Rodeo Weekend in Homestead…….


Calf Roping Is Always A Rodeo Favorite

Calf Roping Is Always A Rodeo Favorite

There is a line in the movie, “Electric Cowboy” where Allie, the reporter character played by Jane Fonda, is trying to build credibility with Sonny, the rodeo star character played by Robert Redford. In hoping to win him over so she can get the headline-making story she is pursuing, she blurts out that of course she’s been to a rodeo. When he asks if she, “Stayed all the way until the rattle snake round-up?”, she blithely answers that she did. Now, while I have in fact been to both a rodeo and to a rattle snake round-up, they are indeed separate events. And Florida is not the place you usually associate with rodeos. Homestead and South Dade however has a thriving horse community and in 1949, the Elks Lodge decided to hold the “Country’s Southernmost Rodeo”. While the organization of it later passed to the Homestead Rodeo Association, except for one or two years, it has been a continuing annual event the last weekend of January. All the details can be found at and in some years there are extra events that fill days before the rodeo. It is a fully sanctioned rodeo and brings competitors from around the country.

A separate, but integral organization to the association is the Homestead Everglades Posse that was established in 1951. The non-profit organization promotes better sportsmanship, horsemanship and the fun  as well as skill of riding. All riders in the Posse, whether youth or adult, are amateurs, riding and training their own horse. The Posse has ridden in the Homestead Rodeo every year since 1952 and they perform synchronized drill patterns on horseback.

The rodeo is a great family outing and brings to mind the “county fair” feel with activities in and around the arena at Harris Field. And no, even though the rodeo will continue into the future, I don’t think there will ever be plans to establish a rattlesnake round-up.

Sometimes You Do Need a God Cry……

Serious Content Alert. Actually, this is more like a “have a box of tissues handy” alert. If you have ever seen the movie, “We Are Marshall”, you can guess what might be coming. There are times when you are struggling with an intense emotional loss, whether that is for a person, a beloved pet, a change in your life, that you do need to just sit down and cry – I mean bawling, sloppy, don’t want anyone to see you cry. It is often cathartic, and tiring, perhaps to the point of exhaustion, but it can also be a release of unarticulated emotion that is best drained from you. The reason that I say to watch this movie for effect is that it deals superbly with the range of grief that people experience and with the conflict of trying to move on without seeming to forget. Finding that balance after a profound loss is difficult and can wear on you at a subconscious level.

“We Are Marshall” is about the tragic airplane crash in November 1970 where 75 people were lost. Among the losses were nearly the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, numerous fans, and supporters. There were opposing views as to whether or not the football team could be rebuilt and if the university should do so. I don’t have any idea of how accurate the movie is as to how individuals reacted, but what I do know is the half dozen or so means of coping with the tragedy that they showed is accurate. It is a movie that speaks to the pain, to the struggle of what to do with the pain, and how to get past it. I have posted before about how grief for loss certainly has common elements, yet it is also individualized. The timeline in which life can return to “normal” is highly variable as is the very definition of “normal”. When you have suffered whatever the trauma is, you will be dealing with a “new normal”, a new part of your life, perhaps dramatically so. And sometimes in coming to grips with that, a good cry will help.


In Celebration of Football….

I think I have things about as under control as they can be for this trip. How much connectivity I will have while gone remains to be seen. For hubby, today has been one of his rare “down” days because instead of working on his project list, I urged him to take today for celebrating the return of NFL Sunday Football. Yes, he has enjoyed preseason in the sense of it was football, but that isn’t quite the same. Today, it was football talk from 11:00 a.m. through to the first game, followed by the second game, followed by the Sunday Night Football game. No, we don’t have whatever that is that shows every single game, but he has enough choice with the various channels that we get.

The only mar to the day is that the Saints were playing the Falcons as they do twice each season. That’s the time when one of us has to be disappointed, but that really can’t be helped. It would just be nice if it wasn’t on the very first day. And yes, for those who want precision, I believe there was an NFL regular season game on Thursday; today, however, is the first regular Sunday, the traditional day of NFL play.

I still don’t have the faintest idea of what a “nickel back” is supposed to do, but I grasp all the fundamentals and can appreciate the complexities of trying to meld offensive, defense, and special teams into a cohesive program. And for hubby, it will always be the sport that he enjoys the most. Well, assuming that no one actually manages to have genuine quidditch (meaning with flying brooms) in the near future.



Not Able to Return To The “Old You”….

Serious content alert! With the talk of depression being on lots of people’s minds at the moment, I was watching the movie, “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, yesterday. It’s another of those movies that I know well enough to have it on the TV while I’m working and know when to pause and watch my favorite scenes. I don’t know enough about golf to have a clue as to how well that it portrayed, but it is nicely crafted from a period piece perspective (early 1930s) in Savannah and it has a great cast. The foundation of the movie is a special golf tournament between the legendary Bobby Jones, Walter Hagan (they were real people), and the fictional Rannulph Junuh, a once-phenomenal young golfer and romantic interest of Adele who has put together the tournament. Junuh went to WWI and returned home as a broken man who withdraws into drink and is finally persuaded to enter the tournament. The mysterious Bagger Vance appears just prior to the tournament and offers to caddy for him. Directed by Robert Redford, there are elements similar to “The Natural”, and the demons that haunt Junuh are never far from him.

Bagger, in trying to lead Junuh from his darkness, makes a number of observations, and one of them is, “You thought you could just go back to being the old Junuh and that isn’t going to happen,” or words to that effect. For many people, tragic events or circumstances can occur that affect them so profoundly, they are altered in a way that impacts them for quite possibly the rest of their lives. And that impact can be so gripping that it entangles them in a manner that can seem unbreakable. There are different successful ways to extricate oneself from such a situation, but all require the recognition that you won’t be “your old self”. The person that emerges is also likely to need time to regain his or her strength. These struggles are never easy and very often, it is the help and understanding of someone who cares deeply that can begin the healing process.

Tango and the Movies…….

I’m not sure how the past few days slipped by me without posting, but these things do happen occasionally. As I have discussed at previous times, I am a member of the Homestead Center for the Arts ( and within that organization is a special committee called Music Experience (MuSe). We had our most recent event last week with Baroque and received wonderful feedback. While we also have the well-loved Community Concert Series in HCA that runs December-March, the intent of MuSe was to combine music and food and so we mostly hold the events at the White Lion Café that has a large courtyard. The “In the Garden” series has been Jazz and Blues, next up will be Blue Grass and we’re working through other genres.

That brings me to the question of did I like tango? I do, although my experience is limited and I know there are different types of tango and wouldn’t for the life of me be able to identify or recognize them. Setting aside,  “The Last Tango in Paris” since this is a more or less PG-13 blog, who can forget Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”, and have you seen, “Shall We Dance”? A little-known Robert Duvall movie was “Assassination Tango” and that, too, used tango as a metaphor for life’s complexities. Okay, what other movies out there have famous tango scenes?


A Second Chance or Time to Face Reality?…..

A second chance at love lost is a favored theme of Hollywood and it so happens that this month on cable, the remakes of “The Great Gatsby” and “Great Expectations” are playing. I can’t find the new version of “Gatsby” to be as good as the Redford one, but I do enjoy the Ethan Hawkes “Expectations”. Each movies deals with the question of, “If you are rejected by the one you love, is there the chance that it can work out in the future, and do you cling to that hope or walk away? I can’t imagine that readers of this blog don’t know the ending of these two movies, but just in case someone doesn’t, I won’t do a spoiler here. I will, instead, take this into the real world because I know of situations where both end results apply. In one case, it was a remarriage after a divorce and in another, it was a fairly lengthy separation (at least I consider three years to be lengthy) that resulted in reconciliation. Since the remarriage is the one that didn’t work out and the reconciliation did, perhaps the couple that separated knew on some level that there was hope, whereas the divorce and remarriage was a matter of wishful thinking.

As I have said on more than one occasion, falling in love and staying in love are often not the same thing. There are a lot of reasons for this, and I have also found that friendship can grow into love over time. People can overlook someone and later realize their mistake. In this day and age, re-connecting is more possible than in the past, but should one? And if in recognizing that you “let the right one go”, how do you approach it? Gently, as in reconnecting for friendship sake and gauging the situation? Forthright to fully admit the error and apologize as much as ask for a second chance? What say you, readers?

Cabinets on Tuesday and More……

If the schedule holds, it will be a very big week coming up. The cabinets will be installed, the remaining trim work done, and the associated plumbing and electrical completed. Well, the electrical is a bit trickier because in addition to the associated task of wiring for the island and adding one can light, we need to have a breaker repaired or replaced and I want to move four light fixtures. The movement of light fixtures doesn’t have to be immediate though, so that and the breaker might have to slide a week. The granite guy will come to do the template once the cabinets are in and it won’t take him long after that to have the counters ready for install.

Paint Samples for the remodel

Paint Samples for the remodel

We have ordered the appliances and the new entertainment center, but those will be discussed in a future post. Now I’ll talk about paint. We are going to have a change in that we will have a basic color in the front room and the back wall of the kitchen, but also an accent wall in the front room and then change the terra cotta in the kitchen to Eucalyptus Green. It’s a little difficult to tell from the samples here, but the lightest color (right) will be the basic on most of the area, the slightly darker tone (left) will be the accent, and the lighter green (top) is the one we will be using for the kitchen. We will continue with white in the loft, and the powder room downstairs is up for grabs. Essentially any of the three colors will work for it and it might well come down to how much paint we have left after the main rooms are done as the deciding factor. Okay,  I will keep everyone posted as to how we proceed.

Closing Out the Quilting Show…..

Title: Rusty Blooms. Quilt created by Cheryl Kerestes of Wyoming, PA.

Title: Rusty Blooms. Quilt created by Cheryl Kerestes of Wyoming, PA.

It was careless of me not to have posted to the blog on Saturday, the last day of the AQS Lancaster, PA Quilt Show, but my author presentation was at 10:00 rather than noon. Then I had to check out of the hotel and head to Hanover before they completely clocked the streets for the big Saint Patrick Day parade. A rather flimsy excuse, I admit.  Perhaps giving a couple of extra photos will help make up for it. In truth, I could have photographed every quilt at the show with each of them demonstrating a different technique or something unique about the design or the sheer skill. As I have become more familiar with quilting and quilters, I think the extraordinary variety is what I appreciate most and that is something that I try to capture in the Helen Crowder Adventure Series of Small Town Lies, Small Town Haven, and future novels. (More about that in a later post).

The way in which quilters come to the craft is also fascinating to me as a writer. Some are of course introduced to it by a mother, grandmother, etc., while others gravitate to it because they sew or have another fabric-related skill. Some are looking for a new interest; one woman that I know was in a situation where she simply needed a quilt and there were none available to buy. Once she made the first one, she was hooked, so to speak. This is another part that I include in the novels; the longtime quilters and the novices who take it up for different reasons.

I think that the two quilts in this post are great examples of skill and variety.

Title: Prairie Serenade. Created by Shelly Burge from Lincoln. NE

Title: Prairie Serenade. Created by Shelly Burge from Lincoln. NE

Controlled Chaos……..

The new floors are in and the temporary kitchen will move from the bedroom to the living room, although that’s only the cooking items. The partial pantry and glassware will remain and the furniture can’t be place properly until after we paint. That leads me to the remaining steps.

Cabinets and granite are major components, new appliances – not picked out yet – electrical, painting, cleaning, garage, and front yard exterior work. That is the physical part of the remodel – then there is moving everything back in. Oh yes, still have to order the entertainment center and do the custom insides for the pantry. This means that we are about halfway, although some of those items will go in fairly quick sequence. Others could be delayed depending on different factors. We’re managing probably as well as most people do, but the disruption is tiring. For example, rather than walk from the master into the kitchen to get a glass of ice water, it’s pour water from the Brita pitcher into the glass and go to the garage to get ice from the fridge. Oh wait, it’s been a few hours. Take the Brita pitcher to the garage so I can empty the ice trays and refill them before you put ice in the glass and take the Brita pitcher back to the bathroom to refill it. Nothing insurmountable, just takes more time. People who have been through it all have tales to tell and it will be the same for us. At least we aren’t trying to juggle children and pets as part of the process.

Next Phase Complete…….

Temporary storage of crystal in office

Temporary storage of crystal in office

What a week! I began this post yesterday when the movers were downstairs and lost the bubble on it, trying to get everything done before I had to leave for a meeting.  We went with a combination of sending things into storage and scattering things around the house. Trying to remember what is where will be an interesting effort, but since we were doing the packing ourselves, we tried to keep all the really fragile items here. A few items were picked up by the Salvation Army, then it’s finding spots for what we currently have sitting on the counters. After all, on Monday, those come out when gutting of the kitchen takes place. Hubby was home most of today and I wish I could have been, but I had an obligation for an event that I simply couldn’t back out of. Ah well, there is tomorrow before I fly to Louisiana on Monday.

We do almost have the fridge cleaned out and that is going in the garage. We can manage without stove, dishwasher, and sink, and drew the line at no fridge or microwave. That’s just too inconvenient. Only one television in the bedroom will require a little adjustment, although when you get down to it, that’s no different than when we travel and are in a hotel room. Our master bedroom is fairly large and so we’ve been able to cram quite a bit in and still have room to maneuver around. I’m not sure what we will do for dinner tomorrow night, but something nice since it will be the last “normal” meal we cook until this process is over with.

We have also found an entertainment center that we like, although we will have to order it because we very much want to have the library ladder and that narrows the available local pool. This, by the way, means hubby gets the long-awaited big screen TV – well, big for us, not nearly as large as is out there. We actually intended to do the new entertainment center and big TV a couple of years ago, and that too sort of slipped past us as we were involved with other activities. Okay, tomorrow will be quite busy and I will take the “Before” photos prior to the destruction getting underway.