Friday, April 29, 2011

The Little Guy

The past few months I have been thinking a lot about the little guy. You know, the guy that gets no recognition because his/her contribution to society is not considered glamorous, commendable, important, recognizable, valuable, significant, etc.

I remember once while I was watching the Price Is Right, Drew Carey was passing the mic doing his usual questioning of the contestants - where do you live, what do you do for a living, tell me about your life kind of stuff.

The first contestant was a female. He asked her what she did and she said.."I'm a stay at home mom." He haphazardly acknowledged it and quickly passed the mic to the male contestant.

Drew asked contestant #2 the same question. The male contestant proceeded to tell Drew that he was a helicopter pilot for the military. Boy, this really excited Drew and he went on to pat the helicopter pilot on the back for the wonderful job he had and how his family must be so proud of him.

I found it a little ironic that Drew was so proud of a man that possibly, if not most likely, had a hand in killing many a stay at home mom's innocent son(s) while doing such a commendable job....

Anyway, for whatever reason that episode of Price is Right sticks out in my mind.

It helped bring to my attention all the people who get no recognition for a job well done.

The garbage man for instance. I'd hate to see what my home and yard would look like if there were no garbage men.

Janitors - I bet the employees of some establishments don't even think about how that clean toilet they are sitting on got that way or how their garbage can got so empty overnight.

What about the parks? If there were not anyone picking up dead limbs, keeping trails maintained and picking up trash a park experience would not be as pleasant.

Oh, and what about customer service? These people probably make chump change and have to be the subject of displaced aggression daily and most likely hourly.

The list goes on.

Why don't we all take out time in our daily lives to thank and acknowledge the little guy. I think his job is just as important as anybody elses because without him some other more important guy would be doing his job.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lake Pflugerville

I had a ton of backed up chores awaiting me today. I thought better - then I decided I didn't care.

We took off to Lake Pflugerville for a little while. The day was too pretty to waste on chores.

No sense in wasting a perfectly beautiful day on chores, they will be there when I get back.

Monday, April 25, 2011


I was excited when Lucas called me a few days before Easter and informed me he would be making the long drive to Austin for the weekend. I have a million reasons to love that kid, but him taking out time and energy to make that long drive as frequently as he does just to see his ole' mom, sis, and step dad makes my heart melt.

We ended up not really doing a whole lot but hanging out together. That was perfectly fine with me. I find the most comfort in just having us all together under the same roof like we used to be.

Lucas helped me plant some yuccas I got from the dump last week (don't ask). Lucky for him we have a nice pool to cool off in....

Saturday morning me and Lucas got up early. He went one way and I went the other.

Mr. Glutton for Punishment just had to ride the trails at Emma Long. Mind you, these are some of the most difficult trails to ride in the whole U.S.A. And just like last time he rode them, he came back with some battle wounds. Crashing on rock is never a pretty sight. The mother in me is not allowing him to ride them again without proper protection.

I, on the other hand, was doing a little Easter candy shopping...along with the rest of Austin. I thought I had arrived at Walmart early enough to beat the crowds but I guess everyone else had the same idea.

On the way home I noticed one of those flimsy wire signs stuck in the side of the road. Thanks to the million mile an hour winds and swift traffic, all I could read was Helicopter Easter egg drop, the date and the name of the park where they were to be dropped.

Sounded like it would be fun for us all to me - Egg hunt for Summer, aircraft for Lucas, outdoors for me, a walk for the dog, and for Toby...well, just being with us???

I sped home to gather the family in time for this helicopter Easter egg drop. By the time we got back to the park there were crowds of folks waiting for the loot to drop.

Upon arrival, I soon came to realize that a church was hosting the egg drop. Great. I knew what that meant....

As instructed we headed to the line to "register" for the egg drop. The free registration required us to give our name, rank, and serial number.

Luckily, I have been through this sort of registration enough that I knew to give enough false information that the enemy would not end up at my door trying to recruit me in the future.

We were sectioned off by Summer's age group. The helicopter had to make several rounds before he made the drop to her group.

Although not all that exciting, I do have to say that we all were a bit intrigued watching the helicopter drop eggs onto the ground from above.

When the time came to race for loot it was like "flies on shit" as my dad used to say. Summer got lost somewhere in the crowd as the thousands of eggs were swept up in a blink.

When we finally caught back up with her she had only managed to pick up one egg out of thousands...ONE EGG! She also managed to get a bumped knee from a grown woman who shoved her out of the way to grab an egg for her child...this scenario very closely resembled some Mardi Gras parades I have been to.

No big loss on the eggs anyway. The ones we saw were filled with stickers and plastic candy. O'well, beggars can't be choosers.

After the hunt we decided to go use our tickets for hot dogs, sprite and water we got from our free registration. As we were standing in line we were informed that they were out of hot dogs and sprite. We did manage a couple of bottles of water.

Karma. I guess if I wouldn't have given false information on my free registration card the Lord would have blessed Sum with an abundance of eggs, an unscathed knee, and a hot dog for our hungry stomachs...

Just kidding, we had fun anyway..thanks to the egg dropping helicopter.

Easter eve I had this grand plan that me and the kids would dye Easter eggs. Well....I ended up dying eggs mostly by myself. The kids were watching a movie and seemed disinterested in the activity...except for eating the eggs anyway. :-)

Easter morning Lucas was scheduled to leave out by noon. I decided so that we ALL would be having fun, I would not cook and that we would allow Cafe 290 to feed us our Easter brunch.

I LOVE Cafe 290....we all love Cafe 290. There are not many Southern home cookin' type places in Austin...even in the bedroom communities. Cafe 290 cuisine is southern cooking and charm with a dash of Tex Mex somewhere rolled in it.

Technology...the kids eyes stayed glued to their "toys" while we waited on our Easter brunch.

Then it was goodbye to Lucas until July, and hello to a start to a new week.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pace Bend

Since I am the anointed travel planner in my household, I try to have our weekly destination already planned and mapped out before the day before the day actually arrives.

This week for whatever indecisive reason I couldn't figure out where I wanted to go. I think I really just wanted to stay home and do nothing but I know that staying home and doing nothing is impossible when hubby and the kid are home so I sucked it up and thought up a quick random destination.

We ended up going to Pace Bend Park. Pace Bend is said to be a local favorite and we still have not been there yet.

Put bluntly, I didn't like it there. When we first drove in the place just looked barren and drab in comparison to other places on the lake we have been to. There also seemed to be a over abundant supply of teenagers/young adults hanging around and about the swimming areas. From my first impression the area we were in was not very "family friendly".

We decided to hop in the car and check out other areas of the park. Luckily the scenery got a little better around the bend. Unfortunately, we were not warned upon paying our $10 entrance fee that most of the coves around the bend were "closed or the winter". I'm assuming that no one has informed Travis County Parks Dept. that winter has been long gone in our area.

We did manage to find an open cove to explore. It was a nice view but the bluff was so steep, we still couldn't access the water..which is always our goal.

As usual, we made the best of the day as we could. Needless to say, it was a short day out. Maybe one day if I ever run out of other places to visit, I will go back and check out all those other coves that were closed off for the winter. Surely, I must have missed something....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Who's Right?

We all believe we are right. We are right about our beliefs or about the way we raise our kids or how to pronounce tomato. In essence everybody is right. Whatever works for you and your family is right.

I'm sure everyone has had the experience of someone trying to sway you from your ways, ideas, or thoughts to their ideas, ways, or thoughts. While it is good to keep an open mind and open ear, most of us prefer the comfort zone of sticking to our own story.

We believe that the way we do it is the best way and if we could just get everyone else to see/do it that way then we would all be on the same level. Well, that's just it. We are not all on the same level. We each have different life experiences and goals that require us to think and believe in certain ways...some of us just choose to go about things in more arduous ways.

What is it about human kind that believes he is always right. Hubby claims it to be the ego. Most probably he is right but that's a whole other blog.

I think we also tend to attract and want to be around those people who have close to the same beliefs and thoughts that we do. It takes a rare sort of relationship that can endure totally opposing ideas or goals.

I'm not innocent. I'm sure at one point or another that I have tried to sway someone to my beliefs. I think that because it works for me that it will work for someone else. It's like trying to convince a size 13 person they can fit into a size 10 pair of jeans. They probably can, but it won't be a comfortable fit.

My goal is to just accept the way people live their lives as just that...their life. If they ask for my opinion or help I will give it - otherwise they are on their own and I will just sit back and watch their self destruction...just kidding. :-)

Each day I am trying to accept that there are many ways of thinking and doing things. My way does not necessarily mean the right way it's just my way. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Exploring Bastrop

Today's field trip was to Bastrop, Texas only a short drive from Austin. This would not be our first trip to Bastrop, but it was our first on the Riverwalk at Fisherman’s Park located on the Colorado River.

But first on the agenda was a bite to eat. We like to try new places to eat when we are on our day trips so we opted for Maxine's on Main. We had seen it advertised on one of our favorite PBS showsThe Daytripper so we thought we would give it a shot.

Sorry to say Maxine, but we weren't near as impressed as ole' Chet. The food was good but nothing impressionable enough to brag on. We were also surprised our un-generous plates added up to a whopping $30. Maybe this was most surprising because the prices on the menu had obviously not been updated and we weren't even warned the menu prices were not accurate before ordering. I guess it doesn't really matter what we think though. Texas Monthly rated it as one of the best small town cafe's in Texas and the place had a steady stream of customers while we were dining.

After we ate we headed to the Riverwalk. The Riverwalk was a hit for us all.

Here are some pics of our day in Bastrop...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Following the Herd

"Some folks are comforted by following the herd and so when one of their own ventures off, it freaks them out, makes them question their whole herd-following mentality."

Over a decade ago I worked with a high school girl whom I was very fond of. She was white and she was in a relationship with a black guy. I won't use the politically correct terms African American or European American because it highly annoys me when roads, buildings, or race names are changed only to make it more confusing for someone to know what to call it/them. Face it folks, we are red, yellow, black and white with a little drop of each mixed in us all and leave the damn road and building names their original names..end of story.

This was during a time when it was not so popular to be dating a person of a different race. Well, at least in the behind the times area where I lived.

She used to complain almost daily about getting looks and comments from people when she would be out in public with "boy". "Boy" is the name she would call him when she referred to him. Once I asked her what his real name was. She said G-Lover. Whatever....anyway, I would often tell her when you are doing something that is out of the norm you attract attention from the conformers.. Whether it is right or wrong makes no difference, it's just out of the norm.

I just had a realization the other day that homeschooling attracts the same attention from the less knowledgeable.

I'm old and wise enough to know how to put folks in their place when they start analyzing our life choices. Summer has alot to learn and probably a long road ahead of her.

Everything she has done and ever will do is under a social microscope because she is homeschooled. She is scrutinized daily no matter what she is doing, how she is acting, and even her whole persona.

Here are just a few examples off the top of my head:

If she spells a word wrong, doesn't know the answer to a question, or doesn't know how to multiply easily it's because she is homeschooled. She has to always be on her toes lest be critiqued by the judges.

She is asked to be a performing monkey by naysayers on many occasion to "prove" that she is learning something. If she does not measure up it's because she is homeschooled.

I can't even tell you how many times an adult has asked her when she is going to "school". Or why she doesn't want to go to school with all the other kids.
As if we keep her locked in a dungeon during the day.

The questions go on and on. Anytime you stray from the norm you get questions, looks, and unwanted advice.

I guess alongside reading, writing, and arithmetic, Summer is most importantly learning how to deal with being different.

I always use this analogy with her...If you want a cat and you go to look at a litter of cats and all the cats are black but one of them happens to be a cat with a white patch around his eye and orange stripes on his paws which cat are you going to want? The cat that looks like all the other cats or the one that is different??

She will survive...and so will we...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bone Dry

We chose this beautiful day to explore one of our favorite hiking destinations, Barton Creek Greenbelt. Most of the hiking trails in our area are miles long so we have the benefit of visiting any particular trail numerous times and still exploring a different section with each visit.

The trail meanders along several miles of Barton Creek. We always try to choose a trail that runs along a water source because (a) hiking near the water breaks up the scenery and gives us all something extra to explore.(b) it's a good way to cool ourselves off (c) it gives the dog a way to cool off and and get a drink.

Mistake. No rain, no creek. This is nothing unusual for Barton Creek. Last time we were at the creek it was a water lover's dream...not so much this time.

We were slightly disappointed when we reached the creek only to find a bone dry creek bed...especially Bo who we brought no water for expecting that he would have creek water to drink and cool off in.

All was not lost though. The trail was nice and shady and for future reference this particular part of the trail has numerous swimming areas when we happen to get some steady, sufficient rainfall.

We probably would have walked more along the creek if there had been water, but because of the conditions we only ended up hiking a couple of miles. I was surprised that Summer remained in a positive non-complaining mode the whole hike considering the unexpected circumstances. I reckon miracles do happen every so often..

Every time we go to Barton Summer is always intriqued by the rock climbing wall. There are usually a few rock climbers on the wall when we go there but Sum was the only one at the time. All she needed was some gear and she would have been set to go..

Bridge over "creek"...

Bo says.."Where is my daddy going without me?"....

Chillin' on a boulder....

All we could do was imagine how cool this swimming hole is when it's at it's water capacity..

Until next time....

Friday, April 1, 2011

Space Week

This week Austin got a visit from NASA. Austin is chock full of educational opportunities for "schools" and I try to take advantage of as many of them as possible. Some end up being a hit and others are found to be better explored solo.

Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for the NASA Space Week. I don't know why, just a hunch. Luckily my hunch was wrong. We arrived at the Capitol expecting to just check it out and move on. We ended up being there a couple of hours. Summer was enjoying it more than I expected and requested to keep looking around even when I started to hint that it was time to go.

There were a lot of interesting activities that seemed to pique her interest. All in all I give it a thumbs up. We even got free Amy's ice cream...mmmmmm.

While were there they were having some sort of political rally. Sum's latest interest is in spying, FBI, CIA, and private investigation. Not really sure how to expound on her interest as it's not a common kid interest and that I know of there aren't any kid classes for being a "spy". I have even scoured the Internet for FBI and kids and can't seem to come up with anything that would give us some activities for such. So, when she saw the political security she was very intrigued. As much as I wanted to go up and ask them questions about their job for Sum I didn't feel it was appropriate given the circumstances..oh, well..

Another highlight of the day was counting hippo's in Hutto on the ride home. That's another post for another day...