Friday, October 30, 2009

A little something to chew on…

I love my dogs, I truly do. But there are some days when I want to send them to the moon. For two dogs who generate absolutely no income and really do nothing in the way of helping around the house (unless you call holding the pillows down on the couch helping) they sure do think they have the run of things around here.

They seem to think everything in this house is for their express enjoyment. The vacuum cleaner is something to bark at and chase. The recliner is for their TV watching pleasure, but only if the recliner has a person in it. The humans (that would be me) are for bringing out the food and throwing the wubba. Everything else is purely for entertainment or for chewing on. And the chewing on? That’s saved for only the valuable things, apparently.

You see, my dogs have Alpo tastes on a milk bone budget. They prefer the finer things to chew on. For instance, Zoe chewed the corner off (off!) of a brand new wooden coffee table when she was little. She went under the table and chewed up the shoe of a friend who had kicked them off while we were talking – at the table! I would blame this on puppyhood, but that is really not the case, as she is 3 years old now and recently chewed up the last half of a book I was only halfway done reading.

Don’t think for a minute that Phoebe is innocent of any wrongdoing, for I feel sure she’s the one who knocked the book off the coffee table. She once made toothpicks out of a Longaberger basket. She has made her mark on various photo albums that made the mistake of residing on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Don’t even get me started on why all my silk plants have chewed up pots with dish soap squirted all over them. Then there was the day the two of them figured out how to open the step lid trash can and proceed to shred everything they found in there.

It was yesterday that I realized how posh Phoebe’s tastes have become, when she bypassed several perfectly cheap pairs of flip flops to get to the heel of a very expensive (and my personal favorite) pair of MBT walking shoes.

I’m thinking she must be a Mexican bulldog or something because she certainly doesn’t seem to understand English. As I went all Achmed the terrorist on her, she just looked at me like “No habla, senora, but thees muy bueno”.

*sigh*

 

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I may have to bring back Threatening Thursdays.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Holiday awareness issues…

I love Christmas. I love to decorate for Christmas and I really, really love baking Christmas cookies. I love finding just the right present for my loved ones. Maybe something they mentioned months ago they would like to have. Those are the best.

Oh, and the music! I love Christmas music.  Of the 500 songs I have on my iPod, about 350 of them are Christmas songs. I have them all categorized. There are a couple hundred few I like to listen to when I’m baking. My favorite of those is “Christmas Cookies” by George Strait. Then I have “company” music and “decorating the house” music. I even have Christmas Eve music.

(now tell me that song doesn’t make you want to whip up some cookies??)

CGMan and I have always differed on when to put up the decorations. He always thinks it’s too early. Even if it were the week before Christmas, I think he would say that. I firmly believe it’s a guy thing. There was one Christmas I thought would surely be our last. He said he hated Christmas. Actually, he said he hated effing Christmas. My lip set to trembling and tears sprang to my eyes. I ran off to my BFF’s, sure in the belief that it was over between us.

How could he hate Christmas? Who the hell hates Christmas? I’m not talking about the crowded malls and over priced gadgets that are all the rage for this week only and stuff like that. Everybody hates that. I’m talking about the beautiful, shiny decorations. The feel-good-ness about Christmas. The doing nice things for others Christmas.

Anyway, we worked it out (lucky for him I forgive easily). To give him credit, after that year, he does try to do something very nice and “Christmasy” for me. For example, his favorite thing is to buy me a new decoration as soon as they come out at Costco, which is in August. This is achieved by putting on a mad, gay man attitude and squealing with delight over said decoration, “Oh! Honey! Wouldn’t this look faaaabulous in the dining room? It would totally go with the red sequined balls you got last year! I love it! I LOVE Christmas!”

He bought me an outdoor reindeer decoration when he was home in September, and it’s just sitting forlorn in the garage, waiting to brighten up the backyard garden. Can you tell I’m desperate to decorate?However, so as not to confuse all the children in my neighborhood by having them Trick or Treat at the Christmas house, I have resigned myself to at least wait until after Halloween.

That doesn’t mean I can’t go ahead and rearrange the furniture. Which I did. Or start going through cookie recipes. Which I have. And buy the new “100 Best Cookie recipes” magazine at the grocery. Which I will.

So today? I have cranked up the cookie baking Christmas tunes and given a couple of recipes a test drive. I like to get a jump start on the feel-good, be nice to other people part.

I have a feeling this is how “eccentric” gets started.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Just when you think you know your neighbors…

One of the bloggers I read, June of Bye Bye Pie, was recently lamenting the fact there are no Halloween parties where she lives. Well then, she needs to move here because this Halloween party rocked!

It’s an annual event hosted by Brian & Sharon. It’s a party everyone in the neighborhood looks forward to. The decorations are fabulous, the food delicious and the booze free flowing. Too free flowing for some of us. Oy. One thing I learned this year, Jell-O shots are evil.

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Our hosts, Flo and Ali G

There were so many great costumes, I couldn’t decide a favorite. Isn’t it amazing how much imagination we can come up with for a Halloween party (and free booze) but when asked to come up with a solution for a problem at work there’s just that blank stare? I’m thinking free booze as an incentive might be just the ticket. Who’s with me? Show of hands?

Because I couldn’t decide a favorite personality to share with you, I’ll just show you some highlights and you can decide.

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That’s me, not a happy camper, up there next to Beetle Juice. Be sure to stop by next year for a different cast of characters.

P.S. The eyeball cupcakes were a hit.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

You don’t have to run marathons….

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I never thought I would be as aware of breast cancer as I have become this year.

For those of you who are new, my ORMom was diagnosed with breast cancer in February of this year. It’s been a long, tough year, but she made it. She is a survivor. And in her words, this year? Sucked.

I wish she hadn’t had to go through it at all. I’m hoping that through research, a cure can be discovered and no woman will have to go through this. I know it may not happen in my lifetime, but while I’m here, I can make make a difference. I can do my part to find a cure.

If you want to support breast cancer research, you  certainly don’t have to run marathons (thank gawd!) all you have to do is “Shop Pink” during October. It’s easy!

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This is just a handful of the coolest stuff! Who would have thought buying sponges & Sharpies would help pay for a research and mammograms?

Speaking of mammograms, have you scheduled yours? You know who you are. I’m your Breast Friend, giving you a reminder: Early detection saves lives. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The other seven will know someone who has.

So on your next trip the the grocery store or to Wal-Mart, if you need batteries, buy the pink ones! If you need plastic Rubbermaid bowls, buy the pink ones! It’s getting colder – pink socks! A portion of all the proceeds from anything pink goes to breast cancer research. Every little bit helps.

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There is a group of firemen that tour the country in their pink fire trucks to raise awareness for women’s issues. They were in ORMom’s town last week. Survivors get to sign the truck. It was a very moving day for her, to be there to see the pink fire trucks and the big, tough (and good looking!) firemen wearing their pink uniforms.

If you want to see when the pink fire trucks will be near you, check out their website:  http://www.pinkribbontour.com/  They have a great video, too.  One of the driver’s, Dave, also has a blog, and you know how we love blogs!!  http://pinkribbonnews.blogspot.com/

So while you’re out shopping this weekend, think pink and BUY PINK! Though I’d run a marathon for my moms without missing a beat, I’d probably raise more money shopping, so I think I’ll stick to that, for now.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

House for sale…

Okay, this isn’t funny anymore. Not that being scared of  a scorpion and having to call your BFFs husband to come over in the middle of the night to kill it is funny. Well, maybe it was funny to Brian, especially when saw that I had locked it out.

Having another scorpion is definitely not funny. This one was only marginally smaller than the first one. I don’t understand why they have to be right there next to the door, looking all villainous and creepy. But I want you to know I’ve grown since the last time. I was not afraid. Okay, I was afraid, but at least it was daytime and I was able to think rationally. My first thought? Damn, Brian’s at work and I’m pretty sure only my own husband leave work to kill a bug for a me (and that’s very optimistically hopeful on my part).

Luckily my exterminator man, Rick, was here just the other day. I had shared with him my previous scorpion melodrama dilemma. He assured me, should I encounter another one, that spraying it with wasp spray from several feet away would kill him dead. Or a fly swatter. Um, Rick? No. But the wasp spray? I have some of that, so I am armed and ready.

Only now, I have to walk past the scorpion to get to the wasp spray. As I hurried past, I kept this mantra in my head “theydon’tjump,theydon’tjump,they.do.not.jump.” I grabbed the spray can and let loose, fully expecting the thing to just drop dead. He did not. He looked pissed off. So I sprayed him again. Now he looked pissed off and not feeling so good. After a third shot at him, he finally fell off the wall and writhed on the ground for another 3 to 4 minutes. I’m not lying! He was not dying! (ooh, I rhymed!)

Finally, he was barely moving, (but I swear to gawd. still. moving.) and I was able to scoop him up in a plastic cup and toss him over the fence. This is also no lie; I was shaking and having the hibbiest of jibbies the whole time. I was more worried that I would shake so much he’d fall out of the cup. bwaaah!

 

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Lovely house for sale. Four bedrooms, fireplace, nice yard, not haunted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Speechless Wednesday…

While walking through the woods and scrubland the other day with Zoe and Phoebe, we came upon some horseback riders out for a ride. Having never met horses before, I wish I had had my camera to capture the looks on their faces.

It looked kinda like this:

 

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They were speechless.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It’s the little things…

 

 

It doesn’t take much to amuse me. It’s a good thing I have a Facebook full of friends who post things like this to put a smile on my face.

 

P.S. See Meg? Next time you’re hiking, just turn on the 80s and you’ll have them dancing in no time. Not scary at all.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ouchy, Mama!

 

There once was a bulldog named Phoebe
Who should not have eaten the wee bee
But swallow it she tried
And with a sting the bee died
That’s when she got a big ouchy feely!

 

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Do you know how hard it is to find a bee stinger in a bulldog’s lips??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where are you going?…

Something has been bothering me of late. I’m not usually one to use my blog to bitch and complain, well…except that one time when I couldn’t find an American flag, in America. I just can’t sit on this any longer. It troubles me daily.

It’s such a little thing that I’m loathe to even bring it up. Most people don’t even think about it, and yet it could be the difference between life and death. On a less dramatic note, it is most definitely the difference between a smile and the middle finger bird of doom. 

What is wrong with sending a little signal to let people know which way you are going? It’s called a “directional” for a reason. It is to let people know which direction you plan to go. For those of you who really might not know what a “directional” is…it’s a BLINKER for crying out loud! And every single car in America is equipped with them. In fact, they are positioned such that it requires very little effort or strain on the part of the driver.

Just a quick flick of the left index finger to let the world know that you intend to make that turn. To let a pedestrian know that you are actually going to turn into their path and possibly run them right over, should they step off the curb. To let another driver know it’s okay to pull out into traffic, because you will no longer be using that lane, as you’ve decided to turn onto another street.

It certainly can’t be as cumbersome as using hand signals, like they did when cars were first invented and didn’t have the little finger-flick switch. There is no need, these days, to roll down the window and extend your hand into the pouring rain, or searing heat, to let pedestrians and drivers alike know that you are attempting to make a turn. No, modern technology is such that you barely even have to think about it.

I guess the keyword here is think. This requires maybe putting down the cell phone and making a plan. A plan that requires follow-through. A plan that requires you to pay attention to the area around you and who might be in it. When driving a vehicle, I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

And if you forget, not to worry, I’m right there, pointing the way for you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It’s a sad day for weird…

When I woke up this morning, I read an article about one of Austin’s most weird, Leslie Cochran. Apparently, he’s been in the hospital for a week in very grave condition following a head injury.

Leslie is a vagrant cross-dresser and arguably the most locally famous street person, according to local media sources, in Austin. He is an outspoken critic of police treatment of the homeless in the downtown Austin area. Many consider him to be the epitome of the 'Keep Austin Weird' campaign, as demonstrated by his two time run for mayor as well as numerous articles in The Austin Chronicle and local news stations. (Thank you, Wikipedia)

We’ve only lived in Austin for 3 years, but it didn’t take us long to hear about Leslie. At first, we thought our friends were pulling our legs. I mean really, we’d heard Austin was weird, but a cross-dressing homeless man who has run for mayor? And then we met him. You just can’t cruise along 6th street on any given weekend without running into Leslie. Once you meet him for the first time, you find yourself looking for him every time you go downtown.

Our first encounter with him was at the Halloween Parade on 6th street. We were with the Girl and her boyfriend, who were dressed as Hugh Heffner and his bunny. Leslie approached them and wanted to take his picture with them, he said he was prettier than the bunny. He was quite serious about it. There really is no point in arguing with Leslie.

We’ve seen Leslie at various events throughout the city. He could always been seen walking the streets on game day, wearing his trademark leopard thong and cowboy hat. I never saw him in burnt orange, so I’m not sure if he even had a favorite football team.

When our friends visited us last year, we made a pilgrimage down 6th street (read: pub crawl) and happened to run into Leslie. He’s hard to miss. CGMan and our friend P-bert, who has a brother-in-law named Crash, really wanted to have a picture with him. Leslie never says no to a picture. P-bert still asks about Leslie. Like I said, he’s hard to forget.

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Leslie, I hope you know we’re sending healing thoughts your way. Austin just won’t be weird without you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

sur-prise [ser-prahyz, suh] - verb

--to make an unexpected assault on (an unprepared army, fort, person, mother etc.)

The person who was surprised? That would be me. Unbeknownst to me, the Skater and the Marine had hatched a plan to surprise Mom. The Marine was in Ft. Worth, attending a class. The Skater drove up there, picked him  up and drove him back down here to Austin to surprise me. It worked!!

The Marine even called me, chatting away, making me think he was on his way home from work, where he lives, which is not in Texas. A short time later, the Skater appears at my back door to borrow something. While in the pantry, (because it’s food, the Skater always needs food) the Marine sneaks in the back door. Yes, I was very surprised. And stupid, too, because I kept saying “How can you be here? You just said you were in your driveway?”

Right on their heels were the Girl and the Chef, anxious to see the surprise on my face. My goodness, can a day get any better? I don’t think so. The only one missing was CGMan (who knew and kept the secret, too!) luckily, we were able to spend some time with him on Skype.

So my weekend, which would have normally been spent refereeing the dogs, was spent doing this…

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…refereeing the boys.

Life is good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

From small beginnings come great things…

I’ll never forget the day that changed my life, forever. It was October 8, 1983. It was a Saturday. I knew this day would come, eventually. I just didn’t realize how much of an impact it would have on my life. It changed every one of my beliefs and made all my fears more real. It gave me a strength I never dreamed I would have. It also gave me a courage so deep, I could slay dragons without pause. 

 

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It was the day you were born.

You are the one who transformed me from a regular person to something for which I had absolutely no training…a mother.

My life took on a whole new meaning.

 

  

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Happy 26th Birthday, Marine!

You are my sonshine!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You never know how you look through other people’s eyes…

I did make a trial run on a new recipe over the weekend. Most of the time, I just fly by the seat of my pants, but I really wanted to see how these would turn out. So I made a batch and then gave them all away. Really, my neighbors love it when I get bored and rained in. I’ve even had them call me in the morning to let me know we’re having adverse weather and ask what I would be making. What a bunch of mooches. But I love it.

I’m going to a Halloween party later this month. It is the party of the year, and everyone looks forward to it. I dress up, of course, but really? I just like to make food. I have made some interesting dishes for the spooky party and this year is no exception. I decided to make these sweet little surprises.

You should always start with fresh ingredients:

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Don’t worry if you can’t get any real eyeballs, the gummy ones work just fine.

 

Then you make some red velvet cupcakes (recipe to follow)

 

 

 

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Take a cupcake and cut a 1 hole in the top one inch in diameter and about 1 inch deep.

Put a heaping teaspoon of seedless raspberry spreadable fruit in the hole, then drop in an eyeball. Carefully place the top back on.

 

 

 

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Frost with a can of cream cheese frosting, adding a few drops of neon purple. Sprinkle with Halloween sprinkles and that’s it!

Cupcakes with a “special” surprise.

 

 

 

I did not think up this recipe, although I really wish I had. I got it from The Taste of Home Halloween recipe book found at the checkout of the grocery store. I would also like to point out that I have no more children at home, so my talents are being wasted.

 

Recipe for Spooky Surprise Cupcakes

1 pkg red velvet cake mix (I couldn’t find, so used Devil’s food w/red food coloring)
1 3oz pkg “cook and serve” chocolate pudding mix
1 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 jar seedless raspberry spreadable fruit (found near the jelly)
24 eyeballs – gummy style
1 can cream cheese frosting

Combine cake, pudding mix, water, oil, and eggs at medium for 2 minutes.

Fill paper lined cupcakes 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 18 –22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before putting eyeballs in.

Cut a 1 inch hole, saving the top. Place a teaspoon of raspberry into the hole. Drop in an eyeball. You can’t have too much raspberry, as I figured out during my taste trials. Replace top carefully.

Frost with some purple cream cheese frosting and you’re good to go.

Here are some things I learned from my test run:
If you’re handy in the kitchen, make your cream cheese frosting. The canned kind doesn’t set up well, so tends to stay kind of gooey from stirring the food coloring in. Do not store cupcakes in the fridge. It makes the eyeballs as hard as marbles and that’s no fun. If you use devils food cake, but want it red, get a bottle of red food coloring and add about half. A few drops from the little food coloring kit isn’t going to cut it.

Have fun creeping out your kids. The Skater and his girlfriend, the Chef, were my guinea pigs and were creeped out, but said they were tasty.

“Eye” will see you later! bwahahaha!

Edited to add: The gummy eyeballs come individually wrapped, 20 to a pkg, in the Halloween candy section. The store with the bull's-eye has a pkg of 8 eyeballs for 3.99. Don’t get those!

Monday, October 5, 2009

I got nothin…

There is the rare day when I wake up and have nothing going on in my head. (I heard that!) Most of the time I have lists, projects, birthdays and appointments to remember. But today…I got nothin.

While I was sitting here with my coffee and the dogs frolicking under my desk, and by frolicking I mean having king of the mountain dog wars, I tried to get my brain in gear. I tried to think of a topic worthy of my modest fan base. Some clever anecdote or even a good recipe to share.

 

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Yeah, I got nothin.

Friday, October 2, 2009

“Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”

This is the motto of  World Smile Day® which is today, the first Friday in October.

A smile costs nothing but gives much.  It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give.  It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.  None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it.  Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away.  Some people are too tired to give you a smile.  Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.  ~Author Unknown

Today, I’m passing out smiles. I’ve never had anyone refuse one and trust me, I’ve given away millions! They’re free!! So please, grab a smile or two twenty and pass them around. If you run out, we’ll make more.

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Did I make you smile??

My work here is done.