Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday May 30, 2009

Summer has been bugging me all week about the local pool opening at East Metro Park. Last year the pool was one of our favorite activities. Conveniently located only a couple of miles from the house it is a perfect source of cooling off from the intense sun of summer.

Not really being a big fan of "swimming in urine" I don't usually like public pools. However, this particular pool is usually not crowded which makes me feel less tainted. Toby and I also like to use the pool as a source of exercise in the hot summer months. Although swimming looks easy, it is a killer workout.

Here are a some pics of Toby and Summer enjoying the pool...

After swimming for a while, it didn't take long for our breakfast to wear off. We dropped by the house, changed into dry clothes and headed to the Good Luck Grill. It's one of our favorite local restaurants. It sure was good for our ravenous appetites!

On a different note, yesterday we had bought a new weed that included the edger. This piece of equipment proved to be more of a toy to Summer and I...which I am sure Toby is glad about. It's lightweight and easy to use. I think Summer's new chore is going to be edging the yard. She was doing as good a job as Toby and I were doing.

Lastly, we have been on sort of the lookout for another smaller dog. We have not found anything that has met our (mostly my) criteria. Well, the other day I noticed the neighbor kids playing with a puppy. I walked outside and asked them where they got it from.

Obviously, the pup had been dropped off by someone. She was full of fleas and very hungry and thirsty. I'll be honest, initially I had no interest in "adopting" her. I could tell by her paws that she will be a larger dog. Plus, the neighbor kids were intent on keeping her...even though their mom wasn't real wild about the idea and has made no real effort in caring for her.

Over the past few days, the kids have been taking care of her. When the neighbors aren't home, Summer and I do our part feeding, watering, and playing with her. This morning Summer and I gave her a bath. She was infested with fleas. So far, I guess you could just call her the "neighborhood yard dog."

She is a very sweet and very easy to love. She looks at you as though she understands exactly what you are saying to her and that she understands what's going on. Somehow, I can't stop thinking that the universe has sent me what I was asking for and now I am being ambivalent because she's not EXACTLY what I was asking for. Like I would know better what I need than the universe does......

I guess it doesn't matter now anyway. The neighbor kids now think that she is theirs. I don't think they would take to kindly to me just swooping in and taking the dog away from them. Not to mention last night Toby named thousands of reasons why we couldn't keep the pup ourselves.

Anyway, here are some pics of the pup.....

Scratching fleas....

It was a nice Saturday. I am always grateful for days that include family, fun, and relaxation. :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Texas Memorial Museum

You may notice that The Texas Memorial Museum is listed on my sidebar as one of my favorite free activities in Austin. Just to clarify, I'll let you know that nothing comes for free. I spent $8 dollars just to have a place to park for a couple of hours so I could visit this free museum. One of these days I will have lived in Austin long enough to know where all the little secret free parking spots are downtown...if there is a such thing here.

The museum is where we had our playdate this week. Angela had never been there before and I knew she would find it as interesting as I do. Of course, when you have kids you have to be dragged from one area to another without being able to really look. Children don't find the information about the displays very interesting...yet.

Here are some pics of our day...

After we left the museum we stopped at the girls favorite treat shop...JAMBA JUICE.

It was a nice day with my some of my favorite people. It's just what the doctor ordered. I ended the day feeling in much better spirits.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


For the past few days I have been feeling a little down. No particular reason that I can pinpoint. Typically an upbeat person, when I am feeling this way I usually blame it on my pesky perimenopausal hormones. I had a friend suggest I go out and enjoy some nature.

Taking her suggestion, after we got home from our many errands we had to run today, I slipped outside and did a little weeding in my very small flower beds. Feeling the hot Texas sun on my back as I pulled the stray weeds and grass made me think about the song by John Denver "Sunshine On My Shoulders". Aside from the fire ants that were eating me alive the sunshine was momentarily making me happy.

I have always thought if there is a God it/he/she would have to be the Sun...constant, always there, not moving, always the same and always shedding it's light no matter what cloud may be lingering.

Trying to brighten my mood into a more positive feel, I thought of other natural things that make me happy. I will share a few with you...

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a day that I could give you
Id give to you a day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
Id sing a song to make you feel this way

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell you
Id tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
Id make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high
Sunshine almost always.....

Monday, May 25, 2009

Excuse My French......"Shit Happens"

Toby was a little late coming home from work tonight. I assumed that he had a late tattoo and was having to work a little over - not unusual in his line of work.

Summer and I finally decided to go outside and enjoy the evening air while we waited on his arrival. I was filling my bird feeder up with feed while Summer was riding her bike on the front sidewalk. As I was filling the feeder I heard a very loud vehicle coming down the road. I was slightly annoyed at the invasion of this loud obnoxious noise coming down the road.

Summer then started hollering.."There comes my daddy." This annoyed me even more as I hollered back at her telling her that WAS NOT her daddy. Imagine my surprise when I look up and see that it is indeed her father and my husband.

As he stepped out of his 1993 Forunner I could tell he was not a happy camper. The story that follows is very funny....almost. Either way, I can't stop myself from laughing every time I think about it.

It seems that while my hubby was at work....on a very busy street in Austin I might add, someone managed to saw his catalytic converter off his vehicle in broad daylight. I might also add this is not a known crime area. Crazy huh?? Of all the things to steal...a catalylic converter off an older model Forunner.

I would have thought if something like that would have ever happened it would have been when he worked in downtown Austin amongst all the crack dealers and homeless. I guess you never know.

It could have been worse and we are grateful that at least it wasn't any more major than what is was. It mostly will be an inconvenience for us to find a replacement....which obviously is hard enough that someone had to steal his.

We are hoping the cameras that are on the outside of the tattoo shop may have picked up the offenders. We will find out tomorrow.

I guess this little surprise solves my problem of trying to figure out what we are going to do on his off day tomorrow. :-)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I am not a fan of holidays...never have been. Being the somewhat introverted person that I am, I really hated them growing up...with the exception of Christmas of course. What kid doesn't like to get gifts??

As a child, I hated social gatherings of any kind. Holidays were always the worst because I knew that meant interaction with other human beings other than my immediate family. I was an extremely shy and insecure child and certainly did not like being the center of attention. Somehow, I'm not sure why, adult relatives always gravitate to the most insecure child in the room in attempts to draw them out of their shell - which I might add is the worst possible thing to do.

I can vividly remember one particular incident. We had gone to visit my grandmother in Chunchula, Alabama as we usually did most Sundays after church. This one particular Sunday another relative was visiting - one I rarely saw and made me cringe when I did see her. At the time I had to be only 4 or 5 years old. I can remember this older relative spending most of her visit trying to coerce me to come give her a hug, all the while my parents were trying to persuade me to go to her...PURE HELL. I can remember feeling so overwhelmed and desperate, not knowing who to turn to for rescue during this traumatic experience.

Growing up it never got easier. I spent most of my young life trying to avoid family gatherings which annoyed my social mother more than anyone.

It wasn't until I got a family of my own and I could pick and choose what family members I socialized with that I began to somewhat enjoy social gatherings like holidays get togethers.

Ironically, I now have very few family members that I get together with on special occasions. Since moving to Texas it is even less than ever. I now get a sense of longing for my favorite family members on holidays and special occasions. Much too late now, but I find myself wishing I had had many more children when I was younger so that I could plump up my immediate family members...kinda like animals do.

For example, it is Memorial Day weekend. Toby is at work and Summer and I are here by ourselves again on a holiday. Not that Memorial Day is that big of a celebration for us. I probably would not even make note of it other than I see everyone in the neighborhood having their barbecues, laughing, and enjoying their families company. These are the times that I miss having my beloved son, dad, and extended family members with me.

Isn't it funny how things change and people change???? Change. Hmmmmmm.....inevitable.

Manor Chip Festival

I always love a good festival. Although festivals in the Austin area boast to be free, they usually end up costing a pretty penny at the end of the day. If you have kids you always get pulled into playing games, riding rides, or buying food or drinks. On any given weekend you will have a few festivals to choose from. I have learned to be picky about the festivals that I attend because of the monetary reasons.

If at all possible, I always try to make the Manor festivals. They are usually not quite so pricey and never overcrowded but still chocked full of the same amount of fun as the larger festivals in the area.

This weekend it was the Manor Chip Festival. Initially, I thought it had something to do with potato chips. Upon further study I found out it has something to do with computer chips. The festival is held on the Manor New Tech High School grounds - also where the T.V. show "Friday Night Lights", was partially filmed on the Manor Mustangs football field.

Just as a side note I would like to say that even though I homeschool my daughter for now, I have done a little research on this particular high school and I am impressed. If I ever made the decision to send her to public high school, Manor Tech would be the one.

There were the usual things there - vendors, games, crafts, food, etc. Toby and I got us some samples of different salsa's. Let me just say that our mouths were on fire by the time we left. We had to get us a greasy, sugary funnel cake just to counteract the fire in our mouths.

Here are some pics of our day..

Summer was a good shot at the dunking booth. She not only dunked the guy once...

but twice...

Here she is making a visor.....

here is the finished product....

After the festival we were off to price compare shop for webcams and weed eaters/edgers. It was a pleasant and relaxing day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Day in Georgetown, Texas Part 2

After hanging out at the Blue Hole for a while we went in search of someplace to cool ourselves off from the heat. We never did end up getting wet but we did find a park with some flashback memories of Mobile, Alabama. The San Gabriel Park Creative Playscape is deemed by the Texas Monthly as the best playscape in Texas. The playscape is almost an exact replica of the one at Medal of Honor Park in Alabama with only a few slight differences.

The park also has the San Gabriel River that runs through it along with a couple of other pieces of playground equipment. Keep in mind that Central Texas is in the middle of an exceptional drought so all the lake and rivers here are suffering a bit.

I think this duck is trying to hide from us...

It was a very nice day for us all until we were headed home. We ended up getting stuck in I-35 traffic with no other alternatives to get home. Certain family members..I'm not going to name names, get very irritable when they are stuck in traffic for long periods of time. :-)

A Day in Georgetown, Texas

Our destination today is Georgetown, Texas, a small city about 20 miles north of Austin. Georgetown reminded us a lot of Fairhope, Alabama. I would describe downtown Georgetown as unique and charming.

Click on the pic below and notice the architecture of the building in the backround...

There was a quaint little used book store that I would have loved to spend the afternoon in...

This artsy craft shop had some yummy looking chocolate treats. We were all lusting after it until Toby pointed out the price tag..

The museum was pretty interesting too. I learned a few facts that I didn't know....

Toby is always entertaining on our day trips...I'm still not sure if he does his antics for his or our entertainment...

After we took our short tour of downtown, we headed to find a swimming hole called Blue Hole. It was very hot and we had come prepared to swim if opportunities arose.

Here we are at the Blue Hole. I don't know why it was named the Blue Hole. There was nothing blue about it. Although very pretty to look at, there was nothing about it that shouted.."Jump on in!"....

Even though it was hot as blazes out there, we all couldn't resist trying to skip the plentiful amount of rocks into the water. I think Toby won the contest by skipping his rocks up to 10 times.....

Our day was long. Stay tuned for the last half of our day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What Do I Want To Be When I Grow Up?

I believe I am beginning to drive my family to insanity. Since moving to Texas I have had a strong desire to go, go, go! I guess I just got the desire ball rolling when I took that big leap to make a change in my life and shake things up a bit. Being a homeschooling mom for the past few years I have come to the conclusion the best learning comes from experiencing, seeing, and interacting. How can you truly "teach" about somewhere, someone, or something without touching, seeing, or experiencing it??

I am beginning to think my family does not have the same enthusiasm as I do for exploring and sightseeing. Even though hubby claims he does, I'm not so sure it is as with as much gusto as I have for it. I still have to prod him just a bit to get going out the door.

Summer used to love going, seeing, and doing. I have noticed the older she gets the less interest she shows in exploring her surroundings. I can remember a time not too long ago when she would awake every morning saying.."What are we going to do today mommy". She is now moving towards an age where she is more interested in playing with her friends or activities that involve interaction. I think I may have to squelch my desire to explore for yet another few years.....

After many, many years of not knowing what I would like to do with my life I think at the ripe old age of 44 I have finally figured it out. I love geography...I can study my wall world map as though it were a precious jewel. I dream of traveling, seeing, and doing and delight in showing others the same thing. I have realized I am a teacher at heart....a teacher not of arithmetic or reading, but of exploration...yes, I know if there is a such thing as past lives I was surely an explorer.

I would love to be one of those little old ladies you see in the Welcome Center handing out brochures and giving visitors ideas of things to do while they are in town.

Years ago while in my late teens I worked for a travel agency...AAA. My job was to tell people where to go and how to get there. That was always a running joke at the agency. :-) Anyway, I had to provide maps and destination information to vacationers along with the best route on how to get there. It was the one and only paying job I have ever had that I truly enjoyed.

Somehow everyday life took over and I moved into another phase....raising a family. Raising a family takes a big chunk of you. You tend to forget about you and busy yourself with taking care of your family losing yourself somewhere in the shuffle.

Now that my son is grown and my daughter is getting older and needs me less, I find that I am able to spend more time with me. I, like Summer, am also moving towards a different phase in my life and I am loving every minute of it. I finally feel comfortable enough in my own skin that I don't question what my heart leads me to do. I may have a few more wrinkles on my skin but, oh the joys of getting older!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Amateur I Am

I want to let you know that I started my blog blindly a couple of years ago. I knew nothing about blogging or all the little buzz words associated with it....still don't. My whole intention of keeping a blog was to have my own personal online diary of my daily life. I also found it to be very mind freeing and therapeutic.

Only in the past year have I even realized that people other than my family and friends actually read my blog. I myself, now have several favorite blogs that I read. I never knew you could actually get to know someone just by reading their words or observing how their blog is decorated.

Today a blog I follow had an activity posted. I know for sure that I don't really know what the proper procedure for enacting it is, but here is my version:

The rules are:
Respond and rework

Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question of your own invention
Add one additional question

What is your current obsession? I have a few...taking pictures,sightseeing, and blogging.
Where are you right now? In the study upstairs.
Coffee or tea? Or something stronger? All listed at one point or time
What is one of your favorite movies? Shawshank Redemption
What is one thing you are looking forward to? My son visiting this year
Who was your childhood crush? Chad Everett, Glenn Campbell, and Parker Stevenson just to name a few.
What is your current favorite song? Brighter Discontent by the Submarines
What would you like to get rid of? The weeds that overtake my yard
What's your favorite book? God Rides a Harley...I think that was the name of it
Why did you start your blog? As a way to release my thoughts and daily activities
If money was not an issue, what is one thing you would purchase for yourself? a new car was the first thing that popped into my mind.
If you could live in a foreign country, which one would it be? Not sure.....somewhere warm for sure.
Would you consider yourself adventerous? Yes, but I do like to have a soft spot to fall.
Tipple of choice? Vodka mixed with anything.
What is one trait about yourself that you are proud of? I think I am a good mother.
What is your wish for the future? That everyone will realize that we are all one.
If you had one day left in this world, how would you spend it? Having fun with my family.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Day Trip to Lockhart, Texas

Although it was my grocery store/errand day, I totally blew it off and went out and had some fun. One thing that really irks me is using up a beautiful day on chores.

I rationalized by telling myself that surely Lockhart has an HEB too. I figured after our sightseeing, we could just do our grocery shopping there before we headed back to Austin.

Well, even though Lockhart did have an HEB, we never made it there. My grocery store trip has been postponed until tomorrow. O'well, no biggie. There were more important things to do....HAVE FUN.

Lockhart is about 30 miles south of Austin and known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas. My goal is to visit every small town in the surrounding area of long as there is something that attracts me to it.

Once we found the Welcome Center and got some good info on the city we set out on our tour. The first place we stopped was historic downtown Lockhart. It felt a little odd to be in such a small downtown after getting use to a larger downtown area like Austin's.

The first place we visited was the Lockhart Courthouse. It claims to be the most photographed building in Texas. I can see why....isn't it a beautiful building??

After our short visit to the downtown area we made our way to the Dr. Eugne Clark Library. We wanted to check out the museum that the library housed. Unfortunately, it seemed that the museum was hosting some sort of luncheon so weren't allowed in.

It seemed that we may have taken our day trip on the wrong day. There were a couple of museums that we wanted to tour but they were all closed during the week.

The day was not all wasted though. We did get to check out the well known Texas Hatters.

We also checked out the Lockhart State Park. It's a nice quite peaceful park. The guy at the Welcome Center told us you could view downtown from the top of the state park. If you could, we never found it. Here are some pics of the summit..

Here are few miscellaneous interesting pics of our day:

I spotted this very interesting bug and couldn't resist taking a snap of him. I have never seen one colored like him/her before. I will have to research him later..

I love moss. I don't see much of it here in Texas, but it was very plentiful in the park. I came close to snagging some and taking it home and throwing it on my baby oaks. For whatever reason, I resisted.

We also spotted a bird that we finally determined was a Turkey...still not sure though. What do you think???

This one is a funny one. I haven't seen prisoner outfits like this one since the oldie movies.

Believe it or not, we left Lockhart without even trying any of their famous barbecue! We will be back though. We plan on attending the Chisolm Trail Roundup in June where we will visit the museums we missed out on and test out the great barbecue!

I know I will pay the consequences of slacking off today, but it was well worth it. I'm sure I will recover.