Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday June 30, 2009

Even though it was our "off day" I let Toby sleep in a little. He has been working hard at the new location and I knew he needed to rejuvenate. By the way, his new location is working out great so far. He is what you would call "Rollin' in the Doh". Sounds great on paper, but you have to remember in the tattoo business it can change from day to day, week to week, and month to month. I never really get too excited about the large paychecks. I just am grateful that in the end they pay the bills and keeps us a small savings alive.

Right now we are just enjoying it for what it is...GREAT MONEY. He has also been lucky enough to get 3 days off in a row which is unusual in his line of work. So he is off on Tues. Wed. and Thurs.

When we finally got around to getting out of the house it was almost noon. I took Brandi out to tinkle before we were leaving out. As I was waiting on her to do her business I heard the loud roaring of a helicopter engine. I thought for a moment is was about to crash it was so low.

As I watched it lowered itself skimming the top of the greenbelt behind our house. It slowly hovered all around above the greenbelt. Soon everybody was running out of their houses to see what in the heck the loud engine noise was.

It was really quite a helicopter show. They were obviously looking for something or someone. I can guarantee you if whoever they were looking for was in those tall grasses of the greenbelt they probably came out rattlesnake bit.

Anyway, we never did find out what or who they were looking for. They obviously didn't find whatever it was. After about 30 minutes Star Flight flew on off back to their command.

Here are some pretty good pics and a small video I got of their search....

Prayin' For Rain

Being brought up in a Christian home made praying no stranger to me. I used it frequently as a teenager in difficult times, pleading for this or that. I eventually figured out that some of my prayers were "answered" and some were not.

As I grew older my skeptical mind took over and I started to think about prayer in a different way. In the Christian church you are taught that God always answers your prayers...sometimes you just don't receive the answer you want. Mmmmmm....then why even waste your time praying in the first place if God is just going to do what he wants anyway?????

I was realistic enough to finally realize there was not some "man form" sitting "out there" somewhere rubbing his chin listening to my pleas and deciding whether I was worthy enough to be granted my "wish".

Of course this is just "my story" of the way things are. Everyone has a different story about life, about God, and about.....everything.

So anyway, I have not prayed in many, many, years for anything in particular. I gave up asking for anything because I figured if God wanted me to have something I would have it, if he wanted my loved ones protected or "saved from death" he is perfectly capable of protecting my loved ones without me prodding him along....after all he is GOD right??? Isn't he already suppose to know all of my needs???

The only prayer I usually do have is the prayer to give me strength to handle whatever may come my way and to accept life as what it is....life.

O.k. enough of my non-conforming outlook on "God" and prayer. We have been needing some rain really bad in this drought ridden region that I chose to move to. Yesterday afternoon, as I was grabbing a moment of peace and quite out of my very busy day I decided to "test" this GOD person/thing.

There was not a cloud in the sky as usual, although the weather forecasters had predicted a 30% chance of rain...not much at all. Standing in my backyard looking towards the beautiful clear blue sky I prayed to God that we get some rain...just a little moisture for our poor trees, grass, and flowers would be greatly appreciated.

This morning when I got up the thunder rumbled for a good hour or so. I figured that was the most we would get since it "Never Rains in Central Texas". I remembered my prayer of yesterday and smirked at the possibility of a simple answered prayer.

I continued on with my morning routine of drinking coffee and computer time. All of a sudden I hear it! That very rare sound of rain falling from the sky. Yes, my prayer was answered. I asked for just a little rain and that's exactly what I got a little rain....just enough to quench the Earth's thirst.

Of course the skeptical in myself knows that just because I ask for rain doesn't mean that it comes. Rain comes when it comes....whether you want it or not. But then again.....

I guess I might should re-think this prayer thing. Ask and ye shall receive...at least you always have a 50/50 chance. Maybe next time I will "test" God by praying that I win the Texas State Lottery. Now THAT would be a prayer answered. :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Swimming Fools

The only way to describe my life for the past couple of days is "swimming fools". Since we have erected our soft side pool, Summer and I have spent most of our time in it. Mind you, this pool is a 14fter so it's no large pool. You know I have to be really hot, the grown woman I am, to be swimming around in a pool of that size.

Granted I would love to just be floating around in it on my $3 Dollar Store raft while soaking up the sun's rays. Unfortunately, Summer usually has other plans when I am in the pool. Matter of fact,she even told me that I didn't need to be on the raft anyway because the picture on the raft package showed a young skinny woman. She informed that I was neither young or skinny so I didn't need to be using it....thanks Sum.

Me trying to relax on my raft in the pool is akin to my brother and I prying my mother's eyelids open on early Saturday mornings when we were kids.
My mama wanted to sleep in...I just want to float and relax. Like daddy used to say.."Spit in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up faster".

O'well, as my mother did, I try to make the best of it. After all, Summer is probably saving me from skin cancer.

Today, being Monday was an especially full day for me. Monday is always my full chore day....bill, laundry, grocery list, etc. I actually got a head start this morning which was very helpful. I usually arise around 7:00-7:30 in the morning. For some reason or another I was awake at 6:00. I actually did try and go back to sleep, but I kept thinking about how I needed to water the lawn before it got to hot. I decided to get my day started earlier than usual....after all, early morning is usually the only peace and quite I get.

Toby will be off for three days this week and I am so glad.....actually I am very grateful that I have a husband that is involved in his family's life. When he is home it takes the pressure off of me. Children are very demanding and at my age I don't have much patience left for child rearing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27, 2009

I'll be quite honest....tonight I am in no mode to blog. Even so, out of commitment to myself to blog everyday it will be done. I wish I could commit myself to daily exercise that easily...

My aversion to blogging tonight has nothing to do with anything other than I am just tired and don't feel like "thinking", so if it doesn't read heartfelt I apologize upfront.

Today we went to Greengate Farms a farmers market not far from us. I have found the farmer's market that I have visited here thus far to be, hmmmmmm...not what I am looking for. I guess you can't really expect much crop growth in a place where it NEVER rains, the soil is like brick, and the temps sore into the triple digits daily for a good part of the growing season.

Here is Summer petting a chick...

This one's for you Angela....a pic of the farm stand...

I would have to say Greengate had a larger selection than the Manor Farmers Market. I have not yet visited the Austin Farmers Market in downtown Austin. It will be my last critique of Austin's fresh veggies and fruit. So far the Hispanic Flea Market (Austin's Country Flea Market) has them all beat hands down.

Needless to say, we didn't stay too long. The fire ants set out an attack on my feet within the first few seconds I stepped out of the car. Fire ants around here are like living arsenals.

The heat was intense and Toby is less tolerant of heat and sun than I am. The market was very small but had a decent selection of veggies...even though the tomatoes didn't look to healthy. There was also a sample display there. I had never in my whole life heard of cold corn soup but there it was, there for the asking. It really didn't look too appealing at all...and if you'll excuse me, somewhat along the lines of vomit.

Trying not to be rude and also a little curious, I took a sample and took a sip. It was really not too bad. It had the texture of creamed corn in a cold liquid form. Needless to say, I would never purchase it for my family.

Matter of fact, I insisted that Toby take a sample. I was actually doing this for my entertainment to see his face once he took a swallow. It backfired on me and I ended up having to drink the rest of his. The second cupful was harder to swallow....

After we left the Farm we went to Walmart...seems we have been in Walmart a lot more than usual lately for some reason or another. Anyway, we picked up our essentials and then had our usual indecisiveness about what to eat for lunch. It seems that is always the biggest argument we ever have.....what to eat.

Anyway, we finally decided on our usual Chinese restaurant. It ended up being a very entertaining lunch. I won't bore you with the details, but I will tell you we had a very entertaining Chinese waiter that insisted we "continue" eating. I think "continue" was the only English word he knew. He also never let our waters get 1/4 inch low before filling them up again....no matter how many times we told him that our water was o.k.

After our lunch we headed to the house. Toby had to go into work so Summer and I decided to spend the rest of our afternoon at the pool. Unfortunately our usually uncrowded pool was a little more crowded than what I like it to be. I guess everyone elses idea to beat the heat was also the local pool.

I have been up in the air for the past few weeks as to whether we were going to put our small soft side pool up in the yard. I just hated to put the pool up since we have the big pool right up the road.

But after today, I think it would be nice if we had the pool up just so we could get a quick cooling off if we need too. In addition it will save me from having to turn the sprinkler on for the kids.

Mark my word...I WILL have a large swimable pool in backyard by next summer..some how, some way.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Today was our weekly playdate. With the temps soaring to 107 degrees we figured the best place to be is in the water. We decided to check out another area waterpark that we have had our eyes on since last summer and never managed to make it there.

I haven't been bringing my camera to the waterparks because it's cumbersome to keep up with in an area with so much water and activity. Today I really regretted that I did not have my camera. I could have got some perfect shots.

This particular waterpark is a bit smaller than the one we usually go to and doesn't have as fancy a lazy river, but the slides at this one could not be beat...in my opinion anyway. I usually don't do slides in a waterpark but these were really cool. I actually ended up sliding more than my share.

Angela and I usually end up playing musical kids at the waterparks that way everyone gets to get in on a piece of the fun. It's a good thing baby Kate Linh is such a good sport or she would probably hate us all by now. :-)

Anyway, I really enjoyed the waterpark for the first couple of hours....that is until all our fun was spoiled. Seems someone had an "accident" in the pool. I'm not sure if they were saying "poop" or "puke" in the pool but it didn't really matter. Once everyone heard that whistle blow and the lifeguard hollering one of those two words everyone flew out of the pool as if someone had called SHARK!

After everyone was out of the pool they were giving the pool a cleaning. They claimed it would be back open again in another 30 minutes. We decided that we would just leave, as most everyone did. Somehow, I was no longer confident about swimming in a waterpark that had just recently had bodily matter floating around in it. I'm sure this probably happens all the time, but "what you don't know about don't hurt ya."

We decided since our day at the waterpark was cut short that we would take the kids to the nearby park. Even though is was probably 105 degrees the park was shaded. In the shade it's not too bad...or either you just get used to the heat.

We let them play a little while before we decided we had had enough heat for one day.

On the way home I decided to call Toby and see if he had already headed to work. I was a little hungry and thought we might be passing each other. I was in luck. He was coming up Parmer Road as I was heading home on Parmer.

We decided to meet in between at the Jack in the Box. It was nice to have a quick lunch with him before he went to work. I had left him home cutting the grass and doing yardwork. He told me he was so hot that he wished he had gone with us to the waterpark.....

After our lunch Summer and I ran into the CVS pharmacy so I could pick up a new tube of lipstick. Summer then decided she wanted to spend a little of her allowance. She didn't have enough money for anything in the CVS so we stopped at the Dollar General near the house.

I always like to support local businesses so we also stopped and got a snowcone from the Manor shaved ice guy. They're cheap and they're good.

Although I don't usually take summers off for school I have been thinking seriously about forgoing summer school for a while. We have just too much going on to be able to keep focused on schoolwork....

By the time we made it home I felt like I needed a nap.....and I don't take naps. I like keeping busy and today was definitely a busy day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another HOT Day in Central Texas!

With the temps climbing way into the mid 100's, we have been trying our best to keep cool. There are plenty of outdoor things I would love to be doing but as much as I love the heat, triple digits are just a little too high for me.

Since Toby leaves all the daily activity planning up to me I planned for us to go to IKEA today. IKEA is in Round Rock, Tx. I have had my mind set on some new living room furniture and had heard locals speak of IKEA numerous times.

As we drove into the parking lot of the store I was amazed at the massiveness of the building. I could tell by looking at the outside of it that it was going to be like Fry's Electronics...so big you need a store map to get around.

We decided not to follow the store map and just make our way around the store aimlessly. After all, we had the whole day to kill.

Luckily we found the living area section first. IKEA is a Sweedish store. The whole selection of living area furniture was contemporary. I love the contemporary look...matter of fact it is my favorite look, but the furniture's comfort left little to be desired. Hubby is a real comfort kind of guy, so I KNEW the furniture would never fly with him.

Without going into great detail, I have to say the rest of the store merchandise was impressive. Toby came away with a table he needed for work, and I walked away with a few goodies myself....no furniture though.

After we spent an hour or so walking around this massive store we ate our lunch there. Yes, they had a restaurant area there. The food was tasty too....or it could have been just because we were all starved. They also had a play area for kids there. We never managed to make it to that area.....

After we left IKEA we decided since we were in Round Rock we would try out another one of the Man vs. Food eating establishments. This would be our third Man vs. Food sampling.....Juan in A Million, Salt Lick, and now Round Rock Donuts.

Round Rock Donuts was a really small establishment and there was only one table in there to eat at....and it was taken. While we were giving them our order they asked us if we had ever been there before. We told them no that this was our first visit and that we had heard about them from Man vs. Food. They then went into the back and brought us all three a freshly made warm donut. It was delicious. It reminded me of the donuts I used to get at at the Government Street Krispy Kreme in Mobile. Sigh....there are many small things I miss about Mobile....

After the donut shop we hit a couple more shopping establishments...Target, HEB, J.C. Penney, etc.

Needless to say I was wore out from heat exhaustion by the time I got home. I am thinking of investing in tinted windows for my car here. The sun is just too extreme not to have them...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This And That and Escaping the Heat

Today was Toby's off day and I woke up much later than I usually do...shame on me. What's worse is that I didn't have a game plan for the day. The adventure seeker in myself was a little uncomfortable with not having a plan but it was soon solved when a co-worker of Toby's called and asked if we wanted to come swim at the waterpark in their subdivision not far from us. Yes, there is a subdivision with a water park here in little ole' Manor, Texas.

So the plan was to call him back in an hour to make plans to meetup with him and his kids at the waterpark. Well as things go sometimes, we called him back in promptly an hour just as we were instructed.

Seems he decided that he had better things to do or something came up, because he never answered or returned our call. I have learned when things like this happen to not get offended or take it personally. I just learn my lesson and know to be more cautious with that particular person the next time.

So in the meantime of waiting around on somebody elses time clock, I decided that we would proceed to our other daily destination while we waited on our callback...after all my time is precious too.

I was in need of some postcards for a project I am working on. I know I see Austin postcards everywhere I go, but for some reason when I was looking for them they were nowhere in sight. Isn't that the way it goes??? After checking a few places that I thought they may have them, I finally decided to head to Walmart...after all Walmart has everything. Even though, I knew for sure that downtown Austin would have them, I wasn't really in the mode to go to downtown in in a bathing apparel.

Walmart did have them, but not the selection I was looking for. I picked a few that I could use for the time being. While we were there we decided to buy a new coffee maker.

The one we have now has to be at least 10 years old or older. It still works fine, but I have an aversion to getting up bleary-eyed and making my coffee. I prefer to have my coffee already made when I stumble into the kitchen so we bought one with an automatic timer.

We shopped around Walmart for awhile and still had not heard back from the 'friend" who had invited us to the waterpark. It was way after lunchtime by the time we finished Walmart shopping. We had our lunch at Luby's. Luby's is always good...and fattening of course.

After lunch we had given up the idea that the "friend" would call us back so we headed back home to our pool. After all, in my opinion, it's just as good as the one in Shadowglen...minus the waterslides.

We stayed longer than we usually do at our local pool. It was hot as blazes and the pool was uncrowded at the time of day. Toby and I sneaked in a little exercise taking turns swimming laps.

I tried to do a little sun worshipping, but that's almost virtually impossible in triple digit temps. I could feel the sun literally burning my skin. I spent most of my time in the pool with Toby and Summer...something I don't usually do.

Even though our day did not go as planned we ended up having a pretty good one....as we usually do when we are all together as a family. :-)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Day....June 23, 2009

This is going to be another one of those really boring post. Then again, what makes a post boring I don't know. Since everyone likes to read different things, I guess it just depends on the reader.

Anyway, today was a typical school day for us. The only thing that was different about it was that Toby was home. Since transferring to a different shop his hours have changed he works all nights and is home during the day.

Don't get me wrong, I love him home during the day...just not on the days I am trying to work lessons in. No matter how quite he is being, there is just something about him being around that is distracting.

Somehow we finally managed to get school done. I think it put fire under Summer's ass when the neighbor kids were knocking at the door. She knows she can't go out until all of her work is done..even if that takes all night.

Due to the high temps, the next door neighbors kids ended up coming inside to play. The kids aren't bad at all, just a little "untamed". They at least listen and keep their feet off of the walls when they are over here. They are usually let to run wild at their house while their mother "sleeps".

Sometimes if I let my emotions out of control, I get to feeling sorry for them and their situation. I'm sure their mother feels sorry for Summmer too....the poor pitiful little unsocialized, friendless homeschooled girl. I swear she asks me every couple of months when I am going to send Summer to school so that she can be "socialized".

I should tell her to trust me in the fact that she is getting very "socialized" by being around her kids. You wouldn't believe the things I hear these 8-9 year old kids talking about while I'm awake eavesdropping on them while they play.

Any parent that believes they can protect their child from the outside world just by homeschooling them is in for a big surprise. Homeschooling or no homeschooling they find a way to "find their way"in this big world.

I am a perfect product of overprotection. My mother did everything in her power to protect me from the evil forces of the world. For instance....

She sent me to private school where I had to endure boys pull their penises out and show them to me, where teenage couples sit in the back of the classroom so the boy could stick his hand up her uniform dress and do God only knows what, where high school students retreat to the elementary school section to have sex in the bathroom, or where they sneak off at lunchtime in the car mommy and daddy bought them to smoke pot.

She also sent me to church which was probably the worse place to send me. After all, who suspects church youth to be doing anything they're not supposed to? Don't be fooled. I learned that visitation night was the night everyone could go out and have unsuspected sex after they visited. Also because I was going off with "church people" there was no reason to worry. I could go off with the church youth freely because it was unlikely that church kids were doing things like drinking, having sex or smoking pot. Anyone that believes that one is truly FOOLED!

She also kept me confined to my house and yard where I still managed to have sex with my first boyfriend in inconspicuous ways.

So see, I can only do so much to protect my daughter. My protection lies in having an honest and open enough relationship with her so that when she in confronted with a situation that she is unsure of she will not have any qualms about coming to her mother and discussing it.

I had this same kind of relationship with my now grown son. No, I was not shocked when at the age of 15 he came to me and asked me to purchase him his first condoms. He was never shy about asking me any sexual or otherwise related questions either. No, I was not shocked at all. I felt very proud and flattered that it was me that he came to.

All you can ever do is let your kids know you love them and are there for them without judgement when they make decisions.

I can only hope that my daughter and I will have the same teenage relationship that my son and I did...we will see.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Shopping Spree!

Well I guess as much of a shopping spree as Toby and I dare to take. As hard as we have tried to be more fruitful with our money, we still tend to live in the scarcity mode. After all, you never know when you might need your money for something important.

Over the past few years on our journey to "enlightenment" we have tried to adhere to the idea that the money is always there. Gratefully, the money has always been there for us when we needed it....but I wonder, is it just because we don't spend frequently??? Only buying things as we need them instead of as we want them? Maybe the money is there because of our financial responsibility, not because of some divine idea.

Why is it so hard to give to ourselves? I'm not talking about just acquiring material things that serve no purpose other than to acquire and to have, I am speaking of things that we truly want to make our lives easier or more enjoyable. Responsible spending as I would call it.

I still haven't figured out why it is so hard yet. Is it because I feel we don't "need" the particular item or is it something deeper. I know I have often not spent money on things I want because I think that if I do we will not have the money for emergencies....like a/c's going on the blink. For example, what if we were not frugal people. What if when our a/c went out and we did not have $350 to spend on a/c repairs because we had bought that nice new comfy couch instead? Is this whole life meant to be just for drudgery spending??

See what I mean? Too many "what if" questions instead of just trusting that it will be there when you need it....abundance.

The definition of scarcity....smallness of quantity in proportion to the wants or demands; deficiency; lack of plenty; short supply.

So today I insisted that we not be scarce. We have a total of 3 televisions in our home. One in our room, one in Summer's room, and one in the living area. We decided that when the digital conversion began we would buy one new flat screen T.V.

The T.V. would go into Summer's room....mainly because that's where my son stays when he comes to visit. It's also where the smallest T.V. would go and we were not extending our spending to $1000....see there is the scarcity again. We have the money for such a purchase, but it is kept stored away for future "emergencies" instead of enjoying it and trusting there will be money there for "emergencies" when the time comes. We are not living in the moment as far as our money goes.

I know most of my readers are probably thinking, "what the **** is she talking about?" A few of my readers I know will "get it".

So anyway, we purchased our first flat screen T.V. yesterday. It is sitting proudly in Summer's room waiting for someone to watch it.

We did do a bit of furniture shopping also. It seems the sofa we had our eye on has disappeared into thin air. We can't seem to remember which furniture store we were in when we spotted it...

For now we are stuck with the hand me down sofa we have had for several years now. There is really nothing wrong with our sofa other than it has pillows on it...pillows that I have to constantly arrange and put back on the couch. I hate pillows!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

My son is just a month shy of turning 21 years old, yet he has the maturity of a much older grown man. For some odd reason he found it to be his responsibility to call me and remind me to call and wish my father a Happy Father's Day....ME, the one who has to remind everyone else in my family to make the appropriate occasion phone calls.

I laughed at him and asked him if he thought I was getting too old to remember to make family occasion phone calls. He laughed and said "No, but I talked to pawpaw the other day and he asked me if you were o.k. He said he hadn't heard from you in awhile."

It is true that we probably have not spoke in a few weeks. Yes, I had been meaning to call my father for the past week, yet somehow I always think about it at an odd hour or get sidetracked from the task by my daily duties.

This got me to thinking about the phone call thing. WHY is it that some parents think the children are always suppose to do the calling?????? If my dad was truly concerned about my well being he would have picked up the phone and called me. To be fair, my dad does call me on occasion and is always there for me if I need anything.

After all, I have absolutely no qualms about calling my son...nor does he of calling me. If I don't hear from him for a couple of days, I am dialing his # to check on him and make sure everything is o.k. Being the mother of a grown son I never go longer than a week without "checking in".

I do know of one particular set of parents who NEVER call their son to check on him. I have witnessed this first hand. Granted their son is grown and has a family of his own, but that doesn't make him long any less for his parents love and concern.

The son use to call them on occasion to "check in", but soon figured out that they were too self-absorbed in their own life to even think about asking him questions like...How is the job? How is life? How is the family? Are you o.k? Do you need anything? None of these questions are ever asked of him. Maybe they are so self-absorbed that they don't even realize they are being neglectful parents of their extraordinary grown son....

The poor son now does not care. He does not care if he ever talks to them anymore. He has been hurt, wounded over and over again by their ignorance. He does not care anymore if they ever call...nor will he probably ever call them again.

Being a mother to a son, I have no idea how this sort of thing can even begin to happen. I sometimes wonder if this son died and no one ever called his parents to let them know of his passing, how long it would take before they ever found out??

They never call him to "check in" so I can only guess that it would be many, many moons......so sad. So sad for the son, so sad for parents.

Anyway, for our family's Father's Day celebration we had a leisurely morning and then went and ate at the Cafe 290. One of the best eatin' places in Manor.

After our lunch we went back home. Toby had to be at work at 4:00p.m so we just hung around the house doing nothing but being together. I hope he had as nice of a day being with us as we did him....I think he probably did. :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Get No Better

I have had the best week I believe I have had in a while. Nothing fancy, just plain ol' fun.

This morning I got up and made my weekly grocery store trip. Don't let the word weekly fool you. Nothing about my grocery store trips have ever been weekly. It never fails that I forget something or realize that I should have bought more of that something that everyone loves.

Since we had an afternoon get-together at our friends, Angela and Quy's, I decided to go to the HEB in Elgin. I really don't know what possessed me to go to this particular HEB when my regular HEB is only 2 miles further.

I do have a sort of love/hate relationship with the city of Elgin, somehow I am always drawn to it. I haven't yet figured out why I persist on going to Elgin....it does remind me an awful lot of my hometown.....

Anyway, the Elgin HEB is the kind of grocery store that has folks like Earline and Bubba cashiering, where folks wear their pajamas and curlers to shop, and cursing loudly at other drivers in the parking lot is acceptable.

Needless to say, I got my shopping done and headed home as quickly as possible vowing that next time I will take the couple of extra miles it takes to my regular HEB.

Around 2:30'ish it was finally time to go to the "party". I was excited about a get-together. It's been a while since Toby and I were invited somewhere there were going to be other people besides our immediate friends.

The day was a hit. I really enjoyed hanging out with Angela and their friends from out of town. Toby only made a short appearance due to having to be at work in the p.m. Luckily, he didn't miss out on any of the great food that was there.

I couldn't believe by the time I got home, we had been there for 5 hours! Angela and Quy were perfect hosts. I believe there were even some pictures taken of me holding a baby....... :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Big Hit

I'm not one of those blogs you will usually find meal ideas or recipes, but I couldn't pass posting this one.

My daughter, as most kids are, is a somewhat picky eater. Lately, I have been trying to find ways to sneak healthy food into her diet.

My friend Angela pointed out that she loves Jamba Juice. Of course, taking her to Jamba Juice daily is not an option. Hmmmm.....I thought if I could re-create Jamba Juice I could get her to drink it daily therefore supplementing her diet with some fruits.

I have never had good luck with recreating a drink or food that I have eaten in a restaurant. I decided to make an attempt once again. The last time we made a visit to Jamba Juice I spyed the ingredients in her favorite Jamba Juice drink....

Soy Milk

Sounded simple enough to me. I gathered my ingredients on my next grocery store trip....

Store brand frozen strawberries
Dannon Fat Free Plain Yogurt
Store brand Vanilla flavored Soy Milk

Here is my process for making the drink itself...

Cut up one small banana into blender.
Add 1 cup soy milk.
Add very large spoonful of yogurt.
Add about 4 or 5 frozen strawberries.

Blend for about a minute or so.

Believe it or not, it taste just like the one I pay $5 for in Jamba Juice. Summer requests a homemade "Jamba Juice" daily.

I'm sure like everything else, she will bore of it and move on to her next treat addiction, but for now it works.

The New "Do"

Just for those of you who were interested in my new hairdo I will post a pic. I will point out one thing about myself. Although I love changes and extremities in my personal life, I don't like big or extensive changes in the way I look. My hair is simple....very simple. So is my makeup and clothes. My looks are really rather boring compared to the excitement that I like in my life. :-)

When I say I get a haircut it usually means that I just got a few inches chopped off of my length. Matter of fact, most of the time I get my haircut my family never even notices it.

This is the most current pic I have of myself. Summer took it the other day while we were at the Vineyard.

Here it is for the readers that inquired.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Beatin' The Heat

It's been hot as heck here in Texas for the past few weeks....blazing hot. We decided to take a trip to the Rock n River Water park in Round Rock to beat the heat. Water parks are so much more fun when your with friends, so we invited Angela and her brood to come along.

We got there right as they opened. Rock n River has to be my favorite water park I have ever been to....yes, it beats Schlitterbaun in my opinion. Not because it has more rides and water playscapes, but because it is smaller, less crowded and you don't have to wait in mile long lines.

Of course, although it was hot as fire, it was a cloudy day. I prefer a little sun with my water so I opted to hold Angela's baby while she played in the water with Jaiden. Yes folks, I was holding a baby. My friends back home that know me well know that I DO NOT hold babies. But this baby is an angel. She does not cry or fuss but only on very rare occasions. She is also very strong and sturdy so her head does not flop around to make me nervous. I dislike babies with floppy heads...and babies that fuss and cry.

After a while the sun exposed itself and I decided to take a ride in the lazy river. Toby and I ended up playing chase with the older girls in the pool. Pool games like that always bring out the kid in me. I was having a blast and I'm sure Toby and the girls were too.

We took turns floating with Jaiden in the lazy river. She loved the lazy river as much as I did. I know her and I floated around that river 50 times. She was so relaxed I believe she could have took a nap on the floaty if it weren't for the blast of water that would hit us at every round.

After a few hours and some burnt skin it was time to go. I think I have had the best week I have had in a while!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Salt Lick and Some Wine

I just found out yesterday that Toby would be off the rest of the week until Friday when he starts in his new shop. He claimed he told me, but I don't remember. I guess I don't listen to him any better than he listens to me. :-)

I'm not very good at spontanaity and always like to have my itenarary planned well in advance. With such a last minute notice of his days off, I had to plan something quickly. No need to waste two free days together.

I'm sure I have said this before, but I will reiterate. Texas has the best barbecue I have ever eaten....no matter what establishment we have eaten it, it has always been scrumptious. Toby had mentioned the other day that he wanted to try Salt Lick..another barbecue place with a great reputation.

Salt Lick is in Driftwood, located just a little Southwest of Austin. I researched the area and made sure there were other attractions in the area to warrant our trip.

Here we are at Salt Lick. As usual the barbcue did not disappoint us...

Mmmmmmm......look at that open pit grill. Doesn't it look delicious?

After we ate we decided to check out the "downtown" area of Driftwood. I thought Manor was small, but this place was definitely in the boonies. There didn't seem to be anything for miles around.

Their "downtown" consisted of decorating store, a church, an old Texaco, and a post office. Here are some pics of the "downtown" area....

We first stopped into the store named Bebe's. It was very nice and smelled good in there. It was more like a nicely decorated house than anything. The man in there was very nice and told us to make ourselves at home and just look around. The place seemed more like it needed to be in Austin than in a podunk town...

Here is the Texaco that had no gas pumps??????????

Summer taking a break from the heat...

Here is Bebe's...

While we were in Bebe's they had some brochures. We spotted one on a Vineyard nearby. Toby and I had never been to a Vineyard before. We decided that since we were close by one that it would be worth our while to take a visit and taste some wine. :-) We weren't so sure that we could take Summer into a winery, but we were intrigued enough that we were willing to give it a try.

On the way to the vineyard I had to stop and take a pic of one of my favorite creatures...the Longhorn. They are absolutely beautiful to me. Build A Bear has one, and I have been trying to talk Summer into adding one to her collection of BAB's.

It seems that the vineyard must have also been the area bar room. There were a couple of moms there that were enjoying an afternoon bottle of wine out on the deck. They seemed to be glad their kids were glued to someone besides them. Their kids were actually quite entertaining while we sipped our wine.

I think Toby must have had too much wine....

Luckily one of the things I have on my List of things to see and do in Austin, was in the area too. Barsan Dham..a Hindu Temple. Summer and I had just recently studied the religion of Hinduism too so I figured this would be a great reinforcement of what we had learned about the religion.

Of course the Temple was beautiful and had a really inviting looking "swimming pool" out back. I'm sure it was a lot cleaner than the Ganges River. Here are some pics of the Temple grounds...

I had to laugh at Summer. Angela, this one is for you. Summer looked at this statue and told Toby..."Jaiden would be scared of that". She knows Jaiden well......

The day turned out well despite not being planned well in advance.

Now This Is CRAZY!

I finally spoke with my neighbor about the Pup situation. Too make a very long aggravating story very short, she says she is going to keep the pup and take care of it since the pup is "already attached to them." I informed her of all the things the pup needs and the responsibility that comes with having an animal.

You ask why I am telling a grown woman about pet responsibility?? Well I will tell you. The pup is still running around free pooping in everyone's but it's own yard. It also is hauling dirty diapers from somewhere..probably her house, and strewing out all of the filling into my yard for me to have to pick up. Not to mention I have several destroyed flower beds. Yes, I told my neighbor about all of these infractions. All she had to say was "I'm sorry".

I then went on to tell her that the pup is very skinny and I am having to feed it so it won't starve. She then told me that's why it comes in my yard...because I feed it. As if the whole dog thing is my fault. What am I suppose to do watch the dog starve to death??

I informed her she needed to get it fenced or caged in her house so it would not be making a neighborhood nuisance of itself or God forbid, get pregnant. I also told her she needed to bathe it because she is ate up with fleas.

You will not believe her response to me when I told her the pup needed to be bathed at least monthly. She then laughed and told me that she could not bathe the dog. I then asked her why she would want a dog she can't even bathe??

Are you ready??? She said..."I'm scared if I bathe her, she will transform into a demon and turn and attack me." The woman is totally serious! I have heard of some crazy superstitions and beliefs before, but this one takes the cake.

I give up! I'm throwing my hands up to the whole situation and hope that HOA will fine her for having a dog run around loose and uncared for.

By the way, I have tried to find the dog a home on the sly, but haven't had any bites as of yet. Her husband will be in town this weekend. I am hoping by some miracle that he says the dog has to go.....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Much Needed Day With Me

I guess the Universe must have been listening to my thoughts yesterday. I was in real need of some me time and somehow through all things that we had going on yesterday, I managed to get it.

We had to take both our vehicles with us to the shop so we could carry the small stuff in my car and the big stuff in the 4Runner. Summer doesn't get to ride in the 4Runner very often so she decided she was going to ride with Toby.

I was really glad about this for a couple of different reasons. I had to stop by the library to pick up a book I had on hold....Eat Pray Love. The library I had it on hold at is not my usual library, it's just the library that is most convenient for me. I also knew that after I picked the book up I was taking a way that I am not real familiar with to stop by the bank and head on to the shop to meet Toby.

I knew that I would be struggling to find my way, as I usually do when I am in uncharted territory. Summer usually gets really panicked when she thinks I am "lost". In her little mind I guess she thinks we will never get home...in my mind I know we will get home, it just may be the "long way home".

So it was nice to be able to struggle my way through Austin's road system without also having to keep my passenger calm. I had a very relaxing drive despite my having to use a map while I drove.

When I finally made it to the shop Toby was mostly through with breaking his stuff down. After we loaded it all in our vehicles, Summer decided that she would again ride with Toby. Yohoo! I couldn't believe that I was going to get peace and quite in the car twice in one day.

We arrived to the Pflugerville shop at the same time and unloaded everything out of the cars into the shop. Having never been to the Phflugerville shop...except for seeing it as I pass it on the interstate, I was impressed. The shop is a lot larger and newer than the one in Austin. It reminded me of a department store it was so large.

After we unloaded everything it was time for lunch. We walked down to Cheddars and ate lunch. Summer insisted on sitting next to Toby while we ate. She was definitely being a daddy's girl and I didn't mind one bit. I think Toby was rather enjoying it himself.

After our lunch we decided that we would get all of our errands done so that we could spend the next couple of his off days until he starts at the new shop, doing something fun.

Again, Summer opted to ride with Toby to Home Depot and the Medical Supply Store. I decided since I didn't have any tag along to complain about what we were doing, that I would stop in and get me a way overdue haircut.

Since living in Austin, I have been lucky enough not to have anyone butcher my hair. The stylist did a great job and my head feels pounds lighter. :-)

After my haircut I headed for my dreaded grocery store trip. Not having someone with me made it so much easier to shop and not near as stressful. I could actually think about what I was doing. Matter of fact, I have figured out that grocery shopping can be somewhat relaxing when you are doing it solo.

After we all got home, we headed to the pool to cool off from the triple digits temps we had been out in all day. We had the pool pretty much to ourselves so we played Marco Polo. It was really fun, even though Toby kept winning.

I'm sure Toby did not purposely give me a "mom day", but I was sure thankful for it anyway.

The Move

Like my every morning routine I am on my computer with my cup of coffee contemplating what the day may have in store for me, or what I may have in store for it. :-)

I am a very lucky person, I know this. There is just something missing and I have still not been able to pinpoint it. And no, it is not God. Or should I say, maybe it is. The part of me that knows I am not living to my full God-given potential....like I should be doing more. I think somehow, some of us women who choose motherhood tend to get lost in that role. There are so many things I wish to do, but as usual the little drudgery's of daily life and raising a homeschooled child take up all of my time.

After all, who would wash the clothes, clean the house, do the grocery shopping, tend the child, etc. if I didn't do it? As I write this I feel like I am appearing ungrateful. That is not the way I want it to be perceived. I enjoy my daily life and feel blessed by having the opportunity to stay at home and homeschool my last child. There is just something missing. Some part of me that is not being exercised.

Just some morning thoughts floating out of my head, and onto the keyboard that like my life, may change from day to day....

Anyway, on to the point of my post. Toby was offered a chance to relocate to another Atomic Tattoo Shop. We discussed this for a couple of days before he agreed to the move.

Here I am going to sound ungrateful again. Sometimes his job can be a real PIA. Nothing about the "tattoo industry" is steady or reliable. Every time he makes a move or his schedule is changed...which can happen on any given day or moment, my schedule has to change. His hours and days will be completely different from the routine that we have settled into. Luckily I adapt pretty well to my surroundings or I would have already pulled all of my hair out years ago.

The Atomic that he will be relocating to is in Pflugerville. He won't be driving any further to this shop than he did to the one in Central Austin. Matter of fact, this is the shop that I originally wanted him to get on with. Pflugerville is more North Austin which is more in our "neck of the woods". He makes good money at the current Atomic, but the word is that he will make more money in the Pflugerville shop. We will see....

So our plan today is to "move". Thank goodness we have the 4Runner now and won't have to scrounge around to find someone to help him move all of his equipment. Now THAT I am grateful for. :-)

I will post later on the progress.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today....June 14, 2009

On the way home from Lockhart yesterday Summer spotted the Austin Country Flea Market. She decided that today she wanted to go to the flea market. I don't know what was in her mind. She usually always has a motive for wanting to visit a particular "store".

Initially I thought the idea of going to the flea market was an o.k idea. It's not far from the house and I figured it would be a quick little break from our school day. Quite honestly, as much of a thrift store person I am I really don't like flea markets. I never find anything that appeals to me but the fresh fruits and veggies.

Anyway, we have only visited the flea market in Austin one time since we have been here. It is a much more "interesting" one than the one in Mobile. That said, I still don't care for the one here either. If nothing else, I would consider it a very cultural experience.

Summer seemed to be having much more fun than I was. I was being a good sport for her sake. The place was packed full of wall to wall folks and it was blazing hot. At least we were not walking around in the direct sunlight. I was still weak with heat and was praying that my daughter would get her fill of the place before I passed out from a heat stroke.

Finally after she had made us walk EVERY row of this large flea market she was ready to go. I suggested we go to the McDonald's nearby so that we could get a bite to eat and a ice cream treat.

In the short ride to McDonald's I still had not cooled down from my torturous flea market trip. When we got in there it felt as though they were having a/c issues too.
We sat in McDonald's and ate our lunch while I poured sweat.

I have endured more heat in the past couple of weeks than I care to experience. Not much can be said for the rest of the day. I was just glad to get home and bask in my a/c.

The Pup

If you keep up with my blog you will remember that Toby and I are somewhat open to adding another SMALL dog to our family.

A month or so ago a skinny, hungry stray pup had wandered into the neighbors yard. Of course, kids love pups so the neighbor kids began to play with it...my daughter included.

I could tell by the paws on this pup that she would grow up to be no small dog. As cute and sweet as she is I know in my heart that I do not want the responsibility of a larger dog. Some people prefer a larger dog..I am not one of them.

Before I move on with my story I will give you a little backround on my neighbors. Their household consist of 3 adult females, and 3 kids. The husband to the female head of the house is in California working for a couple of years. He comes home every 6 months or so to cut the 10ft tall grass and clean up the trash in the yard that their kids leave laying around and make any repairs to the inside...e.g. holes in the walls, broken door knobs, broken banisters, etc. made by their unattended kids while the adult females in the house sleep or lock themselves in their rooms doing God only knows what.

So anyway, the neighbor kids had made claim to this pup. Fine with me if they are taking care of it. When the kids first told me about their mom allowing them to keep it I was a little skeptical. This woman can't even keep up with her yard or her kids, much less be able to guide them to be responsible for a pet.

Over the weeks just as I suspected would happen is happening. The pup is not being cared for. The kids have now bored of the pup and the pup is only attended to or played with on whims. It is left to roam around freely.

Absolutely no one is taking care of the pup but me....even though the kids are assuring me they are taking care of it....yeah right! I feel sorry for the pup and have bathed it a couple of times and feed and water it when she looks hungry or thirsty. I even bought her a couple of bones to chew on so as to keep her from bringing the dirty diapers that she find laying around from next door over to my yard to gnaw up.

Matter of fact, since I am the one that has been taking responsibility for her, she has been hanging out in my yard digging up my flower beds, pooping in my yard, sleeping on my front porch, dragging everything she gnaws up onto my front porch, and making the nuisance of herself that pups do.

I am fed up with my neighbors. Every time I go over there to discuss the pup with the adult she is either not there or she is asleep. It really pisses me off that these people are not taking responsibility for the dog like they claimed they would do.

I also know they are the type people that will never take her and have her spade. A dog that is allowed to run around freely will surely end up getting pregnant thus adding to our already sadly over-populated pet population.

I really don't know what to do. I don't want the pup, but I don't want to see her uncared for and breeding unnecessarily. I'm not sure if I would get into any legal trouble if I just found the dog a home out from underneath them....

Even if I did speak to the adult female of the house, I know her well enough that I know I would get nowhere. She would just tell me that they were caring for her...by their standards of "caring for" that is.

This issue is really bugging me...............

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Long Hot Saturday in Texas

This weekend is the weekend of the Chisolm Trail Roundup in Lockhart. If you remember, Toby and I had been to Lockhart (the barbecue capitol)a few weeks ago and didn't get a chance to taste any of their famous barbecue.

So this weekend it was our plan to make it back to Lockhart and enjoy the festival while eating some yummy barbecue. Well things didn't turn out quite as planned. We ate a small breakfast before we left so we would be good and hungry when we got there.

By the time we did get there we were all starved. There was tons of scrumptious smelling barbecue smoking, but didn't seem to be any to eat. We finally asked someone where all the barbecue was. We were informed that there was a barbecue cook off contest and the barbecue wouldn't be being served until 3:00p.m.

Well there was no way we could walk around in 100 degree heat without anything on our stomachs so we grabbed a little something to tide us over from one the vendors. There really wasn't too much of anything at all going on....or maybe our eyes were so full of sweat we couldn't see anything.

There was a carnival there so Toby and Summer rode a couple of rides...the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars.

Here is one of the few pics you will see of me. Toby took it while he and Summer were up in the Ferris wheel. He was suppose to be taking Aeriel pics of the city...

After a while of walking around in the blazing sun we finally decided we didn't have enough to occupy us to wait another hour for the barbecue to be served. We decided it best to just leave and eat at one of the barbecue restaurants outside of the festival.

We decided on one that was recommended to me by a fellow blogger and ex-Austinite. When we got to Smitty's there was a line all the way to the door. I might also add that this weekend was ROT Rally and there has been wall to wall motorcycles all over the Austin area. I don't think I have ever seen so many "bikes" in one place before.

A lot of the bikers had decided that the Roundup would also be a good place to spend their weekend. So aside from the regular crowds, there were the thousands of bikers.

We tried a couple more restaurants in the area only to discover that they also had lines out the door. We finally gave up and headed back to Austin. We were still intent on eating some barbecue so we headed to Elgin...another nearby city known for it's great barbecue.

We ate at Southside Market. Believe it or not, there was a good crowd of bikers there also, but not enough to make the place a wait. Elgin is only about 10 miles from Manor so we had eaten at the Southside Market before. It was a delicious as it was the first time we ate there.

After we finally got our bellies full we made a quick stop into HEB to pick up a few grocery essentials and headed home.

It's been a while since I have been so ready to get home. I think the heat is starting to take a toll on me. I like warmth, but this is a little too excessive.

Good news is when we got home and checked the mail, we had got our income tax check in. Just in time to replenish what we had to spend on repairs and then some. See things always work out in the end. :-)

Friday June 12, 2009

Well, I finally have cool air! After the a/c guy left we decided to take a little break and head to the mall.

The mall has never been one of my favorite places to go, but the mall here is pretty cool and is not a hangout for the "ghettos" like the one in Mobile. It's a large 2 story mall and there are plenty of stores to spend your money in.

We only walked about 1/4 of the mall. Although we wandered into many of the stores, we actually only had two store destinations....Build A Bear and Bath and Body Works.
Summer had some allowance she wanted to spend. She ended up getting ANOTHER Build A Bear to add to the collection of the already overflowing stuffed animal bin in her room.

I don't think she has figured out yet that in order to keep the clutter under control, I get rid of one of her stuffies when she adds to her collection. My house rule is when you buy something you have to get rid of something...plain and simple. It's called "crowd control".

True to his nature, Toby was very entertaining in the mall....well to me anyway. Summer claims he was embarrassing her. I have figured out when he is having to do something he is not really enjoying he tries to keep himself entertained....which in turn keeps me entertained.

After we got home to our nice cool house Summer decided that her new Build A Bear needed some clothes. She didn't have enough money to buy any accessories so she decided that she would sew him some clothes. She pulled out the scrap material and sewing box. She was doing pretty good but soon found out that the sewing part was easier than the fitting part.

Obviously she had talked Toby into helping her out. This is what I saw when I came downstairs. Now that is a turn on! Watching a man sew for his little girl. What are daddies for anyway???

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thursday June 11, 2009

I'm sure everyone is pretty sick of me whining about my A/C woes...probably as sick of it as I am dealing with it, so I'll make this quick and painless.

After having an A/C "expert" over here explaining to me everything that was wrong with the installation of my A/C (how it was not up to code and how it was sitting to close to my water spicket, which I already knew) and letting me know that I had a freon leak (which I already knew) he proceeded to call the a/c company that had been to my house last summer and replaced a coil...when my house was still under warranty.

To make a long story short all I got was a bunch of arguing between a couple of men who were pointing fingers, slinging ultimatums, and trying to pawn the job off on someone else. All I wanted was my a/c fixed, I didn't care about all the other details.....JUST FIX MY DAMN AIR!

By the end of the day after getting nowhere with the two "expert" a/c guys. I finally opened up my phone book around 6:00p.m to a random a/c repair page. I just picked the first one I came to and gave them a call. The secretary was very nice and told me there would be someone out within the hour. WOW! Now how easy was that..

The guy came out, simply told us what our problem was, and made plans to be back the next morning to install the defective part....which of course they had to order. Help is on the way and I feel much better.

We did have a morning playdate at the pool. Angela met at the pool around 11:00. When we got there we were informed that shortly there would be 110 daycare camp kids. Yay! Needless to say the girls didn't get to swim long before we were invaded by tons of camp kids. We got out of there fast.

We did get to see a spectacular lightening storm tonight. We don't get storms here very often but when we do they are usually pretty volatile. Hail and tornadoes are as normal here as hurricanes are on the coast.

I am looking forward to having some cool air.....but not looking forward to the thinner wallet. :-)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's HOT as Fire!

My A/C is out and I am having trouble settling down and relaxing for the night. I keep thinking about the info board that I read while we were in the Georgetown, Tx Museum a couple of weeks ago. It spoke of the Germans that immigrated to Texas in the 1800's. Germany's temperature can in no way be compared to the sweltering heat of Texas.

The picture on the info board showed an immigrant couple on the prairie land clothed in long sleeved apparel. It spoke of their experience of coming from a cooler climate into the intense Texas heat....something they were not used to. I am sure they were very surprised when they got here. In their words...."they thought they would die."

This is exactly the way I feel at this moment. It is hot as fire. On the flip side, central Texas has a wonderful breeze that I can feel blowing through my open window.....

There is always something to be grateful for. :-)

What A Day!

Yes, my day has been eventful. As of this moment I am sitting here with a wet washcloth wrapped around my neck with my thermostat reading 87 degrees. Yes, my A/C decided to take a little break today. The A/C guy has been called but you know how that goes. He'll shows up when he shows up after you have sat at the house all day waiting on him. Your at their mercy and they know it.

I'm really a little nervous about it all. Mobile is hot and muggy but not near as hot as it gets here in central Texas. In Mobile the sun is filtered out by the humidity. Here there is not much humidity to shield you from the blaring sun and high temps....nor are there many tall trees for shade. At least we have massive wind here to circulate the triple temps around. (eyeroll) Top all this off with my menopausal hot flashes during the night and you have a demon waiting to be unleashed....bless my family.

I always try to think of a positive side to things. The only one I could come up with was that I was glad it was not my washing machine that went on the blink. Laundromats aren't my thing....quite honestly I haven't even seen one since I have been here. Nor do I have anywhere I could hang the clothes to dry if I decided to hand wash them....let's not even think about that one. No need to draw anymore negative manifestations my way.

So, on with the next eventful part of my day. After Summer and I finished school we were sitting down to have our lunch. The doorbell rang. I answered it only because I saw it was my next door neighbor. She speaks very little English but I sense that she can understand a good bit.

To make a long story short, her toddler had locked her and her 4 year old out of the house....the toddler was locked inside of the house with food on the stove boiling. She was frantic and wanting my house key so she could open her door to get back into her house.

It was really a sad now that I look back on it. First of all there was a HUGE language barrier. Second, for some odd reason she believed that my house key could open her door. You should have seen my trying to communicate to this poor soul that even though our houses look alike, our key are in no way the same.

I finally got the point across. In the meantime she is in panic mode and I am beginning to feel the same way myself because I can smell the burning food inside of her house. I also felt for her because like me, she is alone here. She has no one but her husband and her kids when she is in trouble. If her hubby isn't available then she is "shit out of luck"...just like I am.

She finally communicated to me that she wanted me to call the police. I called 911. I didn't know what they could do for us, but I figured they could at least give us some idea. I told 911 what was going on. The operator asked me why the neighbor didn't call herself.....odd question to me, but I told the operator that my neighbor could not speak much English.

The operator then told me the only thing they would do is break the window. I told the operator..."O.K., then that's what we will do.". I then had to go over there and communicate to her using "sign language" of some kind that we needed to break the window to get in. Geeshh...I now now why our ancestors drew pictures on the walls!

I learned in the process the windows in these houses are pretty thick glass. We finally got the smallest window we could find broke. Mary climbed in and unlocked her door. I could hear her in there using a few choice words in Spanish....even though I didn't understand most of them, I'm sure they weren't nice ones. :-)

I truly felt for my neighbor and totally understood her panic. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her that even though I couldn't understand her words that I could totally understand her human dilemma.

After my experience today, I am even more convinced than ever that of all the crazy stupid laws our government has why in the world they don't make it a requirement that someone getting their "citizenship" has to know a certain amount of English. Who cares if they know who the senators are or who is in the cabinet.....hell, most American citizens don't even know that anyway.

It's getting hotter and hotter in here by the minute. I need to go wet my washrag and open some windows now that it is nightfall......

A Full Day

Toby was off today. Unfortunately, he had the dirty chore of replacing a catalytic converter back on his truck. Fortunately, he was able to use the welding machine at Siddons to weld it back on. The task didn't waste too much of our day. He was out early in the morning and back by lunchtime.

After lunch we headed to Walmart to grab a few essentials like spray paint....let me tell you about the paint. They keep paint locked behind a glass case here. Obviously in the past there has been a problem with young folks buying the paint to "huff". Never doing anything any harder than drinking or smoking a little pot in my younger days, I thought it to be a strange way to get "high".

When we got back from running our errands we went to the pool to cool off. It was nice to have daddy in the pool. My intention was to sit in my lounger and read my book. The pool was not crowded at all and I was starting to sweat. I felt kinda guilty for sitting on my butt while the swimming lane was free and clear of any swimmers. I jumped in and swam a couple of laps and felt much better about myself afterwards.

Now this is the kicker for the evening. After living in Austin for almost 2 years we still haven't seen one of Austin's biggest attractions...the bat colony do their nightly flight out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. You can read here and get more information on the largest bat colony in North America.

We headed downtown around 6:30 so we could grab a bite to eat at T.G.I Fridays on the Lake. We ate outside on the deck that sits right at the edge of lake facing the bridge. We had a good view of the bridge and I knew we would be able to see the bats take flight from our vantage point.

By the time we finished our meal it was just before sunset. Summer was getting a little antsy just sitting there, so her and I decided to walk over to the bridge where everyone else was congregated. I felt better about being closer to the flight path....or so I thought anyway.

The bats draw a pretty good nightly crowd. Standing on the edge of the bridge waiting for the bats to take flight kinda reminded me of standing there waiting on the parade to start during Mardi Gras, not knowing when it's going to start but when it finally does that's when the fun begins.

Once they started to fly out I figured out real quick that we were at the wrong end of the bridge. We would have gotten a better view if we had been closer to the other end of the bridge. It was still an amazing show! And a show it was. The whole flight process took 20 minutes or more. There were literally millions of bats flying everywhere. In the distance the congregation of bats looked like black clouds.

I thought about how strange it was that the bats had such a large audience for something they do so naturally every evening....oblivious to anyone observing them.

Of course I have pictures but none of them will ever be the same as actually seeing the process in person. I also included a short video.... This is the best pic my amateur camera could get. You can see the bats flying out from underneath the bridge. If you look on the horizon the black stuff that looks like clouds is actually the swarms of bats...

Here is the video...

I was very impressed and will be back for a better vantage point.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday June 7, 2009

Toby had another full day at work. It was a school day for Summer and I. Although we school year round, during the summer months we only do the bare essentials of reading and math. How much more does anyone actually really need anyway???

After we finished school we headed to the pool. I told Summer we need to make note next time to sit on the edge of the pool and get hot before we jump in. It was pretty cold in there even as hot as it is during the day. I guess it's so cool at night that the pool loses it's warmth during the night.

We only swam about an hour. Summer informed me that it is much more fun to swim with her daddy. I didn't tell her, but I thought that I thought it was much more fun when daddy swam with her too. I am not much of a play in the pool kinda chick. I like to chill out on a lounger, soaking in the sun while reading a good book.

After we left the pool we hit the Dollar Store for some pool toys and then on to the Sonic for some lunch. Not that I didn't have the healthy lunch waiting at home but somehow it didn't sound as appealing as some greasy sonic chicken.

After we got home and chilled out for a while I made a phone call. A phone call I have been meaning to make ever since we moved to Texas. I have an Aunt and Uncle that live in San Antonio, Tx. I also have a some cousins that live in the Houston area...probably more that I don't even know about.

My uncle is my mother's brother. They used to live in Mobile years ago and we used to spend a good bit of time doing family stuff with them. I don't remember a whole lot of it but I do have some fond memories of a few occasions. I think they moved to Texas when I was around 8 or 9 years old..maybe younger.

Although I did stay with them a while when I was a teenager when they lived in Seguin Tx (right outside San Antone) I have not seen them in years except for the few occasions of seeing them during my mothers passing 7 years ago.

It's a shame to be that close to family members and not have contacted them. Somehow we let time and distance come between us and our family and loved ones slip out of our lives.

Since arriving in Texas I have thought about my extended family numerous times. I finally made that phone call this afternoon and had a great time catching up with my uncle. Even though I have only met my cousin one time when she was 5 years old (she is now 23..I think) I maintain a Facebook relationship with her and always enjoy chatting with her and keeping up with her life via the Internet.

I think that maybe I will be resuming some old family relationships in the near future and I look forward to being a part of their life once again. I think Summer needs some family members more than anyone. She craves it. Even though she has an older brother I still consider both of them only children because of their age difference.

As little family as we have we can use all we can get. :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 6, 2009

Today is typically our family day, but Toby had to fill in for one of the other artists today. Saturday is not usually a school day for us either so Summer and I decided to make it a girl day. A girl day to us usually entails doing what we want, spending what we want, and eating what we want without any male interference.

Our first stop was Big Lots. I love Big Lots. I was prepared to spend a little money but nothing struck my fancy. Isn't funny how when you have money to spend you can't find anything to buy, but when you are strapped everything in the store calls your name??

Our next stop was Half Price Books, a popular book store here in Austin. Summer is participating in their Summer reading program so we went redeem her form and pick out a couple books. I also wanted to look for myself while we were there, but I spent most of my time trying to help her figure out what she wanted....which is not an easy task.

After the book store we stopped and ate at Chik-fi-la. Mmmmm....always good. While we were taking our break and eating, Summer pointed out how she had seen so many kids with glasses on. Good observation on her part. I didn't notice until she pointed it out, there were a lot of kids out today with glasses on....

After we ate we headed to the dreaded Walmart. I hardly ever step foot into Walmart since we have moved to Texas. There are too many other shopping options. I needed a new bra though and Walmart was convenient to my location at the time.

Bra's are something that I consider a luxury. I will wear one for years. I hate spending money on something that no one ever sees...besides hubby that is, and he certainly doesn't care what my bra looks like despite what Victoria Secret says. Anyway, as long as it still fits I will wear them out. So when I say I need a bra, I really needed a bra. I actually bought a couple of bras. I'm sure this is to much information for some, but it was part of my day so I included it.

When we got home we chilled out a while and ate a snack. After I was rested a little from our shopping spree, I decided that I would puree all the veggies I bought at the store yesterday. Summer helped. I was dreading it 'cause I knew it would be time consuming and tedious. Just for your information, the reason I am pureeing veggies is so I can sneak them into my very picky daughters meals. I'm not sure if she figured that out yet. She just thought it was fun. We will see how well this trick works out.

Later on in the evening, the kids wanted to get under the sprinkler on this very hot afternoon. It's amazing what will entertain kids. I don't even know why we even buy toys. Look how well a sheet, a sprinkler, and a trampoline can entertain kids....

Just one last tidbit. The other day I was looking for Brandi. She's small and has a bad habit of "hiding" from us. She likes to be left alone to sleep peacefully and usually does not "answer" unless she thinks there is something in it for her.

Here is where I finally located her...sandwiched in between Toby's pillows in our bed. All you could see was her little nose sticking out while she totally ignored our calls. Bad dog.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Considered Ho Hum

Yes, that is what my week has been like...ho hum. I missed my weekly playdate because of Summer's illness. Yes, I call it my playdate as well. Any parent that is with their child 24/7 is definitely worthy of some adult conversation from time to time.

Not that hubby doesn't give adult conversation...well his is more like adult interaction if you know what I mean. Just one more person on my list of "things to do" and people to "satisfy".

So we have just kinda hung out around the house. Thank God I find comfort in my home and entertain myself easily, otherwise my wandering spirit would go insane. After a year and half I still have many things that I have yet to explore in this wonderful city and it's surrounding areas and I am not getting any younger.

There is really not much to post about. Here are just a few pics to occupy you until I have something more entertaining to write about.

A beautiful backyard sunset...

Summer entertaining herself blowing bubbles.

The neighbors pup, Chloe. Chloe spends most of her time in our yard gnawing up anything she can find and trampling through my flower beds. :-/

Toby doing what he loves best..yardwork.

Summer setting Philipe straight about something or another.

Another beautiful backyard sunset. I have never seen such beautiful sunsets as I have here in Texas. Not even the beautiful beach sunsets have them beat.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sugar Culprits and Other Ingredient Demons

Recently one morning Toby and I were watching the Ellen show before he left for work. One of our favorite authors, Wayne Dyer was a guest on the her show. He was speaking about how he had lost a good bit of weight just by cutting sugar out of his diet. He set himself a limit of 25g of sugar per day.

Being a naturally thinner person, that is up until I hit 40 when I got the "middle age spread", I never paid attention to things like fat, sugar, calories, etc. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound. Even now, I don't gain weight very easily. You can say it's one of the very few qualities that I was born with that I now appreciate.

So anyway, Toby took Dyer's suggestion of cutting out sugar in his diet. After only a couple of weeks of limiting his sugar intake he has lost 7 lbs. Trying to help him about a bit, I have kept my eye on the sugar in the food that we buy. Some of it is unbelievable. Things you wouldn't think have sugar..e.g. milk, canned tomatoes. Some things have outrageous amounts of sugar in them..e.g. a coke and an ice cream cone.

Not long ago, we learned that partially hydrogenated oil in products was a big NO NO. Almost everything on the shelf includes this particular ingredient. It's so hard to eat healthy these days with all the processed, quick and easy meals out there. Healthy food is also more expensive so when you are on a grocery budget as most of us everyday folk are, it's even harder. It's amazing what greed and laziness has even done to our food supply.

I have been trying to pay closer attention to labels now also for Summer's sake. It's obviously very easy for bad eating habits to creep in. When Summer was younger we could get her to eat anything..or at least try it. It wasn't until that day that she got a taste of the sweet stuff (I'm sure it came from her sugar crazy older brother) that she started turning her nose up at healthy meals and snacks. It's really hard to find something healthy that she likes to eat these days. I don't keep sweets in the house at all because if I did she would want to eat them morning, noon, and night. She is such a finicky eater that I have to supplement her diet with vitamins.

Since we have got back from Alabama in August '08, she has been nothing but sick. A cold here, a virus there. Every month since we have returned we have encountered an illness every couple of weeks. Her abundant illnesses have ruined a few of our holidays and get togethers.

I was reading online for ways to boost a child's immune system. One was to remove the refined sugar from their diet. All this checking labels stuff is just going to make my already complicated grocery store trips even harder but it has to be done.

My goal for the year is to limit the refined sugar in our diet. Even if I have to end up paying more at the grocery store, my intention is to make this change in our eating habits for the better of the family. I have this feeling Summer is going to starve to death during this lifestyle change.

Wish me luck and if anyone has any healthy meal ideas my ears are open wide. :-)