Monday, December 12
9:00 a.m. The radio hosts at 93.7 FM segued from bolos (as in bolo ties) to “BOGOs” (buy one get one [free]). Only in Texas...
4:00 p.m. While waiting to get ¢.25 cent bagels at the Brooklyn Café, Aidan and I sat at a table playing Scrabble on my iPhone. I looked up and pointed out that his paternal grandmother would like the assortment of bears decorating the space above the refrigerator (since she collects them). Just below the bears is a banner that reads: “God bless our troops. Please keep them safe. They are great.” The only recognition of Chanukah is in the form of a small cloth embroidered with the words "Happy Hanukah." It rests just to the left of a small Christmas tree. This place might be called The Brooklyn Café, but it's a far cry from Brooklyn.
Tuesday, December 13
10:00 a.m. After drop-off, I turned on 93.7 to see what the radio hosts were up to today. I tuned into heated discussion about a Levi’s commercial called “Go Forth,” featuring a guy approaching a row of police, obviously challenging them in protest.
The radio hosts were appalled by this ad and said that “those [expletives] need to [respect our policemen] and abide by the U.S. Constitution!” He said some other choice words about liberal Democrats, which I’ll refrain from using, and added, “This makes me want to wear Levi’s even less now... I like to wear Wrangler and Clutch.” The guy who sounds like Minnie Pearl (or Mrs. Doubtfire, according to David), said, “What about Jordache jeans? Remember them?” Minnie Pearl to the rescue. S/he's great at changing the subject.
Talk about the great divide. San Francisco is the founding city of Levi’s. Wrangler is a southern brand, originating in Tennessee and is now based in North Carolina. Out of curiosity, I did a bit of research and finally learned why Wranglers are so popular with cowboys:
- In the 1940s, Blue Bell (the original manufacturer) employed Bernard Lichtenstein (“Rodeo Ben”), a Jewish tailor from Poland who worked closely with cowboys, to help design jeans suitable for rodeo use. This was the origin of Wrangler Jeans.
- In 1946, Blue Bell workers take part in a contest to give the jeans a brand name. The winning name is Wrangler, synonymous with the name for a working cowboy.
- 1947: Wrangler Jeans features several innovations aimed particularly at cowboys: Felled outseams and inseams, rear pockets positioned for comfort in the saddle...
- 1974: The Pro Cowboys Association of America (PRCA) officially endorses Wrangler Jeans.
Isn’t it ironic that both Wrangler and Levi Strauss jeans were designed by European Jews? If the radio hosts of 93.7 were aware of this, they’d have a field day...
Wednesday, December 14
4:00 p.m. I just transported two rather soggy boys from school. They’d gone to the skating rink, a temporary structure created just for the winter holidays. Because it reached a balmy 80 degrees today (very unusual, even for Texas), the rink was covered with puddles of water. Still, Aidan had a blast. Noah, on the other hand, said that he couldn’t even stand up straight because his ankles are so overly flexible (i.e., wobbly), even with the help of an “ice scooter.” Seems he’ll be sticking to land sports.
Thursday, December 15
10:00 a.m. The weather forecast for today is the same as yesterday—a very humid 80 degrees. The trees have suddenly changed color (those that still have leaves), making it look like a beautiful fall day, only it’s the middle of December!
11:00 a.m. I went to pick up a prescription after dropping it off earlier and thought I would try the drive-thru just to see what it was like. There were two entrances, which confused me, because I wondered how the one away from the pick-up window could possibly work. Turns out there’s a mini elevator-type thing that transports credit cards and prescriptions to and fro. It goes up and around, then magically comes back to you with your little goodie bag. Pretty nifty invention, I must say. Still, it was kind of surreal going to a store without having any direct human contact.
Between drive thrus for coffee, food, gas, prescriptions and school car lines, I realized could basically spend the entire day glued to my car seat. Doesn’t really help build a sense of community (or gluteal muscles, for that matter). Honestly, I’d rather walk, interact with people in person, carry my groceries, and walk back home.
11:00 a.m. After running several errands, it was clear that it didn't matter where we were; Izzie needed a walk. While we were technically still in the The Woodlands (albeit the outskirts), it looked like we'd entered an entirely different realm.
The first house we passed had a soggy floral-patterend couch in the middle of the yard and a dresser on the front porch. Several others had abandoned cars, trucks and campers littering their properties. I even saw an empty Budweiser can in a paper bag on the ground. How's that for cliché?
I did pass one interesting place, however, a ranch house-turned-pet bird shop. A man wearing an army fatigue cap was walking out when he saw Izzie and me and asked if we wanted to come in, so I figured I’d be polite and take a look. (He suggested I leave Izzie outside in a large, empty bird cage but I politely declined.)
When we walked into the room where most of the birds were kept, we were met with a cacophony of deafening squawks. As we left, one bird yelled, “Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye!" until we were out of ear shot.
Friday, December 16
2:30 p.m. Over the course of just one day, the kids and I spotted a whopping 20 cars with antlers and a Rudolph nose, including one with bells around the antlers, and another with stocking caps on them. This sort of car adornment seemed festive at first, but now that we’ve seen them all over the place, the novelty has worn off to the point where I wouldn’t be opposed to my sons bringing their Nerf guns out for a ride and taking aim at those felted antlers that are overpopulating the roadways. Bah humbug (or rather, Hummerbug).
Before I bid you adieu, I want to share a photo of something that caught my eye while walking with Izzie and the boys at the reserve. While much of The Woodlands is carefully planned and contrived, this swirly tree branch has diverged from the straight and narrow path of its wooded counterparts. It's completely fo' real, a natural work of art: