Category Archives: Barbara Ellen

Coffee with Sennacherib

His excellency paid us a visit in which we served him coffee and discussed how much the town has changed in just the past eleven months (traffic is worse) he’s been away, and sundry other points of interest.

He said the rancho sits in what was once a field of scattered limestone quarries when he was coming up here in the Sixties. Now lives in western Colorado taking care of his 80ish parents. Sent his regards to Barbara Ellen who was at work.

The old Assyrian said he’d been in touch with Snoopy to learn that he was visiting the grand kids up on the Lebanon border. Stay safe. Mr. Goon. We shared memories of defunct Austin restaurants like Bean’s and Les Amis. But he finally had to leave: Got to go see a girl, he said, with anticipatory eyebrows.


Studying the rails

Barbara Ellen and I are studying this Amtrak route map to decide what to tell the travel agent about how we want to get to Trinidad, Colorado, in February. Objective: See snow. Romp in snow. Snap pictures of snow. Also get stoned.

Looks like we get there fastest by going north to Oklahoma City, taking an Amtrak-provided Greyhound bus to Newton, Kansas, and thence by train to Trinidad. But the times must be calculated, since only one or two trains leave an Amtrak station daily. Probably only one from little 19,000 pop. Newton.

UPDATE:  We’ve bought tickets do it all: go north, west, south, and east. From Austin to Austin. Over seven days. With overnights in Trinidad, Albuquerque and El Paso. Most of the way in private sleeper compartments called “bedrooms” with an enclosed toilet, sink and shower. And a big picture window. Starting Feb. 9. Have to book early to get the compartments which are in high demand and low supply on any given train. More as we get closer.

Car magic

Barbara Ellen was driving her daughter’s newish Chevy when the engine idiot light came on. She drove to AutoZone and had them examine the engine’s computer for “the code” that explained the light.

Seems to be something called “the impulse valve” which relates to the exhaust not the engine itself. So daughter is now equipped to take the car to a mechanic to knowledgeably ask for a fix. BE and daughter dislike going to dealers. They prefer AutoZone’s tipoff.

Seems like pure magic to me. My 14-year-old CRV has some computers in it, particularly the ignition key, but not this level of sophistication.

The city that can’t keep the lights on

Austin is a Dimocrat city, of course, and the power problem seems to be worse according to the politics. Thus our little Republican enclave in Northwest Hills suffered eight hours of no electricity yesterday. “Some burned wires,” the peon at the city utility said. “We have no estimate on a fix.”

Beginning in mid-afternoon with the temp in the 90s, it finally ended about 11 p.m., when BE and I were sweating in bed with the windows open for cross-ventilation—me remembering the 1940s-50s before air-conditioning. Her just being miserable.

Miriam has written of Republican neighborhoods in Albany, New York who “did not have potholes in their streets fixed or the snow removed (There was a lot of snow)” by the Dimocrat bureaucracy. Here we lose electric power about three times a year, sometimes from high winds, but this time there was no wind at all.

I’d complain but what’s the point. It would be a waste of time. I should get a BETO sign (the sly Hispanic nickname of the fourth-generation Irish-American Dim running for the U.S. Senate) for the the front yard. The neighbors across the street have one and their lights didn’t go out. But that wouldn’t fool ’em. They have the voting records and so they know I voted for the Republican Cruz.


Barbara Ellen from Dimmitt and I tied the knot Tuesday evening, then went out for dinner on a friend at Chez Zee. It was loud in the restaurant and we both were debilitated by it, me because I’m 74 and don’t sleep well and her because she’s introverted and doesn’t like crowds, particularly noisy ones.

But we’re pleased to be married after two months of courtship and seven months of living together. “You’re mine,” BE said later, quoting the rabbi who was quoting from the Song of Songs, particularly appropriate in Elul, the month of love.

I told Mr. B. at Texas A&M by text and will send him a few pics of us at our simple and uncomplicated wedding in the rabbi’s study. I would post them but I prefer privacy, especially for BE. Take my word for it: We’re very happy.

Lonesome Dove

Barbara Ellen and me watched the conclusion of Lonesome Dove the other night, weeping at the appropriate parts because we’re both suckers for cinematic manipulation.

I thought the ending was weak but after all that came before it was acceptable. I still like the book better.

Smuggling cotton

Barbara Ellen says no, to my query whether Tampons feel erotic. It’s a question I always wanted to ask. No, she said, its having a dry thing stuck up inside you.

“It makes me feel like I’m smuggling cotton.”