These beautiful beasts have bad eye sight so if one if near, be as tall and as wide, with wide-spread arms as possible.  Their strong hind quarters and legs give them the ability to leap to the top of a tree or two-story building.  They are aware that they must not face a prey that can hurt them.  They must feed themselves. Instead, they patiently wait for prey and then come up behind them and leap upon their prey’s neck and break it.

In this forested area near the Canadian border in Eastern Washington, still considered to be a wild place, it’s common to see bobcats, bear, wolves, coyote and cougar.    It was a bear, however, not a cougar which one by one snatched all eight chickens from their fenced area last fall.  He broke their wooden coup and returned several times until he had all of them.