Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scorpions, Oh My!

It's been really sunny and warm here these past couple of days. My day trip that I have planned for the week isn't until Sunday, so we have spent this week enjoying our new yard. We went to Walmart and replenished Summer's outdoor stuff that we had left behind in Mobile. Our neigborhood has sidewalks and we have a large concrete driveway perfect for a bike and a pair of roller skates. I really felt overindulgent when I bought her two new things in one day, but then I rationalized it by remembering that, because of our move, she didn't have much of a Christmas last year.

Today we went to the park down the road and played a little basketball and fished a little bit. We are not fishermen in this household. There were plenty of fish to be caught but we weren't catching them. We had fun trying anyway.

Austin has an abundance of whole and organic food. There are plenty of farmers markets and whole food stores here. Anyway, in our little town there is a farmers market every Wed. I had been wanting to check it out for a while and hadn't got the chance, but today after the park we rode up there to see what is was all about.

There are alot of farms where we live so I was really wanting to get some "real" meat and fresh vegetables. The selection was pretty good but being still winter the selection of veggies was mainly "winter" vegetables. The lady told me the market doesn't really kick-off until around May.

I was pleased to see a selection of fresh "homegrown" meat. I was looking for chicken but didn't see any. I ended up buying a lb of ground beef. Toby and I are curious to see if we can tell the difference in taste. Last week while doing my weekly shopping in Walmart I had to buy some "organic" chicken because they didn't have any of the cheap stuff. Summer ate it like crazy........she doesn't usually eat her meat so well. The natural food cult is slowly brainwashing me. :-)

The farmers market is held at a very small "park" in downtown Manor. It's more like an area than a park. There is only a gazebo and a covered area with some picnic tables. But today when we stopped in for the farmers market we noticed some new "equipment" there. I really wish I had my camera with me because it was almost funny to see. They called it adult playground equipment. It was made out of the same stuff they make the new playground equipment out of but it was in the form of excercise equipment......and it really worked! I really have to post some pics for you to get the true picture of what it was.

I moved to Austin to get a bigger city with more activities and ended up buying a house in a small town outside of a big city and LOVE it here. It's so nice to be able to access the best of both worlds. If I want activity, I go to Austin. If I want peace and quite I stay home. I hope one day I don't wake up and realize I have been dreaming!

I know I have been rambling but when I don't post for a couple of days I feel like I need to catch up.

Before we moved to Texas I had heard rumors of scorpions. Since we have been here we have not seen any....until today. While Toby was sweeping out the garage he spotted it. A scorpion, it was very small, about the size of a nickle or dime. Because we have never seen a scorpion out of a cage, we couldn't figure out if this was a baby or a full grown scorpion. I'm sure there are many species of them. Anyway, here is a pic of the one Toby found:

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I guess it's just in my nature to compare things. Maybe it's because I feel everything that has a good side, always has a bad side. You know, like good and evil, ying and yang, etc.

Well, I can't help but notice one of Austin's "good sides". We do alot of fast food eating and store shopping and I amazed at the friendliness and promptness of the fast food workers and cashiers here. They always have a smile and they go out of their way to be helpful. This was something that I was not accustomed to in Mobile at all. You were lucky to get your order right and you could forget about "feeling welcomed". Here you don't have to hunt down help to find an item in a store, and if they take a little longer than usual to fill your order at a fast food place they give you a coupon for a free meal along with a smile behind it.

WOW, I am totally amazed! So, I ask my realtor friend Ginny about this strange behavior. She told me that they offer incentives here for friendliness and quickness in cashiering. I would say that the incentive works!

On the flip side, for Austin to have a large spanish influence, their mexican food leaves little to be desired. Don't get me wrong.....their food is good, we just havn't found anything that matches Mobile's mexican food. Mobile is furthur from the border, but they have Austin beat in the Mexican food area. The food here is predominantly Tex-Mex. I'm hoping that one day we will find the perfect little hole in the wall "real" mexican food place.

You'll notice for every good thing I say about Austin, it will be counter-acted with a bad thing about Mobile and vice-versa.

I lived in Mobile way too long not to defend it if necessary. Many years ago, I had a good friend who left Mobile to move to a new state. After she moved she never had a good thing to say about Mobile. She was very negative about it. I always said that if I ever moved away that I would always try to remember the good things about the places I have lived....because there is always something good about everyone and everything. The ying and the yang. :-)

Photos Finally!

I have finally gotten the inside of my house to a point where I can share some inside photos with everyone. I've had a lot of friends and family wanting to see the inside of our new home. A photographer I am not, so I have done my best to capture the house itself and not my furniture.

It's really hard to photograph the inside of your home and get a realistic view of it all, but here goes:

Here is the front and the back of house.

These next two pics are of our bedroom and the bathroom off the bedroom. You can see there is a door inside of the bathroom that leads to a walk-in closet. I preferred not to post pics of the inside of my closet. :-)

The next two pics are of our living room area.

The kitchen.

Enter the study/classroom upstairs. This is my favorite room in the house. It's where I spend most of my time. I couldn't figure out how I had lost a few pounds without doing any walking....Toby reminded me of how we travel up and down stairs 100 times a day!

Also upstairs is Summer's room and a bathroom.

I just had to post this pic because besides the city skyline view from the backyard, it's my favorite view. Unfortunatley the view is from Summer's bedroom window, so I don't get to see it much. I go up there every so often and look out in hopes of seeing a mountain lion or some other creature lurking around out there. Maybe one day.

Oh, and I forgot. Here is the bathroom off of the foyer at the front door. When we first moved in I thought 3 bathrooms was too many bathrooms for a house.....but we have utilized all of them.

I hope ya'll have enjoyed my virtual tour of our home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Field Trip to the Falls

Since the weather has warmed up a little, I have been trying to plan at least one outing a week. Today we took a trip to McKinny Falls. It's just the oddest thing to me that a city can accomodate a whole "forest" inside a central city area.

The landscape around here is so different that I can't stop looking at it. It's really grassie and prairie-like, but yet there is SO much rock..limestone. I would have to say that Alabama has a much prettier landscape, but Austin's beauty seems to attract me more because of it's endless scenery that seems surround you from all corners. In Alabama you have to go "looking" for the Austin, it's in front of your face everywhere you go.

I guess it's hard to give a visual about a place. Anyway, McKinny Falls is going on my list of places to visit more than once. The falls were not as "falling" as they were suppose to be because it hasn't done much raining around here lately. There was ALOT of rock. Rock was everywhere, but the water is a really pretty green color around here.

Here are a few pics from the day:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our New Neighbors

Since our neighborhood is a new subdivision, a few of the houses are still empty. That includes the houses on each side of us. We will never have any neighbors behind us because of the greenbelt, which is fine with me.....that will cut down on the chance of having a nuisance neighbor. :-)

Anyway, last week someone started to move into the house to our left. Of course considering my last neighbor experience I was very observant as to who they were. I observed by peeping out the window whenever I got the I know what a voyeur feels like.

I could see it was a family of 2 kids...a little boy and a little girl who looked to be about Summer's age. Of course, my heart soared with the excitement that Summer may have a playmate her age!

Well, this morning our doorbell rang and it was the neighbor dad from next door wanting to climb on our roof and retrieve a frisbee that had landed on our roof. That's when we met his little girl, Leslie. She is 7 years old.

We had errands to run for the day, but when we got home Summer and I ended up meeting the new neighbors at the park up the road. The girls hit it off immediately and I enjoyed the parents company. The mom "Olivia" is spanish and her husband....I don't remember his name, is "white".

It's so nice to live in a neighborhood where you at least have the chance of having a nice neighbor.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Food For Thought

"He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought, will never be able to change reality."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Come on Ride That Train

Believe it or not we are still not totally settled in our new state yet. The things you have to do to move out of state is never ending. We still have to get our drivers licence....which we tried to do today, but didn't have 1 piece of info that we needed to complete the process. This means we will have to make another trip to the DL place to tie up that end.

And, of course we still have to find a credit union here to put our money in. After the little fiasco at closing with our credit union in Mobile we have decided it is best to have our money "close by our side". Not that we have a whole lot of money, but it seems that the money that we do have is strewn everywhere in different accounts. I would feel much better if it were all in one place. So that's another time consuming thing to conquer.

Just little details that take up precious time.

Oh, and Toby got another job so we had to move him to another shop. He found another job that is on 6th street (downtown Austin) which will be alot better for him. Since he is new to the area he needs to build his clientelle. This shop is in the center of "all the action" and has a lot of traffic. This shop will allow him to make a lot of money and meet many new potential clients. I am excited for him.

So anyway, I'm hoping that by the time spring officially hits, we can begin to see all of Austin. This city is so big that we have only seen 1/4 of it in the 2 1/2 months that we have been here. Austin is a lot like Mobile in the fact that they hibernate in the winter. Activities really begin to kick off in March when it begins to warm up.

When we went downtown today we did finally get to ride the Zilker Park train. Although it was warm, it was really windy today so of course I was cold. Matter of fact, I am beginning to think that this is just a windy city. It seems like since we have been here it's always windy. I guess there are not enough trees to cut down the wind......this will probably be a good thing in the summer months.

Here are some pics of us at Zilker.

Love and War

Let me start out by saying that the water quality here in Texas is not the greatest. There is alot of lime (from all the limestone in the area) in the water which leaves spots and a film on all your freshly washed dishes. To compensate for all of this and probably other things we don't know about yet, they load the water down with chlorine.....which makes our water very hard and it smells and taste a bit like chlorox bleach....if you were to drink bleach.

Well, my husband being the water lover that he is could not tolerate "icky" water, so he went out and bought a fairly expensive water purifying system from Home Depot. Still all good with me until he decides that he is the one that is going to install it. Hmmmmm....Toby does have a certain experience with "plumbing" from being a welder, but I'm not sure yet how extensive this job is. The house was built with a "hookup" for a water purifying sytem in a little closet inside of our bedroom.( I guess they know how bad the water is here) so that means that's where the contrapment is going to have to be.....

Still o.k. right? NOT!

Well, long story made short, my carpet barely made it through the installment. Water was spewing everywhere. Needless to say, we called the "real plumbers" and ended up paying almost $300. In matters of flooded brand new homes, it's best to pay the professionals.:-)

Toby and I hardly ever fight, but this water thing was a true test of our love for each other. In the end I felt really bad because I had really been a girl dog about the whole thing. I demeaned his need for pure water and I'm sure I made him feel very inadequate about his manly knowlege. After the trauma of it all, I apologized to him and of course as always like a "real man", he forgave me instantly.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday Food For Thought

The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well-being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually.
-Greg Anderson

Friday, February 8, 2008

Just Some Random Thoughts And A Funny Story

I probably spend WAY too much time on the computer than I should considering the city I'm in, but in truth Austin is like any other southern city. Things really don't start happening around here until March. Plus, the winter has given us time to get settled in to our new home and get to know Austin.

Now that the weather has warmed a little, I am getting excited about the festivals and events they have around here that will be starting in March. Also, Lucas will be coming for a 2 week visit during spring break in March. I really miss him. I talk to him every couple of days. He is such a smart and well adjusted boy and I am so grateful that I have a son that I can be proud of.

Well, here is the funny story. Toby didn't find it really funny when I told him but hopefully my readers will. Here goes:

Yesterday I had some old biscuits that Summer and I were chunking into the greenbelt behind us. I had Brandi, my little 5 lb dog out there with us. There were some hawks or eagles....I couldn't tell which, flying overhead. I decided to try and attract the birds with the food by throwing it into the air towards them.

I got excited because I soon noticed that the large birds were flying directly over us....then I realized that what attracted them was not the morsels of bread, but my little 5lb morsel. I quickly scooped her up and we all headed inside. Whew! That was a close one.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sick Days

The last few days have been filled with cold viruses. I guess Summer and I managed to get Toby's cold. Alas, we have all tried to make the best of it by getting some fresh air, a little rest, and as much sunshine as we can.

My plan was to make it to the Austin's Children's Museum on Tues. The first Tues. of every month is set aside for families AND you can get in for free. Due to Summer and I having colds, plans didn't turn out the way I planned. In reality we could have gone, but I really didn't think that it was a good idea to go into a children's museum with cold germs spreading them everywhere.

So, we decided to go to Zilker Park (where they film Austin City Limits is filmed) and ride the train. The train takes you for a sightseeing tour all the way around the park. I was really looking forward to doing something that would just let me sit and relax and enjoy the 80 degree day without much moving around. Unfortunately, when we got there the train was being "maintained" for the day.....figures.

So, since Summer obviously didn't feel as bad as I did, we trekked a round the park instead. At the park there is what they call the natural springs pool. It was so warm that there were a few people in there swimming. My daughter would have been one of them if she had a suit. Instead, she rolled her pants up and waded in it as much as possible. I had my camera on me in the car, but felt much to weak to trek back to the car and grab it for some winter time swimming photos.

While Summer was wading I took a few minutes to lay down on the limestone rock and absorb some of the warm sun. It's amazing what the sun can do to make you feel better. I've always called the sun "GOD". Now I know where the ancient people get the term "Sun God" from. The sun definitely has healing powers.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Beautiful Saturday

I don't know why, but this morning I woke in such a peaceful mood. Maybe because when I looked out the window the weather was perfect. The sun was shining and the temps were in the 70's. We puttered around the house for a little while and since Toby didn't have to be to work until later, we decided to go to the park down the road.

It was a little after noon when we got there. I couldn't figure out why everytime we go there, there is never many people there enjoying this beautiful park. Then I realized that Austin has Sooooo many parks and other outdoor activites to offer that people don't have to flock to one particular place for a good time.

In Mobile, there are so few family oriented things to do, that when something new comes along it is usually packed full of people. Here, there is enough activities to go around so the crowds are at a minimum.

Anyway, after enjoying the park for a while we went back to the house for some lunch. Soon, Toby left for work and Summer and I still wanted to "seize the day" so we took a walk to the end of the neighborhood where the elementary school is. The school's playground is really nice and has some playground features that I have never seen before on a playground.

On our walk back to the house I noticed there is also a neighborhood playground that I had never noticed. This place has more parks and playgrounds than I have ever seen!

Here is a pic of Summer and Brandi enjoying the backyard after we got back home.