If you aren’t familiar yet, allow me to introduce y’all to the tradition of the American summer road trip.
Found some web images that convey that spirit just perfectly,
I found this picture on Pinterest recently, and it reminded me of my own attempt at a tailgate party.
Many, many years ago.
I joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity my first week at Texas Tech University. For those of you not familiar, Texas Tech is in Lubbock Texas. About 250 miles from water, trees, green grass, a Bennigan’s…….anything really. It’s an island surrounded by flat barren dry Texas landscape.
For some unknown reason, I was handed the reigns of organizing the chapter’s annual drunken booze-fest in the middle of a West Texas field…..that the brothers lovingly called “Creek Bed”. It was a 2 hour drive through the West Texas dust until “The 7 Sentinels” (they were trees. The only 7 trees for miles) and then a turn down another road of nothingness, untill you see an even smaller dirt road. At the end of the last dirt road/cattle path was it…Creek Bed. The perfect place to drink, pee, possibly puke, eventually pass out, and wake up in the desert. What joy.
My bestest friend at the time was my fraternity brother Lenny. If I was 19, Lenny must have been 21. Lenny was always much older than me. He was (and still is) a portly, lockjawed man-child who was always fortunate enough to be my “Lucy”….and I, his willing “Ethel”. We both shared an affinity for Polo oxfords with madras ties, J.D. Salinger novels, all things British, and the pink and green bullion crested navy blue blazers that active fraternity brothers had the privilege of wearing.
Here we are in 1988 with a some not too cute sorority girls, and the aforementioned blazers.
“Wouldn’t it be fun to have an Upscale Tailgate?” To this day, I still think it was all Lenny’s idea.” We could do the whole shin-dig out of the back of Siegelbaum.” Siegelbaum was the name Lenny had given to his navy blue Saab hatchback.
Our total budget was $100. It doesn’t sound like much now……and I assure you, it wasn’t very much in 1988 either.
We had to be clever….and clever we were.
The 2 of us, armed with our parent’s “In Case of Emergency Only” college credit cards, hit Service Merchandise, J.C. Penny’s and Sears for assorted silver-plate serving pieces and even a huge pressed glass punchbowl. The highlight of the quest was when Lenny found a 2 foot tall champagne bucket with handles at an outlet store. It looked just like a polo trophy. This was to be our center piece. Every serving piece box was carefully kept in the original store bag with a meticulously taped-on reciept…they would all be cleaned, repackaged and returned to the stores the Monday after the party. I “borrowed” 100 white linen napkins from my campus job in the faculty club. A candelabra, we absolutely had to have a candelabra…..and Lenny knew of one with 4 arms that we could use for the evening.
It was all coming together nicely.
All $100 we spent at the best grocery store in Lubbock. There were only 3 at the time.
That night, when everyone arrived convoy-style at the end of the dirt road, in the creek bed, Lenny and I were standing there waiting in our pink and green bullion crested navy blue blazers with our “upscale tailgate”.
A cassette of violin music wafted through Siegelbaum’s speakers.
Everything spread out perfectly on “rented” silver serving platers under that 4-armed candelabra in the back of a Saab. There was a small spiral cut ham, baby Swiss slices, Hawaiian rolls, and spicy grain mustard for making finger sandwiches. There were butter crackers for my famous 7 layer dip. We had home-made Quiche Loraine, and I think a handful of boiled shrimp. (Maybe 20 total) For sweets, there was a box of delicate little Danish shortbread cookies. The centerpiece was the trophy-shaped champagne bucket overflowing with carrots and celery like an edible bouquet of cru de te.
The only drink we offered was our “Upscale Tailgate” punch. The recipe came straight from a 1962 copy of the Ladies’ Home Journal. (This was before the internet) We served it in those tiny little glass punch cups with the handles that are too small for a grown man’s fingers to slip through. I still remember it as just a mound of sweet, green foam. Ingredients as follows – 2 cans of pineapple juice, 1 pint of lime sherbet, and 2 liters of Ginger ale. That’s all.
No fun …… for a group of wanting-to-binge-drink-’till-everybody-puked college kids. It never occurred to us that a few dozen fraternity boys, and their assorted girlfriends, didn’t want un-alchohol laden lime-sherbet punch…..or finger sandwiches……or quiche Loraine…… or even cru de te. They were expecting a keg at the end of that long, long drive. That $100 they alloted us would have covered the cost of a keg with some to spare for red Solo cups.
Nobody was amused.
We had neglected to mention that it was a B.Y.O.B. party and it was too late for anyone to drive back 2 plus hours to a liquor store, or even Taco Bell.
Lenny and I single-handedly managed to ruin the tradition of “Creek Bed” party.
As far as I know, this was the last time the party was ever attempted.
A few months later at our annual formal banquet, while everyone else in attendance was enjoying a fine steak dinner, Lenny and I were served cold, uncooked hot dogs on stale buns.
Payback, I assumed.
The joke was on all of them…….
because my date that night was a vegetarian.
and Lenny? He happens to like cold, uncooked hotdogs.
I’ve always loved these vintage Navajo wedding baskets.
I wrote about the symbolism in them last year. It’s very beautiful if you care to read about it here.
OK, the prices are through the roof for an authentic, vintage one.
Of course, I thought, “I can do that”…..Well, not weave one……YET.
But I can certainly age one.
I started with a couple of coil baskets from import stores. I pick them up all the time for about 5 to 15 dollars. I found a few online places that have the same baskets El Paso Imports Co and El Paso Saddle Blanket . Just as cheap. I’m guessing that El Paso Texas is the place to buy cheap baskets.
I used 2 different colored stains. Gunstock (how could I not use a color called Gunstock?) and Jacobean (we used it on the wood headboard wall in the master bedroom). The first is light and the second is dark, y’all can use what ever combo you have in your garage too.
With rubber gloves and a clean rag, I start by giving the whole basket a coat of Gunstock stain being sure to rub deep into the groves.
these new baskets are extremely dry and soak up the stain in no time.
They already look better.
All the “cream” color is now a warm ”khaki”.
After the first stain is dry - I waited about 5 hours…so they were mostly dry – I gave a light skimming of the darker Jacobean stain.
I really just skimmed the surface, making some areas a little darker, and leaving the crevices light.
This will create some highs and lows in the basket color and make it look like it was genuinely used.
Here are my finished baskets with the dark smudged areas. I made the edges just slightly darker than the surfaces.
Now, I really let them dry this time…a couple of days….before using them.
Then we can “pepper” them back into our house where they are useful.
Full of bandanas in the bedroom…
…holding the remotes in the den…..
…..and some aloe in the breakfast room.
Yepp, we were thinking the same thing,
Way, More, Much, Better.
Loved this thing for years now.
Restoration Hardware Architect’s Boom Sconce. Modeled after a vintage lamp from the an architect’s 1940s studio.
Pine, pine, pine……SCORE!!!!
Got one, a medium one. They come in 3 sizes, the largest of which is just plain enormous. It stretches out to more than 8 feet.
If we had a loft, I’d be all over that one….but (big sigh) we don’t; we live in a normal sized ranch house.
So, medium size will work.
When we first moved in to the Cavender house, I hung this Glass Globe Pendant from West Elm over our dining table.
Not a bad pendant…After all, there was a boob-light there when we moved in, So this was a Huge improvement.
But we are ready now for an update.
I cut off the plug and hardwired this new lamp (it’s a plug-in fixture for some reason) by running the power line in the attic from the old pendant across the ceiling and down the wall slightly….Now it will hang from the side wall, but still be controlled with the light switch and dimmer.
Gays and their dimmer switches, we do enjoy the ability to create mood lighting. It’s just so much more flattering. 3 years ago there was 1 solitary dimmer in the whole house. But we have solved that crisis now.
Because I’m pretty sure that someone (possibly me) will someday want a pendant back in this spot, I used a junction box to cover my connections instead of running a new wire from the switch.
Then I squared off my ceiling hole and attached a new patch piece of drywall to hide my destruction.
I have posted about my skills at patching drywall several times already, y’all can read up on that here.
I have to really scrutinize the ceiling to see where it used to be.
Yeah, I’m that good.
Just take a gander at our improved breakfast room now…..
I’ll bet you are wondering if we hit our heads on it.
And No, we don’t. It’s positioned just perfectly so that we can manuever right around it without even thinking to duck….and it still lands in just the right spot over the table.
I know that Edison bulbs are quickly racing out of style in favor of those curly blue-light-casting ugly things……….but I don’t care.
Pretty sure that I will never tire of these exposed light bulbs.
Better not anyway, they are all over the house…….
I love Thom Filicia.
He was the “Interior-Decorator” gay on the all too short-lived Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Recently, Thom documented a complete reno of a Finger Lake house in his newest book American Beauty.
The house is just as you would expect it to be…stunning. And perfect.
Maybe, ……a bit too perfect.
His new house looks like it could be on any suburban street.
I remember his former lake house as being more cozy. And just, well, more “Lake House-Y”.
See for yourselves.
Beautiful, am I right?
There is some internet debate as to weather this is Thom’s actual house, or a house he designed for a client.
Either way, doesn’t matter much to me,
I like it better.
I love a good burger.
My softer-than-should-be midsection will attest to that.
What if…… a burger joint and a taco stand had a child? Hmmmm?
Well wonder no further my friend.
I present to you ….Burguesa Burger in Oak Cliff.
For a couple of years now, Burguesa Burger has serviced North Oak Cliff with the perfect mix of dirt-cheap Mexican food and American hamburgers.
Just don’t call it ”fusion“, it’s not that fussy.
They offer breakfast burritos, “made-in-front-of-you” churros, Mexican cane sugar soda pops, fiery spicy french fries, cold beer, real ice cream milkshakes with a mini doughnut skewered on the straw…..
Aaaaaannnnndddddd, (wait for it) ……………………the most amazing hamburger ever……
No, you’re not misreading……Bean covered Tostada, Ham, Cheese, all Beef Patty, Cheese, all Beef Patty….(is all that even possible?)
I know, I had to read it twice too.
If there were a burger equivalent to a Luchador…this would be it.
A little Mexican, a little cheezy, a little mysterious (someone please tell me what that special creamy sauce is)…and entirely entertaining.
Or make your own burger. Just name your toppings:
Avocado – they got that
Ham – they got that
Fried Egg…….yeah, they got that too.
What are you waiting for?
Get your buns to 710 Ft Worth Ave and try one for yourselves.
…and don’t forget the side spicy fries. Yes, spicy…don’t be a pansy.
Trust me, they might change your life.
Normally I post several “teaser” pictures leading to the finished project…
But in this case, I’m just gunna start with our new cactus/agave/drought tolerant filled flower beds…
Jamie wanted me to be sure to point out that the “We” in these stories of the flower beds is 90% him.
Although, I did Art Direct.
After removing all the heinous Indian Hawthorn….
and making a list of the plants that we would like to try planting.
We cruised down to the Dallas Farmer’s Market and bought a few.
We found an old Hippie to help us with our “zero-scaping”. That means that we want to plant it then forget it.
Jamie lay everything out before digging any holes.
Then planted away….Tall things in the back…at least, things that we expect to get taller.
Pretty groovy, right?
We wanted it to look a “desert-y”, but it was a little too “desert-y”.
Maybe some color…and no color is better than orange….and a little red and yellow.
Much better…..How could we not plant a flower called “Indian Blanket”? They grow along the road sides here in Texas.
Here are a few close-ups of the cactus-y bounty.
This is just a start, we plan on continuing to add new cactus as we collect them.
One more time..here’s the bed in front of the porch.
I can hardly wait for everything to get bigger.
Ohhh, and Jamie still has plans to add pea gravel with a layer of weed-blocking newspaper.
We’ll keep y’all posted.