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!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My newest toy

Be prepared to be inundated with old photos because Oh My Goodness, I have a scanner. The things I can do with a scanner? The photoshopping, the digital scrapbooking, the posting of "here's my bell bottoms from the 70s" pics - the possibilities are endless. I can't wait.

So here's a snippet of what I can't wait to do - scan all the photos from our wedding and reception:

I couldn't stop smiling. I think that was a good sign. I've learned over the years that not everyone was sure this was the best thing for Alan. Marrying a divorced, older woman, mother of two? I don't blame them.

But we knew. What an awesome day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Filling the void

Alan left today for Houston until Thursday. I'm attempting to accomplish something while he's gone. I'm starting by pulling up the carpet in the den and living room, which will hopefully be replaced with porcelain tile by mid-August. If I'm not hating life too much after the carpet pull, the kitchen floor might come up, too. Plus I need to finish the painting I started weeks ago on the back porch. (Oops!) I'm also expecting to be dealing with the insurance company and auto repairs after Bailey's mishap last week, but hopefully I won't have to whip out my nasty side. And lastly, I hope to finish my book and throw some yard work in here and there.

I think it's only fitting with all this manual labor, that I claim this week to be a non make-up and hair-do week. I haven't been wearing make-up much this summer, but it remains to be seen if I can go that long without my flat iron.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Role Model

I have to brag on Alan. Yesterday Bailey was in a minor car accident in which she was at fault (hit another car from behind). Alan and I happened to be home and only a few blocks away, so we both drove over to the scene. Alan was so nice. Hugged Bailey repeatedly, told her it was okay, made sure she was okay, acted very calm, etc. Regardless of past history, he never made comments about how much it was going to cost, how much the insurance rates were surely to go up - you get the idea. I was reminded of how well my mother and stepdad handled similar situations with me. They never made me feel stupid, which you're already feeling as it is. I just think it's so great when parents follow the Golden Rule, which is something I'm trying to get better at as the years fly by. Alan's a good dad.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


There's a science to doing crosswords puzzles. Do you know this? I'm surprised when people with way more smarts and advanced vocabularies than me do not know how to do a crossword. I should be clear - I'm not one of those who can finish every crossword. The Saturday and Sunday ones are often left lying around with half of the answers (or less) filled in, until I'm tired of being reminded how dumb I feel and eventually get thrown away. So here are things about crosswords that some people don't know, which I've discovered by working them with others:

Monday's puzzle is way easy, to the point of annoyance. Tuesday is still fairly easy, Wednesday starts to get more challenging, and by Thursday or Friday I'm feeling retarded. Good luck with the weekend puzzles.

Verb tense in the clue and the answer must match.

Answers will never contain a word or part of a word from the clue. EVER. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised what people will try.

If the clue uses the last name only of say, an actor, and wants you to supply the character's name - it wants the character's last name as well. It's the matching thing again.

If the clue uses an abbreviation, the answer will be abbreviated too. More matching!

If the clue ends with a question mark, the answer will be "silly answers" (I call them), not literal.

Put it down and pick it back up the next day. I'm convinced the brain continues to mull over the clues. You'll be surprised at the answers you'll get 24 hours later. I'm also convinced that crosswords are good for the mind. I need to work them more often.

And need to know the last name of John Lennon's lover, the name of the river that runs through Paris, a four-letter word for a beigy color, the name for a church altar, the name of an ancient Roman marketplace, and a word for a fluffy accessory. Ono, Seine, ecru, apse, agora, and boa. They're used relentlessly. Must be all the vowels.

Start with Monday. You'll be patting yourself on the back for a job well done getting three-letter answers for the clue "two words heard at a wedding."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Discovered a great sauce for salmon:

  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • a few shakes hot sauce (we use Louisiana, but Cholula's or Tabasco would work)
  • 2-3 shakes soy sauce
  • salt and pepper

Simmer 10-15 minutes; the preserves will almost completely thin out. It's spicy and sweet!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ft. Davis

Yesterday, Alan and Leigh and myself went to Ft. Davis for the day. I've been to the state park before, but never really went into the little town or visited the fort. I couldn't have requested a better day, as far as the weather. It was cloudy, it thundered, it poured, it paused for a little while and then rained some more. It was perfect. The Davis Mountains are really very pretty.

We ate at a Chuck Wagon BBQ place before touring the fort. I suppose if I ever visit the fort again, I won't wear a summer dress and sandals. We could have ventured off for some cool hiking had we known what to expect. We walked through the barracks and officer quarters and the hospital. I was certain a hospital from the mid to late 1800s had to be haunted, so I made sure to check for cold spots in every room. :-) I'm not much of a history enthusiast, but I do think the fort is very well done and enjoyed it way more than The Alamo.

After the fort we checked out the shops in town where I bought homemade canned pickles and Leigh bought a cookbook from the Hotel Limpia. We bought much more fudge than we needed (did I mention Leigh was with us?), Alan and Leigh got ice cream, and we headed home. If there's anything to learn from this, it's that when we travel we eat. A lot.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Green Country

Today I drove back from Oklahoma where I spent several days at DeeBee's. I haven't posted anything all week and only updated my Facebook status once or twice, because I truly took a vacation while there. I always feel that I really rest and relax at her house. We worked on our tans by the pool every day the weather allowed. We watched fireworks and made salsa and cookies and fried zuccini (fresh from her neighbor's garden). We shopped in Owasso, had lunch by the river in Jenks, and watched movies.

I guess it wasn't all relaxation - we did walk a total of 13 miles and painted one of the bathrooms. But still, I spent an incredible amount of time on her comfy couch surfing the channels and napping with the puppies and watching the rain. It was awesome, and one of my very favorite places to get away.

I was also too lazy to take the camera out of my suitcase, so here's the only picture I took. It's a blurry cell phone pic of my frozen margarita, poolside. I sent it to Alan as proof that I really do know how to relax on vacation, contrary to what he's witnessed. It make take me a couple of days to shake this vacation mode.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

San Diego

So thankful it's been raining every day since we got back from San Diego rather than the 100 degree weather we had before we left. Coming home to the desert heat from perfect southern California weather would have been hard. We had a great time! Anywhere we went was no more than a 10-20 minute drive - quite a difference from last year when we'd spend an hour in LA traffic. We went to the zoo as soon as we got our rental car Friday. The San Diego Zoo is by far the best zoo I've been to, not to mention the largest and the prettiest. It was worth the high ticket price.

This puma was stalking and hissing at this lady in a wheel chair. Before this, he had charged the cage towards her. It was awesome!

What I loved about San Diego was being surrounded by water. Our hotel was on Shelter Island which is mostly a marina to house some uber fancy boats. It was a great location. Across the water we could see Coronado Island and a naval base. Our first night there, we decided to split up and have date nights. Addison and Austen walked to a nearby restaurant, while Alan and I ate outside at the hotel.

Shelter Island

Saturday morning we toured the USS Midway, an aircraft carrier used in WWII, the Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm. It was cool to go below deck to see the bunk areas, officer quarters, etc.

Afterwards we took the ferry to Coronado Island, where we ate at Peohe's (despite our attire of shorts and flip-flops!), pedaled a four-person cycling thing called a "surrey" searching for the Hotel de Coronado, shopped a little, and ate ice cream from Coldstone Creamery. We ferried back, went back to the hotel for a bit, and then went out for the evening to the Gas Lamp District. Gas Lamp reminded me of areas like the West End in Dallas or 6th Street in Austin, but a little more sophisticated. (Or "classy," like Ron Burgundy would say.) Let's just say the bums and tattoo parlors were not as obvious. I'm stealing these pictures from Addison:

Greystone restaurant

Sunday we took the short drive to Children's Beach at La Jolla (thanks to a tip from Doug) to see the seals and sea lions. It's hard to describe how pretty this beach is:

After stopping back at the hotel to change into our beachy gear, we headed to Mission Beach. California beaches are so pretty, but there was an awful lot of seaweed everywhere which attracted all these weird flies. Not as clean and spacious as Santa Monica Beach last year, but still very nice. Alan and Austen both tried surfing in the freezing Pacific, but I couldn't seem to get in past my ankles. We left our towels and stuff on the beach for a while and the four of us walked to lunch. When we got back, one of our bags had been tossed around a bit by seagulls who were trying really hard to get to our honey roasted almonds:

After a full day at the beach, we went back to the hotel for a while before dinner. We borrowed bikes from the hotel and rode down to the end of the island for dinner. We ate at this restaurant called Bali Hai, which served all Hawaiian or Polynesian food. You were going to eat something different no matter what you ordered. Austen had a REALLY strong Mai Tai, and I think you can tell from his eyes in this picture that he was feeling good!

Bali Hai restaurant

Monday morning we had some time before our flight, so we drove back to the area around the Midway and had breakfast at Buster's Beach House. It was also alongside a marina, and inside this cute little shopping area. We bought some souvenirs afterwards and then headed for the airport. I was concerned that four days wouldn't be long enough, but we really were able to do and see quite a bit in that short time. I think I could live by the water. It's so peaceful and so NOT the desert.

And last but not least, we had a great time with Addison and Austen. They are so cute.