Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Our local Walmart has an aisle of fishing poles. That sentence may not seem odd at first glance, but don’t forget…I live in Las Vegas. The desert. Brown, dry dirt. Drought and scorching sun. But strangely enough, I see fishermen every weekend only five miles from my house at Floyd Lamb Park.

I bet many people live only blocks away from Floyd Lamb and have no idea it’s there. If you look toward it from the nearby street it just looks like a cluster of trees, like those that are planted throughout Vegas to simulate a non-desert environment. But if you pay the $5 entrance fee and see it up close, those trees are huge and natural, part of Tule Springs, literally an oasis in the desert where you can stroll around lakes, take a free bird watching tour, attend a twice-monthly farmers market, and yes, go fishing.

Someday we can get Jude a fishing license when he is old enough, and I’ll be forced to brush off my fishing skills from years ago. I learned to fish on my Uncle Bill’s pond, casting off from the wooden deck he constructed himself. I never did take the fish off the hook, though, leaving that sad and painful part to my uncle or whoever was nearby (putting the worm on the hook wasn’t as bad for some reason). So my husband will have to help in that area when we teach Jude.

I also fished at my Uncle W.C’s pond just up the hill from my house. When the Great Aunts and Uncles visited, my cousin and I would fish there (and I would get upset when her fish was larger), and Uncle W.C. cleaned the fish on the patio beside the house. Then Aunt Mary fried them up for dinner. To this day the taste of catfish brings back such good memories. Does anyone know how to clean a fish nowadays?

While I don’t feel the need to know how to gut a fish, I am glad that fishing was a part of my childhood. My Uncle Bill still fishes from that same dock, and my husband often has fishing contests with him when we visit – one point per fish.  It’s good to get outside and sit and connect with nature. And I’m so glad to witness people fishing so near my house. They soften the desert a bit.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sweet Tea

When we visited relatives in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I jumped at the opportunity to order Sweet Tea at every meal. What a treat, to have it on the menu everywhere we went! Oh, you poor souls who live in the parts of the country without sweet tea.

As a kid, the huge old mayonnaise jar in Grandma’s refrigerator was always full of tea. We just called it "tea" back then – it was always sweet – why wouldn’t it be? Then I learned it was a Southern thing. We were in Indiana, not exactly the South, but that sugar-filled water with a slight hint of tea flavor obviously traveled up to us over time.

A sweaty glass of iced tea reminds me of weekends at home with my Mom, when she would pour herself a large glass and then set it on her table to begin work on her latest painting. That glass of iced tea meant she needed sustenance, to focus on her creation. Even now, I like to get a glass of something special to take with me when I work on a project. It shows commitment – I plan to at focus on my project at least as long as it takes me to sip my big glass of tea.

My husband turns on the radio when he begins a big project. My cousin used to put on a special hat. Do you have any habits or rituals that help you get motivated? If not, maybe starting one will help!