Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mules 54 (or 53)-River Road 7

The Mules ventured   to Amarillo to play River Road Friday night.  Coming off the big win against Littlefield last week and expecting River Road to be a probable win could have spelled disaster for the Mules, who needed to win this one to be assured of the district title; instead they kept their heads in the game and won big, 54-7, and gave lots of back-up players the chance to see some action.

There was no play clock, the scoreboard decided to act up, the field was wet, therefore  the ball wet, and it was cold. Thank goodness there was no wind. The scoreboard acting up is probably why there is some disagreement over the score. When it finally was turned back on and ran for the remainder of the game, it showed 53 for the Mules. The Clovis News Journal said 54; the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal said 53. My calculator says 54. Considering River Road definitely had 7, I think it is safe to say the Mules won and go on.

The first quarter was all Muleshoe, 20-0. Interestingly enough, the second quarter saw River Road make their only score  of the night  on an overload play with a student body sweep. Whoa! Listen to me try to use all that technical football jargon! They took the Mules by surprise with that one, and tried a few other fancy plays, but we made adjustments and stopped them. So the second quarter the score was 20-7, Muleshoe.

The third quarter saw quarterback Beau Avila start things off on the Mules first possession and then he handed things over to Caleb Wood, who gained lots of good experience, playing the rest of the game. Several other players, some who had just been moved up from JV, also saw lots of good playing time during the second half.

The Mules went on to score 21 points the third quarter and 13 points the fourth quarter, only missed two PAT attempts, and had a good night overall. We had 581 total yards to River Road’s 222. It was Senior Night at River Road, not a pleasant game for the seniors, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Next week is the last district game against Childress here. The regular season is winding down and the playoffs will be gearing up. Come for the long-standing traditional turkey and dressing pre-game meal and hunker down for a good game.

Mule Mania is alive and well!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Good Pets Must Surely Go to Heaven

I helped my friend Sheila put to rest her two little dog companions, Scruffy and Buddy,  last Wednesday. We buried them beside the walking path around our pasture, a place they liked to visit and explore.  That  same pasture is also the final resting place of my black mare, Samba,  Caramel the dog, and Perla’s father, Daddy Cat. The pasture butts up against our yard where all the other animals that shared their lives with our family are tucked away. Like Pedro Jesus (We Buried Pedro Jesus Today, November 21, 2009), and Kitty (Three Funerals and the Fourth of July, July 5, 2011),  they are all buried somewhere in the yard that was their favorite place, too. Maybe it makes no difference to them, but it makes a difference to me,  and it helps in a small way to deal with losing them.

We have always buried our pets.  We have lost a few cats to cars on the roads, and I would never just leave their little bodies there to be mutilated again and again or to have to drive by and see the results. I always feel sorry for those animals who have no one to care enough about them to pick them up after an accident, or in the case of strays, that no one cared enough to give them a home in the first place and left them there to die.  When  one has to be put down at the vet’s office, we always bring them home.  After sharing 33 years with her, I could never have allowed the used cow dealer to haul off Samba’s body from the pasture. She deserved better.

But they are just animals, you say. On the contrary, like the Velveteen Rabbit, when they are loved, really loved, they become real, like a person.  When Samba and I would return from an all day ride and my mother would inquire about our day, she noticed that I would always tell her that we had a good time or an interesting day or whatever. It wasn’t just me; we were on an adventure as friends. I never thought about it any other way.

I have enjoyed dogs going with Samba and me on the horseback rides, cats helping me type all kinds of things on the computer, cats and dogs  helping me with the gardening, exercising, keeping me warm as we’re sleeping, watching TV, sitting on the patio watching the world go by, just being there. They are masters at unconditional love and were always  there for me.

When my animals die, I tell them good-bye in a letter, as I mentioned in the aforementioned blogs.  It gives me a chance to let them know one last time how important they were to me and how they enriched my life. I put the letter in a sealed plastic bag along with their picture  and bury it with them. Sheila wrote a letter to her boys, and she said it helped. This letter or journal writing also helps with the loss of a person, too. Of course, you should be telling those people every day how much they mean to you. But then, you already knew that. Now in a hundred years or a thousand years when some archeologist excavates this site, they will know that those little velveteen animals were special and were  loved.

So when I die, I have faith that I will be greeted not only by my God and  my human family members and friends,  but also my cats and dogs and horse will be there to help me do whatever it is I am assigned  to do in Heaven.

How could it be Heaven without my animals  there, too?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mules 49-Littlefield 42

For you Two-Percenters who failed to fill your reserved seats tonight, it is your loss. Tonight was quintessential football, a fight to the finish, a great game. A heck of a game! Littlefield came to play; the Mules were out to defend their 43-8 shellacking of the Wildcats last year. It was a game of traded touchdowns and big plays, but we probably made the biggest play late in the game when it was 3rd and 7 and Beau Avila kept the ball to make the first down and watched the clock tick off the last few seconds.

We win the toss and elect to kick off. Littlefield can’t move the ball and punts, which sounds like a good start for us, until two plays later we fumble on the 17 yard-line and Littlefield makes a quick TD. The score is 0-7. A nice pass to Saul Elizalde gets everyone fired up, but by this time we have lost Tony Molina and Adelaido Godinez to injury. Isaac Baca scores to make it 7-7. Littlefield goes on to take it to the goal line, the Mules hold them three times, but the Wildcats manage to take it in, so now it is 7-14. We bauble the ball on the kick-off, something we have trouble with all night, and the quarter ends.

Isaac Baca scores early in the second quarter, 14-14, and then after Littlefield has to punt, Elizalde runs it back for another touchdown, making the score 21-14. The ball goes to Littlefield, we get it back, and Isaac Baca scores, 28-14. But the Wildcats answer with a long 73 yard run and another TD, 28-21. With less than a minute and a half left, we finally get down to the 5 with 14 seconds left , then 9 seconds, and Ryan Deleon catches a short pass for another TD, 35-21. I haven’t mentioned every play in this series, but it was a heck of a series of plays.

It was also at this point that a group of  students led by Garrison Myers  decided to take back the “Gimme a Hoorah” yell, so for the rest of the game, we had a competition going between the kids and  Richard Hawkins and Cliff Black  to get a hoorah out of the fans. That was fun.

Darryl McCamish and the friends he brought with him from Cannon AFB, resplendent in their Mules sweatshirts and caps, had a particularly good time at this game, too,  reciting every yell  the cheerleaders led and then doing some improvising of their own in their nice deep, loud bass voices. They should come to all the games!

The third quarter starts with us receiving, but doing it badly and have to punt right off. Littlefield makes a long play on their first possession-we are missing Tony Molina on defense about now-and get down on the 7 yard line. The Mules make a good goal-line stand, but not enough, and the Wildcats pass for the TD, 35-28. We go downfield the hard way after yet another bad kick-off catch, then make a very costly fumble close to the end zone, which Littlefield recovers in the end zone and get the ball on the 20. They take it down for first and goal as the quarter ends with the score still 35-28.

Littlefield then takes it in for the TD the first play of the fourth quarter. We are off-sides for the extra point, and Littlefield decides to go for two, which they do, and it is now 35-36. We have trouble on the first three plays after we get the ball back and then Avila throws what I consider to be a Hail Mary pass which is caught by Deleon and we score, try for two and fail. The score is 41-36. Littlefield answers by going right down the field and scoring their own TD, go for two and they fail, so now the score is 41-42.  We drop the kick-off AGAIN  but recover. After his pass is knocked down, Avila carries the ball on the next play, makes it to the 50, and after more running plays, finally a pass to Deleon makes the TD and we go for two and the score is 49-42 with 4:39 left on the clock. Now things are getting really tense. Who will have the ball last? Littlefield moves the ball closer to the goal line and as if a prayer was answered, Deleon intercepts a pass to prevent a Littlefield TD with 2:26 left in the game. We do a little stalling, call some running plays but don’t seem to move the ball. And here is when that big play is made: 55 seconds on the clock;  it is 3rd and 7;  Avila carries the ball, makes  the first down, and we let the clock run down. Final score-Mules 49, Wildcats 42.

Wow! The crowd, which did fill in a bit by the end of the first quarter, is on their feet and few are leaving, giving the boys a well-deserved standing ovation. Littlefield played hard, but  Muleshoe did, too. It just seemed like the Mules would get themselves into a situation and then pull themselves out, doing what the situation called for on short notice. What a deal!

Next week is River Road there. I hope they have something left to pull out for that game! Get a good night’s sleep, boys. The season’s not over till it’s over.

Go Mules!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How ‘bout That Haboob!

According to Wikipedia, a haboob is an intense wind storm that occurs in Africa, India, Australia, the Middle East, America, heck, anywhere it is arid and sandy. Arid and sandy. Well, no wonder we had one yesterday. And it was a doozy.

S5008304The haboob as it rolls in behind Park View Nursing Home in Muleshoe, around 4:45 pm on October 17, 2011. Picture courtesy of Jack Rennels.

Bill was gone at the moment, so Colten was helping me move my cactus inside for the winter, and we were almost through when I looked up and here comes this huge  rolling wave of dirt. By the time I could get the camera we were enveloped in this brownish-red cloud of grit and reportedly 75 mph wind. The good news is that we were finished moving in the plants; the bad news is that since we were busy, we really didn’t get to witness the progress of this thing from the beginning but found ourselves smack in the middle of it.


The only plants we had not moved in were the five pachypodiums-Madagascar palms-behind the garage. We realized this as we watched from the back patio door when the wind blew over my tallest palm, after which I pushed Colten out the door to help me move the rest of them into the garage.

IMG_6090Note the tall plant close to the eaves of the house.

IMG_6091Note the tall plant after it came crashing down in the wind!

When we first came into the house and the storm was at its height, it was eerily dark and spooky inside. Sunlight was completely cut off by the blanket of sand between us and the sun. And the wind was still howling. The cloud of dirt and dust displayed a whole spectrum of browns, from beiges and dark browns to reds and almost black before blowing through enough to leave the whole sky just a smoggy, dirty yellow- brown.  The cold winds lingered, however, even after they had carried the dirt somewhere else to do its display of shock and awe.

We moved into this house in 1982, and I used to run a mile down the dirt road that borders the  north side of the house, the road itself running east and west.  I can remember one day on the return trip hearing a loud booming sound to the north and looking up to see a wall of dirt on its way toward me. Thank goodness I was almost to the corner and to the house, because by the time I could make it in the door, it hit. Coming from the land of live oak trees and loads of rain, I had never seen anything like it.  Now I have seen two.

And that’s enough!

A haboob hit Ransom Canyon, near Lubbock, Texas, on June 18, 2009.

Spearman, Texas, in a Dust Bowl haboob, April 14, 1935.


Learn more about haboobs at

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mules 62-Friona 21

Okay, so here’s the deal. I took copious notes last night, slept late this morning,  now need to help with a tiling project, and the blog is still not done. For those of you who might be faithful readers, I apologize for my lack of discipline and lateness with the story. So here is the condensed version:

The weather was quintessential football weather. Shirts and pompoms and the sunset  were pink for breast cancer awareness. Fans on both sides contributed $1600 to send to Luis Morales, a Vega football player who was paralyzed from a football injury in a game on September 29. The Mules dominated the game. Friona didn’t make a first down until into the second quarter. The Mules’ offense was smokin’ hot and the defense wasn’t shabby, either. The whole team had a good night.

Next week the Mules face Littlefield at home. Big game. See you there. Mule Mania is alive and well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Teenage Waste Land, I Mean, Room

I opened the Life section of the paper the other day to  this headline: “Cute, Creative; Decorators give advice for personalizing kids’ rooms.” Really? Like they are going to need any help making it their own?  Now, I will have to admit that the article was really aimed more at younger kids more  than teenagers, but it has been my experience that kids put their own distinctive marks on their rooms without any help from the adults, thank you very much. 


We moms and grandmothers envision this well-designed, immaculately clean, brightly painted, organized, neat and tidy Better Homes and Gardens fantasy, and what we get is an Escape From New York war zone. Well, that is, if the room in question is the abode of a 17 year-old boy. I realize there are some apprentice OCD children out there whose rooms are award-winning clean. Not at my house. And I’ll admit it, not in my room when I was a teenager, either. But I do remember having cleaning attacks hit me, usually around 11:45 pm on a school night,  and I would organize with a vengeance and then not want to rise and shine the next morning.

But I digress.


The 17 year-old in question has taken up residence in  his mother’s old room, and I really don’t remember how well she kept house when she lived in it, probably about like he does, and like his Uncle AJ did when he was that age, but it tends to be in a state of disruption more often than not. But when it is clean, like in the top picture, it is all his doing, not mine. And that’s a good thing.


Anyway,  back to the article. It  talks about  storage containers as “overlooked methods of combining function and style.” A nice wicker basket for dirty clothes stays stuffed to overflowing. Book shelves are apparently better for holding shoes than books and things. And conventional storage like a chest of drawers and closets? Those are places to store clothes not worn and things not used; clothes that are worn and things that are used stay out where they are conveniently at hand at all times. Towel racks are merely to decorate the wall, not for holding towels, for heaven’s sake. Bedside tables aren’t for silly things like clocks and lamps, but serve as repositories for numerous dishes, glasses, Dr Pepper cans,  and Honey Bun wrappers, which do eventually make their way to the kitchen and wastebasket.

But you know what? That 17 year-old is also responsible for the washing, drying, and ironing, if necessary, of those same clothes that lay in heaps and piles and draped over the chair and bed, and so far he has not gone off to school in dirty clothes, rumpled clothes, or no clothes, so while his organizational skills may need a little work, his attention to clothing and his sense of style are developing nicely, I must say.

He’s a good kid. I am confident that one day it will all come together for him, and then he will fuss at his own 17 year-old over the same messes, a stage of life  commonly known as  paying for your raising…


Price, Irie. “Cute, Creative,” Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, section B, page 1, September 25, 2011.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mules 41-Slaton 12

We were unable to make this game, but I know that the wind blew and  the Mules prevailed  and beat Slaton last night, 41-12. We listened to the game via Channel 6, so between that and the stats in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, I can tell you that Isaac Baca left the game early with an injury, we led 14-6 at the half, things picked up third quarter with the score 34-6, and the game ended after both teams scored once more, making the final score  41-12.

Beau Avila quarterbacked most of the game, but Caleb Wood saw some action as well. We had 14 first downs compared to their 11, which looks fairly close to me, but our 158 rushing yards compared to their 43, and our 263 vs. their 192 passing yards sounds like we were a stronger team. Both teams suffered three fumbles, but we recovered one more than they did, but we had more penalties, 7-50 to their 2-15, traditionally what happens when you are the visiting team, right?

Touchdown credit goes to Adelaido Godeniz, Saul Elizalde, Jr. Baca, and Beau Avila. Extra points were made by Saul Elizalde and Juan Guerrero. The entire team gets credit, however, for a good game and win.

Nest week we travel to Friona. Should be a good one. See you there.

Go Mules!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Cactus and Kerrville


I traveled to the Hill Country this past weekend to visit friends and attend the Texas Association of Cactus & Succulent Societies 2011 Fall Seminar. And to buy more cactus that I don’t need but want. That’s what a collection is all about, right, adding to it?

Before driving to Kerrville, I took a little side trip down Highway 71 toward Austin to see what I could find that I don’t have at Spicewood Spines Succulent Nursery  in Spicewood, and yes, I found several plants! Then I went on to Living Desert in Bee Cave and was delighted find even more plants to add to my collection.

I guess it has been about two years ago that I designed and landscaped the yard of friends Jimmy and Carol Hooks in Kerrville with cactus I had grown, and I was anxious to see how things were doing. Well, things were doing fine! Great, in fact. Jimmy had lost all the golden barrels to last year’s horrible winter weather, but had replanted and everything just looked wonderful. I stumbled out of the car and wandered around the yard in awe of how full and pretty everything looked.  The saguaro I had babied and loved that was about four feet tall when we planted it  did survive the winter, thanks to Jimmy’s dedication to covering and protecting it from the cold, and it had grown at least another foot, if not  more.




IMG_6016Notice the wire around the trees to keep the deer from stripping the bark and eating the leaves. Everything in Kerrville has to be planted with deer in mind.

IMG_6017The dry creek bed was Jimmy’s idea, and it adds interest to the yard. You can see it better in the picture below.


The seminar was all day Saturday with guest speakers, vendors, who-guess what?-had yet more plants I needed to add to my collection, and ended with an auction of donated plants to raise money to help with expenses of putting on next year’s seminar. Well, I had to support the cause, right? But I did limit myself to two specimens.

I enjoyed the speakers’ presentations and learned many new things. I am still a novice, really, so I always learn something worthwhile when I get to rub shoulders with the experts. Woody Minnich from Cedar Grove, New Mexico, shared his travels in the U.S. Western states, Mexico, and Peru. The trouble is, I won’t have any trouble locating his cactus nursery there in New Mexico, and I assure you I will have no trouble adding to my collection when I find it! Lonnie Childs who is active in the Hill Country area, talked about yuccas. Steven Lovecky from the Waco area showed us how to identify and differentiate between similar species. Jim Mauseth, who is a professor of integrative biology UT Austin, gave the most technical of the talks, complete with microscopic slides of cactus cell tissue and taught us how cacti and succulents collect and store water. While it was pretty scientific, it was also easy and interesting to  follow, and even though I understand cactus, I found it very informative and helpful. Richard Stamper from Houston is a fan of aloes and showed us some really neat hybrids and made me want them all.

And I’m sure by now most of you have dozed off, unless, of course, you appreciate cactus and succulents, so I will attempt to regain your attention by sharing with you a few more  pictures from one of the gardens that we toured on Sunday, pictures for which I made a special trip back to Kerrville on Monday with my camera, which I had left at the lake-a wonderful senior moment. The owner of this garden asked that his privacy be protected, so all you need to know is that it is located somewhere in Kerrville and made me jealous that he can grow these things outside in the ground, with a little protection from time to time, and I can’t.





IMG_5965The round ball in the left of the picture is an agave victoria-reginae.  I now have three small ones to add to my garden. And the yucca in the picture below, yucca australis, is very different to what I have now, so of course I had to have one. But it has a long way to go to look like this one.


And I will end with  the story of a plant I bought at Spicewood Spines. I picked it because it was ready to bloom, and I thought it was of the huernia variety, which have really stunning five-pointed star-shaped flowers with intricate designs in pretty colors. When I loaded up to come home, I put it in the back seat rather than the trunk with the rest of my treasures so it would have some light to encourage the flowers. Well, everything was just fine until I stopped at Sweetwater for a potty break. When I came back to the car, I opened the door to get in and this horrible, awful, dreadful smell hit me in the face. I couldn’t imagine what it was and decided I must have run over a pile of road kill and parts of it flipped up and were stuck on the underside of the car. Then I remembered I had a big yucca in the back that was too tall to put in the trunk and thought maybe something was in the dirt that smelled, so I opened the back door and the smell was even stronger. But it wasn’t the yucca; it was that plant with the buds on it. They had all opened, a lovely mass of maroon star-shaped flowers that smelled like a dead animal! I realized I had smelled something earlier in the trip, and I guess my nose had grown accustomed to it and I  forgot about it, until I re-entered the closed-up car.  So now I knew it was of the stapelia family, a relative of the huernia that I thought I was buying. And the common name for stapelias is carrion flower…


Now I am all inspired to redo my cactus garden, which needs a little updating and spiffing up  anyway. And  now I have a new yucca and  those round agave victorias for a new look. Of course, this will also call for a load of more rocks, which I import from a friend in Coleman.

Hmmm. I feel another road trip coming on.