Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meet Manor...pronounced (MAY-nor)

As I have noted before, I really love being conveniently located to the great city called Austin, but every now and then I find some little jewels in my own backyard. One of my favorite things about living in Manor is the tranquility. 20 years ago this would not have appealed to me, now it's a basic necessity.

I also love the long and winding vastness of the farm roads here. Driving along, I feel like I could go on forever in peaceful bliss along the seemingly never ending roads. I now know why my father loved the act of driving.

The other day I had to get out to get our yearly emissions test done on our car. It was a gloomy, overcast and a very cold day. The test was located only a couple of miles down the road. I figured since I had gotten dressed just to go out in the freezing cold for a 15 minute emissions test I would take my camera and make use of my outing by trying to do some sightseeing of some of the areas in Manor that I have not yet ventured.

My little sidekick does not have the same opinion of the Sunday afternoon drive as I do. From the beginning of the drive she kept wanting to know where we were going. She does not get just driving around to "look". She believes there should always be a destination.

Well I actually did have a destination. There have been a few movies filmed in Manor. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of them. Out of curiosity I felt the need to see the locations in person.

I am not typically a gory movie watching kind of person but I do remember watching the original one from 1974 at the insistence of my first boyfriend, Duncan. Back then movies weren't as gory as they make them now but I do remember it being pretty on the edge kind of scary.

Thinking back, I can remember at the young age of 17 going to stay with my aunt and uncle in Sequin (right outside San Antonio, Texas) and being scared at night because the area reminded me so much of Texas Chainsaw Massacre landscape. Right out in the middle of nowhere I had visions of a crazy chainsaw man lurking about in the prickly pear. Little did I know at the time I was just 50 short miles or so from the filming location.

I headed north in Manor towards one of the filming locations of Texas Chainsaw. The run-down old building is actually a BBQ restaurant. From my understanding it is only open Friday and Saturday and holds true to the dark, dreary atmosphere as depicted in the movie. I also understand the barbecue is very good and is served to you on butcher paper. I sure want to try this place out one day.....but not alone.

Here is a pic of Cele's:

Rewind....on the way to Cele's I noticed a church in the distance. It took me a while to figure out how to get to the church but I finally made it. I'm not really a religious person but I do appreciate architecture. This is the New Sweden Lutheran Church in New Sweden:

Nearby the church there was a group of cows that kept Summer and Brandi (the dog) entertained: You could tell the cows didn't get much company out on that lonely road.

A couple miles from my house is the famous water tower that Leonardo DiCaprio climbed on in the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape".....which was a very good movie I might add, if you haven't seen it. Leonardo DiCaprio celebrated his 18th birthday in Manor....I'm sure that was a big Whoop for him. ;-) My pic is a little dark but here it is.

I enjoyed my "Sunday afternoon drive" but I think Summer was a little glad to get back to civilization. :-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered…not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I have seen the 25 Random Things About Me "game" played through out the past couple of years of being an Internet junkie. Of all the crap stuff I get online I never had an invitation to play 25 Random Things.

The game has always intrigued me...insights that help you get to know another person better.

Toby has always accused me of being nosy. When I first meet someone I always ask a lot of personal questions....I guess it may seem nosy to some people, but my motive is to get to know that person a little better and develop a relationship with them....isn't that why we are here in the first place? Not to pretend we are someone we are not, but to let another person see your soul, to love, to connect.

Recently, I was reminded about the Random Things game on Facebook. I got to thinking about a friend of mine who confessed she could not think of 25 random things about herself. I thought how true this is of most of us. People really don't know least not in an intimate way.

So my motive is to get to know myself in a public way.

Here are my 25 Random Things About Me:

1. I hate crowds.

2. I like my privacy.

3. I like to use curse words and find no remorse in doing so.

4. I like a dog that licks my feet, hands, etc. anything but my face or mouth area.

5. I am a slight bit prejudiced....and who isn't if they are completely honest.

6. I have a fear of vomiting.

7. I have a secret desire to own a very expensive with power.

8. I get bored very easily.

9. I hate to be interupted by anyone or anything, if I am busy doing something.

10. I have a short temper.

11. I don't really like children...except for my own.

12. I love and appreciate my parents more than I would ever tell them or anyone.

13. I don't feel like I have done as good a job as I could have raising my kids.

14. I cry when I watch certain episodes of Oprah and Dr. Phil or see beautiful sunsets.

15. I hate loud music unless I am alone in the car or at home.

16. I love to sightsee, almost causing myself to wreck if I am driving.

17. I am very critical.

18. My feet get hot easily..therefore I always wear flip-flops and hardly ever wear socks.

19. I have a desire to pinch or hurt the things I my husband, my childrens's toes, small animals, etc.

20. Love walking in the woods or nature trails.

21. Love to take VERY hot baths.

22. Wish that sometimes I were single and had no responsibilties like kids or husbands...only just for a selfish second.

23. Regret 80% of the decisions I have made in my past.

24. Hope to travel to South America one day.

25. Am a closet smoker.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Some Things "New"

Well we finally purchased a second vehicle....A Toyota 4Runner. Toby had seen the add last week and thought it may be promising and within our price range. Thankfully, it ended up being a little less than what we had anticipated to spend.

Toby has always been a TOYOTA fan. When I first met him he owned a black Toyota Celica. As for me, I don't care what "brand" it is as long as it gets me from point A to B.

Here are some pics of the new ride...ironically, it is also a black Toyota.

Nothing fancy for sure, but it serves the purpose, it's paid for, and it will get us from point A to B....who are we trying to impress anyway.

Summer also gained a new "toy' this was also black.

Saturday night we stopped in to the new local Pizza and Wings establishment in Manor. Outside the establishment was this man...

For $5 and entry he was raffling off a guitar...

Let me was no professional raffle. He instructed me to write my name on his donation box with my phone number. It didn't really matter to me. Selfishly, my whole purpose in even striking up a conversation with this man was to get a pic of him. I find it odd that people tend to just gather anywhere and do anything they want around here and nobody seems to find it "odd"...but me, of course.

In the end, Summer ended up winning the guitar...I'm sure it's because I was the only one that entered the raffle. I guess she is really good at manifesting what she wants. She has been wanting a guitar for a while now.

Here she is with her new musical instrument. She actually does pretty well on it even though she has never had any instruction whatsoever...

As for me, I am just thankful that I now have an extra car that sits in my driveway if I need it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Grackle Fest!

When I first moved to Austin there were a lot of things that were different from the area I came from. It's strange how just half a day away topography, animal and plant life, people and ways of life can change noticeably...or maybe I just noticed it more because I had never ventured very far out of my Alabama Gulf Coast area.

But this bird....this bird called a Grackle, there is no way you could not notice this bird. His "call" is one that will make you stop, look, and listen. My son says it sounds electrical...I tend to agree. They are very prominent here in Austin hanging out in swarms in parking lots of shopping centers, the downtown area and every area in between.

At one point Summer and I did a little research on the Grackle for "school". In my research I found they are indigenous to the whole Southeast area. In my 40 plus years of living in the Southeast I have NEVER not once seen this particular bird.
Either way, they seem to be here to stay in Austin.

Today while out and about they seemed to be having a big Grackle party in the Tech Ridge shopping center. Luckily I had my camera on me and snapped some pics of their "party". I'm sure the pics will do their gathering no justice but maybe it will give you just a peek...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pictures in the Clouds

I really miss the trees and the tropical foliage of the Deep South, but to each yin there is a yang. The yang (or yin) of living here is there are not many trees, especially tall ones.....and ESPECIALLY in the farming community that I live in. Therefore, no tall trees obstructing vision means you can see how big the sky really is, how many stars there really are, and how beautiful a sunset and sunrise is.

Maybe it's because I can see more of the sky that I notice some of the prettiest cloud formations that I have ever seen. I walk out every evening as the sun is going down to see what kind of formations there are.

The other day I walked out to throw some trash in my outside garbage. I looked up into the evening sky to check out the clouds before I walked back inside.

The cloud creation was perfect! I had to run upstairs and full force speed and grab my camera off of my computer desk only to find out the batteries were drained in my camera from Summer using it to do video documentaries.

I then raced back downstairs and scrounged around for new batteries to insert into my camera. I finally got my camera under control and ran back outside in hopes that our gale force winds had not blown the "figure" into oblivion. Luck was on my is what I captured:

Hopefully everyone else sees what I least my daughter and husband did.

The really odd thing about it is, just the night before I saw the formation I had dreams of birds flying around my head.....I wonder what the significance of birds are????

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Wedding Ring

In November 2002 as my mother lay on her deathbed, my dad slid her wedding ring off her finger and handed it to me. It was a really strange feeling. In the years growing up I would go through my mom's jewelry box and find all sorts of treasures. The rings always fascinated me the most. I would ask, "Can I wear this ring?" The answer would always be, "No, you might lose it".

Looking back I do remember one ring incident. I was probably about Summer's age or maybe even younger. She had let me wear one of her childhood rings. I was so young I don't remember all the details, but I do remember the ring got stuck on my finger and it had to be "cut" off of my finger. I'm not sure, but this incident may have been the reason for her ring stinginess. :-)

Forward to the present....I guess mom was always right about the "you might lose it" premonition. That's exactly what I have managed to do with the inherited wedding ring my dad gave me in that hospital room 6 years ago. I have manged to wear that ring faithfully on my finger for the past 6 years until today.

I have been noticing lately that my mother's ring was easier to slide up and down on my finger....whether it be from the few pounds I have shed lately or the cold weather shrinking my finger, or a combination of both, I have managed to lose it in some unknown location.

It's hard to retrace my steps in search for it. I really don't even know at what point it slipped off my finger. While typing on the computer I just looked down and it was gone. At that moment it was a sudden fear and sinking feeling of loss.......

I don't have many things...well, actually nothing of value to give my kids and I was hoping to pass my mother's ring on to Summer one day.

I have cried a few times about it since the loss, but I still have the hope that it may "show up".....maybe, just maybe.

Are You Choking?

While we were out and about the other day we stopped in one of our favorite local restaurants for a bite to eat. While we were eating Summer noticed the CPR poster on the wall to the entrance of the kitchen area.

Her question to us was "Why do they have a picture of a man choking another man on the wall?" At first Toby and I had no idea what she was talking about. We then noticed the CPR poster. Sadly, this would be the first time we ever spoke to her about CPR or the Heimlich.

It got me to thinking about CPR in general. I have never managed to take a CPR course and have always told anyone who even remotely sounded as if they are beginning to choke on a morsel "Don't choke 'cause I don't know CPR and you will just have to die."

This leads me to the story that Toby reminded me of while discussing CPR to Summer.

My ex-husband Frank and I had civil relations after our divorce. One 4th of July a couple of years ago, Frank's wife was out of town and he was over helping Lucas work on his car. We invited him to stay and eat our 4th of July spread with us. He obliged. Frank was never one to turn down food invitations of any kind.

There were a couple of other people over too...I don't even remember who. As we were all sitting around eating and engaging in our chatter, I noticed Frank looking a little stressed in the face. He appeared to be choking. I watched him a few more seconds before I asked him if he was o.k. He shook his head no.

Knowing my expertise in the Heimlich's Maneuver I immediately panicked and alerted Toby and Lucas of the situation. All I could say was "Lucas do something your father is choking!" Lucas seemed to be as stunned as I was as his father was beginning to turn blue.

Thank goodness for Toby who had already thought quick enough to grab a chair to stand on so that he would be tall enough to grab my 6'2" ex-husband around the waist and perform the needed thrust.

In the end Frank managed to eventually dislodge the piece of meat himself. He coughed it up into the air a few feet, recovered a few seconds and went right back to eating as if nothing had happened.

It was one of those things that you talk about now and laugh but at the time it happened it was pretty scary.

So, I have decided the next time I see a CPR course offered, Summer and I both are going to enroll in the class. You just never know when you might need it.......

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tee-Time's Winterfest

Our weekend, for the most part, was spent spending money. There is an old saying "when it rains it pours". Well, thank goodness it has only been sprinkling around here.

As you know we have been surviving on one vehicle for a year now. It really has not been all that adjust to whatever circumstances life throws you. Now with Toby having a new tattoo job and still keeping his job at Siddons part time his hours are going to be very hard to work one car around.

Lately we have been in search of a second vehicle, preferably something that can fit more than groceries in the back...e.g. truck, hatchback, etc. I can't name the times that we have needed to carry something in the trunk of my old faithful Subaru only to find that no matter which way we turned it, it would not fit in the trunk OR in the backseat.

At this moment we have not had any luck in finding something that is what we are looking for at the right price. I still have my fingers crossed that something will come along at just the right time and not a moment before.

Also, without going into boring details, Toby had to buy a tattoo chair for his new job to the tune of a few hundred dollars...not cheap, and I ended up having to buy a new computer because mine finally decided it was time to cross to the other side. There goes the savings account. O'well what other purpose is money spend it when you need it.:-)

Sunday we decided on small town fun. Manor was having their annual Tee-Time Winterfest. There are two golf courses here in Manor and every time I drive by them I have an urge to "tee off". Unfortunately my golfing expertise is restricted to putt putt so I stay out of the "real" golfers way.

We did join in the Winterfest fun though. There was the usual things like games, jumpies, petting zoos, etc.

Here are some pics of the day:

As you can tell the petting zoo was Summer's favorite. The fireworks display wasn't to start until 7:00p.m and we didn't want to hang around that long to watch so we went home. Later on while I was on my computer I could hear the boom from the fireworks. It turned out we could see the display quite well right from the comforts of our front yard. :-)

It was a very long fireworks long that we all grew bored of it and went inside.

Toby will begin his first day at Atomic Tattoo. I hope he has hit the tattoo jackpot at this shop....only time will tell.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ready, Set, Play!

With the weather being chilly this week, Angela and I were searching for some indoor play date activity. We don't typically have to do such a thing with Austin having comfy temps for 10 months out of the year and very little rain to have to avoid.
That being said, there are only a few indoor play places here....well, at least in our "neck of the woods".

What we found was the perfect solution for a rainy or cold day. It was like a giant Pump it Up/Blu Rabbit combo. When we walked in Summer's eyes were wide with pleasure. It's been a long time since she has played on inflatables. I also was very impressed with the place. It was very large and roomy with a variety of about 12 different inflatables. They even had nice sofas for the parents to lounge on and Wifi connection...which I'm sure would impress some parents.

The biggest plus to this place was there weren't ANY of those money wasting arcade games at all. Nothing to deter your child from jumping, sliding and reason at all to and ask mom or dad for quarters.

Here are couple of not so good pics of the inside:

The girls having a blast:

The girls couldn't resist the kiddie pen with Jaiden:

After 3 hours it was time to say goodbye until next week:

After Summer and I left we decided to stop at a toy store called Kaleidoscope. There are a lot of these kind of toy stores in the Austin know the kind of stores that have cool and different toys but you would never pay what they want for them...or at least not me. Obviously some people don't mind paying for them. :-)

It was nice to get out and enjoy the day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Value of a Smile

"A smile is nature's best antidote for discouragement. It brings rest to the weary, sunshine to those who are sad, and hope to those who are hopeless and defeated.

A smile is so valuable that it can't be bought, begged, borrowed, or taken away against your will. You have to be willing to give a smile away before it can do anyone else any good.

So if someone is too tired or grumpy to flash you a smile, let him have one of yours anyway. Nobody needs a smile as much as the person who has none to give."

So here is a smile from me to you! :-)

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Passing Thought

Tomorrow will be my 10th Wedding Anniversary....well, I guess really 9. We lived "in sin" for one of those years. :-)

In my later years I have realized that every person that enters your life plays a part in your life lessons. I think about all my *important* past male relationships and I hold a special place in my heart for each one of them......excluding my first love.

My first husband Frank was the hub of my young emotionally damaged life, he was the first person that I ever carried on a meaningful relationship with and also the father of my beautiful son. Although we grew out of each other, or should I say I grew out of him, he is still like family to me and I believe he still feels the same about me.

My second great love Troy is too much of a sad story to even elaborate on but I hope he looks down on me and feels the same way that I do.

My third and hopefully last love is not only my husband but my best friend. I can truly say that with him I have everything wrapped into one. He is a wonderful father and husband. He likes to spend time with us and we are his priority. Summer thinks he is God's gift just for her. I enjoy his company more than anyone I have ever been with. To anyone on the outside he may seem like an odd individual, but to Summer and I he is our life. He can entertain me with his crazy antics, soothe me with his gentle hands, hold an intelligent conversation and just plain put up with me.

I may not live in an expensive house or drive a fancy car but I think I do have something most people don't.....a trusting, loving relationship with my kids and a husband that is as dedicated to our family as I am. They say you should save the best for last.....I guess that's what I have done. Happy Anniversary to us!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Weeks Highlights

We have had a pretty good week around here. Nothing exceptional, but certainly nothing disastrous which I am always thankful for. I feel I got a lot accomplished as far as school and chores go which is always a plus.

In literature we are studying Ancient Greek Gods. Summer has never really been a fan of being read to and at this point does most of her reading herself but I felt that reading Greek Mythology would be slightly too advanced for her to read and comprehend at the same time without reaching her frustration tolerance level.

So, I began the study by reading her a brief history of the Gods and Goddesses with a description of a couple of the Gods and Goddesses. My plan was to cover a god or two a day. It was the first time in Summer's "school" history that she wanted me to keep reading after required "class" was done. She found Greek Mythology very intriguing I guess.

I guess I found it odd because it's one of those subjects that I could certainly live without and never found ANY interest in. Matter of fact, I was considering bypassing the subject totally. Times like these make you realize that your children might be "from" you but not "of" you and certainly have their own interests. So often we want to mold our children into what we want them to be instead of appreciating who they are.

Most of the week has been warm and of the things I love most about living closer to the equator. I especially love being able to see beautiful skies and sunsets. Although, living in the tropical region of Alabama had it's own special beauty so does the hill country/plains of Texas.

With the weather being so cooperative this week Brandi was even taking time out to enjoy the suns warmth.

We also had our weekly play date this week at the Children's Museum.

Summer and her friends spent most of their idle time enjoying the much missed trampoline and just hanging out enjoying the weather while it's cooperating.:-)

Oh, and one last note. While looking through our telescope that we got from Toby's Christmas party, Toby managed to spot the asteroid belt. COOL! You read about these things in books and see pictures of them but they never become reality until you see it for your self.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Quote of the Day


"As you start the first full work week of the New

Year you should do no 'work' at all.

The point of your activities throughout the day is not to

make a living, but to make a life; not to 'work' but to

create joy. If you are doing what you are doing merely

to 'pay the bills,' you will have missed the major reason

for All Of Life.

The purpose of life is to know and express Who You

Are. If you do other than that during the days and times

of your life, you will have not used those days and times

in a way that profits your soul. It is soul profit we are

after here, not body profit.

This first week of the New Year is a good time to

contemplate that, yes?"

Neale Donald Walsch

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Elgin, Alabama.....oh, I mean Texas.

We had plenty of chores that needed to be done at home today so I needed somewhere we could go that would not take up our whole day. Anytime you go to Austin you are compelled to be there all day so it was off limits. Elgin it was.

I know I said I would never go back to the city of Elgin again.(pronounced with a soft g for anyone interested.)...but never say never. I guess for me, there is an allure to it because it has qualities that are a mixture of downtown Mobile and Tillman's Corner if you can picture that one.

Elgin has a historical district with a train depot museum that I have had my eye on for a while. Although not one of the places on the top of my "list of things to do" I knew it would serve our purpose for the day.

We had plenty of chores that needed to be done at home so I needed somewhere we could go that would not take up our whole day. Anytime you go to Austin you are compelled to be there all day so it was off limits. So Elgin was it.

Our first stop into Elgin was the Southside Market. Elgin is famous for their sausage and I have to agree the food at this place was really good.....good enough that I will travel back to Elgin for the food if nothing else. Although, in my opinion the food in Alabama is much better than Texas overall, Texas has Alabama beat on the barbecue and sausage.

After our stomach's were full we headed to the Train Depot Museum. It was probably the least crowded museum I have ever been to. When we first walked into the lobby area the lady in the little office to the side came out and asked us if we were visiting. We told her yes. She asked us from where...we told her Manor and she gave us a look and told us she would let us in anyway. We couldn't figure out if it was because we were from Manor/Austin or if it was because we were not from Elgin...

She had to get a key and let us into the museum. There was absolutely no one there but us. Anyway, we walked around and educated ourselves a little on Elgin history. Now I know why Elgin seems Alabamaish....seems there were a lot of "immigrants" from Alabama that inhabited Elgin some odd years ago....hence, your reason for the conservative, non-inclusive feel.

As usual as with any other time I have been in Elgin, I was glad to see Manor and felt much more at ease when I entered back into my territory. I have observed the farther out from Austin you get the more "southern conservative" it gets. Thanks to Austin, I am not aware of people's differences anymore....that is, until I travel out of my fortress and remember that everyone is suppose to think, act, look alike and have the same beliefs.:-)

Friday, January 2, 2009

McKinney Falls

I know I sometimes sound like an online travel brochure to promote Austin, Texas but I just can't help myself. This place is like a slice of heaven hidden in geode disguised as a city.

I want to know every inch and cranny of this very cool city and have to say that after only a year here know Austin as well as I did Mobile after living there 40 plus years. I have studied Austin maps and activity brochures with a passion. I am sure that if I had to, could land a job at the Austin Welcome Center. :-)

Our destination today was McKinney Falls. It's conveniently located right in Austin and is one of the places that we would love to camp.... that is when the record breaking extreme drought conditions cease. You know, no campfire, no camping for me.

I would say that our intention was to hike, but I realized today that most the time when you are hiking around here it is really half rock climbing.

McKinney is one of those places you could go to one hundred times and still not see everything. Here are some highlights of the day"

Summer enjoying the serenity:

Prickly Pear growing out of the tree might have to click on the pic to see it:

I'm sure these pics don't capture how high these cliff's are but my daughter was making me very nervous climbing so close to the edge of them:

The Indian Shelter.....this was really cool:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's 2008


As in every year we didn't have a very eventful New Years Eve celebration. I can remember ringing in many New Year's in the bed asleep. New Year's isn't one of our biggest celebrations 'cause mama and Summer like to be in the bed at a decent hour or we turn into cranks.

This was the first year Summer actually was wanting to try and stay up until midnight. Because of the way our house sits on the hill you can view the city happenings from afar. We first experienced this on 4th of July. It's really nice to sit in your back yard and be able to view many different firework displays.

Earlier in the day, we had stopped by the firework stand and got fireworks for her and Toby to personally enjoy.

After they played with their firework purchases, Summer sat outside patiently waiting for the big firework displays. We tried to explain to her that not many people were going to be setting off their displays until midnight. Poor baby finally gave up around 10:30. I tucked her in and Toby and I popped in a movie.

It was pretty quite until midnight when all hell broke loose. There were displays everywhere! It was really spectacular. When Toby and I heard the wonderful celebration going on outside we just looked at each other and nodded in agreement.....we snatched the baby out of a sound sleep and ran her outside to see what she had so anticipated just a couple of short hours ago.

Unfortunately, that anticipation had been replaced with somber sleep. I think we scared her more than anything. She was not very happy to be outside in the midst of loud firework displays in the cold while barely awake. Our attempt to satisfy backfired on us so we headed quickly back inside.

Hindsight is always 20/20. I should have just left her asleep and Toby and I could have went outside and enjoyed the displays alone and in peace. Lesson learned...let sleeping children sleep unless there is a fire. I really hate that I missed most of it....maybe next year. I do have to make note that it was nice not to hear guns being fired off all night. That seemed to be my old neighborhoods mode of celebration. :-/


Well here's the good news! Toby has got a new job at one of the top tattoo shops in Austin. They are top rated in Austin and have a few different shops here. He has waited a long time for this and I am so happy for him.

He had a to meet at the new shop this morning to discuss hours, days, etc. After he returned we headed out to the park. The neighbors had just got back from their trip to California and Summer was really anxious to play with her friends so we invited them along. It was a perfect day for the park. The kids rode their scooters, played some basketball, etc., and just enjoyed playing together again.

While we were there Toby saw a guy that was a customer he had tattooed, so we spent some time chatting with him while the kids played. It was a very pleasant day. My intention was to be able to get in some much needed exercise on the walking trail. It didn't work out that way at the park but after we got home, I did manage to take a stroll around the neighborhood by myself while Toby played video games and Summer and her friends were jumping on the trampoline.

It's very relaxing and meditative for me to walk by myself. In the coming year I hope to start my walking routine again.....before it gets to be 105 degrees. :-)

This is going to be another great year and I look forward to it's challenges and surprises.