Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Panhandle South Plains Fair

Just because summer has ended does not mean that the fun has to stop.

Last night Ariana and I, and Joe's 2 little nieces Keesha and No-No went to the Panhandle South Plains Fair. In Lubbock this was THE event to be at. Everyone was talking about going to the Fair.

The Fair was located in Lubbock's upper east side, an industrialized area. It's not exactly a pretty or pleasant-smelling area, but it had plenty of space to host an event as large as the fair.

People have told me that the Fair is rather small as far as fairs go. But coming from Massachusetts it looked mighty big to me. We only covered a fraction of it before it was time to go home.

Getting in was not free. Nor was it cheap. Admissions was $7.00 for an adult and $2.00 for a kid. So it cost $18.00 to get the 4 of us in. The puppy got in for free.

Here are the girls ~ Keesha, Ariana, and No-No ~ just after getting through the admission gate.

The Fair was already in full swing when we got there.

There were rides galore.

But Ariana and I were not about to go on any rides because she was cradling a little pup in her hands while I was cradling my camera. Neither one of us wanted our "babies" to get damaged from the rides.

So instead, Ariana set out to play some carnival games in hopes of winning No-No ~ who turned 5 yesterday ~ a birthday gift.

Actually Keesha got to play the first game that we stopped at because No-No was not yet big enough to wield the heavy hammer needed to launch a rubber frog into a water lily. It was tricky going. Keesha had only 3 tries. And although she was close twice, she didn't hit her target.

The next game we stopped at was throwing darts at balloons. Ariana wanted to play that one because she felt confident that she would win something.

In retrospect, this was a game that we should have avoided all together because the game carny was one devious huckster. He kept handing Ariana darts while rattling off a rapid tattoo like an auctioneer: "Five will get you a teddy bear, 10 will get you a duck." By the time he said "20 will get you a lady bug," I realized that the numbers that he was rattling off were dollar amounts, and that with each dart Ariana was accepting, the ante was going up by $5.00.

We got swindled out of $20.00 for 2 tiny stuffed toys that would have cost a total of $5.00 at Wal-Mart.

Ariana was shocked. I was pissed. After that it was no more carnival games. Next year we'll be better prepared.

A fair would not be a fair without livestock. And I wanted to see animals, which were just about the only free attraction at the Fair.

I had read that there was a camel that was part of the Livestock exhibition, but I never did get to find him (or her.)

All we found were cows.

And only cows.

We even got to watch a cow getting milked.

The cow was led up the steps into a trailer that contained a milking machine.

The fellow washed off the cow's udders (which I discovered were called "ninnies" in this part of the country),

and then hooked them up to the milking machine.

And although it's not clearly visible in this picture, we could see the cow's milk leaving her ninnies, traveling up the hose, and out to the horizontal tube above the cow. (That white rail above the cow was clear before the milking started.)

The milking operation was business as usual for Bossie.

The milking trailer could accommodate about 3 or 4 cows at once. This one was getting ready to be milked as well.

After watching the cows get milked, No-No wanted to go on rides. And because it was her birthday, we were more than happy to oblidge.

The first ride that No-No wanted to go on was the train ride. There she is, holding the $20.00 stuffed lady bug toy. (I love that little boy's facial expression.)

Doesn't she look sweet in that picture?

What a charming face!

The next ride was in this jeep on the car merry-go-round.

I would have that kind of look on my face if I were driving a nice car too.

After the sun went down, the action really picked up.

And the Fair started to get crowded.

Little No-No, who earlier had plowed through the crowds with great zest and confidence was starting to slow down. She was getting tired, though she did not know it. But we knew it when she got cranky and sat on the ground, in the middle of a heavily-trafficked thoroughfare, to protest her displeasure in not being able to get another ride.

It was time to bring the kids home. And gone was my chance to get a hot buttered ear of corn.

As we left the fairgrounds, I looked back and listened to the thrilled screaming on the brightly lit rides.

We'll be back next year, and we'll be much better prepared for the costs involved and know better to stay away from devious carny hucksters.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Who Is Joe?

I have mentioned Joe in my previous blogs, but you must be wondering who he is, let alone what he looks like.

Anyhow, this is Joe.

He is Ariana's boyfriend. And I am pleased to say that so far he has been very good to Ariana. Out of almost all of the boyfriends she's had, he's been the nicest one to her and the most considerate one to Neil and me.

Joe is extremely polite and respectful, like the true Texan that he is. Having very strong family values, he is always willing to lend a hand, and has been very helpful to us.

Not only that, Joe is a wonderful Daddy to Kane.

And let's hope it stays just that way! I am not yet ready to be a "real" grandmother.

Getting Ready for Halloween

Earlier this week I decided to put up some Halloween decorations.

It wasn't my wanting to get the jump on celebrating Halloween early that prompted me to put up the decorations as much is it was my desire to reduce the amount of stuff that I had to sort through and organize inside. The more stuff that I could get out of the apartment, the less I would have to go through inside.

Except for the large spider hanging on the right, none of the other decorations were originally Halloween decorations.

They were decorative and educational items I had accumulated from many years ago.

These wooden flying skeletons are folk art carvings from Indonesia. I bought them at an Army-Navy surplus store in Wareham, Massachusetts called "Go Bananas."

The skeleton was a miniature anatomically accurate skeleton that I got at a store that sold science-oriented goodies. The broom was a hand-crafted broom that I bought in Pennsylvania Dutch country some 26 years ago. And the little cauldron was from my Witch days over 20 years ago.

The skeleton lost its cranium, and I am sure that it's still probably somewhere in the apartment lost somewhere among the unpacked detritus. But the missing top part of its skull is actually an advantage because it allows the light from the outside light to glow through in its eye sockets. Pretty cool, huh?

This cast iron black cat door stop is an easy one to miss. And even though I cannot forget to include this inky kitty in my collection of Halloween decorations, I cannot for the life of me remember where I got it from.

Now all I hope is that by the time Halloween is over and done with, the apartment will be organized enough for me put away the Halloween decorations and get out the Christmas ones.

Raising Kane

About a week ago, when Ariana was driving around, she spotted a box at the side of the road, next to a stop sign.

The box moved.

And that could mean only one thing ~ that there was an animal inside the box. And sure enough there was.

Inside was a little pup, no more than 3 - 3 1/2 weeks old. He didn't even have any teeth yet.

Who could do such a thing ~ abandon a helpless animal like that?

Naturally, Ariana did what I and a lot of other people would have done; she rescued the pup, who, she and Joe named "Kane." And just like she did with Callee, after Jeremiah rescued her and her siblings after nearly mowing them down with a lawn mower, Ariana set about to bottle-feeding Kane and helping him go to the bathroom.

But Kane didn't quite want to take to the bottle.

A visit to the vet the next day proved the pup to be healthy. And because Kane would not easily take to the bottle, the vet suggested that we try him on some very soft puppy food.

That did the trick.

Soon Kane was lapping up the soft puppy food. And he was peeing and pooping up a storm ~ so much more so than Callee did when she was still a tiny baby kitten.

Kane has grown a bit since he was rescued last week.

And who could resist a face as cute as this?

Texas Rain & Rainbows

My first experience with Texas rain was on a Friday morning, on September 4th.

Neil was scheduled that morning for foot surgery. And before it was time to leave, the vaults of heaven had broken loose. In just the few feet it took to get from my apartment to the car, I was drenched ~ soaked right down to the bone. Water poured off my face in sheets as I tried to dry it in the car. And my sandals squished from saturation.

Because Lubbock does not have storm drains, the water at the intersections can get quite deep. And had I crossed the intersection on foot, the water would have been well above my ankles. I was afraid that my low-riding coupe was going to stall out while waiting for the light to change.

Not only was the water deep, its current was also swift. While standing at the intersection, I could feel my car rocking from the current. And I could hear the water lapping up against my car like waves against the side of a boat.

Welcome to rain, Texas style.

Along with rain, there are sometimes rainbows.

A rainbow is the sign of God's promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. It's also a sign of hope in difficult times.

We had our sign of hope in the form of a double rainbow.

Even when it rains, the sun can still be shining.

Outside The Fountains

We've seen what inside The Fountains looked like. Now let us take a look of what lies beyond its iron gates.

The Fountains is on Chicago Avenue.

Right across the street from The Fountains is The Dominion, an up-scale apartment complex. And doesn't it look nice and fancy?

Maybe after our 6-month lease is up, we'll be able to up-grade to The Dominion. The apartments there are much larger than those at The Fountains. And the apartments also have their own garages.

However, with those extras there is also a much larger price tag. For the space that we would we looking for, we would have to pay nearly twice the rent as that of The Fountains.

Just outside The Dominion is this HUGE Texas-size telephone pole. Things really are bigger in Texas! LOL

One of the things that becomes immediately obvious when you come to Lubbock is all the construction that is going on everywhere.

There are 6 sides to The Fountains, and 3 of those 6 sides have some sort of construction going on.

This is looking out from the front gate up Chicago Drive.

We have no idea what's being built there, but whatever it is, it's going to take up a lot of space.

Looking out from Chicago Drive.

More construction on Chicago Drive.

Heavy earth-moving equipment on Chicago Drive.

The Fountains is on the corner of 50th Street and Chicago Avenue. This section of 50th Street is torn up for a street widening project.

50th Street was a 4-lane road ~ which is rather small in Lubbock. It's being widened, I think, to accommodate 6 lanes.

This view is from the same corner of 50th and Chicago, but looking up in the opposite direction.

Looking across the intersection of 50th and Chicago.

Heavy equipment on 50th Street.

I am hoping that this steam roller is a sign that this road construction project would soon be wrapping up. But I am afraid that the end is still nowhere near in sight and that once this side of the road is finished that the other side will be blocked off and torn up.

Compared to other construction projects around Lubbock, especially the highway construction projects, the ones around The Fountains are rather small.

But one the one thing that I noticed that was different between the construction projects in Texas and the ones in Massachusetts is that it seems as though the ones in Texas are moving at a much greater pace than those in Massachusetts.