Sunday, February 26, 2012

You Are What You Eat

Since Summer has become old enough to choose to stay home by herself when we run errands, Toby and I have been taking advantage by trying out new eateries and restaurants while we are out and about. Like most kids, Summer has a limited palate. When Summer is with us her food choices are limited to Chik fi la, Panda Express, or Taco Bell...yuck, yuck, and super yuck!

For the past few months we also have been leaning towards a more whole food/veggie diet. I like the fact that I can cut me up a tomato and half a cucumber and a little seasoning and feel satisfied without that full bloated feeling. I now can feel the difference in the way my body feels after I have eaten an unhealthier meal.

Last week while we were running errands we stopped in to the Vegan Yacht on 6th. The Vegan Yacht is a food trailer. Food trailers are very popular in Austin. When we first moved here I was leery of anything that would come out of a food trailer. In Alabama, food that came out of a trailer would be a risky food source.

It was a beautiful day and I liked the way the food court was set up. There was an simple outdoor eating area encircled by several different food trailer options.

We ordered our meal and sat down to eat it. I have to say that it was very delicious. It didn't look like much food but it was organic, healthy and filling.

We give the Vegan Yacht a thumbs up. Since I had a good experience with my first meal out of a trailer I plan on testing out some more.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's That Time of Year....Again

First let me preface this post and say that coming from a more tropical region I never had to water my yard...EVER. Frequent afternoon showers did that for me. I never even pulled a hose out to water anything for that matter. I remember once we went 2 weeks without rain and thought it was terrible. Little did I know then that an area could go 2 years without rain!!!

When we first moved into our home in Texas we had a lawn...prickly Bermuda grass no less, but still a lawn. I didn't realize until much later that there was a reason that most people's lawn didn't sport thick, bright green St. Augustine or Centipede grass.

Can you believe I was naive enough to plant azaleas and elephant ear in my yard when I first moved here??!!!

Anyway, about 6 months into our move the historic record breaking drought invaded us. Three years into the drought and I am paying the consequences of my native naivety.

Of course, during the intense triple digit Summer's I wholeheartidly attempted to keep my lawn watered. Every week I had the sprinkler and the hose out. It was exhausting. Fully soaking a large yard takes time.

The drought hovered over us so long that eventually we had water restrictions. Watering your lawn was moved to the bottom of the priority list. I finally gave up the back yard and did my best to at least keep my smaller front lawn from withering away. To this day it is barely surviving.

So every spring for the past 3 years I have the extra chore of pulling weeds. Because the grass is DEAD it's very easy for the weeds to take over. If you pull the weeds eventually the grass will revive itself and you have hope for a lawn until the heat intense, rainless Summer comes again..

I dread it every spring when I see those weeds rearing their ugly head. Most people just mow them down but not me. I force myself to painstakingly pick each and every one out by myself - because neither one of my other family members wish to spend their free time making the lawn look presentable.

Every year I threaten that I'm not going to do it but every year there I am wallowing in the fire ant and scorpion infested, dog pee and pooped yard picking out weeds. It's a long process that takes me at least a few hour or so every day that I find an extra hour.

Last year I finally chose to make lemonade out of lemons. I find the process of weeding very relaxing. I love being outdoors anyway with the sun beating down warming my body. I listen to the birds sing, the cows moo, the jets fly over, the wind blow through the trees. It's amazing the things you can hear when you are STILL.

Here you can see where I am making my weeding path...

I have been pulling weeds so long I'm very experienced at it. I know just where to pull them to have them come up by the root. I also know that most of the weeds here have points on them and I know exactly where to grab them as not to get pricked. These here are the toughest ones. I find the best time to pull these is when the ground is moist otherwise they break off at the base destining them to grow back in only a few short days...

The day was a little cool, but sunny so Summer and Bo came outside with me while I weeded.

Summer built herself a "car".....

And Bo hunted grub worms in the fresh clay...

I still have a long road ahead of me but now you see some of the stuff I do to get that big paycheck at the end of every week!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crafty 'Ole Me

Since at this moment and time, I'm not able to do what I really want to do (travel and explore), I have made myself an outlet. I don't have a lazy personality so sitting around watching t.v. or sleeping is not an option for me.

After I bought my sewing machine last fall, I started feeling really creative. I made my first quilt...a small one for Summer.

I enjoyed doing it so much I wanted to do another one.

The only problem is that how many quilts does one household need? Fabric is not cheap and neither is having it quilted. After Summer's quilt I decided that I really wasn't fond of hand quilting. I'm just not sure how to machine quilt..or if it's even possible on my little $75 machine.

Even with my dilemma, I started on another quilt top..and another...and another. So I have 3 quilt tops hanging around, one that I made with the scraps from Summer's quilt and another two. I don't care. I love cutting the pieces and sewing them together. The whole process of sewing and piecing is very relaxing to me.

Only thing is,I'm also very frugal. I didn't like the thought of going out and buying fabric to make a quilt that may actually never become an actual quilt, so I got my frugal creative juices flowing and came up with an idea.

Every couple of months Austin has a City Wide Garage Sale at the Palmer Events Center. I had been once before and remembered that I had gotten some scrap fabric there for Summer to use when she was going through her hand sewing phase.

I didn't have to wait long for the garage sale to roll around again. I hit the jackpot. They had tables and tables piled high of scrap table napkins, doilies, quilts, sheets, scarves, etc. for super cheap.

I was wanting to make a Floral Snowball Quilt I had seen online so I decided the best bet for what I needed would be the table piled high full of cloth napkins. After about 20 minutes I found a selection that I thought would work.

The fabric is by the pound so I ended up paying $9 for my bag full. Good deal for what I came home with.

Anyway, I ended up having some scrap table napkins left over so I started on my second quilt top with a slightly different design. No need to waste fabric. I'm still very amateurish so please don't judge to harshly.

Here is the snowball one...

..the one made from leftovers. I'm still not done with bordering this one...

During one of my quilting lulls, I got crafty with one of Toby's old ragged pillows from his childhood. The pillow was ripped and torn except for the furry cat so I cut the cat out and found some scrap fabric to match and appliqued the cat on and made a wall hanging out of it...even though I still don't have it hung up because I'm not sure what room to hang it in yet..probably Summer's.

Something else I have been dabbling in is Quilling. In my opinion it is a beautiful form of art. It looks so fancy and intricate but yet such and easy and inexpensive art. I also love the fact that I can do it while sitting around with Sum and Toby while they watch T.V.

I have a plan in the works for my next larger and more detailed one, but here is my first practice one.

I also have my eye on a couple nice crochet afghan patterns that I would like to get started on.

I told you I was feeling rather creative lately!

Monday, February 13, 2012

So Close, But Yet So Far Away

A little over a decade ago, once I came to the conclusion that the Christian version or any of the other hundreds of different religion's idea of "GOD" was not my belief I began to sit back and try and figure out Who I was, Why I'm here...and my belief of Who/What I thought "GOD" is...or if I even believed there is the widely accepted fictional character sitting high in the clouds dangling the unknown appearance of a "savior" over your head at all. Just writing down those words make it sound all the more ridiculous...

These age old questions will probably always be there lurking in the back of all of our minds - even those that claim they know the way, the truth and the light are scared enough of death that you know that even they must have doubts of what lies beyond this realm - if anything. You don't fear something you understand or are confident about.

In my internal spiritual journey...a search for me, if you will, I have spent many hours reading a wide selection of books and watching documentaries on the subjects of atheism, metaphysics, spirituality, and the origin of religion. Knowledge is power and as it is said.."take what you can use and leave the rest."

Since cutting my ties with religious dogma I am free of those rituals, manipulations, and contradictions that bind you to fear and unrealistic life expectations.

Ironically, without a belief in the religious version of God, I am a much more joyful person and am slowly learning to love myself and others more genuinely with each passing day. I can now FEEL love. I can now FEEL compassion. I can now FEEL. My FEAR is gone.

In the end I figured out that I never had to search for my idea of "God" very far at all. I came to the conclusion that what we all are searching for on the outside and beyond is actually very close to close that it obscures our vision.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Recently on Facebook I came across a video that really got under my skin. Apparently a father has issues with his 15 year old daughter and decided to solve the problem via You Tube.

Here is the video if you have not seen it yet...

I can't figure out if this video bugs me more because the majority agrees with the parental tactic or the fact that the guy really really thinks this tactic will work in a postive way. If the latter is true, no wonder his daughter behaves the way she does.

I have to say that what strikes me most is that he's smoking a cigarette, littering and complaining about her cursing when he curses and then the gun?! I also have to say that the fact he did the video and broadcast it as opposed to sitting down and talking to her face to face speaks loads about how screwed up things are in this family. I end up feeling sorry for them all.

Maybe she's spoiled and not dealing well with all the angst of a teenager in an already broken home, (there was the reference to Mom and Step Mom), but this wasn't the answer. This public embarrassment is something she may never be able to understand or get over. He's made this about him, not about how to reach her and make her understand. It's look at me, the IT Dad posting a video where I shoot up a lap top.

Maybe that's where some of her selfish attitude comes from.

To me it's always the hardest part of being a parent is to know that most of not all of what you wish your kids didn't do, you do too, and you'll never make things better for them unless you are trying to fix you too.

In all honesty, whatever issues he has with his daughter began as a seed years ago when she was a toddler. It all just manifested and reared it's ugly head in her teen years. This problem didn't just started years ago and he just didn't notice it until it got big enough to fester.

Poor guy. He's in for a long road ahead...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Out and About Again

Today is the first day in a very long time that we had a "field trip" and I have to say that at the end of the day it was apparent that it was something we all have been missing.

Recently I have dedicated myself to getting back into the swing of things and putting our weekly outings at the top of my priority list.

So today we drove to San Antonio to the Witte Museum home of the HEB Science Treehouse. I won't bore you with grocery store cheer leading but let me just say that HEB is one of the top reasons I love Central Texas.

I think Toby was having as much fun playing as Summer was. Take a gander:

It was a much needed fun day and was good for all of our souls.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Today I was at the counter cutting up potatoes for a soup I was attempting to prepare - I say attempting because in the end that which I took so much time in preparing was ruined for reasons that I don't feel like elaborating on at this moment.

Anyway, as I was cutting the potatoes I was focused and soon began to get lost in the process. I could hear Summer in the back round chattering about something that I knew was directed at me but couldn't hear over the other noises that were going on around me. At this same moment the dog was scratching at the door to get back inside. I knew that his feet were full of mud and I would have to stop my meal preparation to go outside and wash his feet off before I could allow him inside.

All at once through all the commotion I felt myself drawn into the potato I was cutting. The potato became animated and for a moment became another entity that spoke to me. It said....."You are not suppose to be here cutting me up, wiping that dogs feet or tending children so why are you here?????."

Well, I can tell you why I am here. I am here because I have been doing what I'm not suppose to be doing for so long that I don't even know what it is I am suppose to be doing.

All I know is that at this moment in time my family, friends, and life are very important to me no matter what decisions that I have made previously that deterred from my soul's destination.

For right now, I will tend the child, wipe the dog's feet and prepare mundane meals that may or may not ever end up on the table...

A Glimpse of Today

I took my morning run with hubby and Bo in tow. Hubby who wants nothing to do with running has a pretty quick step so it's easy for me jog slowly beside him while he holds the dog so I can run without being tripped or snatched down the road.

Later on, we took Summer to the YMCA. She's a very good swimmer and loves to shoot baskets on the basketball court. I really don't know where her or Lucas gets their physical abilities from but I can guarantee you it's not from their mother or either one of their fathers.

We also had a small incident at the Y today. Summer and I had just made our entrance into the locker room when a woman with a towel on her head and around her body came running in behind us hollering that boys over the age of 5 weren't allowed in the women's locker room.

Didn't I tell you my beautiful daughter looks like a boy now???!!! All I could do was die inside and calmly assure the woman that Summer was indeed a girl. I don't know which one of us was more embarrassed, the poor woman or me. The only one that seemed un-phased was Summer...geesh, am I being overly dramatic when I ask when this hair nightmare will end?

So that was pretty much our Wednesday. Hopefully tomorrow will be more interesting....but I doubt it.