Monday, December 31, 2012

New Beginnings

The other day while we were all three in the car I asked Toby and Summer what some of their most memorable moments of 2012 were. We all agreed the family highlights of the year was our mini vacation to Port Aransas in August and Halloween.

In hindsight 2012 was much like the year before it, drab and lifeless except for a few small exceptions. No more wasting away my days on mindless, unfulfilling activities. I plan on making changes in 2013. I'm crawling out of this hole next year even if it kills me...literally.

Here are some things I have in mind:

Birthdays. My goal is to send out tangible birthday wishes with heartfelt  messages to friends and family instead of generic wishes sent via facebook. Call me old-fashioned but Facebook b-day wishes just seem so insincere and effortless.

Wardrobe. I'm so sick of feeling like I look frumpy and plain all the time. I'm forever in athletic clothes or jeans and t-shirts. My goal is to have at least 3 stylish outfits/shoes in my closet for those very few times that I go somewhere it matters - or even just to look nice sometimes for the hell of it. Once a week! I have to look presentable at least once a week.

5K. I have been running too long not to have ran a 5K yet. Ironically, I ran across one just this morning happening in  Austin in April 2013 that will be perfect for me to prepare for. The RetroRun.

Travel. I miss getting out and exploring my area. Somehow in the past year exploring got thrown to the wayside. I know it's not possible right now for me to see the whole world but there's still a whole area of Central Texas waiting to be explored. It is my priority that at least once a month we will explore a surrounding city, visit a museum or state park, etc. at least once a month.   I am I also plan to make minimum 2 mini vacations a year to the coast of Texas (the beach). Heck, I'm a mere 3 hour drive from Dallas and I still haven't been there yet!! Even if I have to do this stuff by myself I will. I AM DETERMINED not to waste the last half of my life!!!

Facebook. I have allowed Facebook to turn me into a cynical bitch. Too many of my friends have totally different viewpoints than I do and always feel compelled to defend my stance against the masses. It's become a negative thorn in my side so I will limit my time on Facebook to reading statuses and not commenting on them unless it's positive....as hard as it may be.

Maybe it will be a good test of patience on my part. I also have already deleted all my pages that have negative pictures or memes as in political pages or animal cruelty pages. I know there are people that are severely abusive to animals out there but I don't care to see pictures of them especially since there is absolutely nothing I can do to help that animal. Also, my view on political issues/religion will not change the way another person believes anymore than what they think or believe will change mine. I will keep my opinions, beliefs and thoughts limited to my blog where they belong. In 2013 I choose to adhere to the practice of not discussing politics, religion or any other controversial issue on Facebook.

These are just a few things that I plan on changing in my life. I'm sure there are more that I will think of along the way and they will be incorporated in when necessary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR"S EVE and goodbye to 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!








Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas 2012

A few days ago Lucas arrived for the holidays so I haven't had a chance to do much updating. We had a great Christmas day. This year I came up with this idea that we draw names within our family then we would to go to the Dollar Tree and spend $5 on that person. It didn't matter what we chose, it could be practical, silly, or a gag gift. I think Summer had the most fun with the idea.

I drew Toby's name and this is what I came up with...


Summer chose fake nails and a glow in the dark pitch fork amongst some candy for me...


One of Lucas's gifts was some warming gel. I think he got a kick out of it....


Toby chose Summer's name so she got mostly goodies. I've always heard that people tend to give gifts that they would like to receive....

Even Bo got a little gift from Santa this year.....
Since I couldn't muster up much Christmas spirit this year, I decided to make it easy on myself and not try to mind read what my kids wanted for Christmas and just give them a couple of small gifts to open and MONEY!! I knew I couldn't go wrong with money.

Here are a few more random pics of Christmas morning....





I believe I got the best Christmas gift of all this year. Toby has always been an excellent gift giver but he outdid himself this year. Since we have moved to Austin I have taken on a love for the Grackles. They are the most beautiful bird with their golden eyes and shimmering plumage. They also make the oddest call I have ever heard a bird make and are so intelligent I have seen them actually watch the crosswalk signs before they cross the street in the busy streets of downtown. They are truly an interesting bird.

For awhile now I had been telling Toby how I would love to have him paint me some Grackles to hang on the wall. That's what he gave me for Christmas. They turned out beautifully!!!! Although the ones he gave me are framed here is a pic of them before they were framed. I couldn't get a good pic of them in the frames because of the glare of the glass and I didn't want anything to take away the beauty of them in a photo. He used this shimmering paint on their feathers to give it the glistening they have in the sun. Truly beautiful!!!...

Our Christmas dinner was very non-traditional. Steaks cooked on the grill with baked potato and our choice of beverage.
And some family photos.....





Other than the freezing-ass cold, dreary weather it was a wonderful Christmas day!!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Truth Hurts

People don't like their beliefs to be compromised even when obvious facts are stated. They will cling to anything that gives them solice no matter how ridiculous of a story it may be.

Thanks to the media I'm pretty sure most of you have heard about the Sandy Hook School shooting (over and over again I might add) that sparked the gun control controversy. First let me give my stance on the gun issue...I really don't give a toot one way or the other about guns. We own a gun that's somewhere in the house and may or may not even work..in fact, I'm not really even sure what cranny of my house it's in at the moment.

Even if I had the unfortunate opportunity to use a gun I'm not sure if I could properly work it in an emergency situation. I've had only one experience with shooting a gun and I really didn't like it. It was loud and just holding it my hands made me nervous. In reality, I think the only instance I would ever really want to inflict personal damage to someone is if any one of my family members were in harms way. At that point I would hope my adrenaline would kick in and I'm sure it would turn out better than me trying to get a gun off safety and remember how to use it when in the moment of fear.

Okay now for the gist of my post. I saw this posted on one of my FB friend's status tonight:

Status: sharing some good advice from a friend
Merry Christmas to ALL my FB friends and GOD bless..P.S

You may not like guns and chose not to own one. That is your RIGHT. You may not believe in God. That is your choice. However, if someone breaks into your home, the first two things you're going to do is;
1. Call somebody who has a gun
2. Pray they get there in time


My response to the status: In this case wouldn't it be true that if I believed in God and prayer then I wouldn't need a gun in the first place? All I would have to do is pray for my safety from the all powerful god of choice and I would be protected from harm? I mean, isn't that the point of prayer?  In hopes that this God figure will choose to show us mercy when we ask for it? If someone really believes that they are protected by god then they wouldn't need a gun? Or is a pick and choose kind of thing with god so you better be prepared just in case god was not at his desk when the prayer was called in??

Her response to my post: leave it to you Laura to come back with something negative about our creator........I'll say an extra special prayer for you tonite, love ya girl & you have a happy holiday......lol ☺

I let it go after her response, but what my ego really wanted to respond back and tell her that maybe she needed to throw in an extra prayer for her safety against the bad guys so she could sleep peacefully tonight and to tell her that she was probably obviously offended by my post because sometimes the truth hurts.

First off, there was nothing negative in my response to her post. I stated obvious facts. Secondly, it's apparent that those many religious people who have offered up prayers for me in the past for my lack of belief in their deity must have fallen on deaf ears....hence, the ineffectiveness of their condescending prayers.

At least I live my life without being disappointed by a prayer that wasn't answered and I rely on my own sense of what is right or wrong. My power is mine and only mine. I don't give it away to some fantasy character created by man to manipulate man.

You may ask what I do without a belief in a God. It's really very simple.

I gather my strength from how I view the world and people around me, from my experiences and the practice of making better choices with each mistake I make. Learning to live in the moment and in moments of tragedy, loss or death to deal with them by stepping away from my grief and knowing that this too shall pass. By embracing my time with my family, friends, and neighbors.

It's all very simple without a middle-man.





Friday, December 21, 2012

Spirit of Life

I got up early this morning and headed to the grocery store so the cupboards would be full when Lucas arrives late tonight.

As it usually happens on more winter holidays than not, someone ends up sick. Toby started out snorting and snotting a couple of days ago and Summer woke up with a headache and sore throat this morning. Not sure if it's allergy related or a cold virus..neither one of them have a fever.

Even so, I have been trying to avoid their germs like the plague. I'm the last one in the house that needs to be ailing. I don't get to lay around and relax and be tended to when I'm sick. I have to trudge on and still do everything that needs to be done...or else.  My  job doesn't allow sick days nor does anyone really 'baby' me when I'm sick because they see me still doing laundry, cleaning and cooking so they assume that I must be okay. Gotta love family..

So most of my day has been consumed with...you guessed it..laundry, cooking, nurse maid, cleaning, etc.

At least I have something to look forward to this week. ;-)

Here is my winter solice photo of the day taken from my backyard.




Thursday, December 20, 2012

SAY

This morning  started out by taking my friend Robin to her doctor appointment to have her cast changed. A couple of months ago she broke her ankle climbing a pecan tree to pick pecans. Yes, you read it correctly. A 45 (?) year old woman was climbing a tree. You would just have to know Robin to know how this sort of thing could manifest. And here I always thought I was the adventurous one.

Since I have never had the pleasure of having a cast it was pretty interesting to watch the process of removing and putting a cast on...not to mention she failed to tell me how hot the 'cast guy' was which made it all the more of a visual experience. :-)

After the doc appointment we grabbed some lunch at McDonalds. I discovered today that Robin is one of the few people that I know..besides myself...that is not repulsed by McDonald's food.

After lunch we stopped by the Goodwill. Summer has been on a growing spurt recently and has outgrown all of her jeans that I just bought her a few months ago. I was lucky enough to find a couple that she did not object to and that fit perfectly. Thank God for small miracles.

I won't bore with details but after I got home the rest of the day just sort of went downhill. Summary: Lost postal key which resulted in me having to pay $25 to have a new lock put on my mailbox. Next, I had to get out at peak traffic hour in the dark (night blindness issue here) to pick up Toby from work because his clutch something-or-the-other on his motorcycle had broke.

I was trying my best to stay in the moment and not let me ego take hold. This is something I work on daily and I think I did a pretty good job of maintaining my composure.

All that being said, at the end of the evening I was very glad to finally be able to sit down and spend some time with my vodka bottle. So much for spirituality when there is Vodka around.

Here is my daily pic of the day. The wind has been blowing full force for 24 hours and you can tell it in the cloud formations in this pic...

What Makes the World Go 'Round

Today was spent running our weekly errands. Bo got the luxury of an outing today too. He got his winter grooming. He apparently likes to be groomed because he always acts excited to be there. Here he is all festive and fresh smelling!!


After we dropped Bo off we ate at a local restaurant in Pflugerville called Moonie's Burger House. Toby had introduced us to this place several weeks ago and ever since we ate there Summer has requested to go back. I have never eaten anything there but the Chili Burgers. They are delicious. The bread they put their burgers on is homemade also which I think adds to the flavor of the burger.

After we ate we headed to Walmart. I was surprised that it was not the madhouse I expected it to be the week before Christmas. After Walmart it was Petco for Bo some dog food and a Santa gift, then on to HEB, the liquor store and lastly to swing by and pick up Bo at the groomer's.

When I got home I washed and folded a load of laundry and  made some chocolate/candy covered pretzel rods.

When I went outside to hang a blanket on the line I noticed a huge flock of birds that looked like their black form spread for miles and miles long over the horizon in the distance. It was a beautiful sight and I stood there and watched and wondered about them for awhile...where were they going? What kind of birds were they? How do they all fly in such unison together when there are so many of them? Considering I had never seen so many birds in flock at once I wondered if their path had anything to do with the planetary alignment coming upon us.

They were flying towards the sunset so I ran inside to grab my Ipad and took a pic of them. My Ipad is not the best device to take a pic of what I was trying to capture, but the sunset was nice anyway.


It was a decent day.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ta Da!

Lucas will be arriving Friday so I spent all day yesterday finishing up the puff quilt I have been working on for the past couple of weeks.. I knew if I didn't finish it I would feel compelled to work on it while Lucas was here and I want to keep all my focus on family time next week.

I have to say I was pretty impressed with the finished product. This is the first quilt that I have finished that I would deem as a sell-able piece. It was a time consuming piece but worth the result.

That being said, I'm not so sure I will be doing another puff quilt anytime soon. Maybe one day...but no time soon.

I really wish I could learn how to take proper pictures of my stuff. I hope this one does it justice because I really worked hard on it!!


I'm really going to have to resist starting on another project. Maybe I'll just pick a pattern and the fabric and that will satisfy me until I can tackle another one.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DIY

Just as I suspected I felt much better today. The productivity of getting out this morning and exercising my credit card with some last minute Christmas gift purchases was surprisingly refreshing, especially since I didn't really spend all that much money for what all I got.

I have a private pleasure on my early morning shopping trips of stopping by the McDonalds for a biscuit and coke. I like sitting in the restaurant eating my biscuit, drinking my coke, and observing my fellow humans. If in close enough proximity to someone I usually eavesdrop on their conversation for no other reason than to entertain myself while I eat...or maybe it's just plain nosiness.

I'm also getting super excited about Lucas arriving this coming Friday for the holidays. YAY!!

Anyway, on a different note I have been trying many different new recipes that I have found on Pinterest. A few weeks ago I decided that I would make up my own personal cookbook of all of our favorites.  Toby is the gauge for whether something will be included in our favorites or not.

So I thought I would start sharing the ones that he gives a thumbs up to and will be included  in our favorites.

THREE CAN SOUP
This was a super easy recipe, but I do want to make note that I substituted the 2 lbs. of ground beef  it called for with a pkg. of Boca crumbles. Cook up a batch of cornbread and your ready to enjoy. Here is a link to the recipe.
I also have been working on a new quilt. The style is called a puff or biscuit quilt. It's turning out to be a little more detailed that what I am used to doing but I am enjoying this new twist on quilting. I will wait and post pics when I am done.

Beunas Noches!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Levels

Today was a usual Saturday for me...morning run with Bo, then come home and make brunch for Toby before he leaves for work. I also made a batch of guacamole, vacuumed the floors, swept, mopped, folded laundry, and washed a load of dishes.

Once I got done with all that I pre-made some Minestrone soup for tomorrow's brunch, cleaned some toilets then took Bo for a short evening walk and finally made it into the shower.

Tomorrow morning I'm planning on getting out early to do a bit of Christmas shopping...or at least that's the excuse I am giving to get out the house with me, myself, and my thoughts. I have been feeling out of sorts and anxious for the past couple of days. Not sure why, but something tells me that getting away from the drudgery of my household duties and obligations and the ho-hum of being a mom and a wife for a little while will ease the pain.

After a full day of all of the above listed I finally sat down at my sewing machine to work on a new quilt I have been constructing. I was finding that sewing was not even easing my tension like it usually does.

So I sit here on my blog writing and still find that I am agitated. As Summer used to say when she was a toddler and she was sick...'Something is Wrong With Me'.

Tomorrow is a new day. Maybe I will feel better.....




Christmas Fun

Today we were invited over to homeschool friends house to make Gingerbread houses. The girls had a great time making them - and making a mess making them.


Later on in the evening I popped up some old-fashioned kernel popcorn and Summer and I strung popcorn while we watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 


It was a simple, but fun day.

Got To Give It Up

It's no news to anyone that keeps up with the news or frequents Facebook that some lost or mentally ill soul in Connecticut went on a killing spree in an elementary school.

I will only slightly address the fact that the few claims I saw on FB to take their children out of school and homeschool them so they can be protected from the 'crazies' is only slightly less ridiculous than the subject that raised my hackles enough to prompt my post in the first place.

First of all, if the only reason you decide to homeschool your children is to 'protect them' then you are in for a rude awakening. Bad shit happens everywhere...the mall, on the streets, at a friends house, etc.  Homeschooling doesn't protect your child from anything but institutional brainwashing. Period.

So back to the initial reason that prompted my post.

FB Friend posts this on his wall:  'This sums it up' along with this meme..


Seriously???????  This is ridiculous in more ways than one, but for arguments sake I will stick with the foremost issue that boiled my blood after I read it.
First of all, if you believe in 'GOD' then you would have to know that a God of any sort has no limitations, therefore cannot be banned from anywhere. That's why a God is a God, it/he/she goes anywhere it wants without a human 'allowing' it to come in or out. Also, if you do believe in God wouldn't God be in your heart safe and sound???

Second of all, I was raised with the Bible/church in both home and school and it certainly didn't make me a better person. There are many times I wanted to explode on others and myself. Self control is the only thing that saved me from myself...not GOD. Emotional pain is not pretty when it manifests itself as in the case of the Connecticut massacre and others like it.
Connection with my family is what people need. Not a Bible full of meaningless words. Children need to feel understood, loved, accepted for not who they are, not for who their parents want them to be.

Let's give credit where credit is due. The Bible is just a book with words. A parents love and acceptance of who you are and quality time spent with you is what matters most.

I really wish people would understand this. When this is understood it's only then that we can prevent these sort of displaced aggression acts. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Torn

It's closing in on me. The holiday that I once loved very much as a child is making me feel like a present prisoner.

This is one of the few times in my life that I'm grateful for having a small family and friends with no expectations of a Christmas gift. Make note that it's not that I don't LIKE giving gifts it's just that I'm not very good at figuring out what to give. I even have trouble figuring out what to get for my immediate family unless they have specifically requested something. I guess I'm just not perceptive in that sort of way.

This is the first year that I have recognized myself to be a scrooge. With only 2 weeks away from Christmas there is still not one gift under the tree. This late in the game I'm not sure if I have the mentality to be able to pull anything but gift cards out of my hat this year.

I've gone over and over in my head trying to figure out what has made me turn on my favorite holiday; (1) Why must the department stores put out holiday decorations alongside the Halloween stuff??? Please let me enjoy one holiday before offering me another. The excitement of the holiday season has worn off by the time Christmas arrives 2 MONTHS LATER (2) I'm nowhere near being what someone would refer to as a Christian, but seriously does it really matter if someone says Merry Christmas?? That's always been what it's been known as so why go get all political?? All this technical/political crap is annoying. Black people are still black people even if you call them African Americans and Town Lake is still Town Lake even if you change the name to Lady Bird Lake. Understand what I'm saying???? You can't please everyone nor will you ever. Keep things simple and familiar and only those really insecure people give a crap anyway.

So, on a more positive note Lucas will be joining us for Christmas this year. One of the silver linings to all this holiday hoopla.

Here is my tiny tree for my tiny house. Every year I have to find a small corner to stuff it in. My tree is certainly nothing fancy but I love it because it is predominately decorated with handmade ornaments from my kids, some family members that live in Florida,  and Toby's grandmother (Omie).


Monday, December 10, 2012

Hop, Skip, and a Jump

I have a routine in the evenings these days. I come upstairs and sew a bit before bedtime. I have a project that I was about to work on when I realized that I didn't have something I needed for it. It was nothing big, just a bit of fabric for backing. It would have to wait until tomorrow.

Although I live a mere 3 miles from Austin's city limits I have to drive another 10 miles before I reach a big box store or grocery store. Yes, Austin is sprawling and I live on the outer edge of it's sprawl.

So, the fabric will have to wait until I go back 'into town' .

In the 5 years that I have lived in Austin these miles worked out to be both an advantage and  DIS advantage for me.

The DIS advantage being lack of convenience. It takes me 25 minutes to get to the grocery store. The only reason it doesn't take me longer than that is that I travel the farm roads as much as possible. Luckily most every area of Austin I need to get to is taken via a back road..hence, less traffic, therefore more speed.

Ironically, over the years I have fallen in love with the back roads.  When I'm by my lonesome I find it to be almost meditative to drive along those long, winding, hilly roads listening to the hum of my radio lost in my thoughts. Back roads have spoiled me. Congested traffic and horns blowing make me very nervous and on edge now.

Here is a short video of  I took one morning on the way to the grocery store. I can't really remember what possessed me to pull out my phone and video but if memory serves me my original intention was to video a bald eagle that was standing in a field on the side of the road that flew off before I got a pic of him.

video

Yes, at times I do get annoyed at having to drive 13-20 miles to my destination, depending on what area of Austin I am venturing to, but there are advantages that outweigh the annoyances.

When I sit out on my deck at night and I can see most every star, meteor, and constellation in the big Texas sky, watch the bats dip down for a drink out of the pool water, hear the coyotes howling and the  frogs croaking..and it is OH SO QUITE, it makes the time consuming 30 minute drive a drop in the bucket.

I have always called myself a city girl and there are many aspects of  urban living that I love, but the older I get I find that I really enjoy the peace and quite of rural living.

If such a thing exists I would prefer to have country living with city conveniences.












Saturday, December 8, 2012

Skeletons in the Closet

I'm not positive, but I would think everyone has skeletons in their closets. Some skeletons are just worse than others...depending on the readers perception that is.

Well, I have a skeleton that I'm about to drag out my closet. Although I'm pretty much an open book there are a few select things I keep tucked away for safe keeping. I pull this skeleton out only because it won't hurt anybody and  it's no longer a skeleton in my mind. It's a part of my life that up until this post is published nobody but hubby and my son knew about.

Here goes...

Back in October of 1999 my youngest brother, David and his lovely wife Simona were scheduled to be married. Toby and I had been dating only 10 months at the time..living together only 6 of those months and I was 7 weeks pregnant with our first child out of wedlock..and still legally married to my first husband to boot. What white trash right? Why couldn't my two wonderfully successful brothers been born the black sheep of the family????

Anyway, being that I was the groom's sister I had an obligation  to attend the wedding. Under any other circumstance I would have been eagerly looking forward to the festive event. Unfortunately for me, the day of their wedding I was in the middle of having a miscarriage. I had cramped and bled all night long the night before and in general felt like a walking corpse both physically and emotionally.

I had never had a miscarriage before but common sense and instinct told me what was happening to my body. I had to change out the thick maxi pads I was wearing every fifteen minutes. I felt like a blood bath but I also knew that I had my brother, his wife, and a whole slew of family members, but most of all my mother, expecting me to be there for the wedding.

My mother was very old fashioned and didn't know all the sordid details of my life. I really didn't want to hash out the pregnant out of wedlock and still married to the ex thing with her while I was in the midst of a miscarriage so instead I phoned my mother and told her that I didn't feel well and probably wouldn't make it to my brothers wedding. I figured at least I had a 50/50 chance of  receiving sympathy from her but instead what I got was..'YOU BETTER GET UP, GET DRESSED AND BE THERE FOR YOUR BROTHER'S WEDDING!' In defense of my mother if she had known the true story I'm sure I would have gained more sympathy if I had had the balls to tell her the truth.

So that's what I did. I put me on the thickest pad I could find reinforced with an old hand towel, downed a few Tylenol for the pain, stuffed my purse full of the pads and extra hand towel that  I knew would be needed for the duration, put on an extra coat of makeup on my sickly, pale skin, put on the fanciest dress I owned a happy face and made it to the wedding.
As beautiful as it may have been, and I'm quite sure that it was the only thing I remember about my brothers wedding is feeling sick and having to locate a bathroom a few times.

Every year when my brother and his wife celebrate their anniversary I can't help but to look back on the memory of that day and cringe. I cringe not for having a miscarriage but for not being true to myself, not loving myself enough to be honest about my life, for not feeling connected enough with my family that I could tell them what was going on in my life. For not feeling worthy of love.

SAD.
















Friday, December 7, 2012

Spaceboy

Once a week we do try to do family 'Movie Night' . We rent a movie that ALL of us will enjoy and pop up some Jiffy Pop popcorn . I mostly like doing movie night during the holidays or on very cold nights, otherwise Summer will be out and about playing with neighborhood kids and very hard to lure in to sit down watch a movie. She gets that from me. I'm not really much of a movie person and it's very hard for me to sit through a whole movie without my mind wandering...or falling asleep.

Last night our movie of choice was 'Seeking Friend For the End of the World'. It was an okay movie but not one I would recommend to someone to watch.

Mostly it had me thinking about what people would do if they knew that the world was ending on a specific day/time. Would I still be worried about if my house were clean? If my kid studied her spelling words? If my husband got up and went to work or not?  Or would we even want to spend our last days with our chosen spouse??? It's an interesting thought if you think about it.

Needless to say I did fall asleep towards the end of the movie only to awaken to see the finale and hear a song ( The Air That I Breath by the Hollies) that was being played in the movie that I liked well enough to sing along with in my half-slumber.

Friday's are my Monday's so most of my day today was consumed with housework. I did manage to finish up some binding on a one of my quilts and I also went out and bought some tea bags to make Toby some tea. He had expressed an interest in having some tea to drink a couple of months ago ( I know, what a slacker wife) so I figured this was the day that I made him some tea. Too bad I won't be partaking in any of it being that it is UN-sweet tea. This guy can't be from the South!!!!!!!!

Okay...tootles for now.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Afternoon Delight

Our fall weather has been beautiful this year with cool mornings and temps in the 70's and 80's during the day, and of course not a hint of rain in sight which can sometimes work  to our advantage.

The other day I was upset at myself for not scheduling in some hiking to to take advantage of the superb weather we've had the past couple of months.

So today we all (including Bo) headed to Walnut Creek. It's close to home and there are still miles of trails that we have not explored yet.

The scenery was pretty much the same 'ole same 'ole.




We did come across a patch of seeding dandelion. Summer commented on how the ground below them felt like a fleece blanket because of all the fallen soft seeds.



Here is Summer standing on the edge of a cliff. You can't tell in this pic but I was surprised at how high up this cliff hovered over the creek...for Walnut Creek standards anyway.




It was refreshing for my soul to be outdoors today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Yesterday Once More

Tonight as I was scrolling through FB I came across a link that piqued my interest. I don't even remember exactly what the original link was that caught my attention but it led me to this article:

Oh how I related to this article!!!  As much as I internally cringe at Summer's choice of hairstyle I allow her to make her choices in her appearance and Jada Pinkett Smith couldn't have said it more eloquently.

Here was her response to the public who questioned her 'letting' her daughter cut off all of her hair:
'The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be.'

Hell yeah! and bravo for Jada Pinkett Smith standing up not only for her daughter but for all women.

Happy to be SUMMER


Saturday, December 1, 2012

To Do

1. Almost 3 years ago on Thanksgiving Day my oven decided to die. To this day I have not have had the luxury of an oven. I miss my oven. I miss baking cookies and pulling a steaming hot casserole fresh out of the oven.

The reason it's not repaired yet? Simply, I'm super frugal about what I spend my money on. We all have priorities where our money is concerned and I have yet to make the decision as to whether it is worth the couple hundred dollars it will take out of my budget to repair my oven. After all, the stove top still works...

TO DO:  Either BITE THE BULLET and repair the oven or fork out the hundreds of dollars it would take to buy another one....or keep bitching about not having an oven and move on.

2. The brakes on my car are starting to make a scraping noise. I don't know how much longer I can drive on them without incurring further damage. I hate car repairs more than anything. My 'mechanic Lucas' is in Alabama and although Toby can do simple car maintenance it's not his forte. Every time I envision car maintenance with him it's never a pretty scene. It most likely will involve alot of cursing and attitude of poor pitiful me, I have to do something other than sit on my ass on my IPhone in front of the T.V.  Whatever it is it won't be pleasant and I approach it's inevitability with a sense of dread. I suck it up and do all sorts of things I despise on a daily basis. It would be such a turn on if he did the same thing.

I have made a mental note that if this brake changing is traumatic for me, the next time our credit card will be put to good use and any other car maintenance will be done by someone else. Period.

TO DO:  Purchase brakes and put aside a day to get the job done.

3.  Bo needs a bath BAD! and I don't mean one of those rinse me off in the backyard underneath the hose with a little dog soap. He needs his yearly grooming....nails clipped, ears cleaned, and some dog perfume.

TO DO:  Luckily this one is easy enough to accomplish. On one of our errand days we need to drop Bo off at the groomer.

4.  The blinds need to be vacuumed and the carpets, although in pretty good condition, but after 5 years worth of foot and dog traffic could probably use a good professional cleaning

TO DO:  I'll probably end up being an el cheapo on this one and rent the Rug Doctor. Again, carve out a day for this venture.

5.  The wind and sun has managed to destroy the fabric tarp over our gazebo so that will need to be replaced by next spring.

TO DO:  Good thing this one doesn't have to be taken care of immediately, but I'm sure it will be one of those things that slip up on me before I know it, so I need to start finding a replacement and pricing in the near future.

6.  I had also wanted to make a small garden in the backyard this fall...somehow the fall has came and is almost gone and I have so many other things taking precedence that the garden has made it's way to the bottom of the list of things to do.

TO DO:  I can't even really seriously think about this one right now. I just perceive a garden as being another thing on my list of things I would have to take care of.  When I think about digging a garden, going to the nursury to find all the veggies to fill it up and then planting them, I really don't mind going to the grocery store after all....

Oh, and there is more these are just at the top of the list.

With all these things that are lurking in the back of my mind that need to be taken care of very soon, all I can think about is how nice it would be to take a mini vacation to Houston or Dallas this week....

Sigh.....




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quilts and...Quilts

Yeh, I'm like that...wishy washy. I went from my tote bag obsession back to building quilts again.

I love the idea of taking something (discarded fabric) and transforming into something that can give comfort and love and be loved by the receiver. I know, I'm weird. I've been told numerous times and I can read your minds anyway.

My creations are very amateur so I don't feel comfortable selling them - right now- but I love the idea of giving them to friends, family, those in need, those who would appreciate them, and I even came across this site,  Quilts for Kids one day while surfing the net. No, I don't like kids in general but I do know that kids appreciate the comfort of a quilt or blanket..or at least mine always have.

It all boils down to the fact that I love the relaxation and creative outlet that sewing on a machine gives me no matter how bad or good I am at it. So for now, that's what I do.

Here are my latest....

I was so pleased with this one! This one is almost perfect with very little flaw to it. I constructed it from 2 thrift store pillowcases and some scrap I had...




I even machine quilted this one...first time ever I machine quilted
Although this quilt is totally finished now, these pics are of the unfinished quilt.

Next....

I got the idea for the colors on this one when I saw a quilt online with contrasting colors of yellow and black and thought how pretty it was. This one is made from a discarded dress and gingham curtains. I'm actually still in the process of working on this one...



Because my quilts are made from upcycled fabric, I sometimes have to wait until I find the right fabric to go with a piece I am working on...therefore I usually have more than one quilt top that I work on at a time.

Here is another quilt top waiting on a finish job. This one is BRIGHT is it not?!!!  I love bold colors so I really like this one made from vintage fabric found at a garage sale in Corpus Christi last summer and discarded fabric at the Blue Hanger Goodwill...


Well, that's all for now. Gotta get to quilting!!

Corkboards

Cork boards, Bulletin Boards, Pin Boards, Message Boards...whatever you choose to call them, most people have one.

The other day I looked up at mine which hangs on the wall above my computer desk and observed everything I had pinned on it...which isn't much.  I would say that a bulletin board can tell a good bit about a person. On our boards are most likely things that are important to us...special dates, coupons, important reminders, pictures, phone numbers, etc.


For example, on my bulletin board I have and inspirational message to myself:

I AM NO GREATER THAN THE THOUGHTS I THINK! ...Inspiration

Then there is a California Grapes bookmark that I found in Toby's old stuff. I have no idea why it is on my board other than I could think of no other place to put it and didn't think it warranted the garbage can.

Next, I have a list of all things that are recyclable at the local recycling center. Quite honestly I don't do much recycling because I have very limited space to store recyclables until they can be taken to the center. The list only proves that recycling is important to me on some level.

I also have tacked a  list of unimportant passwords that I pin only because they are a pain in the ass to retrieve when I need them on those rare occasions.

Then there is my other little inspirational pin about attracting money:

1. Think more thoughts of in a day of abundance than lack of money.
2. Be happy now, without the money.
3. Be truly grateful for everything you have now.
4. Give the best of yourself.

Hmmmm....I can't really say too much about this one other than the facts.  We as a family adhere to these rules religiously and though we are very, very  far from being what one would call financially rich, we don't struggle financially to make ends meet. Matter of fact, we pay our debts easily and even during this whole 'economic crisis' hoopla we have not wavered...granted a little extra cash for some luxurious type items would be nice. :-)

Speaking of luxurious items, I have a magazine cutout of an RV on my board. An RV is at the top of my list for luxury items. An RV would be my rolling hotel room. I can visualize myself exploring Central Texas in an RV. No pet fees, no searching for a hotel that allows pets, and camping would be all the more alluring in both mine and Summer's eyes. Yes, an RV definitely.

This next one is kinda weird. This excerpt comes from my brothers blog from a few..maybe even several years ago.  For whatever reason it resonated with me enough that I copied and printed it...

Today is my last day of work. I greet it with mixed emotions but all in all it is a good day. Change is that little something that keeps the spices in life. I find it humorous that most people tend to fall into a routine - or rather a rut, in my opinion- that they fight to keep for as long as possible. Perhaps it is the fear of failure or losing what we currently have. Of course, when you are at the bottom of the heap, you figure there is nowhere to go but up...just make sure you are at the bottom of the heap before you take on that life philosophy. There is nothing worse than thinking you are on the bottom rung only to find there are new lows out there that you never explored before.

Wow! Is that not powerful?

Lastly is my neighbors phone number...not sure why I have it on my board other than I think I tacked it up there when they went out of town for Christmas last year and asked me to call them if anything went awry with their home while they were away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saturday Hanging with Friends

Saturday my closest friend Robin invited me and Summer (Toby was at work) over to her house for the best brisket Texas has to offer - made special by her hubby Dave - and some socialization. Robin's mom was in town and Lauren, her daughter was also there with her newborn. Cute little guy I had to admit.....

Perfect host and hostesses that they are, Robin and Dave filled me up with great conversation, booze and food. Summer was kept occupied entertaining Jake, Robin's dog who had been temporarily banned from inside the house while baby Dominik was there, feeding horses, goats chickens, and shooting the BB gun with Jeff, Robin's grown son....oh, and of course and endless supply of cokes, food, and pie and ice cream to keep her motivated.

We had a really good time. The next day, even my homebody Summer exclaimed how much fun it had been to hang out with friends all day. I had to agree it was a nice change in our abnormally boring routine that we have as of late.

Here is a pic Dave took of me and Robin. We have been friends a few years and I believe this is the first pic we have of the two of us together. When we are out and about together people always ask us if we are sisters. I'm not sure if they question our relationship because of our easy banter with each other or the slight resemblance we share....





Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Day 2012

Thanksgiving for our small little family was not much different from last year.  We had brunch at Cracker Barrel and came back home. Our original intention was to take in a movie after our meal like we did last year but we couldn't find anything playing that satisfied us all.

Holiday shopping amongst all the other merchandise vultures was out of the question and we weren't prepared to do any hiking so we just came back home. Quite honestly, I didn't mind in the least. I had a quilt I wanted to finish up and vacuuming that was way overdue.

I also took this 'free day' to have Summer paint an end table in her room that needed a fresh coat. Toby also took this day for he and her to work on a wood project they had been looking for free time to tackle for awhile.

It seems like we spend so much time on the road running around from here to there that it was nice to spend some time at home.

That evening Toby prepared his special Mexican Martini's that he only prepares on special occasions.

We are such a blogging bore these days.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Hair and The Dog

In light of the haircut fiasco of the past year I was hoping (and certainly would have prayed if I believed that sort of thing produced results) that Summer would lose interest in the super short boy hairdo eventually. No such luck, so I cringe and take her the stylest who cringes as much as I do.

I agree to her requests only because (1) I remember what it was like to want to experiment with a style, whether it be clothing or hair, and have my mother sneer and criticize in hopes that her apparent distaste would sway my decisions and (2) I certainly don't want my control of her choice of hairstyle to morph into something worse as she in an act of rebellion...let's say a Mohawk or something worse than that. Good Lord, I can't even entertain those thoughts...

Anyway, I force myself to focus on all her many positive qualities that far outweigh the hair issue. The kid is loving and helpful as she can be to me. She's always willing to lend a helping hand and consoles me with hugs and kisses if I am disappointed about something or even if I am feeling down.

She is respectful of curfews and asks permission to do things she is unsure of.  So the hair thing...I choose to suck it up and put on my big girl panties and let her be HER...SUMMMER.

So, on a second note, I was giving Bo a walk around the block this evening just as the school kids were getting off of the bus.

I noticed that as they walked toward their homes they would kick at the fences and antagonize the dogs that were barking at them. One of them even picked up stick and jabbed it through the fence at the dogs.

No wonder dogs attack humans. Idiots are everywhere in all shapes and sizes...





Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seeping Out

I have creativity and expression seeping out of me lately. I have always had a creative side to me but lately I find that I can't contain it. I dream of creations that can be created and I awaken with ideas that seem to come out of nowhere. I also find myself singing and dancing ( I typically never have danced before) more than usual lately. I'm enjoying listening to a wide variety of music rather than my usual genre.

Maybe I just spend too much time at home alone....

Anyway, here are some of my latest projects:

Here is a quilt I started several months from thrift store fabric scraps. I haven't gotten any farther than the quilt top because quite honestly I got a little carried away with it and made it a little bigger than what I have the equipment to handle it. First of all, I need a large area to lay the quilt out for the batting and pinning. I love my cozy little home, but floor space is not something I am blessed with.

Another issue I have is the actual "quilting". My little $100 brother sewing machine does not have quilting capabilities for something that large...heck, I have never even tried to machine quilt with my machine. The quilts that I have made in the past have been hand quilted which would be much too large of a job for this quilt. From my limited knowledge of quilting I believe I can pay someone to quilt it for me but then that would defeat the purpose of my frugality. So, as it stands I have a very large quilt top that I'm still contemplating what to do with....


I also did a couple of more bags. I really love this one I worked up from a little girls dress....


This one is from some old pj's and scraps.

I also made up a few Christmas themed bags
I was out running with Bo one morning and spotted this old office desk chair on the side of the road. I scooped it up and brought it home and recovered it in some retro fabric I found at a yard sale in Corpus Christi this past summer...


Summer suggested I make a Mindcraft Creeper into her desk chair. This is what I came up with....


My latest quilt project has been a lot of fun. Over the past few months I have been collecting bandannas from the Blue Hanger. I love the bright colors and designs on the bandannas. My ultimate goal was to collect enough to piece together a blocked bandanna quilt.

One morning I awoke around 4:00am with an inspiration to cut the bandannas up to give them a more geometric appearance rather than just blocking them. I also figured it would add more character than plain blocking....


Luckily this quilt top is small enough that I will be able to do the actual quilting myself.

Yep, that's about been it for me lately...sewing, creating and listening to music.


Choices

We all have choices. When somebody says they "Have No Other Choice" what they really mean is that the alternative is not an option they are willing to take.. The question is, are we willing to make a choice based on the consequence it may or may not produce??

There is always a choice. The question is just what is the best choice/alternative.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween 2012

Holidays are usually pretty lonely business for Summer and I. Toby works most holidays except for Christmas day so we were really excited about Halloween falling on his usual day off this year.

That and the fact that Halloween is one of our favorite holidays we were excited about making this one extra special. I have to say that it was a success.

Toby usually does the pumpkin carving with Summer's assistance. This year she did the eyes and the nose all by herself...



Thanks to Pinterest I made a yummy batch of pumpkin seeds. Between the three of us they didn't last long at all!!

Toby and I also dressed up this year. Toby has dressed up in prior years but this is the first time I threw on a disguise myself.  My goal was not to be cute but to be able to trick or treat with Summer with my identity as an adult disguised. Pretending to be a kid was the most fun I have had in a very long time...

Summer was an alien this year. In the past several months she has taken an interest in aliens and has even suggested we take a trip to Roswell, New Mexico...and of course I never turn down the idea of a good ole' road trip...


After we got home from trick or treating we enjoyed  hanging out with our neighbors and handing out candy (and scaring) the stragglers. In my memory bucket this Halloween will go down as one of my favorites....