Throwback Tuesday – Welcome to Summer Madness!

Polar Bear Ice Cream

Image courtesy of Pinterest

In true U.S.A. fashion, the TexPat spent the Memorial Day weekend manning the grill, enjoying diet-destroying portions of burgers and ribs, hanging out on beautiful, flower-filled early summer days in the back (less than) forty, and serving up heaping scoops of ice cream –  a combo of some artisanal espresso variety I picked up at the local farmer’s market and Haagen-Dazs vanilla (can’t go wrong with that).  The TexPat was way too full and waist-conscious to savor that “welcome summer!” tradition, but suffice it to say that a good deal of ice cream was consumed at the ranch.  This long overdue hint of summer here in the Northeast took me back to the (very) warm, Texas summer days of my youth.  Sultry Saturdays and Sundays when we piled into the Pontiac, and my Dad drove us to the local Polar Bear ice cream parlor for lemon custard (Daddy’s favorite) or rocky road (Mom’s favorite).  For some reason, though I remember so many details of that experience, down to the sweat beads on my bony forearms to the sanitized, refrigerated scent of the store, I can’t remember my favorite flavor.  Perhaps it’s because I tried a wide variety and never stuck to any one favorite for very long – which may explain my Wanderlust to this day.

Coincidentally, when I glanced at my Pinterest page while waiting on line at the drugstore this morning, I noticed a pin of one of Dallas’ long gone Polar Bear ice cream parlors that someone pinned from one of the Oak Cliff, Dallas historic sites.  And not just any Polar Bear, but the one my family used to frequent in our Oak Cliff neighborhood (other than those Sundays when we decided to take a leisurely drive across town to the Oak Lawn ice cream parlor on Knox Street, across from Weir’s home furnishings, whose windows we used to browse while enjoying our frozen treats).  I’ve posted it above.

The photo makes me ponder whether my, over-scheduled, over-managed little New Yorker has the same heady vision of wonderfully long, lazy summer days that I have.  To a degree, I assume that she does.  Though I reflect often on my Oak Cliff youth, including my long TexPatch regarding my  adventures exploring my Oak Cliff stomping grounds as it transitions into something very Brooklyn/Oakland-like, I am sure that my experience, though personal, is not singular.  That we all may have some sliver of our childlike selves that are allowed to come to the surface in the summer thaw, wherever we spent those youthful summer days.

Of course, being a native Texan, I’m inclined to persuade you that mine was the best, whether it was good or godawful.  Luckily my Oak Cliff, Dallas childhood was pretty good, even before the community became cool.  Speaking of which, I just stumbled upon a site with a wide selection of ironic, Oak Cliff t-shirts, in true Brooklyn/Oakland style.  The tipping point?

trust-me-i-m-from-oak-cliff.american-apparel-unisex-athletic-tee.athletic-grey.w380h440z1b3 keep-oak-cliff-funky-t-shirt.american-apparel-unisex-fitted-tee.white.w380h440z1b3Oak Cliff image.w174h200f3

t-shirts from Skreened

Welcome to summer madness!

Quantum Entanglement – Spooky Stuff, Indeed

BoVXiCtIIAA0X1x.jpg-large BoE9ACGIIAAemT- Images from @MomsDemandAction

“The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of man—though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least.” Albert Einstein

The TexPat has been inundated by physics recently. Of course physics is the basis of, and is embedded in every aspect of our day-to-day existence, irrespective of our grades in science. So I should clarify to say that the TexPat has been inundated with references to physics recently. From my eighth grader’s head scratching in a class I didn’t take until 12th grade, to Questlove’s amazing melding of physics principles in his writings about the current, sorry state of hip hop, Einstein is everywhere!  Cue Jay-Z . . .

To quote Questlove quoting Einstein (the state of my laziness is worthy of my own series of Vulture critiques), referencing Einstein’s characterization of quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance,” Questlove says, “Einstein was talking about physics, of course, but to me, he’s talking about something closer to home — the way that other people affect you, the way that your life is entangled in theirs whether or not there’s a clear line of connection.”

So back to the Texpat’s reality as a Texpatriate who has been away from home too long, or not long enough, or something in between.

The TexPat loves burritos.  And thanks to the magic of the Chipotle chain of restaurants, the TexPat’s Yankee spawn loves burritos too.  Because we live in a different Wild Wild West than the TexPat’s place of birth – one described by Kool Moe Dee as “downtown, 129th Street, Convent, everything’s upbeat” – the mother-daughter experience of enjoying a chicken burrito at Chipotle does not involve mothers consoling our children (and ourselves) from being intimidated by a bunch of yahoos at the next table with assault rifles strapped across their backs.  Guys who, to paraphrase Jon Stewart, can’t “spend 20 minutes at a casual fast food restaurant without a handgun.”  In the wilds of New York City’s civilization of over 8 million cowboys, a bunch of yahoos showing off their handguns in a fast food restaurant is an invitation to chaos that cannot be countenanced.  Too much is at stake, and too much can go wrong too quickly and affect too many people too fast.  NYPD is possibly the best in the world at what they do, but a Lone Star lack of gun regulation would place an unmanageable burden on their ability to keep the peace and maintain law and order, and they say so on a regular basis.

But in the wide open spaces of my home state, where the consequences are less immediate or obvious, guys can swing and stroke their phallic symbols at will, whether the rest of us like it or not.  As a believer in science, I wonder about the natural connection between me and guys like the ones in the photo above.  Physics suggest that we are inextricably connected, but I agree with Einstein that this reality is “spooky.”  As a mom, and a human being, I just can’t relate.  Like the Bundy supporters that wanted to use women as human shields and shot targets to support Bundy’s ability to get freebies on land I pay for, I just can’t see the point or plain common sense of their actions.  If I was back home in Big D and sitting at the next table, what life lesson would I be able to impart to my child about the wisdom or necessity of their actions?  None, because I would be crouching under the patio table and using myself as a human shield to protect my child.  Or I would be racing to my car as fast as I could in a zig-zag pattern and making my own dang burritos at home!  As a woman who has lived in or around New York City for longer than I’m willing to admit – and who has walked its streets alone – I cannot imagine that these dudes face threats anywhere near as great as the ones faced by the women who venture onto the streets and subways by themselves on a daily basis to work, run errands, live life.  So the fact that they have so little empathy for those around them, and such small cajones, that they would choose the sanctuaries of soccer moms, such as Chipotle, to make their stand, instead of a South Dallas Church’s Fried Chicken joint, speaks volumes.  And it’s spooky.

Thank you Chipotle for keeping burritos safe for soccer moms (or, in my case, dance moms).  And kudos to Chili’s and my other favorite hometown chains for considering following their lead.  And thank you to Moms Demand Action for having the real cajones in this catfight.

Word to the Mother!

Three Generations

Silhouettes of me, my mom and my mini-me by V. Rose

The TexPatch has been slow to roll out because the TexPat was phenomenally lazy on Mother’s Day – and has been phenomenally crazed ever since, as a result of her hubris in taking a day off. So this is a belated word of shoutout and solidarity to mamas who find themselves having become so absorbed in the cleanup from their one day off that they’ve already forgotten their salmon and scallion egg white omelette or their hot stone massage and aromatherapy pedicure or their day to put up their feet and watch unlimited, uninterrupted hours of E! on demand while slurping a large goblet of pinot grigio (what?).  For me, it was an herb and cheese omelette and bottomless mimosas prepared by the spouse, dinner courtesy of Balducci’s instead of moi, no judgment regarding refills, and an on-demand movie marathon in bed eating ice cream with mini-me – with pop-ins by my 85 year old Texan mom when she felt like it.  Just what the shrink ordered!

Many are missing their amazing moms around this time of year – including the adolescent daughter of a younger friend and sorority sister, Barbra Watson-Riley, the “pinkwellchick,” who hung on as long as she could but succumbed to breast cancer late last year.  One of my writing instructors and mentors, Hope Edelman wrote poignantly of “motherless daughters,” and is marking a bittersweet 20th anniversary of her best-selling memoir, Motherless Daughters – a memoir so powerful that it has spawned a worldwide support network and movement.  Hope is also a producer of the just-released HBO documentary, The Dead Mothers Club, which is definitely worth a watch.  And another friend, Lori Hall Armstrong, has launched her own blog, Once Upon A Soapbox, in which she also writes eloquently regarding the loss of her own mother at a young age, and which features photos of our phenomenal soror who has left all of us too soon.  These are not melancholy, maudlin mentions on my part.  They are celebrations and attempts to carry on legacies and strengthen support of all mothers and those impacted by their light and love.  Not to mention our loved ones and friends who share motherly-like love and support of us in our day to day lives, whether or not they are technical “mothers” or not.  The TexPat shrugs and smiles at Hallmark holidays, but Mothers make such an impact that they will never be something to shrug at.



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Like a very wise Governor of Texas, Ann Richards, “I have strong feelings about how you live your life.” These feelings do not involve terrorizing and abusing young girls for any reason. The situation of the Nigerian schoolgirls is a great source of pain for me right now, which is trivial in comparison to what they are going through and what their parents and loved ones must feel. My only consolation is that the world and its leaders and persons of influence are finally paying attention and speaking out. #BringBackOurGirls. Indeed.

Running From Empty


Running into the sun, But I’m running behind.
Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive.
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive.

From “Running on Empty,” Jackson Browne

Image courtesy of

The TexPatch is a small (solo) start-up operation, so a seamless string of (at least) daily posts is still a goal rather than a commitment. The TexPat gets distracted – this past weekend in a good way when I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in Washington, DC. Beautiful run, beautiful city, beautiful experience shared by some 15,000-odd women (and a few good men).  Even for turtles like me, running is exhilarating and meditative all at once – an antidote for life’s stressors and sorrows. And a means to clear the head and deal with all the crazy out there without resorting to self-immolation or violence or something equally destructive. I’m often running on empty, running blind, running into the sun, running behind, a la Jackson Browne. But I keep running.  This past week or two I’ve been running FROM empty. The emptiness of bigotry and intolerance and folks just plain actin’ ugly, as my Texan peeps would say.

As much as I try to pursue a life path of substance and soul, empty hearts and empty minds constantly invade my route.  And, of course, I’m not alone.  One of my coping mechanisms is to zero in on the path I’m running and try not to be deterred, though I don’t always succeed.  In running you’re advised to keep your vision slightly above the horizon and to look down the road rather than down at your feet.  You try not to bog yourself down by the pebbles directly in front of you, but sometimes you are tripped up by that unexpected pothole or speed demon that sharply cuts too close in front of you and almost knocks you down as they try to pass you.  For some running is a means to keep score and feel superior to someone.  It’s a shallow conquest, not a purpose-filled journey.  So too with the bigots that cut into our lanes as we try to focus on the broader horizon beyond them.

Cliven Bundy poaches on grazing lands that you and I pay for, but boasts that some of his benefactors (i.e. folks like me) would be better off as slaves.  He’s cheered on by self-proclaimed “patriots” that would have shot Mr. Bundy on sight if he did the same thing on their own private lands (and don’t get me started on how all of us gained “ownership” of these lands from the Native Americans).  How about some perspective based on real life and not empty sound bites?  My college-educated, Texan grandfather worked at a paper plant to support his family – a scholar training illiterate white men to become his supervisors.  But my grandfather was not empty.  He kept his eyes focused on the horizon, viewing the world as a place larger and greater than himself or the immediate obstacles that popped up in his path.  Rather than struggling to raise a family on a Negro teacher’s salary, he switched to work as a laborer, which enabled him to send all 7 of his children to college and 5 of them to graduate school, in addition to purchasing a house and retiring with savings.  He was not constrained by the norms of the time and encouraged his daughters as much as his sons to do their best, whatever that “best” happened to be.  Segregation and bigotry was a reality but did not deter them from their paths – my mother and her older brother were valedictorians of their high school classes and both received phDs.  My oldest uncle became an attorney.  Two other uncles received masters degrees in pharmacy.  My dad and my uncles eligible to serve enlisted and fought in Europe during WWII (my Dad participating in the Normandy invasion on D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge).  One of my uncles was one of the first African-Americans to receive a phD in mathematics from Cal Berkeley.  Among the grandchildren and great-grand children, we have educators, veterans, lawyers, financial types, social workers, scientists, Ivy League and MIT grads and all sorts of hard working, responsible folks among us.  This is not to boast – it is to reflect that a heart and a life path filled with love and compassion and vision broader than the status quo (or the past) can make what seems impossible possible.  Can one really say that my family would be better off if our ONLY choice in life was to pick cotton in East Texas?  Of course hard work is noble and deserves respect, particularly when that hard work doesn’t immediately result in riches or fancy degrees.  I am as proud of the cotton pickers and farmers in my family as the mathematicians.  But to say that an entire race of people is only deserving or capable of one path in life is a shallow, empty perspective.  To categorize an entire group of people as “lazy” or lacking a work ethic while getting something for nothing – whether it’s free grazing land or free labor in the form of slaves – is empty.

Donald Sterling degrades the men and the community that make him rich while expecting sympathy for his ailments.  A KKK leader who shoots up a Kansas Jewish center solicits Black male prostitutes when he thinks no one is looking.  Far less credentialed or hard-working politicos and rabble rousers than the President feel entitled to call him a zebra-donkey, and worse, rather than engage him in a respectful debate about their differences.  Empty.

Let’s run from empty and do what we can to keep our love alive, not our ignorance.