Monday, June 22, 2015

Yes, Virginia ....there really IS a Santa Claus

Oops....wrong story.
Yes, Virginia- you CAN still buy a house in the Dallas metro area for under $200,00.

I love this cute, cottage-style home.
But, wait til you see what's inside. Follow me....

 As pristine as can be!
Told ya, so!
However, in this market they are not lasting.
So, make sure you're prepared before you even go out with your realtor. Have your loan lined up before you even get in his/her car. Actually, a good realtor will insist on it the very first thing.
The best thing to do is to ask your realtor for references on a lender. As realtors, we know who can get the job done and get it done on time - which is sssooo important.
(I can not stress enough how important a reputable lender is).
If you're in the Dallas area - or moving here or know someone who is I'd love to work with them.
And yes - this is a shameless plug.
Don't worry - this is not turning into a 'real-estate' blog.
Sure, I'll post about houses every once in a while.
But I'll also still blog about fashion, junking, decorating
Hillbilly Hacienda, and all the wild and crazy trouble I often find myself in - along with the occasional editorial.
In other words, I promise to keep being the predictably unpredictable,random person you've come to know (and hopefully love) the past 10 years.
(Yikes! It's been 10 years already?)
Pinky promise!

Friday, June 19, 2015

One Year later....

Exactly ONE YEAR ago today, I climbed into my sunshine yellow Mini-Cooper, clothes stacked on top of an already bulging, over-stuffed bag in the front seat, and a big black dog in the back.
After 21 hours of driving across our beautiful South, I felt an overwhelming giddiness when I saw this approaching in the distance.
After 32 years - finally - I was back in Texas.
Not for a visit.
Not for a drive-through.
But here.
Really and truly here to stay.
Tears of joy streamed down my face as I drove across that state line.
My first goal was to live a simple life.
People have asked how I achieved this.
I cut back on all the 'noise'.
Politics, news and television (with the exception of Downtown Abbey, of course) were replaced with books and/or decorating magazines.
LOTS of decorating magazines

"Prairie Style" has been my go-to source for decorating and construction ideas for Hillbilly Hacienda, as well as for my personal style.

I didn't rush to get a job or make new friends.
I just took a deep breath - and chilled.
On weekends I'd scour flea markets, junk stores and vintage shops. The folks at Home Depot and Lowe's got to know us by name.
During the week, I'd hole myself up in the new house that needed so much love and attention. And while the old girl looks a heck of a lot better than she did, she still needs more work - but it is so much fun!
Next, I wanted a job. But not just any ol' job - one where I was free to be me, show my creativity and dress however I wanted with no restrictions. And y'all know what THAT means!
Okay, well maybe I didn't wear the crown - but I sure could have and my boss wouldn't have minded one bit! Seriously, though - it was a perfect job and I had THE best boss - EVER. I mean, like in a hundred million years. After all my time in the job market and some of the ya-hoo's (in the south we pronounce that YAY-hoo) I have worked for, I'm tellin' ya that I DESERVED her.
But alas, after 8 months of being there the owners decided to close our store. Boo-hoo! I hated that.
I'm a realtor at heart anyway, so I just went back to my first love.
So, once again, I'm happy with my job.
In our 33 years of marriage we have moved over 20 times. When people would ask 'How do you like Missouri, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia or Washington DC?' I would always quote my favorite Bible verse:
'For I have found whatever state I am therefore to be content.' Phillipians 4:13
Now, I am sure that isn't what the Apostle Paul meant by 'state', but I am here to tell you that TEXAS is MY state of contentment.
Simplicity and contentment.
What more could I possibly ask for?
Oh, yeah - there's that!
Maybe this time next year!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Godmother to a Gang Leader

'This will never amount to anything' was my initial reaction when I agreed to write to Adrian, the brother of my son's girlfriend -
and a prisoner at a maximum security prison.

He was an 'aspiring writer' seeking advice and I was an author willing to dish it out.

I had an ulterior motive and I was sure he did, too.

As a radio personality in my 20's and 30's I'd gotten several fan letters from prisoners, so I knew how this worked.

It never failed - the first paragraph started with introductions, the second would always be the list of reasons of why it was always 'someone else's fault' that they were in their predicament, and by the first sentence of the third paragraph they'd want money and a lawyer.

My ulterior motive? Well, I've never been one to miss an opportunity to talk to someone about Jesus. But experience taught me that the letters always stop upon the first mention of the 'J-word.'

And besides - what on earth could a Hispanic gang leader - yes, I said gang leader - and an older middle-age White woman possibly have in common?

This would be over before it even started.

Except 3 and a 1/2 years later, it is still going strong.

Somewhere in this time frame - and I can't pinpoint when - writing to this boy, talking to him about the Bible, mentoring him, stopped being a chore, stopped being a duty and started to be a labor of love.

Yes, I love this boy. He has become like my middle child. I get letters from him almost every week, and he calls us several times a week.

Never has he asked us for anything. Ever.
He is an artist and several times he has made things for me and I cherish those.

Sometimes we send him books because he loves to read - but we offer - he's never asked.

He has never made excuses for why he is there. In his very first letter he included his case number that detailed exactly why he is incarcerated so there would be no doubt.

It has been amazing to watch him change through the years. He has let down so many barriers and gone from being an angry young man with a chip on his shoulder to someone who now has a goal of helping others get out of the life that put him where he is.

He is incredibly smart. He who only has an elementary education, yet his writing is beautiful and his speech eloquent. And while this may be hard to believe, he has impeccable manners.

I am going to stop now. I am going to give y'all time to pick your jaw up off the floor, and contemplate how stupid you think I am.

That's okay.

I just thought it was time for you to know.
I wanted to tell you a long time ago, but Adrian wouldn't let me.
He was afraid you all would judge me.

I guess that remains to be seen.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A note from The Hillbilly Hacienda

You know, I thought when I moved here last summer that I would write every day. Or at least 4 times a week. Truth is, I've been having more fun than the law should allow and I haven't even been motivated to sit still long enough to put 'pen to paper'.
'Pen to paper'?
  Does anyone really even do that anymore?
Anyway, between decorating The Hillbilly Hacienda, catching up with and meeting new Facebook friends and fellow bloggers, familiarizing myself with the local landscape, working a part-time job and doing a play, I really haven't been too motivated.
Sadly, the boutique where I was shopping working closed it's doors. Thankfully, all of my co-workers found new jobs.
I am a proud Texas Realtor!
Ironically, my Virginia license expired the day my Texas one became active.
I am now ready to get back to doing what I love best.
Or second-best.
Writing to you is what I really love the best and boy do I have lots to share with you.
I even have a secret! Something I've kept from you that I'm ready to share.
Yes, you'll be shocked.
It might even change the way you feel about me.
But I've always been an open book for you.
Now, I think you're ready for the next chapter.
It will have to wait a few days, though.
Grandkids are coming over to spend the night.
Til next time,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Laughter and Old Wrinkles

 I am entering into a new 'stage' of my life - that stage when you're just a little smidgeon past middle age, but not quite 'senior citizen'.
No problem.
These things happen - if you're lucky.
(You know what they say about the alternative).
Unlike most women I know, I totally enjoy this new phase of my life and can give you so many reasons why these are the best years of my life - but that's for another article.
What I'm not 'digging' is the way people - especially women - perceive me at this stage of my life and the fact they verbalize that perception.
Oddly enough, it all started with a discussion of 'hair'.
Someone asked me if I'd ever had long hair.
  To prove that at one time in my life I actually did have hair, I showed her the following pictures saved on my iphone:

1996 at Mrs. America with the mayor of Las Vegas
and this:

About 2 months after the above 2013 picture was taken I got tired of coloring my hair and decided to go au natural. Most of you remember that I got a buzz cut to get rid of the color so now I am a salt and pepper gal.
Below is how I look now.

2015 photo shoot
Anyway....back to the 'hair' photos.  
When I showed the pictures, this person was absolutely shocked at how beautiful I used to wonderful I 'used' to look.
'Oh my - you were really something!'
I think she went on for 10 minutes that this 'old gray mare' just ain't what she used to  be and all the while thinking she was complimenting me because I 'used' to be great-looking when I was 'young'.
How the heck do you respond to that?
Thank you - I think?
That same evening another woman introduced me to friends as
'Miss Missouri 1968!!'
 I smiled, shook the hand of the person I was being introduced to and somehow through gritted teeth managed to say, "Thank you so much, but it's 1996."
I didn't bother correcting her that it was Mrs. not Miss and that I was actually 4 years old in 1968.
But, oh wait, folks. It gets even better.
There is a restaurant in our downtown that I frequent quite often. Upon entering this establishment I sincerely complimented the waitress that, as always, she looked very pretty.
And I swear these exact words left her mouth:
"Oh, I just hope I can look like you at your age. You look so good for an' - wait for it - 'old lady''.
I think ( I hope) she meant 'older lady'.
Anyway. I let it bother me for about a day.
Now, I'm over it.
My salt/pepper hair may age me and that's fine.
I have no plans to change it.
I am not going to rush out and have surgery.
I applaud any woman that chooses to do that and have given support to my friends who have, but it's just not for me.
I refuse to do botox.
I will not buy expensive wrinkle-erasing creams.
I refuse to chase youth.
What I will pursue is good health so I can continue to do the things I love - speed-walking, bike riding, horseback riding, hiking, dancing....and the list goes on and on.
I will continue to pursue experiences that challenge me. The last two weekends I was in a play.
It was the first one I'd done in 20 years.
I will keep writing - hopefully I have another book or two in me.
My passion for clothes, shoes and accessories isn't going away anytime soon. Neither is my love for antiques, decorating and socializing. Especially socializing - I LOVE people and making new friends.
If I am fortunate enough to live to be a ripe old age - and I sure hope I am - I won't have any need for a rocking chair.
There is still so much to see. So much to do.
So much fun to be had.
I hope you'll continue to stay with me and read about my adventures as I venture into 'old age'. HA!
The only question? At what age do I become 'too old' to be called "Hillbilly Debutante"?
Never mind. Like Scarlett O'Hara 'I'll worry about that tomorrow'.
Right now I have to go upstairs and put on my cowboy boots.
I'm goin' dancing.