To Every Season

Fall 2019

I’ve yet to see any trees turn those gorgeous reds, oranges and yellows that they sometimes do — that is, when we’re lucky. Even during our showiest strut of autumn, though, our Texas landscapes can never touch the vivid display of color that my friend River at Riversworld gets in Maine. Also, who wants to decorate for fall or Halloween when it’s in the 90’s outside? So we didn’t; again, I’m ashamed to say. Yet, the day before Halloween, we got our first freeze of the season. We went from the 90’s down to freezing in pretty much a blink of the eye.

Instead of kids looking for candy, Mother Nature came knocking at our door disguised as a Blue Norther and said, “Trick or treat, my pretties. MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!”

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So here’s what’s been going on in our neck of the woods —

The State Fair of Texas came and went without fanfare; i.e., I didn’t get to attend again this year. David and Ryan could care less about going. Alas, my State Fair days may be over. 🙁

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A Dallas restaurant that’s been around for 47 years, the original Spaghetti Warehouse located in the West End area, which I suppose makes it practically an institution, closed its doors for good on the same day the State Fair wrapped up. David, Ryan and I went downtown on Wednesday to pay our last respects.

It had been awhile since we dined at The Spaghetti Warehouse.

We chose Wednesday to go because the next day, POTUS was coming into Dallas for a rally and there was no way we were going to try and drive through the traffic mess that happens wherever he is. We also considered going on Friday. However, driving downtown on Friday or the weekend is about as much fun as driving during rush hour. No thanks!

Ryan has a thing for restaurants and nostalgia and this restaurant had nostalgia in spades. For one thing, before it was an eatery, once upon a time, this building housed a pillow factory. Also, somehow or another, the owners got Stephen F. Austin’s brass bed (headboard and footboard) and turned it into a booth. That’s the story, anyway. They also had an antique trolley car (from East Dallas, apparently) that you could eat in if you want.

When we pulled into its parking lot, we discovered that it was a paid lot. (We were downtown, so of course it was.) Lucky for us, as we were driving in, someone else was driving out and a nice man gave us his paid ticket to place in our window if we wanted since he was finished using it.

What a sweet guy, saving us a few bucks.

As we sat waiting to get a table, one couple told another couple that this restaurant was where they’d had their first date back in 1972. Someone else remarked that while a lot of restaurants eventually brought in nostalgia or that industrial look into their spaces, Spaghetti Warehouse was one of the first to do this in Dallas. All were sad to see it shut down. While I don’t have a great tale about eating there, my brother Richard ate there back in the 70’s. I’ll have to ask him about it the next time he’s in town. Since it’s inception as a restaurant, the area surrounding SW has become a tourist hot spot for out-of-towners. Now, time is marching on without it.

All I know is that my son laments when restaurants upgrade their interiors to look more modern and forego that nostalgic look and feel. Or worse, when they shut down altogether. I try and comfort him by telling him that one of these days, that nostalgic decor he loves so much will come back into style; and who knows, maybe some of those old restaurants that have called it quits might re-open. You never know. (Of course, probably not in our lifetime, unfortunately; but I leave that part out.) Anyway, Ryan’s going to miss Spaghetti Warehouse.

When our food came out, I remembered why we don’t/didn’t eat there very often. The food looks and tastes like it came from freezer pouches that were heated up and put on a plate. It would not surprise me at all if that’s exactly how they “cook” at least some of their Italian fare. The food just didn’t taste freshly prepared. Plus, they had a very limited menu, which made sense during their last week; but it was disappointing that they didn’t have what I was wanting on the menu.

I have no idea what this building’s next reincarnation is going to be. Neither did our waitress. She said that when the building sold, they were given just six days to vacate. Period. It had been crazy busy since then. Ry thinks that they’re going to auction off pieces like the brass bed and the trolley car and the stained glass windows. He loves that kind of stuff. It’s times like these when I wish I had a huge income and I could buy a piece of restaurant history for Ryan. Maybe in another life.

As we got to our car to leave, we found a $50 parking fine on our windshield because the ticket in our car window didn’t match the numbers on our license plate. I’m not positive, but I think we may have been set up by the “sweet guy;” and like fools, we took the bait.

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On a much happier note — over the last week or so, we got word that David and I are going to be great grandparents in the spring. This will be our first great grandbaby! Awesome!

Also, this week, we welcomed our newest grandson. He makes nine and his initials spell out MEH. At least it won’t be hard for him to live up to his potential based upon his initials. I didn’t ask his parents if they thought through this name business, but he is the cutest little grandbaby since our last grandbaby. And he is strong! Gotta love Skype or whatever it is that we use so we can actually see our out-of-town grandkids grow week-to-week!

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We attended a wonderful wedding out in the middle of BFE, Texas. Seriously. It was a good thing Ryan was with us. I was worried that we’d get lost because Ryan decided that he knew a faster way to get to the tiny town of Penelope than the directions Google provided. You know what? Ryan was right. As always. Why did I ever doubt him? Lest I forget, Ryan is a human GPS. He’s been so for about 20 years now. We arrived at the church right on time.

BTW, the bride and groom make a gorgeous couple, and we have nothing but well wishes and blessings for them!

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Dad was in the hospital with bronchitis a couple of weeks ago. But he’s home now. Other than a stubborn cough, he’s feeling much better.

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On Halloween, we took Ry and a couple of his friends out for dinner at Pappadeaux’s. They picked the restaurant and we went along with it. Can I help it if it just so happens to be one of my favorite restaurants as well? We had a frightfully good time and Lauren got to join us! Even David splurged on dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives. I do love me some blue cheese stuffed olives marinated in vodka martinis. David shared his with me because I was the designated driver. Because there was an issue with one of our orders, management bought dessert for our entire table. How unnecessary but incredibly kind and delightful. Creme brulee and pumpkin cheesecake for all! Yum!

Today, David informed me that one of Ryan’s friends who wasn’t able to make it on Halloween, is now ready to meet for dinner this week — at Pappadeaux’s. He doesn’t want to eat anywhere else because we’d invited him to Pappadeaux’s. Autism. You gotta love it. So apparently, we’re eating there two weeks in a row! Am I lucky or what? Woo Hoo!

I hope everyone had a groovy and ghoulish Halloween!

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Today, of course, we fell back an hour to standard time.

So what did everyone do with their extra hour? Write an extra page or two? Sleep in? Party an hour longer? At our house, we called the police and waited as they canvased our neighborhood.

After about 30 minutes, the officers came by to tell us they couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary.

We’d been watching TV (binging on the new Jack Ryan) when we distinctly heard the sound of a single gunshot coming from outside. We paused the TV and just listened. When Buddy went to our front room window and started growling a low, angry growl a minute or two after the gunshot, that’s when we called the police. I don’t know who was doing what during the middle of the night, but all of a sudden, I felt vulnerable and I wasn’t about to let my husband go outdoors and scream, “Who’s out there?”

The police actually used a search light to shine onto the houses and bushes as they slowly drove up and down several streets in our area. Then they stopped by to tell us not much other than they found…nothing. I’m hoping we don’t find out in the next few days that something foul happened to one of our neighbors.

I can’t seem to shake the sound of that one, single gunshot —POP! I guess that’s better than hearing several gunshots, though, or having a bullet zing past us through our window. Also, I’m truly grateful that the police were willing to come out and take a quick look. Anyway, that’s how we spent our extra hour.

If I get any updates on the gunshot, I’ll let y’all know.

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The day’s finally arrived when Popeye’s making everyone wait in line again for their sandwich re-launch. BTW, it’s National Sandwich Day if anyone’s interested. Also, since it’s Sunday, Chick-fil-et is closed. My, my, my — how the sandwich war plot thickens! I was willing to wait in the double line that extended out into the street at Popeye’s to try their sandwich since I missed it the last time. David wasn’t. Maybe we’ll try again tomorrow. If there’s any sandwiches left. Instead we got a bucket of KFC for dinner. It was meh.

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Anyway, it’s time to pull out my winter clothes because we went straight from summer to winter. I forgot how quickly our house can cool down and remain cold, even when the weather outside warms up a little. For instance, it was in the low 70’s outside today, but not in our house. I don’t know what the real temp inside was, but it felt like it was in the 40’s. However, that’s been the case over the last few days since we had our freeze — it’s felt warmer outside than inside. At least blue skies and bright sunshine warmed the outdoors.

Inside? Well, yesterday, Lauren visited and asked why it was so brutally cold in our house. We were sitting in the living room watching TV while she did laundry. She turned me on to Britain’s Great Baking Show and Godless and I turned her on to Evil as we shivered under blankets trying to get warm and stay that way.

I told her I think our house picked up a demon somewhere along the way. We couldn’t quite see our breath, but another degree or two colder and I’m sure we would have. Anyway, yeah, a house demon. That’s the only thing I can think of to explain the chill that apparently won’t go away. Brrrr…

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And that’s the news from the James’ household — where all the members are friendly-ish, all the cats purr, and the dog’s tail wags with hope and joy — despite the frigid air and/or house demon. Hope all is well with you and yours! Stay safe and warm, my friends, and don’t forget to —

Sparkle on in your own wayward style,

Mona

PS ~ Mom, I miss you so much! It’s been three years too long since you’ve been gone.

PPS ~ Music, of course —

26 thoughts on “To Every Season”

  1. I didn’t do anything for Halloween, either. It’s been hot in San Diego too and I’ve been in a funk anyway. Devoting more attention to school is a necessity and my grades are already improving, but doing nothing but homework, housework, and job searching is sooooooo boring. I’m hoping to be a little more festive come Christmas, when school will be over and I can do something fun without worrying about playing academic catch-up for a month.

    Are you sure it was a gunshot and not a firecracker? The kids in the apartment complex next to ours sometimes throw these nasty firecrackers over the fence trying to set off car alarms. I’ve never heard a firecracker so loud! And I’ve heard a lot of different firecrackers come Fourth of July and New Years (considering I live in a rural ghetto area and blowing things up is the only fun thing to do). They sound like a gas main explosion, I swear. Scared the bejeezuz out of me and Pup the first time we heard it. I hope it was something like that and not an actual gunshot.

    • Adie,
      It did sound like a firecracker; except it was only one “Pop.” So I don’t think it was firecrackers. It wasn’t a car backfiring either. There’s no doubt in my mind that it was a gunshot. Buddy’s reaction at our window only reinforces that. There was someone out there, who clearly was running away. I wish the police had caught whoever it was. How much longer until you get your degree? I had a love/hate relationship with school. I loved learning. I hated deadlines. Math? Not so much. Everything else, I truly enjoyed. 🙂 It’ll be over soon. Hang in there, my friend! I’m proud of you…oh, and don’t let the bugs bite! Mona

      • There are firecrackers that only do one loud explosion, but I’ll take your word for it since you were there and I wasn’t. That’s so scary! At least it seems like no one turned up hurt (otherwise I’m sure you would have updated us, because that would be even MORE scary).

        Funny you should ask about school, because I just learned that in order to qualify for my dietitian certification I’ll need a Master’s degree, not a Bachelor’s like I originally thought. They changed the requirements and the new rules go into effect exactly one year before I would be able to take my certification exam. So, that’s going to add an extra year or two at least. If I really bust my ass taking full course loads each semester and don’t fail anything, and the stars align that I get into my top choice schools for my undergrad and grad programs on first application, I should be done with school and ready to take my certification exam in SIX YEARS. I’m… so excited at the prospect.

        • Adie,
          OH MY GOD! Six more years? I’m so sorry. But I have faith in you! You can do it and it will be worth it in the end. Are there firecrackers with only one loud pop? That doesn’t sound like much fun. I hope that’s all it was because you’re right…in this case, no news is good news. Have a great week ahead, my friend! Mona

          • I really hope so. I’m so sick of school. I wish I could go back in time and destroy all of 18-21 year old me’s video games and tell her to go to effing class!

  2. You had me hopping along a restaurant memory lane and slurping spaghetti – until the gun shot. Ye gads, please give us an update when you have one! Hopefully all the neighbors will be atypically talkative for the next few days …. yikes!

    • Lille,
      Sorry about that! I hope you didn’t choke while you were slurping. It was so late at night, I suspect that most of our neighbors were asleep. I’ll ask around though and report back! ~ M

  3. Enjoy your repeat trips to Pappadeaux’s! Haha, good thing you like it there. Any other rule-oriented folks who didn’t make it and must be taken there again? At least they’re not insisting on the Spaghetti Warehouse (former insane asylum? You weren’t kidding when you called it an institution were you)!
    Also, my mom died three years ago too. Hugs. <3

  4. I love Pappadeaux’s! Whenever I go home to Colorado, I take the opportunity to eat there as we don’t have them in Canada (At least not where I live). Bet you are never disappointed with freezer burned cardboard tasting food, am I right? We binged Season 2 of Jack Ryan this weekend too as it was rainy, foggy MEH weather here this weekend. Thanks for the great post!
    Raegan

    • Hey Raegan,
      I’m glad you enjoy Pappadeaux’s and Jack Ryan, too! As to cardboard-tasting food — it’s one thing to choose to eat it at my house; but to go out to eat and pay extra for that same pleasure? No thanks. Rainy, foggy MEH weather is perfect for snuggling under covers and reading! Or binge-watching! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, my friend! Stay warm. BTW, I loved your latest post! It really got me to thinking. Mona

  5. Grandkids AND greatgrandkids?! I’m so jealous. Also, how does a restaurant that serves such crappy food become so popular? Then again, there’s MacDonald’s…(although I do love their fries).

    • Suzanne,
      So Lauren is only six weeks older than my oldest grandson (they’re both 29). He’s the one who is now married and expecting with his charming wife! Our youngest grandchild is less than a month old. That’s a heck of a spread in ages! I love them all! Also, agreed…McDonald’s fries are the best! 🙂

  6. Lovely update, lovely life! I live on ten acres in the woods so it’s easy to forget Halloween altogether because no kids come by. At least I don’t have leftover candy to tempt me, which it would right now, I am absolutely sure. And I would give in!
    Sorry about the gunshot scare. There was a real murder last week in the neighborhood I used to live in, about ten miles from here. It happened three doors down from one of my tennis buddies! Crime tape, the whole bit. Scary stuff. I hope yours turns out to have been a firecracker!
    Congrats on the great grandbaby!! Super exciting!! I get to see my two granddaughters who live in Vermont soon – they are coming for Thanksgiving 🙂

    • Patricia,
      Yep, that would be scary to find out one of our neighbors was murdered. I can’t even imagine. You sound like you live in your very own corner of paradise! You and your lovely chickens! Thanks for the congrats! I can’t wait for Thanksgiving, either! Is it getting chilly there yet? 🙂

  7. 27 here tonight but 65 during the days. I covered my rosemary with a brown paper bag overnight 🙂 I want it to survive!
    As far as paradise, yes in its own way. But I have always thought that when you are with or near people you love, that’s as close as we get to paradise, so the actual location, not so important. There are countless amazingly beautiful places. The people are what matter to me 🙂

  8. As someone who works every Saturday night, that’s how I spent my extra hour. And since Clock Slave Savings Time messes with the space-time continuum, employer timeclocks have more than a little difficulty recording exactly how long we employees actually worked that night… so it’s always a fun and suspenseful week to see when and if that “extra” hour gets credited to our punch log… can you tell I’m not a fan?

  9. We had a very cold Halloween night with few trick or treaters at the door. I was bummed because I do like a good spooky October 31. I used my extra hour of time to sleep. I cannot imagine doing other wise, but to each his or her own. I didn’t know The Spaghetti Warehouse was still around. Your food review is exactly why I thought they were long gone. Nothing more to add here, other than to say I like your term friendly-ish. I think I may be just that.

  10. Well I did nothing for Halloween except for try to stay alive…..UGH the Flu tried to kill me…. Woke up on Halloween not feeling great but not too horrible no real biggie, went off to work and by 1PM I had a fever so bad I was sitting at my desk shivering and shaking uncontrollably . Luckily the assignment I’m on I go in at 7 and get off at 3:30 so I could at least beat the San Diego rush hour and get home so I could crawl into bed…WRONG…worse traffic in months, what has been an hour to an hour 15 minute commute turned into 2 hours and 45 minutes….it was 85 outside and I was in my car with my sweater on and the heater blasting trying to get somewhat warm and not shivering to death, dying for a sip of water and an aspirin for my head that was splitting apart…..not the best Halloween I’ve had, but at lease no one was shooting at me…

    • Hey Moonsongsd,
      My daughter had the flu earlier in the year too! I hate the flu. I’ve been trying to get a flu shot. Apparently, my doctor’s office doesn’t carry it so I’ll need to go to one of the grocery store pharmacies. I keep forgetting to do that, though. Face it, I’m a mess. Anyway, I’m glad you survived and that the worst is over. Hopefully, the rest of this upcoming holiday season will find you warm, well, and no one’s target (I only said that because you said that at least no one was shooting at you and I hope that continues on.) Take care, my friend! Mona
      P.S. Do you prefer to be called Moonsongsd on future posts or can I call you by your first name? I’ll respect whatever you choose. 🙂

  11. Call me anything you like but late for dinner! I pretty much answer to anything and have no preference. Debbie is fine, mothership works as well and my kitties know me as the old fat one. 🙂

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