If I Could Just Bottle It


Today is a day I always liked as a kid but have learned to love as an adult.  I never got to trick-or-treat because living in an apartment is a little different when neighbors move more often and you do not know people as well.  Plus I grew up in the ’70’s and there were all these scares on the news about razor blades in apples.  I do have fond memories of my folks taking me to a rec center for a Halloween carnival each year, though.  You could play games to win treats and they had a haunted house.  It was fun but nothing like the rare magic of seeing everyone out strolling the neighborhood at night all dressed up and scoring free candy.  People invite you into their homes sometimes and it’s fun to see how someone else decorates or what the inside of their house looks like.  I think it’s even better than Christmas caroling.  Ironically, people aren’t suspicious of the Grim Reaper knocking at their door and, I’m not gonna lie, I love scaring the SPIT out of kids with our doormat that makes different terrifying sounds.  In so many ways I feel my life has just begun and I cherish relishing in the new joys and discoveries it has in store.  The American poet Emily Dickinson once said, “Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”  Ecstasy tonight looked like a 46 year old woman with long, dark blue hair sipping from her newly discovered wine, “Once Upon a Vine:  The Big Bad Red Blend” while watching her handsome husband dressed as a ship’s captain escort his Little Mermaid princess around to collect treats.  Oh, if I could just bottle it.




Every member of our furry family has a story.  When we lost our beloved cat Sweetie we vowed we were not getting another because we already have a zoo.  Months of sadness and empty loneliness went by.  Then I came across a Facebook friend’s post showing a picture of this “Blue Point Siamese” and other animals living in unspeakable conditions.  God bless animal rescuers who selflessly help defenseless cats, dogs, and wildlife.  Hesitantly, I showed my husband the picture and asked if we could just see him.  I think you can guess how this story progresses.  So now my husband and little girl are getting to witness the joys of a Siamese cat for the first time.  I TOLD them they were incredibly smart and very chatty.  He hasn’t stopped meowing or purring since we’ve gotten him and he has already escaped the confines of the bathroom, surviving next to our huge wolfies.  Dakota’s head alone is at least five times the size of this little kitten’s body.  They have also learned first hand the meaning of the term “high as a cat’s back.”  The little guy is fearless but still never hisses.  He is a mix of strong and sweet; a perfect fit for our family.  We all are in love; his name is Blue.


In Vino Veritas


This is a shot of my little wine cabinet.  I do not require more as my husband prefers beer.  I saw these tiny catnip toys the other day and could not resist them.  There is my favorite, a “Cat-bernet,” then there is a “Cat-vignon” and finally a “Muscat.”  I have seen some doggie “wine bottles” but never anything for cats, who frankly seem more suited for it than their canine brethren.  The American wine maker Joe Bastianich said:

“You can enjoy a $15 bottle of wine as much as you can enjoy a $100 bottle of wine.”

I absolutely agree.  Because I find the youngest French red wine vastly superior to anything Californian, I have some French bottles I have saved.  I have realized looking at this picture just what this says about me.  First, the travel bottle of Bordeaux Supérieur I think is from our last trip to Paris.  To the left the wolf shamelessly peeking out is actually Prairie Wolf Vodka, which I clearly bought for the name and logo.  Stella Maris has great personal meaning to me, as I have explained in previous posts, it is from the Latin “Star of the Sea” and part of my child’s name.  Then there is the Saint Francis Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma I keep because of my affinity for St. Francis.  It is a good wine; I just prefer French as their grapes are centuries more developed and without the harmful pesticides unfortunately prevalent thoughout the U.S.  Clearly I must be an easy target for marketing; I lost my mind over my latest discovery of this “Once Upon a Vine:  The Big Bad Red Blend” I just found because the depiction of the wolf caught my eye.  Perhaps the old saying is true even before one opens the bottle:  in vino veritas.




It seems as if the word “candid” is used as a negative a lot.  However, I would consider myself to be a candid person.  The word itself is defined as frank; outspoken; open and sincere; free from reservation, disguise or subterfuge; straightforward.  My handsome husband and I were attending a family dinner and when I glanced over I noticed Burk’s Aunt was trying to get a picture of us.  It got me thinking about how much of our lives are really candid.  In an age of posed selfies, I vastly prefer life’s moments caught unaware.  We were at the Petroleum Club attending a Murchison family rehearsal dinner and it was lovely.  It was packed and this picture was taken from a distance.  Rarely do we have pictures of us together and I am really glad she took this and sent it to me.  The American writer Connor Franta said:

“It always surprises me how much my followers appreciate how candid my photos are – they may not have a particularly unique subject, but it’s more about the light you shed on the subject than the subject itself.”

I love this quote.  Looking at this candid picture of us I would like to think it says we are a happy couple that loves each other and looks out for one another.  Vainly, I would like to think it says, “Hey, they’re a great looking couple.”  Whatever the light that was shed on us here I am happy to have the memory … candid.


The Pegasus


As my husband and I were driving through downtown I snapped this picture of one of my favorite mythological symbols; the Pegasus.  He is a winged divine stallion and has been a Dallas icon since it was installed on the roof of the Magnolia Building in 1934.  The 29 story building was the city’s first skyscraper as well as the tallest building in Texas and west of the Mississippi.  It was even taller than any building in Europe.  Immediately it became a Dallas landmark, soaring majestically 450 feet and could be seen in those days 75 miles away on a clear night.  Pilots claimed catching sight of it as far away as Waco.  The Pegasus is actually two identical horses spaced fourteen feet apart and each horse measures 40 feet in length.  A quarter of a mile of red neon tubing lights the details on both sides and the flying red horses were installed to revolve on top of a 50 foot metal tower made to resemble an oil derrick.  When referring to having two horses back to back, Harold Wineburgh, the owner of the Texlite sign company who created the icon quipped, “Dallas doesn’t want to be known as a one horse town.”  A three horsepower motor turned the fifteen ton structure one revolution every 40 seconds.  In 1973 the City of Dallas gave the Pegasus the status of “Landmark Sign” and in 1976 it became the property of the City of Dallas.  It is now part of the City of Dallas Public Art collection.  In 1999 it became impossible to restore the old sign.  Over the years it had become rusted and would not survive being remounted.  So a new sign was built at a cost of $600,000 and the symbolic icon was installed just in time to usher in the new millennium.  A special thanks to June Mattingly, the daughter of the creator of our city’s icon, who provided the facts and stats I have included here.  Assyria had her famous winged bulls, Venice has the winged lion, but Dallas has her beloved winged stallion — the Pegasus.




We were at the doctor’s for my little one’s annual wellness visit.  Thankfully, the plethora of vaccines were over and it was more of a check up.  I found myself thinking how ironic it was she was proud she’d gotten bigger all while I am striving to be smaller.  Not that I would ever tell her that.  I want her to have a positive body image and I suspect she is going to have my build.  I am proud of that and would not want to change it for the world.  Instead of taking off a onesie down to a diaper she was given a modesty “gown” which opened in the back.  It sort of freaked me out realizing how fast we had already reached this point.  She has always asked to see books, but I have read them aloud to her.  This time she asked if she could try to read.  I was shocked when she laboriously but triumphantly made it through an entire page!  I could not believe it.  I LIVE to read and I knew this marked the beginning of a whole new world for her for the rest of her life.  The American actress Helen Hayes said:

“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other.  But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.”

I think my little one is beginning to grow wings.


Blue Wolf


So much to say about two little words.  Blue is my favorite color and, at the risk of sounding like a hippie, the wolf is my spirit animal.  Combine them and I am in heaven.  Growing up I did not have a lot of clothes and I am SO GRATEFUL for that now!  You know why?  Because they just don’t matter to me.  It is very freeing.  I generally tend to wear the same thing all the time and do not care.  Maybe some will judge me for it but I am happy and comfortable in my blue and that is all that matters.  When I think of Christmas my mind goes to blue and silver.  I pretty much wear those colors year round.  And yes, I see the irony, although I did not know it when I met my husband.  He is the eldest grandchild of the man who started the Dallas Cowboys.  I believe it was fate.  Wolves … where to start?  They are family oriented, apex predators, and a keystone species; witness Yellowstone.  They mate for life and it is unfortunate they have been vilified for centuries as they are really kind, gentle, and loving creatures.  I should know; I live with two.  They are 75% Canadian Timberwolf and 25% Siberian Husky.  They are family.  Any truly wild animal belongs in the wild.  My smart, kind husband is the one who made me realize our wildlife MUST have land left in which to roam — for the sake of us all.  I found this pictured above as a paid advertisement on Facebook and knew I had to have it!  How much better could it get?!  He now proudly presides over my office as I write.  The first Indian Minister of Law and Justice B. R. Ambedkar said this:

“Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives.  Man’s life is independent.  He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self.”

I will never lose my identity because I have never blended in.  I want that same independent spirit of the wolf my father had, I have, and my husband has to carry over into our daughter.  I am and always will be a blue wolf.




My father was a painter, and he painted a lot of houses in a town called Highland Park.  It is for the extremely wealthy and he was so good at his job that is where he got most of his business.  I often rode with my father in the summer and we drove a lot down a street called Mockingbird that ran right in front of the Southern Methodist University campus.  In the early seventies there were not a lot of Mexicans so people assumed daddy was Hispanic.  Being half Choctaw, his skin was a very dark red.  We could not afford a nice car but it was used for work anyway.  Invariably, we would get pulled over.  Was it racial or economic?  I believe it was a bit of both.  My father always complied with the police but as I grew older I started to understand why he was targeted.  He had wanted to go to SMU but he only lacked six hours from having a double masters in history and economics.  SMU became my dream in the fourth grade when I sang in Caruth Auditorium as part of the Dallas Girls’ Chorus.  Despite my grades in high school the guidance counselor never met with me to discuss colleges.  My father encouraged me to start with Richland Community College while I worked.  During my time at Lord & Taylor a woman who came in a lot would often tell me I should apply to SMU on an academic scholarship transfer.  She was a stranger but for some reason she believed in me and would always ask if I was going to do it.  I am proud to say my father lived to see me graduate from SMU.  My Daddy used to say the one thing that can never be taken away is an education.  So I carry that with me and I want my little one to carry it with her as well.  You can see by this photo I’ve tried to indoctrinate her early!  This was her first Homecoming.  The American Evangelist Billy Graham said:

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

Yes I am an alumni and my daughter will be a “legacy” at SMU.  But it is my father who left us the real legacy.


Star Of The Sea


I always love a good theme.  Our little one’s name means “of the sea” in Latin, and this year she is going to be Ariel for Halloween.  The Little Mermaid was her birthday theme as well.  I am not particularly girly, but this is absolutely the prettiest costume I have ever seen!  The sparkling silver shells, the sand dollar on her belt, the “fish” netting and pearls were all so cleverly done for a child’s costume.  It even had gills on the bodice.  So I was thrilled when we got a chance to go to a Halloween event and she could wear her beautiful costume more than once.  The matching hula hoop in this picture was purely coincidental.  Watching her standing on top of the bouncy house castle I thought she could not have looked any more like a princess.  We had the best time and Burk and I were the only adults who dressed up.  You know what?  Life is short.  I have discovered as an adult that I love Halloween.  I wore a long blue wig with a rope net sweater and a “seaweed” boa.  I have discovered part of my inner child I missed out on when I was little and it is such a joy getting to experience it now.  Burk was the handsome commanding naval officer and he completed his ensemble with the white captain’s hat he got when we took a dinner cruise in New Orleans.  It was just a very happy time.  They had a make your own frito pie station my husband lost his mind over and there were gluten free things for our little one as well as vegetarian options for me.  And we still have Halloween to look forward to!  The Italian Dominican friar Saint Thomas Aquinas once wrote:

“As mariners are guided into port by the shining of a star, so Christians are guided to heaven by Mary.”

My precious child’s name honors the Ever Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, known for centuries as Stella Maris; the star of the sea.  And it is she who lit the way with a promise; a promise which graced me with my own precious star of the sea.


My Little Mermaid


It turns out this mermaid snuggle blanket I got for my little one’s birthday was just the thing.  She’d caught the first “bug” of the school year but at least it was after her party.  She was cold and did not want anything to eat.  I came in and found her like this, thinking to myself she looked so beautiful.  A true mermaid, her reddish curls were fanned out behind her.  Eyes as deep and dark as the ocean peeped back at me fighting back sleep.  “Rest little one” I said as I sat next to her and stroked her forehead which was beginning to show beads of sweat.  I knew a fever was coming.  There is no more helpless feeling in the world than to see your child sick.  I realize parents deal with it every day but it is still gut wrenching.  She didn’t want to color and she didn’t even want her iPad.  I held her hot little hand and we said a prayer that she would get well soon.  The American lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The first wealth is health.”  I absolutely believe that to be true.  I am going to be grateful to God for my family’s health as I wait for the strong resurfacing of my little mermaid.