Monday, September 27, 2010

Whatever Happened to Real Blue Jeans?

I read an article the other day about the great pains jeans manufacturers go to these days to wear out your pair of jeans before you ever put them on. Yeah, and then charge an arm and a leg for a tattered piece of cloth. What ever happened to letting them wear out on the wearer, to fade with dignity after many wearings?  According to this article* jeans are "washed, sandblasted, baked and treated" to speed up the aging of the material, and in the process fading the color, creating premature holes, fraying the seams, and in general overdoing the normal wear and tear of the jeans. Of course, I don't have to tell you this; it becomes obvious when you shop for jeans.

It used to be easy to buy jeans. I used to love walking into Blase's Dry Goods store in downtown Rosenberg and the smell of fresh indigo dye would greet me, a wonderful, familiar smell. Jeans would be folded and stacked on very basic tables made of heavy-duty plywood with legs made of 4x4s. All the jeans were right there. Not separate stacks or departments separating men's from women's; no interminable styles and types, just Levi's organized by waist and inseam length. Buy a pair an inch bigger in the waist and two inches longer in the inseam than you would actually need, take 'em home, wash in hot water, and bingo! They would shrink to fit just right. And they would be a lovely shade of dark blue. With none of that nasty spandex stuff in the fabric, either.

Between general wear and tear and riding the horse, my jeans faded gradually and naturally. After time, they also had some frayed hems, worn pocket seams, and the inseams finally wore threadbare from rubbing on the saddle, and they would turn a lovely paler blue. But no huge, obvious holes. Mother would grumble when I would beg her to overcast the inseams with a zigzag stitch so I could get one or two more wearings out of them. She would have rather bought another pair and started over; I would rather have my custom-distressed comfortable pair to wear again.

I hate jeans shopping now. They are all already faded, have zippers instead of metal buttons, are worn out in all the wrong places, and cost way too much. And now so many brands have that tacky spandex  that doesn't give and allow the jeans to loosen up a bit and feel like they are yours. Then there are the endless style decisions: pre-shrunk, relaxed fit, original fit, boot fit, straight leg, flared leg, low waist, high waist, and I am sure other considerations I have forgotten about. The comic strip "Cathy" even made the same complaint in last week's paper. Besides being artifically faded, they often look yellow besides. And none of them smell like new jeans.

I think it is the smell of fresh denim that I miss the most. And the dark blue color that fades on its own as I have the pleasure of wearing them out myself and having fun while doing it. Too bad today's kids won't get to have that experience.                   

*Magsaysay, Melissa. "Denim on denim catching on," Clovis News Journal, August 28, 2010, page 8.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Muleshoe Pulls Out Another One

Roosevelt came to town tonight prepared to do battle, armed with a head coach and three assistant coaches who previously worked under David Wood at Muleshoe. Both teams were 3-0 in non-district play. Both teams ran the spread offense. Both teams really wanted to win. We were the team who did; 31-7.

The game started with quarterback Cooper Washington on the sidelines, not suited out due to a shoulder injury, we were told. The Mules were not at their best during the first quarter and finally managed to score with 6 seconds left in the first quarter, but missed the point after. But then early in the second quarter Roosevelt scores, and it is 6-7. Later we make a nice interception and score, only to have it called back, and at the half the score is still 6-7.

Cooper Washington comes back after the half suited up and ready to play. The team seems to rally around him and things pick up. We score but Cooper drops the ball on the two-point conversion attempt and the score is 12-7. We then recover an onside kick and after lots of work, still manage to turn over the ball when Cooper is sacked.  Later we get the ball again and make a great touchdown run, only to have it called back, but we finally score, so now it is 19-7. Later we fumble and they recover the ball at the two yard line, and in what I think was the best series in the whole game, we put on a spectacular goal-line stand and in four plays keep them from scoring and get the ball back.

The 4th quarter starts with the score still 19-7. Several plays into the quarter Roosevelt fumbles, we recover and run it in for a touch down, miss the point after again, and the score is now 25-7. After the ball changes hands a few more times. with 1:33 left in the game Beau Avila comes back in as quarterback, we score again, but miss the extra point again, and after an extremely long last 30 seconds of the game, we win, 31-7.

The score doesn't indicate it, but this was not one of the Mules' smoother games. Mistakes, penalties, and the tension of knowing that the other team was coached pretty much like they were, seemed to throw the Mules off their rhythm. But the final score is what will be remembered, and that's okay.

I sat there in the new chairback seats with the improved leg room, admiring how nice the new field looked with its bright green turf contrasting with the crisp black and white of the mule and yard line numbers and hash marks on the field, and was quite comfortable until some overly zealous fan decided to start stomping the stands to make noise and it caught on. Now I know it is a football game and crowd noise and participation is encouraged, but my generation-gap age reared its ugly head, and I really wished the precedent had not been started. Now we will have to endure the racket at every game! If that is the only drawback to the new metal stands, I guess I will have to deal with it.

Next week we travel to Bushland for the second district game. Stay tuned. I wonder if they have metal stands...

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Defense of Little Movies

Those of you who already enjoy HBO and Showtime will not be particularly impressed with my latest discovery- lesser known movies are just as entertaining as the big guns. We got fed up with cable a while back and signed up with Dish, which is not always perfect, but better. The special when we signed up was three months of free HBO and Showtime, which we did not subscribe to on cable, and when the trial period was over, we decided to keep it, which, of course, was what Dish had in mind all along.

But anyway, now I have myriad movies at my disposal. And what I have discovered are movies that never made the big time, but are quite capable of keeping me entertained just the same. I made the mistake of watching during the heat of the day this summer, and now I am hooked. The thing is,  HBO and Showtime and their kind give me thing chance to watch movies that I would most likely not choose to pay box office prices for, but which turn out to be a pleasant enough way to pass a couple of hours.

Well, duh, you are thinking, where has this person been all these years? Not watching that much cable TV, it turns out. I love movies, but at this stage of our lives, I find we go less and less to the movies and do other things instead. But now with Dish, when the weather keeps me in or the big networks offer nothing but reruns or stupid reality shows, I have started watching movies. Not the blockbusters that have name recognition and many times don't live up to their hype,  but little movies that someone wanted to make anyway. And I have been pleasantly surprised.

Some of them, like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," were sleepers and did quite well at the box office anyway. That one we did see at the theater, but I enjoyed it again on TV. But then there was "My Life in Ruins," which I had not heard of, which was set in Greece, with the same star, Nia Vardalos,  and I found it to be just as entertaining and fun as the Wedding movie.

I just watched "500 Days of Summer,"  which the critics liked, but the movie faded away. It was different, like on a split screen the expectation of the main character would be shown on one side and the reality of the situation on the other side, and much like real life, reality seldom matches the expectation.

Then there was "Saving Silverman," a totally throw-away Jack Black movie that made me laugh just the same. The main characters were all huge Neil Diamond fans and they used that in their quest to save their friend from marrying the wrong girl. I also watched Jack Black's "School of Rock" and enjoyed his relationship with the kids at the school where he pretended to be the substitute teacher and actually taught the kids something.

"Larger Than Life" was about Bill Murray inheriting an elephant from his father and what he wound up doing with the elephant. He and the elephant travel cross-country in totally unrealistic fashion, but it was fun and the movie ended nicely.

Then there was "17 Again," which I have watched more than once. I like Matthew Perry and I'll admit it, that Zack Efron is a cutie. This movie was of course, totally unrealistic-getting to go back and relive high school again- but haven't we all wished, on a down day that we could have another crack at it? I laughed out loud when the teenage Mike discovered that he had flat abs again without even trying and that he didn't know why but he was hungry all the time. Mothers of teenage boys know about that-just try to keep one fed.

The last movie I watched was "Cherie," which came out in 2009, but I had never heard of it. This one ends sadly but it was beautiful to watch and interesting because it was taken from a novel by Colette and  set in pre-World War I France during what was known as the Belle Epoque period and centered around the life of a rich and beautiful courtesan who takes on another courtesan's son to teach him about love and women. They dressed a really slender Michelle Pfeiffer in these perfectly gorgeous gowns and elaborately beautiful hats and they all lived in the lap of luxury-she has a maid that does every little thing for her-so it was a peek into a world few of us would ever experience.  

Not every movie I have watched or will watch will be entertaining and fun, of course. There are plenty of bummers out there, like "Four Christmases" that I watched the other day. For my taste, it was full of unpleasant characters, including stars Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, and the story was mean-spirited and not funny. But I didn't have to pay box office price for it, either.

Now I check the program guide first to see what I might watch while doing things at my desk, where I have the TV and computer side by side, like writing this blog or working on scrapbooks or whatever. The trouble is, though, I used to get lots of things done during the ads on regular TV as well as  follow the show while working on something else. Now I find myself sitting in front of the TV, hands resting quitely on the keyboard, completely involved in the movie, and multi-tasking not one iota.

But multi-tasking has lost favor as of late, the experts saying that when multi-tasking, one of the tasks suffers in quailty. So to finish this post, I actually turned off the TV.

And now that I am through, I think I'll check the program guide...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Road Trip to the Mustang Bowl

Road trips take a while, you know, so when we rolled into the drive-way at 12:55 a.m. last night, or early this morning, I should say, I decided the blog could wait until this morning. And then I had an early errand that had to be run, so I am just now sitting down to tell you that the Mules beat Andrews 49-19 in Andrews last night.

The evening started off nicely as we had the road to ourselves since we left Muleshoe early so we could eat steak fingers at Buddy's Drive-In, a little joint known for their heaping plates of really crispy chicken-fried steak fingers. Not surprisingly, other Muleshoe fans had left earlier than we had because the place was already full of black and white T-shirts when we arrived.

But on to the game. Andrews surprised the Mules with an on-side kick and got the ball, but only managed a field goal out of the possession. On our first possession we threw an interception which they managed to turn into another field goal, but our defense did keep them from the touchdown. It was six minutes into the game before we even made a first down, which was a little scary. The first quarter ends with us behind by six points.

We lose five yard for delay of game and then they give it back to us when they lose five for being offside. Then we trade interceptions but finally mange to score, and it is now  Mules 7- Andrews 6. But then they take a long pass and run it in for a touchdown; Mules 7-Andrews 13. Just to make sure the officials get their exercise we go back down the field and score our own touchdown; Mules 14-Andrews 13. We hold them from scoring again, but  quarterback Cooper Washington throws a long pass that is intercepted again. But we get the ball back and Ryan DeLeon scores on a strange pass right before the half; Mules 20-Andrews 13.

We made another touchdown early in the third quarter, and then another; 35-13. Beau Avila quarterbacks for a while.

When we punt early in the fourth quarter, we realize that it is our first punt of the night and the Mules have a momentary lapse and let the Mustangs slip one in our us, but we stop their two-point conversion attempt, so now the score is 35-19. Isaac Baca runs in another touchdown, 42-19. The ball changes hands a few more times, we score again, 49-19, and after the Mustangs miss a touchdown with an incomplete pass, we take possession with 1:49 left and basically let the clock run out.

An interesting side-note: a scout from Texas A&M University sat and visited with us during the game. He was there to check out Cooper Washington, not knowing that Cooper has pretty much made up his mind to play for Oklahoma, but he was also impressed with others on the team. And why not? The Mules are a talented bunch.

Next week the Mules have an open date, but September 24th district play begins against Lubbock Roosevelt in Muleshoe. Should be a good game. And no two-hour road trip needed to enjoy this one.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rotary Team Roping

As they have for the past eighteen years to raise money for their various service projects, the Muleshoe Rotary Club staged a three-day team roping event over the Labor Day weekend at the Dusty Rhodes arena next door to the Muleshoe Livestock Auction on Highway 84. I would have known it was well-attended even if I hadn't talked to any Rotarians about it because the dust and haze stirred up in the arena is easily seen from our back yard, and we can hear Sherri Harrison as she announces on the loud speaker which team is up next. Thurman Myers, who is the producer and helps with the roping, said they had 1,062 teams to participate in four ropings and paid out $60,000 in cash and prizes. The Rotary Club netted between $12,000-$13,000 to use for scholarships and donations to service organizations here in Muleshoe.

Team roping, for those who might not know, is a sport that developed from cowboys needing a way to immobilized  a cow or steer for medical treatment or  branding, whatever. The cowboy who ropes the head is called, of course, the header; the one who ropes a hind foot is called the heeler. The cow is then held between the two taut ropes while someone else tends to its needs, after which it is released. Naturally, bragging rights over the best roper had to crop up, and team roping as a sport was born and has become very popular all over the United States. They even have their own organization, the United States Team Roping Association, which even brings cowboys from Hawaii over to compete in the big shows.

Now team roping may sound pretty simple: rope the head, rope the foot, stop the clock. Not that easy. Ropers are rated on their skill which plays a part in who they rope with and which roping they enter and even more that I am not privy to since I am not a team roper, and rather than botch the explanation, I choose to let you find out on your own if you are interested. But  I am not the only one who has a hard time with all the ends and outs of it. Way back there when Rotary had just started this weekend roping marathon and my husband Bill was a member, he and then superintendent of schools Bill Moore had been put in charge of organizing the teams and they had not a clue what to do with all the information crammed on those little pieces of paper they had been put in charge of.  Mandy Myers, niece of Thurman, happened by and they asked her what it was all about. When she said, "Oh, that's easy. You do this and this, blah, blah, blah,"  an exasperated Mr. Moore told her that if she expected to graduate from high school in Muleshoe, she would stay there and do that job for them. He didn't mean it, of course, but she did stay there and do that job and  they headed down to the strip chute where the ropes are taken off the steers and given back to the cowboys...and it all worked out just fine after that.

I have the winners of this year's saddles, which were made by Jerry Beagley from Oklahoma. The number listed by their win signifies their skill levels, which is akin to a golfer's handicap, and other than that, I am not going to try to explain it! The better ropers have the higher numbers.

              No. 14 Roping- Clay Lewis, Clovis, NM and Chris Francis, Las Vegas, NM
              No. 12 Roping- Stanley Dixon, Portales, NM and Ryan Brewer, Canyon, Texas
              No. 11 Roping- Tripp Townsend, Earth, Texas and Ronnie Gonzales, Sudan, Texas
              No. 5 & Under Roping-  Kelly Shea Spear, Lovington, NM and Patrick Bellis, town unknown

Over the years the kinks have been worked out, computers have helped, and things run much more smoothly. And the number of ropers has grown. Some years they are still roping at 3 in the morning to get everyone their turns. The Muleshoe Rotary roping has become quite a big deal and has allowed the club to give many scholarships and make many donations to worthy causes. So next Labor Day if you are looking for free entertainment, go check out the team roping. It's not cheap for the ropers, but it's free to you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Christening of the New and Improved Benny Douglas Stadium

Tonight the Mules played for the first time on their newly refurbished field, the artifical turf glistening in the lights, the anticipation palpable as the Mules burst onto the field and a raft of balloons were released. The cheerleaders were decked out in nifty new white uniforms; the band too, but theirs were black. Muleshoe's new twirler was resplendent in her silver sequins. The Anzalduas were watching the game from the comfort of the old press box they had moved to their back yard after they bought from the school when it had to be  moved to make way for the new one.

And all was right with the world as the game started as Muleshoe scored in three quick plays and a 52 yard pass from Cooper Washington to Isaac Baca. Then Eric Orozco scored a second touchdown on a 20 yard pass from Washington. All this by 8:24 in the first quarter. Then Beau Avila passed to Juan Sanchez and boom, the score was 21-0, three touchdowns in three possessions. Ryan DeLeon scored the 4th TD in the first quarter on a pass from Cooper Washington-four possessions, four touch downs. Portales fumbled the ensuing kickoff. the Rams didn't make a first down or cross mid-field the whole first quarter. At the end of the first quarter the score was 28-0.

In the second quarter Juan Sanchez runs 54 yards for the next touchdown. Then suddenly Portales has a  burst of momentum 3 minutes into the quarter and made two first downs but couldn't manage to hold onto it long enough to score from the 16 yard line. With 23.7 left in the first half Cooper passes to Eric Orozco again for a great 60 yard score, and it is now 42-0.

In the third quarter Beau Avila threw to Ray Martinez to up the score 49-0. In the fourth quarter Portales scores on a controversial completion and the two point conversion was almost intercepted by the Mules, but the Rams finally put something on the scoreboard, 49-8.

The fourth quarter saw more of the same Mule dominance, no constant mistakes like last week. And then Junior Baca makes several hard runs and suddenly two Rams are laid out on the field. With 3:39 left on the clock, which for most of the quarter has been running with wild abandon, time stands still for the parents of these two players as they are checked over. Finally one gets up, but the other has to be taken out by EMS. Both teams gather in the middle of the field for a prayer and then in rather lackluster fashion prepare to continue play. The Mules run a few more plays before the refs decide to just call it a day and the game is over. Score: 49-8, Mules. One more notch on the jock strap.

The night was cool and clear, the field crisp and clean, appropriately christened with a victory. Next week the winner of a victory will be decided in Andrews. Get ready for a road trip.