Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rowlett, On Purpose

Why Rowlett?
If I had a dime for every time I've heard that question the past 17 months I'd be rich.
I like to say I moved to Rowlett 'on purpose'.
You see, when I knew that I was leaving D.C. once and for all and moving to Texas, I knew I wanted to start my new life in Rowlett, a small city (population 57,000), 20 miles away from downtown Dallas.
Yes, I'd read in Forbes magazine where it was named the #1 best small city in the nation to live. I was also aware that the same year it was also voted the #1 most boring city in Texas, which after 13 years of the most hideous traffic in the nation and the fast-paced existence of the nations capitol, boring sounded so appealing.
But neither one of these was why my heart longed for Rowlett.
No, my crush on Rowlett started way before the magazine articles touted it's 'small-town' vibe and it's affordability.
 It probably started because Mr. T's cousin (and childhood best friend) Sherrye lived here. I'd met her at our wedding years ago and just fell in love with her and started a fast friendship that has spanned the decades. Mr. T promised me that if I'd stick with him as he moved me around the world that we would settle down and live out our days in Texas - within spittin' distance of Sherrye if that's what I wanted.
Enter Facebook. Sherrye and another cousin Melanie were among my first friends. Their facebook posts of happenings and daily pictures of the town opened my eyes even more to the dream life that awaited me here.
If THAT wasn't enough, much to my delight one of my other social media friends - from DC, no less - had gone to school with the current Rowlett Mayor, Todd Gottel.
I messaged him and introduced myself, explained my interest in Rowlett and asked if we could be 'friends'. His posts and updates allowed me the opportunity to really keep up close and personal with my 'dream community'.
Five years later, when my dream of moving back to Texas became a reality I knew it had to be Rowlett. But, just to make sure the 'love affair' was real , and to my humor my husband who really wanted me to be absolutely, positively sure, I did look in other surrounding areas - Dallas, Keller, Trophy Club, the Fort Worth area and other 'hot spots', but no.
The heart wants what the heart wants.
Now, if Rowlett, Texas sounds familiar to you, it should. We've made the national news every day this week.
Our community was hit hard by a tornado the day after Christmas.
The Hillbilly Hacienda escaped unscathed. Barely.
Within walking distance of my house, whole communities have been wiped out. It's devastating. My emotions run the gamut. Relief. Depression. Grateful. Guilt. I feel these on a daily basis and generally all at once.
The mayor - Todd Gottel -is no longer just someone on facebook - but an actual real-life friend, as well as Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Gallops.
I was on the library task force with City Council Robbert van Bloemendaal and City Manager Brian Funderburk. Council Member Carl Pankratz I met through the theater community.
These men care deeply about the people of Rowlett.
I would bet my firstborn and everything else I own that as the Mayor  was hunkered down under the stairs (we don't have basements here in Texas), that his first concern was not about his own safety, but that of the people he serves.
I have never, ever lived in a place where the mayor, vice-mayor, and council members cared so much about the people of their community.
I've never experienced a community that cares so much about
each other.
This week, as if I didn't already know - proved once and for all - that this is home.
I have found the place I hate to leave and can never wait to get back to.
Rowlett, Texas. My home - on purpose.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Hey, everyone. It's me - Sally, and I am so depressed.
I swear if y'all knew all the nonsense goin' on around here you'd come and rescue me.
First of all, Mom has been sick so I haven't gone on a walk in a whole week!
Second of all, can someone please tell me just what the heck this is?

There have been men out here diggin' for 2 weeks and I can not figure what this is for. Seems like a perfectly good waste of space to me. Now, I have to walk around it and aaalll the way to the back of the yard to bury my bones. That's really a lot of work and wastes a lot of my valuable time just for this, this....hole in the yard.
Oh, and if that's not bad enough, look at what Mom has goin' on inside the house. And right before Christmas!
All of this

And this

 and this
are contents from the pantry, speaking of which, this used to be a kitchen wall with the pantry behind it...
Apparently, this is supposed to end up looking like a general store.
I'll have you know I don't like this.
Not at all.
Not one single bit.
It's crazy here.
Nothing is where it's supposed to be.
This morning she couldn't find my dog food.
I was ready to leave.
I've watched over, loved and protected this family for almost 11 years and I have never, ever seen Mom and Dad do something so crazy.
And right before Christmas.
Oh! But there's more!
I heard the contractor today tell Mom that he could come back next week to take up the floor and put down a new one.
What the heck is wrong with the floor we have????
Someone help me.

Monday, November 30, 2015's the Hillbilly Debutante Cafe!

That's right - coming to you LIVE in January of 2016:
"The Hillbilly Debutante Café"
I have (terrifyingly) decided to make use of the You Tube channel I've had the past 5 years and (try to) produce a show.
And y'all.
It's going to be sssoooo amateurish.
I suck at editing.
Actually, I suck at anything technological so this is so scary. We're just going to have fun with it - no editing, no script - no inhibitions.
What's the worst that can happen? That it not be perfect?
The way I figure it is there's enough perfect. The Paula Deen's, and Sandra Lee's that make you feel inadequate in the kitchen. The Ree Drummond's that make you feel like crap because YOU don't have the energy to cook perfect meals that are nutritious and beautiful, write/edit your own blog, write a cookbook ALL while home-schooling your perfect children.
You have enough Holly Holden's, Martha Stewart's and *Carolyne Roehm's  who have perfect beautiful homes THEY designed as well as
designed and implemented their own land-scape in their gardens.
 I figure we have ENOUGH perfect shows hosted by perfect people with perfect looks and perfect skills that make all of us feel less than...perfect. 
So, if you're tired of perfect, and you wanna hang out with someone who even though she does her best is more than likely gonna screw it up, but laugh about it - or cry (because who hasn't felt like doing that) then I'm your girl.
If you're the person that would rather wear funky, Bohemian Cowgirl fashion found in out of the way boutiques and not main stream chain stores, then I'm your girl.
And if you're the person that would rather decorate your house with flea market, thrift store and junk store finds, then I'm your girl.
Yes,I'm scared.
 I may make a fool of myself,  but I'm still going to try it.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
And I'm nothing if not adventurous.
Til next time,
*I actually know and adore Carolyne and she is FABULOUS. All of these ladies are fabulous, but unfortunately we don't all have the wonderful talents they have. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the same pursuits.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

You wanna be the Homecoming Queen of ALL this season's Holiday parties?

Then, run - do not walk - to nearest Kroger and pick up the following ingredients:
1 8oz pkg Cornbread Mix (Mexican flavor is best)
1 4 oz Can Chopped Green Chiles
1 oz pkg Ranch Dressing Mix
1 oz Sour Cream
1 c Mayonnaise (Duke's!)
2 15 oz Cans Pinto Beans (drained)
1 c Green Bell Pepper (chopped)
2 15 1/2 Cans Whole Kernel Corn (drained)
3 Large Tomatoes (diced)
10 Slices Bacon (cooked/crumbled)
2 c Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)
1 c Green Onions (sliced, using both white and green parts)
 You MUST use Duke's mayonnaise. Hellman's nor any other brand will do. Yes, there IS a difference. Duke's is saltier and tangier and enhances every dish that calls for mayo.
That settles it. Now on to preparation.
Organize your ingredients.
Yes, your countertop will resemblance a lunch buffet
Prepare your cornbread according to package directions and add the chilies to the batter. (I prefer muffins because it's just easier to handle).
While the cornbread is cooking, combine dressing mix, sour cream and mayonnaise. Blend well and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, crumble half of the cornbread into bottom of the bowl.

Top with half the beans. Then, layer in this order:
Half of sour cream mixture
Bell Peppers
Crumbled Bacon
Cheddar Cheese
Onion Greens
Repeat layers starting with rest of cornbread
Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for no less than 8 hours) so flavors can develop and harden.
Then voila!  

It's called Chile Cornbread Salad, but I hate calling it a 'salad' because it's really more of a side dish. Actually, Mr. T likes it as a whole meal.
Whatever you wanna call it your guests will love this and will be wanting the recipe!
From my kitchen to yours -
Happy eatin', y'all.