Thursday, February 28, 2013

Glass Art

Not long ago Toby was watching a T.V. show on glass blowing and commented that glass blowing was an art that has always intrigued him. Although there are many glass shops in and around Austin, it reminded me of one in particular, Wimberley Glassworks,  that offers glass blowing demonstrations.

I had seen it mentioned on the local home school  site a couple of years ago and had always wanted to take Summer but never carved out a day. I figured today was a good day to for a day trip to Wimberley to watch some glass blowing.

The shop was a bit "off the beaten path" it seemed for such beautiful glass work to be displayed. Wimberley Glass Works has a positive reputation and is a familiar name to those in the area though so I guess it doesn't really need the location, location, location.

When we first got there we browsed a bit before they started the demonstration. There were some beautiful creations to admire with bold price tags attached.

Here's a glimpse of some of the work displayed in the store...

The demonstration was informative and interesting.....

After watching the patience and monotonous process it takes to make glass I totally understood the price tags that are attached to their glass pieces.

Thumbs up to our field trip to Wimberley Glassworks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Annoying

I do my best to keep an open mind and realize that people can't always live up to the expectations I have of of us ALL as a human species and most of the time I can rationalize or excuse most behaviors but I do have a few "pet peeves" that frequently test my patience in mankind.

Here they are in no specific order.....

Kids who tease a dog through a fence.  The animal always gets blamed/punished when the child gets bit.  Of course the animal bit you! It doesn't use deductive reasoning like humans SHOULD be doing.

People who keep shopping away while their obviously past nap time curtain climber is screaming or whining their ass off while mom/dad is totally ignoring it and keep browsing. Take that screaming ass kid home for a nap because people like me don't want to listen to it.

Taking up two parking spaces or being parked so crooked that you are taking up two spaces. I have actually visually hunted down the culprit once in a Jack in the Box once for this particular offense.

People that play their music so loud the whole neighborhood can hear it. Really?? You may like your music and I even may like it, but that doesn't mean that I want to hear it full blast for the duration of your party.

Incorrect grammar usage when speaking.  Example: I ain't got nothin'. Just writing about this one pisses me off. Once again, I want to thank my parents for that expensive education they blessed me with for this particular pet peeve.

People that give vague FB statuses. Example: They are nothing but fish bait for an invitation for people to ask questions or feel sorry for them. Grow up, nobody really cares what anybody posts on their status anyway....unless it really is something worth mentioning.

People that pollute. If I see it in progress I usually will pick up the discarded trash, hand it to them and point towards the nearest garbage can.

When you can't tell if someone is male or female. My daughter at one time has fallen into this category so I have an extra annoyance for it now. I have seen more than my share of these types in Austin. It bugs me only because I don't know how to address the person if I don't know their gender. Please just be one or the other...I don't care which.

People who bring their sick kids out in public - especially a restaurant - to hack or puke.

People who let their little dogs roam the neighborhood  thinking just because they are little they aren't annoying. I still have to pick their tiny shit up out of my yard and watch my ankles as I walk down the street.

When people refuse to be the decision maker about something simple (which restaurant, which move, etc.) Why do I always have to wear the pants as far as decisions are concerned? Let me guess, so I get the blame when it's a failure. Wimps.

People who refer to everything good that happens because of  "prayer" or "god was watching over". Things happen, good and bad every day. The ebbs and flows of life..plain and simple. No magic involved.

When somebody uses all but a smidgen of food or drink and puts it back in the pantry/fridge. If you are not going to leave enough for the next person you may as well just finish it off.

People who leave their Christmas lights up until February or beyond. If you don't plan on taking them down, please don't bother to put them up.

People who complain out loud while waiting in a long line at a store. It's just an invitation to be invited into their bitch-fest and I don't care to be drawn into their public display of drama.

People who misspell something on FB and then immediately correct themselves on the next if the reader isn't smart enough to figure it out.  I guess they are just making sure we knew that they KNEW how to spell that word. Insecurity at it's best.

People who post endless pics of their kids doing the most mundane things or boast about how special their kids are. I can guarantee you that only YOU think your kids are that special and wonderful so keep it to yourself as far as FB is concerned. An occasional or special pic is acceptable but a pic a day of your kid is not necessary.

People who are over the age of 21 and use the words "dude", "man", "cat", or other teenage lingo word. Makes me cringe every time. Matter of fact, right along with incorrect grammar usage.

When I go to check out of a department store and they ask me for my email address and phone number and ramble on about store policies and updating the system, blah, blah, blah. Just let me pay for my purchase peacefully without asking me a million questions or giving me information about how the store functions. I don't care about how the store functions I just want to make my purchase and get out of there.

I know there are many more, these are just a few that I had to get off my chest.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Show Me Love

On the way home from my morning run this morning I stopped to let Bo get his last sniff and pee in when I heard an owl "who". I thought at first I was hearing things because owl's don't typically "who" during the day. I perked my ears and heard it again nearby. I listened. I heard it once again and began to search it out.

I finally saw it in a deciduous leaf barren tree in the yard right across the street from where I was stopped. There he was just sitting on that bare branch whooing away in broad daylight. I watched him for a little bit wondering what his motive was for whooing during the day before heading  home.

I let Summer sleep in late this morning. We all deserve to sleep in a bit late from time to time. Around 11:00am. I finally went and snuggled up to her in the bed to awaken her. Snuggling with her in the bed felt so good. The wind was blowing fiercely outside with weather advisories and fire hazard warnings and all I could think about was how SO GRATEFUL I was  to be snuggling up against my little girl in a a warm bed chatting away about the dreams she had the night before and her plans for the day. These are sort of things life is made for....what my life is made for.

With my recent camera woes I decided to do a little playing with my phone camera and a camera app. I have never really used my phone camera much and never really considered it a camera source for picture manipulation like cropping and editing. I was surprised that I could do so much more than I thought I could so I've been doing some experimenting with it lately.

These are a couple of pics I took the other morning at the park when I took Bo for a walk.....

Here is the evening sunset....

I also took some time out this week to clean out my small garden area. Summer, Bo, and I had a good time....Summer sifting and digging in the dirt and Bo stalking and eating the grub worms. I was glad to finally get it ready for a couple tomato plants, some bell pepper, and some jalapenos. We'll see how it goes. I had really good luck with tomatoes last year so I'm hoping that same luck will spill over into this year.....

The wind storm we had yesterday was pretty rough. The winds topped out at 52 mph in our area. I noticed many people had lost shingles off their roof and most everybody had at least one fence panel down..some more. I was glad that everything in our yard and on our roof stayed in tact. I also was glad I had elected not to put my veggies into the ground yet!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Kind of Rain

You never know how much you care about someone until their health is compromised.

Last Wednesday Toby started complaining about some lower left side back pain. I really didn't think much about it initially because he does have a tendency to have occasional unexplained aches and pains. I usually mentally contribute his pains to his predominately sedentary lifestyle and extra "baggage' he carries around with him.

This pain has been different though. He has spent a lot of time soaking in a hot bath and I can tell he is in pain when he moves around. I also am awakened during the night by the sounds of him grunting in pain as he tries to get in a comfortable sleeping position. He even came home from work early last night, something he has very rarely..if ever...done.

What worries me the most is he says it doesn't feel like a muscle. If it were anywhere else on his body..shoulder, leg, etc.,  I wouldn't be quite as concerned but I know there are a lot of vital body parts in the torso area.  I won't even share what sort of  detrimental scenarios I have let my imagination dream up as the cause of his pain.

Of course, we are "self-employed" so health insurance is not a household name for us. With the exception of Summer who is on Children's Medicaid of Texas,  when we (Toby or me)  get sick we either have to suck it up and move on until it goes away, self medicate, self-diagnose, use home/natural remedies or just die...Period. That's just the way it is and what we are accustomed to.

We have both done our research on the Internet and presume that it may possibly be a pinched nerve. Of course we are not doctors but not having health insurance for most of my adult life has made me more perceptive in matters of health. Being able to listen to our own instincts about our bodies and how we feel has more than once proven to be more reliable than those of a health care professional that has no mental or physical connection to us.

That said, I know there are times that a doctor is necessary, but we save those times in cases of emergency or when there are no other alternatives.

I remember when I was going through pre-menopause in my late 30's I bled for 3 weeks straight. I finally went to the doc only because I wanted to stop bleeding all over everything in my path.

Doc scraped my pelvic walls and sent it off to the lab sending me out the door to the tune of  $250 and they would "call and let me know".

A week later I got a call from the doc office telling me I needed to come in. I won't lie I was scared. I'm sure  it was meant for me to be scared. What better way to manipulate a person than with the fear of the unknown??

I was nervous as a cat as I waited for the doc to enter the room and give me the verdict. Instead of a verdict I got a lecture and a ticket to come back with another $250 for another cervix scraping. Apparently the lab couldn't get a good reading from the previous one because of all the bleeding that I had going on.

I immediately went from scared to pissed. Not only was doc - the same doc that delivered my daughter just a couple of years earlier - asking me to fork out more money (that I didn't have) to do the same thing I just paid for a week earlier he was lecturing me on all the possibilities of things that could be wrong with me that could kill me and how I was going to leave my daughter behind with no mother if I didn't pay for more tests.

I won't lie, I was scared and numb when I walked out of that doc's office without scheduling another appointment for another test, but there was that other part of me that well....I don't know...maybe self-preservation???

Either way, I never went back for that second lab test and 10 years later I feel physically and mentally better than I ever have.  I think your mind and the way you think is the most important thing when it comes to health.

I almost feel blessed not to have health insurance. It makes me more aware of my own body and keeps me self-educated in the matters of health. It also makes me responsible for my own well-being.

Hopefully it wall all work itself out and hubby will be back to normal soon....CROSSING MY FINGERS!!

UPDATE: Hubby's back is feeling better with a little TLC. :-)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cyber Friends

Through my five year blogging history I have made a few of what I call my "bloggy friends".  In the land of blog it's like a small community of bloggers you connect with. Even though I have never met them personally, there are a select few that I feel like I know and connect with just from reading their blogs.

I know one loves frogs, sewing and gardening, the other loves nature, cats and spirituality, one enjoys the more scientific and analytic side of life...etc.

Ultimately, we all have at least one thing in common., we publish our most personal thoughts and emotions on our online diary for the whole world to read. For some people blogging is considered an intimidating, questionable and frightening thing.

Today I received a gift in the mail from one of my bloggy friends who lives on a totally different continent than I do. I am always grateful for the kindness my friends bestow on me and I was equally grateful for the kindness of someone who only knows me via my blog.

A heartfelt card and some owl print table placemats were waiting in my mailbox this afternoon all the way from Australia....

On another note, not much else been going on here lately. We did come upon by accident a nice garden center in Elgin called Bloomers while out and about today. I was impressed and came home with a Texas Red Lantana, some tomato, bell pepper, and jalapeno plants.

I spent the afternoon digging around in the dirt underneath the warmth of the sun. Perfect meditation.

Yesterday I got in the mood to sew and I'm in need of replenishing my quilting fabrics so I opted for a small project and whipped up this little bag just for fun...

Not much planned for the weekend, but maybe doing some much needed spring cleaning. Fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dragon Dance

I'm posting this immediately after I have just viewed my brother's beautiful pics on FB from his Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration in Saigon. Although I'm sure the Chinese New Year celebration we witnessed at Austin's Chinatown Center can't be compared, we still had a good time. You have to take what you can get.

When we first got there it was really crowded and people were already gathered around the dragon dance area. I was a bit annoyed because the dragon dance is the only reason I attend the celebration and I certainly didn't want to miss it.

We watched what we could see for awhile and eventually moved on......

Summer had spotted some dragon looking marionettes that some other children had - I know they probably have a specific name but I have no idea what it may be - and wanted to search them out.

We found the area where the marionette thingies were and purchased a couple of for Toby and one for Summer.

Luck was on our side and by the time we made our purchase the dragon dance people were headed in our direction to do more blessings. We got a first row view of the dances and firecrackers this time....

After we watched the second dance and blessing Toby said he he had seen a couple items in the store that he wanted to purchase before we left.

By the time we left the celebration we had spent approximately $250 on trinkets. Apparently their blessings work. I told Toby he could have bought that stuff in Vietnam for a fraction of the price he paid for them there and he replied...."Am I going to be in Vietnam anytime soon?"....Guess he had a point there.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Laughter Crescendo

Today was awesome! I had absolutely the best hike I have had in a while at Southeast Metropolitan Park.

I thought I was taking us somewhere we had never been before but once I arrived I immediately recognized it as a place Robin had taken me to hike a couple of years ago.

Toby and I could hike for miles and when Summer was as young as 4 years old she would hike miles right along with us without even a peep or complaint. Now that she is older we have to be careful to choose hiking destinations where there are things along the way that are intriguing for an older child. We are always safe with our choice as long as there is access to water.

Luckily the trail head map designated a couple of pond areas that splintered off the of larger main loop trail. Although Toby and I were lusting after the large main loop trail we knew that Summer had the potential of being a burden to us if we took the large loop, so we stuck with the splinters that lead to the ponds...


A nice lookout to stop and rest....

As I said, we weren't planning on taking the long loop but in the end decided that it looked too alluring not to. The trails were some of the best I have ever hiked for a good workout with a mixture of fairly steep up and down hills along the way to give us some physical challenge. There were also some bridges throughout  the loop that broke up the hike a bit...

Getting a running start up the hill

Digging for usual

Downtown Austin....wayyyy in the distance

We finally made it around to where the second pond was. Bo and Summer sure were glad. Bo immediately jumped in for a cool off and a drink of water and Summer for some play and a rest....

Almost there.......

One last rest

Although we all can easily manage a 3 mile loop, this one felt like it was 10 miles because of the hilly terrain. Secretly I was glad to see the end of the trail. That said, it felt good and I had a blast therefore I'm considering this to be one of my Top 10 hikes in Austin.

Monday, February 11, 2013


I confess, aside from the short morning run I took Bo on, I spent most of my day laid up on my sofa underneath a blanket with my Ipad., watching T.V., and crocheting. Do I feel guilty? No, I don't.

It started to rain about noon and we actually had a few rumbles of thunder along with it. Thunder is such a rarity here that when it rumbled Bo jumped up and started barking at the unidentified noise coming from the sky.

I found it rather comforting even though it didn't last long. It reminded me of my young adult days in Mobile when I would awaken to rain, thunder and lightening and call in sick to work only to stay home curled up in my bed all day reading my latest Harlequin Romance. None of my personal romances have ever been as heated as the ones I read about in Harlequin. Maybe it's just me...

I wasn't all that useless today. I did manage to make a new menu and grocery list for my next grocery store trip and  spent some time in the kitchen making peanut butter cookies and and quinoa fritters.

As slack as I was, it felt good to laze around. I'm still not feeling up to par so resting my body felt good. I'll be good to go for whatever the rest of the week has to offer me after a good days rest.

One last thing. I had an odd dream about my mother last night...or I believe it must have been early this morning.

I was standing at the foot of the steps of the house we used to live in on Gill Road when I was a child. I looked up at the top of the stairs and there stood my mother in a black outfit. There was a female child standing next to her that I didn't recognize at the moment in a bright yellow dress.

My mother and the girl started to walk down the steps toward me and once she got the bottom she said to me.."I was told to come and get you." I hugged her and was sobbing into her shoulder telling her how much I missed her and when I stood back to wipe my tears I noticed the girl in the bright yellow dress standing next to her. I focused on the girl and realized the girl that had been with her was me - myself when I was about Summer's age.  I also recognized the dress to be one I remembered to wear as a child.  Once I realized the girl with my mother was me, I immediately awoke with the tears still rolling down my face.

I had to kind of  "shake my head" once I awoke to figure out where I was in reality...still dreaming or awake. When I awoke it was early dawn so I lay awake thinking about the dream about my mother and the smells of the day before. Were they all related? Was my mind just making scenarios? Why was my mother told to "Come Get Me" in my dream??

I had to pinch myself to make sure that I was still "alive" and that I wasn't in some other reality that I just haven't realized yet. I don't feel like I am going to die anytime soon, but then again nobody actually really knows
                  they are  
                                passing on....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Free Fallin'

This morning I felt like crap. As the day wore on I have morphed into feeling like shit. Really, I'm just being a little dramatic. I don't feel up to par, but I'm certainly nowhere near my deathbed. I'm assuming it's seasonal allergies stemming from my outdoor activities the past couple of days. That's what I'm betting on anyway.

I was glad that I had gotten the brunt of my weekend chores done yesterday so that I had time to finish up a couple of quilts that are acceptable enough to try and sell, but before I do anything I think I may have to break down and buy me a decent camera. The underwater camera I use for my day to day photos does no justice when it comes to giving something an accurate representation.

Last night I had an odd experience. I woke up a couple of times during the night and each time I awoke there was an overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke. Not like someone was smoking, but like a person smells when they have been smoking in an enclosed area or in a club filled with smoke.

The second time I awoke and still smelled it I thought maybe Toby had gave a smoking co-worker a ride home in his truck and they smoked a cigarette, or that maybe he had went out with some co-workers after work as he sometimes does and got in the path of some smoke. I rolled over closer to him and took in a whiff of his body but couldn't smell anything but, well....Toby.

This morning I asked him if he had been around any smokers the night before or if he had went out anywhere that would make him reek of cigarette smoke and he said "no".

Later on today as I was thinking about the mystery of the cigarette smoke I remembered that last night while I was preparing dinner I was enveloped in an overwhelming smell of  familiar strong perfume. I didn't think anything about it at first and just assumed that maybe Summer had sprayed some perfume upstairs where she was.

The smell left as soon as it entered my nostrils, then about 5 minutes later it was back so I hollered upstairs to Summer and asked her if she was spraying perfume and she replied.."No, I'm on the computer!".  As I was trying to figure out where the smell was coming from I realized it was the smell of Wind Song perfume my mom used to wear. She used to wear it to church or if she was going somewhere special and every time I smelled it on her I would tell her how bad I thought it

Anyway, it made me think about this disease I heard about not long ago, where people would smell weird stuff that nobody else could smell. I can't remember where I saw it or what the name of the disease was but I  did take a little time out to google the syndrome and this is what I came up with.

The rest of my evening will be spent attempting to remember how to crochet properly. Such and exciting life.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Yesterday morning I went and helped Robin plant some veggies in her garden. She's always more than generous with sharing her yield so I don't mind helping out in the least when she needs it. It also gives a chance to get caught up on all the gossip...she usually has way more interesting stuff to tell than I do.

I also don't have an aversion to the outdoors so I guess you could say everybody wins when it comes to the garden.

We cleaned the weeds out of the garden  then planted some broccoli, spinach, beets, and kale...and maybe some other stuff I just can't remember off the top of my head....

Robin is pretty calm when it comes to the critters trampling through the garden. If it were me and Bo was trampling around on my freshly planted veggies, I would be cursing and chasing him with the ..

We also collected some chicken eggs which Robin graciously sent home with me.....

More critters....

It was a nice morning enjoying friendship,sunshine, and fresh foods.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Like Diamonds In The Sky

Today's weather was predicted to be perfect...sunny and 83 degrees!! I am determined that I'm not going to let the gorgeous weather go to waste this year so our destination for the day was Northeast Metropolitan Park.

First we did a little hiking along the trail.....

Bo cooling off and getting a drink in the creek

Summer (and Toby) utilizing the skate park....

Checking out the water park area.....

"Cujo" the "pit bull"
After a long day of playing in the park in the heat of the sun everybody was ready to get back to the car so we took the shortcut back to the car. At that point, Summer was tired of riding her scooter, so I offered to ride it back for her. Secretly I just wanted to ride her scooter!!

I rode it ahead of them all the way back to the car. Boy, that thing is a thigh workout!!! I was having a blast!

Once I got to the car I drove around to pick them up. Summer has been begging to drive the car for the past couple of months so I figured since we were in an open, desolate area I would give her her wish. 

I have to admit I was a little nervous about giving her the wheel but she did a great sudden stops or slamming on the brakes. I think it was the highlight of her day because that's all she talked about the rest of the day.

After a day outdoors with plenty of activity I was still energized into the evening. I suggested Toby take me for an evening ride on his motorcycle. So much fun!!!

I forget sometimes what its like to be carefree and to live in the moment. This was definitely a carefree and living in the moment kind of day. These are the kind of days I intend to strive for everyday for the rest of my days in this realm of existence.

As simple as this day was, I felt ALIVE.