Monday, May 30, 2011

Logged off and Plugged Into Life

Not long ago Toby and I discussed something that when I later thought more in depth about, really bugged me.

We were out and about on our usual weekly errands when Toby pointed out that if we were to get into a car accident (this thought is not far-fetched considering the reputation of the drivers in the city we reside) and we were all killed that Bo would be locked in his kennel for an indefinite amount of time and would possibly perish himself.

After all, we don't have any family close by and what few friends we do have we usually don't talk to on a daily basis. As far as our neighbors go, they may would eventually wonder where we were, but there again it would probably be at least a week or two before anyone would be curious enough to check on us.

This prompted me to re-think my connections. I thought about it hard and seriously. There have been numerous times that I have opted to spend time on FB or watching t.v instead of going out and socializing with the neighbors in the evenings when they usually come out of their abodes.

I'm the sort of person that takes FB seriously. It's my way of socializing without having to put out much effort. I take notice when one my FB friends have not been online for a while. I'm not one of those people that just accept anyone and everyone as a friend so I don't have a thousand friends to keep up with. I notice when someone is missing and on a few occasions privately messaged them to make sure everything was okay. There again, it took me a couple of weeks to notice someone was missing...unless they are a one of my closer FB friends.

I decided last week that I was going to disconnect myself and take a break from FB and the computer for awhile - this excludes my blog, so that I could start connecting to real life and real people.

I want someone to miss me if I go missing. I don't want my dog to perish in his kennel because nobody misses me for weeks.

With technology this day and age it can connect us all around the world to anybody or anything in a matter of seconds but it so impersonal. So many times we stay connected to our computers or Ipods, Iphones, etc. when in actuality we are sooooo disconnected.

I have been making a point these past few weeks to get out and hang out with my neighbors, to meet ones that I have never met, to say hi to the ones I pass by who are out in their yards working or the ones I pass who who are also out walking their dogs or kids.

I want people to notice when I am missing. I want them to say, "Hey, I haven't seen Laura out walking the past couple of days..let's go check on her."

I want to see my friends every week. I want to text them just to say. "Hey! Hope you have a great day!" so they miss me when they don't hear from me.

I want to plug into life...REAL LIFE.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sporting Tattoos

Most of my readers, if they know me, read my profile page, or read my blog regularly, know that my hubby is a tattoo artist.

He was a tattoo artist when I first met him, still is, and probably always will be. The first thing most people ask me when they find out I am married to a tattooist is "do I have any tattoos?"

Well, the answer might be obvious if you have to ask then I must not have any visible ones if any at all.

But the answer to this question is "yes", I do have two tattoos. I had a small heart with wings I got when I was 17 on my hip at my panty line. While hubby and I were dating he promptly covered it with a dragon silhouetted against a sun. Not long after that I allowed him to tattoo my shoulder blade with a piece of art that looked much better on paper than it did on my skin.

Let me make note here: When I first met my husband he was 24 years old and not nearly as an experienced artist as he is now. Me, his brother, and a few other choice friends were his own personal guinea pigs in his amateur days. The things we did back then for a free tattoo...

So now, I have two tattoos on my body that I wish I could take an eraser to....especially when I see the work he turns out on other folks after several years of experience behind him. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more money to get rid of tattoos than it does to draw them on.

Here is the thing though. I have always loved tattoos. Since I have moved to Austin I have seen some really beautiful artwork plastered on folks. I've been thinking ALOT lately about having hubby tattoo my arm. I have always wanted an arm tattoo but lived in a area where arm tattoos on women are viewed as "trashy" or "unbecoming". Here, young, old, rich, poor, professional or not, sport tattoos without a second glance.

Some people can be funny in their opinions of older folks sporting tattoos. Their concern is always seems to be what the tattoo will look like when they are 80. My first thought is always, who cares what the tattoo will look like when your 80. Old skin is not physically attractive no matter which way you look at or not. I highly doubt a sagging tattoo is going to make a bit of a difference in the way my 80 year old ass looks. I'm still going to be old and nobody's going to be looking real hard at me anyway.

So, now it's just a matter of me making that final skin altering decision....


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Somerville Lake

This week our day trip was to Somerville Lake. It's a state park but I was a little iffy about going at first.

I always do my research before I make a decision for an hour or more trip out of town. Nothing like wasting a tank of gas that just ends in disappointment. Well, quite honestly, it doesn't bother me to drive even if the purpose is none other than sight-see but other un-named younger family members tend not to like to just drive around for hours without a promising destination.

So, the reason I was iffy was that in my research I saw there was some park construction going on that may lead to some closures in different parts of the lake. There was also a restriction for dogs in the swimming area.

After careful thought, I finally decided we would take our chances. At least we would know if it would be worth the trip back or if we needed to cross it off our favorites list.

As a family rule, I am the one that plans when and where we take our trips. Toby is elected the navigator so I rely on him to let us know which is the quickest and easiest route to our destination - in turn, he usually relys on our GPS in combination with his IPhone map.

I have recently made note that I really, really, really need to update my GPS. The Austin area has changed rapidly over the past decade so "Miss GPS" as I so lovingly call her, is sometimes not always the best "person" to rely on for directions.

Somehow an hour drive out of town turned out to be a couple of hours. To top it off, Toby and I were both on the wrong page about exactly WHAT PART of the Somerville Lake we were going. Lake Somerville is HUGE and expanses many miles depending on which area of the lake you choose to visit.

We also were having a problem finding a place to grab a bite to eat. The portion of the lake we were going was in the middle of nowhere...or at least anywhere reputable. We did manage to find a Dairy Queen where we watched a sideshow out the window of a redneck fight in the parking lot. Interesting for sure.

After we ate we managed to find a Chamber of Commerce in Somerville and got some information on the best area of the lake to go with a kid and a pet in tow.

We were directed to Welch Park just a couple of miles down the road.

The minute we drove into the entrance of the park I was super impressed...and glad we finally were at our destination.

Best of all, there were no crowds and plenty of beach to walk along. The water was a comfy temp and perfect for swimming.

This lake would be a perfect place to camp. One of these days maybe the burn ban will be lifted and some serious camping can be done.

Overall, it turned out to be a great day at the lake. And even better, we took a different route home so we cut our travel time in half on the way back home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Do You Feel??

I heard something the other day that really resonated with me. After I heard it, I kept thinking about it and couldn't get it out of my mind. I feel it is important enough that I thought others may want to use it as food for thought.

The other day, I caught a glimpse of a segment of Oprah while I was folding clothes. She was interviewing an author that was unfamiliar to me, but one sentence she said jumped out from the t.v. and spoke to me in maximum volume.


That one sentence stripped me down to the core and showed me a side of myself that made me want to bow in shame. If there is truly a judgement day this must be what it will feel like.

How many times have my children walked in the door and I immediately review their appearance, correct them about some prior offense, question them about a decision that needed to be made, or immediately put them to work doing chores without even looking at them...REALLY LOOKING AT THEM.

What about my husband?? How many times has he walked in the door and I immediately direct my problems of the day on him or inform him of the things that needed to be done. Or even worse, directed my bad mood onto him as if it were his fault the minute he walked in the door....without even a hello.

Since that segment of Oprah the other day I have tried to make it a conscious effort to really SEE my family when they walk in the door. Before anything else they should SEE and KNOW that I LOVE them. That I am HAPPY to see them. That I TREASURE them above all things.

I want my children, my husband, and even my friends to know how I really FEEL about them the minute they see my face...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day Trip This Week...

Palmetto State Park was our day trip destination for the week. I've had this one on my list for awhile and just now got a chance to check it off.

Only an hour drive from our home of prairie and cactus, we entered a very familiar tropical feeling atmosphere of humidity, dense vegetation, moss, shade trees, and as the name implies...wall to wall Palmettos. Ironically, there were prickly pears and native grasses and trees intertwined in this tropical setting.

Being there really took me back to my days of living on the southern coast of Alabama. As we were walking along I could feel the pockets of humidity. I half-expected to witness an afternoon shower...but then again, we were still in Texas.

Our first stop was the lookout bluff...

The park was full of little short trails dotted throughout the park. We chose a hiking trail around the lake first. Before we set out, the "kids" had to play on the playground equipment...

Looks like somebody wasn't too scared to jump right into snake lake to get a drink and cool off...

Some other pics of our stroll around the lake...

Next we moved on to another trail...

Heading to the last trail of the day, we passed another small playground. This one had one of those old-timer slides like I used to slide on when I was a kid. I couldn't resist taking a slide down for old times sake...

The last trail was short and chock full of dwarf palmettos. I thought out loud about rooting up a couple of them for around my pool, but hubby informed me in front of Summer that would be stealing from a state park. Can't very well break the law..not in front of my kid

There is also fishing, canoe and paddle boat rentals, camping facilities, and cabins.

I give Palmetto State Park a thumbs up.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Bucket List

In just a couple of months my personal numbers will be rolling over to 47 years old. I'm at the least, half-way through life. WOW, when I think about it, if I were to live at least until I am 80 years old that means I would have to continue to live almost as long as I already have. That feels like a LONG DAMN TIME. Something instinctively tells me I probably won't live to 80 anyway...

Most everyone has a bucket list whether they realize it or not. Things that you say.."I'd like to do that." Lately, I have been thinking about the things I would like to do before I leave this Earthly Bucket List.

Here is my list in no specific order of importance.

Backpack/Hike across America

Go to a strip club with my husband

Learn to belly dance...and have the confidence to perform it in front of an audience

Personally meet Oprah Winfrey...I love Oprah

Spend Christmas in a snowy climate

Learn Spanish

Sit in Barnes and Nobles and drink a beverage while I read a book

Take an art class

Travel around the USA in an RV

Swim naked in a tropical ocean on a deserted island with my lover of choice

Take a pilgrimage to South America

Go on a cruise with my whole extended family

Visit a real psychic

Take photography lessons

Take my kids to Disney World TOGETHER

Sew a quilt

Cut my hair really short

This is just my short list. Before it's over I may add or take away from this list. As for this moment, this is my Bucket List.

I bet I have you thinking about your Bucket List now...

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Moments To LIFE

Ya know, we haven't done anything that would be considered cool or interesting all week, but I for one, have enjoyed it nonetheless.

Here is a an overview..

TUESDAY: We have started trying to deem Tuesdays our chore/errand/work around the house day. So, we spent Tuesday working in the yard. I didn't mind at all. Although it doesn't sound like much fun, I find pulling out Johnson Grass stalk by stalk rather relaxing...I know, I'm weird.

It was also the first Tuesday of the month which is our monthly 4-H meeting. It was also new officer election night. Summer got nominated for Historian/Reporter. (collects pictures, news, reports on 4-H activities and events)

Unfortunately, she got beat by one vote. I know she was just as disappointed as I was because after the meeting she kept tearing up about random odd things. I guess you could call it emotional displaced

She wasn't alone. I was a bit disappointed too. I knew this was something she would have been good at and enjoyed. As much as she loves the social aspect of 4-H there aren't really a whole lot of other 4-H activities she enjoys. I was sort of rooting hard for her to win the nomination. O'well, we don't always get what we want and there is always next year. She did make delegate though...again. She wasn't really excited about that. Making Council Delegate is sort of like getting a third place my opinion anyway.

I do have to say I was very impressed with her standing up and giving an off the fly speech as to why she would make a good Historian.

After our meeting we had our annual dinner at Ramos. I think it was the best part of the evening for old and young alike.

WEDNESDAY: (Holding head in shame) I had agreed to a playdate for Summer with her friend Jordan. Well, lets just say it was one of those mornings where I just didn't get going as early as I should have.

My solution was to just go grab Jordan and bring her to our house for awhile. One thing I love about having older kids is you don't see them unless they are hungry or need to ask permission for something.

I think they had fun...

THURSDAY: It was time for Bo to get a deep clean so we dropped him off at the dog groomers while we took Summer rock climbing. I had a Groupon that I had bought for Austin Rock Gym a few months ago and I had to use it this week before it expired. I figured it would give Summer a feel for real rock climbing.

I'm just going to go ahead and say right now, if I ever had to rely on my own strength to rock climb up the side of a mountain I would die. It takes a massive amount of upper body strength not to mention your arms and fingers have to be strong enough to hold your own body weight.

Summer seemed to enjoy the climbing and managed to climb pretty high up. I think she would have climbed higher up but the higher she got the more insecure she got. There were no ropes or anything to help with security. I think she enjoyed it enough that it was well worth my $5. Toby made the point that Lucas would have liked it. Yes, he would have and I'm sure if he had been there BOTH of my kids would have been at the top.

When we picked up Bo he smelled nice and fresh. Call me crazy, but although I like my animal clean, I still prefer them to have a slight animal smell to them. After two days Bo still reeks of dog soap.

And, he says...."Why in the hell do I have this sissy blue ribbon wrapped around my neck mama?"