I Was A Matador Groupie

PC: Instagram @alan_hurtado

This title, sadly, evokes an impression that isn’t quite true, so I apologize for bringing you here dishonestly. I’ve never slept with a bullfighter. A long, long time ago though, I probably would have if I’d had even the slightest chance. In my twenties, when it came to the heart throbs of the bullring, I found myself the kind of shrilling, shrieking fangirl not found in any part of North America. Ole!

When I was in college, my dad moved to the border town of Laredo, Texas with his job in the oil field. Before the drug cartels ruined the mercados on the other side of the US-Mexico border, we would cross over and spend the day in what felt to me like another world. I bartered for trinkets from open air vendors who didn’t speak English, trying my own hand at the high school Spanish I rarely got to actually use. It was exhilarating when the storekeepers smiled and nodded at me in understanding.  I purchased cheap t-shirts and funny-smelling blankets as souvenirs for my friends and my dad and I drank real margaritas out of enormous plastic cups. By ‘real’ I mean alcoholic margaritas because, let’s be honest, there was no drinking age in a town starving for American dollars. I silently worried about the ice in my beverage because visitors to Mexico knew we weren’t supposed to drink the water. Read more

My City By the Bay

PC: Instagram @frankabbottphotography

Y’all!! It’s 4th of July weekend. There were absolutely perfect grand finale fireworks exploding over the bay behind Wahoos Stadium last Saturday night as Cat Country belted out the Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” for the whole town, songs we know by heart because we’ve heard them, literally, hundreds and hundreds of times growing up here. Our townsfolk serenaded each other up and down the coastline as they sprawled out on blankets laid on pelts of damp grass downtown in the historic district while their kids twirled sparklers in the air screaming, “Look, mama!” We drank ice cold canned drinks plucked from sloshy coolers doubling as benches and we grilled big fat hotdogs, sitting on the hallowed ground of five hundred years of European history as kids hit baseballs and men planned offshore fishing trips for next weekend. We ate truckloads of chilled watermelon. We drove our big lifted trucks to get down there, or maybe our convertibles, or our Jeeps, because the climate of this area just begs for you to ride around with the top down, the twang of a Luke Bryan country song blaring out your window, talking with your passenger about the excitement of the Blue Angels Show coming up the next weekend. We complain about the traffic…and the heat…my God the heat, but yes, we love it here. The pride we have in our military, the confident air of superiority we have in all things USA…well, it makes us walk a little straighter and push our shoulders back just a smidge. It’s gooood to be an American. Really good. I couldn’t be more patriotic right now in my red, white and blue hangover if I’d signed the Declaration of Independence myself.  We love our country. Read more

Ghost Dance

PC: Instagram @p_kas9

Old Native American legends tell us the story of the Ghost Dance. American History enthusiasts (like me!) know that it was the Ghost Dance that contributed to the closing of the American West, back when white settlers and the Army Cavalry who protected them felt intimidated and scared by the ritualistic stomping and chanting designed to channel spirits (Mother Earth, the wind, the rain, and others). It seems that being afraid of things and people we don’t understand remains a tale as old as time. Read more

10 Easy Rules for Vacationing With Family

Photo Credit: Dawn Quarles @dawnquarlesauthor.

As I write this post, my laptop’s internet signal strength brings to mind what it would be like to share a milkshake with nine other people sucking simultaneously through individual straws. And as I peck out my thoughts this morning, sipping fresh coffee with my own special creamer, the snow falls softly outside the Crested Butte ski resort condo where my party of ten continues to snooze. Inside the semi-separateness of the connecting three bedrooms and the loft where we have spread ourselves out to cohabitate for a week, for now all is peaceful. I enjoy these calm, gentle mornings alone because it’s the only time that feels like my real life. I am accustomed to having lots of quiet time to myself, and I am spoiled at home with endless personal, private amenities. But be assured, the peace and solitude I am enjoying now will completely vaporize once everyone wakes up. Sharing a home with lots of other people is an experience to behold, and I have learned a thing or two this week about how to get along with everyone I love, but don’t necessarily love to live with, with the least amount of inconvenience. Read more