Thursday, December 23, 2010


A rare moment when all the animals are napping together rather than chasing each other:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What to do with all the photo cards?

I've decided someone crafty needs to come up with a way to display all the Christmas photo cards that people send these days, since they don't stand up on their own.  Until then, here's my makeshift answer.  Problem is, we get so many photo cards now that it's hard to find room on this thing.  So here's what I think it should look like:  it should be Christmas tree shaped, with lots of those roach clip things to hold the photos, and should be either for hanging on the wall or should come with a stand for a table or mantel.

Or how about everyone starts sending their photo cards digitally, and then they can be downloaded and displayed on a digital photo frame.  You watch, someone will create it and it'll be all the rage next Christmas season. ;-)

Update:  So Addison and I go to Pier One today and what would you guess was on display?  A metal Christmas tree-shaped photo card holder. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Rerry Rismas!"

Alan and I found the Christmas wish lists written by the four-legged family members.

More playtime with skinny guy.
More playtime with Junior.
More playtime with Betsey.
New can of tennis balls.
The squirrel to GET IN MAH BELLY!
Bacon.  Not fake bacon.
Anything Betsey has.

Anything Duke has.

Death to the red dog.
Less playtime with Betsey.
Humans to check food bowl every hour on the hour.
Front claws.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A Sunday to remember

You know you've neglected your blog for a while when the web address doesn't display on your history list.  Anyhow.

Ever buy someone a Christmas gift, get it wrapped, and then later get that de ja vu feeling that you bought them that same gift a few years ago?  I hate that.

But this has been a good holidayish type day.  The girls and Alan and I finally got together for some family portraits and some Christmas card shots.  The results aren't professional, but the process was fun.  It was cold, although you wouldn't know it from mine and Bailey's flip-flops and sandals, but that's how we do fall and winter in West Texas!  Here's one that won't make it in a frame but will be a classic nonetheless:

Alan made hot chocolate when we got back to the house, and getting to use my Christmas mugs makes me happy.

He then went to the grocery store so that I could stay home and watch the Cowboys.  So I'm watching the Cowboys, playing with the photos, and ignoring lesson plans.  Who needs 'em?  And oh my lord the Cowboys just won, so this day is awesome!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ready or not

Signs of the holidays are starting to creep in around here.  Pies for tomorrow, done.

Turkey fryer, assembled.

Mantel, done.

And last but not least:  dysfunctional family, you betcha.  Yes, it's definitely the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ended the way it began

I didn't sleep well last night, which is quite the norm lately, but nothing that remembering to take a swig of Nyquil won't remedy.  I needed to get up really early to get to school and take care of a million things I hadn't done the day before.  But by the time the alarm was supposed to sound, I couldn't get myself to budge.  Needless to say, I was running late, didn't have time to pack my breakfast, my lunch, or get there in time to meet a paperwork deadline.  So I had school food - a gingerbread thing for breakfast and some interesting turkey and dressing for lunch.

I spent the day being one step behind, although it was a great day with the kids.  Funny how sometimes when you are "winging it," you have some of your best moments.

And then as the dismissal bell rang this afternoon at 3:45, I happened to look down at my sleeve.  My shirt was inside out and had been ALL DAY LONG.  All the stitching was exposed.  Lovely.

I'm now going to get the coffee ready and programmed for the morning, so that I don't experience de ja vu tomorrow morning.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

His softer side

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Junior likes another fellow animal.  Another living being, for that matter.

(Excuse Betsey's diaper.  She's having some girl issues.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The last to know

Fellow Blogger bloggers:  Am I the only one who didn't know the posting editor has been UPDATED?  Oh my Lord.  I could scream from frustration and elation all at the same time.  Good grief.

Under my skin

Had a particularly interesting confrontation with a parent yesterday. I'd have to say that so far in my short career, this would rank as one of the more potentially hostile run-ins. It started with an ugly note from a rather large mom who likes to throw her weight around in the literal and figurative sense. Long story short - I confronted her, let her know what I thought of her note, and we moved on.

It's not that I'm not apprehensive about these confrontations. I was nervous and had no idea how she was going to react. Sort of wish I could have reined in the "bring it, bitch" look I had on my face, but I was so mad that I was almost anxious to see what would happen. That's kind of weird I guess, but honestly this mom pushed my buttons to the limit. Alan has this fear that I'm going to get myself hurt someday, because I feel really strongly about speaking up when someone's being a jackass. Sometimes too strongly I suppose.

It's the part of my job I hate, and with 65 or more sets of parents each year, there's just no getting away from it. Most parents are awesome - supportive, helpful, and willing to work as a team. Others just don't stop to think.

I think the issue with this parent is resolved, but I should probably watch those dark alleys for a while. ;-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Old Haunts

I love Fall and love the fun of Halloween. I love scary movies and being scared, or at least a little. But on the way to work this morning while listening to the radio, they played a little snippet of the The Exorcist theme music. I know it sends chills up many a spine, but I feel especially affected by that music. I have this vivid memory of being traumatized by the TV trailers when I was a child and being scared at bedtime for what seemed like months. Or was my memory so vivid?

I would have placed my age at around 8 or 9 years old, but after googling facts about the movie I discover it was released in 1973. That means I was 6. That also means we were still living on Roosevelt and not at the house on Humble, where my memory of the movie occurs. So it appears that what really scared me was when The Exorcist II came out in 1977. As soon as the commercials would come on the screen, I would run out of the room - that much I do remember. We didn't have remote controls in those days where you could quickly change the channel. And as if the commercials weren't haunting enough, they also played the full version of the theme music on the radio regularly. There was just no getting away from it.

There were plenty of other horror films during this time - The Omen series, Amityville Horror, and Carrie are ones that come to mind. But they just didn't affect me like The Exorcist. I even remember when SNL did a skit where Loraine Newman played Regan, complete with demonic voice and greenish-white vomit. Even that scared me!

So I've always been fascinated with the movie yet have kept my distance. I'm thinking of changing that this Halloween season. I think I want to break down and make myself watch it. The idea is to watch it in a group setting, however; maybe invite some friends over to make it more "fun" than scary. Maybe then I'll be able to get past it and laugh about it.

When Alan surprised me with the trip to D.C. over spring break, one of my must-sees was visiting Georgetown to take pictures of the actual exorcism site. Ashley knew exactly where it was and took us to the famous steps. I took this photo:

(You'll see almost the same photo on Wikipedia, minus the graffiti.)

I guess everyone has something from their childhood that really spooked them. Addison had a boogieman she called "The Ballin." At 4 years old, she described it as a black shapeless thing that came down from the ceiling in her bedroom. That's friggin creepy. And Bailey had night tremors at around the same age, which if you've ever witnessed someone having, you'll understand when I say it's a whole new level of disturbing.

Anyone else have a childhood haunt that sort of creeps you out to this day? I don't want to be alone...literally. :-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In case I need a second job...

I have an idea for a children's book. I say this with great hesitation because I'm careful not to sound presumptuous. It's as if saying that I want to write a children's book means I'm claiming to be capable or talented enough to write. That's not it at all. It's just something I've thought about recently but have no idea how to go about it. I've already chosen an illustrator, too - Addison.

This is the third book idea that has come to me in the past few weeks, and I don't aspire to be OR have a life-long dream to be an author. What is going on? Even the titles popped into my head almost immediately. I took one idea and started a secret, unpublicized blog on the same topic to see if I could write enough material. I was unimpressed with myself and stopped. The other book idea would take too much research, and that sounds like no fun at all.

But the children's book wouldn't be that difficult to write. It's my story after all - a true story I told my students in an effort to reach the ones who hate to read.

So now what? I'm guessing what will happen is a lot of grading and lesson planning and sitting on my bum and not a lot of writing anything. But it's kind of fun to daydream about.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Teams

Alan got me a kindle for my birthday. Funny how I can make time to read now that I have a fun little electronic to do it with.

But in case you don't think of Alan as the type who can be frivolous or spontaneous, get a load of what he was trying to arrange for my birthday. The Braves have made it to the playoffs, and their first series started in San Francisco. Since SF is one of my favorite places, he was trying to plan a weekend out west to watch the Braves play the Giants. How cool would that have been? But they weren't playing on Saturday and having to take off on Friday would have been bad timing for me with that whole teaching thing.

Still, what a cool thought. At least we can say we've gone to a Braves game in Atlanta before Bobby Cox retired. So that makes two sports-related items I can scratch off my to-do list: saw the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan was still playing, and saw the Braves a couple years ago. Now it's time to see a Cowboys game. Hard to believe I've lived this close all these years and have never gone. Okay, so I've talked myself into it - I'm adding that to my list.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Two-score and three years ago...

Today's my birthday. I've always liked birthdays, including my own. How can you not be in a good mood on your birthday? The girls' birthdays were always the best. I learned from my friend Sara that you should always make a big deal about birthdays - balloons, streamers, confetti, flowers, and just lots of color in general. It didn't matter whose birthday it was, whether her daughter's or some coworker's at the office. She was great at making people feel special, and although we only stay in touch via Facebook, I'm sure she still does this today.

So I tried this for several years and sometimes succeeded. As the girls have gotten older, I haven't stuck with it and well, there's been a year or two when a big celebration wasn't really appropriate. Life steps in rather rudely at times and interrupts the mood.

I've found myself lately beginning to worry just a little about the aging thing. I look at pictures of myself from just a few years ago and compare those to today, and I'm definitely seeing something different. I can't tell what it is - my skin, my eyes, more pronounced lines, the pounds? Or is it just aging from stress? It hasn't been the easiest couple of years, but do people really age that much from tough times? I think about how the presidents always look significantly older and more gray after four years in office. Personally I'm finding my root touch-ups are happening more frequently than before!

I pay more attention to beauty product commercials and find it disconcerting that I listen closely to the ones about how to fade dark spots and "fix" other skin imperfections due to aging. I think about how Alan rolls his eyes at those commercials, while I'm wondering how soon I should start using the products before our age difference starts to show.

I suppose on the plus side, I do like the mental maturity that comes with each passing year. At least I hope I'm getting a little more mature, developing a bit more perspective, etc. I don't want to wear grandma jeans or get my hair done once a week, but there's something to be said for knowledge that comes from time.

But all in all, it's been a good birthday. And I got to go with Bailey to get her senior portraits taken - by the same photographer and in the same studio where I sat many, many years ago. Still remember it like it was yesterday. :-)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Letting go

There are a few ways in which Alan and I differ. Being able to throw things away is one of those areas. Alan has a stuffed leather wallet whose seams are worn, ripped, and whose capacity to stretch and bulge has been exceeded. It's not that he doesn't want to buy a replacement, au contraire. He has a brand new, soft leather wallet sitting in its original box in his closet as we speak. It's been there for two years maybe? He won't throw the old wallet out until it can no longer serve its purpose.

This holds true for other things: 1) Jeans. Holes in the butt are perfectly acceptable. In public even. 2) T-shirts. Same as jeans, except t-shirts can become so ragged that the collar and armpits are disappearing. 3) Yogurt. Everyone knows the expiration date is only a suggestion, right? 4) The Paper Trail. Nevermind that we're technology advanced enough that we should be mostly paperless. Surely those bank statements and Jack-in-the-Box employment stubs from 1990 will come in handy during an IRS audit someday.

I can almost understand some of that. But carrying this around for nearly a year is beyond my comprehension:

It began with the card having a couple knicks and cracks in it. Eventually it finally split down the middle; hence, the scotch tape that's been there for several months. My theory is that Alan likes the attention it brings when EVERY SINGLE CASHIER makes a comment about it. He claims that isn't true. But those of you who know Alan, know that he can have a conversation with everyone he encounters and actually enjoy it.

The inevitable is about to happen, however. The card expires in 10 days. :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Just 'cause he's pretty...

Addison gave Duke a bath today, so I've got to show off his shiny red locks. If you look closely, you'll find evil in the background.

Whuh? I might have asked him something about a walk that I knew we weren't taking. I think it's okay to tease occasionally, especially since he embarrassed me by humping every 4-legged creature at the dog park last night.

Pure sweetness.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Junior the Ripper

Some days I just don't know what to do with him.

Not because he's big, fat, lazy, and won't get out of my computer chair, but because he's so flippin' mean. The slice on the back of my leg from a week or so ago is close to healing, and then last night I'm attacked leaving a 3-inch cut complete with a couple puncture wounds. I was standing out at recess today (in a skirt) when a student from last year walked up behind me and said, "Mrs. Schaeffer - did your cat do that?" She remembers how often I'd come to school with my battle scars. And then there's the bites on my arm from a couple weeks ago.

Sometimes I wish I could know what he is thinking.

I get some satisfaction with the addition of Betsey to our household. She pesters Junior as much as Duke does, which somehow helps even things out. And then there are those moments I relish when I can make a fool of him, like the humiliation seen here post-bath:

I know he's with us until he dies, but there are days I fantasize about how that will happen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Brainless Activity

I've spent most of the day sitting on the couch watching "Band of Brothers." There are some shows that Alan and I agree are worth watching anytime they're on, whether there are 90 minutes left or 10. "Band of Brothers" is one of those, and usually it's shown as a marathon. Thus, the long afternoon of couch-potatoing. Not to mention the fact I have a slight cold and don't feel like doing anything else.

A couple others we agree on:

The Bourne (Anything)
South Park

I've become such a South Park junkie. It's my #1 guilty pleasure. I've even found that when I'm having trouble falling asleep at night, I'll watch one of the thirty or so recorded episodes to doze off to. I love that they make fun of every demographic, every religion, you name it. No one gets left out. But it's so wrong on so many levels.

There are plenty we don't agree on. Alan's not interested in anything paranormal or ghost-related, and I can easily pass up college football or "Dumb and Dumber." To add to this random post, I'm going to share some of my favorite movies:

Seems Like Old Times (a Neil Simon)
The Four Seasons (another Neil Simon)
Broadcast News

You'd never want to watch these movies WITH me, however. I know all the dialogue and can't help myself. But it's the dialogue that makes those movies rock. I wish there were a network solely dedicated to showing 70s and 80s movies. And with that I'm going to stop, because I'm really showing my age. I shouldn't be doing that, with another birthday approaching.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Chair

While we were in the no carpet/bare concrete floor stage, Junior decided that a hard cold floor was not suitable for His Highness. He decided the leather computer chair was his new domain. Now that carpet is back and oh-so much cozier than what we had before, I've been waiting for him to find his spot back on the floor where he belongs. Because fun as it is to remove a biting, growling, pissed-off cat every time I need the computer chair, this is getting old:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The gluteus maximus

I shall whine now. Here is a common recurrence that happens over and over, because that's what recurrences do. I take up some form of exercise, usually jogging. (At this point I'm going to refer to what I do as jogging, not running. Jogging seems more honest.) Anyway, I do my darnedest to take it semi-seriously and stick with it, but something always happens. Tendonitis, shin splints, sciatica, groin pull, you name it. And I'm really disciplined about stretching beforehand. A couple of years ago (or more) I was playing tennis and hurt my arm/shoulder. It still hasn't healed. Back in December I ran a 5K that perhaps I hadn't trained enough for and have had problems with my sciatic nerve ever since. I have a throbbing sort of pain in my right butt cheek, the right side of my right knee, and ditto on my right ankle. I feel quite ladylike saying my butt hurts.

I suppose it really is age. Man, that sucks to know the truth. But I want to fight this aging thing for as long as I can, butt pain and all.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My vintage kitchen

When the girls were little and their dad and I were still married, I went to a lot of garage and estate sales. A LOT of sales. It wasn't necessarily because we didn't have the money to buy things new, but I just liked the idea of finding bargains. I might have gotten a little carried away at times. I remember sitting in my living room in the house on Neely and looking around at all the items that came from these sales. I was proud of this. Why, I'm not sure. The girls wore clothes I bought second-hand, too, and wow do I regret that when I look back at home movies. Anyway, here are some kitchen finds that I love and use to this day:

I got this odd-shaped pan for $4.00, and it still has the price written on the bottom in permanent marker. I use it as a landing spot for hot wings, fried potatoes, and whatever we're pulling off the grill. Buying something at an estate sale means it usually belonged to someone elderly. I like to make the assumption that because of this, these are quality pieces. I tell myself that that generation thought carefully about what they bought and therefore made quality purchases. I could write a whole post on the things I tell myself about the elderly. But I digress...

This is my favorite find. I've made countless batches of salsa in this food processor. It was used when I bought it, and I've had it for probably 12 years. I rarely use it for anything else, and if you look closely you'll probably see residual salsa. I don't clean it that well. And what is that brand, Moulinex? It must be special because it's not just "La Machine," it's "La Machine II!"

I bought this double boiler at an estate sale. I use the bottom pot frequently, but I use the double boiler for only two things: homemade banana pudding and melting chocolate for buckeyes. I happen to be making buckeyes right now for a friend who just had her wisdom teeth removed. Despite how beat up it is, I love that it has a copper bottom and that it's the easiest pot to clean that I own. (Check out my vintage stovetop knobs in the background - awesome!)

Alan and I used to go to garage and estate sales pretty frequently. I think it started out as cheap entertainment when that was the only kind of entertainment we could afford, and then we just continued because we always had a good time together. We haven't been going for quite a while now. Kind of hard to do when Alan runs most Saturday mornings and pretty much every other morning of his life. I miss it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I'd easily have won $10,000 from that "funniest home movies" show, had I been able to get my camera to work. This would be my broken camera, which I figured out still (sort of) works as long as you use the viewfinder only. This would also be the only camera I own now that has video capability. And the camera that no longer holds the memory card I needed for a video.

The video would have been of this high-on-crack squirrel who was putting on quite the show in our backyard. Alan called me over to the window, telling me I had to see the squirrel "working on his ninja skills." I can't accurately describe the things it was doing. This squirrel kept bouncing off the tree onto the ground and back to the tree again, doing 360s and backflips and leg kicks - I kid you not. I was laughing so much that my cheeks were hurting and my eyes were watering. But it wasn't just the squirrel that would have made the video highlights. It was the ongoing commentary and sound effects from Alan, complete with Chinese accent.

I love that Alan can still make me laugh until I cry. And I don't think he and I will ever look at squirrels the same way again. :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Miles to go

Nice to know some things never change, or maybe not. It still takes me over 11 minutes to run a mile. That's right, I said it. But it felt good to get some exercise again, especially after making it through the first week of school. One of my coworkers wants to start doing some 5Ks again, so I needed to get out there and see if my legs still moved. If I'm going to keep this up though, I should probably find out what to do about this pinched(?) sciatic nerve that's been bothering me since last December.

Two songs from my iPod that help me keep going during my little jaunts:

1) Green Day's "Brain Stew" - you have to try working out to this song some time, especially when you're getting to the point when you want to stop. Awesome.

2) George Benson's "On Broadway" - because how could anyone not LOVE that song?!

One thing that is not helpful:

Right after my workout, Alan comes breezing in from his 18-mile run saying he's still feeling good and is going to take Duke for a 3-mile run. Geez.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A chore no more

A week ago today our new carpet was installed, and during that entire week I have not vacuumed this carpet AT ALL! You cannot know how significant this is, so I'll tell you. The beige burber carpet we had previously showed e-ver-y-thing. Including the burnt iron mark courtesy of Alan. So I vacuumed a LOT, as in every other day I was dragging out that heavy Dyson.

I'm going to vacuum today, not because it looks like it needs it but because I know it needs it. I know Duke and Junior have collectively deposited a canister of hair and grass and dirt for the vacuum cleaner.

So it was a good decision, and my feetsies are happy about it, too.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Ever feel like you're waiting "for the day when..."? I say those words in my head a lot. You can finish your own statement I'm sure, but for me it's waiting for the day when everyone is alright. A day, or better yet, a large span of time when the people I'm closest to and most affected by are all in a good place. A day when myself or Alan, my daughters, my sister, or my closest friends or family are not sad or hurting or just plain depressed. I guess it's kind of a selfish request, because I'm partially thinking of myself. I don't want to feel sad about anyone or anything. Just for a while.

Not that people need a life completely free from stress - stress can be good. The stress from this past week before school starts is a good stress. It has helped me focus on what really needs to get done, helped me be a little more creative, and helped me appreciate the fact that I really do love my job.

I suppose there's meant to be a balance in which the people who are doing okay can be there for those who aren't. Life just seems so hard a lot of the time, and I'm waiting for the day when it's not.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time for the bell

Am super tired but will be super excited Monday morning when school starts. It's hard to describe the couple of weeks right before school. I'm amazed at how hard my fellow teachers work and the long hours they put in to get everything just right. And I guarantee they don't feel they've done enough or crossed enough off their lists. Anywho, I'm tired and going to enjoy a night of pizza with friends and some fun shopping with my cousin tomorrow. I'll post more later when I have something besides reading centers and supplies and lesson plans to talk about.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I was sitting in the dentist's office a few weeks ago flipping through a magazine, and came across this idea for a wedding gift. The article talked about these two women who are in business together traveling the world taking photos of vintage or interesting numbers they find on buildings, address plates, etc. They now have this large collection of photos from which they'll customize a framed number or numbers for you, whatever your occasion. It's a cool idea, so I'm doing my part to share others' ideas as well as steal from them.

I'm going to a wedding tonight for a bride who asked for no gifts and publicized no registration. She's been married before but has now found her true love. I can totally relate to that, so I wanted to do something but keep it simple. I didn't have time to travel the world, much less Midland, so I decided to print out numbers in different fonts, put a fancy border around each, and print it on antique-looking paper:

Now I want to make one with mine and Alan's anniversary date. :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Crunch time

One week and three days until school starts. I can sit perfectly still without lifting a finger and become exhausted just thinking about how much there is to do before then. I'm exhausted right now after a day of meetings and everyone getting more confused rather than enlightened. I've yet to unpack my room. Lesson plans need to be written for a new curriculum that we've yet to receive training on. But I can honestly say that what needs to get done will get done in time. And the kids will never know about the chaos and panic that ensued before they arrive.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So I'm a little fickle. I missed the crispy, brown landscape and had to put it back.

Epic Relay

I just dropped Alan off at the airport. He's headed to Utah for a relay race that starts in Logan, Utah, goes through Idaho, and ends in Wyoming. You know, that really ugly part of the country with mountains and rivers and trees and other ugly stuff.

It's called an "epic relay" and involves 12-member co-ed teams (one member being his best bud from college) with each participant running 3 legs, for a total of 191 miles. Pure craziness. I'm not sure how they work out all of the logistics, but he had to take a sleeping bag for possible sleeping in the middle of nowhere and a headlamp for running at night. Alan can handle the distances (he ran 19 miles on Sunday), but the altitude makes a huge difference when you're not used to it.

The race starts at midnight tonight and ends sometime on Saturday. Hopefully family in the area will understand that he has no time to stop and visit. But it sounds like quite the adventure, and I'm sure Alan will have lots of stories when he gets back home on Sunday.

If you're interested:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Texas Sky

It was time to change the banner since it didn't really fit the current season. Thought I'd shamelessly steal another photo from the internet that shows something we're known for here in West Texas - our sunsets and sunrises.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I spent a few hours with Bailey this morning, taking pictures for her senior year. These are the casual shots that kids seem to be doing these days, and then they still get their formal (professional) shot for the yearbook. We took about 130 pictures, so it's hard to choose a few of my favorites. Not to mention the whole bias thing about being her mom and thinking they're all good.

These were, of course, all taken on the grounds of our mansion.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Freak show

I think you see the resemblance. He's even workin' the camera.

Actually Duke had laser eye surgery yesterday to correct the entropion he had in both eyes (bottom lid was rubbing the cornea). I'm afraid to take him out in public for fear of scaring little children.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Even less picky now.

Twice when I was little I tried sweet potatoes, and twice I threw up. It's the only food I can think of that I've refused to eat since then. I'm not a picky eater, and apologies to those this might offend, but picky eaters kind of get on my nerves. I mean, it's one thing if you've tried a lot of foods and genuinely discovered you don't like it, but it just seems to me that some people think it's cute or endearing when they turn their noses up at everything. They'll say it looks funny or feels funny or just sounds like something you shouldn't eat. Alan won't eat guacamole or any other food (if there is one) that starts with those three letters, because it sounds too much like "guano." Bat poop. Luckily Alan isn't a picky eater, so I can overlook that nonsense.

Anyway, we're eating at this awesome restaurant in Fredericksburg over the weekend, and I get this epiphany: Try the damn sweet potatoes. You're not seven years old anymore. You might not like it, but you probably won't vomit. So I did and well...they taste like potatoes. Who knew?! So I took it one step further and told myself I'd buy a sweet potato when we got back home and try it again. I decided on baked sweet potato fries:

Yeah, I sort of overcooked them, but they were still good. I don't think I would like candied sweet potatoes or yams or whatever you call them at Thanksgiving, but I can see baking, mashing, frying up sweet potatoes from now on. They're actually very nutritious.

Makes me wonder what else I'm missing out on because of a childhood experience gone wrong?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A little German town

We stayed at a B&B this weekend at the Palo Alto Creek Farm right outside of Fredericksburg, Texas. It's an actual working farm, and all the structures (including the ones used for the B&B) were built in the mid to late 1800s. "Western" is not my design choice, but it fit the farm of course and was so well done. I think it would be fun to own a B&B someday, so I took a ton of pictures.

This screened-in porch wrapped around three sides of the cabin.

This is what I love about B&Bs! You feel so pampered.

We visited a winery but an actual tour wasn't available that day. Still, we sampled six wines apiece, which seemed to have given Alan a mild headache the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning we headed for Enchanted Rock State Park to of course hike to the top of said rock. I stopped a few times and let my heart stop pounding through my chest, visibly like you see in cartoons. But I kept going and wasn't about to be beaten by the 5-year old wearing purple crocs. It was hot, really pretty, and good exercise to justify how much I was going to eat the rest of the day.

Prickly pears are so weird, yet kind of cool when they're blooming. Click on the photo for the close-up so you can see the creepy brown bug.

We had a great lunch on Main Street and then went shopping. Shopping is the main event in Fredericksburg. This little town of about 9,000 has some of the most unique shops I've ever seen, all on one little street. I enjoyed about half of it, the other half spent in misery trying to find a shop that offered the use of their facilities. Only after a long search did we discover that many of the shop windows displayed a map showing the location of public restrooms up and down Main Street. Grrr! But we shopped some more and I got a few knick-knacks. All necessities of course.

For dinner that night we found a new favorite restaurant. As ridiculously cliche as it is, we actually gave our compliments to the chef. I know, how corny! The food was so good that I actually tried a bite of sweet potato. But that is a whole other post, my friend.

Anyway, it was a great getaway for just the two of us. We've been to Fredericksburg several times now, and I have a feeling that even when we're someday living out of state, we'll find a way to go back.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And that's final. I think.

Okay, so we've decided to go with carpet. I understand the trend towards wood flooring, I really do. It's gorgeous. But like the tile, or at least the tile we chose, wood is expensive and would need to cover much more square footage than the carpet. If we thought we'd be in this house for years to come, we might go that route. It's hard to put thousands into a home you feel is short-term. And we still have a couple things that reeaaally need to be done to update our home (such as the vintage '70s appliances). Translation: more money needed.

But here was another deciding factor. We've been living with this hard surface floor for over a week now (since I already pulled up the old carpet), and honestly we DON'T LIKE IT. Alan and I are barefoot people. With a hard surface, there's apparently nowhere for the little specs of dust and debris to hide except on your feet. Ewww. We miss the soft, cozy feel of carpet. And besides that our furniture is sliding all over the place, particularly when our 60 lb dog dives into or pushes off from it.

I read everyone's suggestions from here and Facebook to Alan, and it was fun to get your opinion. But by Friday we'll have ordered our new, comfy, warrantied-from-cat puke-stains, frieze carpet!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our dilemma: we're either replacing the living room and den carpeting with new carpet or with tile. If we replace it with carpet, it's about $4,000 cheaper since we're only covering those two rooms. If we replace it with tile, we have to remove and replace the kitchen, living room, den, and hallway flooring (we think it would be weird to have a tile that's adjacent to a different tile in the kitchen and hallway - too many different hard surfaces).

The tile would update the house and likely be more appealing to future buyers. But it's friggin expensive.

The carpet would be cozier, quieter, and cheaper, but way harder to maintain and keep clean prior to moving someday.

We could be here another year or five years, who knows.

Going with carpet frees up money for other projects, like new appliances and a new (used) car for Alan.

Going with tile means our home is more attractive, and I don't have to cringe every time Junior pukes up yellow stuff.

I'm leaning towards the carpet; Alan's leaning towards the tile. But we're both no where near making a decision.

The old carpet is already pulled up, so we need to do something soon! Impart your wisdom upon us, please.

The old fallback

When all else fails, plant Lantana. And I should know, because I fail a LOT. Full sun, little to no water, it quadruples in size in a couple months, and it comes back the next year. My kind of plant for the desert. Now if I can just find something that works as a dog repellent.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Duke says hi.

I've been playing around with the manual settings on my camera, and it's clearly going to take me some practice to get the hang of this. This photo is not at all what I was going for. But hey look, I'm really good at getting Duke's dog tag in focus!

Duke will be my guinea pig for quite some time.

Monday, July 26, 2010


This weekend Alan and I are driving to Fredericksburg for one last getaway. We're staying at this quaint little B&B cabin:

Think calm, peace, relaxation. After the past week, it's much needed.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy 17th

I warned about the scanning, but since today's Bailey's 17th birthday I couldn't resist. Thought I'd share a few of my favorite pictures from when she was little.

I love this one. I love how her pupils are HUGE and how there's a little piece of gum sticking to the front of her tooth. Why anyone (probably her grandmother!) was letting a toddler chew gum is beyond me.

I like this one because her hair was short, and it wasn't short for very long. It tips me off that she couldn't have been more than two or so. I like that the pink hand-me-down bed is in the photo. I like that the grey and white stuffed dog is there, and her swimming floaties are on the bedpost. And I like how Bailey is looking at the person taking the picture, which I'm almost certain was Addison.

It's grainy and blurry, but I LOVE this picture. It is sooooo Bailey. Her dad and Addison and I are riding away in a little motor boat while Bailey's staying on shore with her Papa because, NO ONE KNOWS. She got upset and mad all the time about things that we never knew. That child would not explain what was bothering her, ever. We'd just shrug our shoulders and give her space, because the slightest acknowledgement that something was wrong just made it worse. I love how her Papa is totally ignoring her little "mood" and acting silly as usual.

Her hair started growing quickly after she was two or so, and grew and grew. It had reached her lower back by the time she was four. I remember brushing and drying her hair and always telling her how much I wanted her hair for my own. It was beautiful.

She was just a beautiful child and still is. I'll have some updated pics of her this weekend. Happy Birthday Bailey!