Category Archives: The Cowgirl and the Contadina

These are stories from letters written in 1995 between Diane on a Montana cattle ranch and Joanna in a small village outside of Spoleto, Italy in the province of Umbria. Diane and Joanna had been movie and television talent agents representing such actors as Julianne Moore, Emma Thompson, Christian Bale, Stanley Tucci and the comedian Lewis Black. Both jumped ship, skedaddled, flew the coop and escaped to the country. Joanna may have gone farther miles wise, but psychically Diane was on another planet. Joanna could get to Rome in an hour and a half by train. Diane could maybe get to a Costco in that time and only when the roads were good.

Gone to the Lake

Gone to the Lake

Horsin’ Around

Horsin' Around

Rachel Zoe blouse
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Sport t shirt
modcloth.com

Ralph Lauren jacket
$705 – profilefashion.com

Gucci pants
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Fly LONDON tall boots
$215 – gravitypope.com

Frye western boots
nordstrom.com

Alice Olivia bracelet
aliceandolivia.com

Sensi Studio straw hat
$130 – mode-b.com

Winky Dink and Me

What makes us who we are?  When we are caught misbehaving who do we point fingers at?  In trying to find the culprits involved in shaping my persona, I have previously examined the children’s show “Andy’s Gang” with it’s rascally thing called “Froggy the Gremlin” who appeared when Andy Devine declared “Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy.”  Lot of Freud couch time for that expression.

Today I will examine another TV show called “Winky Dink and You“.

Each week there was some sort of puzzle to figure out by completing the picture on the TV.  And each week you would help Winky Dink complete a mission.  You could do this if you purchased the magic Winky Dink drawing screen which turned out to be a piece of vinyl plastic that you put on the TV screen.  Then you took the magic crayon that came with it and drew on the TV.  An example would be Winky Dink needing a bridge to cross a river.  You would draw the bridge.  This seems to be one of the first examples of interactive games on something like a TV.

More often than not, the kids could not get there parents to fork over the dough for the magic screen.  And I too could not convince my parents of the necessity of the screen.  Times were supposedly good and idyllic back in the 1950s, but my Dad did not make a lot of money.  We were always told that we couldn’t afford this or that.  But somehow he managed to take flying lessons.  But that’s another part of the puzzle to be looked at later.

In this instance, it may have been that the whole Winky Dink thing was stupid and our parents just did not want to participate in this consumer scam.  But we had a way of getting around this.  Mom’s lipstick seemed to be a very good substitute for the magic crayon.  And why did you need a magic piece of plastic when you could just draw on the TV screen?

A lot of kids, I hear, got whacked for drawing on the brand new TV especially the not so bright ones who used permanent ink instead of something that could be easily wiped off.   I too received a bit of scolding.  But at least my father agreed that he didn’t see the need to purchase some thingamajig when we could maybe use waxed paper.But that wasn’t great.  We tried holding up a piece of glass while one of us used the crayon.  But that was way too much labor for the not very interesting puzzle anyway.  I vaguely recall that we finally got our 50¢ Winky Dink Kit and also recall become immediately bored with it.

I think there must have been a lot of complaints from parents and that might have been one of the reasons it went off the air.  But it was another example for me anyway of ways to not follow the rules and to invent a way around the system.  It was much more fun and creative than the actual kit.  And my Dad helped.    Disobedience, as Martha would say, is a good thing.

Pioneering the Martha Stewart Way

Nope, I’m not a Pioneer Woman.  I may be somewhat of a pioneer in my business life, but in my domestic life it’s Martha Stewart I turn to and not to the butter and bacon Pioneer Woman of the Food Network.

So last night I invited some friends over to watch Larry David’s “Clear History” on HBO with an out of this world comic turn by Michael Keaton proving he is still one of the most unique comic talents around.

I made her Quinoa Salad with Zucchini, Mint and Pistachios in the September issue of “Living”.  We served it with my husband’s potato and onions with his secret rub (Ok, it’s Sirracha and Smoked Paprika), and a Thomas Keller rubbed pork tenderloin from his “Ad Hoc at Home”.   I had purchased the zucchini, fresh potatoes right out of the ground, and onions from the Hutterites who sell produce in town every Saturday. P1000848

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The mint was from the garden.  Pistachios from the Community Co-op.  I served Martha’s Pistachio and Strawberry Semi Freddo for dessert. Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Welcome to my world.  It’s as Schizo as ever.

Mowing the Lawn the Cowboy Way

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A week or so ago the lawn mower died.  What to do when the lawn mower blows up?  “Buy a new one?” I asked.  “Or maybe get a high school kid to come mow? “

Rancher husband shakes his head “No” to both.

“How about I call “Down to Earth” yard guys?”

Mr. No strikes again.

So I wake up and there has appeared magically a rope across the yard and our three horses are now munching the grass.  Trouble is that in that week’s time when the grass grew, the weeds grew faster.  Finicky horses don’t like the weeds so the result is not exactly the well manicured suburban lawn or even that tidy of tidy ranch wives’ lawn on “The Pioneer Woman”.

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Now I am not a neat freak, but the backyard looks like crap, literally.  The grass is chewed down well enough, but besides the tall weeds there is a whole lot of  horse poop.  So this is not a lawn you’d want to roll around in with your dog let alone have a lawn party.  My whole “Out of Africa” kind of vibe I had going is shot. (Yes, I see myself more like Meryl Streep than Ree Drummond.  And I’m more inspired by Martha Stewart and Bobby Flay than the local church cookbook.

I’m looking forward to Rancher husband’s (should I call him Bud Lite Guy like Pioneer Woman’s Marlboro Man?”) next idea.

A Word, A Place, A Smell, A Taste

Chanel №5

One of my favorite bloggers on the site “Naked Capitalism” is “from Mexico”.  On June 4, 2013, he commented on the protests in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey.  “How,” he asks “do these places like Taksim Square get transformed into sacred spaces, taking on such immense symbolic significance and becoming larger than life? And even more surprising, this occurs to secularists.”

He refers to the historian of religion, Mircea Eliade and his theory that “sacredness is irrepressible”.  Even atheists have privileged places different from others.  Those are places where first loves occurred or the first time one visits a foreign city.  It can be a book or your grandpa’s farm.

Last night a friend said that she was standing in line in a grocery store and a man behind her dressed in a natty tweed sports coat with salt and pepper hair softly said, “Ah, Channel Number 5.”

Surprised she turned and said, “How did you know?”

“Ah,” he sighed, “the first woman I fell in love with wore it.”

What are your sacred places, tastes or smells?

feralcatoffreedom:

More on the politics of beer in Montana. Politics and beer have been joined together since the beginning of our country. Remember the Whiskey Rebellion? There’s a good book on the history of the saloon period from 1870-1920 called “Faces Along the Bar” by Madelon Powers. People who say they loves their freedoms turn around and like to control other people’s ability to brew their own brew. They also seek to control people’s leisure time. It’s an old story.

Originally posted on 4&20 blackbirds:

by jhwygirl

Major rumbling began maybe 2 weeks ago – a bill designed to kill Montana craft breweries as we know it. Lizard, though, I should point out, gave us the foreboding preview back in February with his The Politics of Beer post. HB616 has been put forth by Great Falls Rep. Roger Hagan at the request of the Montana Tavern Association.

The fiscal note has a pretty plain language summary of the bill. It does significantly change the licensing fee for breweries and it changes production limits such that virtually all current “small breweries” would then be reclassified with higher licensing costs, jumping from $200 to $100,000.

The hearing was held today in House Business & Labor. The room was packed, with proponents of the bill largely being bar and tavern owners. One proponent of this bill stood out – Big Sky Brewing located right here in Missoula.

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