Friday, July 31, 2009

Was It Really Necessary??????

I pick up a copy of the Manor Messenger every Thursday at the local Texaco. It's my way of making sure I don't miss any of the happenings or goings on in my neck of the woods.

On the front page was this......

It's a big snake yes. The snakes life was shortened when he ended up in someone's backyard in the subdivision across the highway. Seems the heat and dry conditions are causing many snakes to come indoors thus causing increase in snake bites. This is only one of a few different instances like this I have seen lately. Not long ago a man in the next subdivision over was bit by a rattlesnake while sliding underneath his car to work on it. Cost him $30,0000 in anti-venom.

Normally the snake can live off the dew off the ground and get enough water but there is not enough dew this year so the snakes are moving in trying to find some relief from the intense heat and extreme dry conditions.

Sad to me. The wildlife is just trying to survive in this exceptional drought just like everyone else. Folks need to be educated. Teach your children to stay away from a snake if they see one and always be aware of their surroundings. I have ran up on a couple of rattlers since living in Texas and I know for a fact they are not out to get anyone. Each time I have came upon a rattler he/she would let me know WAY in advance that I was about to run into him. I'm sure he was as scared of me as I was him.

I have been known to kill a few ants or roaches in my lifetime but most of the time I have a "Live and let live" attitude when it comes to wildlife. Unless they are posing a direct threat or irritation to me or my family I leave them alone. After all, we all suppose to be sharing this God given territory we live in.

Why wasn't the Austin Reptile Service notified?? Why not just shoo the snake away as I do? For goodness sakes once you know he is there you can be alert to him. Most likely he wouldn't have come back once he knew he was not wanted.


I felt sorry for the snake myself. He was just being a snake. Stupid human FEAR of anything and everything. It's destroying us and our surroundings.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday July 29, 2009

Yes, I know I have not blogged in a few days. I can't say that it's because I have been busy...that would be a lie. I'm just not "feeling the love" with blogging lately. Every time I attempt to write my daily journal it just feels so mundane. Again, out of dedication to my blog I will trudge on...

Yesterday Toby and I bought us a Yoga DVD. This morning we tested it out. In a nutshell, I would rather be hiking......

Today we went to Dave and Busters. It was our first time there and I have to say we were all impressed with this giant, fancy, adult oriented Chuck e cheese type place. One of the things I love the most about Austin is it's family oriented establishments.

We ordered our meals. I sat at the table waiting on the meals to arrive while Toby and Summer were playing games. As I sat there alone at the table I contemplated a lot about my life, myself and the city of Austin. Too bad I don't have anything better to think about, but that was it.

Summer hit the jackpot at Dave and Busters. She has always been one of those lucky types - always the one to win something or find money.....maybe I will let her pick my lottery numbers the next time I play.

As usual I drove while we were out and about today. Toby says I am a horrible driver in Austin. He is right. After almost two years I still have a hard time finding my way around certain areas of Austin. Of course, he knows Austin as well as most Austinites do by now. Maybe I will let him drive from now on. I keep thinking I will eventually figure it out if I drive it enough....maybe not.

After we got home I went outside and did some yard work that needed to be done. Pulling weeds, tending the flower beds, watering, etc. I detest yard work but it has to be done.

That's it for my day....I know, pretty boring but it is what it is. Maybe I will fly to the moon tomorrow. :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Today was uneventful for the most part. Not very often do I enjoy uneventful, but after my vacation last week I didn't mind a little down time at the house. Before Toby went to work we grilled some hamburgers and watched a movie with Summer.

After Toby left for work Summer and I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool. The temps were scorching at 103 degrees as usual.

After cooling off in the pool we came inside took a shower and ate a whole large cantaloupe by ourselves. To this day I still don't know why swimming makes you so hungry.

Anyway, after our shower and snack we came upstairs to the computer. I recently had been given the opportunity to review the JumpStart Virtual World. We had been able to play around with it a little bit before we left for vacation. Mostly I was able to check out the articles and blog posts which are a great asset to the games themselves.

It didn't take me long at all to agree to review the Jumpstart software. I have always been sold on Jumpstart from the time Summer was old enough to play on the computer. Very few indoor activities will keep my daughter intrigued for very long. Jumpstart has always been able to keep her interested enough to remain glued to it for literally hours.

I once asked her what is was she loved so much about Jumpstart and she told me she really loved all the characters and how you could interact with them. She also loves the surprises waiting behind every door. Everyone loves suspense and Jumpstart definitely gives suspense and adventure to kids looking for that excitement that sneaks in learning opportunities.

As for me, the parent, I love that I can use it as a curriculum supplement while I am preparing other lessons or just need a break. Being a blogger myself, I also love the Jumpstart blog. You can check out their blog here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just a Few Extra Vacation Highlights in Pics

My favorite Mobile bird...the Ha ha as we call them. Their technical name is the Laughing Gull. I miss these birds.....

Downtown Mobile. Nothing big, but cool in a quaint sort of way. Maybe I am just partial.:-) Mobile has the potential to be a great city with a lot to offer. I haven't figured out who's fault it is that it isn't....the city officials or the residents.

The tunnel. It was always cool to drive thru when were kids. My kids always enjoyed driving through it too....

Fort Conde. This was always one of Summer's favorite places to go when we lived in Mobile. When she was younger, there is no way we could go downtown without taking a visit to Fort Conde. Funny how she passed right by it this time without even a second look....almost sad.

In front of the Exploreum...

The Holiday cruise ship that ports in Mobile. We took a cruise on this ship in 2005. Another great vacation memory!

The old railroad station. Another wasted beautiful building in Mobile. Why not make this old building some sort of attraction for the city????? The place has been only housing rats, roaches, spider webs, and probably some homeless folks for the past 100years. A waste....shame on you Mobile.

My family....well most of them. I told you I had a small family. :-)

Mobile, Alabama 2009 Vacation Highlights - Day Three

After almost a month of vacationing in Mobile it was time for my brother and his family to leave for their home in Vietnam. Since they had plenty of packing to do we took the girls to the Exploreum. The Exploreum is another Mobile favorite of mine.

Some pics....

After we visited the Exploreum we decided to see if we could get us some of those good 'ole boiled peanuts from the A&M Peanut Shop.

I had to have Megan back at my dads by 2:00p.m. When we got back there was a little surprise waiting for me. It was my 45th birthday and my family had a cake and ice cream. I have to say it was a very nice surprise. I can't even remember the last time I had a birthday cake on my birthday....unless it was made or bought myself that is.

The cake and ice cream hit the spot. After my "party" my brother left for the airport while Toby and I packed our stuff up and headed over to Toby's brother, Charlie to spend some time with him and spend the night.

We also got a little surprise at his house. Toby's sister that lives in Dothan, Al who we never get to see, and who I have only met one time, was traveling through Mobile and stopped in to see us. I wish we had had more time to spend with them but we all had to get to bed for a very early morning flight out of Mobile.

We enjoyed our flight back into Austin as much, if not more, than we did coming into Mobile. We were a little more at ease about what to expect. It's amazing how quick a plane trip is compared to driving. We made it home in 2 hours! I am sold on flying from this day on....but it ain't cheap!

When we picked Brandi up at the boarder she was SO happy to see much as we were to see her. She cried and whimpered for an hour after we got her. We were all happy to be reunited once again. :-)

Mobile, Alabama 2009 Vacation Highlights - Day Two

After a full night of rest I was looking forward to our family get together at Chickasobogue Park. This is one of my favorite places in Mobile. I can remember swimming in parts of the creek when I was a kid. We also spent a lot of time here when Lucas was growing up....mostly in the boat.

The temps in Mobile were in the 80's so it was a cooler than I like it to be for swimming in cold creek water. Even the girls were hanging out mostly in the sand. They eventually crept on into the water.

Here are some pics from our picnic in the park....

Summer, Elenora, Taylor - Elenora's friend, and Megan creeping into the chilly water.

Toby tasting his first grilled oyster. I can't say that I was brave enough to do the same.

My poor brother shucking those huge oysters. It seemed to be a strenuous task that only he and Diep were determined enough to do.

Here comes lunch! Buddy and Diep mastered this whole picnic. If it weren't for them I'm sure it wouldn't have turned out as well as it did. They are our family's master planners and the are darned good at it.

My dad and and his wife, Doris. Granny Doris as I call her.

My youngest brother David and his wife Simona.

Megan and Summer.

It was another great day in Mobile!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mobile, Alabama 2009 Vacation Highlights - Day One

Unlike my trip back home to Mobile, Alabama last year, this year's trip was perfect! Toby and I really, really enjoyed getting together with family members and being able to spend some quality time with them.

Here are the highlights of my 3 day vacation - compliments of my brother. :-)

DAY ONE - Summer and I were so nervous about the plane ride we couldn't even choke down any breakfast before our first connection into Dallas.

On our first connection we were not able to be seated together. I was really stressed about this because of my daughter's clingy/panicky nature.

Luckily everything turned out to hers and my advantage. She had a very nice man that was seated next to her. He chatted her up right away. He obviously made her feel at ease because I could see her chatting away with him. Although she was not able to sit next to Toby or I, she ended up enjoying her seating companion. I even had the spot next to me come open when the passenger next to me moved to another seat. When I excitedly told her to come sit next to me, she declined and decided to stay sitting next to her original male seat mate. Obviously a seasoned traveler, he was taking the time to explain in detail the flight process and what would be happening next.

On our flight out of Dallas into Mobile, Toby, Summer, and I stayed glued to the window of the plane as much as possible. It was absolutely beautiful to see the earth from a different perspective. The part I loved the most was flying above the clouds. It reminded me of the pictures you see that depict heaven with the clouds being the floor. Matter of fact I had to blink my eyes a few times just to make sure I was not really dead and that it was all real. There is no way I could explain the beauty of it all....only a flight experience could tell.

Once we got into Mobile we grabbed a bite to eat at Krystal. I used to love Krystal and felt the need for some of that good ole' Mobile greasy fast food. Unfortunately, my stomach is out of practice and I ended up feeling a little ill afterwards.

After we ate we visited Toby's grandmother. I really like Toby's grandmother and always enjoy her company. Here is a picture of Summer, Omie, and Sassy (her dog)...

We attempted to go downtown and get us some boiled peanuts from our favorite peanut shop downtown. We had forgotten that Mobile is not an "all night" city and they were closed by 6:00p.m . I got some good downtown shots while we were there anyway..

For dinner we ate at the Original Oyster House. As many cool things Austin has, good seafood is not one of them. Here is Summer looking out onto Mobile Bay from the top of the restaurant.

Here is my attempt at a night shot from the restaurant of downtown Mobile. The view was much prettier than my pic....

After our meal we went to see my son while he was at work. Not knowing when we would be coming into Mobile he had previously taken a few days off for his birthday - which is the day after mine, so he couldn't take any days off while we were there. No worries though, he will be in Austin in a couple of weeks. :-)

Here is a pic of Lucas and Summer at work.....

After our visit with Lucas it was way past my bedtime on top of the fact that I got very little sleep the night before. By the time I got back to my dad's where we were staying it didn't take long before I was snoring away.

Day one - A success!

Stay tuned for day two....

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Just a Few Things...July 19, 2009

Believe it or not, I have been trying to blog for the past few days even though there has not really been much to make note of. Mostly running around doing errands and preparing for my trip to "Sweet Home Alabama".

Only 2 days away from flight departure. I am beginning to get excited about my trip and a little nervous. I was thinking of dousing my stomach with liquor before takeoff to ease my nerves but our flight is leaving to early in the morning for alcohol least for me.

I am looking forward to seeing and spending time with my family...this time hopefully without hurricane's and stomach viruses as part of the itinerary...

Looking back, I have had a very enjoyable summer so far. While we were out running errands today, I was talking to Toby about how well we have been doing for the past several months.

It seems during these tough economic times we seem to be fairing quite well. At least for our standard of "well" anyway. I almost feel a little guilty when I hear about other folks talking about their economic misfortunes since the progressive economic disaster. Folks have been losing their jobs, homes, and their identity associated with their financial status.

I almost let myself get dragged right down with them until I remind myself that during the time when a lot of Americans were basking in the lap of luxury until our recent economic crisis, my family and I were struggling at the very bottom end of an economic crisis ourselves. Hence, having to relocate ourselves to another state.

While everyone else was driving around in their nice newer vehicles, sporting fancy cell phones, owning more credit cards than is even humanly necessary and living in houses that were in neighborhoods that didn't have reputations for drive by shootings my family and I were struggling to make ends meet.

Sometimes I think being poor isn't such a bad thing. When you survive on little or nothing your life is simple....more realistic and in touch.

I am not being smug in the least. I am just saying everyone has their "day in the sun". We just so happen to be having our "sun day" during a time when a lot of Americans are trying to drag themselves out of that dark cave called debt.

We have "been there done that" before and may do "that" again. At least I can say I know how to handle "that".

Here are a few pics of our daily activities for the past couple of days while I have been slagging. (slack blogging)

Summer and Isaac. Summer is cutting up dog food treats for the neighbors dog.

Summer and the neighbors dog...Chloe.

I gave Summer something to be creative with while I caught up on my blog and did prepared for our trip. This is what she came up with. She said she was giving herself a body mask. Not exactly what I thought she would do with it, but whatever works.

Oh, and one last note. I was talking to my crazy neighbor down the street last night. For anyone who does not know the 'crazy neighbor' here is a short description - she labels herself Christian in faith, she is a hoarder of stuff, she is a very poor example of a homeschooler and gives us that are serious about it a very bad name, she has NO control over her 3 boys.

Anyway, I told her about us going out of town for a couple of days. In the past I have done her a couple of favors so she was wanting to reciprocate and asked if she could watch Brandi while we were gone....uh no, I love my dog too much is what I wanted to say. She went on and on about how she wanted to do something for me because that's what GOD would want her to do.

I said "O.k. well I am expecting some packages from UPS this week. If you would just take them off my front porch if you see them and keep them inside your house until I get back that would be nice."

This is what crazy said next..."Well, I hope the packages will be o.k out in the garage, because if I bring them inside the kids will get into them and destroy them." .....I can't even begin to tell you how long it took me to convince her that they would be better off on my front porch for a week than at her house....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Let's Talk Pack Rat

When my mother passed several years ago, I inherited a few of her things. A few pieces of furniture, some kitchenware, her car and......clippings of pictures out of magazines and recipe clippings. No, not just a few clippings, but years worth of accumulated clippings.

My mother had an obsession with saving things that she thought she could be creative with. For instance, she would also cut little jokes out of magazines and save them to put in birthday cards.

I hate to say that as of late, I have adopted that same obsession. I have never been a pack rat sort but since the recognition of recycling I have found myself looking at "stuff" in a different way. Every time I go to throw something away, I think hmmmm.....could this be used for something else? Or how I could use something to make something else useful, or what kind of art project could I make out of this??

Aside from numerous mounds of picture clippings out of magazines, I collect lids from milk jugs, bottle caps, etc. While at the Children's Museum last week I noticed they had made some very cool artwork from their lids and caps....

I have collected a whole bin full of jars and containers that I plan on doing some sort of holiday crafts with...

Here's a pretty cool way I found to display the mounds of artistic expressions Summer creates.....

I guess I just woke up feeling a little crafty this morning. :-)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Changing the Pace

Yesterday we made plans to go to Deep Eddy Pool today. When I awoke this morning the thoughts of going to yet ANOTHER pool was depressing. Although pools are one of Toby and Summer's favorite activities, they aren't especially mine.

I much prefer to be out in nature walking around or sightseeing some new destination. I brought up the suggestion of doing something a little different today and they agreed...probably because "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

I decided upon Bastrop State Park. I have been wanting to check this place out for awhile. There was a little of something for everyone there. Swimming holes for Toby and Summer and nature for me. I also wanted to check out their camping for the fall....that is if we ever get this burn ban we have had going on for the past two years lifted.

We also would be traveling through Elgin to get to our destination. I figured we could stop off and eat some tasty barbecue for lunch. There was another barbecue place in Elgin that we have been wanting to try....Meyer's. And the winner is........Southside Market. Although Meyer's was very tasty, Southside Market has a better smoked flavor to their meat....for anyone who ever may be traveling through Elgin, Texas. :-)

After we had our bellies nice and full we headed on to the state park. We weren't exactly sure where it was. We noticed a sign that said Bastrop Lake so we assumed that it was a part of the state park. It wasn't but it was a pretty cool place. It reminded me a little of Old St. Stephens in Alabama.

Here are some pics of Lake Bastrop...

Toby hiding out in the shade while Summer and I investigate the water...

Once we found out that Lake Bastrop was not located in the state park, we moved on. We finally found the state park just a mile past the lake.

They had some really cool stone cabins at the state park. I didn't even think about snapping any pics of them I was too busy lusting after them imagining how cool they would be to spend a Christmas in one year...maybe this year. :-)

Oh and look here! We got to swim in a pool after all....yipee! I have to admit this pool was a pretty cool one to swim in. Of course once Toby and Summer spotted the pool there was no moving on. Here are some pool pics....

After the "kids" wore themselves out at the pool we went BACK to Lake Bastrop to finish checking out the camping and lake area. Here are some pics.....

This is the first tangible tether ball game Summer had ever seen. Toby demonstrated how the game was played.....who do you think won???

We finally had enough fun for one day and headed home to rest and relax. Sometimes I think I have died and gone to heaven. :-) Maybe not....but I am still very grateful for the good times.