Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Novel

So I came across this site: www.nanowrimo.com It is a site where they challenge you in the month of November to write a 50,000 word novel. Now, the novels are not actually judged on content, but by word count, no one actually ever reads them. But I guess the whole point is to prove that you can accomplish anything if you set a deadline for yourself. I really would like to do it, but I just can't imagine being able to put in the 2-3 hours a day that I would probably need, mostly since it is the month before XMAS and I have 50 things looming in the home remodeling department before XMAS arrives. It may be fun to try though, and if nothing else, whether I made the 50K words or not, I would have at least gotten a pretty good start on something! Who knows, I may buck up and do it, just to prove I can! As the site says, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Spooky jack-o-lanterns!

Here are our jack-o-lanterns for this year! I get the biggest kick out of pumpkin carving. The one with the phantom belongs to my son (he picked out the stencil and Daddy carved it), the little one is my daughter's (it has 4 teeth on top and 2 teeth on bottom just like her, I carved that one), the one winking is my hubby's (he always has interesting jack-o-lanterns) and the evil, cat-eyed, toothy one is mine! We LOVE Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Trina's date!

So I did NOT get a chance to stop and get anything cute to wear, hell I got back from Marble Falls at 4pm, we were supposed to leave for Driftwood by 4:30pm, yikes! I did manage to rummage through the closet and find a decent skirt and blouse that I accessorized with one of my custom turquiose pieces from my grandfather and managed to look presentable. Traffic was horrific, it took us an hour and a half to get down there, but that was OK, time for hubby and I to chat a bit. Luckily the first hour was for drinks and appetizers, so missing the first half hour wasn't too bad. By the time we got there I was STARVING! All I had for lunch was about half an egg salad sandwich and a couple of chips as I had to kick in to "field trip director" mode. Anyway, I felt a little pathetic, here I was at a fancy cocktail hour and all I could think of was stalking the waitstaff with the appetizers!! There were some awesome little tidbits, my favorites being the goat cheese and herb stuffed puff pastries (holy shit!!!), little bite-size ciabbata sandwiches with prosciutto, fresh mozzerella and pesto sauce (served with a twig of fresh rosemary instead of a toothpick, what a cute and flavorful idea!) and mushroom caps stuffed with spicy brisket (I'm not usually a mushroom girl, but WOW those were good!).

For the actual meal we had a selection of three different types of steak, the best being a beef tenderloin with a light creamy sauce over it, a corn pudding made with grits (very tasty), a lovely pork stew with mushrooms and carrots served over rice, green peas and nice bread. And did I mention all the great wine? Restauranteur Damian Mandola has "retired" in Driftwood, but started a vineyard and I drank his Sangiovese all evening, tasty! That was actually the theme of the whole dinner, EVERYTHING was local. The wines were local, the olive oil for the bread is made out in Driftwood, even the beef was local. It seems as though Northern Hays county is about to become the Napa Valley of Central Texas. Pretty crazy. I finished off this lovely meal with a serving of carrot cake and a Bailey's and coffee (oh yeah!).

Anyway, it was just nice to get out of the house, visit with other adults and eat some lovely food. It doesn't happen that often, so I really savor it when it does! And thanks to the Pumpkin Farm visit, my kids were out for the count by 8:30, so easy babysitting in my house last night!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Better now.

Was feeling slighty unworthy and dull yesterday, but feeling lots better today. I hate when I get into those funks. I woke up this morning, knowing that I was taking my children to visit the pumpkin farm for a field trip, not to mention picking out our carving pumpkins! That has to make anyone feel good, right? Getting a gargantuan squash to stab, gut and generally maim? It is a beautiful sunny morning, the weather should be mild and to top it off, I get to leave my kids with a good friend tonight while I accompany my husband on a vineyard dinner down in Driftwood. That's right, you're not seeing things, I actually have a date with my hubby tonight!! Except I don't have a damn thing to wear! My closet is filled with jeans and jogging pants, not cute dresses! Hopefully I can make it back from the farm in time to stop someplace and pick up something cute! Either way though, I get to go have a nice dinner, drink lovely wine and be generally merry tonight... HOORAY for ME!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trina's rant of the day...

What the hell is up with all the damn toy recalls?? I feel like I get recall notices on a weekly basis, most of them dealing with lead paint. WHY??? I'll tell you why, it is like I have said time and time again on many subjects, it's the almighty dollar! Distributors buy product from other countries that don't have the same safety standards because they can get the toys cheaper and then jack the prices up the wazoo and make a huge profit. Greedy bastards! I would think the recalls would be more expensive than actually buying and selling quality products, but I guess that isn't the case. After all, most people I know have just chunked the toy instead of being out the time and expense to send it back. So the company still makes money even if it's sold an unsafe, piece of shit toy! I am seriously considering telling every person I know that will buy my kids XMAS gifts to not buy ANYTHING with paint on it! Only natural wood and fibers please. But hell, I even had a set of soft fabric blocks recalled due to lead paint in the fabric! Buying toys is absolutely a game of roulette lately, a total crapshoot. OK, this looks fun, but will my baby die of lead poisoning playing with it, you know she can't keep anything out of her mouth because she's 16 months old and in the "taste-testing" stage of life. Good thing I have a table saw and a sewing machine, I may have to resort to making toys for the kids! I swear, do I have to do everything?? I can't trust the government to school them, I can't trust them to hold corporations to a higher standard to avoid lead paint and other dangers, shit, I might as well start making their clothes too and growing my own garden so I don't get E. coli poisoning from tainted spinach! Holy shit, I'm turning into a Quaker! Does that mean I have to give up the computer?

I think I have the blahs.

I finally had a chance to sit down and cruise around some blogs and although I LOVE reading everyone's stuff, it always makes me feel pretty pathetic! So many of you are so well-versed, you discuss important issues, you tantalize my brain and I just ramble on about my boring little life in Texas! Kids, Halloween decorations, costumes, remodeling, an occasional rant or rave. I really need to get out more! Tedium is taking over.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Decoration Desolation

Here are two photos, one of a happy, little yard, freshly decorated for Halloween, the next a photo of the wind destruction of my nice little display. UGH!

What 's a mother to do?

As most of you know, I have a 5 1/2 y.o. son. He is without a doubt the light of my life and in all honesty a really good kid. I am always getting compliments about how polite he is, how sweet and caring he is and of course what beautiful curly locks he has (he gets that from me!). But as we near the tender age of 6, I can tell there are some serious changes on the horizon. It is obvious that he is really beginning to see himself as a separate and free-thinking entity. Which in the general sense of things is good. I mean this is our job right? To raise our children to be healthy, cognitive beings that can navigate through the vast sea of crap we refer to as life. We hope we arm them well with strong values, humanity and a consciousness about the world around them. However, in order to accomplish this task, we have to let go, give up some of the control and holy shit... that's hard!

As of late, I find myself nagging at him. Nagging about stupid shit! You know, flushing the toilet after he poops, not taking toys away from his sister, not making horrible gagging sounds in the back seat, not swinging on the stair bannisters, not constantly trying to get his baby sister to say words like poop, butt, booby and pee-pee (I mean seriously, how many other words are in the English language for him to teach her, but NOOOO, he wants her to say poo-poo in the restaurant!) So I call him on these behaviors, but I call him on these things DAILY! Seriously, I have told this child and yelled at this child to "FLUSH THE TOILET WHEN YOU POOP" everyday since he learned how to use the potty at age 3! He is 5 1/2 now that is over 2 years, so I have re-iterated this rule at least 912 times!!!! What is it in the 5 y.o. brain that makes it impossible to remember these simple things? I mean he can remember what he did 2 years ago at Balloon Fiesta in ABQ, or what he did at Nana's shop 4 visits ago, but he CANNOT for the life of him remember to flush the pot! So I am starting to feel like one of those nagging mothers you see at the grocery store constantly bitching at her kids. I desperately don't want to be THAT mother! But then again, what happens if I neglect to call him on these things? Will he lose his respect for me, will he feel that if he does something long enough, I'll just finally cave and he'll get his way regardless? I know I may sound like a Nazi, but I do not cut that kid slack. I'm not a terribly strict parent, but I do believe that there are certain rules that make co-habitating with your family easier and you must follow them, not to mention rules of conduct when engaging in life outside the home. And when he doesn't abide by these there are consequences. His sister will be held to the same standards. But I do hate being that naggy, bitchy mom. I want my kids to remember me as someone they had fun with, not someone that bitched at them all the time. So, I'm at a loss. Do I ease up and accept the fact that this is the beginning of him becoming an individual being with thoughts and feelings of his own, or do I stay diligent and work to make sure he follows through with direction and understands consequences? I'm just really not sure what the happy medium is here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bad Ass Boots

As you all probably know, I attended the Boot and Saddle Maker's Convention in Wichita Falls, TX with my mother. It was nice, not really what I was expecting. I guess I had high hopes of hearing tales about my grandfather. I had many people tell me what a good man he was and what an amazing bootmaker he was, but to be honest, I already knew all that. I was happy that my mother was able to take me and the kids around and introduce us to her colleagues. I know how important it is for a grandparent to get the chance to show off those grandbabies! My son and I both donned our awesome boots and he was more than happy to hike up his pant leg to give folks a better look at the craftsmanship! He was very proud to tell people that his Grammy made them for him! Lucky kid, I don't know alot of 5 year-olds with custom made boots! Anyway, when I got home, I was inspired to get my boot collection out and take a couple of photos. Some of the boots were made by my grandfather... The Master, and others were made by my mother whose artistic take on boots is second to none. The first photo is my collection of boots, the second photo is my son's collection. Pretty impressive, right? Over the years I have always loved my boots, but I have to admit, after being at the convention and seeing the work of other bootmakers, it makes me proud that my boots were handmade with love by my mom and granddad and they are truly the best!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Well, that's one off my list!

So all of my life I have wanted to go to Scotland, it is one of my top 5 things to do in life. My ancestors were Scots, so you know, one of those things that I want to see before I die. But who knew I would get to cross this off so soon?!? As it turns out, on my way to Wichita Falls, TX I was able to drive through Scotland and I've got a picture to prove it! So my life is that much closer to being complete! ;-) I have to admit, I think Scotland is a little over-rated! Hee-hee! I guess that is one of the great things about Texas, you can stay in the state, yet go all over the world. We have Scotland, Paris, and London just to name a couple. I'll have to make the effort to go see them as well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On the road again...

Since I was unable to take the kids to Balloon Fiesta, I will be lugging the terrible two up to Wichita Falls, TX to visit my mother while she attends the 2007 Boot and Saddlemakers Convention. I have never attended, but my mother and my grandfather (when he was still alive) attended it every year. It should be interesting. If nothing else, I bet I get regaled with tales of my grandfather, and there is something special about that. I always find it interesting to hear about other people's experiences with him. He was a very well-loved man that was well respected for his craft. So I will be donning my hand-made, inlaid cowboy boots most of the weekend, my little man will be donning his as well, and the baby, well, she isn't really wearing shoes yet. Not really looking forward to the drive up there, it's 4-ish hours, but that is better than the 13 hours it would have taken to get to Albuquerque! Besides, I worked out a better route, it's the backroads, but I prefer to travel the mother roads anyway. Freeways are overrated, they cut through the landscape and you have to drive so fast and furious you are never able to pay attention to your surroundings. So I'll take the less traveled route and enjoy the countryside. Who knows, maybe I'll even snap a few shots. Who cares if my camera is missing some of it's pixels? I'm sure I'll have loads to blog about when I get back!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Why is it always me?

While out in the driveway, unloading some stuff for an upcoming garage sale, I heard a faint and high-pitched mew from the other side of my car. I walked around and here is this adorable little cat. My friend and I say, "Well hello, what are you doing here?" At which time she comes slinking up, rubbing up against our ankles and being sweet as can be. I lean to pet her and notice that she has full teets, so obviously there are kittens somewhere. However, she is so skinny and I can't bear it. She may be another species, but she is a mother and I can't turn my back on a mother in need. I went inside and popped open a can of tuna and mixed it with some dry cat food. I took it outside and that little girl tore into that food like she hadn't eaten in days! She was SO ravenous that during her meal she spied a dragonfly buzzing by and stopped eating long enough to leap on and immediately eat the dragonfly and then returned to her tuna and cat food. I let her eat and went back inside, hoping that she would get a full belly and make her way back to her kittens. Yeah, no such luck, she has been sleeping like a log in our flowerbed all afternoon and she partook of some more dry food when I took it out for her. I am worried about the babies. Are they around here in bushes somewhere, are they in someone's house and she just got lost while hunting dragonflies, or did she and babies get booted and the babies didn't make it. So I am at a impasse. I can't fetch her up and take her to the humane society and risk the lives of the babies, but I worry about her roaming the streets, there are coyotes in our area and cars. So, I guess I just sit and wait. Maybe she will get a full tummy and some much needed rest and make her way back home tonight. I can only hope. Or if she needs help, I hope she feels fed and comfortable enough here to go get them this evening and bring them here, then I can take them all to the humane society. It just sucks, all stray animals within like a 5 mile radius seem to gravitate to where I am, they must know that I can't overlook them, I just don't have the heart. Some psychic or karmic vibe that I send out letting all little animals in dire straits know that I am a big, fat, sucker! I'll keep everyone posted this latest saga!

Monday, October 01, 2007

From the mouths of babes, 3.

In an effort to save time, I had my son in the shower with me this morning. Unfortunately, he had a slight case of flatulence, which is NOT something one would hope for when having to share a small cramped spot with him, UGH! Anyway, while trying to wash the shampoo out of his hair, as quickly as possible, I might add, he leaned back and said that he really didn't enjoy the "stinkness" that was in the shower. I highly agreed! And then he asked, "Why do pooters make such a stench?" Time to find and record that episode of Mythbusters! Maybe they can answer that question better than I can!?!

No more essay questions ALLOWED in school!

I received an email from my FIL over the weekend discussing a recent development in the small town that he lives in. Turns out that awhile back there was a history test, I think, or social studies test that several football players failed. This caused many of these football players to be ineligible to play ball. To be honest, I'm not sure if it was for that Friday's game or for the rest of the quarter. Regardless, since this small town is centered around it's high school sports, especially football (Friday Night Lights, baby!) this caused a HUGE uproar. As it turns out, the school decided to launch an investigation. Cause we all know that if some of the jocks aren't passing classes, it can't be from lack of motivation or knowledge on their part. When the investigation was complete it was found that essay questions were the culprits that caused these boys to fail. So it was determined that the TEACHERS were not qualified to write and/or rate such questions on a test. Therefore, at this time, essay questions are NOT allowed on tests!

I don't know what is more outrageous, banning essay questions or stating that your teachers are not qualified to grade them!?!? I mean really if your teachers are NOT qualified to write and grade an essay question, then you hired the wrong teachers! But we all know, it isn't the teachers that are the problem, it's the system. This school depends on money raised by the sports department. If these boys don't play, they don't win games, the attendance goes down, and the head honchos get antsy. It is a sad state of affairs. What is an action like this saying to these kids? I'll tell you, it's saying that we don't care if you learn anything, we don't care if you can organize your thoughts into a decent paragraph, we don't care if you are competent enough to get a job after you graduate, all we care about is you winning football games. Now do these boys see it like this, highly doubtful, what they see is that no matter how bad their test scores are, or how little effort they put into their academics, they will still get a free ride because they can pass a ball and make a touchdown. And yet again, that lovely thing called entitlement, these boys will believe they are "entitled" to a great life because no one ever held them responsible for anything. And does it just affect just these players? No, in fact I am sure these guys are heroes in the high school because they got essay questions banned! Now all of the students can thrive for the same mediocrity, if you can even call it that. So hooray for the school board! Way to keep our kids competitive in the global market!